1,Fireseek Day 1 594 CY
As with most newcomers, no one laments their passing – not in Rookroost. The traveler, a noble clad in fine garb was beaten to the cobble by the hobgoblin patrol. Elandre, Syd, and Jeremok watched as the noble fell and the patrol rifled his body free of gold and gear. Two sections of scrolled parchment fell from the dead man’s grasp as the three onlookers waited for the patrol to move along.
Sydney quickly palmed the scrolls, as Jeremok and Elandre examined the extent of the man’s wounds. Finding him quite beyond help and growing cold in street’s chill, they attempted to move the body into the nearest alleyway. Jeremok pulled at the corpse’s feet, dislodging a single boot and staggering backwards as Elandre and Syd heaved the body into the shadows. Once safely secreted away from the street’s view, Syd hands Dre and Ash each a scroll while he confirms the depth of the noble’s ransacked pockets.
Nothing of worth is found on the lost soul, but the scrolls do reveal a laundry list of people and organizations within the Bandit Kingdom. The knowledge is not without some cost, as Jeremok actuates a tiny needle trap housed within one of the scrolls, suffering a bout of nausea and weakness. Syd studies the trap while Dre investigates the toxin. The particular toxin is somewhat familiar to the druid and, strangely, to the stable boy as well – both assure Jeremok that he condition is temporary, and assist Jeremok back to the comforts of the Green Dragon. Jeremok keeps the boots (one of which seems to house a tiny secret compartment in its heel).
Back at the inn, they consider the contents of the scrolls. Some of the names are listed as enemies, while others are to be considered allies, and it is apparent that the scrolls are intended for someone with little knowledge of the area. From the few moments spent reviewing the names, Ash infers that the listed allies are agents of decidedly ‘good’ reputation and should be avoided at all costs if given the opportunity, but they continue to discuss their plans. Syd points out the possibility of other visiting nobles whom could use an escort as they approach the city – all agree that a great opportunity has presented itself, and they make plans find a good spot to intercept and solicit traveling nobility. All agree to move the scrolls to a safer location for now, and Syd stashes the scrolls inside the inn stables as he returns to his stable duties.
As they wrap up their discussion at the tavern, the mention of one of the names listed within the scroll ( Gale Marcalla – ?? msp) elicits a tight-lipped response from one group of tavern visitors, and the mention of ‘ambush’ galvanizes another group of mid-day drunkard thugs to go find the perfect ambush spot for their own use. Dre and Jeremok take notice, and decide to go scout out the thug’s ambush location so that they might warn any potential customers (travelers). Once discovered, the ambush location proves to be located outside a main city gate, and is painfully exposed to demonic scrutiny from the city wall. The ruined, abraded landscape also left no reasonable cover for their operation, so Dre and Jer return to tell Syd of the lack of any appropriate staging area.
Jer and Dre recount their survey with Syd, recalling only a single safe point of interception – Harper’s Ferry. While Jeremok rests from the toxin’s malaise, Dre slips away to see a friend… Meanwhile, Syd speaks to his boss, and arranges for a horse to be available outside the city walls though they must pass through the city sewer tunnels in order to exit the city after dark. They await nightfall, and pass through the serpentine sewers to arrive outside the city wall where Syd procures an aged but stout warhorse which carries all three through the unlit fields of ruin to Harper’s Ferry.
As they rode through the icy night, disturbing noises seemed to crawl from every shadow. Ragged moans, hoarse wails, and the scrabbling sounds of broken bone followed close behind at all times. Whatever undead lurked within the fields of ruin, remained buried in the darkness as they emerged upon the fjord landing at Harper’s Ferry.
The second hour after midnight greets the three adventurers as they dismount and enter the ferry landing’s tavern. Syd meets Bill, the inn’s stable hand, who recognizes Syd’s fine handiwork on many of the travelling steeds which return from Rookroost. Dre & Jer observe a few groups of travelers though none appear well-outfitted in the manner of a nobleman, and take a seat with Syd to enjoy a late meal.
During their meal, Dre identifies what he believes to be a toxic plant which is being served in the stew, and his words ring through the tavern :Poison ! Patrons reel with fear, the ferry owner’s wife (and cook), snatching bowls off tables as she tries to determine who poisoned her food. The misunderstanding is relaxed, the ferry owner’s wife providing Elandre with a book of herbalism authored by Bigby.
Sydney, better safe than dead, exits to empty his stomach before stopping to discuss the group’s ‘services’ with the larger of the groups who were present in the inn. The family is indeed part of a noble’s ancillary entourage, travelling two weeks ahead of their noble patron, and on their way to deliver their family and patron supplies to their quarters in Rookroost. The family agrees to hire the group – each will receive a camel in one month’s time.
The group retires to their rooms after deciding to call themselves ‘the Outlanders’. The night passes with only a brief moment of indiscretion marring their quiet but brief sleep…
Upon awakening, the group accompanies the entourage (Tezmet ?) back to the city. They confront a drunken band of three would-be marauders who are quickly buffeted with little effort. They proceed to the noble quarters where the entourage’s patriarch agrees to provide their writs guaranteeing reward in one month, and the party returns to the inn. Syd provides a dire warning that the entire entourage’s family should heed during their stay – paying homage to the Old One when met with a similar hail from Rookroost’s denizens. The entourage, of foreign custom, takes the warning as a game of sorts but seems convinced of Syd’s sincerity as the group departs. Jeremok leaves an open invitation to the entourage if they should require the party’s services in the future, telling them to find them at the Green Dragon.
After returning the borrowed steed, Syd goes to work and discovers that he cannot escape his station as stable hand unless he finds a suitable replacement. In his discussions, Syd realizes that he has learned a great deal and is ready for something more – his days of tending stables may soon be at an end. Upstairs, Jeremok retires to his room to contemplate and meditate in prayer as feels that he is close to some enlightenment that could provide him the direction that he has been seeking.
Later that afternoon, Elandre decides to withdraw to more familiar surroundings, notifying Syd that he will return before curfew. The boy advises against such wanderings but the Druid insists that all will be well. Using Syd’s suggested routes, Dre makes his way through the demon-patrolled streets and through the southwestern gate.
Miles outside of Rookroost, Dre comes upon a lone stand of despoiled trees and scraggy earth. Out of the frozen bit of forest a massive wolf appears to greet him, showing a familiar glance to the young druid. Dre kneels beside his companion and grips the wolf’s thick winter coat. In its teeth is a single white flower which Dre identifies as appearing only upon the tomb of a fallen hero. He returns to the inn with the flower, leaving his companion until his return, and feeling a sense of harmony with nature which empowers his entire self with new-found strength.
Back in the Green Dragon, Jeremok is discussing his own search for faith with Syd. During their musings, a bloodied priest, wearing multi–colored robes, and in dire need of better fitting underclothes, runs screaming The priest tosses a thick, bound volume into Jeremok’s hands. The tome details the Order of Chaos, and the tenants of Ralishaz – Syd is not pleased with Jeremok’s interest in the Order, and Jeremok withdraws to peruse the volume.
After Dre returns, he mentions the flower and the way in which it can only grow from the tomb of a fallen hero. Everyone finds the idea tempting but Syd will need a replacement before he can go. As Jeremok spent much of his life in the slums, he feels that a replacement will not be a problem. Dre and Jeremok find Charles (Chuck), a ten year old boy of strong constitution who agrees to go work/live at the Green Dragon. Jer pays to have the child cleaned and presented to Syd, and proves to be acceptable.
Day 3 ??
Jeremok awakens with new found direction, now a Priest/Cleric of Ralishaz, and joins the group downstairs. The group, feeling that they could use some extra muscle, approaches a half-orc barbarian, GrogSmash, and his fighter friend, Franz. After some exchange of the druid’s fine herb and an appeal to Grog’s love of printed works (Bigby’s herbal tome), Elandre shows them the flower as proof of the tomb. The deal is sealed with Jer’s promise to heal those who become injured, and Elandre leads the other four party members into the fields of ruin.
They soon come upon a small patch of wooded crag where Dre’s wolf meets them – with yet another of the white blossoms between his teeth.
Now they follow the great beast to the resting place of the fallen hero.