While fleeing from the Wicked Annabella roadside inn Glee, Romulus, and Lela heard voices coming from the woods. The muffled voices were bickering about something and the party snuck up on them to get a closer look. Within moments they were exchanging pleasantries with their wayward adventurers Henri and Mgabwe. Henri had a black eye and Mgabwe seemed to have every bit of hair on his body burnt off, but for the time being they had resolved their argument about the nature of arcane magic. The party filled them in on their most recent adventures and then they set off for Ocrist. Mgabwe did not get on well with Corwyn, which was to be expected.
They decided to travel along the road since they are not openly warring with either faction. After several hours on the road they found themselves on a bluff overlooking a large open field, the Field of Sorrows that they had heard talked about from several sources. From their vantage point they could see a large force of the DuChamp army massing on the field, off in the distance they could vaguely make out another gathering force. They also saw the wagon of death driven by Ichabod on the opposite side of the field, he waved to them. They saw no reason to jump into a battlefield so they kept following the road to the East.
Several more hours passed and they came upon a macabre scene in the middle of the road. Two wagons flipped over and crushed, the bodies of half a dozen DuChamp soldiers lying on the ground, and tracks of something huge heading North into the foothills. As usual the party was split on what to do; Henri saw no reason to follow the tracks, arguing that nothing good could come from it. The rest of the party was spoiling for a fight and decided to head off into the foothills. While this was going on Mgabwe Animated several of the DuChamp soldiers as skeletons who would now serve as foot soldiers and heralds for the group. The skeletons led the way into the hills, the terrain changing from the grasslands surrounding the roads to scrubland and rocky paths in the shadows of the massive mountains looming to the North.
In less than an hour the terrain started to change and there were large holes in the ground, some as huge as 80 feet across. The tracks went right into these openings. While discussing how to proceed a pair of claws appeared over the rim of one of these craters, followed by a tail with an enormous stinger dripping with poison. Giant scorpions! The party leapt into action, everyone falling into their accustomed combat roles. The skeletons charged the scorpion coming out of the hole, but two more had emerged including one of gargantuan size. Lela was scooped up and held in the claw of the biggest scorpion and took some heavy damage, but the party was able to kill the creature when they surrounded it. Corwyn endeared himself to Lela when he charged the creatures flank, though his attack was impotent. Eventually they did kill all three giant vermin, however Glee suffered a severe poisoning and lost eight points of CON, greatly lowering his hit points for the time being. He was not happy about this. And one of the skeletons was killed.
Romulus was the only one brave enough to descend into the depths of the hole and he climbed down and began to search through the rubble. He heard some noises and saw a small scorpion scuttling around. Now joined by Glee the two of them quickly ended the foul creature’s life, and once again searched the area. They turned up a javelin of surprisingly high quality but decided to leave once they heard some more noises. Cowards.
Glee was very concerned about his lowered hit points. The party has no access to Restoration and it would take over a week to heal naturally, so they decided to head back to the Fields of Sorrow and see if they could get Ichabod to help out with some healing. So they backtracked and headed for the battlefield. Despite the presence of an army they decided to walk across the grounds. They were quickly approached by some DuChamp soldiers on horseback, who were equally curious about what they were doing and about the skeletal DuChamp soldiers that were traveling with them. The silver tongue of Lela helped avoid a conflict, though Mgabwe refused to comply with their wishes to allow the soldiers to have a proper burial. They did cross the battlefield and meet up with Ichabod. After listening to his normal rant of death and impending doom, whispering to his scarlet lady, and speaking excitedly about the carrion that will result from the next day’s battle Glee asked if he could restore his health. Ichabod said that was not within his power and perhaps death was calling out him. After that he said that Glee should sacrifice something that was important to him, and then suggested that he kill Corwyn. Glee did not hesitate and swung his greatsword at Corwyn, killing the young man with a single strike. Ichabod was delighted but still offered nothing to Glee. I have to say that I was a bit surprised at the sudden death of Corwyn. I did not expect him to last very long, but I thought that this opportunistic crew would at least have gotten something out of the young man. But I suppose that is the way that is goes. For what it’s worth Lela did seem a little bummed out by the whole thing.
The party awkwardly stood around for a moment and then departed, making their way across the battlefield and back to the road. Before long they came to a checkpoint on the outskirts of Ocrist. The guard was nice enough to the party, and actually rather impressed with Lela’s whistling, but insisted that the skeletons stay outside. Mgabwe consented and had the skeletons dig graves for themselves and then get into them.
From Gunther they were given a letter to deliver to the Leaves of the Fall, a tea shop in town. They never bothered to inspect the letter, which I found to be strange with this group, but having no other immediate agenda in Ocrist they set about finding the tea shop. Before long they located the quaint shop on a small cobblestone street and went inside. They were given a password to tell the shopkeeper, which they did. He responded with the proper words and then sent Lela, who was wisely doing the talking, into the back to deliver the letter. The back storage room had an opening at a counter than led to some sort of room where invoices are received and paid. A delicate looking female hand came through and took the letter, before Lela could do anything else the person was gone. Lela joined the party and exited the shop and onto the street. Outside the party walked and talked about what to do next, while doing this a stranger approached them and put a letter into their hands. He asked them to deliver it to 24 Steele Street, an address in town. He hurried off, ignoring their questions.
Assuming that this was their next step in establishing a correspondence with the anti-DuChamp factions in town they decided to head over to the address, which turned out to be an abandoned looking warehouse in the city. Going inside and walking down a narrow hallway which led into a large room, the party found themselves surrounded by cloaked figures. A voice boomed out of the darkness and demanded to know which side they were on, in this conflict who did they support? All at once the party blurted out a variety of answers. The highest bidder, says Mgabwe. Romulus said that he served no man. Lela chimed in with serving the Coleridges, which got their interest but the other answers clearly were not what the group was hoping to hear. What followed was an interesting discourse about who the party were, why they do things, and how they could help these mysterious figures. Considering that it was a Coleridge sympathizer who got them started on this quest they guessed that these people were also on board with that cause, which is why Lela played up that angle. She talked about the plight of the oppressed and with her considerable charisma it went over well with the group. The fact that the party were clearly a bunch of money hungry mercenaries was a little harder for them to swallow, but Romulus and Mgabwe did a good job of selling their position. Basically they said that if the DuChamp government were to collapse it would create ample opportunities for them to profit, which is a great motive for them to join the cause. If nothing else they enjoyed spreading chaos and disorder, two activities that these freedom fighters could get down with. The spokesman for the people, a red bearded man who has cleverly taken the moniker of Firebeard, seemed convinced.
Firebeard presented them with some ways to help the cause. One involved General Olden Delacroix, the commander of the DuChamp military who has recently come out of retirement to lead the fight. Sources close to Firebeard informed him that the daughter of Delacroix had been kidnapped by the DuChamps who have framed the Coleridges for the kidnapping. The girls name…Fiona. If they could convince Delacroix that it is actually his employer that arranged for the child’s disappearance they believe that he would leave the army, thus striking a major blow against the throne. The other option involved a prisoner held by the DuChamps. A Coleridge operative had recently been captured and was set to be executed in the town square the following day. If the PC’s could prevent this from happening it would be great for two reasons; it would weaken the power of the DuChamps if it seems that they can not even secure their home city, and this operative has a spy inside the inner circle of the Duke who provides him with information. If this man was to die his contact would most likely be lost. The party agreed to free this man, but they also had some plans to contact Delacroix.
I’m curious to see where this is going. They have the standing offer to turn in spies to the DuChamps, and it seems like they have found some. However, they do believe that to ultimately benefit the most financially they need to capture the vast treasures of the DuChamps. We’ll see what happens…