Krom and Orgmore had been scouting the area surrounding the Bugbear’s cavern, and had found much evidence of goblin activity, and one unfortunate goblin who was quickly dispatched. They met back up with the rest of the group (except for Chaplain Cooper who, it appeared, had returned alone to St Cuthbert’s).
With the knight Ser Lia Fletcher in need of rest after her ordeal at the hands of the Bugbear, and with no other enemies apparent in the area the group returned to Hommlet with plans to return the next day to retrieve the remaining booty. On the way Ser Lia explained that she had been dispatched on a mission from Baron Mortimer to encourage the town of Fandolin to pay their overdue taxes, and to find out what had happened to the previous tax collector.
Back at The Welcome Wench, the group confirmed their on-going board and lodging requirements with Gundigook [lifestyle choices made, e.g. Poor = 2sp each day in town to cover room and board].
Rima visited the traveling Trader who sold the group healing kits and rented the cart and pony needed to retrieve the loot. Both prices and customer service left much to be desired. Nevertheless Krom stocked up on some equipment.
After a welcome night’s rest the party returned to the cavern. No problems encountered in retrieving the crates of weapons and salt beef marked with the blue lion shield insignia.
Rima and Brond visited the fortified tower near town, Rima singing a catchy jingle as they went, while Brond provided the military endorsement. The marketing was effective, with the robed figure Master Burn (who had previously been noticed in the Welcome Wench) following them back to town. Burn noticed the lion shield insignia on the crates and expressed interest that the Lionshield Coster trading company had opened a post in Hommlet. Brond replied that this was a temporary endeavour only. Burn also asked about the manager of the Lionshield Coster in Fandolin and his wife, with Brond quickly covering that she had recently died, cutting short further conversation. Master Burn resolved to visit soon to offer his condolences. In any case Burn paid full price 15gp each for the remaining crates of salt beef (a local farmer having taken one already) and an extra 5gp in Brond’s charge to be paid to the family of the (supposedly) deceased. None of the townsfolk seemed interested in the weapons, despite some half-hearted attempts by the party to point out the possible dangers from goblins, bandits etc. So after the most choice items were taken by the party (Krom taking Tuakiin’s Scimitar which he felt was a fine piece of work) the rest were sold to the local blacksmith for scrap for 12gp.
Kai accompanied Master Burn back to his tower and asked him about the arcane symbols he had noticed him drawing with this finger on the tables of the Welcome Wench. Burn was quite modest about his ability, but did point out that he now lived in his own tower, with around a dozen staff under his command. He explained he had fought for King Samuel in the rebellion, when Baron Wheeler had got ideas above his station. He suggested his associate Mr Spugmooir staying in the inn as another source of arcane knowledge, and agreed to meet Kai later for a sherry.
Meanwhile back at the inn Brond was providing the final comfort required by Ser Lia, apparently reaching the parts that two hot baths couldn’t… The next morning the newly bunked couple were reluctantly roused by the rest of the part to set off to Fandolin with a view to investigating the Redbrand mercenaries and also completing Ser Lia’s mission of tax collecting.
It took two days to get to Fandolin. The party passed a sign to Thundertree, a Dragon’s Lair that Tuakiin had previously visited but was unable to meet the owner. During that time on the road the party also passed the occasional farmhouse, the ruins of several hamlets, and got a glimpse of the imposing Barrier. Rima muttered to Kai that he shouldn’t go near it as bad things would happen if it was touched.
Nearing Fandolin the group was set upon by bandits. Krom in the rear-guard and wary Brond were the first to react, Krom killing one bandit but being pin-cushioned by two hits in return. Brond fatally shot a second bandit in the cock, as Krom dived into cover. Another bandit fell to Krom’s bow but the final bandit escaped before the others could engage.
Arriving in Fandolin in early evening the Orcs, Tuakiin and Kai explored the surrounding area noticing the Provisions Store, the Orchard, the Miners Exchange, various farms, the Townmaster’s Hall before visiting the Shrine of Luck. At the stone Shrine Sister Griela introduced herself and was able to confirm that the Redbrands mercenaries were indeed gathering in town, having started recruiting about 6 weeks ago, and now probably at least 30 strong. Sister Griela also asked the adventurers if they would be able to retrieve for her a Spellbook of Corendell which is guarded by an Elf Banshee in the ruined town of Congbury about one day’s travel to the north of Fandolin. A Banshee’s vanity but hatred of mirrors was discussed and at Kai’s suggestion the possibility of exchanging the spellbook for a suitably elegant comb was agreed as a possible solution. Kai and Krom went to the provisions store before closing time and were indeed able to buy such a comb.
Orgmore – not in the mood for shopping – instead entered the Townmaster’s Hall to inquire about the reward notice pinned outside. The man inside was able to confirm that there was indeed a reward for killing the kobolds in and around Wyvern Tor, a couple of hours out of town. Orgmore accepted the assignment, but somehow neglected to agree the monetary value of said rewards.
Brond, Rima and Lia were already installed in The Stonehill Inn and were quickly able to ascertain that the Redbrands have somewhat of a extortionate grip on the town, charging protection money and violently crushing any dissension, as exhibited by the killing of Themendra’s husband and the disappearance of Themendra herself and her child. It was speculated that they may well have also have disposed of Baron Mortimer’s tax collector. For the last few months small groups of Redbrands have been frequenting the other pub in town, The Sleeping Giant Taphouse.
…meanwhile in The Sleeping Giant Taphouse, Tuakiin who had entered the inn alone was talking to the mercenaries who he believed could be his future employers. The mercenaries explained that they worked for Glassstaff the Mage, and they were indeed hiring. Tuakiin explained that his objective was to become further skilled in the art of killing. The mercenaries explained a trial job: Jonah had not paid his protection money so Tuakiin was asked to pay Jonah a visit to practice his murdering skills as a message to the rest of the town. Tuakiin was not taken by this proposal and pointed out that this kind of behaviour was more becoming of thugs than mercenaries. This comment was not taken well and Tuakiin decided the best course of action was to belch out a roiling gout of flame at the gathered mercenaries before exiting stage window. Unfortunately he was not able to escape further as the mob of four set upon him outside the now burning inn.
Luckily this commotion did attract the attention of some of the party members who were returning to The Stonehill Inn, about 200 feet away from The Sleeping Giant Taphouse. Kai, Orgmore and Krom rushed over while Brond alerted Lia & Rima inside the pub. Rima provided long range fire while the others rushed in. Kai’s super speed allowed him to arrive first, his fire blast killing one, and drawing attention away from Tuakiin who by now was down and bleeding having been outnumbered and overwhelmed by the professional murderers. Kai’s unprecedented channeling of Ki allowed him to jump over the attackers and administering a healing draught to Tuakiin just as he was about to fade from land of the living, only the inspiration of his comrades preventing the thread from breaking. Brond, who had also closed to melee range, had no such Ki ability, nor desire to avoid the mercenaries, and attacked with usual panache. What was not usual was the quality of this enemies, each one a trained killer wielding a sword in each hand. Brond was felled by two huge hits, but not before two more mercenaries were killed. The final mercenary turned to run but was given a taste of Orc justice by Krom who was finally close enough to skewer the enemy with his spear, the now ex-mercenary sliding gorily to the floor. Brond was stabilized while Tuakiin, rejuvenated by the potion was able to enter the burning inn to save the landlord’s children trapped within, his dragonborn hide shrugging off the flames.
With no appetite to hang around in the aftermath and risk more Redbrands turning up, the party retreated, looking to hole-up somewhere defensible for at least a short rest, some healing music and possibly overnight.
[75xp each and a short rest, location to be decided next session]