Having sealed at least the main entrance to Wyvern Tor, and reasonably confident that the blue dragonborn Cyanwrath has met a suffocating end down the vents, the party agree to return to Fandolin for the reward.
Brond decides to stay out of town to avoid the attention of Master Burne, who he has taken money off under false pretences.
Krom and Jasmine collect the 100gp reward from the Townmaster’s Hall, and sign the party up for the next challenge, solving the problem of the Cragmore goblins to the north, with a reward of 500gp. The direction is to follow the Trabor trail to the north. (Incidentally the goblin attacks from the south have stopped recently.) The only problem seems to be that the party have not yet agreed on a name, so the townmaster writes down a literal and not entirely complimentary description of the party.
Meanwhile Master Burne has door-stepped the party, and has taken Tuakiin off to one side. Krom and Jasmine did not eavesdrop, but the name of Brond could definitely be heard.
Father Miguel seeks out the local clergy, Sister Griela. She points out that St Cuthbert uses his “indirect” method (the whole wood slapping thing) on only his most promising acolytes, simply manifesting and shouting at those of less favour. Father Miguel asks about possible reasons that St Cuthbert has directed his presence here, Sister Grayling tells him of the Banshee, an un-departed spirit of an Elf maiden, and mentioned that Kai had also asked about her. They also discuss Brond, and Father Miguel ponders that perhaps offering redemption for someone as forsaken as Brond may also be a possible reason for St Cuthbert’s influence.
Soon the whole party, including Kai, reconvene at the usual location, the pub. The party agree that their next sortie will be to the north to investigate the banshee and also the Cragmore goblins. The only exception being Brond, who is still outside of town. His only company is a couple of owlbears he manages to spot in the distance, and avoid. Back in the warmth of the pub the “rParty” (c.f. “rUK”) discuss the name of the band. Kai and Tuakiin propose “The Dragon Followers” in their respective native tongues, Krom suggests “the Dragon Killers” in his, and a consensus is not reached. Krom also asks the landlord about the whereabouts of the ex-landlord of the ex-pub in town; it turns out that Queline Alderleaf the Halfling may have taken in the landlord and his family. Krom explains to the group he has an idea that it may be a lucrative use of their funds collected to date to re-build the other pub and run it at a profit.
In the morning the band set out, Brond having bedded down in a ruined building on the outskirts of town. Jasmine is still recovering from her serious hair wound, and Kai tries to comfort her, explaining about his own bald pate. In fact, he realizes that he is well overdue a good shaving and asks the party for a sharp blade. “Shing!” Tuakiin and Brond (not really listening) draw their blades, and Kai explains that something a bit smaller would be of more use “Shuck.”, blades are sheathed. Krom lends a well sharpened dagger and Kai gives himself the good kind of close shave. Jasmine and Kai continue to talk about Kai’s chosen path, particularly his having given up the consumption of animals (“What, even veal?!” Brond pipes up) and the coveting of pleasures of the flesh (“What, even pork?!” Brond again interjects).
The party camp for lunch without eventuality, but as soon as they are getting underway again they spot a 10’ tall ogre carrying a greatclub and javelin coming towards them on the path. Krom, having not seen an ogre before, and seeing it and something not significantly more monstrous than himself, continues on the path non-plussed. Brond and Jasmine however do have prior with such a beast, and load their crossbows. In short order the ogre does indeed announce his intention to eat the party, and battle is joined. Brond takes the full force of the huge misshapen javelin, but shrugs off the mighty blow, while Kai manages to set the ogre’s loincloth a blaze with his elemental power. Tuakiin magically commands him to “Grovel!” and indeed he does sufficiently for Krom to spear him and Brond to apply the execution stroke with double swords, at least half severing the head, a worthy blow considering the hideous bulk of the ogre’s neck. He has nothing of value, but at least the elemental flames obviated the need to search his loincloth…the body being too large to move is left for carrion. The party go on down the road a little before taking a short rest in order to avoid the smell.
30 minutes down the trail it splits, a sign to Conyberry indicating the direction to the banshee, and tracks splitting off in another direction. The tracks include goblin tracks, bugbears, and owlbears that appear to be chained or otherwise secured and impeded. The party press on to the location of the banshee.
Approaching dusk Kai, scouting ahead, sees a screen of woven branches and detects a magical aura. Just onwards a carefully constructed, but nevertheless rough hut or hovel. Having the party wait in reserve Kai knocks politely and asks “Agatha, we are friends from Fandolin, may we talk to you?”
“Foolish mortal, it is death to seek us out” the banshee replies, still incorporeal.
Kai flatters her home, and herself, asks for Bowgentle’s spellbook, the book of which he seeks, and offers the hair-setting comb he has brought as a gift. The banshee accepts it and offers to answer one question truthfully.
Taking his leave briefly to confer with the team, Kai asks “How can we release you from this mortal realm?” but the banshee replies that she would not, and will not be released.
The team confer again and, unusually driven to find the spellbook, Kai leads a less-than-gentle examination of the huts contents. Figurines on the shelf are messed up by Krom, Jasmine and Kai dig through the contents of a chest finding only old but fine silks and brocades, Brond and Father Miguel rummage through the bedclothes, but nothing of value – and not the spellbook – can be found. The banshee responds to this violation with a wail of death, the power of which can be felt by the party, but which they manage to resist for now.
With a shout of “begone” Father Miguel successfully uses his holy power to turn the banshee, forcing her to flee. With little time before she returns the party frantically searches the hut, with no longer even a pretence of care. Jasmine pockets some of the most beautiful cloth as it reminds her of her mother. Nevertheless the book is not found.
The party retreat a few yards away and speculate that she may have it hidden as an incorporeal form. Some of the party also seem to have an attack of guilt at violating the banshee’s home – even as she had made no aggressive move towards us. Returning to the hut the party try to fix things up how they were originally and Father Miguel implores “your beauty would be ten fold in heaven”.
Kai continues to look for the book, and as Father Miguel fears the banshee is immensely returns, Tuakiin indicates that Kai should leave, but he will not. Tuakiin eventually gets Kai to leave before the banshee returns.
The party quickly move an hour away, expecting the deadly shrill of her terrible scream every step of the way. Now well into night the party setup camp and Kai calls up a mist to cloud the area, perhaps providing some cover, but doing nothing to improve the fearful mood.
Indeed, the inevitable attack does come, the banshee stealing Kai and Jasmine’s lifeforce (knocking them unconscious). However, as Tuakiin was the only one not to violate her home she offers him the same courtesy as Kai: one question with a truthful answer.
Tuakiin thinks back to his time on the trail of his mother’s killer in Escopar. He perhaps had the opportunity then to confront her killer in an alehouse, but in waiting he allowed himself to drink too much and – blind drunk – missed the killer.
He asks “Why are you afraid of passing on?” and receives the answer “there is no physical form in the afterlife, and that’s all I have left. Also I would not know whether I was to be sent to the heavens or the hells until my sins are read from the ledger”. The banshee retreats for now, and Tuakiin stabilizes Kai and Jasmine.
Stay up for the watch, Brond, Tuakiin and Father Miguel talk. Brond and Tuakiin clash over their motivations. Tuakiin admonishes Brond for being a callous mercenary, but Brond can’t understand why Tuakiin feels he can take the moral upper ground. At Sodden Field, Brond explains, he should’ve died, following the orders of a rich man who kept himself out of harms way. From that day on he decided to work for himself, for gold, until he too is rich and able to pay others to live and die for him. Father Miguel chips in suggesting that Brond breaks the cycle of strong abusing the weak by using his might to protect the weak.
Brond mocks Tuakiin for killing people just because he’s told to, or because it’s what everyone else is doing. Brond feels that at least he himself isn’t a hypocrite. Tuakiin explains that his motivation is also to hone his prowess in battle to be able to find his mother’s killer to avenge her. Brond finds the idea of using people as sword fodder even more hypocritical. It seems nothing will be resolve this night.
XP: Ogre 450/6 = 75xp each. Tuakiin 400xp for being the only PC not to wreck the Banshee’s place. 200xp each for Tuakiin, Father Miguel and Brond for outstanding intra-party roleplay.