Rose Quarry - The Piece of the Puzzle!
Things seem a bit hazy now, as if in a drunken dream, as Norrin recalls his last few days …
The party where enjoying their drinks in the Flying Pegasus, exaggerating their recent exploits even more so than the previous day, when a runner came looking for them to make their way to the storehouse on Elm Street. “Perhaps my sword is ready?”, thought Norrin. “Let’s finish up here quickly and see what the store man has for us!”
As they made their way down the winding streets, the heavy clatter of running feet could be heard, and turning the corner, the party could see the store sign ahead, with its heavy oak door broken and splintered in pieces! Rushing forward, they entered the building, finding the store-gnome busted up and bruised from his encounter with some brutish kobolds!
Helping him to his feet and sorting through the mess, he thanked the party for their help, handing over an inscribed message from the Lady Elandren.
“Once again, my good friends, I seek the help of a few good men, and one rather smelly goblin!” Lady Elandren gracefully requested their presence at the Broken Anvil. “Please make your way there as quickly as possible; I have urgent need of your bravery again!”
Before leaving the store, the gnome did indeed have Zenn-La, Norrin’s magical blade … made of the lightest and toughest metal, its edge was exceptional sharp and true; “A just blade for a just cause!”
After reporting the bust-up at the store to the local law officers, they set off to the said tavern, finding it empty at this early time of the day, where Lady Elandren was sitting in the far corner, strangely dressed in rather raggedy clothes … perhaps in disguise?
As they approached, Norrin could see she was nervous and anxious about something, looking rather tired and worn out compared to their last meeting. “Good friends, come in, have a drink whilst I speak of my plight!” Pulling up chairs and supping on some beers, Lady E began to tell them of a second piece of schema she was searching for, but other wicked lords had gotten wind of her quest for the pieces, seeking her out. As she talked more of her worries, she handed them a bag, a magical bag of holding with various expedition, scrolls and moneys to help them to their next adventure.
As they examined what she had given them, there was a sudden crash as the door to the tavern was smashed off it’s hinges and a handful of kobolds invaded the Broken Anvil, lead by a warforged warrior … another of the Lord of Blades henchmen! “Elandren! Give me the schema or you shall be split wide, fleshling!!!” Before the party could react, Lady E darted off to a side room whilst the kobolds attacked them. In a haze of flying bolts, magical beasts and blades clashing across overturned tables, the adventurers proved their worth again. All but one kobold escaped the brutal encounter, after which Lady Elandren appeared from the side room as Norrin called her name. “Thank you, good sers! Now quickly, take these scrolls of transport to the House Orion and leave the city as quickly as possible. I will seek you out when you return with the new schema piece … go, go now … quickly ... none of us is safe in Sharn!”
Before they could respond, Lady Elandren made an exit through the side door and was gone before then knew what to say! Reading the new scrolls out, Norrin realised that they would give passage to Rukan Drall, by land or air! The thought of taking an airship excited Norrin, but they had to cover their tracks.
Rather than waiting about, they quickly gathered their belongings from the own dwellings, making for the House Orion caravan trail which was soon to leave the great city of Sharn. Handing over the scroll to the trail master, he was happy to take on extra hands, especially ones so heavily armoured! “We have space at the back of the trail, seek room there now as we set to leave within the hour!”
And so it was that the party made off to the wilderness, reading the letters of note that Lady E had left them, telling them to seek out a Failen in the Bloody Market of Rukan Drall, who would be able to guide them further in their quest for the new piece of the schema puzzle.
Traveling by caravan was not without it’s hazards, and as Squee and the ranger had disappeared many hours ago scouting around the woods, they could be seen rushing towards the last caravan that the rest of the party where in, along with a new member, another paladin on a holy pilgrimage! Introductions where made, but as Squee came darting along, bolts wizzed by his head as the whole caravan was attacked by goblins, even meaner looking than Squee!
“ALARM, ALARM … protect the great cart … AMBUSH!” The soldiers and guards all had their hands full, so the party had to fend off their own troubles! Jumping out of the wagon, they split up, attacked deep into the woods; only to be ambushed by bugbears as well … huge hulking monstrosities that urged the goblins on to ransack the wagons!
The battles where fierce, and the other paladin fell under an attack by two goblins, with everyone else suffering heavy wounds from the onslaught. Luckily, they managed to scare of the weak-kneed goblins, and with no support, their masters made good their escape as well. Norrin quickly healed many in the party, as well as soldiers of the Orion House who were badly injured in the attack. The trail master quickly gathered all to him and gave instructions for the caravans to get on their way, quickly as possible. Many rushed about, helping injured to comfortable beds, and urging their magical steeds on … this was no place to hang about!
After another day of restless travel, the party arrived close to Rukan Drall, making the last few miles on foot to the town. As they entered, all manner of beast and man dwelled here; bugbears, goblins, half-orcs and men could be seen everywhere … truly a town on the frontier of the Mournlands! As the party jostled for their place, the managed to tie down a rouge for directions to the Bloody Market … “Follow the smell, there the market be!”
It was true, the rank smell of all types of dead beasts gave the market its name, and vile stench. Asking after the man called Failen, they were directed to the an old inn, and on entering the rank place, many could be seen about the place. Approaching the barman, asking for drinks, they questioned him for the said man, who looked across at a hooded figure in the corner, counting cards on his own. “Two more beers good sir, let us see if some bartering can help!?” The barman grunted and poured the drinks. Approaching the hooded figure, Norrin introduced himself, offering the beer. “Why seek me out stranger!?”, he snapped back, placing his hand on the hilt of a blade! Norrin stepped back, “Easy, good ser, we come seeking guidance on the words of a Lady Elandren!” On hearing the name, Failen took his hand off the blade; “Speak, Paladin of the Silver Flame, what service does the lady want of me now?” Norrin sat and pushed over the drink, but Failen refused, saying pigswill was easier to digest! Handing over the letters from Lady Elandren, Norrin explained they needed help getting to Rose Quarry.
“Rose Quarry is a way to go, expensive and dangerous … I hope you have monies on you?” Norrin nodded. “Good … the costs are for transport, bring your own supplies!” After a few minutes of bartering, Failen gave little way to the price and Norrin conceded. Luckily, Lady E had given them monies to cover this, but all was taken! “Meet me outside the north exit of the town tomorrow mornin’ and we’ll make haste to your destination.” As Failen stood up to leave, a brash voice shouted out, “Failen, you thief, I want my 400gps back you swindler!”
Three bugbears blocked the doorway to the pub and where looking for blood! As Failen looked for options to escape, the party stepped in and distracted the bugbears, which in their stupidity didn’t see Failen sneak by them and after being told so went running into the streets looking for the villain!
Norrin looked at Castus, “I wonder if we will see him tomorrow!?”
Standing in the morning darkness, the adventurers paced up and down, constantly looking for their guide. “Maybe the bugbears got him?”, Krag muttered under his beard. A few minutes later, Failen appeared, and beckoning the players to follow, he soon showed of his transport, an cart driven by an elemental, which helps disguise it as well!
Climbing on board, the cart took-off quickly with no effort and made good time to Rose Quarry. The journey was uneventful, with only the mystical mist of the Mournlands looming every closer and a few days later, the town was soon in sight, although Failen stopped outside the town. “I’ll wait a few days for you to return, after which I’ll expect my final payment for the journey home. Be safe adventurers, I want my money!”
Leaving the party to their own devices, they scan the town from above, noticing a small campsite, very little activity within the deserted town and a strange shimmering from the whole place, as I covered in ice? Both Castus & Squee took off to scout the place out and where gone for some time, when fighting could be heard, so the rest of the party made haste to the ruckus.
Undead and soldiers had attacked the scouting party, so they were happy to see their fellow party members, who quickly killed off the aggressors, except one soldier. Using their skills at bluffing and intimidation, they managed to get information from him, before he was release to return home, being only a lowly merc.
Being told of the numbers to expect, the party laid an assault on the encampment, looking to remove the main threat to their search for the new schema artefact. However, making their way through the town, they where soon discovered when Squee stuck his hand in a ward protected shield without thinking before any magic’s could be used to dispel the magical wall, and surprising the enemy failed miserably! Squee suffered for his goblin ignorance of magic and before the party could regroup, bolts and warriors sprung-out from behind the ward shield, catching them by surprise!
More warriors appear, along with undead and the party had a fight on their hands that they weren’t ready for … flanks where exposed and a split in the party meant they had many numbers to deal with … blades clashed, magic spells were cast from behind the wall … things where looking grim for the party as they took hit after hit!
This wasn’t looking good for the party at all …