Our adventure began this evening with our heros-to-be finding themselves in the town of New Orchard in the late spring. It is this time of year when the country of Turmeer celebrates the coming of the new year and the graduation of the apprentices.
In New Orchard, they celebrate this joyous time with a week long celebration that includes games, drinking, dancing, drinking, feasting, music, and more drinking. The highlight of the second day of the festival was the games. The main events were an archery competition, a log toss, and a chess tournament. This is where we meet our heroes-to-be. Each one of them entered into one of the competitions and lost with good graces. They drowned their loses in mead until they all felt like winners again and remembered the glory that was to come in two days time when they earned the right to be masters of their own craft.
On the third day of the celebration, the new year’s eve, our adventurer’s friends dragged them off into the woods a few miles north of town into a clearing that had been set up with a large bonfire to celebrate the ascension into adulthood. The night wore on with casks of mead being drained and an air of new life, joyful youth, friendships being forged, and old animosity dying. From the clearing, all of the town’s hopeful youth could see the New Orchard’s wall and larger buildings silhouetted by the glow of the massive celebration fires lit in the town miles away. The night wore on and in the chill that can only be found during the early morning of the day before the sun rises. The stumbling parade of youth made its way back to New Orchard.
It was then that they saw the brutal reality of what a new year can bring. As the would be masters of their craft approached their town, a large murder of crows was flying around the town and the north guard tower was half burnt to the ground. As they entered New Orchard, they were greeted with the lifeless bodies of friends and loved ones littering the streets. Among the bodies of the townsfolk, they came across some dwarves and humans dressed all in black among the dead. They were lucky enough to find one black clad human still holding on to his life while lying in a pool of his own blood. With the promise of healing, in trade for information, our paladin was able coax out the word “south” from the man but the man died before any healing could be done.
The youth-turned-elders set to setting temporary defenses and searching the rubble and bodies for any signs of life. Little was found save for carrion food. After hours of searching and fortifying; Reed, the halfling rogue; Tregulas, the human paladin; and Thürmar, the dwarven monk set out south to find those that sacked their beloved home.
The way south was easy going along a major trade road and lead them into the Red Flats. Thürmar new the area fairly well and quickly discovered that they were headed towards an iron mine ran by a clan of dwarves known as the Fraunlanders. On their third day of travel they were ambushed by five dark clad bandits. Thürmar took a spear to the leg but the three former apprentices were able to prevail quickly over the assailants. They sat for a short rest and headed on their way south.
It was the afternoon of the fourth day when the trio found themselves entering the mouth of the Red Flats mine. Once entering the mine, they were quickly attacked by more bandits near the entry to the mine. The noise of the quick fight brought more bandits to take on our party, but they were cut down easily. The mine was also the home of the Fraunlanders clan and the clan took great pride in their house. The walls and halls are immaculately carved decorated. Braziers line the walls so that anyone that enters can see the master work that went into the building of their home. The only issue was that there were no more dwarves to be found here. The party made its way through the former dwarves home clearing out the bandits as they went. Many battles were fought and things looked bleak many times but each time they were beaten down they were able to find a place to rest up and lick their wounds before moving on.
After clearing out most of the mine, the party made its way into the great dining/meeting hall. A quick battle ensued that left all of our heroes on the brink of death. As they sat on the raised dais in the front of the room to rest, Thürmar noticed a secret entrance underneath the throne. Excited at the prospects of glittering gold, Reed jumped down the hole under the throne without a moment’s thought only to find that he landed fifteen feet below staring at the backs of six rough men. Tregulas quickly lowered a rope and hauled Reed up just as the bandits were turning to see what was going on behind them. In a panic of trying to figure out what to do, Reed decided to pour a flask of lamp oil down the hole and drop a lantern to set it on fire. This worked for a while to keep the men below at bay but his oil was a limited resource and he eventually ran out. Feeling that they were at an impasse and severely wounded, they attempted to take a rest while Tregulas stood guard at the top of the trap door. One of the bandits below tried to make his way out of the manhole but was quickly stabbed and sent sprawling to the room below by Tregulas.
For the next ten hours there was a stand still. Our party did not want to go down and the bandits would not go up. After fully resting, Tregulas lowered Reed down into the hole on a rope where he was quickly greeting with three mortal crossbow bolts. If it were not for Tregulas’s ability to lay on hands, Reed surely would have died.
Seeing the predicament that they were in, Tregulas tried to parley with the bandits offering them their lives in exchange for information. Seeing the futility of the situation, the bandits agreed. The bandits and the party were all men of their words and the bandits managed to escape unharmed but left behind a letter that read,
“Drummond,Well done clearing out the mine of those awful dwarves. You have your instructions for New Orchard, I await to hear the news of that event and whether or not you were successful in finding that which you were sent to find. After you have completed your task, report back to me at once. Return through the mine to Lebedyn. I await you at the Wise Gagel.
The rest of the bandits were able to escape from the mine and our party was left standing in the kitchen wondering what their next move would be.