Following the rescue of the young woman, the party faced with diverging paths, devised a plan. The main host of slavers was heading to the west while the town of Verge lay to the south. Alastair, being the most adept rider, took the boatman’s daughter and struck for Verge as fast as his horse could carry him. The rest of the party; Heltic, Warga’ath, Bendriks, Lonovan and Si’lex, kept track of the slavers with Liam’s ranger abilities.
Alastair crested the hill outside of Verge to find the town burning. Galloping through the broken gates, he pulled up shy of the town proper to find it’s leader directing the recovery efforts. Much to his chagrin he discovered the slavers had already attacked Verge. Alastair disclosed to Lady Halia Antonica, the town matron, that he felt the Iron Ring was to blame and they were being led by Bargle the Court Wizard of the Black Eagle Barony. The Matron mentioned something cryptic in passing, scribbled a note on a scrap of parchment, sealed it with wax and bade him carry it to Clan Vorloi in Specularum. Alastair implored her to send word of the attacks in the north to Specularum, to which she sent her fastest rider. After ensuring the boatman’s daughter was safe, Alastair lit out from Verge to rejoin his companions.
Meanwhile, the caravan of despicable slavers turned southward towards Specularum, their path keeping them well clear of the travelled road while paralleling the river. Rejoining the party Alastair, bringing word of the attack on Verge, helped devise a plan to warn the other towns along the way. Knowing the host of slaves would move much slower than they, the party rode hard towards Rifflian, a farming village south of Verge and just outside of the Kelvin Barony.
The adventurers rode into town, a scarce few hours ahead of the slavers and not more than two hours until dusk, gathering the town’s folk quickly to the square to inform them of the impending attack. This immediately drew the attention of the Town Leader. The once warrior, now aged and slightly soft fellow, eager to protect his people rallied to the defense. He reluctantly agreed, not without some convincing, to lead the townsfolk towards Kelvin and seek refuge across the River Shutturgal. Following the departure of the townsfolk, the party decided to make a decisive strike against the slaver’s scouts in order to send a message.
With nightfall, the party took up positions to lure the enemy towards the longhouse in the center of town. After a botched sneak attack on the first scout, a wave of ten goblin infantry rushed into town under a covering volley of arrows. Quickly, the team positioned near the entry of the longhouse dispatched their goblin fodder. Around back of the longhouse another drama unfolded as Lonovan faced down five goblins seemingly by himself. With archery support from Liam and flanking positions from the rest of the team, the enemies were dispatched.
In a macabre message, the party assembled the dead goblins inside the longhouse around the central table as if they had been drinking and being merry. A hastily scrawled note posted on the table…“YOU should have listened.” signed ‘The Good Guys’. A message for the ring leader.
Immediately the team galloped for the Ruins of Krakatos, making an all night ride and over 50 miles of distance. Surely their diversionary actions would slow the slavers at least a day possibly two. The ruins held a vicious enemy that was dispatched by Liam during scouting, leaving him broken and battered. Exhausted and road weary from nearly twenty-four hours of travel, the party rested at Krakatos before setting off towards Specularum a mere 10 miles distant.
Reaching Specularum, the party were greeted by massive walls and a sprawling city. On approach, the party of eight were hailed by the guard. Following a series of questions and finally Alastair’s presentation of the missive from Lady Halia, entry was gained and special passage granted. Having been told to seek out a man in the Merchant’s District named Fortenado located at the Faeriefire Inn, they set forth intimidated, yet enamored by the massive capital city. Reaching the Faeriefire Inn, Alastair and Lonovan went inside to seeking Fortenado.
Fortenado disclosed that he believed Clan Radu was in league with von Hendriks and the Baron was working to build an army with which he would try to take Specularum. Alastair and Lonovan negotiated a contact name from Fortenado, Alya, a Chiromancer in the Grand Market. Wasting little time, the party set off for the Chiromancer.
Once inside the Grand Market a young boy grabbed Alastair’s hand and very insistently, told him he needed his palm read. Obliging, Alastair and the party were lead into a tent where they were met by a beautiful gypsy woman dressed rather scantly. Alastair, Liam, Heltic and Si’lex were momentarily taken aback by her beauty. Her voice like honey, she spoke of information at a price, and requested the special coin with which the party had entered the city. Alastair, his honor in question, refused to pay the price instead offering his services as favor. She chuckled taking his hand and accomplishing an impromptu reading. Proclaiming his quest(s) honorable and his word good, she accepted his proposition. Informing them that unmarked ships transition to and from Sulescu moving goods in and out, Sulescu rarely sees ships these days. The party decided on gaining passage on a privateer’s ship in order to attack the slaving vessels and rescue the enslaved.
Alya promised to send word to her ‘people’ and would find a ship Captain as soon as possible. At that, the party departed for food and shelter in the Foreign District to wait out a night of little forward progress while the hopes of catching the slavers began to dwindle.