Cade – a former Spear-sergeant turned mercenary
25 Fiann, 3032 PA
As the sky turned from dark grey to a lighter shade, tinged with a cold yellow glow, the inn’s yard was full of jostling men and animals. Wagons were laden and covered, while tall draught horses were carefully guided to the traces and hitched. Damian, still obsessed with clearing his name, stalks the yard, scrying for the object he was accused of stealing. When last he tried, the palamyr had vanished from the caravan but now it was back! He could sense it, nestled somewhere within the environs of the inn, like an itch he couldn’t reach. He scratched and scratched, into the inn and up the stairs until he stood before Engrit as the merchant finished paying his guards. It was there! Just inside the room, so very close and yet as unreachable as the bottom of the ocean. The artificer confronted the merchant about the nature of the item, but was rebuffed. He decided that travelling with the caravan no longer appealed to his sense of personal honour but could not allow the object of his obsession to get away again. After an unfruitful meeting with the town sheriff, Damian resolved to follow the wagons until the proper authorities could be notified.
The trail to Ban Olfden consisted of little more than a pair of wagon-wheel ruts, lazily etched into the ground by a childlike hand. The River Foam gurgled and rumbled alongside, a constant companion on the journey west. Despite the rough terrain and miserable weather, Engrit’s caravan made good time, arriving at the Gold Falls Inn on the evening of the second day. The inn, built in the well-preserved ruin of a dwarven watchtower, jutted out from a cliff overlooking the only bridge across the Foam for a hundred leagues.
As the caravan was pulled into the cavernous storeroom that had been re-purposed into a wagon yard and stable, the heroes made their way to the common room. Seated in the corner, a white-haired elven woman looked up at their arrival. Merrow’s eyes grew wide, a whispered curse falling from her lips as she shrank into her seat. Uncommonly, the party paid her no mind, except for Raina. The moss-born took a seat across the table and tried to strike up a conversation. Merrow, after her initial shock, proved to be intently curious. After several hours had passed, once everyone had retired for the evening, the elven thief made a quick exit from the inn, departing in a clatter of hooves.
Ambush on the Road
After making the crossing of the River Foam and descending the drop over which the river tumbled, the caravan continued on towards Ban Olfden. A night spent in the desolate rolling hills turned bloody when Damian’s solitary camp was attacked by a pack of wolves. His companions rushed from the safety of the caravan to help, scaring off the canine predators, but not before Damian’s leg was badly savaged. He was bandaged and brought back to the main camp for safety.
The following day, as the caravan meandered across the landscape, the River Foam descended into a gorge, parting ways with the trail. Passing through fields of crumbled stone, and weathered grassy mounds, the rough trail itself became the only sign that this place was not completely wild. Thunderclouds darkened the sky to the south and the wind played a mournful tune as it whistled through stony outcroppings.
The trail curved around a small hill, the south side of which had been cut away to reveal a long, curved wall of dwarven masonry, all that remained of some long forgotten outpost. The ground dropped away sharply on the other side of the trail, the slope covered in dense undergrowth before it fell into the gorge. Raina, scouting ahead, came across a wagon astride the road. Pieces of a broken wheel lay at the feet of a pair of guards. The men were struggling to lift the covered wagon off of a third man trapped underneath. Suspecting treachery of some kind, Raina ran back to the caravan. Once she had explained the situation, she returned to the scene of the accident, several of her companions in tow.
Upon reaching the wagon, Sonia quickly noticed that the trapped man was dead – and had been for several days. This discovery prompted the false guards to draw swords – an ambush! The party was quickly surrounded by armed men spilling out for the wagon. Archers hiding in the bushes along the top of the cut, stood with drawn bows. A rumble sounded from behind the approaching caravan, followed by the crash of a dead-fall sliding down to block the road.
No quarter was asked as arrows began to fly, and spears crashed on shields. The enemy’s numerical advantage was swiftly removed by a hail of magical bolts from Dymas. This extravagant display of power, however, made the artificer a target for the archers and they soon sent him scurrying for cover. Raina and Boris closed with the ambushers’ leader, a brawny fellow with Legion tattoos, while Sonia began sending arrows back uphill, accounting for two of the enemy in quick order. Kiera was forced to hurry back to the caravan to defend it from a second set of ambushers emerging from the scrub down slope, as two of her guards were cut down by arrows.
Kiera’s swordplay proved the undoing of a pair of her attackers, and Dymas used his magical speed to run back to the caravan in support. Outnumbered, wounded, and with the battle swinging against him, the enemy leader threw down his blade and sued for quarter. The remaining archers fled back over the rise and the party set about dealing with the wounded. Those that would not live were dispatched by a quick thrust from Raina’s dagger, and the survivors were taken prisoner. Their leader, a former Spear-sergeant named Cade, gave his parole that his men would behave themselves until ransomed in Ban Olfden.