The Aftermath of Chaos

Chapter 2.4 - Full Frontal Audacity
There can never be too many Kobolds.

The Mercenaries of Mudbane have encountered two Kobold patrols since their approach to Celwvynne Manor (Kobold Hall) but have little intelligence as to the strength or numbers of Kobolds in the ruined manse. A lively discussion among the party ensues as they brainstorm ways to assault the manor. Several options present themselves, such as a stealthy entry via the roof and collapsed second story, or a probing entry through one of the collapsed walls at the rear of the structure. There are also a few entry ways through the front of the structure, including the front doors or an area of collapsed wall on the front right corner tower.

Quinn looks skeptical as Belkin and Al (who, by the way, venerate deities of Mischief and Luck respectively) champion the idea of a hit-and-fade assault of the front tower. The downside is the party will have to charge across dozens of yards of open ground to breach the tower entry. At best, the plan is risky… At worst, it could lead to big trouble for Mudbane.

To be continued…

Chapter 2.2 - Kobold Hall
Anyone speak Draconic?

Retracing the patrol’s route, the Mudveins discover the ruin in a small clearing in the Cloak Wood. The manor house is approximately 60’ wide along the East-West axis by 100’ long from North to South, a size fit for a noble of some means were it not fallen into disrepair. Much of the first floor is still intact, whereas a large portion of the second story is collapsed and burnt out. A few rooms toward the rear of the manor on the second floor appear still intact. Scouting the manor from a distance reveals the double door main entrance on the north side of the house is partly collapsed with one large reinforced door hanging askew in its casement. The northwest corner of the manor has two collapsed wall openings and the East and West walls each have rubble strewn wall breaches. In addition, a small hole has opened in the rear (South) wall allowing for a tight squeeze. The group decides to send Belkin to investigate the southern opening in the early morning hours.

Using cloaks and weapons from the defeated patrol, Belkin disguises himself as a Kobold returning from a constitutional in the woods. Not knowing Draconic, Quinn and Akmenos teach him some simple phrases such as, “Hail Tiamat!” and “Out of my way! I have to $#!T.”

He sneaks to the rear wall of the manor undetected. The opening in the wall would be a squeeze for most full sized humanoids, but, as a halfling, Belkin can manage a the opening with little trouble. Quietly scrambling up the chunks of fallen rock and debris, Belkin peers into the darkness of the manse.

The room, currently empty, appears to be the sleeping chamber for a few of the creatures. A larger opening to the rest of the manor house is across from the wall breach about 20 to 30 feet away. The room connects to the hallway into which the breach in the West wall opens.

Left to his own devices, Belkin decides to enter the manor to investigate further without first checking with the party. Scrambling through the tight opening, Belkin quietly moves through the bedchamber, emerging into a larger foyer connecting the north hallway with the stairway to the second floor.

As he looks toward the stairs, Belkin hears a guttural bark of challenge. Two Kobolds perch near the top of the stairway on a balcony overlooking the stairwell. Belkin grunts back in broken Draconic, “Out of my way! I have to $#!T.” The Kobolds repeat the challenge louder, more strident bark… Hesitating only long enough to realize the jig is up, Belkin dashes toward the breach in the adjoining hallway and out the West wall. His escape is accompanied by the near misses of javelins and sling bullets. The Kobolds begin pursuit when a command issued from the darkness holds them back. The party believes it to be unusual for the Kobolds to cease their pursuit when so close on the tail of their quarry, but someone or something has kept the small posse from running out into unknown circumstances.

Observing the manor from a distance, the party realizes the Kobolds are organizing a search patrol — a much more organized and militaristic behavior than would be expected from such impulsive and simple minded creatures.

Chapter 2.1 - On the Road Again
Just can't wait...

Following the lead divulged by the blacksmith, the Mudvein Mercenaries head on a two day trek along the King’s Road to the Cloak Wood and Kobold Hall. Formerly known as Celwvynne Manor (Kel-hUAne), the country estate of a Fallcrest noble prior to the invasion of the Horned King. Now abandoned, decrepit and over-run with nefarious monnsters, the manor has been branded “Kobold Hall” for the creatures that raid in the area. On the second day of travel, the party, looking for trouble, soon find it in the form of a Kobold patrol.

The challenge proves more difficult than anticipated. Kobold slingers lob clay pot bombs from afar while Dragonshields dance into and out of melee with their quick, scampering combat style that which keeps them just out of weapons reach. After a difficult skirmish, the party defeats the patrol. However, no prisoners are taken, so the opportunity for intelligence on their destination is lost. Despite the group’s injuries and uncertainties on what they face, the party presses on, following the patrol’s tracks back to the manor.

Epilogue - Fallcrest

Party returns to Fallcrest.

Chapter 1.5 - Tower of Green Flame
I swear, officer. They tried to kill us first!

After Marl, the party investigates the tower at Harken Vilage (to be continued).

Chapter 1.4 - A March to the Mission in Marl
Furious Frogs and the Making of Mudvein...

After a well deserved rest at Aunt Nonnie’s, the party rises early to travel several miles (on foot, mind you) to Marl in order to meet with Village Elder Thoman. Upon arrival just shy of the mid-day meal, the party finds Thoman in conference with the local druidess.

To be continued…

Chapter 1.3 - Arrival in Harkenwold
It's not all just about fightin' goblins, ya know.

“Well, some gig this turned out to be…”

Belkin could barely contain his dismay when he heard that payment would be delayed until he (and his compatriots) returned to Fallcrest. After routing the brigands, the companions were looking forward to a well-earned reward, but it would have to wait. Rennis shrugged barely apologetically. After all, it wasn’t his business that was being raided; he was merely a shipper and receiver of goods. Let others take their chances on the roads.

Somewhat sympathetically “I will have a bird sent. Surely Arlandra will have other business for you here in Harkenwold… You need only wait a few days for a return message. Until then, you could stay at Aunt Nonnie’s Inn, or the Mallard up the road in Albridge.”

Al piped in, “Ah, yes, but first we have some business at the temple.”

“And then the ladies?” Akmenos inquired.

“Umm, yeah, sure,” Al replied.

“Welcome, travelers,” Sister Sondal greeted the party as they entered the nave of the chapel. “We have prayer alcoves dedicated to Pelor, Erathis, Sehanine and Moradin. Leave the weary of the road behind and comfort yourselves here.”

“Do you not have any followers of Avandra?” Al asked.

“I am sorry that we do not. We are but simple farm folk who desire the stability and solace of a day’s toil and peace of the countryside steadings. It is little mystery the people of Harken would seek solace with Pelor and Erathis.”

Al handed the 132 Pfennig they had saved for this occasion. “Perhaps we could make a small donation to expand the parish…?”

Sister Sondal glanced at the donation and diplomatically added, “It is not often we get followers of Avandra as travelers and adventurers are generally a rare site, until recently, that is. However, we have a small alcove which we could set aside for gifts and tithes.”

“That would be much appreciated. May the Lady’s luck favor the church.”

“What do you mean by ‘until recently’?” Akmenos interjects.

“Well, mercenaries and sell-swords like yourselves are usually rare in Harkenwold, but lately there has been much more traffic on the roads, especially for early spring before the caravans are out in numbers.”

“Do you know what has brought them around, or where they’re headed?” Quinn asks, anxious to hear more.

“I do not… Most are passing through and few, if any, have come in here. Aunt Nonnie might be one who’d know more.”

“Thank you for your graciousness, Sister,” Quinn replies. Seeing the leering look in Akmenos’ eyes, she quickly adds “… but, we must be going.”

Sister Sondal slowly makes her rounds after the the warriors leave. “Thirteen silver will barely cover the cost of the offering bowl,” she mutters. “Still, judging by the look and the smell, it may be most of their wealth. Perhaps Avandra will smile upon even the humblest generosity.”

Aunt Nonnie’s Place is no luxury accommodation, but it serves its guests with the warmth of a country greeting and a hearty home cooked meal. Nonnie Farwhere is the inn’s halfling proprietress.

“The Brothers Gray, you say? Yeah, I’ve heard of ‘em. A real shame members of the Ffolk gone so bad they’d prey on their own kind. I’ve heard say the two brothers, ‘Graybairn’, hold sway over a whole band of ruffians of all sorts. Don’t know much else about them.”

When asked about the mercenaries, “Mostly they keep to themselves, but they do seem a rougher sort of late,” Nonnie reports. “We welcome all kinds here,” nodding toward Akmenos, “as long as they keep their nose [or horns] clean and don’t wreck the joint. Recently though, some have made me nervy. Nothing they’ve done or said so much; they just look like… hard men.”

At the Silver Nail, the party scopes out the local scene to find out more about the influx of mercenaries. The half-elves Al and Quinn enter first, followed shortly (ha!) by the halfling Belkin and tiefling Akmenos. The group stays in their separate duos incognito to try to gather information from the locals. The Nail is mostly populated with locals – farmhands, woodsmen and the baron’s soldiers, but there is one mercenary group sitting in the corner of the tavern.

Al finds a game of cards going amongst the workers, and introduces himself with a round of drinks (or two) to enter the game in order to put an ear toward local gossip. Belkin introduces himself to the owner, an Eladrin named Halebrin Luterel, who is also a fellow balladeer performing on stage for the entertainment of his clientele. Belkin volunteers a performance of his own in order to curry favor with the owner and the locals. Halebrin, who reveres Corellon — deity of the arts, is impressed by Belkin as they talk music, poetry and the arts.

As the evening progresses, Al and Quinn attempt to converse with the mercenaries, inviting them to games of chance, only to be rebuffed. Akmenos and Belkin try to get in on the act and serve only to further annoy the gruff group of sell-swords. The party is advised to mind their own business. Little more about recent the mercenary group activity is learned, except that most would appear to be passing through, perhaps on their way to the Chaos Scar.

When the group inquires about work for hire, Halebrin introduces the group to the Harken town elder, an old dwarf named Kellar. He informs the party of trouble with livestock raids in a neighboring village. They are told to seek out Thoman, the village elder in Marl. The party also inquires about the “Green Flame Tower”, an abandoned tower that emanates an eerie luminescence on dark nights. They are told that nothing remains inside, as it has been long abandoned and looted thoroughly. Despite the emptiness of the structure, the superstitious locals avoid the tower. Still, the party’s interest is piqued and it is decided that they will explore after a trek to Marl to investigate local trouble.

Chapter 1.2 - A Plot Revealed
Who is BG again?

Goblin note

After searching the goblin bodies, the party discovers a note on the goblin leader. After some difficulty translating the goblin scrawl, the note translates roughly as “Look for this one” with the brand for the King’s Way Trading Coster. It appears to be signed with a sigil that looks like BG. The party suspects Arlandra’s company is being targeted.

The party recovers the other wagon and returns to where Torrin guards the broken down wagon. While determining a way to repair the wagon wheel, Quinn is overcome with guilt over not having buried the other slain guardsmen. After gathering the requisite supplies for a mending ritual, the group returns to the goblin lair with the newly repaired wagons to take care of the dead.

While burying the unfortunate caravan guards, the group is surprised at the return of the goblin shaman accompanied by allies. A halfling, bugbear and several humans round out the odd assortment of hoodlums. The halfling demands the party to just “walk away” and leave the trade goods behind. Belkin replies with bravado hoping to intimidate the thugs into leaving, but they are focussed on climing the loot. Combat ensues.

The party defeats the gang without too much difficulty, but the halfling hangs back and makes his escape when things turn sour, but not before proclaiming, “You have made an enemy of the Brothers Grey!”

Harken housesThe party heads back toward Harkenwold with the remaining trade goods. Aside from a nasty surpise by a giant spider in the forest, the journey is relatively uneventful.

Arriving at Harken Village, the party meets Rennis, owner of the Harkenwold Trading Station and completes the transaction of Arlandra’s goods. Questioning Rennis, they discover that the Brother’s Grey are raiding much further west than their usual territory. They also learn that Arlandra has a return shipment for Fallcrest, but wish to negotiate terms before agreeing to move the goods back west.

Sending a messenger bird back to Fallcrest, the party prepares to spend a few days resting in Harkenwold.

Chapter 1.1 - A Plea for Help
Who can resist a damsel in distress?

Relaxing at the Blue Moon Alehouse in lower Fallcrest, the party notices a distressed woman enter the bar. While she speaks with some other patrons, Belkin attempts (and fails) to listen in on the conversation. Crestfallen and rebuffed by the other patrons, the woman sits in a corner, uncertain what to do next.

Tavern patrons

Al saunters up to the woman to offer assistance. Recognizing her as a local merchant, he discovers that her trading company has been beset with many recent tragedies including the death of her husband. The company is in dire shape and the caravan overdue to Harkenwold. Al offers the assistance of the party and is told to meet Arlandra at her trading office 1 hour hence.

Belkin, having purchased a round for the other patrons, attempts (and fails) to cut the purse of one of the patrons. Narrowly avoiding a fight with another mercenary company, the party pulls Belkin out of the bar. They party notes that the mercenaries wear an insignia of a clenched hand on a violet background.

Meeting Arlandra at the Kings Way Trading Coster, the group interrupts a tense discussion between Arlandra and Gerrold, the owner of a competing trade company. Gerrold has offered to acquire Arlandra’s assets and debt through a marriage pact.

Setting off that evening, the party spends the next 4 days on the road attempting to overtake the caravan and discover its whereabouts. On the 5th day, the party encounters the remains of one of the wagons, broken in the roadway and partially looted. After chasing off goblin looters, they meet Torrin, one of the caravan survivors who has been laying low in the woods. The party heads after the remaining goblins leaving Torrin to guard the remaining trade goods. Tracking the goblins back to some nearby ruins, the party discovers the other caravan wagon and dead guardsmen. With their strength depleted from the recent skirmishes, the goblins prove no match for the party and are defeated. One goblin shaman escapes…


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