Our Cast of Players:
- Albrecht (Alan Bates): Human Priest, level 8.
- Artan Praxis (Dave Marasco): Dwarf Warrior/Thief, level 6/7
- Kaji the Painted (Ian Andrews): Human Wizard, level 7.
- Murky Dismal (Ricky Paginton): Hobbit Warrior/Thief, level 4/7
- Pioden (Craig Baynham-Evans): Elf Warrior/Wizard/Thief, level 4/6/6.
- William the Drover (Max Bryans): Human Warrior, level 8.
- Nogri: Human Warrior, level 2.
- Tal: Human Warrior, level 2.
- Uthilian: Elf Warrior, level 2.
- Vermox: Human Warrior, level 2.
Total XPs awarded from the previous session: 14,166
Your caravan of villagers and retainers makes quite a sight heading away from Moorshroud Castle, winding its way down through the concentric ditches surrounding the walls. You notice with some unease that the moment the last of your party has cleared the gateway the doors are closed and barred – with the news of Pyraxus’ resurrection the castle is now on a war footing.
The journey east to Garland’s Fork is slow but uneventful. Only the most determined (or desperate) of bandits would trouble such a large and well protected caravan. All in there are almost fifty people in your party, plus three waggons and a dozen riding horses. Your new retainers seem competent but unimaginative, although Tal has a disconcerting habit of standing only a few inches away from you, unblinking, when making his reports, and his dental hygiene leaves a lot to be desired. Uthilian, the elf, seems to be a master of looking busy and is more often than not content to let the others shoulder the burden of the more mundane camp duties, but his natural elf craft and superior vision make him more of an asset when the overnight guard roster is handed out.
On arrival at Garland’s Fork, the villagers turn the inn, the Fork’s Rest, over to you. They have no immediate need for it and you willingly adopt it as your base of operations. They then set to trying to salvage what they can from the wreckage and begin the long job of rebuilding their village.
You decide to send a scouting party east into the forest to see if you can locate the crystal mine before nightfall. Murky and Pioden volunteer and study the map taken from your would-be assassin. They decide to travel light, taking only weapons and the bare minimum of equipment with them. As it turns out, locating the mine is a relatively easy task as they find an old partially rotted sign for the Dünerain mines propped behind a tree roughly an hour outside of the village and a hidden but well-worn track through the forest.
Scarcely fifteen minutes travel through the trees and pair come to a large clearing. In the centre of it a quarry has been hewn out of the ground. A wide dirt path pocked with waggon tracks winds down into the quarry and leads to a large mine entrance hacked into the rock wall of the quarry. Even from this distance, they can see large figures moving around inside the entrance. They edge a little closer but do not dare to break the tree line. Fortunately Pioden’s sharp eyesight is up to the task
The wide path leads right up to the mine entrance and shows heavy wear from widely spaced waggon ruts all the way. Blocking the entrance, they see three large carts turned onto their sides, blocking it completely. Three ogres stand guard behind their makeshift wall, scanning the path and the edge of the forest. They seem very alert. Pioden just make out some movement behind them, but it’s too far away to discern any details. The sounds of orcish chants and the ring of metal on stone echo out and reverberate around the quarry. With the sun starting to dip behind the trees, they see the flare of torch or lantern light from within.
Not wanting to risk a trip back through the forest in the dark, the pair cautiously retreat back away from the lip of the quarry and then return to the road, heading back to Garland’s Fork as fast as they can. On arrival back at the inn, they find that the villagers have started the clear up operation and that billets have been assigned for all, either in the inn or in the surviving farmhouses. A meal is ready and your retainers have done a good job of securing the inn and making it defensible. Murky and Pioden eagerly tuck in while appraising the rest of their findings. With the resources now at your disposal you feel for the first time as though you are in command of events rather than being driven by them.
You feel no compulsion to move against the mine during darkness, so draw up a plan of action into the evening over pipes and a good fire before retiring for the evening. The overnight guard duty you leave in the hands of your retainers, waking refreshed and ready for the day’s spell memorising before heading off.
You decide to proceed on foot, leaving your waggon, horses and retainers behind, taking only the essentials with you. The retainers are directed to assist and co-ordinate the villagers in their rebuilding efforts, which elicits some eye rolling but they comply with your orders.
Destination: the mysterious crystal mines!
To be continued…