After a good night’s rest in the Lucky Gnome, the party, plus Ana, a half elf serving wench/sorcerer, sought Armos Kamroth to discuss their debt situation. They arrived at the resplendent Kamroth estate and were greeted by an attendant, who took them to her employer. Kamroth sat behind a desk laden with papers. He had graying hair, a gaunt face, and looked exhausted. He informed the party that the Lucky Gnome had fallen into a heap of debt, 10,000 gold worth. Since Kelson stopped paying in the months leading up to his disappearance, and since the Lucky Gnome had been in disrepair, the debt had been doing nothing but climbing lately, and Kamroth needed assurances that payments would be coming.
Dak assured him that the Lucky Gnome would again become profitable, and additional sources of income would help to alleviate it as well. Kamroth gave a knowing smile and mentioned that, as Master of Coin, it was his duty to put an end to illegal business practices, but also mentioned that so long as crime rates went down in the docks area, he would have no need to investigate. With business as concluded as it could be, the party prepared to leave. Kamroth bid them farewell, and mentioned the investigation into the behavior of the warforged guards during the riot. Dak asked whether he had anything to do with it, and whether they could be of assistance in proving his innocence, but Kamroth decided to let the justice system run its course. He had suspicions, however, that the Lord Warden’s wife, Allande Markelhay, was responsible, since he purchased the warforged through an acquaintance of hers.
The party considered the information as they left, and prepared to go to Westerfield with Barristan. On the way, they came to a fork in the road. The short way went through a shallow ravine, but the terrain was rocky enough that they would have to dismount. The long way would take an extra day of travel. The party decided to dismount and take the short path. Along the way, they encountered a single man, lightly armed, reading a letter. Barristan recognized him as James, the man he had left in charge of his men. Barristan approached James, who accused Barristan of betraying the Sons. Barristan tried to explain, but James ordered hidden archers to fire. Barristan took four crossbow bolts to the chest, yet lived. James finished him off with a javelin to the throat.
Our heroes, saddened by their loss, and surrounded by foes as men with maces blocked their rear, took to arms. The ambush party gave good battle, and Thorir spent most of the time barely conscious (because he was fighting a three against one spear showdown and Gorstag kept catching him on fire), but our heroes took the day. Two remaining archers fled, as well as one of the mace-wielders, when James was knocked out by Thorir. Ana and Godfuck successfully tag-teamed three enemies while Sunny closed in on archers and Dak and Gorstag provided artillery support. Tactically, the encounter was quite successful.
James proved to be a wealthy source of information. He informed our heroes that he received a letter which accused Barristan of betrayal, promoted James to Barristan’s rank as commander of the ambush party, and ordered James to eliminate Barristan and his companions. The orders came from a woman named Kamren, who managed all military operations in the areas surrounding Fallcrest, including the ambush parties and the weapon smuggling operations. The party read this letter, which mentioned that The Hunter was after them should James fail. The party interrogated James about this Hunter character, but James only gave them hearsay and rumors about a man who hunted with great beasts under his control. After some debate, our heroes released James, who promised to bury Barristan according to the proper rights and custom.
A few hours later, the party came upon a small home, with a thatched roof and dirt floors. They heard the sound of hammer on steel coming from a forge around back, and began to make their way there when suddenly and old man with a spear burst from the house and threatened the party. Thorir responded with a casual “Hi, dad.” Olaf recognized his son, and welcomed the party into his home. He sat Thorir down, and sadly informed him that his mother took ill shortly after his departure, and had recently passed away. In order to pay for medication, they had to borrow from the very same Armos Kamroth. Fortunately, Olaf told Thorir, Faramir had picked up a military contract which had been able to offset their debt.
While Thorir left with Olaf to visit the family crypt, a simple stone building with some beautiful and intricate metalwork, the rest of the party visited Faramir, who was working diligently at his forge. Faramir was remarkably large, like Thorir, but his right arm was almost twice as large as his left. Dak questioned him about this “military contract,” and Faramir evaded the best he could. Dak finally convinced him to admit his guilt, but Faramir made them promise not to tell Olaf. Without the money from the Sons, they would have to sell the forge to Kamroth to pay off their debts, and the loss of the forge so soon after the loss of their mother would surely kill Olaf. The party agreed, and offered to help free him from the Sons’ control. The very idea scared Faramir. If the Sons thought they were a threat, they would kill them. Thorir was the fighter of the family. Faramir and Olaf could wield a hammer better than any man, but their swordsmanship left something to be desired. Faramir gave the time and location of his next delivery, and bid them farewell.
The party debated what to do next, with ideas ranging from arriving before the meeting and killing everyone to following them back to the headquarters. However, night was fast approaching, so the party decided to rest in the nearby inn for the night. In the middle of the night, a great roaring sound awakened the party. Outside their widow, they saw a man, who was challenging our heroes to come out and face him, along with a bear, two dire tigers, a behemoth, and a boar. The people in the area were fleeing in terror and the innkeepers were locking the inn tightly. Gorstag and Ana decided to remain in the room and provide artillery fire while the rest of the party went downstairs. Thorir and Godfuck rushed the behemoth, while Sunny and Dak stayed back. When the boar, a tiger, and the behemoth were conveniently clustered, Gorstag unleashed a whirling tornado of flame. Everyone brought out their best moves and the boar, behemoth, and tiger all fell quickly. The other tiger and the bear came after Sunny while Thorir and Godfuck went after The Hunter. Soon the other tiger fell, and the bear was worn down. When The Hunter felt his time was near, he blew upon a horn which made a terrible sound. As his last breath left his body, the ground began to shake and shudder.
From the ground burst a large creature with stony gray skin. The Hunter had called a bulette. The fact that he could train a bulette attested to The Hunter’s skill. The party was weary, wounded, and had expended their best abilities on the behemoth. Fortunately, with focused fire our heroes managed to cut the beast down and end the threat. Happy with their success, the party went back to bed to prepare for the coming day.
What will the party do about Kamren? What will they do when they track down the leaders of the Sons of Nerath? Will Thorir be able to save his family? Find out next time!