The Dragon WarriorsAethelfrith – Thane
Sir Erich of Barton – Knight
Solaran – Elementalist
The Silent Man – Assassin (absent)
The Reivers’ Lair (Day 50 – Late morning)
After the adventurers had gained directions to the bandit lair from their prisoner, the Silent Man led him off into the forest. Neither of them was seen again.
Not long after the Silent Man had left, but Solaran showed up again. He had finished whatever it was he had set out to achieve and had tailed the party just after they left Worsted.
The group laid their plans for how they would approach the bandit lair and arrived within its environs later that afternoon. The once grand manor house was covered in bracken and ivy, its outer walls crumbling in places, and one of its towers had completely collapsed. The roof was a skeletal frame not unlike the rib cage of a beached whale whose bones had been picked clean by the gulls.
Whilst the three adventurers formulated their strategy for attack, they noticed that there were three guards posted on the wall closest to them. The party thought they were safe and had not been seen. An arrow shot by the bandit guards sailed over their heads harmlessly without being noticed. The bandits had spotted them but the party were unaware of it. The party decided that the best course of action would be to whittle their numbers down before facing them in a full out frontal assault.
Sir Erich and Solaran quietly backed away to a prearranged place fifty yards back in the forest and prepared for an ambush. Aethelfrith, meanwhile, carried on watching and noticed that as soon as his companions made to move away, one of the guards left his position on the wall and entered the main building which Aethelfrith could see through a gap in the crumbling walls. A few moments later the guard returned to his post. Aethelfrith waited nervously to see what would happen and feared that he may be surrounded by bandits that left the compound from another exit. The adventurers’ ruse hinged on him being able to draw a few of the guards away from the walls, and chase him to the ambush.
After another short period, several guards ran out of the manor building to join their comrades at the wall. A lot of gesturing, pointing and shouting went on until Aethelfrith got sick of waiting and decided to launch an arrow at the one who looked like a leader. His arrow found its mark and the bandit leader shouted abuse at his attacker. Aethelfrith followed his first arrow up with another direct hit. This had the desired affect. The bandit leader and two of his cohorts sprinted out of the fortification to sort out the upstart warrior. Aethelfrith realised it was now time to leave but as he stood up, two arrows found their mark on him. He sprinted towards his companions; the trap was set in motion.
The bandits were in hot pursuit of their quarry, but the thane managed to keep ahead of them enough that they would still chase him. After about fifty yards, Aethelfrith sprinted past his hidden companions and carried on as if they were not there. The bandits ran towards the trap but spotted Sir Erich just before they got to him. Sir Erich was unperturbed and stepped out from behind his tree and struck the bandit leader a glancing blow with his axe. An arrow from Solaran found its mark on another of the bandits just as they joined the fray. Aethelfrith, realising from the sounds of combat that the trap had been sprung quickly turned around and rejoined the melee.
Sir Erich got bogged down in a hefty melee with the leader of the bandit party and one of the Reivers whilst Aethelfrith fought the third warrior. Aethelfrith picked up another minor wound before felling the bandit facing him with his trusty spear. Solaran tried shooting at the second bandit fighting Sir Erich but didn’t have much luck, so drew his mace and got in closer to support his companion. Aethelfrith was now also free to join the main melee, and almost straight away he felled the second bandit. The bandit leader was now desperately fighting off three assailants but chose to concentrate more on Sir Erich. This was a mistake as Aethelfrith stepped straight in and skewered him on his spear.
After the furious combat, the adventurers looted the bodies of their weapons and valuables, stripped them of their clothes and then rested up until dusk. Once the sun had started to fall below the horizon, the party dragged the bodies closer to the bandit lair and hacked off the head of the leader. Keeping to the shadows, Aethelfrith crept closer to the gates and threw the severed head to land with a ‘plop’ right in front of the gates. He rapidly fled back to his companions and they escaped into the night.
Pursuit by Reivers (Day 51)
The adventurers kept up their pace most of the night, stopping only briefly a few times through the night to rest and eat. However, the following morning, Solaran noticed that they were still being pursued. He could only see one bandit, but assumed that there would have been more of them following along unseen.
The party decided that they would most likely be overtaken so decided that it might be best to make a stand. They stopped at a likely place for an ambush and looked back up the trail they were following. Not long after, they spotted three bandits approaching stealthily. They nocked arrows to their bowstrings and drew them ready to shoot but just as they were about to loose, another three Reivers appeared. Not liking the odds, the party decided to sprint away from potential danger. The chase was on but the party managed to outpace their pursuers, who gave up after a few minutes with a flurry of bow shot which pinged harmlessly off the adventurers’ armour.
As night began to fall, the companions became very weary, so decided to stop for a rest. Solaran cast a spell that erased their tracks all around for a twenty yard radius and they holed up in a safe overhang, away from the main path. They were so tired that they slept the night through. Luckily the bandits had stopped in their pursuit and no other creatures of the forest decided to accost them.
Return to Worsted (Day 54)
After a couple more uneventful days travel, the party found themselves back in Worsted. They made their way to the tavern to tell of their adventures and bring news of all that had transpired but the mood in the village had changed towards them. The village demanded money for looking after their horses and cart to the tune of ten silver florins. At first the party refused to pay this but decided that in the interests of peace they would do so, but they vowed that this would effect how they now saw the village.
Beckett approached them a little after they arrived back in town and passed them some money for some more of the goods he had managed to sell on their behalf. The party thanked him for the services he had rendered for them but said that they would now take the rest of their goods to Glissom to sell. They packed the rest of their belongings into the back of the cart along with the weapons they had purloined from the last batch of bandits and camped in the chapel. However, they were warned that they would need to start paying for their keep from now on and that staying in the chapel would no longer be free. This disgruntled them even further and they vowed to no longer have anything to do with Worsted but would carry on with the mission to eradicate the bandit problem for selfish reasons – the bandit lair was bound to be full of treasure stolen from many caravans over the past few months.
They asked around to find out when the next caravan of merchants would be leaving for Glissom but to their despair, this would not be for nine days. They also found out that the mayor was again out of town. They decided that as they had all picked up wounds they would take it easy and heal up until the caravan set out.
Rest and Recuperation (Days 55-61)
Whilst awaiting the caravan and the possible return of the mayor, they just kept themselves to themselves but on the third day of waiting, a large swarm of bees arrived in town. Nothing much happened except the bees found somewhere to build a hive and set to building it. Honey would be on the menu in a few months time; just after the newly arrived queen started laying eggs.
Aethelfrith found he was almost fully fit after a week (just a few minor niggles needed sorting out) but the other two were fully rested by then. They started to prepare for their departure in two days time, just as the mayor returned to the village.