The Dragon Warriors
Aethelfrith – Thane
Sir Erich of Barton – Knight (absent but NPCd)
Hillson - Warlock
Nazir al Khalid – Barbarian
Solaran – Elementalist
Thormann – Sorcerer (absent but NPCd)
New Companions (Day 6 (86))
After the tax collectors had assessed the party’s goods and presented them with the appropriate trade dockets, they were approached by two of the remaining guards from the caravan they had just recently accompanied from Worsted. Nazir al Khalid and Hillson introduced themselves and asked the companions if they would mind if they joined them as the contracts with their previous masters had now been fulfilled. Aethelfrith and Solaran had no objections, as they were great fighters, so the two new arrivals joined their small camp.
Sometime during the next hour or so, the party were again approached by a newcomer. A young man with a jaunty air and a short sword strapped to his waist offered his services as a guide. The party were wary of his promises, so they only agreed to think about hiring him for a week, paid in arrears after he had proven himself, and would give him an answer later that afternoon if he should return then.
The party then explored the shanty town a little to get their bearings, finding out that they were at the main East Gate. They asked around amongst the merchants camped beside them about taverns and inns in the vicinity, just so that they could double-check the recommendations given by their new guide if and when he returned.
Their new found guide returned on time and proceeded to show them to a choice of inns situated around the merchant quarter they were currently located in; the party needed a place with a private room for their accommodation and a stable for the wagon and horses. They chose a more upmarket inn and settled down to a decent meal and bath to soak away the dust of their last few months of toil. Later that afternoon, Aethelfrith went looking for the counsellor, the knight and his squire whom they met in the forest around Worsted several weeks back (they were looking for signs of orcs, and the party gave them the evidence they needed), but he got short shrift from the guards when he made his enquiries at the gate. Solaran also started to make enquiries about the sorcerer who had his amulet and for any known places of learning. He also drew a blank on both of these lines of enquiry. Their guide meanwhile had retired to the stable to keep an eye out for their wagon and goods and the party settled down for a night of heavy drinking.
An Encounter with the Scorchers (Day 7)
The night passed uneventfully and at dawn the guide went off to make enquiries about selling their goods. A few hours later he returned with a variety of merchants and their money, and got them a reasonable deal on all their merchandise. The adventurers made their way into the city to deliver their merchandise, showing the sneering guards their trade dockets. The guards mentioned that they would brook no trouble from armed men in the city, and the law would come down heavily on any miscreants, especially those who performed violent acts with naked steel. Their guide led them to the market to make the sales. Once they were rid of their goods, they decided to head into the city further to explore and get a feel for the place.
After sauntering around for an hour or two, sampling the wares in the main East Market, the party found themselves wandering down a main thoroughfare heading towards the docks. Suddenly a small, podgy woman burst from a side alley and bumped into Nazir. As he tried to figure out what had just happened, eight thugs appeared at the alley entranceway and told the party to get away from the girl. Nazir took umbrage at being spoken to in such a way, especially from thugs who carried clubs and chased lone women, and refused to hand her over. The leader responded by saying that this matter did not concern them. Ignoring the rhetoric, Nazir advanced on the leader of the gang, supported by Aethelfrith. The leader, dressed in black leather armour and a yellow cap yelled at his men to get the girl. The townsfolk on the street at the time fled to the safety of a variety of close-by alleyways and seedy inns.
Nazir shouted one of his barbarous war cries and barged his way through the gang of thugs to strike the leader with the back of his axe. This caused the leader to stagger back. The rest of the thugs made to move to attack Nazir but Aethelfrith stepped up and struck the thug next to the leader with the butt of his spear. Hillson suggested to the leader that they would be willing to accept fifty silver florins for the girl but the leader retorted she was only worth ten, but he might as well just take her from them for free. The leader pulled back and ordered his men into line, facing up to the adventurers.
A general melee ensued; the thugs attacked the party with fists and boots, the party retaliated with the butts of their weapons. The thugs rapidly went down but not after a few heavy punches connected with Aethelfrith causing him some discomfort. As their injuries mounted, the leader of the thugs called his men off. To stop them all from getting away, Hillson grabbed one of the thugs for questioning, aided by Solaran. Nazir, his argument with the lead thug not over, advanced on him, whilst Aethelfrith struck the thug nearest him to allow his comrade through the wall of adversaries.
The leader of the band of miscreants cast a fire spell at the party but it was avoided, and his band of bullies drew their clubs to rejoin the fray. In their minds, this gave the all clear for the party to use their weapons in self-defence, so Aethelfrith turned his spear around and Nazir reversed his axe. Again the combat was joined, and again Aethelfrith bore the brunt of the attack, but he skewered the main thug attacking him on the end of his spear. Thormann stepped in and healed his battered comrade whilst Nazir finally managed to knock out the leader of the gang. He whistled to get the attention of the thugs just as the one Hillson and Solaran were struggling with slipped from their grasp. Sir Erich hewed down his opponent with his great sword and Nazir took down another with his great axe before the two remaining gang members fled the scene. Three of the thugs lay dead and three, including the leader, lay unconscious in the street.
Looking around, the party spotted about half-a-dozen townsfolk who had ventured out to see the final outcome of the fray. The party could not read their intent, so grabbed the leader of the gang and fled down the nearest alleyway to avoid the city watch that were due to turn up at any moment.
They ran pell-mell down a few side alleys led by their guide, but after a few minutes they were halted by the podgy woman, Edith, and told they should not go any closer to her house as that would bring the leader into range of being able to destroy all she had worked for. This intrigued the party, and after a little more questioning they found out that the thug was one of the gang leaders of The Scorchers; a fanatical fire cult led by a strange, old druidic-type person that had been causing havoc throughout the city for several months now. Edith had set up a fire controlling brigade of volunteers to enable the city to fight the destruction meted out on a regular basis by The Scorchers. She was being chased because she represented the antithesis of all they believed.
Edith made her excuses (in reality she was scared of these burly adventurers and the situation that had just arisen – the Scorchers could now, legitimately in their minds, give her group of volunteer fire breakers a harder time from now on) and started to leave but was asked by Mary if she could join her crusade. Edith agreed to Mary joining her and thanked the party for their help, suggesting that if they were in need of help in the future she would do what she could to aid them. Mary bade her companions goodbye and explained that being a warrior was not her thing but what Edith represented offered her the opportunity she had been looking for.
When the two women had left them, the leader of the gang of thugs started to come round from his bout of axe-haft induced unconsciousness. Nazir bound his hands and feet, and put a blind fold over his eyes so he did not know where he was and then drew his dagger. He would get information out of him one way or another.