The Dragon WarriorsAethelfrith – Thane
Sir Erich of Barton – Knight
Solaran – Elementalist (absent)
The Silent Man - Assassin
A Return to Worsted (Day 32 – Late morning)
Sir Erich, Aethelfrith and the Silent Man drew the cart to a halt in front of the tavern and stepped down from the board. Solaran, their sometime magical companion had disappeared back into the woods again to carry out his own quest.
Just as they were unloading the wares they had gained on their latest foray into the forest, they were approached surreptitiously by Becky, the girl who had asked them about the wise woman of the woods. The party had to answer that they had been busy hunting down bandits and killing orcs and had not managed to find the wise woman thus far. Becky pleaded with them to please try harder and Sir Erich, a sucker for a sob-story, promised that they would look for her the next time they ventured out.
A few moments after Becky had left them, Mary approached them with a savage scowl upon her face. She began to berate Sir Erich for not letting her go with them and for turning her over to her mother. Sir Erich tried to placate the ferocious child whilst Aethelfrith and the Silent Man entered the tavern for a well-earned lunch; smiles on their faces that Sir Erich was the one being beaten up over the slight.
After lunch, the party headed down to Beckett’s trading establishment and ran through the inventory of goods they had managed to accumulate on their journeys. They suggested he sell them on their behalf, take a modest trader’s fee and pay off their debt with the proceeds. The party agreed to this as they did not have the time or wherewithal to get good deals with the soon to be arriving merchant caravans.
The party spent the night in the tavern, telling tales of their derring-do, Aethelfrith boasting at every chance he could to impress the villagers. After a goodly few ales and haunches of venison had been sunk, the party wandered off to their cots in the chapel and prepared for their journey into the northern foothills the following morning.
An Encounter with a Bear (Days 33-36)
The following day, the party headed north out of the village towards the foothills of the mountains. They were going in search of the old wise woman for Becky’s sake, but also were travelling in the hope that they might pick up more clues as to the whereabouts of the bandit camp.
The party travelled for a couple of days but encountered no person or beast. However, just as they were about to make camp for the night of the third day out from Worsted the Silent Man motioned for them to be quiet as there was a disturbance ahead. The warriors drew their bows in emulation of their silent companion and nocked arrows onto the strings. Suddenly an angry bear burst through the undergrowth. Simultaneously, all three let loose with their shafts. Two of the darts hit their intended target which raised the bear into a state of frenzy, and it proceeded to bear down on Aethelfrith. After a short and brutal melee, during which Aethelfrith picked up a nasty bite wound to his arm, the bear decided that it had had enough of being stuck with sharp spears and swords and made to run off back into the woods. Aethelfrith would have none of this and set off in a pell-mell chase through the hills, his companions struggling to keep up. Eventually they caught him in a small glade, a bear corpse at his feet and a triumphant look on his face.
Sir Erich skinned the bear, whilst Aethelfrith bound his wound the best he could. The party decided to head back to Worsted to allow their injured companion to heal.
A Village Militia (Days 37-39)
An uneventful day’s travel brought the companions back to Worsted. Upon walking into town, they noticed that the first of the merchant caravans had arrived and Beckett was seen busy trading both the village’s wool stock and the party’s goods with them.
Aethelfrith retired to the chapel to rest up for the next few days in the hope of recovering from the bear attack. Meanwhile, Sir Erich paid a visit on the mayor to discuss the formation of a village militia. He said that both he and Aethelfrith would be happy to train them in some rudimentary combat to allow the villagers to at least be able to put forth a respectable response to any bandit incursions that appeared after the mayor had left on his quest and the party had done their best at reducing the numbers of Reivers in the area. The mayor agreed that this was a good idea and immediately set about calling in any who would be interested in such a venture.
The following morning, five people were gathered upon the village green to begin training; Mary (the wannabe adventurer), Andrew and Aaron (Beckett’s two sons), Richard (a scrawny young lad) and Timothy (a quiet but very capable apprentice). The blacksmith looked on from a distance with a scowl on his face; he had finished Sir Erich’s sword for him but Sir Erich had chosen not to pay for it – in the confusion of the negotiations when it was made, a misunderstanding had arisen.
A Solitary Venture (Days 39-47)
Whilst Sir Erich and Aethelfrith were training the militia (and healing), the Silent Man decided the spare time he had would be best spent trying to explore a bit more of the forest to the east and south in the hope that he could find some clues of his own to help out the party in their quest.
He wandered around for several days, quartering the ground in search of clues to the whereabouts of the wise woman and the bandits (and just maybe the lost prized ram). During this time he encountered a few wild forest animals, which he escaped by climbing trees and a party of two well-armed knights, who were also looking for something. He saw them on several occasions during his journey, and they seemed to be using the same methodology in their hunt for magical beasts to destroy.
Realising that time was getting short now he decided he should return to Worsted with his news. However, one particular evening he espied two more travelling warriors and decided to follow them to get a closer look at who they were. Whilst following them from the cover of the trees, he noticed a very faint wisp of smoke from deeper within the forest; he decided to investigate this on his way back after following his new quarry.
He realised they were dressed and armed in a remarkably similar way to the Reavers the party were hunting down. He followed them for a day or so to work out where they were headed and then returned back north to Worsted. On his way through the forest he paid a visit on the glade from which he had seen the wisp of smoke rising.
In the middle of the glade was a turf constructed hovel with thatch for a roof. There was no chimney, and the smoke made its way through the thatch in a leisurely fashion. He crept up to the door to knock but before he got there a voice from within called him into the hut. Perplexed, he decided to follow the instructions and entered the building. Inside was a small hearth area. The fire, with a cauldron bubbling with foul smelling liquid upon it, was being tended by a bent old woman. She called him in to take a seat and asked him what brought him this way. As soon as he mentioned Becky’s name she moved to a small shelf, took down a small vial and mentioned that she must drink it soon to be relieved of her condition. He also mentioned the mayor, and she replied that if the mayor wanted to resolve his quest he but needed to pay her a visit. During all this time she would not look up and meet the gaze of the Silent Man. His final question before leaving her was about the location of the bandits known as the Reavers. All she could tell him was that they were located to the south and were holed up in a run down manor house. He thanked her for her wisdom and headed back out into the wilderness.
The final leg of his journey was interrupted by a large orc patrol that scouted south of the
Back on the Bandit Trail Venture (Days 48-50)
Upon his return to the village, the Silent Man paid a discreet call upon Becky and handed her the potion that the wise woman had given him. She couldn’t thank him enough and skipped away with a big smile on her face.
When he got back to the chapel, he saw that Sir Erich and the now fully restored Aethelfrith were putting the finishing touches to that day’s militia training. The drill was coming along well from what he could see, and the trainees had a small crowd watching them appreciatively.
The following morning the adventurers headed out of the village with renewed hope in their hearts. They were determined to find the bandit lair this time now that they had several more clues to its whereabouts.
They travelled south into unexplored country for a few days before they got the feeling of being watched. The Silent Man realised that they were being trailed so slipped off the trail at the first opportune moment. The two bandits following the party continued to follow Sir Erich and Aethelfrith who were oblivious to all this going on.
Suddenly a cry went up from the bushes at the side of the woodland path they were following; the Silent man was being attacked! The two stalwart warriors quickly spun round and noticed two bandits had drawn their bows and were aiming to loose arrows at them. Aethelfrith charged straight towards the bandits but not before they had both loosed their shafts. The two adventurers were struck by the arrows but their newly won armour caused the darts to skim away without causing injury.
Combat was joined and after a short flurry of blows, the Silent Man burst from the undergrowth to join his companions on the path closely followed by two more bandits. The melee was short lived as the two mighty warriors quickly struck down two of their assailants whilst the Silent Man kept another busy with his dagger. Eventually Sir Erich was able to cleave down the third bandit with his two-handed axe whilst Aethelfrith beat their last assailant into unconsciousness.
The party now had a prisoner from whom they could gather information about the bandits and their location. Unbeknownst to them, though, a fifth Reaver had seen what had happened and was at that moment winging his way back to inform his fellow cohorts of the approach of the party.