A CLOVER IN THE MEADOW
When Clover came to, the ogres were gone, Bishoon had also wakened, and both were grateful to be living.
Clover knew what had happened, what they were looking for; it was that orb. She had found it one day in the brook that ambled through the meadow near her cottage.
She brought the group to her home and revealed to them the subject of her kidnapping; an orb hidden under the floor. After healing their beaten limbs, the party headed down to the spot where the orb had been found, planning to continue to the town, and then on to visit Xanwll Cagryll, the only one who Clover thinks will be able to tell them what to do about the orb. As they approached the brook, Clover showed them the very spot that she had found the orb not so long ago. Suddenly a wild looking woman appeared in front of Havloc. A cloud covered them instantaneously. Havloc was weakened by a spell, while the unsuspecting companions wandered blindly in the arcane smoke. Aedia and Meo made it out of the mist and the Druid summoned an Air elemental, which cleared the fog. When their visibility returned, the group could see the mysterious sorceress with a dagger and long finger nails cutting the surface of Clover’s neck, “Give me the orb or the witch dies!”, she demanded. Having waited for the mist to rise, Havloc and Bishoon attacked, while Aedia yelled out desperately, “Wait!”
It was too late, for both the sorceress and the witch.
Clover had been killed. The group was distraught. After laying Clover to rest near the brook, and each saying their goodbyes, they headed back up the hills to Clover’s cottage.
They studied the Orb in detail and recognised it to be the Orb of Marthanos, one of the seven sons of the Evil One, rumoured to have been trapped in a crystal and possibly destroyed by the silver elves. The orb is the long lost Orb of great power, said to be the source of all ‘evil’ creatures. It is ancient and immensely magical, beyond anything they will likely ever see again. They are, of course, in great danger as long as they have the Orb, and now that they have found it, they will be hunted until it is safe. Deciding that the best action is to continue with the plan to see Xanwll, in whom Clover had faith can help, the group gathered their supplies.
They had a sizable fortune of coins found in the cave, and a magical staff of defence, ring of invisibility, and boots of speed, which had been found in the cave and on the now dead sorceress. They gathered a few potions, maps and herbs then descended into the town to prepare for the journey past the border ranges, more than a weeks travel. In the city they bought horses, made dragon hide armour, forged a sword with Clover’s name engraved, scripted magical scrolls, prepared themselves and set off…
A FISHY DINNER
The companions travelled the road west. They discovered ahead of them a wagon overturned, with swordsmen trying to fix a wheel, broken in an attack by goblins. Ahead the swordsman recommended the Catfish Inn, a haven during uncertain nights.
The innkeeper helped them in and welcomed them for dinner. Everything seemed peaceful, perhaps the trip to Xanwll would be easy. While the rest of the group ate dinner, Aedia looked around and noticed something outside. Puddles had appeared, leading up to the inn; she went outdoors with Meo and they investigated. Meanwhile, back at the inn, Bishoon and Havloc too had noticed water on their table, dripping from the ceiling. They decided to see Aedia when the inn suddenly filled with small, weaponed, mouth-less goblin-like creatures.
A chaotic skirmish ensued, with patrons trying to run out the packed hostel, and Aedia and Meo trying to run in. There were much losses on both sides of the ambush.
Just when it seemed like the popular inn was going to be going up in flames, ransacked by the unexpected attack, the innkeeper came to the aid of the hunted travellers by sending them down a hidden exit. He assured them that the word had spread of what they were doing, and that there are friends who stand in secret ready to help…
Now again on the road to Xanwll, their horses were kindly sent to their aid. They road into the next large town and were led to the Red Kipper, a moderately sized inn, where they were again greeted and shown to dinner.
The group settled into bed. Bishoon took the middle watch of the night; she seemed to doze off and woke up from her warding spell being engaged; that meant someone else had entered the room! She tried to move and yell but she was paralysed; they had been poisoned.
Two thieves gathered valuables and boasted to one another of how well the poison had worked and how Inny would be happy. As their possessions were all placed into a bag, including the powerful Orb, the travellers listened in to as much to the thieves conversation as they were able. When morning came they found they were left with only what they were wearing to bed.
Downstairs breakfast was roaring away. Bishoon and Meo searched for the trail from the thieves, and Meo soon caught the scent. Aedia prepared her spells for a day of investigation and thief hunting. Havloc marched downstairs and “talked” to the innkeeper, and then the chefs, who responded to his intimidating questioning by denying having any knowledge of the theft. Bishoon later discussed with the innkeeper in detail the robbery and if the he knew anyone that could help find who Inny was. The innkeeper only said that a robbery had taken place 6 months ago and that the city watch had investigated. She sensed the innkeeper was not saying everything.
The group decided that they would follow the scent of the thieves. The trail led to the markets and was lost as the smell of the crowd of market goers grew overwhelming. Once in the markets they looked for their lost goods, but found no trace. Havloc went to the docks on advice from the weapons seller. Speaking to the workers he discovered, to their amusement, that the Inny he was looking for was slang for the innkeeper.
Furiously they returned to speak with the innkeeper. After enough threats the innkeeper was persuaded to reveal his involvement in the theft and to help them meet the thieves. The robbers were meeting the innkeeper at night. The small group waited and ambushed the burglars despite the innkeepers last moment warning.
In the fight, only one robber survived and was convinced to lead them to the master of thieves, which he did, though once there he warned the thieves inside the hideout, and was batted unconscious while his head was being used as a door knocker.
They found the Master of thieves lost in madness with the orb and talking about how the ancient lost deity Marthanos will return and the orb was the key to his resurrection. Having masochated himself with his dagger, the rogue then threw the orb up into their midst, and babbled about failing the dark deity.
The companions gathered their things to leave, and brought with them mad master thief in order to deliver into the hands of the watch.
Just as they left the hideaway and entered the alley they met a large red-eyed stranger, planted firmly in their path, with a long heavy blade in his hand, and dangerously garbed in armour of shiny elaborate breast plate. “You have something that belongs to my employer”, were his words of welcome… next episode: MYSTERIOUS STRANGER