[Ed’s Note: I will be recording events as I remember them which is to say if you see anything you want to correct or add to then feel free! That’s what a wiki is all about. :) I may at times ask for volunteers to make additions to the story which will be another way you can get hero points.]
The Idle Djinni docked in Pitax on it last run before going to dry dock for long needed repairs. Gus, Valadon, and Darius walked ashore wondering what will be the next adventure and whether they’ll ever see Conley Murtagh again. With their pay in their pockets and a curious package for Alain Han which Conley asked them to deliver to The Fire Drake Inn. Although assured there was nothing illicit in the package, the trio decided to find their old friend Zelkerut at the Desnan shrine to see what was in teh package before delivering it to it’s destination.
Zelkerut was indeed at the shrine and with him was an odd fellow who has befriended him. !Xosha who had arrived in the city only weeks before traveling from Mwangi on a personal mission that he is reticent to discuss. !Xosha does however inform the group that the substance in the container is some sort of spice and doesn’t seem to be dangerous in the least (or at least it doesn’t affect the snake companion that accompanies !Xosha.) Zelkerut knows of The Fire Drake and agrees take the group there.
Arriving at The Fire Drake, you make the acquaintance of Alain Han, halfling proprieter of the inn. He is elated when he learns of the gift from Murtagh (which you learn is ground root of the tama plan found only in the Kyonin forest and hard to come by outside Kyonin.) His spirits are lifted so much that he discounts your rooms and supplies you with tokens redeemable for a meal at a local gambling establishment named the Three Fingered Orc.
The group deciding to take advantage of the good graces Murtagh has bestowed from Han sets off to find the tavern for a meal and conversation. The place is quite busy with the tables in the front sporting dice and other games while in the back there are several card tables that seem to be for much higher stakes (evidenced by the burly guards that stand in front of the velvet ropes separating it from the main room. Shortly after you arrive a half elf named Omar Illitihan walks up to the table apparently having looked for Zelkrut and found him here. He’s glad to see you all together as well having gotten your names (and where you were probably staying) from Murtagh. Knowing you’re out of work for a while he has a proposition for you. For one of his esteemed clients, he is looking for some folks to guard a shipment of goods going to a town north east of Pitax named Aleris. It sounds like easy work for a good wage so you are willing to discuss it further with the client in the morning. Satisfied with the discussion (although somewhat taken aback at the ‘half breed’ comment from Valadon) he gave you the address to meet in the morning.
In the morning the group arrived at the Leto Paint and Dye offices where they met Alistair Leto, a well to do local businessman. He explained that he has agreements with several guilds in Aleris to supply paints and dyes for their enterprises (which primarily consist of cloth and pottery) and that he had a rather large shipment to be delivered. In addition, his daughter Jaiden was also going to Aleris to visit her fiance Willem Aleri, younger son of the town’s Lord High Mayor, Tyrek Aleri. It is for her sake that he felt additional security was warranted given the town is a four day’s ride. Having struck a contract, the group prepares to leave the next morning.
The following morning everyone assembles early. The group is introduced to the cartsmen Burton and Earnest Lowie and the coachman Gabriel Guus. They are also introduced to Jaiden and her aunt Mathilda (Alistair’s older sister) who is accompanying as a chaperone. While final preperations are made (and Valdadon’s advances rebuffed) Darius was asked by Omar to deliver a letter to the Lord High Mayor’s older son, Mathias, who acts as chancellor for the town. Payment agreed to, Darius accepted the assignment and then petitioned the surrounding businesses to see if anyone else needed any delivery service between here and Aleris but found no takers.
The group left in early morning. The wind was noticeably constant across the wide grasslands and they arrived at a Desnan travelers shrine. The shrine had an alter, open ceiling and a few rooms attached with spartan furnishings and (interestingly) a small package of preserved food in each one. No one is entirely sure who keeps the place stocked but it is a welcome respite along the road and a natural first stop one the road from Pitax. Dinner prepared (with the rations being augmented by Darius and !Xosha who managed to hunt down a brace of coneys) and eaten, everyone turned in for the night and rose early the next day to get underway.
The next stop would be a coaching house owned by the Heevy brothers, Stanley and Daryl. A relatively new establishment along the road it is the next natural stop after a days travel. However, before reaching the coaching house the small caravan was set upon by one of the local pests, an ankheg. The beast threaten Zelkerut who managed to wisely use his horse as a barrier before being handily dispatched by Darius. Once the beast was confirmed dead, there was a little surprise when Earnest took a rust short sword from the cart and hacked off the ankheg’s pincers. He explained that these buggers were all over the place and the Heevy’s had taken to putting a bounty on them. for any set of pincers brought in a round of the special Heevy’s Bitters was on the house. Arriving at the coaching house, the group was not disappointed in the ale, the food, or the hospitality.
The next leg of the trip took the group to the River House Inn. This turned out to be owned by Jake Heevy, the older Heevy brother. Jake and his family provided a comfortable last night on the road before Aleris. The River House was a bit more lively since it provided lodging and service not only for land travelers but also for those traveling by the nearby tributary for the Sellen River. A quiet night passes and the final leg to Aleris starts the next morning.
The group arrives at Aleris late in the following day. The caravan follows the main road from the gate to the Lord High Mayor’s house where they leave the coach (but with a sincere thank you from Jaiden for the effort along the journey.) The carts are escorted to the trade houses section and the Lowie’s show the group the lodgings for the night. Exhausted by a long day’s work (and given that there is little night life in Aleris) everyone turns in expecting to head out the following morning back to Pitax to get payment and figure out what to do next. Fate had other arrangements however. A knock on Valadon’s door late in the night brought news that the Lord High Mayor wanted to see the group of guards from Jaiden’s caravan. The two men (with the red leather sash that identified them as “Daggers”, Alerisian military) escorted the group to the mayor’s home where they had left the coach earlier in the day. Upon arriving Simon Jarel, the mayor’s assistant thanked them for coming an led them into the home to a richly appointed office where they immediately recognized Jaiden and that she’d been crying noticeably. Tyrek, the mayor of Aleris, introduced himself and his older son Mathias and came straight to the point. Willem, his younger son, was missing, having not returned from a hunting trip when he was supposed to. Thinking that he had simply tarried to long, a Dagger scout was sent to fetch him but he has not returned when he was supposed to either. They are thinking some foul play is involved and were preparing to send out a search party whe Jaiden arrived. She suggested that the group be asked to look into having earned her trust along the journey from Pitax to Aleris. After accepting the assignment (with a tense moment coming from Valdadon’s question about reward) the group was shown a map and told of the path that they would have typically taken (along the tree line to the foot hills of the Branthlend mountains.) It was decided that they would leave early in the morning to take advantage of day light.
At dawn the next day the group traveled up the tree line road searching for any signs of the missing men. As the morning passed, nothing turned up when everyone spied a horse in a field about 100 feet away. From this distance nothing specific could be made out, but something about the horse didn’t look right. As the group drew closer they were able to discern that the horse had a saddle and it was askew. Drawing closer they also noted a crossbow bolt sticking out of the horses rump. Needing to get closer and not having the skill to handle such a beast !Xosha hexed the horse to sleep. After a quick examination it was decided that this must have been the scout’s horse based on the Aleris symbol on the saddle and a spyglass in the saddlebag. Zelkerut healed the horse and the group taking it with them continued the search. Going all the way to the camp, the group found it undisturbed except for the apparent arrival of one horse which left. Surmising this was the scout, the group back tracked along the road. At a point along the road, Gus noticed a Alerisian dagger along the roadside.
Searching the area !Xosha picked up a trail that led from the road to the tree line and hidden in a hastily dug grave the group found the body of the scout dead for about a day. Tracking from the body !Xoshas determined there were two booted humanoids who left the scene and eventually one was tracked to a hidden cart while the other went towards the foothills eventually spying a clump of bushes that seemed to cover a cave entrance the group stealthily entered encountering a a duo of orcs (brothers by the comments of the second one after killing the first one) which were defeated handily. upon searching further into that part of the cave system, they found three men tied up and in an unresponsive state (which led to the diagnosis that they were drugged), one of them with injuries that seemed sustained from a fight. It was at that time that Zelkarut and Darius were going around a corner when they ran into another orc and a goblin dog. Zelkerut, surprised, lashed out blindly and with Desna’s luck dropped the orc the goblin dog soon following.
Searching deeper into the cave, a bound human female was discovered and after being set free rushed to the side of her injured husband sobbing uncontrollably. In the scattered blankets a vial of a cloudy liquid was found and ultimately determined to be the drug used to make the kidnap victims more docile for reasons unknown. Bits and pieces from the sobbing woman convinced the group that there were two more but they escaped on the horses left outside. Prior to returning to Aleris a cave-in was found and determined that it was intentional as if to block the way. Darious happened upon an interesting find in the rubble: a very old, intricately made dwarven war axe with a smithy stamp on it of a block bisected.
Upon return to Aleris, the victims were tended to while the group was lauded for their success in finding the young Willem and the others. After a day of rest, and with Willem returning closer to normal, the postponed festivities were help with the group as guests of honor. Properly rewarded, the next day they set out for Pitax.