Into the Wild West

An Introduction

After the hasty departure from the docks of Laconia, caused mainly by the desperate flight of Stephon Marbury, things seemed like they would be simple for quite some time. Corryn was looking for more tales and a place where he could ply his trade without upsetting the local gentry. Kamu was hoping that by travelling into the wilderness he might find somewhere worthy of testing his skills against the Raven Queen.

And Stephon? Well Stephon just didn’t want to go home and spend the rest of his life as a dull family cleric. He was confident that the Platinum Dragon would find him plenty of evil to slay as and when it saw fit. Stephon was right.

Nothing of note happened for a week and a half on the barge trip west. After a day or two of travel the hamlets and villages of the Duchies became fewer and further apart, until by the fourth day they were no more. The crew of the barge and it’s passengers began to see more wild animals and even caught the odd glimpse of the strange beastial creatures of the wild. A small Orc raiding party was spotted in the distance towards dusk on the eighth day. Every night, the barge would pull into the riverbank, a watch would be set and the night would be passed with all but the captain (who had his own cabin) camping on the bank.

This all went well until the eleventh day, the night before the barge was due to reach Riverton. Riverton was a minor trading post on the outskirts of the more settled land around Tarle, and the first sign of journey’s end. Bandits struck in the night, one silently slipping onto the barge and killing the hand on watch at the tiller. Luckily Kamu proved more alert and spotted the less subtle rabble approaching. With a bellow to warn the others, he drew his massive sword and charged the startled group cutting down two almost instantly.

After a brief and bloody encounter the bandits proved that discretion is the better part of valour and the two survivors fled into the darkness. It had been a night where important lessons had been learnt and bonds were begun to be forged. Corryn for example could be heard muttering for most of the next day about sleeping in armour in future. And something to do with a baby’s arm holding an orange? Stephon had suddenly become rather more competant in the others’ eyes after invoking radiant energy and a miniture platinum dragon to aid him fight. Although his later confession to not really remembering the battle because he’d been in a trance did seem to unnerve Kamu and Corryn slightly.

The barge arrived in Riverton then next afternoon and the companions were soon looking for an oportunity to relax and drik away the memory of their battle. Although not before meeting the unsavoury Yavin Manfellow, who had a dirty and unkempt appearance and a love of giving orders. He seemed surprised to see the barge intact after hearing of the bandit attack. Suspiciously so in Corryn’s mind.

Captain Strongback was soon closeted away with a wild looking half-orc woman who claimed to be a local ranger. They discussed the problem of the bandits. That they had set up base in the southern reaches of Graven Forest and the problems in rooting them out due to some new problem further to the west.

Slightly hungover the next morning the barge crew set off for Tarle. After a thankfully uneventful two day journey they sailed up the river and onto a huge lake where a sizeable wooden walled town stood. The barge moored at the docks and the crew began to unload…

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The Adventure Begins

After landing at the docks and unloading the cargo Ungar called Kamu, Corryn and Stephon to onside and settled the wages and fees for the journey. He told them, “You’ll want to check in with Darin at the watch headquarters. he’ll undoubtedly be able to suggest some sort of gainful employment for you all I’m sure. Tell him Ungar recommends you as pretty handy in a tight place!”

The guard at the front desk of the watchhouse did not seem overly impressed with Corryn and seemed delighted to call out Darin Hightower to welcome them to Tarle. Darin took one look at Kamu’s imposing frame and sword and begun laying down the law about what would and wouldn’t be tolerated in Tarle and the surrounding lands.

After a little intimidation on both sides that failed to work Darin (assuming the three were a group of adventurers) offered them a work opportunity. He asked if they would investigate the goblins at the ruined castle and clear them out if possible. It had been uninhabited since he and his companions had cleared it of a small tribe of Troglodytes many years ago. The companions asked to think it over before accepting.

Having been firmly recommended the Dragon’s Claw and warned to stear clear of the Spitting Drake by both Darin and Capatin Strongback they soon found themselves enjoying the fine hospility of Mishann Ogresbane. It was here that the pompous and arrogant Bergstrom found them and offered them a commission to root out and kill the bandits in Graven Forest. He offered a fine bounty of gold per head the trio could return to him.

Corryn and his friends took an instant dislike to him and decided given the local Rangers were unwilling to risk going after the bandits the offer was too good to be true. They decided the ruined castle and its goblins was a more immediate and manageable threat.

The next day they bought extra provisions and equipment, meetign several other inhabitants of the town, including the Halfling Herbalist and the Tiefling Weaponsmith who had been lookig nervous around Mishann in the tavern the night before. They accepted Darin’s offer and set off to hunt goblins.

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The Ruined Castle

The three companions set off from Tarle into the tamed wilderness of farms and hunting lodges that lie in the area around Firemere Lake. The going was easy and they were frequently greeted by farmers about their business. Children stopped playing and stared as they travelled past. An unusual and interesting trio, armed to the teeth.

Part way through the second day of travel after the farms had become more scattered and sparse, in fact they had not seen sign of a building for a couple of hours, Stephon spotted a lonely squat building off to one side. There appeared to be a group of canine like creatures gathered by the gate. Quickly they decided to investigate, as the three got closer they realised that the creatures were not dogs, or wolves, but Hyenas and they were eating the corpse of a man, sprawled just inside the gate.

With a shout they darted forward and gave battle. The fight was quick and vicious, but the beasts were no match for the heroes. Sadly the man had been dead sometime and there was nothing anyone could do. Strangely one of the Hyena’s had a collar on. On closer inspection it was noticed that a large glittering gem was set into the collar. After burying the remains the party camped, so as to reach the castle by late morning the next day, rather than at nightfall.

When the castle came into view, it was an eirie ruin perched on a hill top that rose out of the eastern border of the Crystal Woods. Mist obscured everything and gave the place an otherworldly appearance, the only sound the occasional cawing of a crow.

Cautiously the party moved to take cover by a large solitary oak tree to better observe their destination. As they did, a great raucous noise went up and scores of crows flew into the air and wheeled to attack them. Enormous, devious rooks joined in with the attack and any hope of stealth in approaching the castle was lost as the birds were fought off, eventually giving up the fight and finding another roost. Although not before dozens were slain.

Deciding that the subtle approach was lost the three walked straight up to the castle and begun exploring the courtyard, having walked through the brokendown gatehouse. Tracks were found, but could not be clearly identified. Whilst searching the rubble of the fallen southern curtain wall, Kamu disturbed a nest of vicious, diseased rats. But in the process he also found the long buried remains of a knight, still clasping an enormous sword, which remained in perfect condition.

Corryn examined the blade and pronounced it magical, embued with the power of lightening. The party turned their attention to the keep and moved to step up the stairs to the entrance, blocked by an intimidating but battered door, hanging from one hinge.

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Inside the Keep

Inside the Keep goblinoid tracks were quickly found everywhere, most leading to the double doors directly infront of the entrance, though some led to doors in either wall to the side. Careful listening at the door to the right discovered noises of creatures moving stealthily. After a short standoff with neither side opening the door, Kamu decided action was needed and barged through.

He was confronted with Goblins in position for ambush, but who had become distracted, looking to their leader for what to do when the door didn’t open immediately. The fight was brief and bloody. Whilst Kamu was severing a head and collecting teeth and Stephon and Corryn were searching the bodies, a horde more of the creatures burst through the double doors. They got more than they bargained for, hoping to quickly overwhelm the intruders with numbers, but they were easily outmatched in skill.

Searching the rest of the ground floor level showed up no more greenskins, but did produce a find of another and almost certainly more important nature. In a secret room located off the ruined library the adventurous found an ancient journal, recording the last months of the order of knights stationed there before the fall. With it was found a beautiful golden amulet, which Corryn soon confirmed was magical and designed to protect from poisons.

The journal told of a time of demonic forces and treachery and of the crafting of Kamu’s new found weapon. It told of a desperate mage (it’s author) who would sacrifice himself to teleport the few half dozen survivors to a tomb in the mountains where they might remain safe for a short time. Stephon and Corryn both declared it a priceless antique that must be studied.

Moving up the stairs, the trio discovered more destruction and damage. They also found more Goblins. Whilst Kamu and Stephon rushed into a room to quickly and quietly kill it’s occupant, Corryn was left outside, vulnerable and in the path of the berserk Goblin who had emerged from a room not yet checked. Corryn, grateful for his chain shirt and stout physique was left gasping by an axe blow that slammed him into the wall. As Kamu and Stephon rushed back out to his aid, Corryn retreated back round the maze of corridors and coming out round behind the raving axewielder, Corryn snuck up behind him and thrust his shortword into its back and out through the Goblin’s chest, taking the ultimate revenge, and its life.

With barely any respite a pair double doors were flung open and more Goblins charged out. Clearly the room had once been the Lord’s chambers and the party soon discovered it had been taken over by the leaders of the new residents. Two Goblins in dark robes, one a wielder of arcane power and the other embued with dark divine energy.

The fight was long and hard, with all three of the heroes suffering grievous wounds, but they all kept their feet and were victorious. The Goblin leader showing his true worth by cowering behind his fellow and letting him be struck down by Corryn’s magic rather than testing his own strenth against it.

One last thing remained. The Cellars. Luckily they contained but a single Goblin and his pet hunting stoats. The fight was onesided and quick. The castle explored and the Goblin threat ended, the friends gathered their loot, dragged the bodies into a pile, burnt them and set off on the return journey to Tarle.

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