“As you did so well disposing of those filthy slavers for me perhaps you’d be interested in taking another simple job?” Lord Padraig smiles as he raises his glass of wine. The adventurers of the D.R.K.A share a knowing smile. Lord Padraig’s ‘simple jobs’ have a habit of becoming complicated.
“A petty bandit has recently escaped from custody and fled to the Winterbole Forest. He has rejoined his little gang of misfits and is troubling some of the smaller settlements in the area.”
Blessed Brian leans forward to refill his goblet of birch wine. "Who is this ‘petty bandit’ that has eluded your guards? He must be a formaidable warrior if you are considering paying the D.R.K.A to apprehend him for you.
“He is a Dragonborn that goes by the name Gharash Vren. I would not call him formiddable but rather cowardly. He only managed to escape because illness has depleted the garrison to the point that a full compliment of guards is impossible. It is for this reason that I am unable to spare any soldiers to recapture him. He is merely a bully that collects miscreants with empty promises of riches to be gained. I feel confident that great heroes such as yourselves will have no problem returning him to face justice. I offer you 500gp for this task”
Miss Eversmoke sighs heavily “500gp for a hunt through an ancient forest, that none of us know the layout of, after a bandit who has already escaped your guards once, rejoined an indeterminate number of men and is raiding a large territory so must have a secure base of operations somewhere. And you want this dragonborn alive! I think not my lord. 500gp would barely cover our supplies for the trip. I feel that 1500gp would be a more appropriate sum.”
“Bargaining with you is always a difficult experience.” says Lord Padraig frowning. “750gp is a suitable fee for the return of this renegade.”
Rayven stands up and turns to leave “for 750 we’ll bring you his head. 1500gp is the price if you want him alive. You know where to find us when you decide my lord.” The rest of the D.R.K.A stand with him to take their leave but before they’ve taken more than a few steps Lord Padraig exhales heavily blowing his moustaches.
“Your price will have to be acceptable. Please complete you quest as soon as possible otherwise there will be civil unrest as the villagers will not stand much more terrorising from these curs.” Lord Padraig sits heavily as the D.R.K.A leave to begin their preperations for a long journey.
The various adventurers disperse through Winterhaven to stock up on food, ammunition and general supplies. Judicious enquiries made of the local inhabitants provide the adventurers with a couple of likely routes to the Winterbole forest. The trail leading north from Winterhaven through the mountains or the path east that skirts the edge of the lake. After much discussion the path round the lake was picked as the most direct route to an area of the forest suitable for raiding the villages, thus being the most likely place to find the bandits camp. This spot is also close to the area marked on the map found in Paldemar’s chamber, and as the D.R.K.A have agreed to investigate the Pyramid of Shadows for the Mages of Saruun they decide to kill two birds with one stone.
Setting out early in the morning, much to the annoyance of a few of the warriors who spent a little too much time in their cups the previous night, the heroes make good time covering the foothilss and plains between Winterhaven and the Winterbole forest. Soon they arrive at the shores of Lake Wintermist, marvelling at the originality of the place names at this end of the Nentir Vale. After following the edge of the lake for a distance the D.R.K.A arrive at the fringe of the Winterbole forest. The stunted scrub bushes and patches of coarse grass, that had been the only features of a fairly drab landscape up to this point, started to give way to larger, sturdier bushes and the occasional tree. A worn dirt track led further into the forest but something had made the heroes wary.
After a needlessly lengthy discussion it was decided that Blessed Brian should scout out the area ahead to look for any signs of danger. Moving silently through the undergrowth he advanced, stopping now and then to see if he could perceive any sounds that were out of order with the surroundings. Whilst Brian was scouting the area the rest of the party decided to move up behind him so as to not become separated should he run into trouble. Unfortunately Eric the Cleric and Kwan-Tum spawn of Solace were not the stealthiest of adventurers. As they moved along the edge of the lake they were noticed by two large and hungry crocodiles. Kwan-Tum quickly shot a bolt of crackling eldritch energy at the nearest crocodile and retreated to a safer distance, however Eric was not quite so quick and was grabbed in the vice-like jaws of the croc. As Brian and Kwan-Tum were engaged helping Eric, Sarge was fighting a battle of his own. With the adventurers focused on the crocodiles a Fey Panther had taken the opportunity to pounce and Sarge was now playing a deadly game of cat and dragonborn around a large tree away from the others.
As the party battle on there comes a shout from the forest, and rushing from the trees comes a small group of bandits who had been lying in wait to ambush unwary travellers on the forest path. The group of humans and dwarves rush straight to attack Brian, Kwan-Tum, and Eric, unable to believe their luck as the wild creatures do most of the hard work of defeating the travellers for them. Brian turns to face this new threat a second too late as he his knocked prone by the dwarf’s shield charge. The humans leap into the fray going beserk and laying into Brian and Eric with their greataxes. Kwan-Tum had gone to the aid of Sarge but as he moved he saw a flare of an arcane aura just in time to avoid a searing magic missile. Kwan-Tum swiftly struck back in the direction the attack had come from, with only the slightest glimpse of swirling robes to guide his eldritch blast. The battle raged on with the bandits getting the upper hand until Kwan-Tum finally struck a death blow to the crocodile freeing Eric to join the fight. After that it was only a matter of time until both the bandits and the creatures were no more than twitching heaps of ragged flesh.
The D.R.K.A quickly searched the bodies for anything of interest or value and determining that there was little worth taking they struck out along the forest path, using a ford to cross one of the smaller tributries feeding into Lake Wintermist. Pushing on in their hunt for Gharash Vren and the Pyramid of Shadows.