Game session date: 21 December 2013
Campaign Date: 24 Eleint – 10 Marpenoth 1357 DR
Encouraged to not leave town for the next few days, the members of the squad spent those days in mostly mundane activities. They all had dinner with Elena’s father – Kelson Darktreader – on the evening of the 24th, where they learned that the Duke wanted them on patrol near him during the upcoming festival activities outside the walls. Kelson also informed them that the hobgoblin prisoner they brought back had been talking – thanks to a combination of illusion spells and zone of truth spells. They had learned that the prisoner knows no more of the hierarchy of the the organization behind the problems than was revealed in the letter recovered on him. Also, he revealed that The Chill was based out of a camp somewhere in the northern edge of the Trollbark Forest. The prisoner also revealed – much to everyone’s relief – that there is no dragon with the lizardfolk in the marsh, but that the lizardfolk are building up a hoard inside the old shipwreck to try and attract a dragon. Finally, the prisoner does not know the identity of the spy in Daggerford, but knows several drop points for leaving or picking up messages for/from the spy.
Over the next few days the members of the squad work on personal projects, pick up some minor magic items, and try and relax a bit. On the 26th, sign up in the festival contests opened up and Elena signed up for the archery contest, Throkil for the Game of Forms, and Kratos for the foot race. Noran was busy taking bets on all the activities.
On the 28th of Eleint, Elena’s great-grandfather Lord Elorfindar Floshin arrived in town, staying Elena’s father’s residence for the duration of the festival. Lord Bogdan of Bowshot arrived as well, as did a few other regional nobles. The next day Baroness Priann also finally arrived, bringing with her an entourage nearly twice the size of any other visiting dignitary.
The Harvest Festival officially began on Eleint 30th. The archery contest took place in the morning. Elena was first paired off against Cork, and won, but in the next round went up against her Uncle Filvendor and lost. In the end, she placed 3rd in overall points and won 50 gold coins and a quiver of 20 masterwork arrows.
In the afternoon was the Game of Forms – a magical competition in which spellcasters use either transformation magic or illusion magic to take on the form of other creatures, trying to best their opponents form with each new form. Thorkil beat his fellow student at Delfen’s tower, Bryn, then he beat the bard Janssen, and finally beat out Korbus the Gnome to win the competition, earning 500 gold coins, a scroll of beast shape I and a potion of alter self for his efforts.
The next day was Higharvestide and the first official day of guard duty for the squad on their latest rotation. They reported to the fairgrounds to be near the Duke and his family and visiting dignitaries, but encountered no more problems than petty thieves and fist fights. Kratos was allowed to take an hour off to compete in the footrace, where he placed 3rd, winning a 10-pound sack of wheat for his efforts.
Marpenoth 1 was the last day of the Harvest Festival. Sir Frederic of Cromm’s Hold won the Ring-and-Wreath as well as the Tilt. Again, the squad encountered only minor rabble-rousers and thieves during their shift.
The squad was awakened early in the morning of the 2nd of Marpenoth by one of the Duke’s personal guards and asked to report to Commander Sherlen’s office. There, they find the commander, along with the duke himself, Elena’s father and Lord Llewellyn. The duke explains that sometime in the night Baron Agwain of Secomber kidnapped the duke’s sister – Lady Bronwyn – and fled the town with a dozen or so of his men. The Duke asks the squad to pursue them via the most direct route through the Laughing Hollow. He offers them a horse from his own stables as extra recompense for this duty. As soon as they have their horses and gear, the squad sets off, leaving town right before sunrise.
Several hours later, as they ride through the hills east of town and near the edge of the forest, the squad is ambushed by a half dozen of Agwain’s men. They kill a couple of them, capture a couple of them and a couple of them got away.
Sometime later, after entering the forest, they are accosted by eight centaurs who are not happy to see them and at first did not want to let them pass. The squad convinces the centaurs they must and they allow them to proceed.
An hour or so later, deeper in the forest, they come across four black bears feeding on honey in a dead tree, and Elena uses her ranger’s wiles to soothe the anger and fear in the bears and allow the squad to pass. A short time after this they find three ghouls feeding on the fairly fresh corpses of one of Agwain’s guards and his horse. They dispatch the ghouls and burn the bodies of the guard and his horse to prevent them from rising, and proceed on.
Near dusk, they are in a very thick part of the forest, forced to walk while leading their horses. As they move through the dense brush, the Lady Bronwyn appears before them, having escaped her captor, but as the squad makes plans to continue after Baron Agwain, he charges out of the brush with two of his men and challenges the squad. Before the fight can begin, the baron’s men drop, felled by goblin arrows, and the baron himself is wounded. Thorkil, thinking quickly, drops a sleep spell on the baron and knocks him out, then leaving Lyssa and Noran to guard the prisoner and the lady, Thorkil, Elena, and Kratos pursue the goblins.
They find the goblins – ten of them – not too far away, shooting at someone or something in the shrubbery on the edge of a great valley – the Laughing Hollow. Taking out the goblins, they find they have just rescued Melendrach, King of the Wood Elves, who is very grateful. He has three arrows in his left thigh and was unable to walk without assistance. They get him to safety, gather their companions and Lady Bronwyn, and heal the king’s wounds. The centaurs arrive again and the king has them guard the camp while everyone rests. Before turning in for the night, both Elena and Thorkil take time to visit with Melendrach about personal matters – Elena talking with the king about her great-grandfather and other relatives and Thorkil talking about ancient Illefarn.
On Marpenoth 3rd, the squad rises with the King. He thanks them again and gives each of them a leather medallion with his personal sigil on it, telling them anytime they return to the forest they should wear it as it grants safe passage and ensures that the centaurs and pixies won’t challenge them. He sends one of the younger centaurs – Kentaros – to guide them out of the forest and bids them farewell. Kentaros leads them along a path that gets them out of the forest about 2 hours sooner than they would have if they had simply retraced their steps.
Back in Daggerford near nightfall, they take Lady Bronwyn to the palace and turn over Agwain and his men they captured. The duke is still gone, but Llewellyn will have Gwydion contact the duke using his magic and tell him to return.
On Marpenoth 4, the squad is back on normal town patrol. The find out that duke is returning to town, but won’t be back until the next day some time. That evening, Sherlen calls the squad into her office and gives them another out-of-town assignment. The last southbound caravan of the season is leaving Waterdeep in a few days and has requested that Daggerian troops scout the road as far south as The Way Inn (the southern limit of Daggerford’s influence). She is sending the squad on this assignment, with orders to observe and reconnoiter, but not to engage unless engaged.
The squad is up early on Marpenoth 5 and out the gates by sunrise. They meet a few travelers along the road and stop for lunch in Gillian’s Hill, but hear of nothing out of the ordinary from anyone. They reach Liam’s Hold that evening and stop for the night.
On Marpenoth 6 the squad continues south, and is attacked by a hideous manticore along the way this day, which circles them about 20 feet in the air, flinging spikes from its tail. After Thorkil uses his enlarge person spell on Kratos, the now-giant half-orc leaps into the air and slices one of the beast’s forelimbs off and it flees, though Thorkil is confidant it will bleed out and die.
The rest of the 6th passes uneventfully and they squad camps in one of the prepared campsites along the road.
On Marpenoth 7, the squad hits the road and arrives in Bowshot around noon. They stop for lunch and a quick visit with Lord Bogden, then continue on their way south, arriving at the Way Inn in early evening. At the Way Inn, they meet Daulraven Redbeard, proprietor of the actual inn and defacto leader of the town. He is a friendly sort who provides the squad with a feast, tells them what news he knows, and offers to send friends of his – adventurers – into the Trollbark Forest to poke around and see if they can find the bandit camp. Daulraven also introduces them to a merchant and caravanmaster named Meldar Farwander, who is headed north and recently ran into problems around the ruins of Dragonspear Castle. Meldar, his daughter Delora, and three drovers named Ian, Finn & Dooley and a half-dozen pack mules are all that’s left of a larger caravan that was attacked by orcs and goblins, and they ask to travel north with the squad for protection.
The squad heads out on the morning of Marpenoth 8, riding all day with no troubles, and arriving at a campsite in early evening. They make it to Gillian’s Hill on the 9th, staying in the village for the night, and depart for the final leg of the journey on the 10th.
Early in the morning of the 10th, they spot trouble ahead and engage four large bugbear bandits, taking 2 of them prisoner. While they found nothing on any of the bugbears to indicate any connection to the larger bandit issues, they couldn’t be sure so took them back for interrogation by Sherlen or the duke’s men.
Back in Daggerford, Meldar was very grateful for the squad’s aid and gave them a pouch of 200 gold coins. Delora also gave them a pouch with 3 potions of cure light wounds, a potion of gaseous form, and a potion of heroism. Meldar also privately presented an old scroll to Thorkil, who later realized it was a map of the various entrances to ancient Illefarn.
The squad is summoned to see the duke, and they are told the duke is going to declare them all Heroes of Daggerford for all that they have done for the town and for the duke himself…