The Bandit’s Lair
- Our strange group of adventurers return to the town of Liberty, taking with them two of the bandits that they apprehended, one remains unconscious whilst the other Osgod is in a distracted state, no doubt due to his addiction to Dust.
Orryn talks to Osgod and discovers that the drug-addled bandit was forced into working for the Silver Fangs–initially at the age of eight–because his father was sick and his family owed them money. Soon he was addicted to dust and has never been able to escape from their clutches.
- Orryn attempts to rouse the man’s spirits, telling him that he could be so much more than the pitiful wretch that he is now.
Returning to Liberty they ask around after Camelac, the Protector who sent them on the mission to investigate the woods, and make the acquaintance of an old farmer who is selling fresh vegetables out of a cart.
- Lokku is particularly enamoured of the giant beetroots that the farmer is selling, but doesn’t have any cash to purchase one. The farmer tells them that most of the Protectors are in their tower and that he’ll be in the market square for most of the day if Lokku wants to purchase anything.
- The group travel to the Protector’s Tower, a spindly white building, a beautiful remnant from an early age when the Elves occupied this area.
- They meet Camelac who hands them a pouch containing 200GP as a reward for their efforts thus far and tells them to report to Lord Bugweard Harper inside the tower.
- Inside the tower the leader of the Protectors, an aged knight known as Lord Bugweard Harper is arguing with the leader of the Grey Knights, a severe and animated man called Lord Godfrith.
- Godfrith is arguing that they need to press their advantage and attack the Dark Empire whilst Lord Harper (the ruling authority) counsels that they should be cautious and rebuild since they do not have the manpower to launch such an offensive.
- There is obviously bad blood between the two men and at every turn it threatens to spill into violence, but this is interrupted by our heroes and their revelation of the Silver Fang Dust cartel operating in conjunction with orcs in the ruined villages to the north.
- Orryn points out that the scale of the operation is a great threat to the town of Liberty, although he baulks at Godfrith’s suggestion that an example should be made of known criminals, citing an ancient story about a man who sacrificed his water and died in a desert to make his point.
- Lord Harper agrees to finance their return trip to deal with the drug dealers (whom the heroes trapped in their lair) and sends four of his knight Protectors, Johann, Simon, Robert and William to accompany them.
- The heroes travel to the market square and acquire some equipment, with Lord Harper’s seal being presented as surety of payment. Lokku once again meets the old farmer and purchases his last beetroot, consuming it with relish.
- Acquiring a horse and cart the heroes and the four Protectors travel northwards, but are attacked by goblins during their first night camping. They defeat the creatures but–taken by surprise–Lokku is injured and has to rest in the wagon for the rest of the journey.
- Arriving back near the bandits hideout they find that the bandits haven’t managed to escape and–uncovering the rubble they used to confine them–the heroes head down the well, using the secret entrance to press on into the bandits cavern lair.
- It seems the bandits have prepared for their return and some goblins are on sentry duty behind a makeshift barricade, although the heroes dispatch them, the alarm is raised and three bandits along with their leader Hurgor engage the party, first at range with crossbows then in hand-to-hand.
- Sallow is challenged to single combat by Hurgor who seems to be an extremely capable combatant, but before the combat can reach a conclusion, Orryn is able to persuade the now outnumbered Hurgor to surrender.
- In return for his life Hurgor indicates that they have several peasant prisoners, but warns Orryn one of them isn’t what they appear to be, counselling him to look for a black stone ring.
- Orryn explores the caverns whilst the Protectors take Hurgor into custody and discovers a statue of an Elven hero known to the common tongue as Merrick Trollbane, once part of a trio of adventurers, his companions being a Human named Bowen Diggoru and a Dwarf named Turkwald. In Elven the statue has a plaque reading:
“Merrick mourns the loss of his companion Turkwald.”
Thinking about the loss of companions hits Orryn deeply and he sheds a tear, looking up to see that a similar tear rolls down the stone cheeks of the statue, he catches it in a gloved hand, feeling a comforting warmth spreading through him.
- Taking Orryn’s advice Sallow checks the hands of the peasants and–sure enough–finds one wearing a black stone ring. Without hesitation the Night Elf uses his powers to blast the ring off the peasants finger at which point he transforms into a large orc and is slain by Lokku and Sallow.
- Upon picking up the ring Sallow discovers that it apepars to transform non-humans who touch or wear it into a human version of themselves, although it doesn’t appear to harm them in any way. Noting this with interest he pockets it.
- Continuing to explore Orryn and Lokku discover another statue, this one depicting the arcane Cleric Bowen Diggory mourning the loss of his Dwarven companion. Touching the statue, Orryn uses his divine powers to heal Lokku, and finds that his power is much increased, restoring the Half-Orc to almost full health.
- Orryn realises that there is great power in the statues and says that they must find a way to get them out of these caves.
Preparing to lead the greatful captives out of the cavern their final explorations reveal a crate full of a black, crystalline powder.