Each member of the party went to their own rooms to rest for the evening, or at least that was supposed to be the plan. A distraught Merric had a very different idea however, and quickly penned a note to Trazelle who he thought was the only person actually interested in helping. Slipping the note under her door, Merric slipped out of town and summoned up his ghost horse to ride to Overlook on his own. Merric wouldn’t get to Overlook however. Surprised by bandits on the road, he was quickly overtaken in his exhausted stated, bound and gagged and brought to the camp of the bandits. It was clear that they were going to rob him and most likely kill him once they had everything they needed but that quickly changed when the Big Man who was their leader discovered the secret seal of the King. Merric could only hear snippets of their conversations and learned that they had deserted the army out of fear of facing the Orc armies again who were said to be moving against the kingdom in direct violation of the treaty. When Trazelle awoke back in Brindol, she found the note.
Thank you for offering to come with me to Overlook. I’m sorry I couldn’t wait, I’ve decided to go on ahead because I didn’t want the trail to get any colder than it already has. Also, if the half-orc Vician is involved, it might be easier for me to get some answers without you at first. If you are still wanting to help, I’ll leave word for you at the Inn closest to the Western entrance to in Shantytown; just outside of Overlook proper. Tell the others I had a great time working with them on the last job and that I wish them the best of luck with whatever they pursue next.
Waking up the group, they all rounded up their supplies, saddled up their horses and quickly pursued their missing friend. Without the benefit of Merric’s traveling chant and ghost horse, they could not move as quickly and nearly wore their horses out. It was near sunset on the second day that they found the scene of the struggle. Trying to sneak toward the campground, Trazelle took lead and walked forward into the camp. The Big Man (clearly an old and grizzled soldier who had seen many a fight) and his bandits immediately went on guard and demanded to know why they were here. Sahir’s hawk like eyes spied a Halfling in a nearby tree with a crossbow trained on Trazelle and he slowly made his way into position. Trazelle did her best to hide the truth and told them she was looking for a Halfling not knowing that they had found Merric’s seal. Already paranoid, the Big Man shouted, “The King’s men are here! Kill them!” and charged at Trazelle. The Big Man was truly a strong fighter and his large and ugly cudgel was punishing. He slammed it with full force on anyone who was nearby, while his crew held back and took harassing shots from a safe distance. Merric finally finding his opportunity to act, worked free of his bonds while Sahir teleported himself into the tree to deal with one of the Halflings. Eman pelted the Big Man from afar while Vesis took up dealing with the Big Man allowing Trazelle transform into her panther form to break free to deal with the resident Mage and bandits. The Big Man was undaunted by the things the party was throwing at him and his cudgel’s brutality was only matched by his hard head that the Big Man liked to slam into Vesis. One of the other Halflings moved into combat and pelted the party with poison tipped crossbow bolts while Sahir fought melee in the tree with a Halfling who now had a poisoned short sword.
As the battle raged, it was clear that the crew of bandits was well trained and Merric shouted in anger and vengeance, urging the party to bring down the Big Man who had captured him. Attacking from all sides and all angles, the crew kept the party on their toes, poisoning sapping their strength and the Big Man’s brutal head butts and club knocking them senseless. Trying to buy some cover and time, Trazelle summoned up a field of planets to give them cover, but the Big Man would keep most of the party out of it, attacking less armored folks with his frenzy. But the party proved to be that much better and brought the Big Man down. His crew, the mage already dead, one of the Halfling quickly falling to Sahir, were completely demoralized at the death of their leader and made a break to run. But their crimes would not go unpunished and each one fell to the party’s version of justice. Merric thanked his new friends for saving him, admitting that it was foolish to run off on his own. He let the group know that the bandits were soldiers fleeing the army and dug through the bag that the mage was holding for his stuff. The bag was a Bag of Holding and had more treasures than just Merric’s items. Inside, they found a rare Brooch of No Regrets and a strange gem. At first, no one knew what it was but Sahir examined it and realized that it was a Polyglot Gem and holding it would allow the person to understand Deep Speech, the language of the Underdark – a very odd and rare find. Exhausted, the group decided not to let a perfectly good campsite go to waste and settled in for a night’s sleep.
Up with the sun, they made their way toward Overlook. The roads got more crowded as they approached Overlook and those few they met on the road said that adventurers would coming to help fight the Orcs and refugees were heading to Overlook for the safety of the 4 walls. Overlook came into view, the large stone walls and gates clearly visible from a good distance away. The outer walls were 100 feet tall,—taller where they travel over higher elevation. Each inner wall stood another 20 feet tall. They were approaching from the west and entered the outer district of Shantytown. The streets of Shantytown were little more than mud paths and the buildings were mostly tents and lean-tos with a few wooden buildings scattered hear and there. However, the was one large tower that leaned slightly and was made out of grey and black stone. It stuck out of the morass of Shantytown like a index finger above a fist. When pressed, the people of Shantytown said it was The Gray Redoubt of Rufus Crumley. Rumors about Rufus Crumley were that he was a dabbler in necromancy and the dark arts and people said that he buys cadavers. Most people seemed afraid of him.
Merric, needing to find out what happened to Davin, went to the most likely place he thought Davin would have sought work, the rich and opulent section of Overlook called Stonehammer. The glorious and soaring buildings of Stonehammer were a stark contrast to the piss and squalor of Shantytown. However, no one would talk to the party on the rich streets of Stonehammer, the upper crust not willing to lower themselves to talk to a band of adventurers. Servants in the quarter suggested the group head to Tradetown where most adventurers spend their time. Tradetown was a lesson in diversity. Every race was here, shops sold anything people wanted and taverns and restaurants dotted the streets. It smelled real in Tradetown and the group found themselves in the Coxcomb Spirits, a very fine restaurant. The tavern was full of adventurers, which seemed to stress the staff out slightly. Making their way inside, the party picked out to clear adventuring bands. Merric introduced himself to the first group, discovering that they are the Freeriders. While they were helpful, they had only arrived a few days ago themselves and had never heard of Davin. The other group, rumored to be more famous, were the Farstriders lead by a haughty man named Edgar Sommerfield. Edgar seemed to know Davin and didn’t think very highly of him. He didn’t know where Davin was and clearly didn’t know he was dead, and was too absorbed in himself to see the damage his words were having on Merric. Eman worked the gossip angle, but most people just wanted to talk about the Orc invasion. Most didn’t want to talk about Vician the cruel because it was too dark of a subject. Ragnum Dourstone, the dwarven cleric of the Freeriders, did his best to comfort Merric, promising to give him any information they could find and strongly suggesting they sign in with the city council. With no real leads, they went to the city center and signed in with Elder Cadrick.
Not sure what to do, Elder Cadrick suggested that they stay in High Hall, near the council should they need them. Once they informed him they were looking for Davin, he produced records that Davin had signed in about 3 weeks ago and was staying at Belden’s Rest in Tradetown. Hoping to find more information there, the party agreed that Belden’s Rest as also where they would stay and made their way back to Tradetown. A lovely inn run by a older couple, Rory Teng a human and Ruth his half-elf wife, the party found the place to be pleasant and welcoming. After a short negotiation with Rory, the party retired to their rooms to get a fresh start in the morning.