After their individual missions were complete, the party returned to Barradin’s Hold and assembled for the funeral of the fallen hero, Xanathan. Among those in attendance were both King Connor and the Lord Chamberlain. Lord Tremayne gave a heartfelt and moving eulogy and Xanathan’s body was placed to rest in a simple barrow den, as were his people’s customs. The party paid their respects, gathered their equipment, and left to begin their journey of exploration to pacify the north.
The northern border of Lyonesse was a dangerous place, traversed by only the heartiest of people. Hunters and trappers frequent the trading post, exchanging goods with Angus Kennet and his alleged wife Saarah. Electing to travel mainly by road, and avoiding the towns and villages, knowing that they didn’t take too kindly to races they weren’t familiar with, and that Draxxus would easily be mistaken for one of the people biggest threats, the lizardfolk. The party arrived at Kennet’s Trading Post roughly one week after setting out on their journey. The trading post was situated in a very strategic locale, which was fitting as it was previously a human outpost before the fall of the empire. High walls kept the post defended from unwanted guests, as well as the catapults situated atop the four towers. However, on further inspection, the catapults seemed to have fallen into an advance state of disrepair, and would need serious work to be in service again.
Trifus lead the way up to the gates of Kennet’s Trading Post, where the doors were pushed open by a large barrel-chested man with a stern face and a freshly bandaged left hand. A feminine voice called to the man from within the post, after which he turned and walked away going back to his previous task of patching a building. The party entered the trading post, walking in the direction of the woman’s voice, being watched carefully by the man the whole way in. Further inside the party is greeted by the woman whose voice they had heard calling moments ago. She welcomes them and says her name is Saarah, and takes the party to the store front.
Saarah: Excuse me, but you don’t look like our normal clientele. What is your business in these parts?
Trifus: We would like to start friendly relations, as we will be doing a lot of work in these parts over the next few months. However, I cannot divulge much more that than, ma’am.
Tayle: Can you tell us about the recent comings and goings in around the trading post?
Saarah: Im not sure what you are looking for, but the recent activity is the same as it always has been, only… lessened as of late. Hunters and trappers pass through, trading their goods. A group of dwarves passed through, saying they were traveling north to explore the wilds, but we never saw them again and, Aydin stopped through to trade goods, like he always does.
Trifus: What of the man we saw earlier?
Saarah: Oh you must mean Angus? That is my …husband.
Tayle shifts uncomfortably as he senses Saarah’s blatant lie.
Trifus: I saw Angus repairing a building outside, why has this trading post fallen into such disrepair?
Saarah: (looking slightly suspicious) Wait… You weren’t sent by the sheriff to help us?
The party looks at each other, slightly confused at the mention of “The Sheriff”. Saarah sees this and all the color drains from her face, she turns from the group, and opens the store front door, calling for Angus to come inside. The door closes behind her, but through it words exchanged between Angus and Saarah can barely be heard. The alleged couple discuss the sheriff and a letter that was sent to him. The door opens, and the couple return to the adventurers.
Angus: So, you weren’t sent here by the Sheriff? We had sent word to him, and were told that help would be on the way…
Trifus: Who is this sheriff that you speak of?
Angus: Sheriff Duncan. He moves from town to town, and stops here almost every two months, to see if anyone is having any problems. We had just sent him word two weeks ago, about this:
Angus removes the bandage from his hand, revealing stumps were two fingers had once been attached. The cut was clean, as if severed in a single blow, however it had been enough time that wound was almost fully healed.
Angus: A group of brigands appeared in the area some three months ago. They stormed the trading post with a large group demanding we pay them in goods or gold, or they would raze the post to the ground. They were led by a brutal looking woman that carried two axes, she is the one that did this, (raises hand, motioning to the severed fingers) they threatened to take my wife, and I fought back. Since then, they have returned on the first day of the month, just before sunrise.
Trifus: Do these bandits look like an organized group of fighters?
Angus: (pauses and thinks about the bandits) They look like common rabble, there bare nothing in common but for the fact that they all follow the woman with twin axes.
The party begins discussing the best way to proceed with this information, be it fortifying the trading and fighting it out, preparing for a siege, or even the possible conscription of these bandits to their cause. Angus overhears this conversation:
Angus: Conscription? Just who are you? What gives you the right to conscript people? Who are you really working for?
Caelynn: I am Lady Caelynn of House Neverwinter, we were sent here to reclaim this land for Lyonesse, and we were told that your trading post would be our best place to start.
Angus: Well my lady, titles of nobility are thrown around quite often around these parts, and usually those that claim them are as much nobility as myself and Saarah. But, if you wish to help, then I wont refuse.
The adventuring party requests, and is given a tour of the trading post, questioning the well-being of the walls, towers and the catapults. Angus explains that the wall are the most often repair thing in the post, and as such are the strongest. The towers are in decent shape, however the catapult will takes weeks to fix. The tour ended, inside the store front where it began, and it is there that Angus and the party discussed how best to deal with the bandits that were to arrive the following morning.
As the sun began to rise, the party lay in wait, ready to ambush the bandits as loaded there carts with ill-gotten goods. The two nobles, Caelynn and Draxxus hid inside the stables, while Trifus, Tayle and his spirit-wolf Shera stood in silence behind the guest quarters. Grunthar and Barthram, both capable ranged fighters, were to take perch atop southern most towers and prevent any escape. The bandits arrived right on time, and their demands for entry were met as Angus wrenched open the gates, allowing them to head straight for the storehouse to plunder his goods. It was then that the trap was sprung:
Grunthar and Barthram launched a volley of arrows and magic respectively. Grunthars arrow struck home, but managed to alert the other bandit, allowing to barely dodge Barthram’s destructive bolt. Hearing the attack start, Draxxus vaulted over the hay bale he was hiding behind, ran to the door, kicking it open, and bellowing a deep frosty breath. As Draxxus’ breath engulfed two of the bandits, Trifus burst forth from his hiding and charged the closest bandit, smashing the bandits full in the chest with his shield. The bandit stumbled, giving ground, and allowing Trifus to strike him again, almost knocking the bandit to the ground. Seething with rage at Angus’ betrayal of their deal, another of the bandits rush by Trifus, lending opening to a counterattack, and drives his blade deep into Angus, who falls to the ground, the life draining from his body. Tayle, accompanied by his wolf, rush to aid Angus and succeed at bringing him back from the brink of death. The man leading these bandits, turned on his heel and unleashed an attack on Draxxus, spurring his men to action, two more bandits attacked Draxxus, who almost fell under the flurry of blows. Caelynn leaped from behind her hay bail and sped to her dragonborn companion’s aid, stabbing and slicing at two of the bandits, electricity crackling through the air from her blades.
With a clear view of the entire battle, Grunthar summons forth a dense mist and urges it to cover Draxxus and Caelynn decreasing the bandits’ visibility of his allies. He then fires two at the same time, both finding their mark in two separate bandits, quickly knocking and firing two more arrows. One barely misses it mark, but the other hits home, dropping the bandit, and taking his life. Spurred by the fresh kill, Grunthar fires yet another arrow into the previously missed target, blood pouring from the wound. Seeing an enemy near death, Barthram runs from the tower and along the ramparts, magic crackling around him.
Pointing his rod at the wounded bandit, a crackling bolt of dark energy rips through the air, and tears the life from the bandit. With a loud roar, Draxxus’s wounds begin to heal in front of the bandit’s eye. Draxxus attacks the bandit leader exposing a weakness, then quickly feints purposefully exposing a weak point of his own, taunting the leader to attack. Trifus, seeking vengeance for the near death of Angus, bashes one of the bandits into the gate, causing the bandit to fall upon his shield, to which Trifus again smashes in to the bandit. However the bandit regains his composure much quicker this time, feints left, and slides his foot up and behind Trifus’. As Trifus begins to fall to the ground, he is met with the pommel of the bandit’s weapon in his face. One of the bandits attacking Draxxus slips inside the stables and attempts to attack the dragonborn with a garotte, but is unable to gain a foothold. The other bandit at the stables turn his attention to Caelynn, and bellows in her face, drawing her attention as well. The final bandit left alive charges the down Trifus, attempting the skewer him, but despite his heavy armor, he quickly rolls to the side, avoiding the attack. Tayle thrust his spear deep into one of the bandits that were attacking Trifus, ending its life, while at the same time commanding his wolf. Shera leaps from the shadows, burying her teeth into the leg of another bandit. The bandit leader seizes the opening left by Draxxus and attacks, this attack however was fully anticipated and results in a counterattack. The leader steps back, further from the stables, and renews his assault on Draxxus, landing a devastating blow, piercing his chest. Caelynn again steps to her companion’s aid, attacking both bandits in the barn, but only landing one blow.
Grunthar, seizing the opening left by the bandit leader being out in the open, looses a arrow straight for him. The arrow pierces the leader’s neck, blood spraying from the wound. Gurgling, the bandit falls to his knees, dead. Seeing the bandit locked in Shera’s jaws, Barthram unleashes another crackling black bolt of magical energy that punches through the bandit’s chest, leaving it dying in a heap, then gracefully leaps from the parapet. Draxxus again summons his strength, and his fresh wounds begin to heal anew, allowing him roar a command for Caelynn to press the attack on the bandits. Caelynn follows the command given and quickly slips her rapier between the weak spots in the bandit’s mail, blood oozes from the wound. Now free of the bandits, Trifus moves to assist his allies in the stables. One of the remaining bandits attempts to side step Caelynn to gain better position, but is easily out maneuvered by the female noble, who thrusts her rapier deep into the bandit’s chest. With an agonizing cry, the bandit falls to the ground, never to rise. But seeing his brother fall spurs the remaining bandit, who quickly trips Caelynn, and delivers a blow to her face with the pommel of his dagger. Tayle, hot on Trifus’ trail, speeds toward the stables, casting healing spells as he moves, and quickly resuscitating the prone Caelynn.
Grunthar, unable to assist the battle from his current locale, takes a running jump, flipping from the tower to the building below, he continues his run to the edge, stopping only to fire one of his golden arrows at the last remaining bandit. The arrow strikes the bandit, completely immobilizing him in shock. Seizing the opportunity, Draxxus grabs the bandit, who wriggles free, tripping the dragonborn as he had his ally, and dealing a near deadly blow, leaving him limp on the ground. Caelynn attempts to counter, and as she narrowly misses, Tayle tries to strike the bandit with the wooden shaft of his spear, but his attack lands just as unsuccessful as the previous. Caelynn steps in tries to grab the bandit in the same fashion as Draxxus, and is assisted by the warlock, Barthram. Draxxus moves to his feet, and tries to move into a less dangerous position from which he can assist his allies, but the Dragonborn Standard he carried with him echoed Draconic battle commands deep in his head, forcing his hand to fight. Regaining his sense, Draxxus quickly turns his assault at the bandits life, into an attempt to knock him unconscious. Thinking fast through the heat of battle, Trifus brings forth a length of rope from his pack, and uses it with Tayle, to bind the bandit.
In the aftermath of the battle, the party assisted Angus to the store front and into the care of his alleged wife, the captured bandit was imprisoned in one of the empty compost pits at the back of the trading post, and the bandits moved to woods and buried, so as not to contaminate the people in the trading post.