After accumulating whatever equipment they could from Furnok of Ferd at very reasonable, almost Guild, prices the party set off. Once more camping on the edge of the Wyre Forest, a careful watch was kept for ogres and pegasi. True to form, as they travelled into the forest the next morning, they came across a gang of ogres finishing off a small group of bandits.
The encounter could have quickly turned into a slaughter. The ogres had already killed four of the bandits and despatched a fifth as the party arrived. The sixth bandit got lucky and ran off into the deep undergrowth. The rest of the ogres rumbled towards the Ashen Blades, but were brought to heel by a judicious casting of Stinking Cloud. One ogre was then put to Sleep, while the others were dealt with over several minutes while coughing, spluttering and spewing their guts up. Apart from a brief incident where the foolhardy Bladedancer entered the Stinking Cloud to fight in hand-to-hand before she too succumbed to the vile and noxious vapours, there was little damage to the party. The sleeping ogre when revived proved to be recalcitrant in the manner of previous encounters proclaiming that no true mortal harm could befall anyone while Granite protects. Again, the Anti-Paladin harangued the party over tracking down what must obviously be an ogre lair somewhere near, but the party were keen not to spend the night in the forest and made for the Castellan’s Keep.
At the Keep, some more provisioning was undertaken and some rumours were picked up. The previous party heading for the Barrow Downs had not returned through the Keep and a lone raving lunatic had arrived screaming about death and loss. His wretched carcass was sleeping rough by the Thrassian’s pit. The garrison were taking bets on when he would fall in and be massacred. Taking what they could buy, the Ashen Blades then headed out to Deerbye, a short trip north east cross the plain.
Deerbye is, frankly, a dump. Most people are followers of the Auld Faith and eke out pitiable livelihoods in whatever farming or crafts they can pursue. Asking around, it was discovered that there is a fairly brisk trade of adventuring groups passing through to the Barrow Downs, but most guides, through either fear or ineptitude, couldn’t locate a pristine Barrow for love nor money.
While yet more provisioning and some rumour mongering were going on, the Anti-Paladin and Corsair managed to get into a bar brawl with a barman and some of his patrons. The fight was not going so well for the Anti-Paladin until the Corsair intervened. The Corsair’s blow felled an assailant, breaking his jaw and knocking out several teeth. Before any sort of hue and cry could be raised, the miscreant Anti-Paladin and Corsair beat a hasty retreat back to the rest of the Blades.
Bedding down overnight in another inn, our intrepid band set out next morning seeking adventure.