Blog Editor’s Note: The next two blog posts are actually from three sessions. The anti-paladin’s kidnap and rescue happened over a session and a half, while the Ashen Blade’s arrived at Lady White’s Ruins in the second half session.
Arriving back in Hommlet, the party had several housekeeping tasks to undertake. Monies were counted, taxes and tithes prepared and magic items detected. The various beastmen have been billeted in various areas of the dungeon area below the Moathouse and some of the upstairs rooms were considered for occupation. More on this later…
The elven spell-casters settled down for some contemplation and research to add some spells to their repertoires. The Craftpriest received a cryptic message to meet with Ostler Gundigoot as soon as possible. The Anti-paladin held some open auditions at the Inn of the Welcome Wench to recruit a henchman of bardic persuasion. The Corsair chose to go for a quiet drink, not thinking that the only drinking establishment was the Inn of the Welcome Wench.
Sitting in the corner of the bar wearing a hooded cloak and nursing a single goblet for a considerable time was a Mysterious Stranger. The Anti-paladin has an autistic spectrum disorder that means he has to start an unsolicited and ill-advised fight in any bar he enters. He decided that mysterious strangers fit the bill. Buying some expensive liquor and some watered wine he set about trying to engage the stranger in conversation. The Craftpriest paid little attention (and had in any event not been with the Blades during the “Berserkergang Blackout Brawl” in the Castellan’s Keep). The Corsair recognised the signs and sidled towards a suitable exit. Words were exchanged as the Anti-paladin tried to engage the stranger in conversation and a friendly drink, as a prelude to getting him drunk enough to make the fight a little more one sided. The stranger was having none of it and the interaction went rapidly downhill. The stranger yelled a code word, which sent Gundigoot hiding behind the bar and the private room behind the Anti-paladin revealed a cleric of Law. A Hold Person and a swift blow to the side of the head meant the Anti-paladin’s dreams of another fight were quickly stifled.
It transpired that the other patrons, apart from a hobgoblin legionary who was paid off and sold a pup of a story, were all in on the plan. The cleric was Calmert, formerly of this parish; the mysterious stranger was Rufus, former associate of Lord Burne and now avenging paladin of Law; and bringing up the rear was Elmo, wilderness ranger and agent of the Duke of Clwyd. Just like the old days when Elemental Evil tried to raise its ugly head, the locals have plans involving insurrection against the rule of the Legions. These have now been disrupted by the inopportune imprecations of a foolish Anti-paladin…
The Craftpriest meanwhile had been invited into the secret room below the fireplace in the private room. There, an injured dwarf with tales of goblin ambush and friends holed up in an abandoned ruin was being cared for by the Ostler and his family. The Craftpriest returned to the Moathouse and passed on information about potential adventure. Oh, and the Anti-paladin had been captured by the forces of Law.
The spell-casters abandoned their researches and raised the garrison of Hommlet. The search was a little one sided as the Craftpriest knew where the latch for the secret door behind the fireplace was. The agents of Law though had cast beneficial magics to block the door, although there were other entrances. Using the time required to locate the door in the cellar, the Lawful interlopers escaped through the tunnel dig those many years ago to avoid the agents of Elemental Evil. The Blades and a few legionaries eventually caught up and guessed that at least two dozen horses had been in the area. It was starting to look like Law had a proper plan.
The agents of Law cut their losses. The original plan had gone south with little hope of returning, but perhaps there was honour amongst the evil cabal. Offering an exchange under truce, the Anti-paladin would be returned in exchange for the hobgoblin priest of Mars. The Ashen Blades opted to take up the offer while double crossing anyone who got in their way (including the Anti-paladin if necessary).
The Chaotic plan was to gather as many of the garrison that could be spared and pretend that the priest had been captured. In addition, the Nightblade would take all the missile troops the Tribunus could spare and reconnoitre the Druid’s Grove meeting place the previous evening. A series of fortunate rolls and a total cock up on the part of the Lawful camp meant that when the time came to attack surprise could well be on the Blades’ side. As the time of the meeting arrived, the Nightblade gad each of his men pick a target and opened fire just before negotiations could begin. Sleep spells were cast, Hold Person failed. Rufus and Elmo started wading through the legionaries. The shooting match was one sided, mainly because the lawful men at arms were split between two copses of trees and couldn’t bring the same amount of firepower to bear. The cleric, Calmert, was killed by a combination of force and backstabbing. The Corsair went toe-to-toe with Rufus, and attempted to disarm him but in the end had to be satisfied with crashing blow after blow against his armour. In the end Rufus and Elmo were forced to retreat with only a handful of their men. They left behind the Anti-paladin but had his mighty sword and nearly two dozen dead and wounded. The losses to the legion’s small cohort were relatively light, but still eight hobgoblins had been killed.
Rounding up the prisoners and returning them to Hommlet for justice, the Ashen Blades claimed a victory of sorts. The ducal men-at-arms were crucified, along with Ostler Gundigoot. The main force of the legion has left for Chainspire, leaving the Tribunus and the reminder of his cohort to garrison the village. The Blades opted to head north to rescue the dwarves…