The rangers began at the river delta south of Lake Hold at the lighthouse. They had a boat and a hired crew and no need or desire for either. The lighthouse staff helped them get a tug barge out to drag the pirate ship into the dock and then they asked the lighthouse mistress what to do. She informed them that according to maritime law she could hang the pirates, but that she had no desire to bury dead bodies, so she was inclined to take money and goods enough to cover the sale of the boat (minus a discount for not wanting it) and let them have it. The rangers agreed and the ship was basically plundered and left to the men, who made haste away under advisement to leave the Joker’s Plenty alone (Sabine made sure to let them know that the Lord of Light was giving them a second chance. They did not argue).
The trip back was a long slog due to inclement weather, unexpected rain, unexpected snow, and poorly planned watering routes (ooc: we skipped like 2 games due to the birth of my daughter and we had a lot of time to cover). Along the way they passed the spot where the bandits had been, but apart from a reasonably fresh grave near their abandoned camp, they found nothing.
Another two days down the road beyond Dooley they saw men working the side of the field (laying fence posts and digging big rocks up from a field) and recognized one or two of them as the bandits. A tense conversation was had in which it was revealed that the men had gone back to the Red Haired Woman after they discovered that the Grey Rangers were involved and quit her service. Taking out trade caravans for a huge profit was one thing, but fighting Grey Rangers was something else entirely. The woman had gone cross and one of the men got into an argument with her and she’d killed him on the spot (hence the grave). After that she paid the men minus “fees” and left. They’d have enough money to buy a bit of land for themselves and were now going into honest farming. The Rangers decided to leave them be.
Their arrival back in Karas was met with some cheers, some odd looks, and some surprise that they were not dead. The tanner said that he’d assumed they were back the night before since someone was in their tower, but since they were not, he assumed it was a vagrant. On the way in, Carn caught sight of someone heaving a bag out from under a stone. The figure heaved back and fell and Carn almost pounced …. before he recognized Jiard Okt, who had buried their pay for the last month so nobody stole away with it. He handed it off as well as two letters, one from Neekosh Neetar saying that he would be by the previous day (though he was coming from Homestead and also there had been terrible storms) and one from the dwarf who taught him a lot of Wright skills saying that he would soon be in Karas with something to show him.
Jiard left and they went inside, with Kithain calling out to whoever was present to flee or show themselves before the rangers had to deal with them. Across the stairs leading up was a string of pointed ears – probably from alakar – decorating the path. Carn tore it down but Kithain had already seen it and decided that their time was up.
On the third floor, beside a small fire sitting in a chair, they found the red headed woman waiting for them. Carn was furious and nearly shot her. There was a tense conversation in which she told them that the reason she had come was to be placed under arrest. The rangers were, to say the least, surprised. She was asked her name and she responded that she was Lady Beatrice Le Champ. Once arrested she demanded to speak with the Duke. Carn laughed and told her that she didn’t get to make demands. Then she introduces herself again: Lady Beatrice Le Champ, envoy of the Cardinal of the Treasury of the Prelacy of Camon.
Sabine knew right away what all that meant and was stunned, demanding that three of them follow her to speak. While they spoke Carn grilled the woman on why she did all those terrible things and ultimately grew so angry with her arrogance that he smashed his palm into her face, breaking her nose and causing a lovely bleed.
Sabine explained to the group that if the woman was a representative of the Cardinal of the treasury, then executing her would be tantamount to declaring war: something the Duke clearly could not afford. The rangers seemed hesitant to take her to the Duke, however, because they believes that he would have no option but to let her go and they did not want to see that.
A talk with the Duke proved helpful: they would hold her in a cell until some decisions could be made. At the very least they would await the arrival of the Corporal and see what the Rangers could offer, but the Duke agreed that the right thing to do, politically, was to let her go and apologize giving the Prelacy no reason to declare war.
Two days later Neekosh Neetar and 3 orcs from the Golden Eyes Brotherhood arrived, late and hungry, having run into bad weather on the road and run out of food that wasn’t packed in a box and dried to death. They were grateful for a meal and Neetar set about grilling the Rangers about what had happened. Carn was hesitant to talk about not serving Beatrice some sort of justice, unsure that it would make a difference since war seemed inevitable. Neekosh noted that if the Prelacy brought cavalry down into the south unprovoked, the Kingdom of Olara would send armies to assist. If Karas killed an envoy and declared war, they might not be so inclined to let themselves be drawn into battle. He agreed that she should pay, but it was eventually decided that she would be taken to Olara by his men and tried by the Council of Olara. Sabine asked him to verify that they had done well and would not be killed. He wasn’t sure what to make of that.
Three days later, Carn had constructed a cage and shackled for the woman and she left, leaving the rangers to fulfill Neetar’s new mission:
They are to find and capture Juku the Fist, a former ranger (and former member of the Yellow Eyes Brotherhood) who defected, turned traitor, and promised himself to Darkness in exchange for terrible powers. He showed them to the 6 anvils welded together on a small cart that anchored two thick chains and held in place two giant manacles which he was sure would hold Juku when he was captured. Juku, he said, still has allies somewhere inside the Grey Rangers, and it would be best for morale if they saw him tried and executed for his crimes. Neekosh said that he believes that this would break his hold and do away with any hidden threats inside the Rangers themselves.
- Lady Beatrice Le Champ: an agent of the Prelacy serving the Cardinal of the Treasury and who has recently been paying bandits large sums to raid farms and trade caravans.
- Daley: The Duke’s chamber maid
- Juku The Fist: darkness tainted ogre, former ranger
- Tovin: Orc of the Yellow Eyes Brotherhood who TPO Koriaster played the Goodwill card on. In the future he will be positively predisposed to him.