The Rangers recovered nicely from their botched trade negotiations in Hale as nicely as they could, getting on the road early the next day and putting the dirt and grime of that situation behind them. Carn spent the majority of his free time that day and the next examining the device they had taken from the would-be attacker. It was clear that it was some sort of worked device, and the soft glow from the crystal in the base meant that it was a likely source of power, but despite a few engineering principles at work, Carn could not for the life of him determine how the thing worked. He decided that it required further study.
The next day Kodiaster saw a horse moving toward them along the road which, he presumed, held a rider. When it got closer, it seemed that it DID have a rider, of a sort. They assumed he was dead, at first, and lashed to the pommel, but when the horse stopped he took in a breath and the rangers set about healing and dismounting him. He was wearing the battle standard of Olara, and the look of it identified him as a light armored member of The Order of the Hammerfall Riders, probably a long range scout. He was a mess: dehydrated, wounded, starving and having not left the horse in days he was also a bot of a mess.
Once the man was awake and aware he introduced himself as Minosh, a scout, as predicted. His group had been routed by the Crimson Crusade and they’d lead them on a wild chase through the rolling hills of Olara till they’d given up chase. Trouble was, by then they had no idea where they were, either. the squad went south till they hit the south road and then sent a scout in either direction to see if they were closer to Hale or Harken. From the look on the man, the correct answer had been Harken and he’d been riding for days without food or water. The Rangers put down for camp there and tended to the man’s wounds and weariness.
The next day he was much more awake and aware and provided the group with what he could as a progress report, but it wasn’t much: the front is a mess and the Crimson Crusade are cunning and patient. Minosh did not feel optimistic.
A few moments later, the rangers walked into a trap: crossbowman who must have seen them coming miles off in this terrain and hidden themselves rose from shallow pits and opened fire, nearly killing Kodiaster and wounding several others. The rangers moved into action, evading, attacking, and doing their best to take down the crossbowman before they reloaded. Shaina created an illusion around the group of a wall of fire, giving the crossbowmen pause. Sadly, because she didn’t say anything, it gave the rangers pause as well, but they soldiered through to attack. Solvayus, after a brief stop to heal Kosiadter, lashed out with his fists at the men. Sabine leaped into the fray and brought her staff to bear, blessing the party’s ability to fight in honor of the Lord of Light. Carn took a close look at the men and realized that while they were dressed like bandits, their weapons and tactics were quite uniform. He announced to the party that they were trained soldiers and to be careful. Kodiaster and Kithain fired at the enemy with arrows and magic. Carn used a strange device to propel himself across the field and into one of the men, crushing him with a mighty hammer blow. Amid the fray a large black raven could be seen circling overhead, watching everything (Sabine’s player placed the adventure card that gained the attention of Saderin). Even the exhausted Hammerfall scout managed to bring a rock down on one of the attackers.
Soon the attackers were down and the Rangers remained. One fled, but his flight south didn’t bode well for his survival.
A survey of the area showed that the attackers had a camp nearby and some letters to be sent home written by one – once translated by Sabine – revealed that they were new recruits who had been sent to the south to disrupt trade. Sabine spent the next hour breaking their weapons, vowing that they would take no more lives.
Two more uneventful days of travel brought the Rangers to Harken and a quick flash of the cloaks to the sentry had them inside with directions. Minosh left to join his men, thanking the Rangers profusely. They traveled to a small house that the Rangers maintain in the city. Built into the side of a hill, the house is only bodied by a Dwarven Sergent Major named Mindra Stoneholler. They ate and stayed in real bed (a few of them, at least) and were told that one of the heads of the military council was in town (it’s wartime, and they move). She suggested that whatever their mission was in the Capitol, they speak with his before they leave to make sure as many people as possible are informed. In the morning, they got an appointment.
A few of the Rangers (Sabine, Carn, and Kodiaster) walked to the Stoneholler home and met Malin Stoneholler, the master of the house and Lord Marmar Stoneholler, one of the heads of the Olaran army .Once they were alone with Lord Marmar, they told him that they were looking for Juku the Fist and Reet Tuck, who they believed sprung Juku from a ranger prison and brought him here. he did not seem overly concerned, though he did want their opinions regarding what was to be done and what their plan was. Of note:
- He assumes that both Reet and Juku are in or around the Capitol, though he was not clear on why he thinks that.
- He revealed that Juku had 4 death sentences passed on him in Olara and that they would like to see them met.
- He would like to see Juku turned on the Crimson Crusade, so that his death serves the military.
- He believes that Reet will speak rationally and that her service to the kingdom means that the King will insist that she be given a chance to speak before the Rangers have a chance to touch her.
He left the room to write a matter for the council that he asked the Rangers to take. They don’t seem to trust him, and probably with good cause. Sabine remained at the estate that night to perform some magic to determine whether or not he was dedicated to Darkness.
- Minosh: a scout from the Olaran army
- Mindra Stoneholler: Sergeant Major ranger and the only ranger in Harken
- Malin Stoneholler: fat lazy dwarf and the head of house Stoneholler in Harken
- Lord Marmar Stoneholler: a member of the Olaran military council and a ranking officer