Fallen Star

DM's Log - Caravan in Peril: You were the one behind this!?

The party departs the greenlands, but not without incident

On the way out, Khashana informed the party that she had already buried Gar in the ruins outside the garrison, and so they allowed this fallen city to become the drow’s final resting place. Having few other options, the party made it’s way out of the city, following the mountain trail across the world’s spine towards Jonta, and were now several days behind the tax caravan. They had hoped to move quickly enough to catch up, but were sidetracked when they came across a scene full of blood trails leading off the precipitous mountain trail and overturned carts and wagons. They realized that the tail end of the caravan must have been attacked and was overpowered due to a lack of protection from the guards they had scene with it earlier.

After that scene they made an effort to pick up their pace, increasingly so once they had found a second attack site. This one looked like a more daring assault, as they found the bodies of multiple guardsmen, all killed with a mix of crossbow bolts and shallow blade cuts, except for one with a large slash wound on his back. Most of a day had passed and the group needed to rest. The next day they continued at their hurried pace, and another group had been attacked, except this group was not the rear, as they saw tracks going around the wreckage.

They began to hurry, but were intercepted by a strange cat-like creature that they did not recognize, except that it reminded Eglath of a tembo, a dark creature considered the equivalent of a bogeyman to the people of the mountains. It spoke to them, taunting them, as it’s murderous, evil aura seemed to eat away at their very souls. The group watched it closely, and Dumby even tried to strike it, but he was too fast and was next to Khashana before the dwarf’s blade came anywhere near him. As he made the focus of his taunts, Marmaroth, who had become quite protective of the girl since he had first scene her face-to-face in the cavern, warned the tembo not to harm the girl or he would suffer most dearly. Calling the revenant’s bluff, he bit at her. In a flash, the Marmaroth was next to him, and using his divine power to sequester and challenge an opponent, teleported himself and the tembo away from the group, but ended himself on the edge of the precipice and the tembo just over the edge. The tembo’s claws searched ineffectually for a foothold, but he swore they had not seen the last of him as he tumbled down the side of the mountain.

They rushed forward, only briefly scanning a fourth wreckage site. Their hurried pace allowed them to meet the caravan a day before it was due to arrive in Jonta; however, what they found was less than half of what they had seen back at Dilith. As they proceeded towards the front to find out what was happening a heavyset man beckoned them from his covered wagon. He promised each of them 50 gold coins if they acted as his personal guards for the duration. They recognized him as Severus Serneum, better known as Serneum the Sly, a shady but supposedly influential merchant. Marmaroth said he would accept the job on the condition that Khashana be allowed to ride in the safety and shade of his wagon (adding that any unsavory acts would result in a loss of the merchant’s manhood). Dumby and Shamash went to the front of the caravan and once again met Yorick, who was leading the caravan, as well as his two lieutenants.

The first of the two lieutenant was Arryn Drisdell, a young human noble who was handling the clerical work for the caravan. Comparing cargo to the trade manifests, counting coppers when the taxes were collected, and keeping the logs up to date were his primary responsibilities. The other lieutenant was a well known and respected old knight named Baenar Eracles, or more commonly Baenar the Bold. Baenar was in charge of assigning the guard placement, but they soon found that he and Yorick were constantly bickering over guard assignment. After helping to settle the debate by spreading guards (which they were now a part of) evenly among the areas they each wanted guarded, Yorick privately requested that Dumby and Shamash (because they had not been around the other days and were guaranteed innocents) investigate Arryn, Baern, and Serneum because they were each suspected of selling the caravan out to the mountain bandits.

The caravan had been separated into 7 subgroups, but after the daily attacks, only 3 remained. Shamash and Dumby took point so that they could continue questioning the noble and the knight. Eglath took the rear guard, as he would be the most capable of holding his own. Marmaroth remained in the center with Serneum and Khashana. As it happened, the target of today’s attack was Serneum’s caravan, and although they fended off the attack and even captured the spy that had delayed the rear to keep it from interfering, the assailants were more than the average mountain bandit. They were well-trained fighters and effectively used alchemical weapons and items in their attack, most notably choking gas bombs. Given the target of this assault, despite Baenar’s insistence that this was a misdirection, the party ruled out Severus as a suspect.

In their not-so-subtle intel gathering on the others, Dumby had gained a suspicion of Arryn, since he had access to all the information about where the best targets were, but Shamash was certain it was grizzled knight, because he seemed angry and hostile. Both of them lacked hard evidence, which Yorick demanded, especially if he was going convict Baern, as the knight had been a friend and mentor to him since childhood. When Eglath brought the captive to them for interrogation, Baenar insisted that they uphold their policy of no prisoners, and performed the execution himself. Unfortunately for him, this drew the party’s attention, and that night Dumby and Shamash went to spy on him. He left his tent and walked off after a while. Inside his tent they found copies of the caravan manifests and charters, which should not exist. They took them and followed him to what they found out to be a meeting between him and bandit. They overheard something about an attack the next morning, but ended up being spotted. They raced back to the caravan, doing whatever they could to wake their allies and slow Baenar in the process. They managed to reach Yorick seconds before him, and told Yorick everything. Realizing he was outmanned, Baenar surrendered to his former squire and was tied up until proper action could be taken against him.

The next morning the party was prepared for the attack, and rather than the trained warriors they had battled before, they were confronted with a mass of untrained, wild bandits whose skill was no match for the party, who tore through their ranks like butter. They reached Jonta by midday and Yorick thanked them for their hard work. He assured them that their efforts would not be wasted and that once the caravan reached the capital the ex-knight would get his due justice.

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