This night started as so many others had for Arifal. He had recently returned from his mission to Dain Stokeley. There were matters in these lands that needed looking after and the Dain had sent him back. After all, Arifal had proven quite adept at solving problems and he was close to some of the other elements in the dale that could prove useful.
It was a night such as this that he would meet them. Walking in from the chill rainy night, Arifal went up to the bar and ordered his usual. Most patrons waited to be served. Arifal had other ideas and being as he was a regular since the place opened he went around behind the bar and helped himself. The barkeep Bartaban had no problems with this arrangement as it made him good coin. Addie the barmaid was kept quite busy this night, though there were far fewer patrons.
The famed halfling bard Rinaldo was nowhere to be seen and a taller white haired lady was playing her instrument instead. Her lute was not bad but it was clear she banked on her looks. Still it was strange that Rinaldo was not present. Cora quipped as much to Arifal, somewhat startling the stalwart dwarf. She had entered almost unnoticed and promptly helped herself to the bar. She placed 4 coppers for her drink and entertained herself by moving the coins around (and pocketing a few) when Bartaban was not looking.
The final member of their trio arrived a bit later. Shaking the rain from his cloak, Jerimia strode into the warm, dimly lit tavern. The "White Lady" was not his favorite watering hole (despite the welcoming arms of Leanne, the tavern's "hostess") but this night he had business with companions. Leanne gave him her sweetest smile, but he was in no mood for this night. Dark things had been testing the bounds of the ranger's patrols.
Arifal saw his old companion enter and watched as he took a table off on his own. He wondered what was on the man's mind. Then he saw two rough looking barbarians enter the tavern and take up a corner table (which Arifal knew meant they must be looking for trouble). Jerimia had seen them down the street, he watched them follow him to the bar.
The place was on edge though the usual patrons were not aware of it. A third barbarian had entered after a bit and made himself comfortable in another part of the tavern floor. The three of them were looking around and leering at the various members of the party. It was clear they were up to no good, but this made it seem more targeted than random. Arifal started pretending to be far more drunk than he really was. He intended to get closer to the newcomers. All was starting to come together when the bard got up and she left.
The next interruption was a Ffolk barbarian that wandered in already two sheets to the wind. He was a talkative sort, full of bluster and booze. Poor Leanne took one look at him and the other ruffians and began silently trying to get Jerimia's attention. Cora was amused to the point of considering if any of them were worth stealing anything from. She moved closer to the large Ffolk and he was shocked to see that she was a "wee little gal".
The barbarians, save the drunken Ffolk began looking over the heroes for one final assessment, Arifal had drawn their attention with his faux drunken tomfoolery. Then a cruel looking woman with ratty blonde hair walked in. She had a perpetual sneer and looked over the party with contempt. Cora disliked her at first sight. Thinking that meant time to prepare for violence, Cora went towards the woman. The newcomer made some petty snipes at Cora before letting out a signal for her men to attack.
The barbarians launched into a sudden ambush, the attack was unfortunately for them, well prepared for. Arifal took to the violence with gusto, no longer appearing drunk in the slightest. Cora took out her blades and went knife to knife with the cruel woman. Jerimia took to shooting at the attackers. Arifal had some "assistance" from the Ffolk which involved the drunken lout falling over a table and landing on his face. They fell into a rough scrum in that corner of the tavern, while Jerimia calmly shot arrows at the foe. Cora was in a one sided knife fight with her foe, quickly wearing her enemy down with shallow cuts.
As the battle turned more against the attackers, they had three more men rush in to assist. These were not barbarians, but local toughs. Cora recognized the tall bald man that rushed in to attack Arifal, and the fellow who thought an archery duel with Jerimia was a good idea. Thinking this was getting out of hand (and grateful that Arifal convinced the tavern staff to get out of the room earlier) Cora decided to end her duel with the blonde. She moved fast and jammed her dagger into the woman's gut, doubling her over then drove her other blade through her torso. Just in time as the third thug came in snapping his whip at Cora. He hit her right in the chest and knocked the breath out of her, but only briefly. Quick as a snake (and professional tavern brawler) Cora ducked inside and gutted the bastard. She first cut his trousers down around his ankles, knocked him over, then a swift slice across the throat stilled him.
She looked back to see Jerimia drive an arrow through the other archers eye with such force that it took him back out the door into the street. Arifal finished his battle with a massive hammer blow to the skull of the man known as Billiam Cowhurd. Billiam hit the ground with the stamp of Mithral Hall embedded in his forehead. The last barbarian looked frightened. In mere moments his entire ambush came apart and he found himself all alone. Arifal being the merciful dwarf he is told him simply "surrender". This would prove to be the luckiest day in his life (save the day he got his moniker of "wyrmpiss") the barbarian Uric of the wolf tribe readily surrendered.
Arifal then checked for survivors. His mercy was rewarded with two unconscious and one concious captive. The blonde woman had been wearing a wig, now that it was off, her red hair gave her away to Cora. She recognized now both Billiam and Bryce (no relation to each other), both were well known lowlifes about Bryn Shander, though Bryce was new to town and less of a known quantity. Billiam, now he was a funny chap. Full on idiot. But he had "Slim's" ear and that meant something on the streets. Cora kept note in her head about this little alliance she had helped dispatch.
A quick search of the captives had shown the hand of yet another player in the mix. They found a wizards sigil on two scroll cases. It was apparent from Bryce's admonitions to kill the whole party and find the "key" that this new player had vested interest in the party's demise. Jerimia had little enough concern and decided to take Leanne upstairs to "comfort" her, leaving the interrogation all to Arifal and Cora. Arifal was the more patient (and merciful) of the pair and entered into a bantering tone with Billiam. Cora could only laugh as the damned fool essentially spilled the beans about everything. Including his task to remove Bryce as a rival by his "Master".
Arifal had finally heard enough from the fool, tied him up and took him out to sit in the rain. After all a nice cool rainy night in Easthaven is just what a fractured skull could use to heal. After that he turned Uric loose. He had decided the poor tribesman had suffered enough. Told him to take his money (what he and his fellows were paid to help assassinate the party) and go. Uric swore then and there that he would always remember the mercy of Arifal and would repay the debt!
After those two he finally decided it was time for Bryce to wake up and answer for her part. Arifal was always too much a gentleman and the conversation took longer than Cora would have liked. But as usual, he coaxed out all he wanted to hear. She admitted her lover the apprentice necromancer Eyrdak Falcurst had sent her and Billiam to eliminate the party and recover the key to the tomb of the mage Hobart Folstrom. Arifal vaguely remembered the name (an old foe long ago slain) She was shocked when Arifal showed her the letter instructing Billiam to eliminate her, after that, the answers flowed freely. Arifal decided that in the morning, they would be paying master Falcurst a little visit. He was hiding out in an old abandoned temple to Umberlee.
The heroes took the rest of the night off, but Arifal kept Bryce close at hand, he could not fully trust her and she had agreed to lead them to the necromancers lair and assist where she could. The night went far too fast for the drunken and the tired. Yet in the morning Arifal was briskly rushing down for bacon and ale! Slowly Jerimia woke and gently slid out of the bed, careful to leave Leanne asleep. He headed down to find Arifal eating like he had not had a drop to drink! Cora came down next and the three all sat for a hearty breakfast. They were not surprised to hear The Ffolk (his name was finn by the way) cursing and falling down the stairs. Bryce was last down, far too tired and hurt to just jump up.
Breakfast was soon done and Arifal was eager to get this done with, a wizard is not a foe to leave unchallenged for long. They can come up with all manner of mischief. Rallying the party away from the breakfast table, they set off towards a small part of town near the edge, an abandoned dock area. Cora faded into the background and moved to the side streets, her eyes scanning the shadows for any sign of movement. It was eerily still throughout and Bryce made clear that the abandoned houses could harbor the undead. This brought some consternation but they pressed on valiantly.
The place was a bit eerie by the old chapel and some of the statues seemed almost alive, staring out into the wild from the edge. Cora kept a steady pace checking for any watcher. Jerimia kept looking at those creepy statues staring in towards the party….That was when they all suddenly realized that something was wrong. Arifal dropped a pillar of holy fire on the lead gargoyle. That caused them to assault the party suddenly. Cora engaged quickly but was unsure of the danger of the beasts stone skin. She was told by Bryce that the dagger she took from her was capable of harming the beasts. Arifal and jerimia rained destruction from afar, Bryce threw eldritch blasts to assist while Cora went into close combat. Jerimia saw that she was outnumbered so drew his swords and engaged. Again the fight was swift and terrible, but after some fierce injuries to the heroes, the gargoyles were destroyed and the party approached the temple.
The front door was locked and Cora sprung into action, unlocking it with her usual skill. Entering in slowly she checked the area and thought it safe. Of course the Ffolk barbarian did his usual careless strut and promptly got himself shocked to death by a lightning bolt trap in the main chamber. Cora was a bit shocked but quickly managed to disable the trap (pocketing it for later use) Bryce then directed them to the hidden door to the crypts below.
The corridors were dark and damp but the heroes pressed on with Cora checking for traps and other unpleasant surprises. The going was slow but cautious and they managed to at last arrive at the inner sanctum. The necromancer was waiting for them, a sneer on his face. Arifal boldly entered the chamber to greet him, not pausing for his two zombie guards, but instead routing them with a burst of divine energy. The necromancer tried to negotiate, seeing as he was outnumbered and likely outclassed. He was surprised to see his former associate with his enemies, but was far more surprised when Jerimia put an arrow in his heart.
It was a harsh surprise! as he sunk into death he was unaware of his pet rust monster making nice with his foes. The heroes then searched the place over for clues and treasure. It was then that the necromancers master tried to contact him. Fortunately Arifal was quick thinking and had Bryce respond instead. She was certain that the voice on the other end was none other than Vaelish Gant. A new arrival in the Ten Towns and potential threat. He was supposedly plotting to take over.
The heroes had heard enough and left the crypts, sealing them behind. They recovered the body of the poor Ffolk and then returned to the tavern to consider the night. Jerimia was unfortunate as Leanne's attentions were elsewhere. Seeing his friends "distress" he instead tried to set him up with Bryce. While all this was occurring Cora felt an eerie presence. thinking not much of it she continued to listen to the bard who was back and playing music. Jerimia excused himself, while Bryce mistook a quip from him as more than it was. He stepped out into the night. Something had been watching, and it was of some concern.
Jerimia tracked it down the street, but then was assaulted by two animated corpses. They had strange yellow lights glowing in their eyes and he realized their was more to them than mere zombies. The first was cut down with arrows and the second, surprisingly withdrew. Much to Jerimia's surprise. The first to fall had two yellow glowing fireflies leap from his eye sockets then fly away. Considering this he went back to the tavern and brought out his companions. They returned to the area and began searching. Finally they did discover the source of the watching. A small wood and vine construct! They chased it until if fled into a house. Arifal, concerned for the inhabitants, kicked in the door and blasted it with divine fire. The creature was instantly destroyed to the shrieking of the family inside. Arifal was quick to calm them down before excusing himself back to the tavern. It was going to be one of those evenings he was sure of it!……………………..