1430, Zor, 5 Aufgasta, 3E998
Lt. Diplo Norixius, Erendriel Thalolan, Potema and Diplo’s dire wolf mount stood in empathetic silence as Thia finished sawing Madcoil’s head from it’s body, her vengeance for the destruction of her wolf pack family finally wrought. It took a few minutes for her sobs and anger to subside, but before long she had regained her stoic composure, and Diplo had his friend back. The three turned to searching the area and the cave, looking for valuables lying in amongst the corpses.
Within the cave, Diplo found the body of a merchant who had, unfortunately, gotten his wrist caught within the handle of a small, locked chest as he was being rended and thrashed to death by Madcoil. The arm, wrist and hand were broken in several places… basically little more than a sack of flesh than an appendage anymore… but had managed to remain trapped within the short, steel loop. He gently threaded the destroyed wrist and hand back out through the handle, freeing it from the small but densely packed chest. He examined and fiddled with the lock, searched the corpse of a key, but did not find one and eventually gave up trying to open it without some help back at Hellespont. Within another part of the cave, Thia found the corpse of a ranger, long dead and most of his gear slashed and mangled beyond use. She did, however, find a set of bracers of highly refined quality, as well as a quiver of incredibly intricate design, and she took both items for identification.
The remainder of the search yielded little of value… a few inexpensive trinkets and personal effects. The three packed up what they had found, and set fire to the already putrefying corpse of Madcoil. Once they had destroyed the corpse by fire and the fire was out, Diplo resummoned his steed in its giant eagle form, took the chest and flew back to Hellespont. Thia and Thalolan mounted up on Potema and the dire wolf ran them swiftly back to Hellespont, half a day behind Diplo. Diplo had taken the chest to Master Brylen, who for his customary 5 gp fee Knock ’ed the lock open. Inside, he found 700 cp, 5,000 sp, 1,800 gp and 120 pp. When Thia and Thalolan returned, Thia also visited Master Brylen and paid him to Identify the bracers and the quiver for her. She had found Bracers of Archery and a Quiver of Ehlonna.
Far, 6 Aufgasta, 3E998
The trio held a quiet celebration just among themselves for the victory over Madcoil, and the next morning Diplo mounted up and returned to Anchorhead to rejoin the core members of Heroes 4 Hire on their next adventure. The team would go on to begin their Danger at Darkshelf Quarry mission, but Thia remained in Hellespont with Thalolan and Potema, continuing her training with Father Tristan.
The next two months would pass peacefully for Thia, learning from Tristan, enjoying her friends in the village, spending her free time getting to know Thalolan again and hunting with Potema. Thalolan was friendly but closely guarded, and she took things slowly as he recounted details of her earlier life for which she had no memory. A large weight had been lifted off her shoulders with the destruction of Madcoil, she for once in her life, she was feeling at peace and even… happy.
0600, Far, 6 Decia, 3E998
The Sea Wyvern sailed into Anchorhead a little before dawn, returning the Heroes 4 Hire from Darkshelf and the end of the Secret of the Slavers’ Stockade mission. Thia had received a Sending from Illyia Baham a few days before and rode into town later that day to rejoin her comrades and partake in advancement training with the rest of them. They found Ryoun Rodri at the Harbormaster’s Office, still teaching a few days a week, and he introduced them to a potential new recruit, a friend he had made named Smedley Hampton. They also visited with Calyx Siannodel at the Temple of Belenus and inquired if she was ready to rejoin the group. Unfortunately she turned them down stating she had duties there that remained that she could not leave at the moment, but would find them when she was ready.
Thia introduced everyone to Thalolan, and the entire party took their usual rooms at the Onyx Fountain Inn… everyone except Thia and Thalolan, who set up camp on the outskirts of the Tents of Rusheme’ to be near Potema and ease Thalolan’s discomfort with large crowds. Smedley also introduced the party to his Ranger Companion, a grizzly bear named Rumblebelly. Potema and Rumblebelly, after much sniffing and posturing, decided that they would not fight each other, but instead gave each other a wide berth. Everyone got meals and a good night’s rest, readying themselves for tomorrow’s training start.
Far, 27 Decia, 3E998
After three weeks of advancement training with their respective training masters, Alton Beeblebrox, Dajjal, Diplo, Illyia and Thia were ready to put their new skills to use. As they returned to the Onyx Fountain Inn after graduation, Zimen Rehler greeted each of them as they passed the reception desk in the lobby and informed them they had a visitor awaiting them in the dining room. The Heroes reassembled after getting cleaned up in the dining room and met their visitor, a Herald of the Executor of Eridae. The party approached him with caution, unsure of why a messenger from the Eridani head of state would be seeking them. The Herald introduced himself, and informed the party that they were being invited at the Executor’s pleasure to a dinner in their honor in the capital city of Eridan, specifically for their exploits in the degradation of the slaving network based in the despoiled land of Morytania, their service to Eridae’s close ally of the Kingdom of Valenar, and the recovery of the captured slaves including the blonde, half-elven boy Cody. The team graciously accepted the invitation, worked out the details and schedule with the Herald, grabbed some dinner and went to bed.
The next morning, they loaded up the wagon with everyone, including the Herald, and rode out toward Eridan. The nip in the air was sharp, and snow had fallen overnight, blanketing the normally bustling port town in a sheet of fluffy white. The road to Eridan was well traveled, and for the next four days the Heroes 4 Hire and their companion enjoyed easy travel and pleasant conversation.
Wir, 4 Janosh, 3E999
The initial approach to the capitol was awe-striking; the Heroes stopped the wagon as they crested the last hill at the edge of the forest on the rim of the River Eridae basin. There before them, across nearly five miles of farmland speckled with snow, stood the gleaming city of Eridan. The city sat like a jewel at the mouth of the Eridae River Delta, sprawling across an insane area, the center built two levels high. Everywhere they looked they saw life… farmers working fields, wagons moving goods to market, shippers loading and unloading cargo at the docks. In an irregular pattern across the city, massively tall spires reached skyward, their tops emitting a faintly blue light. They marveled at the sight for a few moments, and then proceeded on towards the city leaving Potema and Rumblebelly to their own devices in the woods.
The Herald directed them through the streets to a fancy hotel near the central district where the city’s second level rises over the old city. Once checked in, the Herald discussed Protocol with them at length, the etiquette of state-level interactions, the schedule and attendees for the next day’s dinner and the expectations. After that, the Heroes had the rest of the day to explore the capitol and go shop the seemingly endless wares available. They all made sure they had proper attire for the dinner, and enjoyed each others’ company.
Zor, 5 Janosh, 3E999
The Heroes slept in late and ate a wonderful brunch, and were met outside by a fancy carriage provided by the Executor to take them to the dinner. They arrived at the Senate building in the early afternoon, and were treated to a personal tour of the amazing structure and the legislature it normally holds. At the appointed time, the Heroes 4 Hire were brought into the main Senatorial oratory, where long banquet tables and chairs had been set with the full regalia of the Republic. Within, they met:
- Executor Galidor, the elven Executor of Eridae;
- King Aurelius von Heny and his wife Queen Elin, the human Monarchy of Valenar;
- Duke Gyles Arres von Heny and his son Cody von Heny, the King’s human brother and half-elven nephew;
- Lord Neistor, Lord of Pelyra province in Valenar;
- Ten Senators from the Senate of Eridae.
After a delectable seven-course meal, the Heroes 4 Hire received accolades for the sacking of Fort Garsley and the destruction of the first three nodes of the slaver network operating out of Morytania, their uncovering of the Aerie of the Slave Lords, the rescuing of the captive slaves and most importantly, the return of Cody von Heny.
Executor Galidor’s sister, an elf named Galiniel, married Duke Gylles Arres von Heny of Valenar, a human and thus linking the Valenari royal family to the current Executor of Eridae. The Duke and Dutchess had a son, the half-elven Cody, nephew to both the King and the Executor. The Dutchess Galiniel and Cody were vacationing on the island retreat of Haven when the yellow-sails attacked, and Galiniel was killed in the raid. Cody was ‘collected’, and he kept his identity secret to prevent any ransom demand or blackmail attempts.
The King of Valenar and the Executor of Eridae both expressed their gratitude and indebtedness, and both agreed that an entitlement to a plot of land would be in order. The Heroes were grateful, and after a short discussion, a sizeable plot was picked out at the approximate halfway point along the road from Anchorhead to Hellespont along the White River. After the banquet festivities drew to a close, the Heroes remained in Eridan an additional five days to work out details of the the land deed and construction, as well as more shopping and sightseeing.
Mol, 16 Janosh, 3E999
The Heroes 4 Hire traveled five days returning from the capitol and arriving at their newly titled and deeded plot of land. They met with their construction boss and his crew, finalized plans and details, and supervised the ground breaking for the buildings of their homestead. Thia had continued on to Hellespont to complete her training, skipping her weekend hunts with Potema in order to complete her goal sooner.
Zol, 3 Milos, 3E999
The construction time over the last three months had gone well, with minimal setbacks. Thia had completed her training three days before and saw the new structures in person for the first time. But it was time for the ribbon cutting, and the Heroes 4 Hire stood before a gleaming new Trading Post, Guild Hall, and Tavern Inn. There was a forge, training areas and a small dock in the river as well. Stables were located near the roadside, and dens had been prepared for a wolf and a bear. The construction was mostly of the dense, slate gray river stone so prevalent in the area, but a few of the larger granite blocks had been brought in from their friends at the Darkshelf Quarry. Carlstar Wiorfether, now the staff engineer for the Darkshelf Quarry operation, had also visited early in the project to supervise an unusual amount of digging for three, mostly-above-ground structures. The remaining architecture was primarily timber, stone and stucco.
With a new home and base of operations to work from, what missions will the Heroes 4 Hire take on next? Will they return to exploring the mysterious, disappearing Dread Isle? Will they return to act on the information Lord Neistor gathered against the Slave Lords? What is behind the downfall and horror of Morytania? And, where is the Dark Priest, and what is he up to?
Find out next week, on “TGC: Heroes 4 Hire!!”