Disturbing. We completed our exploration of the town and what was clearly once a growing population centre was now a ghost town. Not a soul yet lived within its buildings and the emptiness echoed in despair. With our search of the town now complete our sights turned to the fort that overlooked the village from a nearby hill top.
Scouting. As we approached the hill fort we decided to send our two most accomplished scouts to investigate and so Sajan and Ashaman were sent forth. Quickly blending in with the few shadows and objects that provided cover in this mostly cleared landscape around the fort they easily made their way to the wall. The tops of helms could be seen over the ramparts and movement had been glimpsed along the wall tops. Either survivors or slayers of the village we did not yet know. Caution and stealth continued to be our course as the rest of the party waited impatiently and viewed the events with a spyglass wielded by the mighty cavalier Flavius.
Breaching the gates. With the scouts now positioned at the wall Flavius watched through his spyglass as Sajan expertly scaled the wall and flipped over the ramparts smoothly landing and instantly melting into shadows on the other side. Ashaman meanwhile began clawing at the wall before falling onto his back. Odd. Sajan’s head peaked over the edge as communicated what was within to the now prone Ashaman. The helms before seen from below were now realized to be but only empty vessels placed upon poles and no signs of life were detected nearby. Sajan made his way to the gate so that all of his friends could enter. Ashaman resumed his futile clawing at the wall. Flavius, who observed this peculiar struggle, lost patience and the party approached. The gate was opened and the party entered – including Ashaman who had given up his pathetic attempts at climbing.
The courtyard. The party, now within the mighty gates, looked around and observed their surroundings. No sign of movement anywhere. The empty helms clearly visible from this side. They somehow resisted the impulse to steal all of the helms and moved forward to explore. The stealthy pair of Sajan and Ashaman once again moved forward to explore and scout some smoke that was scene rising from deeper within the fort while the party moved up to investigate a nearby blacksmith – clearly their desire for easy loot and reward was not entirely absent.
The blacksmith. Well…it was a blacksmith. Nothing exciting. Much like the people the good loot was absent without a trace and the baser metals did not attract anyone’s eye. Was god toying with them? Did excellent loot not gather in places such as this? Alas it was not to be. The party, confused, paused to take stock of the situation.
The scouts again. Easily melting into the shadows the pair moved forward. Not that far away they found the source of the smoke. A lone stranger stood poised over a firepit turning a large flank of meat upon a spit over a healthy fire that licked at its edges and the smell of savory and succulent meat permeated the area. Near the figure there stood 4 large dogs far greater in size than the standard type. An odd group indeed. The scouts decided to leave as quietly as they arrived and headed back to the party thinking that they had not been noticed.
A party again. The group now fully assembled. Scouts returned with the information on what lie ahead and the sullen hapless looters finding nothing within the forges they quickly came to the decision that they should approach in peace and talk to this stranger who was clearly here hiding from the evils outside and only seeking refuge with his strangely large hounds.
We come in peace. The party calmly walked from the shadows together and greeted the stranger. “Hail friend. Let us join you at your fire and speak of this strange place.” Well the scouts must have been successful earlier as their strange friend was startled by their presence but that quickly passed as he reacted. “To arms!! Hounds – ATTACK!!!”. This moment hung in the air and if the paladin Flam snarling and charging forward wasn’t a strong enough sign it was quickly becoming clear that this individual was clearly evil. Maybe we should have checked first? Maybe saying hello wasn’t the best move here? Maybe someone should have thought this through first? But it was too late for that. For now – battle was afoot.
The words trail off here but clearly there is more story to tell…