- Asanaria Quickrok, Halfling Bard (Emma)
- Baras Gouliou, Human (Tagean) Pankratiast (Sam)
- Hrodan, Human (Hältlander) Paladin of Augustus (Alex)
- Brother Solomon, Half-Elven Cleric of Toth (James)
- Wren Dre, Wild Elf Ranger (Gavin)
As it was quite late and the local taverns were winding down their activities for the night, everyone decided to return to their respective sleeping quarters. Brother Solomon returned to the Temple of Toth; Hrodan to the Temple of Augustus and Baras to the Temple of Adrius & Zernius.
Wren and Asanaria returned briefly to their inn where Wren decided that he wished to see some form of human fighting club. He asked around and eventually made contact with a weasel-faced human who offered to guide him to such an establishment. Wren followed the man into the alleyways of Ascalon, himself being followed by Asanaria. Eventually he realised that he was being led in circles and confronted the human. The human said that he had no business poking around in this, and clicked his fingers to spring his ambush.
Two large hulking goons emerged from the darkness of the alley in front of Wren whilst two others ran towards Asanaria from behind. Without even blinking, Wren used some of the junk in the alleyway to jump and attack one of the goons. Weasel and the other goon seemed stunned that Wren was not going to be a normal victim. The other goon attempted to attack Wren but ended up smashing his hand into the wall.
Meanwhile Asanaria deftly dodged the incoming blows from the other goons and threw dirt in their eyes from the alleyway floor. She took up a defensive stance, her staff held before her. One of the goons was blinded whilst the other tried to attack her again. As she dodged the blow, she kicked her staff hard to drive it in between a goon’s legs. The goon’s eyes crossed and a high-pitched screaming emerged from his mouth as he dropped to his knees. Asanaria began wailing for her “daddy” and saying that “the bad men were trying to hurt her”. This so unnerved the other goon who’d finally cleaned his eyes, that he couldn’t strike her and began retreating.
At the other end of the alley, Weasel was trying to escape but Wren was able to scoop some trash and sling it at his legs, bringing him down. He dodged a couple more blows from the first goon whilst the other one shook off the effect of the punch. Deciding that enough was enough, Wren judged his moment and threw his fist into the oncoming fist of the goon. There was a horrible wet snapping noise as the goon’s arm shortened by six inches. Weasel turned pale, his eyes rolled up into his head and he passed out. The other goon chose to retreat, backing away from the elf. As he went, he retrieved Weasel’s prone form. Seeing this, Wren tried to kick his arm away but missed. The last he saw was the goon vanishing into the dark mouth of an alley with Weasel over his shoulder.
Wren and Asanaria regrouped and decided to return to the inn. As they passed the goon on his knees, Asanaria took up a large lump of wood and clonked him a good one round the ear to send him to sleep. With the goon passed out, she decided to take her revenge by slicing the poor man’s clothing to ribbons.
The next morning, Brother Solomon was breaking his fast with his fellow clergy when he overhead the gossip about a petty criminal known only as Weasel had had a poor night. Seems that one of his marks had gotten the better of some of his goons. One was now singing falsetto and had been found with his clothes cut off, the other was being called Shortarm on account that his right arm was now some five inches shorter that the left.
Various of the party members completed their morning rituals, then ended up bumping into each other in Temple Square. In some cases one deliberately sought out another. Baras announced that there was little he could do about Fadell the Fiddler so he intended to seek the bounty on Gritznack the Bold. Brother Solomon affirmed that he had some further information regarding that being, and that he would accompany him. Hrodan likewise agreed to join the group as did Wren.
Asanaria was not present for she was still asleep. The others awoke her and got her moving eventually, so that by midday the five of them plus a small cart left Ascalon by the Frontier Gate and headed towards the East March by along the West Way.
The journey was easy enough for the West Way ran through grasslands for much of its length. There were several small villages along the way and the way was busy with traffic, merchants and herdsmen alike. About eight days out of Ascalon, the party were walking along when Hrodan was struck in the hip by an arrow. At the same time, two tall hairy brown-skinned humanoids stood up from the grass on either side. Later identified as Bugbears, they were swiftly dispatched and the arrow removed from Hrodan’s body.
A few days later, the party ran into a Halfing merchant, one Aldus of Kettleby by name, and they sought to find out information concerning Malforten. He told them that there was no mayor or sheriff but the village was run by an unofficial council. There isn’t a communal church in the village but there are several shrines to the Val-Earakhun. There is a priest of Corthain and a priestess of Wenafar who minister to the people. Having imparted that information, he drove his cart past the party and continued on his way.
A few hours later, getting on to mid afternoon, Wren’s elven eyes pick out the shape of a tree across the road about a half-mile ahead of the party. He quietly signals to the others and they make ready their weapons. Hrodan and Brother Solomon call on the power of their respective gods to allow them to Detect Evil; Solomon focuses to the right of the road whilst Hrodan focuses on the left. Almost immediately they feel that irritation that tells them of evil nearby. Asanaria jumps off the cart, handing the reins for Snowflake to Brother Solomon, and slips into the grass on the right to the road. Baras attempts to sneak into the grass on the left of the road in a poor imitation of Asanaria’s skill.
When the cart is maybe a quarter mile from the log, there is the sound of barking. Brother Solomon suspected that it was a series of commands, despite not understanding the language but the context is clear enough. There are yells from both sides of the road as two pairs of goblins jump up and begin approaching the cart.
Asanaria loads her bow and takes aim, loosing her first arrow and slaying one goblin of the pair outright. Meanwhile Brother Solomon moves up to engage the remaining goblin. On the other side of the road, Hrodan steps foward to engage the other pair as Wren shoots one before melee is joined. The goblin facing Brother Solomon scores a lucky hit, opening a deep gash in his side whilst the other goblin is able to nick Hrodan’s arm before he can get his shield in place. Asanaria takes a shot at the other goblin but misses, scoring a solid hit on Brother Solomon but he grits his teeth and keeps fighting. Whilst Brother Solomon and Hrodan are whittling away their opponents, Baras is looking around and spots a creature approaching the rear of the cart.
The creature looks like a large upright hyena with yellow eyes and dirty brown fur. Armed with a warhammer and wearing mismatched armour, it seems intent of slaughter. Baras approaches the gnoll, his weapon and cestus ready. The warhammer is slow and unwieldy, and Baras is able to dodge the blows whilst plying a punch dagger into its kidneys. Dropping his weapons, he closes with the gnoll and begins to grapple it closer to the cart. He exerts himself to try and throw it onto the cart to break its back but he fails to get a solid enough grip. About this time, Wren has seen this and drops his bow. He draws his shortsword and leaps onto the cart, intending to plunge the weapon into the gnoll’s back but misjudges his range.
As Hrodan and Brother Solomon put down their goblin opponents, Baras manages to hold onto the gnoll and drive it back to the cart. Wren is there waiting to lift the gnoll’s chin and end its life with a sword through the throat, painting Baras in the creature’s life blood.