- Alefa Frigeldötter, Human (Hältlander) Fighter (Sarah)
- Asanaria Quickrok, Halfling Bard (Emma)
- Baras Gouliou, Human (Tagean) Pankratiast (Sam)
- Brother Solomon, Half-Elven Cleric of Toth (James)
- Ebrill Cadogan, Human (Aenochian) Guardswoman (Natalie)
- Hrodan, Human (Hältlander) Paladin of Augustus (Alex)
- Wren Dre, Wild Elf Ranger (Gavin)
Our session opens with the party in Temple Square, their ranks joined by a newcomer after one of their number had departed on her own mission. With the completion of a ceremonial consecration and burial of a foul being, they were feeling a bit out of sorts having experienced the most unpleasant sensations in their heads.
Hrodan shook off the feelings first and reminded everyone that they still had to claim the bounty on Gritznak. Since they had two people present who were familiar with the city, they all turned to their newest member Ebrill. When asked if she could lead them to Lord Durunt’s estate, she thought for a moment before nodding.
The party went to retrieve their evidence (namely a rather manky-looking gnoll’s head), witnessing Alefa’s berating by the innkeeper for leaving such filth in her room and causing such a smell to infest his inn. Apologies over with, Ebrill leads the party through the city to the Noble Quarter.
Before long, they arrive at a set of gates emblazoned with Lord Durunt’s arms: a shield argent, a chevron azure with a horse blanc rampant. The arms match the signet ring exactly. Through the gates, they can see a splendid townhouse and a pair of guards watching them with interest.
When the party request an audience with Lord Durunt and show them the ring, the sergeant-at-arms sends the younger guard to fetch Master Turald. Some time later, the young guard returns with an elder gentleman in tow. The sergeant passes him the signet ring and whispers in his ear for a moment. The elder man looks at the party for a moment before ordering the gates to be opened. He gestures for the party to follow him as he leads them around the house to a side door.
After opening it with a key from his belt, he leads them to a small office. He introduces himself as Master Turald, seneschal to Lord Durunt. He asks them if they have any further evidence to their claim. Producing the original bounty notice with the gnoll head and a written description of their fight with Gritznak, Master Turald seems satisfied and steps over to a strongbox to produce five bulging pouches of coins.
Whilst the party count their loot, Master Turald looks them over with a critical eye. When the party notices that he is assessing them, they return his gaze with curiousity. After collecting his thoughts for a moment, he tells them that Lord Durunt often undertakes a number of tasks for her Imperial Highness that cannot be given to the armies or the city guards, so he was wondering if the party would be willing to undertake a mission for his Lordship.
His Lordship has received a request for aid from a Master Redd Softfoot in the Halfling Canton of Newbriar, and currently has no available resources to deal with it. If the party would be willing to undertake the mission, his Lordship would be willing to bestow his patronage which will prove beneficial in the future. Although the Halfing Canton should provide a reward, his Lordship would take a small percentage to cover the administrative costs of his patronage.
The party take a moment to look at each other, the answers plainly writ in each other’s eyes. As one, they turn to their newest member and it is hard to mistake the enthusiasm for new adventure in her eyes. Hrodan turns back to the seneschal and says that the party will accept the mission and head out in the morning. Before they leave, the seneschal hands them a scroll to show that they are operating on behalf of Lord Durunt and by extension, her Imperial Majesty. With that, everyone returns to their lodgings to sleep the night through.
The following morning, after completing ablutions, dedications and exercises, the party meet up in Temple Square. Wren Dre is delayed slightly at the Bowyers, having splashed some funds on a pair of Elven bow strings made of fine woven metal wires and two quivers of arrows to replace his losses.
So it was that on the last day of Lexlicht, the party leaves Ascalon via the Grain Gate and headed west along the Grain Road towards the Halfling Cantons. As they travelled, Solomon explained how the Halfling Cantons were sandwiched on the borders of Torrich, New Aenoch and Hlobane; and how a Canton was a feudal measure comparable to a Shire or Hundred. For the next six days, the party march west and north, passing through the Cantons of Waterford and Brambleton.
As they pass through the Cantons, they begin to hear that a young Halfling female has been passing through ahead of them. When the party ask around, the description they’re given matches Asanaria and they’re left wondering why she has come ahead of them and why in such a hurry.
As they enter the Newbriar Canton, they are met on the road by a trio of watchmen. These young halflings are dressed in non-descript armour, armed with spears and wear a green sash with a crook and ear of wheat crossed in gold and surrounded by a gray embattled border. The watchman challenge the party, asking them to state their business as it is getting dark. When they respond that they’re here at the behest of Redd Softfoot, the watchman agree to escort them to the Inn of the Portly Partidge where they will meet Master Softfoot.
In the dim twilight of the evening, as they make their way to the inn; the party realise that they are being watched and when they stop, it causes the watchers to attack. The watchmen are stunned to be attacked by people that they consider friends but the party do not hesitate to put them down, especially when Solomon identifies them as undead. Once they have been killed, Solomon takes a closer look and is able to determine that they are some form of ghoul whilst the watchmen are able to identify them as persons who disappeared recently.
The party set fire to the carcasses before getting the watchmen to lead them to the inn. Once there,they are introduced to Redd Softfoot, the innkeeper and deputy mayor. He begins to fill them in on what’s been happening:
- The local well-to-do and the mayor were attending a party at the Brambletoe estate.
- Willic Brambletoe is the nephew and heir of one Janos Brambletoe, a renown Halfling adventurer.
- Janos and his companions once defeated a lich, Janos himself struck the killing blow.
- The Reeve and two watchmen went up to the estate but haven’t been seen since.
- Gywnndd Knucklefoot had seen someone wearing a watch tabard and moving stiffly but lost them in the long grass.
About this time, the Reeve’s second-in-command arrived. One Merin Fireheel by name, she was adamantly opposed to the party doing anything to help out, saying that the watch could handle it. Hrodan and Wren Dre disabused her of that notion quite quickly, explaining to her that all the party-goers were likely undead and her own watchmen couldn’t handle being attacked by people who were their friends.
She and Redd went pale at the thought of undead. When challenged about whether she could kill her boss whilst he was trying to kill her, she admitted that she’d find it hard. The party suggested that if she’d find it hard, how would her watchmen cope?