The party has left rich grasslands of Lynx County and headed up north. The terrain raised in front of them as they began entering Abadon hills. They have been travelling for a full day. The growth here looked dim as many trees hadn’t recovered from last winter yet. Occasionally trails of snow could be spotted on the road ahead. Both Irieella and Raiza agreed this was a beautiful, if a little chilly morning as the party continued north.
As the four neared a narrow passageway ahead Carrion’s bright eyes noticed a caravan moving in the distance. The caravan was escorted by three archer mercenaries and a solo militia escort. The party quickly recalled that they have seen the merchant, who sitting on top of a donkey pulled cart, in Crouching Lynx’s Inn a day before. Raiza remembered that the road on which he was on was often preyed by remaining separatist resistance. His flair was right as someone lurked in the bushes. A barbarian woman in the bushes did not give herself away as she eyed the passing caravan with a hungry look. She took a very a special arrow wrapped in a red cloth and fired it into a tree on top of a small hill. Another archer was sitting in the tree. He immediately pulled the arrow out of the stem and fired it on the hill. This was a signal for whoever lurked in the hiding position among the trees and tall grass above to attack.
Slingers above ran to the very edge of a hill and started peppering bullets into the mercenary archers below. Cart’s side was hit hard as splinters scattered in every direction. The two archers caughted in the fire attempted to fire back at the slingers. The archer behind the cart ducked for cover as he fired arrows from behind the safe spot. Irieella was caught off guard as a sling bullet launched from barbarian woman hit her shoulder. Enraged by the surprise assault Irieella lunged at the woman in the bushes. Raiza drew his short swords and began to move in from behind. More barbarians appeared, they were carrying axes, shields and clubs, menancingly approaching from northeast and southeast. One of the barbarians looked particulary fearsome. He was 6,5 feet tall, with a nasty greatclub hanging over his shoulder. The militia along with the two archers defended the north, while Raiza and Irieella squared off with the barbarians in the south with supporting fire of Carrion’s bow as well as Hexar’s magical powers.
The fight went smoothly south of the wagon, where the adventurers fought. Raiza flanked the barbarian woman, wounding her terribly as Irieella used her staff to make the finishing blow. An axe wielding barbarian also entered this fight. Seeing his companion fall the meanest looking barbarian turned his heads towards Irieella and Raiza shouting “My woman!” as he launched at them swinging his greatclub. Seeing this Hexar moved in to support his fellow travelers as he casted a spell on Irieella. An invisible but tangible field of force subjected her. With the help from Hexar the adventurers managed to dodge incoming blows from the menacings barbarians swiftly and skillfully. Soon the other barbarian fell, but not without the help from Raiza as he delivered a precise and deadly stab in the neck from his left hand. The barbarian leader took an arrow shot at his side, but remained to stand vigil despite increased efforts of Hexar and Carrion. The fight in the north was not going as well. The barbarians and the mercenaries were at a stalemate and any side could falter upon a few succesive blows. The slingers, now lacking targets, arrived at hillside to battle in melee. The archers moved back to the wagon, positioning themselves back to back at each other, fending off from many axe swings of the ambushers. Seeing the situation worsening in the north Raiza arrived to even the odds. He flanked a clubman, effectively cutting him down from behind as the militia escort stroke down a slinger. The barbarian leader, seeing more place to maneuver attempted to charge Carrion. What happened next surprised even Hexar himself, who has seen many magical things in his time. An area of unnatural darkness surrounded Carrion causing the barbarian to waste his effort. The barbarian archer climbed down the tree and took up his dagger against weakened Irieella. Fighting on high ground allowed the ambusher to gain an upper hand in the fight. Even Hexar’s magic couldn’t help when a precise strike from the barbarian’s dagger arrived at Irieela’s side. Fortunately the wound wasn’t as deep and as the barbarian moved on to other targets Irieella stabilised. At this point Raiza turned back to help the ranger. He charged into the barbarian leader from behind striking with both of his swords as he held on onto them causing his enemy severe wounds as he slowly flailed onto ground with Raiza emerging victorious. Meanwhile in the north the militia struck down an axeman following a precise blow piercing it’s belly. Loosing the surprise element the remaining barbarians started to flee as defeat was drawing near.
As the attackers scattered the party started evaluating losses. Several mercenary escorts were severely wounded and Irieella was lying unconcious on the slope of the hill. The merchant shouted “Water to the injured” as the wounded mercenaries were seated by the side of the cart. Raiza helped Irieella on her feet and one of the mercenary archers helped to lift her onto the cart. The caravan’s merchant expressed his thanks to the party as the injured were treated. Thankfully everyone was alive.
The barbarians bodies were searched and a strange note was found on their leader. The note contained thourough instructions to attack this very specific caravan. Raiza looked around for valuables noticing some bags with salt, a strongbox, many boxes and bags with equipment. Raiza questioned the merchant on what was he delivering, but the bags filled with salt on board left no clues on why someone would want an ordinary cargo so badly. Then Hexar suggested that the strongbox might hold the answer. He tried to trick the merchant into opening it, but he held his ground, saying that whoever gave the strongbox to him specifically told not to open the strongbox under any circumstances. Raiza argued that if he was to risk his life for the cargo, he wanted to know what he was risking for and the merchant finally backed down. “In truth I am very curious about the strongbox as well, but the box is locked off tight and I do not have the key” – was the merchant’s admitance. Raiza quickly offered his assistance. Being a son of a blacksmith has taught him a thing or two about opening locks. Raiza grabbed his tools of the trade and began picklocking the stronbox. He was about to open it when his hand moved making the picklock slip to the side jamming the lock.
The party travelled for three more days through the hillsuntil the earth once again sloped down before them. The city of Abadon was seen in the distance. Abadon was a major city in the region, the only worth city rights. Protected by a stone wall the city stood in this remote region like a titan would among the hills.
The party wasted no time and headed straight to governor’s villa to meet Lord Henry Conner. It appeared that it was the merchant’s final destination as well. He also arrived there at the same time, the cargo sold, his mercenaries relieved. All but the militia man, who was returning back to his post. The party arrived at the residence. It looked nothing like a prominent Lord’s palace should. This was a fancy house, that’s true, but it didn’t radiate luxury and one could easily mistake the residence for a manor of a richer merchant.
The group was greeted by a receptionist, who didn’t seem to know who the party was, but he immediately admitted the merchant with his escort saying that they had primary clearance. The party waited for an hour or two, but received no news other than that the Lord was notified of their presence. They weren’t the only ones waiting, though. Nearby sat an elder noble with a kid. The kid looked explicitly bored and Hexar decided to entertain him. Using his sorcereous abilities Hexar performed a number of tricks with a coin, making it dissapear or multiply. The kid was excited by the show, his hands clapping. The elder noble thanked Hexar for taking his time in entertaining his young pupil and revealed that he too was a guest of the Lord, arriving from Lynx County in order to solve some inheritance issue. Hexar only stated that they too had business with the governor. They’ve exchanged pleasantries as well as a few rumors about Abadon and it’s politics. Raiza was getting impatient he approached the receptionist once and once again. Finally, after the receptionist returned he said that the Lord would now see the adventurers.
The party exited the waiting room now entering a large stone hall filled with columns and knight’s statues. The hall contained many doors on the sides leading to many different areas of the mansion. The party was led through the single door at the front to the workplace of the ruler. Lord Henry Conner was sitting behind his gold engraved desk, paying little attention to the adventurers. Master Wizard Mavros Depone was standing to the left of him, closely observing his surroundings. Two more men were by the door, surrounding it from two sides. The first man was holding a two-handed sword, he was of age, but had the look of experience in his eyes. The second man was much more intimidating. He stood some 7 feet tall, held a shield with one hand and kept close distance to his morningstar by the other.
“Henry, I believe we have guests” – Mavros noted. Lord Henry Conner looked up, but didn’t recognise the men in front of him. Mavros Depone stated that these were the king’s men summoned here by the crown. Unsatisfied by Lord’s reaction the wizard implies that the Lord only cared about his own guests and that it should not be so. “Ah, yes” – he browsed through some of his papers – “I see you have been hired to deal with a problem here…” At this point Lord Henry asked everybody, but Mavros to leave the room and started speaking about the issue at hand. He revealed that strange things were happening in Abadon’s cemetery at night about half day’s walk from the city. Strange sounds have been heard at night from the area and one of the militia has already been lost there. The Lord looked over the contract again and said that the party was being offered 800 gold coins to eliminate the source of any infestation with 100 being offered upfront. Raiza haggled with the Lord and managed to raise this amount to 1000 coins. This was not all the contract stated, though. Mavros Depone reminded that one of the king’s men was also to go with the party. That is when the guards were called back in. “Decius will join you on your task” – the wizard said refering to the bulky half-ogre standing over 7 feet tall. The new crew man wasn welcomed as the party realised that if they had to take another with them, they were at least fortunate that this guy was the man. Raiza also brought in the issue of the merchant to the Lord. The knight commander looked over the letter found on barbarian’s body and stated that this was definitely an organised attack. Lord Henry Conner told about the mystery of the strongbox was outrageous that a container with something potentially dangerous was brought to his residence undetected. He immediately requested the militia to bring him the merchant. The party also disperresed in attempt to find the man, but he was nowhere to be found.
As Irieella and Hexar moved through the northern door they heard sounds of battle coming from the end of the hall and swiftly moved in to inspect the disturbance. Even though Raiza was still talking with the nobility, his accute hearing enabled him to pinpoint these sounds as well. Soon the whole party along with several knights, among them was Decius moved to investigate. Meanwhile Hexar and Irieella arrived at the spot. What they saw was a single Nighonian knight squaring off with three militia men of which one was already knocked unconcious by the flat of a blade. What was more, it seemed as if the knight was winning! He skillfully parried two strikes from the militia and succesfully delivered a blow on his own causing much hardey on the recipient. Irieella asked to the reason of the fight and asked for a diplomatic solution to the problem, but the knight refused to put down his greatsword before the militia would do the same. Still, the fight wouldn’t last much longer. Hexar was furious by the disturbance, or perhaps just mad on himself as he, in a ragefull manner, commanded the men to lay down their weapons or face him instead. The militia were schocked by the demand of this little guy and felt genuinely intimidated by the Halfling. As they put down their weapons, the knight, also surprised at the occurance, sheathed his greatsword as well.
There was hell to pay as the militia and the knight were brought before the Lord and his second. The militia claimed that they saw the unknown man walking through the unauthorised corridor and thinking he was an assassin attacked him. The knight introduced himself as Sir Darius Hall. He claimed that he got tired of waiting in the waiting room and decided to go in using he back door. “The Abadonian low-lives no doubt used this as an excuse to attempt to strike down a Nighonian noble” – Sir Darius Hall said. The rambling reached stalemate and the men were released to go on about freely. Lord Henry Conner suggested the party stay at his guesthouse, but the master wizard offered his apprentice’s quarters for the duration of the stay as he reminded Lord Henry that the guesthouse wasn’t completely arranged for guests. The party took on the suggestion and accepted the hospitality of the wizard. Then Master Wizard Mavros Depone relied that he would be in his chambers should anyone need him. This was a clear clue to the party that he was expecting visitors and Irieella with Hexar caught the message. Hexar appeared only to mumble, but in truth he relied a hidden message to his companion. Everyone in the party suddenly heard a voice speak to them. And although many were confused by the event, the information spread throughout the party.
As the adventurers were escorted to their bedrooms Raiza spotted a familiar face. It was Jacob Tyler who was sitting in one of the rooms. The two men were overjoyed to meet each other and welcoming words were exchanged. Both Jacob and Raiza relied that they were happy to see that the other made the journey.
A meeting with Mavros Depone
It was time to meet Master Wizard Mavros Depone, but the party realised they couldn’t all come as Depone’s letter was directed to one person only. Hexar suggested to send Raiza in and the group agreed. Raiza cruised through the hallway leading to wizard’s chambers as he noticed a painting of wizard’s tower on the wall. No doubt Depone had great vision for Abadon’s young apprentices. Raiza has knocked on the door as he heard two men arguing behind them. The conflict was no ordinary as both men raised their voices on more than one occasion. What was more curious that the men weren’t arguing in their mother tongue. Raiza recognised the language as elven, however before he could not make out what exactly they were saying as the knock was followed by silence. An angry wizard stormed out of the room nearly impaling Raiza as he slammed the door to the side. Mavros looked at Raiza through the doorway and kindly invited him in. The wizard sat behind his table as he invited Raiza to take a seat in front of him. He also offered Raiza some fine wine which he held in cabinet behind. Raiza now understood that he made a fool of himself back in Lynx County when he took out on the innkeeper of what he thought was a watered down pincher. He refused the wine stating that booze was the downfall of his father, but took the seat in front. After pleasantries were exchanged Depone began to explain why he called the group’s leader in. He said that many things have changed since he made that offer and he would discuss the matter in greater detail later, but still revealed a few things. Mavros told Raiza that he didn’t trust the Lord of Abadon. Lord Henry was behaving strange lately, having his knights thrown out of the governor’s villa to the guest house and granting his militia full access of the manor. Not only that, but he also felt that the Lord was delibirately dragging out the cemetery issue which meant that there may have been a connection between him and the disturbances. Mavros spoke that he couldn’t reveal more until he was certain of his suspicions and this is where Raiza and his team came in. The wizard put a pouch with coins on the table. He asked Raiza to relay him any strange behaviour from the Lord, be his eyes and ears in the commons and share any information that may prove that the Lord had his hands in one thing too many. Raiza nodded in agreement and took the pouch with the payment.
As the unpeacefull night passed the adventurers were certain a stranger day awaited them still.