The merchant’s gift
Aishe Malinova asks Amadeus the Satyr about the threat from the necromantic comet falling from the sky. Not having seen it, Amadeus mentions that whatever it was took very long preparation, and the end result will probably not happen for a while. If the instigators are indeed being as careful as he presumes, it might be difficult to track them until their next attack occurs. However, he mentions that the seedy underbelly of large cities like Timbermoor is usually home to occult clans.
Amadeus leaves his hut to return the baby Roc to it mother, and the party decides to start the journey to help Gregor Dolat, a journey that passes the borders of Chedhurst into the dangerous lands of Tremblent. In there, they will find the gypsies that Aishe traveled with.
The party descend back to Luckleigh, where they rest for the night and get supplies for their trip. On the week-long journey, they visit several Chedhurst cities, towns and villages. The first one is Hawkden, where they helped Praf Xene with the orchard sacrifices. The town is grateful, indicating that they changed crops to pumpkins to try and get a harvest before winter. The seller from whom the Freak Squad got their horses is extremely grateful for the good publicity and coin the heroes had given him, and gives them a token of his appreciation, a beautiful winged horse statuette. All eyes on the celebration are on it, which of course results in even more publicity for his business.
Unfortunately, the gift had attracted attention of outlaws, who decide to attack the party mid-ride. Not being particularly good at mounted combat, the party dismounts and prepares for the assault, while Rad Longhammer takes Dorito and Bruno to a safe spot. Tobin takes some shots from up in the trees against the front line of mounted archers. As they approach, Aishe Malinova uses her evil eye curse and arcane shockwave to dismount the riders from their horses. Mazith takes advantage of this situation by engaging in melee combat with the fallen archers and crossbowmen.
Behind the front line of archers, two horses carrying two wagons full of brigands arrive at the scene. Using long reaching halberds, they knock Mazith prone multiple times and proceed to gang up on the fallen warrior. Tobin jumps towards one of the wagons and injures all of its passengers, only to be paid in kind threefold. Aishe calls encouraging songs to keep Mazith fighting, and scares a wagon horse off track. Just as the wagon crashes into bridge wall, frightening all unmounted horses away, Tobin finishes off two attackers and jumps harmlessly out of the wreck. By now Mazith has regained the upper hand and with the party’s combined efforts they dispatch the rest of the attackers. They collect the ruffians’ belongings on the remaining wagon and finish their ride towards Farmspil.
An unimpressive farming community, Farmspil only has two guards welcome them. Unfortunately the welcome goes sour once one of the guards’ superstitions create an impasse with a comment on Aishe Malinova‘s dark appearance. The other guard, named Karl Cerad, tries to intervene but catches Tobin snatching his comrade’s purse. Emotions run high, but eventually the party calms down after Karl explains the superstitious nature of farming folk, and an apology from the guard and Tobin. Eventually, Karl invites the party to his home, where an impressive collection of monster heads, including that of a dragon, decorate his walls in remembrance of his adventuring days. He sells some of his old adventuring gear to Aishe to aid her on her quest, after hearing about the brigands they defeated.
The next stop is Long Castle. An impressive fortress true to its name, is was built to prevent invasions from the lands of Tremblent and Darjak. There are military drills for melee and ranged combat, which inspires Tobin to test the archers’ skills. She picks Charlie, the best of the lot, and defeats him on a game of archery, but not without a thank you kiss with soften the humiliation. The commander buys the party a round of drinks, and remembers Tobin doing the exact same thing to another member of his squad a year ago. Tobin learns that back then, she had been playing to earn large amounts of money. The river gates eventually open to let the party continue their trip towards House Yanamoto, past the borders of Chedhurst.
The party is welcome in House Yanamoto as guests, since they mention this area is quite dangerous to travelers. This fortified citadel look quite impenetrable, and Aishe eventually learns that they use explosive devices in contraptions at the upper level to decimate and scatter enemy armies. The rest of the Yanamoto force seems concentrated in hand-to-hand combat.
The party arrive at the city of Cinderic inside the lands of Tremblent. The city architecture is dark and moody, gothic and fear inspiring. Gargoyles decorate the tall buildings that hide the sunlight from the ground level, where the citizens dwell wearing grey outfits that match the black stone the buildings are made of. After asking a guard, the party locates the gypsies in a nearby town.
After Aishe is greeted with warm hugs from her old traveling troupe, Thelesa Romaine helps her go into a trance to find a cure for the cursed beast Gregor Dolat. Their visions seem a bit clouded, and they only find a few other clues about the ritual: virgins, wooden wands, a full moon, a piss bucket and a cattle-fed werewolf in chains. Thelesa suggests catching up with the Riha clan up in Basilisk Mouth, who might have more answers.