Week 46 - Journey to Drelev

Before they set off from Tatzleford, they interrogated a captured mercenary and spent more time talking to Kisandra. Drelev had surrendered to a combined force of Pitax Mercenaries and Tiger Lord Barbarians, although both of those armies had now left Fort Drelev. All that was left was an occupying force from Pitax, although the Five Daughters had been taken hostage by the barbarians as a guarantee of Drelev’s good behaviour.

They could not get many details about the occupying force, although they did get a lead from Kisandra, who told them to contact her ‘friend’ Satinder Morne at the Velvet Corner. She also gave them a ring to show her, and told them to take a flower with them as a sign. That raised a few eyebrows as some of the party had visited the Velvet Corner before, and knew it was a gambling house and brothel!

They sent Kisandra back to New Haven (and trust that she went this time), left the prisoner in the care of the Mayor of Tatzleford and headed out. First they called in on their friendly boggard to enquire whether he would be able to help broker an alliance with the boggards of the slough. During those discussions they discovered the true nature of the boggards – Savage and barbaric creatures, cannibalistic tendencies, half intoxicated on narcotic dragonfly wings and constantly fighting amongst themselves. ‘Their’ boggard is exiled on pain of death for trying to seize the crown of the King of the Boggards!

Then out of the forest into the newly claimed lands. The farms there were not too badly damaged, Kisandra had shouted warnings as she rode past, and they had managed to evacuate and hide. They had even managed to save a lot of live stock and general produce. Wyvernstone Bridge was in worse shape, because the soldiers had fought back. There was more extensive damage and a number of dead soldiers to bury and some looting. However, the attackers hadn’t stayed long enough to do deep structural damage and everything could be rebuilt, one way or another.

The party waited until the Archery Unit of the Newhaven Regiment arrived, before they left to investigate Fort Drelev properly. Before they went, they issued instructions for the Lyre of Building to be sent up to repair the buildings, both in Wyvernstone Bridge and at the damaged farmsteads. They also ordered up extra rations to make sure that people were properly fed and allocated a few more troops to the area. Then they sent warning messages to Restov and Varnhold and instructed Charles to start raising more troops, before they continued their mission.

On the trail to Drelev they came across a huge field of Cloudberry bushes in flower, but were unsettled by a mysterious mist that seemed to linger a bit further down the path. Cassandra moved up and started to investigate, and soon realised it was a magical mist. However, her colleagues backed off as the mist seemed to roll forwards, leaving Cassandra alone at the front of the party. Which meant she, alone, had to confront the monstrosity when it appeared - a fused man and horse, flayed of its skin with all the underlying gore and musculature exposed! And charging forward waving a sword ….

Fear drove most of the horses away, and the Horse Guard concentrated on getting those back, leaving the monster to the heroes. Of all of them, it was Cassandra who finished up on her backside in front of the monster. It managed to catch her with a claw as she rose to cast a spell, instantly causing a foul rotting sickness within here. Soon, it blasted the rest of the party with waves of the same corrupting disease. By the time they realised that it was some sort of Fey, rather than Undead, they had taken enough damage that Robert was needed for healing, and didn’t actually get to strike the thing with his fey-bane sword! But it was defeated eventually, the horses were gathered up again - but they needed to rest up for a couple of days while Robert cured the disease that had started to spread through the group.

Then it was onto to Fort Drelev, where Rudy, Cassandra and Hebrin carried out a scouting mission. From the trees surrounding the city, they discovered that Drelev had started building a city wall, and although it wasn't finished the gap was guarded by a well built watch tower manned with mercenaries. They waited, intending to infiltrate by night, but fortunately spotted some large shapes moving through town. Shapes they later discovered were giants, who spent the day in the castle courtyard, but by night were given the freedom of the town with permission to eat anyone they found out and about.

Then just after dawn, they used invisibility spells and then teleported straight into the Velvet Corner. Staff there were clearing up after a hard night – for none of their clients could leave before the Dusk to Dawn curfew had been lifted, and the giants were back ‘home’ for the day.

Eventually they found Satinder Morne, it took a while to convince her they were friends of Kisandra but not all that much longer to persuade her they were intent on rescuing Lord Numesti, ‘dealing with’ Baron Drelev and ‘liberating’ the city. They also discovered that all the clerics of Erastil had disappeared, and the Inn (where they had stayed previously) was closed down. The people of town were hungry, scared and jittery.

However, most importantly Satinder shared the location of a secret entrance to the castle. She had found out about it years ago, and then checked out the entrance for herself, so was able to give detailed instruction on how to find it. She also showed them a room they could use and promised to stock it with suitable clothing to help them fit in more, should they need to return. However, she declined to go into the castle with them. However, last time they were there, Larran had identified her as a priestess of Calistria, the goddess of trickery, lust and vengeance. So perhaps her ways are more subtle than a full frontal assault!

Then it was back to camp and preparations for the tunnel. Breen and two of his men would guard the entrance, while the rest would see to the horses some distance back.

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