After the assault from Lord Elvenspite’s forces were repelled, the protagonists licked their wounds.
Rand spent the better part of an entire day convalescing from his injuries, with what appeared to be near-constant fever dreams. Orvo spent his time with the healers tending to the poisoned townfolk, and Strogar recuperated in the Haelynite temple, eventually interjecting in the intense but relatively friendly discussion between the druids and the priests. His comments led him into the catacombs, where he saw the reason of the close working relationship between the 2 groups: the druids had moved into the catacombs and were transforming it into cavern farmland. Drawing on his upbringing, he noticed the racks of fungus and other root based plants – pitifully small, according to dwarven standards – that where planted in the nooks, crevices, and open floorspace of the catacombs. He noted that the druids were busy…and wondered if Haelyn was ok with the remains of his faithful being used as fertilizer. With Pyrick noting his prayers led him to believe Haelyn was supportive and understanding, Strogar noted his approval of the farms…and the construction of the unfinished catacombs looking more like fallback bastions.
As midnight came the following night, after visiting the blacksmith to inquire on his armor only to find it smelted, Strogar made his way to the church from the inn to sleep after a long day when he noticed something disturbing: Rand was sneaking – poorly, in his estimation – out of the southern gate into the woods. Suspicious of Rand’s actions given his previous behavior and rough recovery, he grabbed his axe and tracked Rand. His tracking led him to a cave about 2 miles south of town, and what he saw did not surprise him at all.
After being dazzled by a trap – probably set by Rand – he stumbled into a cave reeking of death. Through fuzzy eyes, he saw Rand disappear into a magically dark room with a tall, raven haired yet pale beauty of a woman with a toothy smile and dark red liquid dripping from her lips. As he stumbled towards them with his axe out, he heard the now-familiar sounds of a teleport spell being cast, albeit in a different linguistic style and inflection than Elvenspite’s harsh, biting tones.
Dismissing Rand’s treachery as both predictable and dismissable, Strogar examined the cave. He found 5 individuals shackled to the wall. 4 of them were dead, with a closer examination showing all of them were dead from blood loss and 2 had been dead for quite a while. Oddly enough, they had a wet feel to them, like they were dripping water. The 4th individual – a large, hulking brute – was still alive and squirming. Busting his shackles, Strogar made to take the individual back to town…but they had other plans.
As the individual became aware of his situation, he actively resisted Strogar, yanking the chain from his hands and removing his blindfold and gag. Strogar took the opportunity to try to subdue the brute, but ended up on the wrong end of a fistfight as the brute, with a confused look on his face, delivered a haymaker and knocked Strogar unconscious.
When he came too, he saw the brute had freed his hands from manacles and was checking on the dead bodies. Pulling himself up, he staggered out the cave, ignoring the pleading questions in an odd dialect coming from the cave. Pulling himself to shelter, he hunkered down as he tried to shake off the cobwebs from the fist fight.
Meanwhile, Tristan stood in the cave, wondering about loud what his odd dwarven rescuer – assumably a priest of Haelyn, based on his clerical vestments – was doing out in the snow as he tried to free his feet from the shackles. Eventually using strength to break them – after hitting his foot with his Morningstar, resulting in some precious potions being consumed – he gathered the gear from the individuals in the cave, dressed himself as best he could, and made a pyre in outside the caves, giving the individuals a crusader’s funeral to prevent rising as an undead.
Strogar, observing the giant making a fire, used the smoke and smell as cover as he made his way back to town. Arriving in town, he instructed the guards to be on the lookout for a small giant as he met with Pavon. Stumbling into the town hall – and hitting a few things that were moved to new places – he informed Pavon of Rand’s treachery and escape, along with news that some giant may be coming to the town. As Pavon was giving out directions to his soldiers, there were sounds at the gate.
Rushing to the gate, they found it slightly open… and were staring at an exceptionally large man, 3 inches taller than Pavon or Wickham, armored in some variation of platemail with a large amount of discarded weapons and armor at his feet. The individual introduced himself as Tristan, a holy warrior of Haelyn hailing from the City of Anuire. With a brief exchange, Pyrick and Wickham gave their blessing on allowing him entry – provided he was guarded. Pavon assigned two guards – an older human and a teenage human – to guard the man throughout town. Closing the gates behind them, Tristan was led to the inn for food and sleep. Adasil, immediately angry at being awoken hours early, changed her tone almost immediately upon meeting Tristan, with the tall, strapping, and exceptionally handsome man with good manners apologized for waking her and politely asked for some food.
The rest of the evening passed uneventfully, as every took a few hours of rest between the dawn. Strogar was awoken by the typical bells being rung, but immediately rolled over and went back to bed. Tristan, on the other hand, sprung alert and looked around for the source of the sound, much to Adasil and the sleepy townsfolk’s amusement. Tristan spent the better part of the morning exploring town and soaking in the feeling of the town. Finding the people to be somewhat on edge, always on the look out for an attack, he nevertheless found them friendly enough when engaging in simple conversation with them. Finding them forthright and surprisingly devout worshippers of Haelyn, he eventually made his way to the temple. After briefly meeting Pyrick, he noticed the dwarf, asleep on a stone pew. Conjuring healing energy, he healed the dwarf from the rigours of a previous battle – and got grappled by a startled and now awake dwarf.
Strogar, waking up to see the brute towering over him, grilled him on what he was doing, but quieted down when he realized the priests were looking at the two of them – him in particular – with unamused looks. As the brute went off to pray, Strogar listened intently…only to find the brute was saying the same stuff that Pyrick usually did. Dismissing it as at least superficially on the level, Strogar left to meet with Pavon. To his chagrin, the brute followed him…and his guards were walking behind him, barely at the ready and paying him no special attention. As they both met with Pavon, Strogar observed the guards for the brute’s lack of discipline…and one was missing. Leaving to find the teenage boy, he discovered him leaving the barracks, with an unkempt uniform and an equally unkempt human female scurrying out behind him. Chastising him for his lack of discipline while acknowledging the boy’s assertion that he couldn’t stop the brute even if he wanted to, Strogar made his way back to the blacksmith to inquire on his armor.
Vargen, running on little sleep, was asleep at the anvil, with piles of random gear strewn about. As Strogar started digging through the pile, Tristan approached Vargen with the spare metal gear he was carrying. As he inquired with him about removing the shackles, Vargen left to go to the inn, muttering something about needing sleep and useless apprentices. Tristan then saw the dwarf’s legs, sticking out from a pile of armor and heavy maces. Startling the dwarf, he inquired as to what the dwarf was doing. As Strogar emerged from the pile, with a Morningstar and suit of scale mail – dwarf sized – he glared at Tristan, informing him that the blacksmith owed him a set of armor. As he changed into the armor, and put back on his ill-fitting clerical vestments, an apprentice blacksmith emerged. Freeing Tristan from his shackles, he inquired if they knew where to find more precious metal to resmelt and forge into weapons and armor.
Tristan informed Pavon of the existence of the shackles in the cave, and he was sent out with Strogar to acquire the metal and cover there somewhat poorly covered tracks back into town. Strogar stomped away in silence, relishing in the large brute having to jog after him in his heavy armor, while Tristan made ignored smalltalk. After acquiring the chain and making their way back to town, the undead Strogar was mentioning to Tristan, a self-avowed undead hunter, made an unwelcome appear. Appearing in an ambush, 4 skeletons and one flaming monstrosity converged on them. Tristan was knocked unconscious by the unusually well coordinated attack, but managed to take out the flaming skeleton in one swing and damaging another. Strogar felled 2 more skeletons before being knocked unconscious.
Expecting to be dead, he woke up to the warm, pulsing sensation of magical healing flowing over him. He glared up to see the Elf he fought 2 nights earlier standing above him, with a magical ball of flame in his left hand and the diminishing glowing light of a healing spell in his right. The Elf dismissed the fire, and helped Strogar to his feet. Explaining to Strogar he didn’t like to owe anyone, he came to his end when he noticed they were not faring well in combat. Asking for, and receiving in return, Strogar’s silence on his whereabouts, the Elf created a handful of goodberries for Strogar and his unconscious friend. As Strogar tended to Tristan, the Elf disappeared into the woods. Noting the elf was nowhere near the main elven druid encampment miles to the north and east of Eventide compared to being south of Eventide, Strogar dragged Tristan back to camp, depositing him with the clerics and informing them that for an undead hunter, he sucked.
Tristan spent the better part of a 3 days being taken care of by the priest, with Strogar spending more of his time in the temple talking to Pyrick. As Tristan finally regained consciousness, he woke to the feeling of magic being used to heal his wounds….with Adasil standing above him, the pack with his former companions gear strewn about and her holding a wand in his hand. As he took stock of his surroundings, he found them the only ones awake in the temple…and Adasil informing him that they need to have a little talk.