Shadow Guard Rise of the Phoenix

Episode 6

SG Episode 6 – Raglor, Myrmidon, Pahn, Trauban, Flynn, and Lucien – Black Phoenix rising
A poker game gone wrong ends with an Urok Hai cutting down an Ael gambler. The tavern clears out, leaving Flynn and the Urok Hai. “Get that and follow me…”. Flynn looks at the body and quickly grabs the fancy rapier and follows the Urok Hai. They meet a black clad Corsair named Silk at the docks. Looking at Flynn, Silk greets the “captain” and gives the order – “You are to travel to Westfall to pick up the Shadow Guard”.
The Urok Hai, Vahsk Bloodwind, explains that they are the Shadow Guard, sworn to serve the King of Alphatia, Vax. Their mission is to take the Oathbreaker, a Viking longship to pick up their fellows. The Shadow Guard were sent as escorts into the Royalist held lands of Raven Hill. Westfall is a siege work with Guilder laying siege to a Royalist castle.
The ship travels along the coast eventually stopping almost a day out from Westfall. The longship lands and makes camp, while Flynn leads a search party to find the Shadow Guard returning from Raven Hill. After some hours, they track to a Royalist encampment in the woods, led by Cutter. They also find the Shadow Guard and a few additional companions.
The heroes return to the Oathbreaker at night fall and make camp. During the evening a Guilder blockade ship sees their camp fire and investigates. Landing parties flank the longship as they rouse and try to push off. The inexperienced crew can’t get the ship underway before they are surrounded. As the heroes and Urok Hai crew bristle with weapons at ready, Flynn tries to negotiate with the Guilder commander. After negotiation with Flynn and Pahn, the Guilders send them on their way towards Tol Barad.
Underway, the heroes discuss their plans and decide to turn around and head for the closer port of Alamire, now called Guilder. The plan is to repair the ship and take on provisions before making the trip to the Sea Duchy to “join the fleet”. The Night Elf navigator, Fil, admits that he has never taken a longship into open sea and is not confident of getting them there safely. They will also be looking to add crew and more experienced sailors.
Arriving in Guilder, Flynn sees to the crew’s pay and shore leave. The Urok Hai and Myrmidon stay aboard to guard the ship. The heroes retire to a fancy inn called the Venetian. At the Venetian they clean up and have a feast. The Venetian’s helpful host even sees to ship’s supplies and brings the shipwright’s estimate for repairs. Additional ale, wine, and Urok Hai tea are added luxuries for the crew, 1300 gold later (1000 for repairs and 300 for supplies).
As the heroes await the completion of repairs (approximately one week), they explore the grand city of Guilder. The city is full tilt on a war economy, with ships being built and the army swelling its ranks. Propaganda posters seem to target the Royalists to the south and their ancient enemy Hinin to the north. Senators and Republican Guard swarm the city seeking recruits ( conscripts) and rooting out “Royalist sympathizers”. Even the Church is busy seeking donations to various causes, including the “Relief Effort for the Sea Duchy”.
The heroes break up during the week – Flynn and Pahn visiting the Church and Sea Duchy refugee camps; Raglor and Trauban starting a pub crawl; Lucien and Tristana relaxing at the Venetian. Myrmidon serves as guard for person or ship at various times.
After the repairs are complete the newly christened Black Phoenix is ready to leave. The Church has convinced the heroes to take on Sea Duchy refugees, but some are turned away (but compensated in coin by Pahn). The longship is ready to sail for the Sea Duchy and open sea, a full crew and compliment of passengers – old, young, skilled, and unskilled.

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Episode 5

Episode 5 (11/30/2013) – Raglor, Pahn, and Lucien
The heroes leave Raven Hill making their way to Westfall and the rendezvous with the long ship Oathbreaker. Just outside Raven Hill they come upon the missing Teamster, who was murdered and left tied to a tree, black crows circling above. The birds never attack, but the heroes bury the Teamster and mutter a prayer…
Several days later, they arrive on the outskirts of the great siege camp – Westfall. They avoid a Guilder patrol and make their way to the south. As they discuss the best way to find the Oathbreaker, a wood cutter comes upon them and introduces himself at “Cutter” in Elvish. Cutter is a Royalist spy and seems overly chatty with the heroes. He eventually takes them to his camp of (10) Royalists and offers to help them find their ship. During the discussions, however, one of the Royalists recognizes the heroes as the caravan guards for a “burnt wagon” that went to Raven Hill and then returned to the siege camp. The cargo was said to include “siege breakers” to crush the Black Prince Silas (the Royalist leader) holed up in Westfall Castle. The heroes split up – Myrmidon, Trauban, Tristana and the Royalists will search the shoreline for the ship, while Raglor, Pahn, and Lucien visit the siege camp to search for the “burnt wagon”.
Trailing a returning foraging party, the heroes enter the siege camp with little trouble – Pahn remarks to some Urok Hai mercenaries on watch that he has an important report to deliver to his commanding officer. The massive tent city is filled with mercenaries, Republican Guards, and “fleur-di-lis” marked Royalists in work gangs. Searching for the “burnt wagon” leads them to a more heavily guarded area watched by Republican Guards, called the Corral.
As they linger, a serving girl entreats the heroes, the “three Adonises”, to visit her bar across the way from the Corral. The fleur-di-lis marked serving girl serves the heroes some expensive drinks, but seems to be supportive of whatever mischief the heroes have planned. At the bar, the heroes see six Grey Cloaks from Raven Hill, the former teamsters of the “burnt wagon”. Pahn tries to talk with them and finds out they work for Spidas, the scheming merchant that tried to get the diamond. They are waiting for their payment, which Pahn hints would be a shame if it did not make it way back to Spidas…
Watching the Grey Cloaks and plotting ways to get in the Corral, the heroes see a weasel faced Republican Guard Sergeant drop off Spidas’s payment. As he leaves, Raglor ambushes him and absconds with his outfit for Pahn. Raglor and Lucien then leave the hapless guard in a compromising position at the out houses, with Lucien wizard marking a fleur-di-lis. The serving girl compliments Pahn on his promotion to sergeant and continues to provide drinks to the heroes.
Disguised as a Republican Guard, Pahn enters the Corral, to scout for the “burnt wagon” or the siege breakers. He finds some Royalists in stocks and a bloody stump used for executions, a reminder that being caught could end badly. He eventually finds a heavily guarded tent with supplies. A helpful soldier remarks that all the wagons offload there.
While Pahn is scouting, the Grey Cloaks argue and two of their company leave without their Grey Cloaks. The remaining four leave with a heavy sack of coins, bound for Spidas. Raglor and Lucien briefly consider going after them, but decide to wait for Pahn and avoid any other distractions that may risk their primary goal. Pahn later returns and says he found the wagon tent, but its heavily guarded. He doesn’t think he could slip in until nightfall.
As the heroes mull over their plans to get to the tent, a pair of nervous recruits ask Pahn where they should be going. The heroes opportunistically take a new squad of recruits as their escort into the Corral! The heroes first stop is the Royalists. Only 5 remains and 3 are unconscious. Pahn picks the lock and frees them, just as a large Breton in headsman’s hood comes out. As Raglor and the Headsman eye each other, Pahn slips him some coins to leave well enough alone. Taking the coins, the Headsman retires to his tent and lets the “guards” be off with the prisoners.
The heroes meander to “the tent”, but pick up some nosy guards along the way. Making their way to an empty barracks tent they ambush the guards and put them down, taking their gear for the Royalists. Pahn uses his white magic to heal the Royalists and Raglor, who got stuck with a spear. The confused conscripts and Royalists join the heroes in their plan, but the conscripts seem mostly useless, being shopkeepers thrown in armor for the Guilder siege. There was some discussion of creating a diversion, but Pahn winds up sneaking off to explode the siege breakers.
As Pahn sneaks into “the tent”, he finds it is actually a supply depot for the camp’s food and not the armory where the siege breakers are located. A helpful Dwarf quartermaster points the “lost Sergeant” to an even more heavily guarded tent. Pahn returns to the heroes to report it is a different tent and then sneaks off again.
At the armory tent, armed guards and watch dogs patrol the area. Muttering a prayer, Pahn decides to sneak into the tent, knowing he will be found out shortly. He quickly finds six of the siege breakers, half of the bombards delivered to Raven Hill. He briefly considers lighting a flaming arrow, but decides to use the wicks or fuses already on the bombards. As guards rush upon him the bombards explode, sending flames and the armory’s many weapons into the air.
Explosions and screams rock the siege camp! Raglor, Lucien, and the conscripts move out, heading towards the chaos. They find Pahn among the bodies and leave the siege camp unmolested. Making their way to Cutter’s Royalist camp a healing potion brings Pahn back to the living, his Republican Guard breastplate burned and shattered by the bombard’s explosion. The escaped Royalists join Cutter’s camp and the surviving (9) conscripts join the heroes. Tristana remarking they are NOT Shadowguard, but they can still come…
The heroes make their way south, checking the shoreline for the Oathbreaker…
*
Plot synopsis
The bombards meant for the Royalists wind up with the Guilders! Spidas diverts half of the Bombards to the Guilders, either with or without the knowledge of Baron Greyshaw. Tristana thinks the King never meant for the Guilders to get the bombards, so the heroes must intervene.

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Episode 4

Episode 4 (10/19/2013)– An Awkward Ending – Lucien, Pahn, Myrmidon, Traendithas, and Trauban

At a foot bridge spanning a river, some Grey Cloaks harass a Dwarven peddler trying to cross with his mule. “You should have paid Spidas”, they say, as the heroes approach. The well-armed heroes try to intimidate the guards, but when they call for an Ogre lurking under the bridge the tension becomes calculating. Lucien remarks that a fight would be costly for both sides and the guards relent, allowing the heroes and the peddler to cross. Traendithas remarks that they should kill the Ogre and guards, but the heroes dissuade him, just as Raglor notes an additional group of Grey Cloaks arriving behind them.

At the north side of the bridge, a single Black Cloak hides out. His companions had fled when the Ogre arrived and he fears to go back to Raven Hill. He directs the heroes to the Lake Village where many of the ex-nobles have settled. Traendithas mentions that the Labrie family of the King, may be found there.

The Lake Village seems wary, but not nearly as unwelcoming as Raven Hill. Fishermen greet the heroes and direct them to where the Labrie’s may be staying. A stout Ael with thick side burns and less hair introduces them to Lady Labrie, a frail older woman. She seems shocked that her son is alive and much less a newly crowned King. She seems less inclined to leave with the heroes but does wish to have a letter delivered to her son, Vax, the King of Alphatia. She would later mention that her husband is not well and she is tending him.

The heroes make camp with the Black Cloak at the river, to await Lady Labrie’s letter. That evening sounds of fighting are heard on the other side. A Grey Cloak lands on the heroes side of the shore with a sickening thud. Fleeing Grey Cloaks are barred by Myrmidon, but are allowed past once they surrender a whistle used for the Ogre. A second Grey Cloak is thrown across the river followed by the Ogre’s bellow, “PAAAHHHNNNN!!”.

As the Ogre wades across the river, the heroes take up positions on the shore and the bridge. The Ogre’s eyes blaze with an eldritch light, a charm of some sort. Tristana tries to use her crossbow, but it misfires and plops into the river below. Traendithas is more successful, sinking several arrows into the beast before it meets the heroes on the shore. Raglor takes the first attack and is thrown back, before Myrmidon, Trauban, and Traendithas bring it down.

A black clad defender from the Lake Village, briefly appears and mentions a terrible magic was near but now gone. A search of the remains of the Grey Cloaks finds a chest with 12 gold, silver, and copper coins. Pahn gives everyone 2 gold and keeps the lesser coins. Most of their weapons are broken and the heroes decide against looting the downed guards this time.

In the morning, twenty Black Cloaks and their Captain, Keetha, arrive to sort things out. She thanks them for their service to Raven Hill and offers quarters in the castle, which they gratefully take up after a rather poor night’s sleep. The Teamsters are also picked up and asked to join the company. The heroes agree to stay for the funeral as well.

At the funeral, the priest Ollum and Lady Ballentine lead the procession to an ancient family tomb. Ollum says some words about the Saints and the need for hallowed ground to suppress the dead from rising again. His eyes glow with unearthly light and he then calls for Pahn to enter the crypt below. Weapons are drawn and Ollum grabs Lady Ballentine, clawed hands at her throat. Lucien suggests they will let Pahn go below only if Lady Ballentine is released. The possessed priest agrees, but once Pahn goes below the light fades from his eyes and the Teamsters attack the heroes!

As Lady Ballentine pushes Ollum away, Myrmidon rushes down into the crypt. The Teamsters wound Traendithas and Lucien, but are eventually cut down. No one really notices if their eyes were glowing or not, but Lucien and Tristana stabilize one of the Teamsters, while Traendithas loots a sack of coins from the other, letting him bleed out.

Meanwhile, in the crypt, Pahn finds the heavy bronze sarcophagus is now unchained. The lid opens with white smoky tendrils and a pallid clawed hand of The Albino pushing the lid away. Pahn prays for protection from evil, just as Myrmidon charges in with his halberd. Seeing the sickly spectre, the Warforged charges and wounds the creature, but it seems resistant to his steel, unnaturally leaping from the sarcophagus. The battle done above, Trauban rushes down and is nearly charmed, but shakes it off with disgust. Myrmidon and Trauben trade blows on the beast, eventually breaking it into a pale fog that flees the crypt. Lucien tosses in a burning hands as it flees, just for good measure!

After the battle, a distraught Lady Ballentine rushes down into the crypt where they find not her deceased husband’s remains, but a sarcophagus filled to the brim with coins! Pahn and Trauben are pulled away from the treasure trove, but not before pocketing a handful (or two) of the coins. Traendithas remarks that the gold is theirs for the taking, but the heroes agree to seal the tomb instead, letting Ollum and Lady Ballentine to complete the “burial” and take their leave.

The surviving Teamster is revived and briefly questioned, before it is revealed they were likely charmed as well. He seems distraught that his companion (the other teamster) was killed and demands to know who did it, but is only told “we did it” by the heroes. Lucien further burns the letter (3 of 4) given to the Teamster and he leaves their company, running off towards the woods.

The heroes fall back to “The Temple” to recuperate and process the last few day’s events. During the afternoon, after a “few cups”, Raglor flies into a rage and begins slamming Traendithas against the wall of the tavern. Traendithas tries to grapple the larger man, but eventually has to pull a dagger to break free. The grinning barbarian rages that if he wants to fight with weapons he is more than happy to oblige! Traendithas flees outside as Raglor gives chases with his maul. He gets of a couple of arrows off before Raglor’s maul turns him into a bloodied corpse.

Raglor returns to The Temple and set’s a bloodied sack of coins on the table – The teamster’s coins. It turns out that Raglor, Tristana, and the Teamsters were all Shadowguard and former shipmates for the Dread Pirate Roberts. As Raglor sits back down with his cups, he mutters, “No one messes with the Shadow Guard…”

A year ago a violent earthquake destroyed the capital of the Sea Duchy. Refugees fled to the Old Kingdoms as Bretons and Pirates pillaged the remains. Katarina, a pirate captain from Donglaive, seized power and proclaimed herself the new master of the Sea Duchy. Her pirate fleet defeated the Bretons and captured the port of Tol Barad. The new Sea Duchy was re-named Alphatia, after the first kingdom.

Katarina – Phoenix Queen, ruler of Alphatia

Vax – Shadow King, ruler of Alphatia

The Phoenix Queen burned so bright… The Shadow King disappeared from sight…

The two were wed in blood and fire… A dragon’s death to say their vows…

Alphatia’s banner rose high that day… The first kingdom reborn, to all’s dismay…

The Shadow Guard serve the King of Alphatia. They will serve the King in in the shadows on missions to support the crown. Dread Pirate Robert and Silk are your contacts in Tol Barad at the Sea Devil tavern.

Brogan – Dragon slayer, champion of Alphatia

Gywdion – Shape changer and master woodcrafter

Nok’Gar – Magician and Governor of Tol Barad

Dread Pirate Robert – Captain of ships, Normandy crew

Silk – Tol Barad contact, Normandy crew

Raglor – Breton barbarian, Normandy crew

Tristana – Night elf rogue, Normandy crew

Teamsters (2) – Normandy crew, 1st MIA and 2nd KIA

Lucien – Night elf magician, new recruit

Pahn – Breton rogue/white mage, new recruit

Myrmidon – Warforged, new recruit

Trauban – Dwarven warrior, new recruit

Traendithas – Ael Ranger, new recruit, deceased

**

Plot Synopsis

Shadow Guard is hired to escort Lady Ballentine to Raven Hill. The wagon train includes 12 Bombards and the Lady’s deceased husband. The bombards are for the Royalists in Raven Hill and the deceased husband is to be buried at an ancient ancestral resting place. Fears that a vampire may be involved turn out to be true, but actually have more to do with Pahn than Lady Ballentine. The sarcophagus turn out to be hiding a treasure trove in coins and a unnatural fiend called The Albino seems to be hunting Pahn.

The New recruits are to be (covertly) evaluated during the mission by senior Shadow Guard and the client. The client has letters she turns over to Lucien, Tristana, and a Teamster. The Teamster’s letter is destroyed by Lucien. The 2nd Teamster is looted by Traendithas and allowed to bleed out, which eventually enrages Raglor who winds up killing Traendithas in a fit of rage. Tristana eventually explains that they were all (Raglor, Trist, and the 2 Teamsters) Shadow Guards and part of their mission was to help evaluate the new recruits and see if they have a part in the new kingdom of Alphatia…


Awkward Ending Explanation

OK, so my idea for how things would go did not pan out. I was unable to save Traendithas and wound up killing him with Raglor (as an NPC). Doug can make another character, but I may have role played Tim into a corner too (sorry!).

Tristana and the Teamsters were all Shadow Guard from the get go, but I had planned to make Raglor one as well, a sort of sergeant at arms for the group, to keep the recruits in line. He fell into that role when Tim mentioned decking the Teamster that sucker punched Pahn.

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Episode 3

Episode 3 (080313) – Trauban, Traendithas, Pahn, Raglor, Myrmidon, and Lucien
The morning camp is disrupted by a Warg sneaking into camp and trying to steal off with Pahn! Traendithas, who is on watch with Myrmidon, manages to clip it with an arrow, as Pahn wakes up in the mouth of a Warg. As Myrmidon and Traendithas give chase, Pahn manages to command the beast to “change”. A bewildered Night Elf battle rager flees the camp, limping away with arrow wounds. Pahn seems unhurt, having slept in his mythrel shirt armor.
The six Robber Knights bid the caravan good luck and leave the heroes to continue their trek to Raven Hill. Once again, only Lucien is willing to stay with the wagon and its questionable contents (explosives and a chained sarcophagus), while the rest of the heroes travel on foot beside the wagons.
A few days later the caravan stops as birds are spied circling in the distance. Raglor, Myrmidon, and Pahn scout ahead and find a recent battle ground. Black and Grey cloaked warriors litter the woodlands, black birds pecking away at the meaty parts. As Pahn checks the bodies, the birds suddenly become aggressive and swarm him. A sanctuary saves him from the initial attack and then they turn on Raglor, ignoring Myrmidon. The heroes swat at the birds, felling them easily, but more continue to attack! At the caravan, a second flock descends on the heroes. As in the woodlands, the birds fall easily, but they manage to wound the carriage horses before being driven off. As the heroes swat the last of the birds, they dissolve into a black mist or fog and seep away into the woods, the direction of Raven Hill…
100 silver pieces, 11 studded leather, and 11 longswords are scavenged from the fallen – 2 sets are given to the Teamsters. The Priest Ollum and Myrmidon bury the poor souls and say a prayer that they find rest. Pahn uses healing on the heroes and horses, allowing them to press on through the night, eager to be done with this business.
At midnight, the weary troupe sees a lonely inn at the top of a wooded hill. They are greeted by a half dressed woman and invited to stay. Several other women, recently awakened, provide some hard bread and ale, before hiding in a locked room until morning. Myrmidon, guarding the horses and wagons, startles a jittery man sleeping in the stables. Later that morning the innkeeper mentions a woodcutter had been staying in the stable after his home was destroyed. The inn is called “The Temple” and it is only a few hours to Raven Hill.
The heroes leave Lady Ballentine at “The Temple” and scout out Raven Hill. After passing an abandoned picket, they come upon a nervous town. Only Grey Cloaked guards lurk in shadows, while doors and windows are shuttered. Only a busy smithing shop and an inn appear open. At the Inn the heroes are treated to some fine food and drink by the innkeepers – Trelayne (female Ael in noble’s garb) and Hanns and Smitt (well dressed and groomed Bretons). An appointment is made with a bureaucrat at the City Council and the heroes bring Lady Ballentine to Raven Hill. The smithy is run by Dwarves and a Warforged, who Lucien talks to in Elvish, much to the Dwarves surprise.
True to her word, Lady Ballentine finds a buyer for the dragon stick, an Alchemist named Ebonlocke. She also pays off the Teamsters with sacks of coin. The heroes agree to trade the dragon stick for a diamond (possibly worth 10,000 gp) and also get a good price for the scavenged weapons and armor (52gp each). The Teamsters seem inclined to join the heroes, but are rebuffed with “what’s it worth to you for safe passage back?”. The burial of Lady Ballentine’s husband is to be some days from now, but the heroes seem inclined to leave before then.
A visit from a tradesman, Spidas, who has an interest in trading for the diamond does not go well. His offer of horses and hard coin, turns into a threat that leaving Raven Hill may not be that easy. The innkeeper also asks the heroes to leave sooner than later, since weapons were almost drawn in her inn.
Meanwhile, Traendithas visits the captain of the knight watch on his own to ask about a missing noble family called Labrie. He’s told they may be “across the lake”. When he returns to the heroes they have decided to leave. Pahn is inclined to travel north to Guilder (formerly Alamire), but has been told it is a slow and dangerous trek with some climbing involved. Raglor recommends skirting Westfall as they did before and then they can go north to Alamire or back south the way the came before.
Treendithas suggests they check the route to the north, “across the lake”. Traveling north they find a large lake blocking their way. Traveling around they find a small river with a bridge guarded by Grey Cloaks. “Leaving so soon?”, they call, “You should have paid Spidas…” as they draw weapons.

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Episode 2

Episode 2 (072013) – Troubon, Traendithas, Pahn, Raglor, Myrmidon, and Lucien
The Breton barbarian Raglor wins a drinking and brawling contest and is inducted into the Shadow Guard by Dread Pirate Robert. He joins the Night Elf Black Wizard, Lucien, and they are sent to the Goblin village of 100 Huts to blaze a trail for the caravan of Lady Ballentine. The caravan arrives 4 days late with Troubon, Tranedithas, Pahn, and Lady Ballentine’s retainers – the Lazarus priest Ollum and two teamsters. A Goblin junk merchant tries to sell them “magical” scrap weapons and armor, which turns out to include the Warforged, Myrmidon, who joins their company.
Leaving the swamplands of Tol Barad behind, the caravan skirts a dark forest. One evening, the teamsters claim one of the carriage horses is lame and lead it out into the forest. There is some discussion of rearranging the horses and a fight breaks out over the “lame” horse, when it is discovered to be unhurt. Pahn gets sucker punched by one of the teamsters, but eventually the horse is led into the woods to be killed.
Pahn and Traendithas shadow the teamster and watch to see if anything happens after the horse is killed. The Ael Ranger is convinced that a vampire will be coming to feed! As if on cue, a wolf appears to feast on the dead horse. To their horror the beast seems to grow larger and larger as it devours the horse! Looking up from its meal, its eyes blaze red and nostrils flare. Suddenly it bounds towards them! Traendithas sinks an arrow deep into the beast and Pahn rushes from behind to finish it with his daggers.
Raglor eventually starts to look for the missing heroes and finds them arguing over the warg’s corpse. Traendithas is convinced it should change back, but now they are not certain what they have killed. As the other heroes arrive, the Warforged’s lantern reveals a large dark blue warg with a strange tribal mark on its shoulder… a Night Elf battle rager. The heroes return to camp and try not to think of what happened…
The next days, 4 more wargs stalk the caravan. Tristana manages to get the covered wagon stuck in a rut in the road, leading the wargs to charge! Troubon, Raglor and Myrmidon deal heavy damage to the beasts, but get mauled in the process. Traendithas is felled by one of the beasts and Tristana discharges the dragon stick, wounding it and knocking herself out from the recoil . Lucien and Pahn help to finish off the beasts and put out the fire started by the dragon stick. The heroes would later learn that Lady Ballentine had the horse killed as an offering to the Night Elves, who’s land they were passing through. She apologizes for not being more forthcoming, but also hints with noble arrogance they she does not have to explain herself.
Once outside the forest trail, they arrive at another Goblin village, also called 100 Huts. The Teamsters pay off a Goblin wearing a Guilder Napoleonic hat and are afforded some time to rest and recover. A Goblin merchant tries to sell them “Mother’s Milk” a local healing potion, but a watered down version in Ale is chosen instead. Myrmidon finds this village has a large arena, the remains of an ancient fortification.
After resting a few days, the journey continues into Guilder. The caravan skirts the siege of Westfall, where Guilder lays siege to their own castle, held by Royalists, led by the Black Prince Silas, heir to the city of Alamire (now called Gulder). Dodging foragers and patrols they make it to the road to Raven hill.
On the trail to Raven Hill, the hearse breaks a wheel. After a bitter debate, the hearse is scavenged and broken down. The hearse’s contents, a chained bronze sarcophagus of a warrior (the Lady Ballentine’s late husband’s remains) are removed to the covered wagon for transport. Ollum takes up the reins of the covered wagon, with only Lucien staying in the wagon now. The other heroes choose to trail on foot.
Mid way to the end of their journey, their night camp is interrupted by some torch bearing travelers. These robber knights are leaving Raven Hill and bear dark tidings from the Royalist stronghold:
With the Black Prince trapped in West Fall, Raven Hill has fallen into rival camps of “Blacks” (Black Prince) and “Greys” (Baron Greyshaw). The town council had tried to put Baron Greyshaw into power, but fighting broke out and settled nothing. Dark things occur at night, bodies found in the morning clawed and drained of blood. Some say vampires and werewolves stalk the night, while the Black and Grey Councils each blame the other for these atrocities. The Knight Watch, which guards Ravens Hill, has also splintered into Black and Grey Knights, rendering them ineffectual.

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Episode 1

Episode 1 (070613) – Traubon, Traendithas, and Pahn – King’s Guard Recruits
Months have passed since the Sea Duchy lay claim to Tol Barad, but steel remains the real authority. Alphatia’s banner flies over the city, the newest in a long line of conquerors. As the new rulers settle in, Ael Bards sing of Alphatia, the First Kingdom reborn.
The Dwarven warrior, Traubon, is on his way to meet the Dread Pirate Robert at the Sea Devil tavern. The sun is just setting as he hears a crash of wood and glass breaking. Three looters have smashed the large window of a modest home. He briefly considers not getting involved, until he hears the scream!
The crash of glass and wood startle Pahn. He rushes to the stairs to see three Breton thugs climbing through the shattered window and rummaging through the old master’s things. Did they not realize the glass alone was worth much more than the meager furnishings below!? Pahn can’t help but cry out in disgust, causing the intruders to look up and draw weapons.
As Traubon peeks through the broken window, he see the three looters draw blades and the sole homeowner on the stairs, swishing a pair of daggers menacingly. Two of the Bretons turn to confront him as he hops into the room, grinning with axe in hand. As one of them says to “Run or we’ll cut of your beard”, the other moves towards him clumsily and get’s his arm cut off, spraying half the room in blood!
Pahn curses as a valueable Urok Hai rug is ruined by the dieing looter. As he casually dodges his own attacker, he plunges one of his blades into a looter’s chest. The mortal wound catches bone and as the looter crumples, he takes Pahn with him to the foot of the stairs.
The last looter flees for his life, barely escaping Traubon’s second axe swing. Annoyed, Traubon pulls out his short bow and let’s an arrow chase his quarry. The arrow sinks into the looter’s leg as he limps away.
The Ael ranger, Traendithas, is almost to the Sea Devil tavern. He sees a large broken window with a wounded man limping away trailing blood from a arrow in the leg. The twang of a bow sends a second arrow into the back of his head! The looter falls to the ground with a thud.
A Dwarven warrior with a bow emerges from the window, shortly followed by a well dress Breton with blood stains. The heroes are in the middle of the street when down the lane, the door of the Sea Devil opens and a well dressed swashbucker emerges. “You must be the new King’s Guard recruits?, he says. Under his breath you almost hear him say “At least you did better than those three louts…”
The swashbuckler takes the heroes to the tavern where they meet the Dread Pirate Robert. The grizzled pirate sits at a table strewn with empty bottles and gives them the evil eye. The swashbuckler then swears them into the King’s service and proclaims them the first of the King’s Guard. “You’re first mission is to escort the Lady Ballentine to Raven Hill. You’re contact is her priest, Ollum. Your payment will be 1000 gold.” He then drops them at an Inn to meet their escort.

At the Inn, Pahn cleans up and the heroes find Ollum and a strange Night Elf woman with red hair. She claims to be a “King’s Guard” too and the payment is a dragon stick. A fight nearly erupts, but the arrival of Lady Ballentine ends the conflict. She explains that the dragon stick is 1000 gold, but she can easily sell it for more in Raven Hill, promising them each 1000 gold upon safe delivery.
Ollum leads the heroes to the stables where they find a carriage, a hearse, and a covered wagon. Alarmed by the hearse, Traendithas talks about vampires and the heroes gather some garlic and wooden stakes before they leave. The heroes are to drive the covered wagon, which seems to carry some small kegs with warnings to “keep away from fire”…

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