Enter the Vale

Inside the City Gates

All is not well in the belly of the beast...

Night descended upon the weary travelers, as they holed up in a two story dilapidated house with few walls, and no roof. The rest of the city had fared no better, with torn tents, and makeshift bedrolls littering the streets.

The drastic change in the Capital city struck Forge Ironmantle by surprise, as he could not believe such circumstances could change so quickly. The few days he spent in town, were fruitless, as his inquiries into the whereabouts with his father, proved to be difficult. No one would give him the information he sought.

In the refugee ward, Forge met up with an old time friend Chordun Whitehammer, a dwarven armorsmith, whom he hoped could fill him in on the most recent events that saw such a wonderful city, fall prey to corruption and despair.

In the next building over, Steelix the eidolong kept watch from the shadows, while his master, Maximillion and his new friends slept. It was during this watch, that Steelix was caught unaware by a crawling rat. Taken by surprise, the ever present Eidolon warned his Master that they were under attack; a fact confirmed later when Alexander yelped in surprise by an attack from an abnormally large spider. Shaking off the pain, and in his undergarments, Alexander woke the rest of the sleepy companions. One by one, they rose, only to discover their “abandoned” home was infested with all sorts of vermin; likely, the reason why it was abandoned when they arrived.

Using some quick thinking, the vermin began to scurry and disappear, as they quickly died at the hands of the tired group. However, it wasn’t long before the real threat emerged from the shadows.

Six Brawlers emerged, reeking of alcohol, along with two seemingly hired mercenaries, as well as what appeared to be a Town Bully in an attempt to attack the group. Forge, quickly recognized the threat for what it was, and from his vantage point, was able to fire off a volley of shots into the approaching group. Three were taken by surprise, but rather than flee, they grit their teeth together and all continued into the condemned building.

Krosh hurried towards the balcony and began firing his arrows at any he could find, but not before he climbed over the railing, and down the walls like a spider, only to fire another shot into the open window.

Using some quick wit, Max set the floor alive with grease, and called Steelix to his side, only to have it disappear, soon after. It would not do to have his casting drawing unwanted attention from the city.

From his vantage point, Krosh was able to discern a familiar face, watching off to the darkness by the gate not more than 100 feet away. Maud’dib and Forge, also caught this stranger’s interest, as he watched the battle unfold. Once he seemed to gain what he needed by watching, the stranger nodded to himself, and disappeared back behind the gate, where Maud’dib finally lost him.

With a good number of their comrades dead, the thugs lost taste for battle, but not before Alexander attempted to threaten them with his bravado. A threat that may have been more intimidating had he not been in his skivvies while issuing it. The Town Bully, quickly replied that they had been paid to take this group down, and that his employers were much more scary than anything this ragtag group of lesser races had to offer.

Little did the town bully realize, that coming up from behind him was the town guard. Upon arriving on the scene, Corporal Lance issued a cease all hostilities order, an order that was taken very seriously. At the sound of his voice, the town bully and his hired men moved to run. Some did manage to escape, but most were caught. In the attempt to flee, Alexander was able to trip up three of them, halting them in their tracks.

Corporal Lance approached the group, visibly shaken at the thought that the foreigners he had just let in not more than a few hours before, had already come into trouble… whether they were the cause of it or not, he could not be sure, and he did not care.

Citing regulation and law, Corporal Lance decreed that a fine must be met, a fine totaling no less than 900gp. Scoffing at the outrageous amount. Alexander, aided by Forge, managed to persuade Corporal Lance to take the money found from the bodies, and detainees captured as recompense. Upon searching the bodies, all were surprised to learn that they had indeed been paid well, very well. Some 300gp or so on just the ones that were captured. Someone, somewhere wanted them gone.

Corporal Lance, no longer seemed the blustering fool shaking up refugees for pocket change, but instead seemed very much like a man who was beaten by a system he had given up trying to fight. With the fight over, Forge asked Corporal Lance if he had seen Pathion. To which he replied with great disdain and insult.

Deciding it best not to press the man, Forge let him be on his way. Corporal Lance, did thank the group, in his own way, and let them know that he’d be able to keep the heat off them for a total of five days, if they lied low; after which, he could not be held responsible if they remained in the city. He did promise to let them back in, should they return at a later date.

The group decided it was best to use the five days to their fullest potential. Using all their remaining time, they helped out mainly around their immediate area, and mainly in Chordun’s blacksmith shop in an attempt to make themselves appear more welcome. Krosh took the opportunity to throw some money around, and hired many of the able bodied refugees, to help repair the house the group had found.

Using their various contacts found within the refugee ward, Krosh managed to find passage for Alexander, Max and Forge to get into the library to research some lore. Amongst the articles the group returned with was information regarding the Vampires the group had encountered in the Mines of the Dwarven Halls, as well as, information regarding the Fallenwood.

Through the lore, Alexander again had a nagging suspicion that all was not well, as the story presented as history was so very different than the reality he knew. Forge, through Chordun, and later his contact Namyr was able to learn that his father had found his way heading towards the Fallenwood. But the reports from his two friends, were conflicting in nature; the only agreement being that he did indeed venture south along Three Camp Road.

Forge, learning that the group was heading towards that general direction anyway, agreed to accompany the group, if anything to have more allies as he continued his search for his missing father. Upon learning of Alexander and Maximillion’s surname, Forge scoffed at them, for brazingly throwing out names of a royal line that had faded nearly four decades ago, two of which were before he was even born!

Not believing their tale, and having no reason to, Forge simply nodded and turned his attention to other matters. While speaking with the other members of the group, Forge learned that Krosh was a ranger of some small renown to the area, trained by the legendary Sheila Lalaneth-Jenkings, and that Maud’dib was a curious little creature with a penchant for talking to and with animals.

Blythe, unusually quiet, during this whole exchange, finally saw fit to let him know that she was seeking her father, an Elf rumored to be in the Fallenwood. It came as no small shock, when a piece of lore recovered from the library, showed the picture of the Elven Royal Family, a picture of the man she believed to be her father named amongst them. Settling in for the fourth evening, none dared stand up against them.

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