March 11 – In the middle of the street. Finntran profusely apologizes for hurting Solaire. Solaire’s nose is still bleeding from having the Hobbit land on him. Only after a few moments does the bleeding finally stop. They now slowly continue in the direction of the Inn.
Atop his black warhorse Valor. Sir Arturas DeLanor rides West along the Duchy of Geoff East / West Highway. His 3 weeks of travel with his squire Bertram, tell him he is close to his destination. Palor has sent Arturas the vision of the righteous Cleric Solaire, and that he is in need of Arturas’s help with an undead problem. Arturas knows the cleric is in the vicinity of Hochoch. The road as he travels West is clogged with refugees. All heading East and away from what he assumes is the coming onslaught. He arrives at the South gate of the city of Hochoch, just after the noon bells. The gates are closed. The road all along the sides are clogged with people sitting or camped out. He notices a large banner hanging from the top of the city wall “9 Days Left – PREPARE “ He is not sure what to make of the banner. There are no guards at the gate. There are no guards looking down from the walls or gatehouse. (Arturas) “Bertram, Please use your horn to alert the guards.” Bertram pulls out his horn and sounds a loud blast. A guard pokes his head over the edge of the wall and ducks back. (Arturas) “See here good man. Open the gate. I have important business in the city.” The guard again pokes his head over the wall and ducks back. Soon another guard with a small red crest on his helmet pokes his head over the edge of the wall. People in the area see this knight as an opportunity to get into the city. If he gets in at all. They all start to mill about closer to the gate. (Sargent) “The city is over full.” (Arturas) “I am here for the undead problem.” The sargent gets a scowl on his face (Sargent) “Great, another mercenary. Let him in. Open the gate.” As the gate opens. Crowds of people all rush to enter the city. The guards hold as many back but close to 2 dozen run in before they can close the gates after Sir Arturas and Bertram enter. The sargent comes down to talk to the knight. (Sargent) “I am short of men to escort you to the Duke. I can give you directions.” (Arturas) “That will be fine Sargent.” The directions are fairly easy and Atruras and Bertram both think they can follow them. The South gate looks across the docks along the river. The city wall extends about 20 yards out into the river but does not encircle the city completely. There are fences erected along the docks but nothing substantial. Arturas shakes his head at the lack of defense this city has. They head in the direction of the Duke’s keep.
On the way back to the White Stallion Inn. The group discuss their next course of action in reaching Mt. Slera. (Finntran) “No one is happy on the haunted mountain.” Bess sees her informant, Borat doing his panhandler thing and watching everyone that walks near. She slides over to him and inquires about the Statue and the engineers that brought it to the city. What little information he knows is. That a large canvas wrapped thing was delivered to the Duke’s castle. He does not know what happened to the engineers. Bess thanks him with a silver. Further up the road. Solaire decides to stop at a blacksmith shop to have him un dent his breast plate that Finntran dented. As the blacksmith hammers out the dents. Solaire hovers over the blacksmith as he works. Pointing out all the tiny dents on the armor. (Finntran) “Hey, that last dent was not from me. That was from when you fell off your horse by Hochovle.” The blacksmith is annoyed but he puts up with a paying customer. Sir Arturas passing by. Sees his cleric of Paylor at the blacksmith shop. He dismounts and approaches. He is abruptly stopped by a young female wood Elf with her right hand resting on the pommel of her sword. (Arturas) “Excuse me young lass. I wish to speak with the cleric of Pelor.” (Sai) “Solaire, do you know this guy?” Solaire looks up from the meticulous work the blacksmith is doing and sees a large human knight with a symbol of Palor on his belt. Sai is standing in front of him, blocking his path. (Arturas) “You are the righteous cleric Solaire of Pelor?” (Solaire) “I am. And who are you?” (Arturas) “ I am Sir Arturas DeLanor – Paladin. The great god Pelor sent me to aid in your endeavor.” A very big smile crosses Solaire’s face. A silent prayer crosses his lips. “Thank you God of Light.” As he moves forward (Solaire) “Sai, welcome our new friend.” Sai steps aside but does not remove her hand from the sword. Sir Arturas and Solaire clasp hands. (Arturas) “Pelor has sent me but I have no other information, other then to seek you out and aid in whatever way I can.” (Solaire) “We have much to discuss. Lets head to the Inn for lunch and much discussion.” Solaire examines the finished breast plate. Now restored to its dent free state. The blacksmith helps Solair to put it back on. Solaire pays him the 5 gold and they are on their way again to the Inn. As they walk, Solaire introduces everyone in the group. When they get to the White Stallion. The smell of venison stew makes everyone hungry. Bill, Ted and Bertram take the horses to the stable around back. Inside there is a bit of a ruckus going on. Group #8. The 8 young boys has started a wrestling match. 1 table and 4 chairs are broken and on the floor. The 5 Hobbits are running bets on who will win. The barmaid is crouched behind the bar in fear. Alston goes up to the Hobbit taking the bets. (Alston) “What are the odds?” (Ruck) “2-1 on the guy with the split lip. 8 to 1 on the guy with a cut on his cheek. You want in?” (Alston) “100 gold on the guy with a split lip” Sai also places a small bet on the guy with the cut on his cheek. It takes only another moment and the guy with the split lip is pinned by the guy with a cut on his cheek. Ruck holds out his hand. Alston reluctantly pays him and goes back to the table where the group is now sitting. Ruck pays Sai the 24 gold she won. Finntran has been talking to Arturas the entire walk back to the inn and still while they were sitting at the table. Trying to explain what information they have of what will come to pass. Arturas tries to make sense of what the group tells him, but it is too much for 1 sitting. (Arturas) “This is no, Undead Problem. This is a major Cataclysmic Event.” (Alston) “More or less, Yes.” The discussion turns to the time line and the amount of provisions the group has. A list is made and half the group will restock provisions. The other half will go to the Pelor temple to enlist the bishop’s help in retrieving the statue of Pelor from the Duke . Finntran will stay at the Inn finishing his 2nd lunch. Solaire, Bess, Carter and Arturas head to the temple. When they get there. The temple is over full with 80 refugees. In an area that would be for 40 people. The audience with the bishop does not get them the answers they want. The bishop does not have the pull to stand up to the Duke about the statue that he supposedly has. Also, all the clerics at this temple are very cloistered. Non have any skill in offensive spells. The bishop explains that he has maybe enough supplies to hold out for maybe 2 months. After that he is not sure what he will do. They bid the bishop goodby. Solaire leaves him 10 gold. Arturas leaves him 20 gold. Bess smiles at the face Solaire makes when Arturas donates twice as much money as Solaire. It is already late afternoon and the sun will soon be setting. As they get down the block. There is a boarding house on fire. There are people trying to put it out with blankets and some are only using buckets of water. Carter runs into the building to search out anyone still in there. Arturas assembles a bucket line from the water troughs to the fire. Solaire creates 60 gallons of water over the top of the fire. Carter, on the inside finds no one. He wells up his power to smother the fire of air. With the efforts of all 3 people. The fire is soon out. Carter walks out of what is left of the building, unscathed. Soon after, Bill and Sai come up to the group. (Bill) “Alston thought we were leaving the city before sundown today? All the extra supplies are ready.” They continue back to the Inn. They decide to stop at the magic shop on the way. There is a dark haired male human having an identify spell placed upon a ring as they enter. He soon leave the shop crying. Solaire notices the 2 scrolls he was looking at are no longer there. The group haggles with the proprietor over the price of healing potions and manna potions. They take all they can afford. Bess palms 2 of the healing potions when the proprietor is not looking. They continue on, to the Inn. Once there, they discuss the time line again and Sai confirms the travel times. Since half the group can not see in the dark of night. They decide to leave in the morning. After dinner everyone turns in for the night. Arturas pays the 2 gold for a room for the night.
March 12 – Solaire is up early to greet the rising sun. It is a very cold March day. Little to no clouds but cold. After everyone has come down for breakfast and is about ready to leave. Ruck the Hobbit comes over to Solaire. (Ruck) “My masters would like a word with you.” Solaire walks over to the table where the 2 wizards are sitting. 1 of them has a mage hand writing in a book. (Mohab) “Thank you, Solaire is your name?” (Solaire) “Yes, what can I help you with?” (Ruthbin) “As you know we are documenting this event. For the history books. We would like to clarify some information?” (Mohab) “We need the names of all in your group and as much information as you can spare.” Solaire relays to them the names of everyone and not much information as to where they are headed. (Solaire) “Please do not write our obituaries just yet.” (Mohab) “Nothing of the sort. We want accuracy. Thank You.” Solaire walks back to the table as Finntran is putting the last bit of Bacon into his mouth. (Solaire) “Are we ready?” Everyone nods. They decide to leave a note at the bar for Maab. Telling her where they went. They all head to the barn. As Solaire finishes checking the saddle on his horse. Bess gives him a hug and a kiss. (Bess) “You be careful. I will see what I can find out about the statue.” Bess watches the group travel down the block. When they get just out of her site. She runs off to where her horse is hidden and heads to the South gate. Once safely outside the city, does she remove the disguise and change her clothes.
Travel through the city to the North gate takes the group almost 45 minuets. They need to detour 3 times due to some of the streets being blocked by too many people. When they get to the North Gate. They all see the banner “8 Days Left – PREPARE “ The guards open the gates to let the group out. They all hear someone in the crowd. “Yea, the heros of Saltmarsh. They will defeat the evil.” A small cheer erupts as the group passes. There is more of a guard presence at this gate. They keep anyone wanting in from entering the city. The gates are closed and barred behind the group as they leave. As they get farther from the city. There are less and less refugees traveling East on the East – West highway. They pick up the pace. After 45 minutes, Finntran notices a rider coming up the road behind them. (Finntran) “Hey Everyone. I think Maab is coming.” The group comes to a stop to wait for her. When she catches up they introduce her to Sir Arturas and Bertram. She then leans over to Solaire and hands him a scroll case. (Maab) “Oh, by the way. Bess told me to give this to you. She seen that you wanted it. So she bought it for you.” Solaire opens it to read the title. It is the Crusaders Mantle Scroll he was looking at the other day at the magic shop. (Solaire) “Bless that sweet girl.” (Finntran) “I did not think she had that type of money.” (Solaire to Maab) “So where have you been? Not in any trouble I hope.” (Maab) “No, just checking on my family.” (Arturas) “We are losing daylight. We can talk and ride at the same time.” They continue on their Westerly course. Another 45 minutes and they reach the stone wall being built running North to South at Fort Honour. The 2nd tower is almost complete and the steel bar gates are installed. They are open at the moment but look very heavy and secure. Sir Arturas notices the walls construction. He sees it is hastily built. It is only 12’- high and there is no parapet for guards to walk on. They continue West at a fast pace. In another 1-1/2 hours they reach the wood stockade wall. This wall has a parapet for guards to see over the wall, but he notices that the wood to make the wall is all mixed of different trees. Some wood may not last the 4 months between the Spring equinox and the summer solstice. The half orc guard lets them through at the gate. This time there is no line on the West side waiting to get through the gate. If they come across any refugees. They are very few and far between. They travel on for the next 6 hours till just before sunset. They find a good spot to make camp off the road. As the tents are being set up. Alston notices that Sir Arturas’s tent is a little bigger then his. (Alston to Bill and Ted) “Guys, set the tent on some slightly higher ground. It will make the tent seem bigger.” Both gnomes shrug. (Bill and Ted) “Sure boss.” They move it to a slightly higher spot. Arturas and Bertram practice sword moves. (Finntran) Pointing to Arturas “Very dedicated to his craft.” Ted make a Sausage with vegetables in a wine sauce for dinner. (Arturas) “You do know food such as this makes a man soft.” Alston raises a glass of wine to that comment. After dinner, watches are set and the night passes uneventful.
March 13 – A slightly cloudy day. Just as cold as the day before. The group notices a small campfire just off the road about a mile to the West. Breakfast is lite. Toast, jam and bacon with hot java. Soon after camp is struck, packed and they are again traveling West. A mile down the road they pass 2 refugees huddled near a small campfire. They don’t even look up when the group passes. The group travels for 4 more hours and makes it to Old Midwood. (Solaire) “I would like to check the under dark to make sure the statue has been moved. Sai stays with Bill, Ted, Bertram and the horses. The group goes down the 1st flight of stairs. Down the hallway to the 1st room. The cage is still there. It is open and empty. They decide to check farther down and make sure there is no undead left in these catacombs. They continue down the 2nd set of stairs. Finntrans rope is still there to aid in going up or down the stairs. They follow the hallway. Arturas wells his thoughts and detects some form of evil ahead. (Arturas) “Medium strength evil ahead.” (Finntran to Maab) “What does he mean by Medium Strength?” They follow the hallway as it bends to the right and comes to a T. As they make the Left. They hear something moving slowly up ahead. Alston’s sword only gives light up to 30’-. Finntran’s lantern is only giving off light up to 20‘-. As they travel to the Y in the hallway they stop some 10’- to the junction. Just at the edge of the light are 2 large body zombies coming towards the group. As they get closer. They can see they are, or were ogres. Over the next 10 minuets of battle with them. Swords are a blur. Spells are cast, but the zombie ogres are formidable. Both Alston and Arturas are confused by the stamina of these monsters with the amount of damage each is causing. Even the scorching ray spells from Finntran and Solaire do very little to slow it down. While they are on fire and lumbering around. The final blows to each zombie are a sad relief for the bleeding and soreness of both Alston and Arturas. They are both breathing heavy. (Finntran) “So, we clear the tunnels of monsters. Leave and new ones just move right in?” (Alston) “It seems so my friend. It seems so.”