May 22 2008
Captain James asks the characters to ride towards Norek, find the dwarf and provide a description of both them and the caravan, ride back to Norek with all haste and report.
The PCs ride out on borrowed horses, a few of them lacking the skill are riding pillion. They pass through a couple of villages, looking for the dwarf but find no sign. Finally, as they arrive in Tharp late that evening, they spy a cart outside the Tavern. It is missing a wheel and in the doorway of the blacksmith across the road, the smith is hammering replacement spokes for it. After brief inquiries the PC’s discover that a dwarf paid him more than double to have the wheel ready within the hour. He mentions that they went for a bite to eat and a drink in the tavern.
Raal decides to investigate the caravan, Asheren stands watch on the corner and the rest of the PC’s entered the tavern. The pub is full of local townsfolk celebrating a birthday and is very lively. Lysar waits by the door, Ferox joins the throng at the bar and Biryn, Sira and Ulrich spy the dwarf and two men in a rear alcove. Their bluff to try and delay them backfires terribly and the three men are pummeled into the woodwork. In the ensuing combat a stray bolt from Ulrich’s crossbow shoots Jack, the birthday boy and the townsfolk begin to panic. One of the dwarf’s men rushes to the front door to check on the caravan and Lysar tackles him just outside. Biryn, Ulrich and Sira fight inside with the dwarf and the heavyset man, while Ferox lends his assistance with some well-timed spells.
Meanwhile Lysar is losing the battle outside, but as she is about to be beaten, the townsfolk rush to her aid. Asheren hears the commotion and rushes to let Raal know that he is in danger. Raal has already heard the commotion and readies his bow. Just in time he recognises Asheren at the gate to the courtyard and motions him to stay on guard.
Raal can only find empty packing cases full of straw and mud-bricks, but as he digs deeper he finds a copper urn with something sloshing around inside. Dipping in his dagger he draws it out to find that it is covered in a thick, metallic liquid. Dabbing some to his tongue his entire body enters full shutdown.
After the battle is concluded, with the characters smarting but winning, Lysar and Asheren revive Raal by using a bucket of water.
As they drag the culprits outside, the townsfolk begin to gather in greater numbers. Jack is having his wound dressed by a couple of townsfolk ladies. The grumbles from the townsfolk grow louder as the dwarf and his men are being tied up by the PC’s. As the PC’s look around they realise that they are completely surrounded by the men of Tharp, armed with makeshift weapons. Jack staggers up, freshly bandaged, climbs atop a barrel and gives a rousing speech, condemning the PC’s actions. Biryn attempts to calm things, but there is no reasoning with them. Just as things are about to turn ugly, there is a galloping of hooves and seven men ride into the town-square.
The leader of the men, dressed in the uniform of an officer of the Norinth introduces himself as Captain William Peel of the Norinth. His men surround the PC’s and the dwarf & co and train loaded crossbows on them. Jack and some of the other townsfolk explain their side of the story first, and Biryn & Lysar explain theirs. Captain William looks doubtful, but when the drug shipment is mentioned, he orders one of his men to escort Lysar to the caravan where she shows him an empty space! The drugs are gone. While Asheren is watching this scene unfold he scans the crowd looking for a friendly face, there is a flicker of unusual movement at the back of the crowd, towards the Tharp Wayrest, but when he looks again it is gone.
Soon Captain William makes his verdict. The PC’s and the dwarf and his men are all to be locked up, weapons confiscated and he will ride to Norek to fetch a magistrate who can address the townsfolk’s grievances. He will also check with Captain James on the PC’s story. There are small holding cells beneath the pub and it is down here that the PC’s are led. Down a trapdoor set in the back of the bar and down a small ladder, there are two steel cages. The PC’s are all placed in one, while the dwarf and his men are in the other. Each party is looking at the other without fondness and there are some harsh words exchanged.
As night falls the PC’s all catch some shut-eye. Ferox is on watch and notices the lamp on the window suddenly blow out. There is the faint rattle of keys in the lock of the other cage and Ferox begins to wake the other PC’s quietly. As soon as Asheren is awoken he casts a spell which illuminates the dwarf and his men climbing the ladder and opening the trapdoor. How they got their cage open is a mystery. Still fast asleep in the corner is Raal, who when woken remembers his emergency lockpick kit hidden in the folds of his cloak. All the PC’s gather round him as he attempts to pick the lock. Asking them to move out of the light, they reluctantly step backwards and Asheren brings the beam of light closer to his work.
Suddenly one of the PC’s smells smoke and as Asheren shines his light on the trapdoor, Raal curses in frustration, they can all see wisps of smoke coming through the boards above. With renewed vigour they finally spring the lock and the gate swings open.
Biryn, furious about the whole situation charges toward the ladder, literally throws himself up it. Bang, into the trapdoor, bang again. Definitely locked from the other side. With each charge the hinges in the door begin to give a little.
Lysar and Raal begin looking for another way out. Searching the floors and walls for any cracks, they are beginning to get desperate. Smoke is pouring down through the floorboards now and the air is getting thinner. There is no other way out!.
Finally Biryn charges the trapdoor for the final time and it bursts from it’s hinges. A wave of heat hits him and he falls back down the ladder. They can all see the flames and hear the creaking of stressed timbers above them.
“We’ll have to make a run for it!” shouts Ulrich.
Asheren steps forward. “I may have something to help. I can cast a spell which will make you run faster.”
There is a crash from above as part of the inside wall topples.
“Well, get on with it then.” shouts Lysar.
After much drama, some of it painful, the PC’s escape the burning Inn and assist the townsfolk with extinguishing the blaze. The PC’s are the informed that the dwarf and his men killed Jack and a couple of the townsfolk, stole a cart and drove off towards Norek. They offer a barn as a place for the PC’s to rest and attend to their injuries and the farmer’s wife brings them hot broth and a loaf of bread.