Mere moments remained before the army’s arrival. The Night Guard questioned one of the survivors of the battle, a soldier named Guntram. He was too badly in shock to tell the party much, but they did learn that his orders to wait in the forest had come not from Elesar but from Captain Connal Reloks – confirming that Elesar was not the legitimate Captain of the Royal Core. The party stabilized the shivering Guntram, and gave him what little healing they could.
With that, the rest of the Gladrathi army reached the clearing and surrounded the party. Captain Connal himself approached, immediately ordering the Night Guard handcuffed and their weapons confiscated. They were marched to a command tent, and each party member was questioned in turn.
Tam volunteered to go first and attempted to overwhelm Connal with details, relating the Night Guard’s adventures in the Feral Bosk and the events that led up to the battle in the Ei’dath Woods. Val was next, and tried to intimidate the captain by talking up the Night Guard’s rank and importance. Connal’s meticulous note-taking and professional mien held up to both Tam and Val. Manny was not treated as well as the two humans; Connal interrogated him aggressively about the source of his magical knowledge and threw him in a cage for “a special round of questioning later.”
Alfo was the only one left. He was taken to a separate tent, where the rest of the Night Guard could neither see nor hear what was happening. They did hear Shadow, though*. Hidden in the woods, Shadow relayed to the party that the army was behaving strangely – hacking down trees, looting the corpses of Elesar’s crew, and executing survivors, including Guntram. Luckily, Shadow remained undetected by the army’s scouts. Val and Tam tried to escape their bonds, but the locks held fast.
Meanwhile, Alfo was disturbed to see Connal’s guard fetch a torture kit for his interrogation. The captain handed Alfo a letter from Alfo’s own father, who had written to apologize for sending “them” after him. Connal explained that his job was to recover people who had “slipped from their path”. He revealed himself to be a Fjiordin in disguise: Bendus Frostbeard of Emberhearth. He claimed that Alfo had strayed from Ulaa’s light, but he was there to help Alfo return to a blessed path.
“You will now pay from the flesh what you lost in spirit. The Church of Ulaa will forgive you…”
Frostbeard briefly tortured Alfo. Satisfied the sinner had been set right, Frostbeard freed him and laid out the terms of his agreement. He promised to use his official power to make the Night Guard’s crimes disappear, and to write up a report framing the party as aberration-slaying heroes, without mentioning Elesar at all. Suspiciously and reluctantly, Alfo agreed – but still couldn’t understand why Frostbeard had been sent after him. Alfo soon began to suspect that his deeds in the current, alternate timeline** might not be entirely commendable.
“Am I paying for sins I never committed?”
Frostbeard gave Alfo no further information, but instead assumed his disguise as Captain Connal again and ordered the army to break camp, as his work was done. He did give Alfo a reward for “helping the Elven State”. The army cleared the battle site, threw all the dead in a mass grave, and marched away as quickly as they had appeared.
Exhausted and confused after their baffling encounter with Connal’s army, the Night Guard headed back to Sindaleth to rest. Redrick informed Manny that he’d submitted a claim for the Lead to Gold property, and they needed only wait a week for the business owner – their old sponsor Derpus the Alchemist – to approve the property transfer. The party settled in for a week of R&R.
Manny spent his week building a teleportation circle inside his shop, thereby creating a base in Sindaleth for the Night Guard. Tam tried to eavesdrop in a local tavern, but after an unfortuante encounter with Animal Control, went to research in the library instead. Val and Alfo spent their first free day reading books and doing odd jobs, respectively. The two then went out on a hunting trip at Alfo’s behest, managing to track down and kill a Chuul in the forest. They celebrated by sharing some of Alfo’s mead, though it was a bit strong for Val.
At the week’s end, Manny’s teleportation circle was complete. Redrick notified the party that Derpus had gladly handed over ownership of the shop to Manny, who in turn hired a shopkeeper to watch over the store for him. The Night Guard was ready to leave for Osden.
They resolved to take an overland route through the relatively unknown Northern Hills, rather than the familiar path through the Ashewood or a different route through a mysterious mountain pass. With light hearts, they struck out northward.
A few days into their journey, the Night Guard passed a group of Crisideans bound for Nilve Thalor. They were delighted to see their old friend Pateirn among the group, but he didn’t recognize the party. This brief encounter reminded them that in the alternate timeline**, they couldn’t count on old allies or friends.
As the Night Guard traveled onward, the seasons’ change made itself apparent. Flowers bloomed on the hillsides and fish filled the streams. The party met a duo of fellow travelers, who told them of a red dragon lurking in the mountain pass the Night Guard had prudently avoided. During their travels the Night Guard also found a magically locked chest; Val opened it and discovered strength-enhancing gauntlets, which he presented to Magnolia as a gift.
The party progressed further northward, and the hills began to give way to mountainous terrain. One night the party stumbled upon the camp of a cheerful satyr, who introduced himself as Tion and invited the party to join him for stew and music. Tam donated some herbs for the stew, while Val accepted Tion’s challenge of a musical competition. Alfo earned Tion’s respect by sharing some of his expertly brewed mead. Manny and Tion shared tales of their travels. After an evening of fun and revelry, Tion taught Val one last, important song – his name, in Sylvan, which would give Val the power to summon him.
“Should you ever have need, call upon Tion.”
In the morning Tion had disappeared, and the party continued northward.
The landscape grew open and clear. From their high vantage point, the party could see the whole of the Vale below them, from Pabshaw to Tila Estate. Traveling onward, the Night Guard passed an ancient shrine and spotted some local wildlife before they finally reached the edge of the Kilik Mountains. Not far off they could see Osden, and nearby, in the shadow of the Adern’s Peaks, the small orc village Alfo had promised to destroy as part of his shady deal with a black-market vendor.
At Alfo’s request, the party approached the orc village – but instead of the degenerate camp they had expected, they found a quiet settlement, populated by a family of peaceful farmers. The Night Guard stayed to observe the camp for an entire day, seeking to understand why the vendor had wanted these “evil” orcs killed – but couldn’t find a good reason. Unfazed, Alfo was still ready to fulfill his end of the deal, but the rest of the party managed to persuade him to hold off on murdering the villagers.
Instead, the Night Guard made their way to the ferry dock, and caught the ferry across the sea to Osden. During the half-day ride, Manny explained to the party that despite his serene expression, he was overjoyed, as he “might have friends” in Osden and was looking forward to seeing them again. However, he also warned the party that some people in the city likely wanted him dead. To protect Manny from unknown foes, Alfo created a peasant costume, which Manny reluctantly accepted. Manny also took the opportunity to clarify a few of the party’s concerns by asking Oghma:
“Are orcs evil?” Yes.
“Is someone in Osden trying to kill [Manny]?” Yes.
The party arrived at Osden, and Manny led them to a favorite tavern he remembered from his travels. The tavern, though showing its age and the weight of the Emperor’s influence in the town, still stood, and the party was welcomed in. But before the barkeep could begin to answer Manny’s questions, they were interrupted by a noise outside.
In the central square a great clamor rang out, as the city alarm bells began to toll…
Best Line goes to Tam and Val:
When the party encountered a pair of travelers on the same road
Val: “Are they halflings?” (Suspecting them of being scoundrels familiar to Val)
Tam, simultaneously: “Are they cannibals?” ( Remembering the Underdark )
Best RP goes to Alfo, for holding steadfast to his goals and promises, even when faced by very strange evidence about “his” past. ( Also for establishing himself as a master brewer.)
00:00 – The party is detained and questioned by Capt. Connal Reloks (?). Alfo is tortured by “Connal,” really a disguised Fjiordin.
01:00 – The Night Guard is freed. “Connal” and his army leave.
02:00 – The party return to their lodgings to rest.
Spring*** 13 – Manny starts making a teleportation circle in the office of the potion shop. This will take 7 days. Tam researches the Druids’ Council. Alfo does odd jobs. Val reads his new book.
Spring 14 – Manny continues his work. Val and Alfo go hunting. Tam is arrested.
Spring 15 – Manny continues his work. Alfo and Val track down and kill a Chuul.
Spring 16-19 – These days pass without incident. Manny completes the teleportation circle receives final notice that he officially owns the shop.
Spring 19 – The party embarks for Osden via the Northern Hills.
Spring 23 – The party encounters a group of ice elves bound for Nilve Thalor.
Spring 25 – The party meets a traveling duo and shares camp and stories.
Spring 29 – The seasons’ change brings warm breezes, birdsong, and clear night skies.
Spring 32 – The party finds a stream and minor treasure.
Spring 35 – The party finds a magically locked chest and opens it to reveal a pair of Gauntlets of Ogre Strength. These are given to Magnolia.
Spring 38 – Rain does not impede travel.
Spring 41 – The party encounters the campsite of Tion, a satyr. They become friends.
Spring 48 – The party passes by an ancient shrine in a hillside.
Spring 51 – The party draws near enough to Osden to see it in the distance. The nearby orc village is not threatening enough to immediately attack, so the party progresses straight to Osden.
Spring 52 – The party takes the ferry to Osden.
**Called it spring because I don’t know the seasons/months as they are called in Mythweald…. will edit and fix