“They Killed them all!”
“They murdered the whole village!”
The mayor kept yelling, calling for blood. The Kingsguards for most part ignored him, but it was obvious they were deeply affected by the carnage around them. They stripped the party of their weapons, and armor and went up the Kings Highway towards the Capital.
About an hour into a trip a larger Kingguard force arrived along with pair of Knights of the Stairs, an elite unit of military. Why they were in the neighborhood was not revealed as the Knights of the Stairs didn’t offer any explanation. From the original guards one was chosen, and along with the Mayor were the only witness to the massacre that came along.
The day after the battle, the Ranger took Ill. Since the rest of the party was still hurt hardly anybody noticed at first. It was after the next day that the Paladin also took Ill that everybody remembered the rats and their infectious bite. Fortunately the power of Paladins faith cured both him and the Ranger of their disease.
Outside of this, the trip to the capital was uneventful, but took a bit longer then expected, as it was an evening of the 3rd day that the party arrived at the gates. The lateness of the arrival had some unexpected consequences as the rumors have preceded The Party, and hence a throng of people lined up the street to peer at the party. The crowd wasn’t hostile, but the guards took no chances, as they escorted The Party quickly to the Tower whey they were to spend a night.
The rooms assigned to them were comfortable, given the situation, but there was no mistake that it was a prison.
Spending the evening discussing their situation, and making plans for the trial ahead, the party fell into an uneasy sleep.
Next morning, guards came in and took The Party into a closed room under heavy guards. Sitting there for hours, did not give anybody any brilliant ideas as to how to get out of this situation. They decided, however, that Halfling should do the talking, but under heavy threats from the Dragonkin, who kept talking about Halfling stews, head hunting, and such. It was supposed that this was a pep talk of Dragonkin, although it seemed to have fallen rather short.
After few hours of waiting, the Party was escorted into the presence of the King. The throne room is big, over 100 feet in length, richly decorated with marble pillars, and stain glass windows. The throne itself is upon a mahogany pedestal, with golden plates. In front of the king there were pair of Guards of the Stairs, behind him a Grand Marshal of the Arms and King’s Shield: Trajadius Duke of Kierum, next to the Marshal sat the head Priest of Gord. The Trajadius is a very old warrior, with great fame both for his wisdom and martial prowess. His feats are legendary, spanning many of decades. There are some who insist that he is same Duke Trajadius who fought in the war of the Mad King, over 80 years ago.
The King Sourvil I is a man close to his 30th birthday, having reined for almost 20 years now. He is known to be a fair, but quick tempered ruler, one who is highly loved by his subjects. He is a tall man, with a short beard, and thick black hair. It is obvious that he is strong, and his eyes reveal great intellect.
The Party was set about 50 feet from the throne between two large Candelabras with Diamond tops, instead of Candles. Few feet away from them was the Mayor Aram who was obviously going to be the prosecutor.
After brief explanation that only one may talk to the King, the trail began.
“I am Marquis Fiaram of House Lierumfi”, the Mayor began
“House Lierumfi?”, The King interrupted, “The one whose members died in a fire 20 years ago?”
“I am honored that you remembered, your majesty, indeed that is the same house”
“How did you, pray tell, survived the fire?”, King asked
“I was not present in the house, I was serving as squire to Duke of the Eagletown, as a matter of fact I didn’t learn of the tragedy until 2 month time, as we were scouting the area at the time”, Mayor said.
“You have our sympathies”, said the King, “Please proceed”.
“These people, came into our town, shot the priest and run, after which time they came back and massacre the population, I’ve seen them killing the sheriff!”, said Mayor
The king looked at The Party, and said
“What say you to these charges”
“We came to the town as travelers, but on the way to the town we came upon a Women who apparently was on a verge of being raped, only to discovered that it was a trap. We went to the Town and the women turned out to be the Mayor’s Daughter..”, Halfing said
“Daughter?”, Mayor interrupted, “Your Majesty, I have no children! My wife died in childbirth over a decade ago, and my son followed her soon after”
This threw the Party into a confusion, and made King quite suspicious of them.
The trial continued for some time with the Party and the Mayor exchanging accusations, and defense. Until the King called the Guard who apprehended the party in the Town to come testify. Noticing that his testimony differed from the Mayor the Hafling jumped on the opportunity.
“Your majesty!”, he said, “how could the Mayor seen us killing the Sherif when he didn’t came back, as the Guard testify, until after the whole affair was over?”
“Do please explain that, Fiaram?”, asked the King
“Oh, Fuck it!”, said the Mayor.
Quickly he reached into the folds of his robes producing a large orb from within them, and threw that onto the ground. The orb shattered and a great flame engulfed the whole of the throne room, killing all but one guard within it. In addition two huge Fire Elementals spawned. The party was protected by the Candelabras which were magical, and prevented spell effects from happening around them. The king, and the Marshal were protected by some kind of barrier surrounding the Throne, but the Priest of Gord burned to death in the conflagration.
Amazingly the Throne room itself did not catch fire, and the general melee ensue. Dragonkin charge the elementals, while Monk charged the Mayor, and the Hafling run away from the candelabras.
Mayor, who turned out to be a high level Cleric, cast a spell upon the king, but the fires of the spells were redirected by the barrier around the King. Monk connected with one of his blows at the Cleric, and the Dragonkin managed to hit the elemental with his spell.
Marshal step in front of the king, his sword ensheathed, ready to die for his liege.
Everybody knew that there was no possible way to survive the Elementals, but there was only need to hold on for a bit, because rescue was sure to be on its way. Unfortunately the tide of battle quickly turned against the heroes, with Monk being hit with a devastating spell that just about killed him, and the Dragonkin being badly burned by the elementals.
Th Mayor cast a powerful spell on the King, where fire and divine energy came straight from heaven to smite him, but the spell was absorbed by the crown that the King was wearing.
“So the legends were true!”, Mayor said without much of a surprise.
Finally voices could be heard in the hallway, including shouts of priests. Knowing that he soon would have more then he could have dealt with, the Mayor cast another spell which took him away from the throne room. The elementals disappeared soon after, but not until everybody but the king were wounded and burned.
After the battle the Heroes were taken to a study behind the throne, and the Marshal showed that not only he knew about Dragonkin he also knew how to speak their language. The King thanks the Heroes and told them to be back sharply the next morning.
When morning came, the party entered the throne room, dressed in provided finest (with exception of the Dragonkin who came in his Paladin’s best) that was cleaned from the burned carpet and furniture over night.
“For the services you have provides us, and for your bravery, we hereby make you Honorary members of the Kings Guards, in addition we bestow upon you title and privileges of the Knights of the Realm! In addition please accept these tokens of our gratitude”
The tokens were pair of Magical Items (Mace +1 and Cloak of Protection +1), plus pouch filled with 2,000 gold pieces.
After the ceremony was over, party was invited into the private conversation with the king, whereby he again expressed his gratitude, and offered them a position as mercenaries in the military. King, for an unspecified reason felt unease about the Western boarders of the realm and hired the part to go there as a relief to the captain therein.
After a week in which party was treated as celebrities that they were, a vacation which greatly enhanced the Dragonkin ego, the party set out.
For the first 2 weeks the journey was pleasant with occasional stay in a local villages and town, all of which seemed to have already gotten the word of the Parties deeds.
However at the end of the 2nd week, while party was sleeping, the Halfling spotted group of Chickens approaching the camp. Hesitant at first if he should awake the party, he noticed quickly that the “chickens” weren’t, they were an evil bird called Cockatrice which can turn a person to stone. He yelled to awake the party and battle ensued. It was quick and vicious leaving the Ranger and the Dragonkin turned into stone. Fortunately the petrification was temporary and after a day’s of rest everybody was back to normal, although Dragonkin managed to blame the whole incident on the Halfling who in turned took it in good cheer, which seemed to have aggravated the Paladin even more.
About 2 days away from their destination, the party spotted harpies circling overhead, who attacked as soon as they were in range. As soon as the Harpies came near to the party it became obvious that these weren’t ordinary monster, for they were clearly undead. In the ensuing battle, halfling was lifted high into the air and dropped resulting in him coming to the death’s door. The Harpy did attempt same trick on the Dragonkin but only managed to get few feet of the ground before the Paladin broke the hold.
It took a lot to kill these monsters, for even when they lost limbs they kept coming, seemingly immune to damage. Finally after battering the Harpies to a pulp the battle was over.
As the dawn broke the party arrived at the city of Hisred, a small but very well fortified frontier town on the edge of the Black Forest. The town serves Lumberjacks, Farmers, and it is also an military outpost. The citadel within it is very well fortified and supplied, required only few people to hold it. However the region has been largely at peace for a long time now, for while occasionally there is a monster or an animal that threatens the citizens, such attacks are quickly dealt with, leaving citizens prosperous and happy.
The Party was escorted to the citadel where Captain Fainly met them. He is a man obviously used to outdoors, who is exceedingly friendly and an avid fisherman. He was thankful for the parties arrival, as the garrison has been undermanned lately, but was a bit confused as to the Kings decision to send him reinforcements. He beamed when he learned that the Ranger and the Monk knew and loved to Fish. Captain Fainly hinted that he chose this assignment out of love for outdoors, and while he could have a much higher position, he loves what he is doing. His friendly persona and manners quickly won The Party over. Captain Fainly asked the party to enjoy themselves, and rest, and he won’t call them for a week.
Unfortunately peace didn’t last a week, for 3 days into the rest The Party were summoned . Captain explained that there are two things that city needs help with. The party of Lumberjacks has not returned for couple of days, and The Captain was very afraid as to why. Secondly a young boy came from a Farm crying that something huge attacked their farm. Seeing bigger threat within the Lumberjack camp The Party went to investigate. Once there it became apparent what has happened for in a clearing there were Orcs eating what use to obviously be Lumberjacks. Among the 10 Orcs there was an Archer dressed in Black Robes who sat away from the Orcs, but who was obviously in charge, as the creatures actively avoided and deferred to it.
The Party Charged, and the Battle started. The Orcs proved to be dangerous foes, their axes crude but deadly. However The Mage put few of the Orcs to sleep, while the Paladin and Monk waded into the fray. It didn’t take long for the Monk and the Paladin to wreck havoc on the Orcs who fell quickly. Unfortunately two Orcs charged the Mage, who tried to protect himself, but his magic failed him. The trick that created Mirror Image of himself didn’t fool the Orcs, whose axes caused devastating wounds. He soon fell into a pool of Blood, dying.
The Archer, obviously skilled and deadly with the bow, managed to pierce Paladin’s Armor, but the Ranger managed to keep the Paladin alive both from the Archer and the Orcs. Soon the Orcs run in fear, and the party charged the Archer, who by then was unable to penetrate Paladin’s protection. Non the less it took everything that the Party had to take down the Archer, who turned into shade and flew away from the field of battle.
It was then that Party heard a terrifying sound, an unmistakable sound of Horde of Orcs marching. Paladin revived the Hafling who send his Familiar to see what was there, only to discovered thousands of Orcs heading down the canyon and almost certainly towards Hisred.