- Brother Carell Gaunt (Cleric of the Lawbringer)
- Brother Edmund Caldworth (Cleric of the Lawbringer)
- Honourable Martiris of Drayke (Fighter) and his squire, Kevin
- Tawnka (Dwarf Barbarian)
After defeating the crazed bandits, the party loaded some handcarts with Wyndell’s stolen goods (and a bound, unconscious crazy man) and began the trip back to Hommel Lane. The bandit prisoners provided menial labor for the task. It was an uneventful trip, with no sign of the bandits who had fled the previous night. The group decided to enter town in a round-about way to avoid passing the trading post before reaching the constable. Instead of entering along the north road, the party entered from the east.
They immediately stopped at the constable‘s quarters, a nondescript wooden building with heavy shutters and a sturdy door. Constable Ruskal listened to their story and agreed to lock-up their prisoners for trial. However, he wasn’t certain that he was the best person to have custody of the crazed, potentially possessed, prisoner. He suggested that the prisoner be kept at the temple with Sir Moonbrook, but the party insisted and he relented (locking the maniac in his own cell). He then went with the group to investigate the involvement of Gremag and Raynen Daval with the bandits. (Martiris noticed a wariness in the constable‘s eyes and a slight hesitation on his part to investigate the traders, but with the testimony found in the bandit’s journal, he had no choice.)
The group found Gremag and Raynen at the trading post, along with three workers. Gremag loudly proclaimed their innocence and suggested that the whole idea was some sort of frame to hurt an important business for the town. However, several crates of Wyndell‘s goods were found during a search of the trader’s warehouse. This discovery broke Raynen Daval’s silence and she admitted to working with the bandits. Once the dam was opened, her words did not stop. She confessed that Gremag and she had even visited the bandit headquarters at the old moat house. They had met the leader of a cult, Lareth the Beautiful, as well as the bandit leader, Enda Yate. Lareth had tasked the traders with obtaining more robes for his people. In fact, several robes were currently in a crate in the warehouse. When pressed by Brother Edmund, Raynen remembered over-hearing a word whispered by Lareth to bypass the magical wall as he left their meeting to return to his dungeon lair: “Annihilation.”
With all the found evidence and confession from Raynen, Constable Ruskal arrested the traders and their hirelings. The party escorted the constable and his new prisoners back to his quarters, where they were locked up alongside the bandits.
At this time, Chef took her leave of the group, wishing them good fortune as she went on her way to find the Inn of the Winsome Wench. That was the place that had hired her as a cook. The party decided to allow her to discover state of the abandoned inn on her own and only voiced their goodbyes as she left.
The heroes then went to Wyndell’s home to give him the good news (and deliver his carts of goods). Wyndell was happy to see the group and even happier to see his goods. Brother Edmund explained that even more of his stolen goods had been left at the moat house and asked that Wyndell bring a couple of wagons with the group the next day to retrieve them. Wyndell readily agreed and then rewarded the characters with 20 gold pieces each for their hard work.
Honourable Martiris mentioned to Wyndell his concern that there could be problems with the bandit prisoners. (He just didn’t trust that look he had seen in the constable’s eyes – Ed.) He asked Wyndell to arrange for his oldest son to watch the constable’s quarters that night. If the halfling saw anything amiss, he should immediately report to Martiris. Wyndell agreed and told them his son, Murve, would be there.
The heroes left Wyndell with his goods and decided to visit Castellan Zaborr. (Fortunately without Shiellapho, who retired to the Golden Grain Inn to ponder the mystery of the magical wall with his guide, Tarryn.)(After his last visit, Shiellapho was not well liked by the castellan. – Ed.) Honourable Martiris wanted to inform him of what they had discovered about the bandits. With the nobleman in the lead, the party was allowed entry into the keep and after only 30 minutes, they were seen by the castellan. He was very interested in their tale and glad that they had brought justice to the thieves. At prompting from Honourable Martiris, Castellan Zaborr even promised to write a proclamation of the group’s deeds and have it posted in town.
During their conversation, the castellan also asked Honourable Martiris if he had received the message from Lord Burne. Martiris had not since the note was delivered only the day before to the Golden Grain Inn. Castellan Zaborr paraphrased the message for Martiris, explaining that the lord had sent his apologies for not meeting Matiris personally but was occupied with important local matters. A wine bottle of excellent vintage accompanied the note.
Wishing to taste this wine, Honourable Martiris ended his meeting with Castellan Zaborr and the party walked over to the Golden Grain Inn. They all enjoyed a hearty meal, and Martiris even shared a small amount of his wine. Brother Edmund soon left the festivities to inform Sister Devi of the cursed prisoner being held by the constable. She was very interested upon hearing this news and immediately left the temple to investigate.
Later in the evening, Shiellapho, Tarryn, and Tawnka entertained the crowd for their rooms as usual. All the patrons enjoyed the show, including Chef, who had eventually arrived at the Golden Grain Inn after finding the Inn of the Winsome Wench abandoned. She was a little down that she no longer had a job waiting on her. She took a room at the inn and discussed the possibility of moving on since no one in Hommel Lane seemed to have need for a cook.
Early the next morning, Martiris was awakened by a commotion outside. Seeing villagers running past his window, the nobleman hailed one and learned that a fire was burning at the Becker dairy farm. Honourable Martiris dressed and sent Kevin to fetch the priests at the temple in case there were injuries. Stepping outside his room, Martiris bumped into Tawnka and the two set off for the dairy farm. They saw no need to awaken Shiellapho or Tarryn for a fire.
When Martiris and Tawnka reached the farm, they found many townsfolk working to put out a blaze in one of the farm’s barns. Others were attempting to corral the livestock that had escaped the fire. Constable Ruskal was there organizing the effort. The pair spoke to the constable for a moment and were shocked to learn that he had left his prisoners unattended while dealing with the fire. They were even more shocked a moment later when they bumped into Murve; he had abandoned his watch post to join the bucket brigade. Honourable Martiris asked him to direct the priests to the constable’s quarters when they arrived. He and Tawnka then raced away to check on the prisoners.
They found the door ajar when they reached the constable‘s quarters and almost all of the cells were empty. The mad bandit was still tied in his cell and unfortunately, the body of Raynen Daval was hanging in her cell. Martiris found the keys to the cells in the constable’s desk and entered the madman’s cell. He hoped to learn something useful from the maniac’s rambling, but had to simply focus on not being bitten when he removed the man’s gag. He eventually gave up and left the cell.
Tawnka and Martiris were exiting the building when Brother Edmund and Brother Carell arrived. They explained the situation and Brother Edmund had an idea. As they attempted (unsuccessfully) to find the escaped prisoners’ trail, Kevin was sent to find Druid Ashstaff. Kevin soon returned with the druid in tow. After explaining about the prisoners, Brother Edmund asked Druid Ashstaff if he could track them. The druid explained that he was an old man; he could follow their trail, but only at a speed which would insure their escape. Instead, he offered to call an ally. He howled into the night and an answering howl could be heard far in the distance. He said his ally was coming, but it might take some time. Honourable Martiris and Tawnka felt that time was of the essence so instead of waiting, the two immediately headed for the moat house ruins to the north.
After roughly 30 minutes, a wolf appeared under the shadows of some nearby trees. Druid Ashstaff went to speak with the animal for a few minutes and when he returned, he explained that the wolf had agreed to track the fugitives. Brother Edmund and Brother Carell followed the wolf for several miles to the east, but returned to town when the wolf seemed to lose the trail at the river.
By that time, dawn was approaching. The priests found the constable at his quarters arranging for the burial of Raynen Daval. He had heard that the priests were following the criminals’ trail from Druid Ashstaff and was saddened to learn that the prisoners had escaped. Remembering the impression that Martiris had of the constable, the two priests were not convinced that Constable Ruskal had not been involved with the escape.
While Brother Carell went to awaken Shiellapho and Tarryn, Brother Edmund visited the keep, hoping to speak to the castellan about Constable Ruskal. Since it was so early in the day and Brother Edmund was without Honourable Martiris, he was not able to meet with Castellan Zaborr. However, he was granted an audience with the castellan’s assistant, Rhonnet Gho. Brother Edmund explained the events of the night and his suspicions of the constable to Rhonnet, but since he had no evidence, there was little Rhonnet could do. However, she did warn Brother Edmund to be careful about accusations including the constable; Grover Ruskal was a trusted associate of Lord Burne and Lord Rufus from their adventuring days. Brother Edmund should have convincing evidence of duplicity before bringing up charges again.
When Brother Edmund left the keep, he hurried to the Golden Grain Inn to meet with Brother Carell, Shiellapho, and Tarryn. It was decided that the priests would travel with Wyndell back to the ruined moat house while Shiellapho, and Tarryn would attempt to gain access to the library of Lord Rufus. Shiellapho wanted to make doubly-sure that his conclusions about the magical wall were accurate. He and Tarryn would travel to the moat house afterward.
The priests rode with Wyndell and another of his wagon drivers to the moat house. When they arrived, they found Martiris and Tawnka enjoying a tasty lunch. Martiris and Tawnka had not seen any signs of the escaped prisoners during their trek or after arriving at the ruins.