Session/Game: Marches 3e #4 Date:10/8/00
Campaign Date: Rep 4th—Rep 13th Imperial Year 468
Ragnar, human, rogue-3, CN, Shaun Sipple
Tasher, gnome rogue-1, CG, Charles Tillinghast
Kronin, dwarf, fighter-4, LN, Dave Hanley
Rannos, human, fighter-4, CG, Bob LaForge
Malakai, human, cleric-3 / fighter-1, LN, Jonathan Clark
Bayne, high elf, ranger-3, CG, Matt Diguglielmo
Whitefire, human, rogue-1 / wizard-2, CN, Charles Fleurie
Ashmar, human, rogue-1 / fighter –1, CG, Andy Leuders
After liberating the abandoned fort, known as Fort Blacksword, from the Road Agents, and freeing their captives, the party sent Ernak the messenger on his way with all due haste (but no escort) to warn the Count of Storm Eagle about the assassination planned against him on the 8th by his steward Morvik. They also discovered a gnome prisoner, named Tasher, stuffed into a barrel in the dungeon. They freed him and permitted him to join the group. Angered to discover that three Road Agents had escaped the fort (they had been in the blockhouse which the party had by-passed), Malakai and Rannos road out after them, and Tasher jumped on behind Rannos on his horse. Bayne decided to follow them (about 1/8 mile distant) in order to watch and be there in case they needed help. When they caught up with the three bushwhackers, Tasher fell off his horse in a failed tumble attempt. Rannos and Malakai rode directly up to the enemy and dismounted. Malakai cast a Command spell on one of them, ordering him to “strip” and he removed his leather armor. A serious fight broke out and one of the evil rangers was killed, the other two wounded. At that point both of the enemy leaped onto Rannos and Malakai’s horses and rode away at top speed, badly wounded but alive. This caused Bayne to nearly drop over from laughter.
Meanwhile, back at the fort, Kronin, Ragnar, Ashmar and Whitefire entered the caves beneath the fort and ran into a group of three giant soldier ants. They killed all three ants, but Ragnar and Ashmar were both seriously wounded in the process.
Tasher, Rannos and Malakai eventually walked back to the fort. But, Bayne had already spread the story to the rest of the party, so they got a warm welcome.
Ragnar woke up with a case of filth fever, contracted from some rat bites. Malakai tended him through the whole day and he recovered quickly. The party sent Tasher and Bayne off to Ludwig (just in time for boiled egg night) in order to buy supplies, forgetting that they had a heap of food supplies captured from the bandits. Once at Ludwig, the pair realized that they hadn’t even been given any funds to purchase anything for the party anyway. The Master of Ludwig attempted to get information from Bayne about the campaign against the Road Agents, but Bayne refused to tell him anything, even refusing to say whether he was still working for Malakai in the posse and only served to alienate him.
The next morning Bayne discovered that Malakai’s stolen horse was in the trading post. He demanded it from Old Bald Henry, and then from the Master himself. The Master naturally refused to hand it over, since he was unsure of Bayne’s connection to Malakai. An argument ensued and Bayne and Tasher were ejected from the outpost and forbidden to return (there was some suspicion that Bayne was really a druid, and we all know about them). Bayne and Tasher quickly returned to Fort Blacksword.
Bayne tells Malakai that the Master of Ludwig had ejected them for no reason and had furthermore blasphemed against Bor, the greatest of the great. Angrily, Malakai, Tasher and Bayne return to Ludwig. The guards will not admit Bayne or Tasher, but Malakai is warmly received into the Master’s own house. The Master returns Malakai’s horse and re-establishes cordial relations (although Tasher and Bayne are still banned). In the course of the conversation, however, it is uncovered that Ernak never reached Old Fort and that the assassination plot had not therefore been revealed—and was to be accomplished the very next day!
In a frenzy, Malakai borrows 4 horses from the Master, and he and Bayne ride at break-neck speed towards Old Fort. Tasher hitches the extra horses to the wagon and rides off toward Fort Blacksword to gather the rest of the party. Several hours later, Tasher, Kronin Ashmar, Ragnar, Whitefire and Rannos ride off from Blacksword, leaving their wagon and all their prisoners behind.
The next morning Bayne and Malakai arrive at the outskirts of Old Fort, only to find the way blocked by a large skirmish line of several hundred orcs. They make a desperate attempt to ride through the line. Bayne charges through, but falls from his horse. He manages, however to outrun the orcs and press on through to the safety of Old Fort. Malakai also falls from his horse, but nearly miraculously whistles for it and it returns. Despite minor injuries, he also arrives safely at Old Fort.
They stumble into Old Fort where Sir Malcolm attempts to send a message by carrier-bid to Castle Eagle to warn the Count. He supplies Bayne and Malakai with fresh horses and they set off again at high speed.
Several hours later, Tasher, Whitefire, Ashmar, Ragnar, Kronin and Rannos arrive at Old Fort. They observe the orc-army make a few feints at the walls of Old Fort, but not press the attack. At noon, however, the entire orc force stops the attack and withdraws to the Southeast. The puzzled party follows and catches a small band of 10-15 orc stragglers and attacks them. Whitefire is shot full of arrows and falls, grievously wounded. While Rannos gives Whitefire a potion and closes to the attack, Ashmar, Ragnar and Tasher trade arrows with the orc archers, eventually killing them. Kronin, however, charges right in and engages the axe-orcs and club-wielding-dirtbags in melee combat, killing some and keeping them busy with his fancy-pants spring attacks until Rannos arrives. With a glaive, Rannos great-cleaves 3 of the orcs in a single round, changing the tide of battle dramatically. The rest of the orcs are soon slain except one who surrenders at the first mention of an offer. The captured orc reveals that they were there only to prevent any message from reaching the county until noon of that very day, and that they had killed Ernak a few days earlier as he approached.
Late that night, Bayne and Malakai arrived at Castle Eagle, but too late, since the count had been poisoned at noon. They found that the castle was in turmoil and the traitorous steward Morvik was in charge. They scaled the walls and attempted to get a message to the captain of the guards, but to no avail. Then they entered the bastion, heard the steward ordering the captain’s arrest and approached the steward in the atrium. Malakai pretended to offer his services and then stabbed Morvik in the chest. Malakai and Bayne then quickly finished Morvik off and ordered the Captain’s release, before the guards could react. The captain and countess acted quickly to restore order, and Bayne and Malakai collapsed in exhaustion.
Tasher, Rannos and Kronin decided to head back to Fort Blacksword to retrieve their prisoners, wagon and supplies. On the way they encountered a column of 12 elite hobgoblin soldiers (2nd level fighters). Tasher used Ghost Sound and Dancing Lights to distract and lead away 7 of the hobgoblins, Kronin and Rannos eventually killed the other 5, with some support from Tasher when he caught up. The fight was very hard and Rannos took some heavy hits. They decided to get on their horses and ride around the remaining hobgoblins rather than risk fighting them. They reached Fort Blacksword, found that their prisoners had escaped, but their wagon and most of their goods were intact (no horses left there to pull the wagon).
Whitefire, Ashmar, and Ragnar however took off up the road to Castle Eagle, hoping to be of some help against the plot. They met a band of 12 of Morvik’s retainers on the road, but fled from them in a shower of arrows. Whitefire had blurted out that they were going to do something about the “assassination attempt” and this tipped off the goons, thus the hostile response. Being mounted, they rode off and around the enemies, reaching Castle Eagle the next morning.
Several days later, the party was reunited at Castle Eagle. The death of Morvik had prevented the planned murder of the Bishop of Storm-Eagle, who had arrived and raised the Count from the dead. The Count honored the party with a cash prize of 300 gp each, and knighted Malakai, and took his homage, granting him Fort Blacksword and the territory in 5 miles around it as his fief.