The group's big snafu this meeting was accosting a random walking dude gathering sticks in the forest. Convinced he was part of the bandit brigade they hit him and rooted through his belongings until realizing he really WASN'T part of the bad guy network.
What was funny was ANOTHER guy they had passed earlier was - the idea was right, but the target was very wrong.
Write up follows:
We spent the remainder of the 11th resting up around Timberton and getting ready for our return to Shakun tomorrow. The caravan master had been decent and fair to us the entire time, paying for our lodgings (Common Room space) and meals (usually simple peasant fare, but plenty of it and filling). On the morning of the 12th we helped get the wagons and horses at the ready, noted that at least one of the wagons was loaded with hardwoods to import back to Shakun, and trudged off just before 10 AM.
It was a rainy day and the road was a mess of mud and wagon ruts. We walked in the mess, our baladranas and cloaks pulled tight to keep off the worst of the soaking, but our boots, shoes, leggings, and other clothes swiftly became water logged and muddied. The horses were forced through the worse spots, water standing in puddles up to 8 inches deep in some places. By mid-day we were tired but the caravan master informed us that it would cold trail rations as we were going to be hard pressed to reach the Inn of the Roaring Treant by nightfall as it was. Within 20 minutes the party was back at it, walking the caravan of 3 wagons further along the road.
Traffic had been very light given the muddy road, rain, and general distance between Shakun and Timberton (2 days by caravan). Plus we had been passed on the way here by a random travelling trapper and didn’t trust the situation then. Ironboar had been feeling that we were being watched but had no definitive information to give us. We fanned out, encircling the caravan and placing our party members strategically all over the place. Fist’al opted to go into the forest some dozen paces or so from the road and shadow the group that way, hoping to spot the bandit group if there was one, before they saw us.
So when we saw some traveler coming down the road towards us roughly 20 minutes later we were on edge. He was dressed a woodcutter, heavy grey homespun clothing on his body, a large bundle of sticks and branches bundled up on his shoulder. As we grew closer we noticed that for all his being outside and far from any town/inn, he was relatively clean. We asked him what was going on, said he was going on to Timberton and was a good 6 hours hard walk from it. Ironboar didn’t wait; he jumped and tackled the guy.
We rooted through his stuff while he kicked and cursed at us. His sticks were sticks: Oak and walnut. He had no obvious weapons on him and we realized that we once again, made a mistake and accosted a relatively innocent personage. We fixed him up, apologized, and Marcus gave him a gold crown for his trouble and sent him on his way.
Meanwhile Fist’al, who was hiding in the forest, heard a conversation coming from people ABOVE him. There was apparently an archer’s blind in the tree line above and the bandits up there were talking about how hitting this group was not a good idea. We also learned that the trapper from the earlier trip WAS working with the bandits (the woolgatherer now was not). He listened in and stayed hidden as they talked about getting the group to stop escorting the caravans. They were going to get a map, treasure map, from one of the bandit’s brothers and meet up with the group in Shakun, sell them the map, and that would keep them off guard duty for a while, making it easier for the bandits to make their thefts possible.
They climbed down and went back to their camp, wending their way through the trees and following what Fist’al was able to deduce was a clever series of cuts on the trunks that guided the traveler onward. After a score of yards he turned back around and returned to the road, marked the entrance to this part of the forest as a specific looking elm tree, and ran down the road and rain to catch up with the group. He informed us of what he had learned and we took his words carefully to heart as we discussed the matter the rest of the trip to the Inn, during dinner, and again the next day as we returned to Shakun.
We arrived at the end of the day on the 13th, drier but tired from our trek. The stable master was pleased with our job and the caravan master concurred. Our due per person was 12 nobles each but for our efforts we were instead given 15. Coins in hand we thanks the stable master who informed up that another caravan would be leaving on the 21st (8 days) and if we wanted, we could have first spot as guards again. We thanked him and told him that we’d let him know a few days as we wanted to take care of some home issues first.
From there we did a little shopping, wanting to stock our Hall with foodstuffs. We went first to Sern’s General store and trading post but were turned off by the high prices and lack of respect (over 2 crowns a flask of oil! – Marcus was horrified). From there we went instead to the south end of town and paid a visit to the greengrocer. We paid for a number of bags of onions, potatoes, cabbage, and beans and then went on to the butcher and smokehouse. Once here we got a great deal on “assorted pork meats” – not bacon or chops, just assorted pig meat. Very salty as well. Delicious!
While here we asked for the most expensive meat available and learned that it was swan. And being that we were adventurers, if in our travels we should come across any swans, he would gladly buy them from us for 2 crowns each. We paused – this was 4 times the going rate for bringing in the bandits (at 5 nobles a head). What was the catch? Swan’s liked standing water and there wasn’t much around here, what there was was supposedly in the Green Grass Hills to the south and west of Shakun. This was the area that Mahr’s Tower was in, and as we were told, was also somewhat known to be dangerous as crawling with goblins.
Finally we went to Ungoth’s Distillery where we purchased a half cask of 110 proof whiskey (20 pints). We did manage to get a better price but entertaining the wildly inebriated Ungoth with elven singing, as well as gnome tossing between the two half orc brothers. There was a moment when we wanted to knock 2 crowns off the cost of the cask if at the space of 10 feet, one of the elves would shoot a potato off the other elf’s head with a bow and arrow – but the party was not nearly that drunk yet.
We then ended the night back at home, ate and drank, and discussed possible party names – settling on Swords of Shakun. Hooray – we exist! During the night Fist’al went to try and break into Sern’s Store to steal the oil but was daunted by what lights were in the area, then what witnesses might be about, and finally after he managed to get the northern door open – by the 2 (that he could see) guard dogs within.
Closing the door and locking it he turned around at the sound of footsteps closing and came face to face with Baron Ceril Taugis. Very fast talking had him out of the situation and then joining the nobleman at the Ogre Door Inn for some halfway decent ale and some song and story. After the Baron had left, Fist’al returned to the hall and rested.
The next day we knew we were going to have a bandit show up and try to sell us a map (real or not, didn’t matter). So we got our errands done early. Flimflam spoke with the magistrate and we learned that some of the bandits from Mahr’s Tower were given whipping and then indentured to the local Homesteads for a few months. As for Brandone, he was buried in the family plot. Falag and Thagorek were unable to stand trial as just being near them resulted in the prosecutors and guards to grow fatigued. They are now each in the lower sub-basement in Castle Canastal.
Fist’al went to the apothecist to find some sort of powder to add to a dog’s food to get it sleepy – but the cost was very high so he left. Device went to the Temple Grounds with Tempi to do some good will and works. And Enthir was going to go to Tanner’s Way and try to lift the spirits of the vagrants living there. Being as it was most likely not a safe place for the middle aged elf to wander about alone, Ironboar was going to keep him company.
As for Ironboar-isms, we had one. On talking about the assault and capture of the bandits when we did finally go after them, and knowing that we should be taking them alive, Ironboar said with enthusiasm, “Hopefully they won’t surrender” who giving his claymore a hefty shake.