At this meeting the party did make it to Elvenkeep and I was able to give them a sense of scale to the size of it. Mentioned often, first time actually seen. They had no time to explore it, limiting themselves to the Temple of Poseidon and Artemis - but there was enough of a gravitas to it that I don't think they were short changed.
Write up follows:
Workmonth the 7th, on the road back from Orland to Shakun, 9:30 PM. We talked about of plans and wanted to literally stop in Shakun briefly, get fresh horses, send some missives ahead to every church, shrine, and temple of Poseidon that the rookery of Shakun would reach. We slept soundly and moved on the morning of the next day.
We hit a merchant caravan at 7:30 AM, heavily armed and armored. They were willing to ride with us and we shared food and time with them. It was @ 3 PM on Workmonth the 8th that we arrived @ Shakun. We went to the Sperthik Homestead and met with Master Sperthik. Some information was shared about his horse and we ended up giving him the 57 crowns the supposed wizard, Caleris, had paid for it (but not the blue topaz that Flimflam held on to). He thanked us (getting 3 times the value for his horse) and said he was taking his family soon and move to Orland. He asked us that if his daughter, Giselle, ever came and asked, we were NOT to tell her that they had gone to Orland.
Once in Shakun we split up and arranged new horses, wrote a number of missives to be sent via aviary – including reading one sent here from Fist’al’s family! They had said that they wanted the armor and would make an offer – but if Fist’al had a way to take it from the barbarians, that he should do so. The letter was critical of Baron Taugis and humankind in general and the party was aghast to read some of the things they were learning.
We also had conversation with Pelis, shared with him Fist’al’s duplicity and his hiring of Lashulak to throw us off the scent. The thief guild master was angry. He gave us a contact name in Elvenkeep to meet up with that should allow us some sort of passage into Woodhelven.
Finally we concluded our time in Shakun with the Baron and then by 4 PM, rode out and travelled east towards The Roaring Treant Inn and then Timberton beyond. We made it to the Treant @ 10 PM, the horses worn out and our own bodies tired. We slept soundly and were awake @ 6:30 AM. After breaking our fast, praying, and readying the horses – we were gone @ 7:45 AM, on Workmonth the 9th.
We rode up to Timberton by 5 PM and opted to ride on, eventually coming to a stop @ 8 PM – the horses once again beyond weary and the 6 of us ate a fast and cold meal of travel rations before crawling into our bedrolls and falling asleep. The only interest during the night were a family of 5 skunks that had taken an interest in our trash and Marcus hit them with a sleep spell and then dragged them elsewhere to avoid exposure to the party.
We awoke on Workmonth the 10th at 4:30 and prayed, broke our fast, and then rode onward. We hit Ferron by 1 PM and again decided to push the horses and keep going. We met up with a caravan by 6 PM and joined them, sharing once again what we had as well as 2 people for watch during the night. Camp was established @ 7 pm and the group settled down for sleep by 8.
On Workmonth the 11th @ 6 AM we awoke, bit the caravan a farewell, and rode on to Elvenkeep – pushing the horses once again. We knew that this was not going to be good for our steeds in the long run, but for now and the fact that we were trying to make it to our quarry before he was lost to us in Woodhelven it was an acceptable.
The miles passed and it was @ 1 PM that we arrived as the massive structure known as Elven Keep.
Huge 45’ seamless walls forged centuries ago by dwarven slaves before the Kinslayer Wars and Deepingdale Uprising, they encircled a tremendous area of land with many houses and structures both outside the outer walls as well as inside. Supposedly a garrison of over 1,200 warriors strong with about 1/4th of them elven, it sat large and imposing on the border of Woodhelven – offering a barrier to the elven lands, the settled East, and the frontier West.
Once here we made our way to the Temple of Poseidon, once of the larger main ones @ the Keep and met with the Patriarch. We explained who we were, what we were doing, and brought him up to speed on our seeking of Fist’al (he had already gotten our missive a few days ago and the word had gone out). The brothers and sisters of Poseidon were wroth @ Fist’al and wanted to bring him to justice sooner rather than later.
It was at this point that we asked about possible scrying for Fist’al and the patriarch agreed to do so for us. We were able to see Fist’al had achieved Woodhelven and was in some sort of scout training camp – talking to 9 or 10 other elves. He seemed well received and in good cheer. We were able to deduce there camp was a few miles past the Elvenkeep/Woodhelven gate and we would need to sneak in there somehow.
Sanric and Auri went to the Temple of Artemis to meet with the elven Melisander archer and priest – a very comely and charismatic person who within just a few minutes, had Auri panting in want. A deal was struck for a letter allowing them past the border (with Marcus as the focal personage) but it wouldn’t last for too long. During the forging of the document Sanric practiced archery with the Artemisian acolytes while Auri was bedded by the very attractive Melisander.
All that left in the plan was how to sneak Fist’al out (the church of Poseidon wanted some time with Fist’al for his slaying of one of their members and paladins). Flimflam was working on a trade with an alchemist loyal to Demeter for a polymorph potion where the imbiber would take on the form of a donkey for 1 hour.
At this point it was 3 PM on Workmonth the 11th and we wanted to get ourselves together and make the trip into Woodhelven and get Fist’al back – before ANYONE gets word to him that we were either following him – or this close.