Our story so far:
On his quest to find and root out the cults and followers of Yeenghu wherever they may reside, Drah found himself at a table in the Antler & Thistle pub in the city of Brindol. There he studied the sparsely populated bar and it’s patrons. His eyes shifted like a caged predator from farmer to local to drunk to the other travelers who sat in silence sipping the swill the barmaid had brought them, like a lion at the waterhole eyes zebra. The drink was bad, but Brindol had proved a quiet reprieve from the weather, the broken roads, and lost leads of the wilderness.
From the corner of the room the Sequilum gazed longingly into her glass of fine elven wine. Was it all worth it? Weary from her long journey, as vengeance can be exhausting, she had paused in Brindol with the hopes of finding something, anything of importance. Her path of bloody revenge had led her to the Elsir Vale in the hopes of catching a roving band of murderous gnolls. If she lost their trail here, she may never be able to find them again. She was sure these were the people responsible for the deaths of her family; she could feel it in her blood.
Vanarr Turrngar had come to Brindol seeking fortune, glory, and the defense of those weaker than herself, which according to her would be almost everyone. Denied full membership into the Knights of the Autumn Sword, she has decided to make a name for herself by her will and swordplay alone. She had dispatched two gnoll scouts three nights ago just outside Brindol, she could smell the stench of her hated enemies, the followers of Yeenghu, in this area and she means to eliminate it. On her father’s grave they would pay…
For the life of her she couldn’t understand just why Kaf & Graal had sent her to Brindol. Sure she’d been in a bit of trouble back home, but it was just a bit. Nothing she couldn’t handle by hook or by crook. Sure she’d ran from the constables, but they meant to put her in the stocks, and all she’d done was taken that shiny bauble from that loudmouthed Elf. It was so shiny, so very, very shiny. What if it wasn’t hers, so what, it should have been. If Kaf had taught her anything, it was that life is short, time is long, and in this life you have to take what you want. Just looking around this dive Bernadette could see literally hundreds of opportunities to separate rubes from their rubies. She’d cut those purse strings and save Kaf’s bar yet.
As the patrons of the Antler & Thistle sat sipping their drinks and keeping to themselves a tall, chiseled, and oiled traveler made his way confidently into the establishment. After taking a quick stock of the room and its inhabitants Steev loudly and simply stated, “I am in search of strong steel, which among you can provide me that?” His inquiry was met with overwhelming silence. The sheer presence of this man of flora and fauna eventually caused one of the local bar patrons to speak up and offer that there were a few blacksmiths in Brindol, and all would in fact accept whatever Steev had in trade for their steel. Steev mentioned in his terse conversation that his woods had been the sight of an incursion by “the darkness” of late and he was of a mind to “bring them light, the Light of Steel.”
Upon overhearing the surprisingly eloquent “savage” speak of incursions by hostile humanoids Drah found his curiosity peeked. The bar patron relayed the short history of the city of Brindol’s epic battle with the horde of the Red Hand just over one hundred years ago. The forces of the Red Hand had ran roughshod over the villages, towns, and cities of the Elsir Vale before happening upon the walls of Brindol, a sixty days of siege ensued. The forces of Brindol finally withstood the onslaught and retaliated in kind, scattering the remnants of the horde to the four winds.
After that brief discussion Steev relayed that both gnolls and goblinoids had recently been on the move in the area he calls home. This caught the attention of the battle hungry Vanarr & the bloodthirsty Sequilum. The both watched eagerly as the battle hardened human discussed grimly his plans with the shifty looking half-elf. All the while Bernadette couldn’t help but notice the shiny axe that Steev held, it could catch a hefty price if she could but get him to “part with it”.
Finally hearing enough of the boasts of men, both Sequilum, her heart racing with the idea of revenge, and Bernadette, eager for ill-gotten gains, joined in the conversation. Steev felt a grim smile form at the corners of his weather beaten face, these weren’t quiet the “steel” he had expected to find, but they were “steel” nonetheless. After finishing her last ale Vanarr marched over to the table and began to pledge her own arms to the glorious battle they were sure to find when there was an ear shattering crash.
The door exploded under the brute force of a troop of hobgoblin soldiers who burst into the room screaming in a growling common, “FOR THE GLORY OF THE RED HAND!” The blood that caked their drawn blades as they charged the newly formed companions dulled the glint of the fire. The stunned champions struggled mightily to land a blow early on, but once they did heads rolled. Steev routed the hobgoblins with his sword and axe, while Sequilum attempted to first pepper them with her longbow before moving in with her long sword. Drah attempted to find some safety from which to cast his wares amid the hulking fighters he now called companions in a simultaneously desperate effort to avoid the spilling of his own precious blood. Bernadette skulked behind the oncoming monsters hoping to cut short their cries of victory. The first wave of attackers slowly, but steadily fell under the blades of the companions. The only casualty being Steev losing his grip on his axe due to the blood and gore from the hobgoblin he’d just twain in two, his axe flew from his steely grip and embedded in the head of one of the local farmers killing him instantly. As the battle continued to rage, more hobgoblins crashed into the bar, while two goblins snuck through the darkness setting small fires as their larger cousins fell beneath the blades of the heroes.
Then suddenly Sequilum felt the heat of the sun on her legs, as she fended off another assault she glanced down only to find herself set ablaze! The sneaky goblin had actually set her on fire. She gritted her teeth and fought on. Blood began to flow freely on both sides as the hobgoblins finally began making head way against the road weary travelers. A biting pain hit Steev in his groin as another of the pyromaniac goblins had tattered loincloth ablaze. Simultaneously. Vanarr’s holy robe also caught fire. Drah used his mastery of all manner of dark power to fling eldritch fire at his enemies, while also destroying their minds. Bernadette’s daggers began to find the pock marked flesh of her enemies with alarming frequency, while she began to notice that the Antler & Thistle was becoming a raging inferno. Sequilum dispatched her enemy and charged towards the bar eyeing the water trough behind it as a way to stop the fire from continuing to blister her skin. As she doused the flames that were beginning to engulf her, her erstwhile allies saw her ambitious plan and followed suit, first Steev, drunk with bloodlust attempted to hurdle the burning bar, catching his foot and tumbling roughly into the kitchen area. Vanarr & Bernadette more cautiously followed suit finally relieving themselves of the oil and flame they had been hit with. As the companions came back over the bar, they saw only one single goblin remaining, backing his way towards the back entrance. The building slowly disintegrating into flame, Steev rushed the stonewall, slamming through it and creating a new escape path, while simultaneously causing the goblin’s only exit to be covered in debris. Bernadette saw the shiny axe sticking from the brow of the dead farmer, and grabbed it quickly before join the rest of the party as they rushed out of the burning pub, the goblin quickly behind them. Both the heroes and the goblin stumbled into the streets of Brindol only to see it set ablaze, locals screaming and running in an attempt to flee.
Sequilum glanced to her right in exhaustion only to notice the lone goblin, hands on knees, doing the same. She and Steev quickly cut him down. As the party tried to reorganize and process the insanity around them, a great flood of villagers ran past in desperation, followed by a bloodcurdling roar, “WHHHAAAUUUUGGGHHHHH!” Around the corner of the block a cart came into view pulled by a mammoth ogre. On the cart, loaded with casks of oil, stood to marksmen hobgoblins. The group stood bewildered as the ogre launched a cask of lit oil in their general direction. The explosion left all of the companions covering their faces to shield their eyes from the heat, unsure how to proceed, the heroes began a strategic withdrawal while peppering the invaders with arrows. Drah, seeing an opening, fired off a blast of eldritch fire, accidentally igniting the cart in a firestorm, Steev & Drah were blown back by the force. As they tried to regain their feet, and the rest of the compatriots attempted to formulate a plan and form ranks, they could see the ogre and hobgoblin working to get free of the burning cart. The ogre finally broke free and made a mad dash toward the newly steeled adventurers. Sequilum, Drah, & Steev all penetrated the thick hide of the charging beast with arrows as he roared. His mouth agape as he towered over Steev, until Bernadette skillfully launched a shuriken directly into the back of the mouth of the ogre. The bitter swallow of blood was his last. With a ground shaking thump the beast fell.
The whole time the remaining hobgoblin warriors had attempted to flank the occupied heroes. Upon seeing the ogre finally fall Vanarr charged directly at the oncoming soldiers. The rest of the party turned their eyes toward their new enemies and riddled them with arrows. As the first archer fell, the second fell to his knees and begged Vanarr for mercy. In all her travels, never had Vanarr questioned her loyalty to her god, her knighthood, or her code until that moment, but she relented, her oath more important than the life of some hobgoblin soldier. Sequilum has no such oath. She cut the beggar down where he kneeled. The party stood in silence finally seeing the scope of the damage in Brindol. Bernadette reluctantly returned the shiny, shiny axe to Steev.
The rest of the night the party helped the locals put out fires and resecure the walls. In the morning they were given free lodgings in a local inn. At the moment of midday a runner from Brindol councilman Eoffram Troyas summoned the adventures. Apparently the heroic efforts of the adventures had caught the eye of the political powers that be in Brindol, and a audience had been demanded. That and the soldiers of Brindol had captured a prisoner. Maybe he, or it, held the secrets to this new Red Hand…