July 2002 – Rehash (This rehash encompasses multiple sessions)

 

As the last days of Tarak’s month give way to the soft rains and balmy breezes of Ambras’ month, our heroes find themselves taking much needed rest in the village of Riverside.  But the signs of the times indicate that rest will be short-lived, for things have gone poorly for their liege in the three weeks they patrolled the Wounded Land.

 

It seems that while our brave band searched hill and dale for sign of the Duke, the weary Defenders of Ector’s border villages were in possession of incontrovertible evidence of that renegade’s whereabouts…for with great strength of surprisingly well-armed cavalry, the Duke battered the villages along the Troos without mercy or pause. Inserting his forces with ease all along Galava’s northern border and attacking with devastating surprise the Duke and his men struck with purpose. No longer raiding for food and supplies, the attacks now focus on the stripping of the border defenses. No longer content with intimidation, the brigands have begun to kill, leaving the broken bodies of Defenders, Galavan soldiers, and even Ambrosian priests of all Orders strewn behind them.

 

The village of Riverside was not immune to his depradations. Crashing into the village by surprise only two nights before our heroes returned, the Duke himself slew the Defender Rufus, while his men burned the unfinished hill fortress to its foundations. Defender Berne, in her rage, blighted herself attempting vengeance, and was carried from the field by the village militia who suffered great loss before the Duke’s men withdrew. Signs of the attack lay everywhere…freshly dug graves sit with hastily carved markers, the scorched timbers that are all that remains of the village’s defenses, the shrine of Ambrose lies empty, it’s devout member of the Order of the Shepherd buried with the other fallen. A wounded priest named Mir stares at the dusty altar and thinks of a village called Durum.

 

But these images can not detract from the noble purpose of our brave band, and those few who have managed to heroically rouse themselves from their beds have set to with a will. The stock of the village’s shops have been courageously picked over, inseams nervously measured for fine garments, roasts devoured with ferocity, kegs of ale brutally slain. The serving girls at the Weary Wench have been goosed as only an adventurer just in from the wilderness can goose. In those few moments that debauchery and consumption do not consume, our heroes have even begun to delve into the mystery of the Duke’s assault, and other trivial matters.

 

While Yosh and Manfred confer with the village council on the repair of the defenses, mad Tam and his little girl lie in wait across the mighty Troos, defending those who would cross from what awaits them there. Defender Berne from her sickbed calls on the adventurers to take a grim oath, and receive the powerful aid only a wizard can give in return. Pigeons carrying messages fly back and forth between the village and Vindolanda, and the great city to the west, Maridunum. Somewhere in the Wounded Land, a war wizard calls on all his tactical genius to get home, while the staff Entwhistle gave him begins to wilt. In the Weary Wench, a warrior named Cronic smokes his pipe and thinks on the death of his young brother Loric, and the vengeance he will take. In a nearby room, Farmer Dross stares in wonder at what the Orb of Malvagel shows him…

 

And to the east, Minister Edici rides towards Riverside. Brow furrowed in anger at the damage the Duke has caused, he looks with interest to the reports of our stalwart adventurers, the only to return from the Wounded Land in recent memory with sanity intact.  But to his mind, there is only one assignment for our heroes…and no concern as to whether or not they survive it.

 

(NOTE: OK fellers, Tuesday is the cutoff for submitting the reports. After that no bonus XP will be granted, and Edici will not pay a copper for them. As in zip, nada, nothing, stones.)