B Team RECAP: “Not Really Sure Who I’m Trying To Punch”

  1. The party left Seaquen, headed east, accompanying Balan in his ambassador’s carriage.
    • The Lyceum provided wagons, horses, tack and supplies for the two week trek.
    • The path was largely empty. Occasionally groups could be seen in the distance – small groups of riders, larger groups of refugees headed toward Seaquen, small platoons of watchers with spyglasses that lingered on the caravan too long for comfort. But none of these groups approached and hailed the wagons.
  2. After five days east, the group turned southward and made haste toward the Bandu Hills.
    • A couple days south, the party alerted on what looked like small creatures in the tall grass near the increasingly unused path. Suspecting ambush, Arandar ranged ahead while his brother Wraith prepared to feather whatever emerged from the grass.
    • Rather than an ambush, Arandar discovered a couple of very young hobbits, a brother and sister, frightened and hungry. After providing some food and winning their trust, the siblings told a story of their village, called Baylewick, being attacked by raiders, looted and burned. The two said they’d hid until their home was set alight. They’d been travelling awhile, but were unsure how many days – Po examined them, and based on their levels of hunger and dehydration, he estimated they’d been travelling approximately three days, maybe four.
    • They agreed to bring the hobbit children with them, in hopes of finding them friendly sorts that would take them to some safe zone. They all agreed it was likely their parents and family were with dead or captives.
      • On a side note, the idea that Sargavan raiders, (for that is what the party believed attacked Baylewick) took the adult hobbits of the village as slaves seemed remote.
        • Sargavans, like all Cheliaxians, are slavers. But here, surrounded by freedom-loving peoples on all sides, historically have not made their slaveholding ways prominent or public.
        • However, now that the Sargavans embarked on war against the east, the public modesty they’d previously exhibited evaporated. Defeated peoples were being taken captive, shipped west to Eledir and, is some cases, being shipped to devil-hainted Cheliax in exchange for support and hard currency.
        • That said, the idea that deep strike raiders were taking captives to sell on the slave markets was unlikely. The distances were to far, the obstacles too onerous. It’s unsure what the long-range Sargavan units are doing with captives, although the most likely answer is forced labor.
    • A day’s travel brings them to the river city of Cookham, the village to which they’d hoped to draw Princess Shalosha in order to convince her not to attack Seaquen. Above the village on the hilly heights, the village seemed empty and abandoned. This prompted the party send Wraith into the town to see if there were any people.
      • Lorelei, from on high, could not see any creatures other than mice and voles feeding off the denuded grain fields that surrounded the village.
      • Wraith, moving quietly into town, noticed that the garden plots had been harvested, even the small vineyards had been cleared, well before first frost when they might otherwise have been clipped. No people moved, but Wraith discovered the local pub, the Thirsty Boar, a two story tavern and inn. It’s outside shutters were closed.
        • The village did not look like it had been looted. From Wraith’s perspective, it looked more like it had been evacuated, in a highly orderly fashion.
      • After some time the party moved slowly down into the valley toward the village. As they descended, the saw two elvish warriors emerge from the grasslands on the opposite side of the village, then another. Although not overtly aggressive, these elves were armed and armored and gave off every indication that they were experienced veterans. As the party continued to move toward the village, more elves materialized from the long grass.
        • The elves were from multiple tribes – some, with blond hair and gray eyes, were obviously plains elves. Others, with dark skin and curly hair, were ekujae, jungle elves. All wore ornate plate armor cuirasses and carried bows and longswords.
      • Once the party had entered the village proper, more elves emerged from the grass, and formed a semi-circle in front of the party. Finally one spoke, asking: who are you? why are you here? what business do you have in this part of the plaines? The fact was that the elves knew exactly who they were and why they were here, and they were ascertaining the party’s allegiances before allowing Shalosha to come forward.
        • Between Aladar and Titus, the party managed to convince the elves they weren’t allied with Vordbert and were not here to try and assassinate Shalosha. Eventually, she came forward.
      • The party and Princess Shalosha spoke for several minutes, each hoping to convince the other of the rightness of their position. Eventually, the party managed came to an arrangement with the elves:
        • The party was heading into the mountains and would be away from Seaquen for several weeks at the minimum. After some discussion about taking Vordbert out specifically, versus an elvish attack on the city in response to the affront the drove the elves away from Seaquen, it was agreed that neither side would act precipitously against either Seaquen or Vordbert.
          • Shalosha made it clear that the elves wanted revenge for the attack, which they saw as a betrayal of their protective blockade. But they acknowledged, grudgingly, that many (albeit certainly not all) of the Seaqueni civilians were both blameless and likely to suffer under an elvish attack.
          • Shalosha said she would petition her father to postpone the attack on Seaquen, but acknowledged that he was a willful man, a king of elves, and of martial temperament. Shalosha could not guarantee that her father would accede to her requests.
          • Balan shared
      • The elves and the party enjoyed a convivial evening, with elvish food and wine available to all. Balan regaled the group, elves and men alike, with tales both comedic and dramatic. The elves especially were fascinated by the portly man’s stories. At dawn, the elves woke the party and then, wishing them good fortune, disappeared into the brush.
        • One last thing: before she left, Shalosha went behind the bar in the Thirsty Boar and extracted a large wooden cylinder and gestured to the party. I will leave messages here, Shalosha said, showing everyone the location of the hidden spot. Check it when you pass, leave messages and intelligence as you are able. The party agreed.
  3. The party left at dawn, as did the elvish picket, and the wagons made their way toward the mountains of Duke Gallo’s demesne. A half day’s travel led the party to a copse, from which could e heard yelling and cries. Upon approach, they found a wagon, surrounded by riders in livery.
    • Vondrum recognized the uniforms as those of King Steppendgard’s men, and they were demanding the return of “Beckoff.”
    • Around the wagon were arrayed a half-dozen hobbits, exchanging shouts with the King’s men and denying that Beckoff had anything to do with whatever it was that Steppendgard suspected her of, and regardless they were merchants of the halfing villages to the north and, having committed no crimes, were not subject to the King’s justice.
    • The party approached:
      • Initially, they asked to simply pass on the road, which was granted. But opinion within the party was divided, as the arguments escalated between the King’s men and the hobbit merchants. Some wanted to intervene on behalf of the hobbits, perhaps out of sympathy for the halfling children they’d sent on with the elves only the previous evening. Others wanted to avoid trouble, so as not to poison their reputation when they eventually arrived in Bresk themselves.
      • At that point, one of the King’s guards at the rear of the wagon shouted “Got her!” and dragged forth a well-dressed halfling woman. apparently Beckoff. She hurled insults at the King’s men, angering them to point that, with the realization that she was hiding in a hidden spot within the cart? The commander ordered her summary execution.
      • The party protested, and alternatively exhorted the hobbits to leave off their insults and advised the King’s men to eschew bloodshed and take their captive back to Bresk for a proper inquiry. Theey’d almost had the latter convinced, when…
      • Beckoff extracted a small knife and attempted to stab her captor in the chest. The stiletto bounced off the man’s cuirass, but he released her in surprise and she sped off into the foliage, pursued by the soldier and two other hobbits, calling out “Hethal! Hethal!” which was apparently Beckoff’s given name.
      • Two hobbits at the front of the wagon, who had previously been holding forth against the King’s men, now grabbed one’s horse’s harness and leaped up to attempt a stabbing.
    • The party now finds itself in the midst of this conflict, having entered the brush themselves to intercept Beckoff and prevent her from being run down and slain.