Young Brock Whitethorn, newly arrived in Redkeep, had been requested. His presence was seen as a fortunate boon by one of the acolytes in Dragon’s Rage, a temple of the Maker dedicated to the aspect of the Wrath of Dragons. A local apothecary had come seeking help… a story eerily similar to that told to the other heroes. Seeing an opportunity to begin on his journey of redemption, Brock quickly agreed and set out.
Along his way, Brock came upon a riderless horse, outfitted for a rider on a journey. The dead body of the last rider lay nearby, neck snapped by a low hanging branch. Brock took the horse along with him and continued into the forest. He soon found the grisly scene of the party’s encounter with the Chains…
Meanwhile, the party had camped nearby the slaver encampment (after a “suitable” destruction of said encampment by Rhosashi). During the night, the sounds of some strange creature in the distance kept a truly restful sleep at arm’s length. But, with no incidents by morning, Bahrendor set out to quickly check out the location of the blood thorn. However, she only found a scene of destruction.
The clearing had been ripped apart, the plant and vegetation ruined for any seeking the healing plant. Deciding to return to town to seek out Pashik, the party soon came upon the scene of their ambush. They were quite surprised to find a well-outfitted man with Cipriano’s horse, belongings intact. Though initially hesitant, the group quickly found Brock meant them no harm and was on a similar quest to their own.
The paladin wished to see the scene of destruction at the grove for himself and the party accompanied him. There, while surveying the damage and tracks around the clearing, Bahrendor was suddenly attacked from behind! The party turned to face the assailant… a great black cat, six-legged, with two tentacles sprouting from its back. A displacer beast!
Battle ensued, with Cipriano falling to the beast’s ferocious barrage. Its natural displacement ability protected it from the worst of the retaliation, until finally the concentrated efforts of the remaining party members overcame the creature (with Rhosashi exhibiting new never before seen abilities). Brock used his god granted power to heal Cipriano while the others tended their own wounds. After harvesting what they could from the body, the team decided that pushing onward to get back to Redkeep was an excellent plan.
Upon their return, well after nightfall, Rhosashi headed straight for Pashik’s forge, determined to discover why his old friend had sent them all into an ambush. The party reached the forge quickly and easily gained entry (with help from Cipriano’s unseen servant). The forge had been dowsed for the eve and the building was quiet.
Rhosashi stormed through, yelling for Pashik. The rest fanned out to search the premises. Pashik’s room upstairs looked as if it hadn’t been used in some time. A further inspection turned up a pair of lockboxes, one of which held what was obviously Pashik’s personal savings and mementos… not something he would likely have left if he’d decided to run (as Rhosashi speculated). Downstairs, Cipriano and Brock looked around the forge. Cipriano spotted movement outside and saw someone leaving a cellar. Calling to the others, he watched as the figure turned and tossed a flask at the outside wall, which exploded into bright flames, setting the building aflame!
Bahrendor rushed to the window, leaping through and taking pursuit of the figure… a man of long, dark hair and beard. Pashik! As the dragonborn gave chase, Pashik yelled for the guards, accusing the party of setting the blaze. The others quickly exited as well, Rhosashi from above and the others out the back (after Cipriano unsuccessfully tried to enter the cellar).
Guards were quickly running up from nearby, calling for more as they came. Bahrendor turned down a close-by alleyway in pursuit of the cloaked Pashik, escaping notice as usual. Rhosashi continued in his own pursuit, stopping momentarily to try and unsuccessfully distract the guards. He quickly found himself in the role of prey as the guard sergeant turned to follow him down the alleys, sending his junior to take care of the burning forge before it could potentially spread.
Brock and Cipriano waited by the fire and gave some assistance as the young guard began to organize the converging watch forces in combating the growing fire. Soon, Cipriano, by advantage of his place as Academy Mage and a Vesconi, left the scene, taking Brock with a promise to answer any questions the watch might have in the morning.
Bahrendor’s chase continued, making a choice to take the fleeing Pashik by surprise as he came out into the next street. She moved to assail the cloaked figure that exited the alley where Pashik should come out, making as if she was a mere Blight sufferer seeking alms. however, her catch turned out to be a young woman, obviously distressed and lost. Cursing her fortune, Bahrendor sent the girl on, turning to watch the street for the traitorous smith.
But, she was only rewarded with the familiar form of her brother, fleeing the guard in pursuit. Luckily for Rhosashi, the winding alleyways of the city soon lost his pursuer and the dragonborn fighter decided to head home, knowing his quarry was lost for now.
The rest of the evening was spent in varied ways by the group… Bahrendor put word out to the underground of her need to meet with the peddler Malk Dunwater. Rhosashi drowned his temper with his personal brew. Brock enjoyed the comforts of the Vesconi house. And Cipriano took to his father’s study for research…
Morning brought no relief to Rhosashi, who woke to the sounds of pounding on his door. The watch had found him and sought his arrest. He was being charged with breaking into the forge, setting it on fire… and killing Pashik! Finding no easy escape, Rhoashi prepared to fight his way out. Unfortunately, the guards were ready for him and, as soon as the door was opened, let loose with quarrels laced with sleeping poison. Rhosashi’s hide was pierced and he quickly succumbed, his body recovering from the evening’s hard drinking. His last conscious thought was of vengeance upon the smith…
As the sun rose on Redkeep, Bahrendor sat in her usual spot outside the nearby Arena. Soon, the familiar jingling of Malk’s pack reached her ears. Stopping under the guise of offering a poor Blighted a look at his wares, Malk spoke to Bahrendor of the night’s events. The fire had been contained, but not before the forge had been destroyed. In the cellar, a burned body was found, identified as Pashik! The smith had been bound and left to die. Malk also informed Bahrendor of the impending arrest of Rhosashi, happening at that very moment. His time grown short, he promised (once properly compensated) to look into the matter of the forge fire and the escaped arsonist. As a last bit of advice, he told Bahrendor to ask “her rich friend” about it all and dropped a pair of oddly heavy coppers into her hand. Bidding her goodbye, he continued on his way, hawking his wares to any and all.
Cipriano was awakened by a servant with news of the local watch’s arrival. He went to receive the visitors, presented with Captain and Lieutenant . The meeting was brief, revealing the captain merely wished to gain any information Cipriano had of the events of the night. The culprit had been found and was being taken in as they spoke. Cpt. assured Cipriano that their questions were only a formality and no accusations were being leveled against him. The meeting concluded, the pair bid him a good day, promising to return only if further questions arose.
Brock woke to a breakfast far removed from his experience at the church. Eating heartily, he left the estate to seek out the apothecary who’s request had began his current troubles. Returning the Dragon’s Rage, he found the priest who had presented the request was nowhere to be found. None present had seen him since the previous day. Brock resolved to seek out the apothecary on his own and ventured to the nearest alchemist’s shop, finding an older woman. After helping her open her store, he inquired as to the identity of the sought after apothecary. The woman informed Brock that there were many such apothecaries in Redkeep. Finding just one on such limited information would be quite difficult. But, because of his assistance, she promised she would keep an ear out and inform him of anything she could find.
Bidding her a good day, Brock next headed to see Rhosashi, only to find a lone guard at the broken door to the fighter’s apartment. The guard informed Brock (who asked after Rhoashi under the guise of a fan of the Arena champion) of the dragonborn’s situation and bid him find a new pugilist to root for. Brock quickly left, unsure as to his next move…