- Stone Bridge
- The Watchful Knight
- The Anderil Farm
After disposing of the Black Earth goons, the party continued on making camp and arriving at the famed Stone Bridge later the next morning. The Stone Bridge is a holy place to dwarves and especially holy to those that honor Moradin for it is written that Moradin actually appeared atop the bridge after King Torhild Flametongue died fighting a Hill Giant 6000 years ago. The Stone Bridge rises from the ground before leveling off at 400 ft. above the ground. It is roughly 6 spans across with no guard rails and runs a full 2 miles from end to end. It is an impressive sight, if not one that is dangerous in its undertaking.
Winds increase greatly at 400 ft. above a river so the party had some difficulty with the mounts that they had been using. Milpot instructed the party that they needed to blind the party and was quick enough to interrupt Idra's move to draw one of Griffinbane's eyes out with his belt knife. Instead, cloth was wrapped around the horses eyes and Milpot and Mojo led their mounts by foot. Idra refused to dismount claiming that he didn't buy the mount so that he could serve it, he bought it so that he could ride it and so he stubbornly did.
The Watchful Knight
As the party descended the Stone Bridge they could see the town of Beliard before them. Larger than Red Larch the township sprawled across the ground with many copses of trees offering shade to the houses and open spaces the township provided. It was also noted that many of the locals tended to walk with confidence when met with the eyes of adventurers and many also showed telltale scars of previous encounters. Knowing that Beliard was known for supplying caravans with guards and mercenaries this was not a surprise, but it was one aspect of the town that stood out when compared to other townships in the Dessarin Valley.
The central inn within Beliard is an old establishment known as the Watchful Knight. Rumor has it that the inn once hosted a magical suit of armor that no one knew the command word to activate. This was true until one night the suit of armor disappeared. Shortly after the armor's disappearance, the owner of the inn also disappeared, never to be seen again. This was at least, part of the telling that the inn's current owner, Arnoff Graelkin, told to the party over drinks and laughs.
Arnoff was a special breed of inn keeper, the kind that could smell coin and could recognize new faces. As the party entered at noon, the only spaces open were at the bar where he was making an effort to look busy as his 4 subordinates ran around the room frantically taking orders and running food and drink to tables. He welcomed then and asked them if they had come to gawk at the magical suit of armor that the inn was known for. Surprised that the party had not heard of the armor, he flashed a smile and said that for 5 cp. they could get a glimpse of the suit of armor which they would certainly want to tell their future grandchildren about.
Idra was the first to cough up coin, and offered to pay for Milpot when Arnoff refused to charge Idra twice for two glimpses. Milpot noticed as Arnoff led the two to the corner of the tavern where a small stage had been erected and was cordoned off by rope and a curtain that the din of the tavern quieted just slightly and that many of the locals seemed to take an interest in the tourists reaction to the armor. Arnoff led the two to the side of the stage, unhinged the rope and with a conspiratorial wink, opened the curtain so that the two could see the magnificent suit of armor the inn was known for.
What was behind the curtain will cost you a trip to Beliard and 5 cp. for the view but suffice it to say, Milpot was impressed enough with the spectacle though Idra seemed a little confused about it. When pressed as to why Arnoff had created such a charade, Arnoff responded friendly enough that it was something that he called, "Marketting," and helped bring tourists in and gave him a laugh or two a week so Arnoff felt it was well worth it. Milpot even offered some suggestions as to improve the spectacle, but Arnoff shook his head, waving Milpot off saying that he kept the price low because it was not enough coin to truly upset a person for loosing it. By spending 5 cp. and being made a fool, the victim was more inclined to spread the tale of the magnificence of the armor and bring his friends in to spend their coin. Buying better armor would only provide something that others may wish to steel and Arnoff felt confident that even the most hard up thieves would not stoop so low as to abscond with what was behind the curtain.
The Anderil Farm
The following morning the party continued to the northeast passing by many farmsteads that had been abandoned with the rumors of the recent troubles that were plaguing the land. About mid-day the party noticed large black, billowing clouds of smoke rising from behind a hill not far from where they were traveling. Investigating the party came upon a farmstead that had been set afire with only a few of the farmstead's livestock that were locked in an enclosed fence trying to flee the fire that was consuming the house. As the party moved closer they heard the weak cry of a male voice from inside the house.
Grick and Milpot entered into the burning house to find a male half-elf lodged underneath a wooden beam with a fresh wound on his head. Working together the two managed to lift up the beam and pull the wounded farmer from the collapsed roof as the house continued to burn. The farmer, Selwyn, said that his farm had been attacked by orcs and frantically asked about his wife and ranch hands. Noticing that wagon tracks led off to the north, the party offered to let Selwyn take the party's wagon to the Dellmon Ranch, a larger homestead whose family had offered all in the area a place of respite until the danger had passed. Selwyn refused, stating that he would also accompany the party if they were indeed going to track down the orcs.
Only a couple of hours later, the party surprised themselves on stumbling upon the orcs resting in a wooded area. Maygan, Selwyn's wife, was seen sitting atop the wagon and the two ranch hands Ob and Fip looked warn out and sitting against the wagon's wheels. Four orcs were resting and drinking from wineskins and laughing over raiding stories.
As the party veered off behind some dense hedges and began discussing their plan, Selwyn had pushed forward through the briars to run towards his wife to free her. Combat ensued, most of the details were lost to the wind though Milpot's Charge is a poem that will forever be referenced by storytellers who wish to describe inauspicious cavalry rides into danger. Milpot drew up his polearm and jammed his heels into his draft horse's flanks making it leap towards the orcs. Having managed to maintain control of the mount while unsaddled, Milpot swung his polearm at the nearest orc, missing and clanging the blade against a large ash tree. The shock of the polearm and the twisting of Milpot's body while riding his horse had unsettled him slightly but he managed to maneuver he and his horse near the wagon as two orcs converged on him. They struck him with multiple axe strikes, knocking him off of his horse and leaving him prone onto the ground. And thus, battle ensued.
Selwyn managed to make it through the battle unharmed. He made it to his wife and cut her bindings. The party picked up that maybe Maygan was either pregnant by the ranch hand Fip, or at least had more than just an employer/employee relationship to which Selwyn was oblivious to. With the orcs dead, and Selwyn's farm left in ashes, the party escorted Selwyn and the rescued humans towards the Dellmon Ranch.