Spine of the Dragon: Sessions 18/19 — Dark Horse

corona

SESSIONS 18/19
DARK HORSE

DRAGONS

8 — 14 Ostara

Returning to the surface, the Bordermen were hellbent on confronting the alchemist “Holland Graille”. After a quick debriefing with Laylah, the group marched on the Apothecary where they were met by a human dwarf, Tarik Marttan.

Marttan, speaking with a thick Mortainne accent, tried to bar their entry but Edmund pushed his way in, followed by Arthur, Laylah, and then Byron and Togo. They fought their way past Marttan, plus two other of “Graille’s” associates, the swashbuckling Jaron du Maus and gutter magician Dauphine du Pres.

apothecary

denwarBursting into “Graille’s” quarters, a game of cat and mouse ensued as they were confronted by the faux Holland Graille and another Mortainne associate, Killian Denwar, Knight of the Order of the Black Rose.

Graille fled through secret passages to the east with Arthur and Togo in pursuit, while Denwar fled west and south followed by Edmund and Byron.

Holland GrailleHolland Graille made his way through the crypt and raced down into the underbelly of Brigand’s Rest. Arthur followed long enough to ignite the hallucinogenic lamps. Somewhere, in the distance, he heard the mage scream as a wolf savagely tore into the villain.

Killian Denwar was taken down and subdued just as he was climbing the stairs out of the mushroom fields. His body was drug into the Crypt War Room to be interrogated.

Arthur looked after his wounds in the spa while the matter of Denwar was addressed by the governing nobles of Brigand’s Rest — Captain Talon Fletcher of the Blue Herons, Captain Marryn Hunter of the Deerstalkers, and Sir Rogan Archer of the Red Arrows. Representing the Bordermen’s interests were Iolaire alumnus, and Bordermen Seer, Laylah Fortune, while the actual interrogation was handled by Sir Edmund, in consultation with Sir Byron.

It was decided to honor Denwar’s noble status and ransom him back to his superiors in Mortainne. As Arthur, Byron, and Edmund were already commissioned by the Duke to assemble a regiment to augment Skalgrimgard, the infamous Keep on the Borderlands, it would fall upon them to transport the hostage back to his homeland.

keep

Now with a plan of action, the Bordermen took a long rest and , come morning, gathered their prisoner and met in the Brigand’s Rest courtyard to claim their mounts and load their gear. There, they met with Sir Garrett Mark, who had delivered, as promised, 12 mounted soldiers, The Knights of the Mistral Wind, to be stationed at the Rest.

He advised them he was under orders from the Duke to accompany them on their journey north and they were thrilled at the addition to their fellowship.

All mounted on sturdy steeds, with a squire, porter, and two pack mules as compliment, the company set out, traveling three days along the Spine of the Dragon until they reached First Lodge, where they communed with their Bordermen Society superiors and Arthur was reunited with Asuna, his bonded hawk.

Franklyn StewartTraveling on, two nights out they looked came upon a mercenary company camped on the edge of Wolfe territory. The company was led by Sir Franklyn Stewart, Edmund’s uncle.

The company consisted of more than a dozen soldiers of noble houses who had all been passed over for command. They included, from House Stewart: Sir Franklyn and his son, Nolan Stewart, Sir Elbert Foster, Sir Walton Shaw and his son, Sir Brenton, and granddaughter, Lady Brenna. From House Archer: Alden Lange, Morticia Masters, Bill Bowman, and Harvin Wood. From House Morgan: “Bull Doc” Cairn and his son Röden Cairn. From House Stone: Tolliver Wull-Glover. And from House Hawke, Arthur’s old friend, Davis Fox.

darkhorseThis company, calling themselves Dark Horse, under the personal banner of Sir Franklyn, had looked to involve themselves in the minor skirmishes along the Wolfe border, but ran afoul of a large contingent of bandits led by a rogue knight. This bandit outfit, the Fell Hand, attacked and stole all their horses, leaving three men dead (Sir Thom Foster, Sir Gilbert Erwood, Lady Annyse Erwood) and two missing-in-action / presumed dead (Sir Yendor Roland and Lady Lynnette Agravain).

The Bordermen, and their prisoner, vowed to help them retrieve the stolen horses and avenge their fallen comrades. In exchange, Dark Horse agreed to join their company and to defend the Keep on the Borderlands.

Sadler's WallowThe Bordermen’s Noble Hostage, Sir Killian Denwar, took this opportunity to discuss the history of the Keep and the Borderlands themselves. The Borderlands were established as a “neutral zone” between Darach-Tor and Mortainne in the 300s, but settlers from Wolfe and Highmoor continued to infringe upon this treaty. As Mortainne forces began to take action against these frontiersmen, Earls Hawke and Kilraven, with assistance from Earl Staggs, financed the construction of a small Keep.

starIt protected settlers for several hundred years until it fell to foul magics wrought by Mortainne Necromancers. After many modifications, a mysterious incident in the so-called Caves of Chaos led Mortainne to abandon the Keep in the 1800s, eventually to be claimed and rechristened by House Skalgrim following the Farthing River Wars nearly two decades ago.

After a fitful sleep, they rose before dawn and marched into the bandit’s camp roughly an hour east of theirs. they split themselves into three forces:

Arthur and Sir Garrett led the Cairns and Fox north and into the woods near to where the stolen horses were kept.

Byron took charge of the bowyers from Archer, navigating a rocky outcropping to gain an aerial advantage from their ranged weapons attack.

Edmund joined with the battle-hardened knights of House Stewart and marched up the trail toward the band of horse-thieves and murderers.

The sun was just rising over the crest of trees and rocks as the bandits began to stir, seemingly unaware of the rude awakening that had gathered to greet them before their morning coffee.

to be continued

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