They were known as Arestina’s Stepchildren, various precocious children who grew up mentored and educated by Arestina Steelsmith, the town’s blacksmith. It was rumored in town that Arestina herself was an ex-adventurer, or even a follower of the traditions of the Imperial Shields of Nerath, so it didn’t come as a surprise that her wards would become adventurers themselves.
It was a warm summer day, just before the midsummer’s festival when the Stepchildren had finished their apprenticeships in Fallcrest and were heading back to the sleepy village of East Ridge to join the season’s festivities. Little did they know that this year, Midsummer would be quite different from the ones that occurred before…
It is during these dark times, we may skimp on ceremony but we must never skimp on celebration! ~ Fallcrest Saying
An Air of Hope
East Ridge, the Midsummer Festival. The weather was just perfect. It was warm and indeed sunny as befits the summer but the sun itself didn’t hammer on the populace and indeed was an encouraging presence to be out. The plaza was packed. All sorts of stalls were there from general goods and knick knacks to more exotic looking items whose worth people were unsure of. All sorts of food items were sold and the smells combined to make a heady air. There was even a bard performing a re-enactment of some stirring speech given during a great war centuries ago. That attracted quite a crowd.
The two travellers however were not interested in these things. Though, the way the shifter kept sniffing towards the food her ears perking up at one delicious smell or another, might put a lie to this except that she kept close to her Dragonborn companion. Those who noticed them however, mostly saw that her robe was left open, leaving little to the imagination. She did not seem to care.
The Dragonborn however, had the air of a scholar and searched the area around him with a grim look that was definitely out of place in the celebratory air. He sighted a stall and his eyes lit up and began walking purposefully, his companion right beside him.
Others noticed his passage as well. A girl in leathers walked out of the crowd with a bored look. She took one appraising look at him and shrugged, fingering an ornamental silver dagger. A young man in pristine leathers with a long sword belted on his waist saw him and looked curiously at him, though not really at him and closed a book he was browsing and returned it with a smile turning towards him.
The Dragonborn ignored this for the moment as he arrived at his destination. It was a stall selling rather curious kitchen implements manned by a heavily muscled woman who looked like she could tenderize a young dragon with her own set of meat tenderizers. She was accompanied by a grim man with a huge sword on his back and a flighty young woman in colorful robes who looked like she was talking to the air beside her.
They greeted each other by name and he exchanged introductions. The Dragonborn was Terslan, of the Fifth Circle and his companion was his bodyguard Winter. The woman was Arestina, the grim one Radiant, and the child Lily.
Before business was exchanged the young man in leathers his sword out drew a sigil on the ground smiling at the women and nodding to Radiant. He introduced himself as Etrigan and engaged Terslan in conversation while Lily gushed over Winter. Arestina said nothing.
Terslan apparently knew the old master of Etrigan and they exchanged conversation about exploring the old ruins of a Mythal in the area one designed to protect nearby Fallcrest and its territories from invaders. Terslan wanted to find out something and Etrigan was piqued.
The arrival of Argentus the mayor’s son shifted the conversation to the finances in the area and a slight argument over the fees for renting the stall in the plaza. Arestina spoke up and invited them all to dinner to speak of Terslan’s request and told Radiant to invite the young woman looking at them from a short distance, their rather reclusive friend, Liit.
Conversations shifted to more trivial matters with Argentus saying to beware of pickpockets because the silver dagger of Joey, son of Mistress Khola was recently stolen and they were going to investigate the bard and her halfling companions. Dinner was anticipated greatly as Arestina was known also for her soft and mouth watering meat dishes.
All these plans went to naught for a messenger arrived.
The ancients wrote the word ‘crisis’ in two characters. One meaning danger or adversity while the other meaning opportunity ~ Aerishana Darsten, Nerathi Scholar
A Sudden Sense of Urgency
The man, introduced as Steve Tylerson by Argentus hurriedly explained that his farmstead was attacked by Kobolds. His mother, father, and son were taken while his wife escaped and now rests in the townhall attended by some healers.
Argentus quickly promises to gather some nearby adventurers and follow Steve to his farm while the man tracks the Kobolds to their lair. He looks hopefully at Arestina and remarks that their lair is near the ruins that Terslan talked about exploring. He lights up and agrees to help with this problem. Winter’s ears perk up at the thought.
Etrigan and Radiant immediately volunteer with Argentus agreeing to lead the foray. Lily adds her voice and Arestina sighs. She tells Radiant and Etrigan to protect Lily unless they want to be tenderized as well but agrees to the contingent. She sends Radiant to collect Liit with a little hiring money and says that dinner will have to wait.
The party make it without event towards the farm. It is a mess, sheep and goats were stolen, the cows slaughtered, and the fields burned. Small lizardlike tracks dotted the area. Steve gets back and meets them there explaining the tracks and the lair of the Kobolds across the river. It is situated right smack where the ruins are.
It’s no surprise to either party as the kobolds pepper the assaulting adventurers with slings and the party rushes in. Everything was made more urgent by a young boy’s cry of extreme agony. Steve charged and was hit by a firepot knocking him unconcious. The party split up taking on different approaches as the Kobolds reacted to the party.
Radiant went straight down the front entrance with Tersland pushing the enemy back and Argentus behind coordinating the assault. Radiant quickly dispatched one sentry while Etrigan ran towards the wooded area dispatching the other. Lily hung behind Etrigan and let loose with various blasts.
Radiant, Terslan, and Argentus were stopped by traps in the entrance with Radiant taking the brunt of the damage. Lily and Etrigan managed to defeat the Kobolds on the right entrance without much difficulty.
Winter and Liit squeezed through some rocks covering an entrance to the back where we believe the hostages might be held. They managed to free two of the three hostages but the old lady died as the Kobolds turned vicious towards the hostages when they figured they were losing the fight.
As the last Kobold ran away, Steve himself dispatched it.
The party managed to clean up the entrance and take all the kobolds’ stolen items and load them to the cart Steve brought. His son had his arm torn off and was stabilized and loaded as well. The corpse of his mother was wrapped in linens and brought along with his father whose sense of grief overwhelmed him. The live goats were herded and the sheep who were freshly slaughtered were collected. No sense in letting anything go to waste.
The Kobolds had a lot of stolen items with them whose owners likely have already passed away. Steve agreed to take them to the stead and wait for the party before disposing of the items. What made no real sense however was what Etrigan found. They were a bunch of different letters. They were written in Abyssal.
The adventurers then agreed that sending Steve back and investigating these Kobolds and the ruins further agreed with everyone’s plans. They gathered around some of the fires the kobolds had set and roasted some of the sheep with some wild onions found in the area. There they rested for a moment and planned on how to explore the rest of the ruins.