“You there stop what you are doing in the name of the Duke.” The command came from a tall individual, wise in years with no sarcasm; he was a man of results which is why he brought two score along with him. While the heroes where dispensing with the cultists the sun had set on Bouvaldia.
“Oh shit.” Syrendross said below his voice trying to hide his face from the lantern light several of the mounted men had mounted on poles.
“What is all this then?” Dolgrin said with a snort weary and bloody from battle.
“Ah Hillshade, where you can always find an officer of the law when you need one,” Dramen said in response to Syrendross’ lament, looking guiltily at the three dead orcs and one human but mostly at the sets of armor.
Rydin stepped up at this time next to the paladin in an attempt to salvage this dour first impression. “Men of the Duke, I know how this must look to you good…” tapering his speech.
“Zaid Aclair, Inquisitor for the Duke and I am placing you all under arrest.” The Inquisitor announced. “Captain seize them.”
Without a word, the Captain looked to his Lieutenant who selected a dozen guards.
“Now wait a damn minute,” Kyras started to protest as guards began to dismount following the orders of the Inquisitor.
“Kyras do not,” Syrendross said taking the druid by the sleeve of his earthen brown robe.
“There. You see, Captain they can be reasonable.” Zaid said with a sly grin drawing out his weapon. “Or perhaps you would respond to an alternative form of persuasion.”
Our session begins midday with our arrival back to Hillshade with another prisoner. an escaped fugitive, a most dangerous master summoner. The gnome River Baron Zhor Iendothe attempts to parlay entry for us into Castle Keirken but his attempts are rebuffed by the beautiful and regal wife of the Castle Bailiff, a half-elf Abriana Arcool. Clean and precious,she regrets that her husband cannot meet in person informing us that he is busy with security.
Syrendross requests a place to recover from our long night of tracking down criminals. Ardina explains that due to the pending wedding between Count Keirken and Ardinia Delaway most of the available space is spoken for. She does indicate an area of ruins suggesting with a little work may uncover a suitable resting place (or grave if one was of a conspiratorial mind).
During this distraction the Baron receded into the castle courtyard with the prisoner Okala and some of our company notice several individuals busy in the courtyard, their coat of arms indicated they were not the Count’s men. A large metal palace-wagon, secret service, or perhaps a siege weapon was parked in the yard bearing proud symbols of the Duke of Bouvaldia. The Duke was expected at the wedding!
Dramen makes sure to emphasize the danger of the new prisoner, to which Abriana reassures us by explaining in detail how severely Okala will be punished for any transgressions- to Okala's face, with a smile. At this instance Dolgrin senses a bit of evil in the woman. Abriana comments that the Inquisitor has arrived and will deal with the summoner. Before we depart the Bailiff's wife acknowledges that we are owed a debt and tells us to meet with Zhor in the morning at Gretcho’s: Hillshade’s bakery and restaurant to receive our reward.
A short time later Rydin and Denosia set out looking for the afore mentioned ruins. Seeing individuals along the way our company of virtuous justice seekers find the ruins are actually three separate ruins from three separate eras of history- each built or expanded upon the previous ruin and into areas of fertile ground. (is one building a former temple of Orcus?)
After some clever tracking we see that the main two story structure that dominates the area has been in use; and some searching reveals a trap door that opens revealing a well-used ladder that dropped into a worked tunnel. Along the tunnel we find sealed caskets bearing symbols with drow iconography indicating underdark associations. The tunnel's end opened into a cavernous underground waterway that could be a river or lake.
After a few minutes travel along the underground beach Syrendross hears a turbulent splashing sound from around a large stone mound. At the same time Dolgrin and Lapis find a strange waxy earthen column, hollow in its center. Once a dancing lights spell illuminated the inner walls the earthen column was revealed to be a sanctuary dedicated to Orcus. Our virtuous justice seekers quickly determined that the shrine was worthy of destruction but practice caution by investigating the underdark chamber further.
Dramen cloaks Syrendross with invisibility and magical flight allowing the drow to investigate the splashing sound heard moments before. Flying around the bend Syrendross finds another deep earth shoreline with a makeshift dock as well as a dozen sinister individuals disembarking from a small flat-ship; Syrendross identified a few orcs, an unidentified Hillshade man and a woman bearing Orcus symbology. The group's attention was focused on learning how to operate a unknown metal device.
Syrendross returned to his comrades to report his findings where it was decided to lie in wait for the cultists. After a half hour of waiting to ambush the cultists, Syrendross sees the first of them walking down the beach where they had paused to dawn armor- armor later identified as belonging to the Duke’s house guards. Combat ensues.
When the smoke cleared we had defeated four out of the five cultist, only a half-orc (DFO) escaping by utilizing a potion of gaseous form. After taking inventory (distributed/or destroyed) we begin the arduous task of bringing the bodies and the incriminating Duke’s armor and weapons back to the ruined structure. When we arrive at the structure we find ourselves surrounded by a large number of guards, many on horseback. It is then we are introduced to Zaid Aclair the Duke’s Inquisitor who orders us taken into custody.