Characters: Ariel, Conscience, Maynard, Tesla
With the events of the past few weeks over, the party has to decide where they are going to call home. Pablo, the head of the town guard, asks them if they would be interested in doing some work for him. He knows their abilities having seen them fight first hand and cannot spare any of the regular guard for this task. The Council of Jasper needs a document delivered to officials in Geldall. Given the orc threat and the trouble with Dorn, they are requesting a small garrison of Geldall troops be sent to Japser as advisors and to assist if either threat becomes more of an issue.
The party agrees to deliver the note to Ragnar on the other side of the mountains. After purchasing some heaver clothes in case the mountains are cool, they wait for the Council to complete the document. The note is delivered to them as the sun sets so the party sleeps in the guard bunks for the night and plans to leave at first light.
The party gets an early start and spends the day climbing through the foothills into the lower mountain. The road is made of packed dirt and rock and, although steep at times, makes for easy traveling. As the afternoon passes they encounter more vegetation made possible from the little rain that makes it to this side of the mountain.
As the sun nears the horizon, they get their first sight of the mountain pass they are heading for and the old fortress that guards that pass. They set up camp just off the road and notice that vegetation and wildlife is quite different from their home. As they settle in, they hear an owl hooting in the distance, catch the smell the pungent aroma of some unfamiliar flower, and feel the cool mountain air flow down from the peaks above. A very different experience from desert camping.
The next morning the party breaks camp and continues their climb into the mountains. After a long hard day of climbing, they near the gap as the sun is low in the sky. Noticing a guard house in front of the castle, they decide to camp inside.
The guard house looks to be abandoned but there are signs of blood that are a few months old. All of the food in the little kitchen has been eaten by wildlife and there is a lot of debris around. The party clears an area and sets up camp.
As the stars come out, Ariel notices a flicking of light coming from Conscience's scabbard. When Conscience pulls out her sword, it is flashing regularly about once a second. They also notice a flicker of light coming from under some debris behind a broken bunk. Digging it out, they discover a nice short sword that is flashing in time with Conscience's longsword. Tesla takes the short sword and likes the feel of it. Spinning slowly on the spot, the flashes seem a little brighter when pointing east. The flashes are quite regular but there occasional breaks in the flashing.
Tesla is on watch when she hears footsteps coming up the road. Peering outside, she sees a party of 4 orcs heading directly for the guardhouse. She wakes the party and they lie in wait for the orcs. Surprising the orcs, the party gets in the first blows but the orcs recover quickly. The front two orcs are hand-to-hand fighters but he back to spend their time shooting a bellybow at the party or tossing flaming grenades. Maynard conjures a flaming sphere to flank the orcs and the party soon prevails.
The party finds 100GPs on the bodies and an orb that is also flashing like the swords. Maynard takes the orb and puts it in his belt pouch.
In the morning, the party resumes their trek and reaches a good camping spot near dusk. They notice that the magic items are no longer pulsing and are not sure exactly when they stopped. Maybe the pulsing is related to the castle, or proximity to some item, or caused by a completely unrelated event.
Shortly after the sun goes down, they hear the sounds of wolves in the distance and are soon surrounded by a pack of 4 wolves. The emaciated wolves attack and gang up on Ariel but are soon defeated from the combined efforts of the party.
In the late afternoon, the party arrives in Ragnar and delivers their note to the mayor. Their instructions were to wait for a reply so they check into the inn for a well earned meal, a pint, and a soft bed.
After a day for gathering supplies and settling affairs in Ragnar for an extended absence, the two parties leave Ragnar for Jasper.
Late in the day, the two parties arrive in Jasper. The party meets with the head of the guard Pablo and learns that there has been a disturbance at the closed mine outside of town. It looks like someone has opened a passage down into the mine in which the metal army were dumped. Pablo climbed down into the mine and determined that the metal men seem to still be in place but it does look like someone has moved them around. It appears like someone was searching for something. Pablo has no idea who is responsible for the disturbance or what they were searching for.