Following a broken path south, the heroes eventually forded one of the tributaries of the Shrike River and began to explore the depths of South Wood…
Concerned that the merger of several bandit trails into a singular path was an indication of their proximity to the outlaw’s camp, the group agreed to send forth Oewyn to scout from the cover of the forest. The ranger was able to cover ground quickly and from within the shadows of the forest canopy he was able to avoid the bandit sentries and eventually locate the enemy’s camp.
Serrka, Hassan and Naram however were not without their own adventure. Within an hour of Oewyn’s departure, the three comrades were forced to retreat from the forest path at the sound of approaching horses. Their suspicions proved true as a pair of bandits’ road into view, heading north to the bandit camp and the location of their hidden dwarf ally. Luck (and stealth) was not on the heroes side however and their attempt at hiding proved to be in vain as the bandit soldiers charged the heroes. A pitched battle ensued and after one bandit was struck down, the second turned north to flee. With her hand outstretched, Serrka’s felled the fleeing bandit with a crackling bolt of lightning.
With their location and approach secure, the group rejoined Oewyn and made plans to assault the camp under the cover of nightfall. With the bandit campfires as a guide, Serrka’s was able to guide Hassan and Naram close to the fires edge, while Oewyn broke from the group in a parallel assault meant to catch guards by surprise. Calling on her goddess for strength, Serrka conjured a burst of entangling briars and shrubs in the heart of the camp, tramping a number of their adversaries by surprise. As Naram and Serrka delivered a ranged assault of lightning and crossbow bolts, Hassan brandished his bastard sword and charged across the field of battle to engage their foes in melee. Relying on his darkvision and the distraction of battle, Oewyn executed a flanking assault from the shadows and managed to pick off several bandits under the cover of darkness.
Kressell, the leader of the bandits would not be taken easily though and as she emerged from her sleeping quarters she unleashed a volley of arrows from her bow that pierced Hassan’s armor and left the fighter grievously wounded. Leaping from the shadows, Oewyn managed to close the distance to Kressell and forced her attention away from the wounded fighter. The evil ranger however was no novice to melee combat and she mentioned to land several shots with her bow against the dwarf before a fateful swing by Oewyn’s axe ended her life.
One loan bandit, unconscious and caught fast in the grips of Serrka’s entanglement spell was left a live. With some prodding by Hassan and Naram, the cowardly criminal named Jex revealed the approximate location of the Stag Lord’s keep and the following information:
• The Stag Lord is a “demon” who wears a mask.
• The Stag Lord’s base in a keep on the edges of the Deepwash.
• The Stag Lord has a penchant for strong alcohol.
• Auchs is his most formidable body guard, but he has several henchman and possibly 10 to 12 bandit followers at the keep.
The heroes then loaded a bound Jex, along with the gear and equipment collected by the outlaws into a wagon discovered at the campsite and then retraced their steps north, back to Oleg’s Rest.
As they reached the gates of trading post they discovered that guards from Loudwater had finally arrived and now the city’s banner quietly fluttered on the exterior wall of the small fort. Fortification and repairs were already visible on the structure and the companions could see several new faces amongst the post. Oleg and Svetlana greeted the returning companions with cheer and the plump merchant could barely suppress a grin at the fact his goods had been recovered and the “bitch” bandit leader Kressle and her lackeys had been put to the sword.