The adventure begins, in a small closed tavern in Gate Pass, the owner of which having been arrested by the City Guard for unspecified reasons. A group of misfit heroes: Aldalphus, A dragonborn Paladin; Apothem, Tiefling Assassin from Ostilin; ASOP, Warforged Runepriest created by Dundard Stoddard; Avingancaeminha, A Shardmind Invoker; Wolfbane Moonshadow, An Elven rogue belonging to the thieves guild; and Jian Wu-Ming, An Hengeyoki Assassin and trusted guardian of Torrent, have each been summoned to the Poison Apple pub to meet a women named Torrent at midnight on new-years.
The pub is a two-story building attached by a rooftop bridge to an abandoned house on the right. The front door and windows are boarded up, and the curtains are drawn. An Official Notice is posted on its door:
“Trehan Finner, owner of the Poison Apple Pub, has been taken into temporary custody under the protection of the city guard, until such time that he can be questioned by representatives of the Ragesian Empire and found innocent of hostile collusion. The Poison Apple Pub is hereby closed until further notice.”
The heroes are quick to knock on the pub door, and are greeted by a women they think to be Torrent, who quickly lets the heroes into the pub and out of the cold night air. As the heroes enter the pub, they are quick to notice that the darkened pub appears empty, its many tables and chairs pushed to one wall and covered with sheets. A single table with enough chairs for everyone sits in the middle of the room. A small oil lamp and a keg sit on top of it, along with several mugs. The heroes are quick to sit around the table and pour themselves a drink.
The woman picks up a mug of beer and speaks. “Good evening, all. My name is [[:torrent|Torrent]. Thanks for coming,” She gestures towards the keg and mugs, and with a warm smile says, “Have a drink. Just because we’re about to go to war doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate the New Year.” She then takes a pull of her mug and sits down. For a few minutes, through small talk and friendly banter, the New Year is celebrated.
Wolfbane Moonshadow: drink up!
Apothem ’s tail twitches back and forth as he eyes each of the strangers in the room, sizing them up.
ASOP takes a chair from against the wall and sits down
As they are talking, some of the heroes notice a veriety of distant bells to celebrate the new year in the distance.
Torrent grimaces, straightens in her chair and bitterly sighs.
Torrent: That’s one year gone.
She shakes her head a little, then looks over the table towards you.
Torrent: I guess it’s time to get down to business.
Torrent: The city’s in trouble. The Ragesian army is marching on us, and will most likely be here tomorrow. Before then, we have a mission.
Torrent: I used to study at a magic academy to the south, called Lyceum. They’re good people. So when word reached them about Ragesia’s ‘Scourge,’ they sent out messages calling for anyone fleeing Ragesia to come to them. They want to stand against the Ragesians, and the resistance wants their help. We just need to get a message to them.
Torrent: Normally we would have sent something by teleporting courier, but something strange is going on with planar magic. The last courier who teleported into Gate Pass, well, rumor is that he showed up burnt to a crisp. Not that I have that sort of magic anyway, but if we’re going to talk to Lyceum, we’re going to have to go overland. And that’s a problem, because the city’s walls are sealed.
Torrent: Ever since their emperor died, the Ragesians have been trying to show that they’re not weak, and they’re marching an army in our direction because the mountain pass we’re in is apparently ‘strategically valuable.’ Either way, a few idiots on the city council want to negotiate with the Ragesians, and rumor is they’re going to invite a group of Inquisitors into the city to look for ‘magic-users who are hostile to the empire.’ They’ve sealed the gates of the city so no one can escape, to make sure they look like they’re cooperating, and only military personnel can get in or out.
Jian hops away from Torrent’s should and flies around the room near the bar.
Torrent: We’re going to have to get out of the city, and I’m open to suggestions on how. Once we’re out, I can get us safely to Lyceum, but before we get ahead of ourselves, we have a mission tonight.
Torrent: The short version is that we’ve got to meet a contact — a gnome named Rivereye Badgerface — in about an hour at a guarded depository about a half-mile from here. He’s carrying a case of vital military intelligence which he stole from the Ragesian palace, and the heads of the resistance think that it needs to reach Lyceum. We’ve got to get that case, get out of the city, and get far away from here before the idiot city council lets the Ragesian Inquisitors in. Once that happens, the odds of us escaping are —
She finishes off her mug of beer in one long guzzle.
Torrent: — slim.
Wolfbane Moonshadow: the bells are drivein me mad
Torrent: I know I’d love to stay here and fight against the Ragesians, but I’m no soldier, and this mission might be more important. Worst case, you get away from the Ragesians and we can part ways a few days down the road. Best case, you can come with me to Lyceum, and we come back with an army of our own to drive off the Ragesians. But we’ve got to act fast either way.
Torrent: Are you ready for this?
Wolfbane Moonshadow: Am I ready you say? Hell yes!
Avingancaeminha: Rivereye Badgerface? The names you humanoids attach to yourselves…
Avingancaeminha: But yes, I am ready to aid you.
Apothem shrugs, taking nother pull on his mug of ale while his tail swishes back and forth.
Apothem: Diplomatic attempts have failed?
Avingancaeminha stares at the bird still hopping around the room.
Wolfbane Moonshadow: What is the deal with that damn bird?
Apothem: How do we know that Lyceum hasn’t already been taken by the Ragesians as well?
Jian spies a shard that could make a decent perch and swoops down to Avingancaeminha’s shoulder.
Avingancaeminha brushes the feathered manace from its shoulder.
Torrent: Lyceum is safe, it is the opposite direction from Ragesia, and they must pass through gate pass to get to it.
Jian hops away and flies above Avingancaeminha squawking disapprovingly down at him.
Torrent: But let us not ramble on about the school, we have to plan how to get out of the city.
Apothem: What are our choices?
Apothem leans his chair forward, allowing the front legs to land hard on the floor.
Avingancaeminha: I have no desire to fight the citizens of this town.
Torrent: Only city personnel, or diplomats are allowed out beyond the city walls, so we can find someone of political power to help us.
Apothem: I hadly think that is an option, big guy, there are far too many. I would hesitate to say that there are even too many militia guards in town for us to take them all on.
Torrent: Or, I also recommend trying to convince a mage of Gabal’s School here, to lend us their magic for escape. I shall leave the plan up to you.
Following this exchange, the heroes spend a considerable amount of time coming up with a plan.
Wolfbane Moonshadow: No secret ways out of town in the Elven side of town?
Apothem: Do the guards have any way to detect the mages/ magic?
Torrent: There is no Elven side of town, Unless you mean the exit towards Shahalesti?
Torrent: In which case, the only way out of the city is the city gate.
Avingancaeminha: It would seem our course is clear.
Wolfbane Moonshadow: I say we use magic if they can’t detect it.
Avingancaeminha: The Ragesian come seeking the magic users. It would be in the best interests of the mages to aid us in our tasks.
Apothem nods in agreement.
Apothem: If things do go pear-shaped at the gate, we can always force our way through at the last minute.
Avingancaeminha: Politicians can be bought. Having known betrayal, I believe that would be foolish to put pour trust in a political leader, even one sympathetic to the mages cause.
Torrent: No, I will not allow you to kill any of the millitia here.
Wolfbane Moonshadow leans back in his chair and puts his feet up on the tabe and takes a sip of his drink
Apothem looks shocked and horrified.
Apothem: I never said kill. Maim, most likely, but not kill.
Avingancaeminha: Casualties may be unavoidable, female. But the lives of hundres may be save with the loss of but a few.
Wolfbane Moonshadow: Lots of ways to hurt someone with out killing them…I should know!
Torrent: I cannot endorse anything that results in death.
ASOP: Will we be putting these mages of Gabal’s School in greater peril by accepting their aid if it were to be offered?
Torrent: I do not know, they are already in danger from the inquisitors.
Wolfbane Moonshadow: No risk…no reward!
Avingancaeminha: Then, as I said, they are our best option.
Avingancaeminha: I agree.
Wolfbane Moonshadow: Well I could always…sneek over and ask them for aid…
Torrent: Very well, if that is the plan you have chosen, although I do think that is not the best plan.
Wolfbane Moonshadow: I can only seap for myseft.
Wolfbane Moonshadow: speak
Apothem: I do know a city councilman that is sympathetic to anyone opposing the Ragesians.
Avingancaeminha: If you did not think it was a good plan, you should not have presented it as an option. Foolish female.
Apothem: Erdan Menash
Apothem: If the mages can’t help then we can call on him.
Torrent: Ah yes, Erdan, I have never met him myself, but I do know where he lives and I agree, it would be wise to seek him out.
ASOP: You actually stated, “I recommend.” when offering the Gabal’s school mages as an option.
Torrent: Yes, It is a good plan, just not the best. The mages keep to themselves, and they may think you are with the Ragesians.
Torrent: You will need to convince them
Apothem: Do you have any evidence that could help convince them?
ASOP: I am not from here and will listen to your recommendations, provided they stay consistant.
Torrent: Unfortunately, I do not.
Apothem: If we could get the list from Badgerye, would that convince them?
Torrent: I do not know, however I don’t think it will.
After the heroes decided on a plan, the talk then turned to getting to Lyceum after escaping the city.
Torrent: I already have a route in mind for getting to Lyceum, it avoids Impassable roads and well-patrolled paths. It’s a little travelled road south from Gate Pass. It goes towards the border of the innenotdar Fire Forest, thirty miles away.
ASOP: I agree the mage option is desirable, but they are likely to be concerning themselves with their own self-preservation and escape at this time.
Wolfbane Moonshadow: How sure are you the route in mind is passable?
Torrent: A few decades ago, the elf road ran through the fire forest to Dassen, which is where Lyceum is located. But a contastrophy happened during the last war. The forest was set on fire and it has not stopped burning since. I have potions that will help us survive the heat, I doubt any pursuers will have the magic required for these. I have enough for three days travel.
Apothem: how long would we be in the forrest?
Torrent: If we travel fast, we can make it to innenotdar and avoid ragesian patrols.
Torrent: It will take less then three days, I am confident of that.
Avingancaeminha: To travel, we must first get out of this city. We should prepare.
Wolfbane Moonshadow: So you guys want to go head frist into the fire?
Jian flaps over to the table lands and hops around turn its head this way and that looking at the group gathered at the table.
Apothem: Wait, fire hurts you?
Apothem raises an eyebrow.
Avingancaeminha stares at teh bird.
Torrent: Jian, you have gotten be here today, however now I must give your service ove to these heroes, help them.
Jian caws at Avingancaeminha.
Avingancaeminha: This vermin creature is beginning to annoy me. Do you mind if I kill it while you talk to this “Jian”?
Jian turns at bobs its head, almost as if bowing, toward Torrent.
As the talk begins to quiet down, the bells celebrating the new year, suddenly go silent.
Avingancaeminha: It’s quiet… too quiet.
Apothem perks up
Wolfbane Moonshadow: Thats not good….
Avingancaeminha looks up at teh ceiling.
Apothem holds a finger up to his lips and then points up
Avingancaeminha: There is someone upstairs.
Hearing somebody upstairs, the heroes quickly prepare for battle, awaiting whatever, or whoever, came down the stairs. However, after a time of silence and waiting:
Distant muted thumps fill the air, like the sound of ripe fruit landing on the roof of a house.
Torrent: Sounds like the Ragesians have gotten here already.
After another period of waiting and Torrent calling the tiefling a fool the heroes hear a loud booming voice.
Man: Front door: Go!
The front door shudders as you hear something being banged against it
The front door crashes open
Black Horse Thug: Drop your weapons and come quietly!
Torrent: Just try it buddy
After a short battle, the heroes make short work of the thug who burst through the door, making the two recruits behind him surrender.
After realizing the main thug has been defeated the two recruits cry out in surrender.
Apothem: Yeah, I don’t do prisoners…
Black Horse Scout: Please, let us tend to the wounded!
Apothem: Ragesian scum.
Black Horse Scout: We are not ragesians, we are of the black horse.
Apothem: And you’re attacking us because….
ASOP: What of the sounds from upstairs?
ASOP: Anyone heard of this Black Horse?
Aldalphus: I am not of this Locality
Torrent: The Black horse are a group of bounty hunters.
Aldalphus: what are you doing here?
Black Horse Scout: W… We were just hired to get the magic user! To avoid war!
Black Horse Scout: I don’t know, you’ll have to ask our leader, Kathor!
Black Horse Thug: Wise up you fools! Stop talking and attack them!
Aldalphus: Baaa, kill the evil doers
The fight continues, however, disaster strikes, as just when two of the black horse scouts arrive down the stairs, a ragesian bomb strikes the roof of the pub.
Two scouts appear from the stairway, however at the same time they do you the building shakes and you hear a deafening boom overhead.
Wolfbane Moonshadow: What the hell?
The ceiling begins to crack and buckle and flaming oil from above begins to leak into the room like a fiery rain
Aldalphus: By the Bahamuts Scaly Balls!!
Jian looks around the room concerned over the buildings integrity.
Apothem looks right at home in the falling embers.
Wolfbane Moonshadow: We need to get the hell outta this pub!
Torrent: I agree, lets get rid of this guy and move!
Having the building collapse around them, the heroes turn their attention to escaping, taking out the thug blocking the way and exiting the pub. However, a stubborn Apothem refuses to leave the burning building, desperate to kill the last of the black horse scouts. Finally, the Dragonborn soon decides to take matters into his own hands, grabbing the Tiefling and pulling him from the building without a moment to spare, as a few moments later the roof collapses, trapping the black horse scout inside.
With the rest of the black horse, including it’s leader, escaping, the heroes then begin their journey to the depository.