Day 5, 3/19, Forest’s Edge: The party set out in the morning from the town of Forest’s Edge. The wooded countryside soon gave way to rugged hills and canyonlands. The road followed alongside the Amber Rush, which dropped away into a gorge carved away by years of erosion. The group passed the ruined keep of Rushwatch, which marked the northernmost end of the canyon known as Aelric’s Gap. Hemmed in by a cliff on one side and a precipitous drop on the other, the escorts kept a keen eye out for potential ambush.
As the party rounded a bend in the road, they noticed a wagon blocking the trail ahead. Suddenly, several arrows thunked into Hof’s ox cart, catching the group by surprise! The bandits had taken positions on the cliff-top and behind the cover of the blocking wagon. Dropping his whip, Hof took up his bow and quickly dispatched one of the ambushers.
The party engaged their adversaries with ranged weapons and spells. Eleanor Daystar managed to eliminate the other cliff-top sniper by combining a magically-summoned weapon with a well-placed Hold spell. She then coerced one of the remaining bandits from behind the barricade using Command. The unfortunate brigand snapped out of the enchantment just in time to meet his end on Rua’Lanna’s sword. Having lost all but one of his companions, the final bandit fled into the hills to the south.
After a cursory search of the corpses, the group cleared the roadblock over the edge of the gorge and piled the corpses onto the back of the wagon for delivery to the proper authorities. They then continued down the road until they arrived at the outpost keep, Bridgefort.
The travelers were greeted by the fort’s chamberlain, Daethin Moonshadow. Tiberius informed the heroes that Brother Matthias had recovered a map from one of the bodies, which he surmised led to the bandit’s holdout. He requested the group’s assistance in eliminating the threat and informed that a portion of his garrison had recently been captured while on patrol. His reduced numbers prevented him from taking care of the situation himself., who ordered the bodies taken to [[:Brother Matthias]] and who notified the fort’s captain, of the group’s arrival. Tiberius met with the group later that evening, at which time, they were introduced to a young, elven ranger named
The party informed Tiberius that they would have to consult with Hof, as they did have a timeline to keep. Upon speaking with the driver, they managed to convince him that a safe passage was more important than a timely one. With Hof’s approval, the group restocked their ammunition from the keep’s armory in preparation for the mission ahead. Before bedding down for the night, Rua’Lanna used her “feminine powers of persuasion” in order to secure a pack-horse to transport the party’s gear in the morning.
Day 6, 3/20, Bridgefort: The expanded party set out early the next morning. They left Hof and the wagon behind at the fort and back-tracked to the site of the previous day’s ambush before heading into the hills, following the trail left by the fleeing bandit.
Around mid-morning, the heroes were once again ambushed by a group of bandits. The enemy lept from behind boulders and low-lying scrub. The more lightly-armored bandits fired at the group from a distance, while several thugs, armed with longswords charged the surprised adventurers.
Daethin was injured early on before taking refuge behind his wolf, Scar. The ranger’s animal companion made effective use of his trip attack, allowing Kit to move in with a sneak attack. Rayne finally had the opportunity to unleash her Flame Ray, as she barbecued one of the bandits where he stood. Meanwhile, Eleanor utilized a different kind of magic, summoning a giant celestial bee to harrass the bandits with its sting. Once again, the bandits were no match for the heroes and the survivors soon fled the scene. One of the fleeing brigands was brought down by Rua’Lanna’s longbow, while the other was spurred onward with a jab from behind delivered by the summoned bee.
Aided by a fresh set of tracks, the companions continued toward the base of the lone mountain looming on the horizon. By mid-afternoon, the surrounding hills had grown steeper. The trail led into the narrow confines of a rocky canyon. Kit and Daethin took point, scouting ahead in order to prevent yet another ambush. Then, upon rounding a bend in the trail, the two scouts spotted a wooden pallisade barring the path. A rough guard tower peered over the top of the wall where a bandit sentry kept watch. The heroes had found the bandit’s nest at last!