Where we left off…
It is dawn on the 5th day since setting out from Thunder Vale. Lord Dekelor is dead and Sturmholt is once again in the hands of Steponas’s men. Our heroes have recovered the Yautso and now prepare to return to the Vale.
The Courtyard at Sturmholt
As the sun rises over the eastern plateau, Holdout troops continue to pour into Sturmholt through the teleportation circle activated by our heroes. The first soldiers establish a defensive perimeter along the walls while later arrivals begin to form up in the courtyard.
Soon, the Holdout leadership, including Steponas arrive on the scene. Dekelor’s shroud-covered body is borne to the chapel as soldiers look on, a mix of sadness and resentment playing across their faces that such a man was bested by outsiders.
As Yuri’s Blackhats escort bruised Oathsworn prisoners out of the manor house, the Prince turns to the party.
“Seeing as these men were defeated at your hands, I think it is appropriate that you have a say in their fate. What shall we do with them?”
The party elects to have the prisoners re-earn their right to bear arms by serving in the reconstruction and refortification of Sturmholt. Steponas commends their formidable, yet merciful deeds as the party gathers to teleport back to Thunder Vale.
Bestowing the Keep
Back at Thunder Vale, Steponas
informs the group of the details of their reward:
- Fr. Yarov has agreed to act as interim castellan until the group appoints a permanent assistant
- They will receive 1 squad of heavy infantry to serve as guards
- They will receive 15,000g to be put towards restoration of the keep and hiring its initial staff.
- The keep will be presented to the group as an adventuring company, rather than to any one individual. The party chooses to call their company, “The Seven” in honor of its lucky connotations and the seven founding members.
- To make the transition official, the party members must take the Cydonic Oath of Knighthood.
Once the details are squared away, Steponas gathers the people of the vale at the base of the cliff beneath the keep and anoints the party as Knights of Cydon and Wardens of the Vale.
First Orders of the Seven
Before leaving for Panthium, the party meets with Father Yarov to establish their first orders for the keep. They decide to hire a second squad of guards and a smith. They repair the keep’s curtain wall, barracks, barbican, smithy, armory and living quarters.
The meeting is then interrupted by a pair of earthy individuals respectively representing the herding and farming interests in the valley. They express their concern that they will likely need to make the Vale their new permanent home, and that in order to have enough food by next winter, they will need to work the land to generate food. They differ, however, on whether this is best done through herding or agriculture.
The Seven send the two away to properly compose their proposals, and so that they may discuss the options in peace. After some deliberation, the group decides to establish a combined agricultural guild to look after the Vale’s food production. To help foster the good will of their people and to boost the outlook of the new guild leaders about their compromise, they then throw an impromptu feast in celebration of the Vale’s revival.
Return to Panthium & Departure
One week after beginning their mission to recover the Yautso, the Seven return, once again to Panthium. It appears that their raid on the Ashenwood gang has become local news as Baron Ashenwood has posted wanted posters around the city offering a reward for information about those who robbed him and murdered his niece. The party makes their way towards the Fharlanghnish Parish to rendezvous with Gatwick, but first, Kit, Vester and Xandre stop off at a couple of taverns to sow disinformation about the Ashenwood raid -blaming the activity on orcish thugs. Their efforts drew the attention of a pair of agents for the Eye of Vecna who tailed the trio for a short time before thinking better about the dangers of confronting the group directly.
The party arrived at the Traveler’s Spire to find an impatient Govan Birk looking to get underway. After securing a reluctant Ceffyl in the vessel’s hold, and stowing their gear, the air ship pulled back from the spire and turned its nose to the East.
A week into the journey, the Zephyr runs into a summer storm over the Cloud Peaks. Our heroes are awoken in the middle of the night by a panicked gnomish crew member. He pleads with them to get on deck. When the party steps out into the driving rain, they notice three unconscious gnomes dangling by a safety rope over the side of the ship. They had been struggling to reinforce the wing struts with an extra rope line when they were blown overboard. The party quickly sets about hauling the injured crew back on board. Once they are safe on deck, Vester rushes them downstairs to tend to their wounds while Kit secures the wing rope. Then, a flash of lightning strikes the deck, setting it ablaze and causing the ship to lurch violently. Thrown to the ground, Rayne thinks quickly and uses her rod of frost to extinguish the blaze.
Meanwhile, a sharp, panicked sensation from Ceffyl draws Rua’Lanna downstairs to the hold. Rigs, the Warforged cargomaster is struggling to hold back a stack of cargo that broke loose when the vessel lurched. Lanna throws her back to the pile of crates and calls for Vester to locate the security spike which broke loose their net covering. After retreiving the spike from across the hold, the three manage to resecure the cargo net.
However, there is more trouble on deck. The gnomish pilot struggles to steer the Zephyr against the buffeting winds, Santiago rushes to the helm to lend his strength while Kit and Rayne dash to the forward observation room. Kit spots a looming mountainside directly in the airship’s path and shouts to Santiago to take evasive action. The half orc wrestles with the unresponsive controls as the mountain rushes ever closer. Just as the Zephyr’s fate appears to be sealed, the Warforged, Weller drops Govan Birk and dives on the controls, adding his weight to Santiago’s muscle. The ship rolls violently to the right, scraping against the mountainside, but avoiding a direct collision. The left wing snaps and dangles precariously and the elemental binding ring is knocked askew, but the Zephyr survives to ride out the rest of the storm.