Kettriken, Lea and Svala all continue on their way up the Ruin Ride. On the way they encounter a member of a Chain that gives them some new orders. Svala is recalled to Dagger Falls for an unspecified reason and the others are told to meet up with some new recruits that will be assigned to their Appraisal team. The designated meeting place is a small roadside inn called the Ruin Ride Roadhouse just inside the Border Forest. It’s traditionally been the haunt of the logging shifters on their way to and from the camp up the road as well as some local farmers working plots on the still viable farmlands outside the forest.
Kettriken and Lea walk into the tavern part of the inn eager for a drink and a nice sturdy chair to rest their legs in. As they enter they receive the requisite glances from the folks drinking that an almost eight foot tall, grey skinned, flaming red haired female warrior and a slight, sulky, drow goth chick would warrant. Ignoring all of this they proceed to walk to the bar where the new members of their team are waiting. As they get to the center of the room one of the patrons stands up and yells, “Them’s the bitches that did for Worrick and me!” and reaches for her sword.
With hardly a movement to be noticed Garret the Fetcher, who was sitting at the bar directly behind the brigand, is suddenly on her. He’s got his small main gauche at her neck and his rapier slipped between the chinks of her armor. “You might want to rethink this course of action. I’m sure we can talk this over peacefully whatever the problem.” he says.
As the brigand hesitates the barmaid, whose hands are ominously beneath the bar readying something unpleasant, yells, “I don’t want any fighting in here! I told you lot enough times! Stand down! Now!”
“That’s just fine Yolla. We won’t do any fighting in here. I promise.” She slowly takes her hand away from her sword. “Will we gents?” she addresses the rest of her crew, the lot of them half raised out of their seats and reaching for their own weapons. They all relax back into their seats and the crisis is averted for the moment.
During this there are four or five local farmers that throw some money on the table they were occupying and rush out in a damned hurry.
Seemingly oblivious to all of this Kettriken waves and heartily says, “Hiya! Nice to meet you!” and gestures Garret and Amycus Belothar, the human warlock sitting at the bar next to Garret, over to the table recently vacated by the farmers. After the seating arrangements are satisfactory to Lea, who can’t stand to have her back to the room let alone not being in the darkest, moodiest corner, they order a round of drinks and get down to the business of getting to know each other.
As well, the newcomers are filled in on what the Declination of this Meander is.
As this information is being conveyed the initial table of brigands, led by the woman Kettriken and Lea originally set free, walk out. As they file through the door they all pointedly stare the party down.
Realizing that the brigands will take the barmaid’s words if not the spirit of the words to heart the party starts planning on how to get out of the inn without succumbing to an ambush. Lea decides to shimmy up the chimney to the roof to get a good scout of the situation. She sees a number of the thugs waiting in ambush around the front door. She whispers this information through the chimney to the rest of the group. Asking about exits other than the front door they learn there’s a back door where the ale barrels are rolled in. Kettriken decides to head out there and around the back of the building. Amycus slowly opens the front door but sees nothing untoward leading him to believe that a proper ambush is waiting there. Garret, having spied a cutthroat through a window, decides to give him a proper surprise by stabbing the bastard through the wall of the tavern with his sword!
This sparks off a skirmish that has the would be ambushers surprised by a crack combat team coming at them from all angles. Kettriken comes around the side of the building and wades into the middle of the group, dealing and taking damage as only a goliath warden can, morphing into her form of the relentless panther and destroying anything that got in her way. Amycus walks straight out the front door, slicing this way and that with his deathly cold fey blade, causing as much fear and terror as he does bloodshed. Garret lures one of the deadly cutthroats inside the tavern for a lightning fast blade duel that ends with the bandit bleeding to death on the floor after a battle of wits, feints, and counter attacks.. And Lea dispatches the first of her multiple victims by dropping from the roof, driving her axes into the skull of one of the bandits then hacking into the next like some bolt from an unseen god.
After the battle Garret offers the sum of the fallen’s booty to the barmaid for her trouble and sorry about that hole in the wall… The barmaid gladly accepts and tells them they’ve done her and the other locals a favor in getting rid of the band of thugs. They’re welcome anytime to a meal and room as well as the good will of the locals.
Collecting their things the party continues up the Ruin Ride to investigate the mystery of the missing logging shifters.
NEXT: Like a Bridge Over Troubled Waters… OR “It’s Elemental my Dear Watson!”