It was Rampage who returned with the first horses. He had been trailing the group, dealing with his gut-problem but felt better now. He had collected two of the horses that had bolted back down the road. Soon after Arastyl returned with the other two.
Rampage saw the dead ogres in the mud, rain pelting their corpses and asked, “What happened?”
They explained the ambush and he commended their prowess in defeating all four of the nine foot tall humanoids. They continued on in the rain until they found a place partially out of the rain and huddled for the rest of the day and the night. The next day brought them to within sight of the city of Scornubel. They camped and entered the city the next day.
The Caravan city was full of merchants, traders, and travelers of all types. Wares were being sold from the far east, south, and north. It was a bustling city and the adventurers entered it to restock on supplies and find new armor for Rampage. All the adventurers entered except one. This time the mighty paladin, Camron, was down with the flu. He waited outside of the city with their horses, miserable.
Inside the city Arastyl tried to find someone who would sell him poison. Because, well, he is a criminal. While he was asking a shady looking fellow about it he felt a hand on his shoulder. “What are you doing?” the gruff voice asked.
He spun around and tried to stab the hand of the city guard with his dagger. The guard pulled his hand back in time and shouted. “Guard! To me!” And the man tried to skewer the high elf.
The light-footed elf danced away and ran through the crowded street. The guard followed, shouting. Thinking he had given the guard the slip, he stepped into the space between two booths and waited for the guard to pass him by. But the guard wasn’t fooled and cornered Arastyl. The elf, desperate to escape with a crowd gathering, scrambled across a cart to find himself facing two more spear-wielding guards.
“Halt!” they shouted.
This time he was sure he could give the three guards the slip and made a quick turn then dove under a cart. He heard the guards come near and run past. One, two… the third stopped. Arastyl’s heart sank and he felt a hand grip his ankle. He let the guard pull him out from under the cart.
“I have him! To me!”
The crowd watched as they roughly spun him around, tied him up and stripped him of all belongings. Several people in the crowd clapped and thanked the guards.
The biggest of the guards held him by the back collar of his armor and pushed him forward while the other two walked him at spear point. Arastyl knew he would be facing a cell at best, execution at worse. A city guard wizard had shown up as well as was following the elf.
Meanwhile, Raist had noticed the commotion and quickly purchased a sack of flour. He walked toward the commotion to find Arastyl being walked by the guards. Thinking quickly he bumped into the guard and threw the four int the air causing a great commotion. At the same time he touched Arastyl and turned him inivisible.
“What the…!” the guards shouted, waving off the flour. Arastyl bolted, dancing out of the guard’s grasp. “Wha.. wha… where’d he go? He’s getting away!”
Two guards chased in the direction he thought he saw Arastyl go while the other two confronted Raist.
“I’m just on my way to bake some bread!” said the warlock.
“You don’t look like a baker!”
“I’m just… baking bread…”
He talked them in circles until they decided to leave him alone. They did not seem to completely believe him though. In fact, the wizard and guard discretely followed him to watch him purchase more flour. At that point they left him alone.
Arastyl, after giving the guard the slip, followed them to a tower and barracks. He tried to follow them in the door but made it too obvious and they began to attack the air. “He’s here!” they shouted. The waved spears and began throwing things. Arasyl left, knowing that he would never collect his belongings from the guard, including his lock pick kit. He slunk outside the city to find poor Camron, and found his other friends there as well.
He came visible and they immeditaley asked him what happened to all his belongings. In the elf’s mind he heard Rasit’s voice say, “Don’t tell them anything…”
Arastyl paused. Then Arlathan pressed the issue. “Come on, what happened to your belongings?”
Arastyl shrugged his shoulders. “There were these orphan kids and… they were going to be sold into slavery so… I decided to sell everything I had to free them all… and pay for their education the rest of their lives.”
Arlathan was shocked. It didn’t sound like something Arastyl would do. “You sold everything for orphans?”
“They were going to be sold into a life of slavery. My heart when out to them. So yeah, I sold everything I had.”
The other adventurers were dumbfounded, then congratulated the high elf on doing something so selfless. Raist looked on without expression. Rohtilav was confused. He knew that the guards had been taking him somewhere, but he hadn’t seen his belongings, so maybe he had been arrested after he sold his stuff.
The mountain dwarf barbarian shrugged his shoulders and thought, elves.
They found a farmer who took them in for the night after repeatedly reminding them to stay away from his daughters. The next day they returned to the city so Rampage could get his new suit of studded leather, then set out for Elturel.
The road followed the wide river, Chionthar toward the Trackless Sea. The trip was pleasant and they made good time. On the second day they came upon the famed city of Elturel.
The most amazing feature about Elturel was the great shining sphere above it. The light, like a second sun, blazed in the sky above the paraphets, towers, and rooftops. The entire city sat upon a great cliff overlooking the Chionthar River.
They found Ontharr Frume and Leosin Erlanther in A Pair of Black Antlers tavern. They joined in on rousing matches of armwrestling, knife throwing, and horse racing. Only after they had spent hours showing their prowess did Ontharr invite them into a private side room to discuss business.
After the characters described what they had found and showed Ontharr and Leosin the map Ontharr opened up to a larger plot at hand. He explained that he belonged to the Order of the Gauntlet and Leosin admitted he belonged to the Harpers. The two groups were considering working together to stop the Cult of the Dragon. The Cult had always been an eastern organization that worked to raise undead dragons to life. But now they had turned to living dragons and for some reason were gathering loot. It had something to do with trying to bring back Tiamat from the Abyss.
Ontharr said they needed to know more and asked if the heroes would consider sailing down to Baldur’s Gate and trying to hire on as guards for the Cult’s caravan as they head north. They needed information and for this he was asking the adventurers to go under cover.
They agreed. He gave them coin and supplies.
They slept little that night thinking of what was to come.