OK, we jump right back in, waking up in Phandelver with the town still intact, and us heading out to Tain via Highgarden Manor. We look to see if we could bring a few fast riders, that we could dispatch in case we need to send a “LOOK OUT, VIOLENCE” warning back to Phandelver. We look around, and there are no horses, let alone fast horses, to be found anywhere. Only mules, oxen, and other mining-friendly beasts. We decide on runners instead, and Devan and Tomas step up. One of them brags he brought a midwife to town – there and back – in the time it usually takes to get just there.
We head out to Highgarden Manor, crossing a ridge along the way. As we crest the ridge, we see a knight and a couple spearmen. We decide to approach. Mark’ s a more “Hey, diddle diddle, straight up the middle” type. Keyar Nailo, our resident elven ranger, sneaks through the underbrush, while the rest of us approach openly.
We get to about 500yds away before we’re noticed. They stop abruptly, then ride closer, readying weapons cautiously. They take out weapons. So do we. Mark reminds Tomas and Devan, our “spear-carrier” messengers, that their job is to carry messages, not fight.
We are challenged by a knight – not Sir Varius – who demands that our Elder of Mitra surrender her weapons, as the Mitrans are unlawfully in rebellion against the overlord.
Hmm. Well, that’s true, but we’re not giving up weapons for nothing. Carmina tried Hold Person, but our foe resists easily, recognizes that an attempt to bewitch was made, and orders an attack.
Our ranger misses with a surprise bow shot (grar!), while Aevin steelhand crits with a crossbow shot and nails him for 8 HP. Carmina herself casts Sacred Fire, and our target fails his saving throw, taking another 9 HP.
The knight delivers two blows to Carmina, hitting with one of the blows for 14 HP. So if he’s a fighter, he’s level 5 or higher. So this guy could easily have 40 HP or so. Keyar fires again. Mark steps up, using Sacred Weapon to add his CHA bonus to his strikes attack rolls, and spends a spell slot to increase damage. He barely hits rolling 15+4, and does 16 HP total, badly injuring him. Aevin hits again for 8 HP, and the knight falls to the ground.
Now it’s just the two Yeomen, one seems likely to run, but the other calls out “We must save Sir Melius!” and hey stand firm. One hits Aevin Steelhand for 9 HP, which ain’t bad for him.
The horse (!) is a tough foe as it is; it goes into a blood frenzy, but stumbles (critical miss).
Carmina casts Spare the Dying on Sir Melius; we have no wish to see him dead, we just aren’t going to be giving up our arms to anyone.
Mark casts Command: “SURRENDER!” at DC 14, and the final yeoman surrenders, and drops his weapons. Aevin tries to use Athletics to grab the reins of the horse. Naturally, he crits, rolling 26. He tugs it down, and the horse stands trembling, quieted.
Aevin passes the reins to Mark, who makes a nice Animal Handling roll (he’s got skill in it) to pacify and hobble the horse. We set to work making our foes safe.
The ransom of arms and armor of a defeated foe is part of the social structure. What we know about this guy is that he’s a horse barbarian. Full of honor, pride, and duty – but with more “modern” gear and a really nice horse. Fully trained warhorse.
His holy symbol is that of the Lars; a traditionalist. He’s not a threat from that perspective. He is a full supporter of the Overlord, and Phandelver is not normally part of his responsibility.
We wake him up, restoring 10 HP via Lay on Hands. He wakes and gives his ransom amount (500sp), and being told his men are alive, gives the parole for the bunch of them. “I’m in your power, maiden,” he sneers in a derogatory way.
“I’d prefer to be addressed as Elder,” Carmina says gently. “You may not believe this, but I have no quarrel with you. I was reacting to the injustice of your demands.”
“I didn’t seek it either, but you won, so I have no choice but to ransom myself, my arms, and my horse.”
Mark grills Sir Melius a bit, and says he was just out and about patrolling his land after some messengers from the Church of Mitra caused a rebellion on his lands. He’s heard that the regent has draconic support. He’d also been requested to join Sir Varius at Highgarden, but Melius thinks Varius is a twit, so he had better things to do.
We huddle up, to discuss.
We make Insight rolls, and know that we can leave horse and armor with the Temple of Mitra, in escrow. 1500sp to the Temple, in exchange for the parole and that’ll keep him off the playing field for a few weeks.
We move on, and proceed on to Highgarden. Keyar will scope out the place, using a bit of subterfuge and looking like a wandering hunter. Which he is. He grabs some dead rabbits and goes to look around. As he gets closer to town, he draws curiosity but not alarm.
In front of the main manor, Keyar sees weapons, arrows, arms, and provisions being stacked in wagons in front of the main manor. In the center of the area, to the west of the center of town, is a burning or burned temple of Mitra. There is weapons practice going on, loudly, near the town center as well. There are 36 4″ turtle shells tied up in an odd bundle in front of the tavern.
In the manner of one transacting business, Keyar asks to sell the rabbits. A garrulous trader want to buy, and tells him that the Mitrans have truly overthrown the City State. The Dracolindes will save them all, kegs of mead, happy times are hear again, etc.
About fifteen minutes after that, Various chased him out of the village; he returned without killing the guy, then burned out the temple.
They keep transacting, and chatting, and Keyar provisions himself up. Varius is offering a silver a day to go beat up Phandelver.
Because the Phandelver guys are raising an army to attack the Sheriff of Tain.
Sir Colin brought his troops over the other night; he’s the guy to talk to, but he’s a hard man. Fair, but hard. The magistrate is on his way to Tain with the miners. The troops planned to leave at noon, but that won’t happen. They’ll be leaving this afternoon at the latest, though. There’s about a dozen fighters, two knights. Mitra go with you. And Keyar has concluded a spectacular recon foray.
We write the messages and intel out, and immediately dispatch our two runners back to Phandelver. It’s about 2 hours walking, 4-6 by wagon.
Oh, and as the missing priest of Mitra is mentioned, the area next to the manor is darkened by the hand of Veritas. Evil has been committed within. Markbludiell starts to get all twitchy; he really wants to get into the manor house, and bring out either the body of the priest, or his healed and talkative self. Plus any records that might be in the place.
We decide, though, that the two knights are primary. They’re the fulcrum on which a lot of pain may arise; stopping them