The Fall of the Roamin' Empire Part II: A Short Stack

Damir and Peregrine spent two days checking out hidey-holes that Jake revealed, but with no success. Out of the seven they had examined, four were empty and unused. On the third day, however, they found a waterfall covering a small limestone cave formation; upon closer inspection, they found (after stepping on some thunderstones and totally giving themselves away) a heavily-armored dwarf guarding a chest and some crates. Peregrine saw him first and shot him; Damir magicked away his crossbow bolt with Mage Hand and yelled at him to surrender. The dwarf shot Damir, who returned fire; Damir's shot clanged off the dwarf's armor. After a short exchange of fire, the dwarf retreated further back on his ledge. Damir chopped the rope leading to the well, then drank a potion, cast Disappear on himself, and hopped up the rope onto the ledge. He managed to sneak up onto the ledge and hide behind some crates before reappearing; the dwarf was hiding, ready to cut the rope when someone got up to the top and then run out a secret exit. Damir cast Ghost Sounds in the passageway, making the sound of clinking chainmail; meanwhile, Peregrine was yelling about the Sheriff's men coming to assist them. The dwarf ran to the ledge to fire at Peregrine and try to make a break for it; he didn't see Damir as he ran past. Peregrine shot at the dwarf and missed; Damir managed to sneak over and shove the dwarf into the pit, which was filled with water to a depth of 10'. Peregrine and Damir let him sputter and sink for a couple rounds, then lowered the rope to him when he came to the surface. We stripped him of his armor, hobbled him, and made him carry his armor and the crates of food back to town. They stopped just outside of town to interrogate him, Damir playing the part of a madman since the dwarf thinks he's mad. The dwarf's name is Hagrid the Bloody; he was wanted for killing five men in a raid. The priests interrogated him again with Damir and Peregrine present. Peregrine asked him about the belt that Damir had told him about (Peregrine wouldn't comment about the belt, but wanted it, so Damir gave it to him); he found out that it belonged to one of Lord Drummond's (the Necromancer's) soldiers. There are rumors that some of those soldiers are working with some of the Scarlet Wolves, and other rumors that some of them headed off to the southwest, but Hagrid had no evidence of this. He knew only 10 other Scarlet Wolves, three of whom he only knows casually; he workes for a half-orc wizard named Viktor who has a human and a halfling toadie. Viktor is a wizard; the other two carry swords. The dwarf could also reveal the location of a couple other hidey-holes and the meeting location; the raiders meet on every moon phase (weekly). The dwarf still thinks that Damir is crazy, so as he was leaving, Damir asked one more question: "What is your favorite color?" *big smile on his face*
Later on that evening, Damir was walking and talking as usual. He got sidetracked down an alley while walking through town and suddenly felt a burning, intense pain in his left shoulder as an anonymous assassin twisted a kris-blade knife into his flesh. Damir went into full-on adrenaline-surge rage, spun, drew his rapier, and plunged it into the assassin's chest. The assassin took another thrust at Damir and ran; Damir fired at him but missed. Damir's yells had drawn Peregrine, who rushed in a few rounds later; by this time, Damir had healed most of the wound (12 HP out of 20 dmg), but the poison had taken full effect (dropping his Dex to 14, then down again to 5). The wound still burned. Peregrine poured a CLW potion on the wound, but it seemed to partially reject the healing magic, leaving a silvery-black open wound oozing dark red gore. Peregrine intercepted a priest on the way to the temple; together, they brought Damir to the temple and spent some time going over the wound. Meanwhile, Damir took his neutralize poison potion and began to sketch the attacker; he rolled a natural 20 on the Int check to get the details right (see sketch sheet for details). He showed this sheet to Peregrine and the priests so that they could identify him. Meanwhile, Peregrine snuck out to track the assassin; he found the trail hard to follow, but after a few hours managed to make it to a concealed cave entrance where the tracks stop. After a short time at the temple, Damir was healed and went out to catch up with Peregrine (along with 3 priests of St. Cuthbert). Magical healing does not ever leave scars, or so it was thought; however, this wound left a nasty, torn scar on Damir's back. The priests had given Peregrine an amulet so that they could head straight for him; they were still about a 15-minute walk away when Peregrine reached the caverns, however. Peregrine explored the majority of the area looking for tracks that would lead to the assassin; when Damir finally arrived with the priests, Peregrine was invisible and had drunk the potion of darkvision, so he began to lead the group. After an hour or so of exploring the mine, Damir got tired of waiting (still seething) and snuck into a pantry; he slaughtered two dire rats in the pantry and snuck into the kitchen, which had a secret path into the great hall. This pissed Peregrine off quite a lot; he tried to force Damir out of his way, but Damir was having none of it. They snuck through some secret rooms looking for the assassin, and they thought he had slipped by them. The priests covered the rear as Damir and Peregrine started to explore where he might've gone; since they had hung back, they heard the assassin opening the barred doors to the great hall. Damir and Peregrine were duly informed and ran back into the great hall through the secret passage they had found. The assassin was looking away from Damir and Peregrine, so Damir sent the message that he would fire as soon as the assassin reached the hallway. The priests were waiting out in the hallway, so they would be in position to strike simultaneously. Damir and Peregrine opened fire while the priests cast some attack and status-altering spells on the assassin; he went down to a Thunderstrike thanks to a Doom spell. The next round, Damir and Peregrine moved forward to get him in sight again, and the first priest to act cast Hold Person on him. He failed another spell save, and at once the combat was over. The group swarmed the assassin and tore everything off except his underclothing; they then manacled and bound him, carrying him back to town like a trussed-up deer carcass. More than once, he tried to escape, first trying to pry himself loose, then trying to talk his way out. He was gagged and ignored until back in town, then taken directly to the temple and interrogated. He revealed some information on the Scarlet Wolves and confessed his pact with a demon (how he caused such a grievous wound on Damir). Because of these crimes, the assassin was summarily executed. Peregrine gave up his share of the loot to perform the execution. Damir told the priests to keep whatever they want, but if they find something extremely useful to him, he would ask they tell him about it. Peregrine left and went out into the woods. Damir stayed up that night, first writing letters, then leaving them with everyone who was involved with the raiders (the four priests of St. Cuthbert, then going out into the woods and staking letters to trees near Peregrine's and Mist's campsites - using the assassin's throwing daggers). The notes told the recipients to meet Damir in the center of town the next morning. When they arrived, Damir stopped working on his song (what he was doing for the rest of the night) and announced to the town that these were the men and women responsible for the raider captures. He then directed questions to the priests and went back to the temple. He slept fitfully, having nightmares about people hurting the people he loved, then when he woke he mended his clothing and worked on a song for the next day and a half ("The Life"). He didn't eat until forced, but after he finished the song, he slept calmly again. After he woke, he geared up and walked over to Peregrine. He told Peregrine that he was going to go look in the bandits' hideyholes and invited him along. Peregrine took him to talk and drink at the inn instead. At the inn, Peregrine told Damir, "You will do what I tell you when I tell you and nothing else. And if you ever draw a blade on me again, be prepared to use it." Damir told him to reconsider that statement, which Peregrine took as a threat. The two split and Damir went on his way to check the hideyholes, a priest following him. Another stayed with Peregrine, and when Peregrine tried to escape, he cast a locate object spell to track him down. When he caught up with Peregrine, Peregrine had drawn on him and was threatening him. The priest ripped the longbow from Peregrine's hands and slammed him into a tree (Strength domain granted power). Peregrine and the priest argued, but the Enteri made some good points, to which Peregrine finally agreed. They searched the hideyholes we had found out about; all were covered in fresh tracks and mostly empty. At the last hidey-hole, Peregrine found some mud in a skull shape, like someone had scraped this off a design in their boots. Upon tracking this trail (boot tracks, then horse tracks), Peregrine found that it led to the "meeting place" that Hagrid the Bloody (and now deceased) had told us about. Peregrine decided to return the next day to scout out the area; Damir was already planning on heading out there to sketch the area for the priests. Damir arrived first and began to sketch the small building and surrounding swampland; Peregrine arrived later and hid, watching Damir. Damir crept up to the small building and checked down the stairs; he saw movement, and crept back out. While trying to creep in and out so that he could memorize the area and sketch it for the priests, Damir saw that it was crawling with undead. Damir killed a zombie with help from Peregrine, though he didn't know for sure at the time that it was Peregrine's doing (arrow from hiding). Damir and Peregrine walked back to town together and spoke a little; Peregrine saw the music with the sketches on it, and spoke to Damir very slightly about this. Upon reaching town, Damir went to the temple and passed along his information. Peregrine interviewed the thugs in the jail. A few days later, Peregrine picked up some potions he had made for him; Damir told him that he had found some dwarves who were interested in exploring the mine and cleaning it up. Damir had discovered the name of the clan who belonged in that mine and had sent messages to them telling them to come back. Damir and Peregrine made plans to head out the next day to explore and clear the mine.

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