Uktar 2nd, 1048 TR, Late Evening : Dragging the handcart/cage through the bitter snowy evening for a mile, the group managed to return to the Palisade, gaining access and parking the cart in a far corner under guard, while they tried to get some sleep in the stables.
Uktar 3rd, 1048 TR : Awakening to a cold snowy day once more, the group waited a few hours, and then sent Fangrik and Drew the Avaricious to meet with Jirik, the “exotics” merchant in the Middle Bailey. Eventually they found him in The Broken Hilt, and convinced him to come out to the Palidsade for a look at what they’d captured. He accompanied them and agreed to pay them for the two creatures in exchange for 12gp. He said he was also looking for orcs, gnolls, goblins and (in particular) a matched pair of kobolds. Kruck was very leery about the whole exchange, but Drew convinced him (lied) they were not sentient creatures. The exchange was made back in the Keep, and the group made plans to return and take-out the remaining members of The Leech Men, using fire.
Returning to the brambles, they systematically started burning the brambles using Taumus Flaming Hands, and after a few minutes, the remaining Leechmen gathered and clicked back and forth in some sort of conversation. They suddenly massed and attacked the group, half of them moving to flank and attack the fire-using casters. The group proved ruthless and slaughtered most, while a pair managed to flee off through the brambles and out into the cold, snowy wilds. Drew started taking heads off the fallen creatures for their bounty, while Taumus began burning off the remaining brambles. The rest scoured the ashes for any treasure, finding a lone shield near one nest, that proved to be a Light Shield of Protection.
Once more, battered and bloody, the group returned to the castle and spread out looking for supplies. Drew sold the heads to the bounty master for 1 sp each. Taumus gathered holy water and healing herbs for his Filth Fever from Healer Balan, further getting a promise to have him visit them for healing after he’d dealt with feeding the lepers…. Kruck, Fangrik and Squirrel returned to the Palisade, reporting they had cleared out the nest of Leechmen, and Master Tarkin granted them their reward of free care and fodder for their horses and other mounts for the entire Winter. Everyone returned back to the Prancing Pegasus for baths, meals and general rest. Kruck started nosing around about the status of The Ravens, but they were proving to be an elusive contact. Everyone finally slept in clean, warm beds.
4th of Uktar, 1048 TR : Healer Balan met with the sick member sof the group, and healed them with his herbs and teas. It was expensive, but worth it, besides all his money was going to a good cause. Kruck re-purchased access to their warehouse slot for a ten-day. The group also resupplied.
Gathering their supplies, the group took their cage-handcart, and took a trip up the trail past Quarrytown (having a good look at the place for the first time). They reached a cross pathway, and got a little lost, but eventually Fangrik took the map away from Drew and the group headed up over the pass south of Frandor’s Keep towards Vesper Tower. When they got there, they discovered it to be a 30’-tall stone tower built up against an outcropping and coated with frost, having no visible entrance. No door, no windows or crossbow slits, and no access to the top. The place was silent as a grave, and no light was visible, anywhere.
Fangrik scaled quickly to the top, and discovered a goblin with a short bow. The goblin squeaked and shot at Fangrik, resulting ina vicious running bash that knocked the goblin over the edge, where he fell in front of the group. It was a quick death. Along one side of the tower was a winch with a thick rope attached, a large bronze bowl filled with wood (a signal flame, meant to be seen by The Keep or a nearby tower), and a single hatch leading down. Fangrik slipped through the hatch, and dropped into the hollow interior, landing at the bottom of the ladder between a pair of sleeping goblins and a pile of trash in the far corner. Slaying one with complete surprise, eh slew the other before it could react. Fangrik dragged the corpses one by one up the ladder, dropping them next to the first corpse, then released the catch on the winch and helped everyone up onto the top of the watch tower.
The group tidied the place a bit, finding a pair of corpses in the corner that had been nibbled on, and wearing torn surcoats from The Lynx Legion, taking them as proof of the death of the guards. The group poured oil on the corpses, burning them, and eventually cleared the place enough to lay down their bedrolls and camp in the relatively chill tower, but at least away from the winds.
5th of Uktar, 1048 TR : The morning dawned bitterly cold. Cleaning the tower better, and tossing the trash out over the sheer southern cliffs, they made the place relatively livable. Leaving the handcart-cage at the tower’s base, they headed east up the trail, finding a large mountain lake and small pine woods. They found recent tracks of both goblins and wolves, before reaching the remains of Wolf Tower at teh trail’s end.
Perched on a tall stone outcropping that actually could see over the mountain ridge to the north, it proved to be heavy stone bound in iron bands and sheathed on the exterior with bronze. Slick and impossibly encrusted with frost, Fangrik had difficulty climbing, but eventually reached the top to find the entire interior gutted and burnt-out. Rigging a pair of ropes over the 40’-high walls, they managed to get everyone inside, where they searched through the rubble. They also tried to see if there was some magic involved in its construction, but there didn’t seem to be. Apparently once having several floors, the interior timberwork was charred but could be used for firewood. Buried deep in the rubble, was a tall bronze statue… The Golden Lynx!?! The group bedded down for the night, at least away from the wind.
6th of Uktar, 1048 TR : Using very skill at theri disposal, the group wrestled the Golden Lynx out of the rubble, and dragged it outside, over the walls. Dragging the statue down off the ridge, they headed back to Vesper Tower, where they wrestled it back over the walls and perched it on the roof. Rest.
In the middle of the night, squeeking was heard on the roof, and Fangrik slipped out to be attacked by a pair of large Dire Stirges! The nesting pair were tough, but one was slain, and the other buzzed away into the night. Fangrik prepared the large stirge corpse for slow roasting in their fire’s ashes, and in the morning everyone feasted on remarkably good “Roast Blood Stirge”.
7th of Uktar, 1048 TR : Another bitterly cold morning greeted the group. Loading the Lynx on their cart, the group made quick time down the mountain trail to The Keep. The stowed the Lynx in their warehouse slot, and informed the local guards that they had information regarding Vesper Tower. Returning to their rooms in the Prancing Pegasus Inn, they sat around a hot meal and discussed their options. Group (or “Pack” ) names were discussed, including Squirrel’s Mixed Nuts, but they seemed set upon chartering themselves as The Mystery Company. Fangrik gets a nickname of “Scrappy”.
Eventually Taumus and Squirrel went in search of the “magic shop”, and found on the second level above the bounty office, Madame Raadama’s shop filled with trinkets, a crystal ball and various magickal totems and charms. With Squirrel distracted by various trinkets, the Madame proved to be an old hag of a woman who dropped innuendo that she had Materia and other magicakl rituals for sale, but that she required… services…. in return. Taumus balked at becoming her lover, and they excused themselves, with Squirrel one totem richer to ward off vampires (a sprig of garlic on a threaded leather thong).
The Captain-of-the-Guard on night duty appeared and the group informed him of the loss of Vesper Tower and its guards to gblins, presenting proof in the form of their surcoats. They also told of investigating the ruins of Wolf Tower and finding the Golden Lynx. They would recieve reward gold for both notices and arrangements were made to return the Lynx on the morrow. The group rested in warm, cozy beds for the night.
8th of Uktar, 1048 TR : The group went looking for long-term housing, and investigated the apartments, but found them drafty and vermin-infested, as well as rather small. Krusk schmoozed in The Broken Hilt and heard rumors of spirits in the river, but the group dismissed them. Examining Taumus’ map, they noticed the Monastery (on the north side of the river), as well
as the mysterious mine symbol to the south. Snce they had found both a rusty pick and a shovel in the general area near Vesper Tower, they felt the mine might be a good place to examine, and they could use the tower as a base camp to search and rest between missions. So agreed, they spent the day gathering supplies (oil, firewood, extra blankets and as much jerky and other “cold-weather” rations) as they could find for a fifteen-day stay in the mountains. They decided to let their rooms go in the inn for the time being, but arranged to have the warehouse available for the time they were away. Everyone prepared themselves with a night of warm food and drinks.