While Lestok continued “improving” the wagon, Jak and Hestian continued to chat, and Jak became aware that Hestian seemed remarkably comfortable and collected for a trader traveling alone in the wild. Soon Quentin came up to Aruget and whispered to him that something was amiss and it was time to move on, but this conversation caught Hestian’s attention, though he did not immediately respond. After a little more back and forth, Hestian declared that it was time to relieve the party of their valuables as part of their crusade against the Brelish crown. While Jak attempted to talk Hestian down, Kayde appeared from behind the cart disguised as Hestian with his hands bound, trying to convince the men in the trees that “Hestian” had been taken captive and it was all an elaborate ruse – and then an arrow smacked into the cart beside Aruget. In another attempt to scare off the highwaymen, Lestok created an illusion of a bomb under the cart and claimed that he’d learned what caused the Mourning and wasn’t afraid to cause a second one – but that attempt to deceive also fell flat as Hestian called Lestok’s bluff that he’d be willing to kill his own people along with Hestian’s. Quentin correctly identified the group as being part of the Swords of Liberty, an anti-monarchist terrorist organization that the captain of the Eminence had warned him about, and then unleashed lightning into the woods from where the arrow had come.
As Aruget tried to grapple Hestian, the highwayman nimbly backed out of the way and Jak shoved Aruget the rest of the way to the ground to save him from another arrow. Kayde, however, was not so lucky, as the already-wounded elf attempted to morph into his shadow form and was hit with an arrow before he could transform all the way, while Lestok, trying to get out from under the cart, stumbled straight through his illusion and fell and hit his head. Jak’s aim with his crossbow was true, and he managed to dispatch several Swords from both sides of the road, helped by the brush fire Quentin’s lightning started which chased them out of cover. Wisely sensing this group was more than he’d bargained for, Hestian took off down the road running and the party escaped with their valuables and their lives, while confidence got the better of Jak and he called out that “the Citadel sends its regards!”
Getting some distance between them, the Swords of Liberty, and the fire, Quentin healed Kayde’s new wound as well as Lestok’s head. As the party traveled through the night, Quentin was squinting at the map when he tripped, tearing it badly. However, Lestok turned out to have studied the map and had an excellent memory of it. Much to everyone’s surprise but his own, he successfully guided the party from landmark to landmark. Jak was impressed and asked Lestok if he’d really lived in Sharn his whole life, to which Lestok replied that he had, except when he was in Cyre during the war – but he didn’t care to talk about that.
The next day, they came into the Graywall mountains proper, and coming around a river bend they found themselves face to face with the Six Kings. Aruget stopped to admire the view and stand in awe of the Dhakaani empire’s might, while Jak mused that it was a wonder that an empire that could build such a monument ever fell. As they made their way towards the dig site described by Captain Kalaes, two goblins and two hobgoblins appeared. One of the hobgoblins was a tall woman in leather armour, the other fit Kalaes’ description of his agent, Tik, and one of the goblins had his hand on a large wolf…and was surprisingly burly for a goblin.
The welcome was not warm. The woman introduced herself as Yeraa, the dirgesinger the party had been tasked to help, and demanded that they name their price for Ashtura’s blade and hand it over. Reluctant to give up their one bargaining chip, Aruget appealed to Yeraa that the party was indeed mighty and did in fact have atcha even though the rest of them were chat’oor. Yeraa was unmoved and once again demanded that the party name their price. Jak then made a case that the party was one of men who did their duty, and that it would serve no one to prevent them from doing their duty (under the guise of being Morgrave researchers out to preserve history), but Yeraa continued to hold firm. Then Quentin stepped up and made another good case for the party having muut, and that they would happily exchange the blade for knowledge so that everyone’s duty could be completed. At last, with some prompting from Tik, Yeraa agreed to the party’s terms and asked them to bond with her in the spirit of amalorkar. While Quentin seemed to have an idea of what that meant, Lestok feared it might get bloody…
Behind the Scenes
- Question of the week: What is an interesting or uncommonly known fact about your character that others may or may not know?
- That fight with the Swords of Liberty was our party’s first crack at what Savage Worlds calls a Quick Encounter – a truncated, narrative combat in which everyone, friend and foe alike, does just one roll and narrates their actions and intentions. It’s a really cool way to get a fight in without doing a full-blown combat!