The ambush went well.
Ruins of ancient standing stones provided much cover as a cart pulled by a horse rolled past. In the lead was a dog made from clockwork. There most likely to protect the dark wizard sitting up front of the wagon. Three soldiers accompanied the cart. One, driving the horse & cart next to the wizard and the others at the rear walking along behind it.
The adventurers waited until Graydon loosed an arrow. Which struck it’s target, one of the guards in the rear. While the Halfling was not seen the others made their presence known. And the ruins were turned into a swirling melee. Gears made the mistake of loosing a powerful attack on the dark adept in the wagon. This drew the wrath of the clockwork canine and nearly ended the Warforged’s life.
Lady Mondergreen got herself up into the carriage to strike at the soldier and wizard in there. While Gish danced around landing powerful blows wherever he went.
Graydon remained in the dark striking as he does best. And Glaimes called forth the vengeance of his god to smite his foes and keep the party in health long enough to see the melee through.
Afterwards, there was much talk of sending a message to the Iron Circle. Piling the bodies up in the cart, and sending it into the next town aflame. Both Gish and Glaimes opposed this being of a weaker constitution than the Tiefling and Halfling.
Magic items and gold were discovered in the back of the wagon. Which the adventurers divvied up between themselves. Sure in their victory, they head back into town to seek out Dar Gremath once again.
On they’re way back; the sky, which had been threatening to do for some time, lets loose a torrent of water. Turning the ground into mud. Black clouds gather and roll into one another. Turning a bright day almost into night.
Passing through a small homestead, the adventurers spy a lantern. It sways as if being held by someone. Even though it is a good distance from them, it is obvious that it sits too high for someone of normal height.
A yell cries out from further down the road: “There they are! Get them!”
As the light from the lantern moves close to them they see that it is, in fact, held aloft by a human. Only, he sits atop a red drake. The drake roars violently moving closer to the party.
At the top of a muddy bank sits a small wall adjoining a house. Over the wall jump two soldiers that make their way down onto the road behind the group to cut off their retreat.
Among the enemy’s number is a dark adept. She calls out direction and encouragement to her underlings. Most of it in the form of intimidation and belittling. But it seemed to get the job done.
The mud makes it hard for all involved in the melee. Moving through the mud takes much effort. It’s dark enough that the magic cast from Gears and the dark adept light up the surrounding area as they are cast.
Glaimes kicks in the door to a house and narrowly misses a crossbow bolt. Through a window on the far side of the room, outside of the house, is a soldier in the process of reloading his crossbow. The dwarf, ducking behind the door, moves outside and out of view of the crossbows aim.
Felling the rider, Lady Mondergreen is shaken as the red drake roars with rage at the loss of its long time companion. It unleashes a terrible fury and lashes out every which way. Attacking the Tiefling in particular, but all that are near.
Several of the soldiers peppering the adventurers with crossbow bolts have fallen by this point. The drake becomes bloodied. And the battle enters a grinding melee with savage blows traded back and forth. Combined efforts from Gish and Mondergreen lead to felling the drake. It lands with a mighty crash that shakes the ground.
Looking battered and worn, the party turn their attentions to the adept. Having slain all but her and one of her footsman. She uses her dark powers to no avail and soon after falls herself. None are left alive.
They are quick to leave the area and find a place to hide. Returning to Dar Gremath he surmises that the group had been tracked by their recently slain enemies for their transgressions against the Iron Circle. Especially that of the Halfling. Dar suggests that they head into Harken forest.
“We need allies,” he says, “and the woodsinger elves there might be willing to lend us a hand. And it will get you out of the way for a time while we further prepare our defences here.”
“How will we find the elves?” asks Glaimes. Dar Gremath responds quickly, talking fast, “They’re elusive those elves. But, make enough ruckus in their forest and they will find you, can be sure. I’ll send a runner for you if we need you back at all. Now go while ye’ can. Albridge isn’t safe for you anymore now your faces are known.”
The party venture out of the town taking the long way to avoid Harken. They pass by the turn off for Marl, which is now empty. Having been burnt to the ground by the invading army as an example to those that would oppose them.
Gears suggests they take a detour on their way. But the party in general feel they aren’t ready to detour from their current objective. Lady Mondergreen comments that she is looking forward to resting, once they reach the forest.
It is beginning to get dark as the sun sets. The sky is pink and orange and grey. Plunging into the forest, the party find a clearing and begin to setup camp. Part way into this task a single elf steps into view, startling the adventurers. Several of the party reach for their weapons. But they relax upon seeing that the elf is unarmed.
He says, “Hold there, strangers! We would speak with you.”
Getting over the initial surprise, the party composes itself. Though, some still rest their hands on the hilts of their swords.
The Elf continues, “I am Israfen of the Woodsinger, I see that you are not Harkenwolders and you do not look like the Iron Circle mercanaries. Who are you, and what is your business in Harken forest?”.
Gish speaks: “We come to speak to you and ask your aid in ridding Harkenwold of the invading Iron Circle.”
The elf considers this for a moment, “ah, this is a matter for Eriyel. Please, follow me.” He gestures further into the forest as two elves step out from the dark behind him. Arrows notched but not taught.
Knowing that this isn’t actually a request, the party packs up their camp and follows the elves deeper into the forest.