The healer from Shade Cove leaves the ship, and heads back to town.
Torrin is relieved that his son will be back to normal after a long period of rest. The trip to High Barrows, about 2 days out still, will be more than enough time for Dorgen to regain some of his strength.
Chinak, upon finding out about the harnesses on the sides of the ship, is furious. He comandeers the off duty crew members and conducts a thorough deck by deck search, looking for any stowaways or sabotage.
He beefs up the watches, especially during the night hours. Other than a grumbling minotaur making rounds on the ship, the rest of the trip goes by uneventfully. The ocean gradually slips away as the ship heads inland.
The land, still in the process of healing after the long night, is dotted by towns and villages. The larger settlements are haloed by smoke from cookfires and chimneys.
As the party approaches High Barrows, they gradually see muddy lanes widen and become paved roads, and start to clog with travellers. The train of carts, horses and people signal their proximity to the city.
High Barrows houses a steady population of about 60,000 people.
Perched on the top of a small hill, the city of High Barrows looms over the surrounding hamlets, a stone watchman, ever alert. The population has spilled outside of the large granite walls, and houses sprout from the countryside like mushrooms after a healthy rain. The city itself is a mish mash of old and new architectural styles.
Almost like the rings of a tree, you can identify where the older borders of the city were. The oldest part of town is off center, more on the west side , while the second “ring” of city houses the Castle. The third ring holds the newest section of town, probably became permanent less than 30 years ago.
The airship has a docking platform on top of the castle. Flying from the towers are 7 banners. Sitting the highest is the Platinum Sun, the flag of the Empire. Below that, the Black Lion of House De’Reyan, the ruling house. The next hightest is the White Crow of the Riders of Rey’Leiar. The last four are sitting at equal height, representing the four visiting Companies, Thurallin’avaas, Daughters of the Blind Queen , the Glass Arrows, and the Jade Sting.
All four companies work under the Riders’ Banner. These are the Company commanders that were summoned when Okni died.
Thurallin’avaas- mostly elves and half elves, this company is made up of rangers, scouts, a quick strike recon team. Probably 300 strong, broken up into smaller teams, called Strykes. Leader: Fendis Xa’lant.
Daughters- the smallest of the four, the Daughters is comprised completely of women. All of them are brutal and savage. They have a smaller splinter group, called the Sons, but they rarely hold positions of power. All the officers of the Daughters are required to sacrifice one of their eyes upon full inititation. About 100 strong, with about 40 Sons. Leader: Vala Olgaien
Glass Arrows/Blades- once was completely Warforged, they have a hodgepodge of other recruits, with a large number of artificers and alchemists. 200 altogether. Leader is Sigma Five.
Jade Sting: the largest of the four represented, they are mainly infantry that patrol the Unclaimed. Numbering almost a thousand, they have the most diversity in their ranks. Leader : Garret Alran.
The council plans to meet to discuss Okni’s last wishes. They will eventually appoint a leader of the Riders.
Dorgen, feeling better, offers to take the Firstborn into town and show them High Barrows. He takes them into the Bailey, to an old friend of his. The friend, a veteran named Vardo, runs a shop nowadays. He is glad to see Dorgen, because he has a problem.
A former worker of his, Jag, decided to up and leave, taking with him a commisioned piece that a rich person wanted. Vardo, while doesn’t craft anything other than the occasional potion, has many contacts, and they found this item in some old ruins in the Unclaimed. The item, a Crystal Mask of Languages, is worth a large sum to the collector. Vardo offers to pay the group 100 gold pieces, plus he’ll give them a flat 10% discount on any of his wares, good after completion of the mission.
He says they can keep anything else they find, since Jag stole some odds and ends as well.
After asking around, Jag was headed to a cave outside of the city, towards the Unclaimed. About 6 hours ride from the city.
The cave is now a hideout for a small band of hobgoblins on the run from the Tide. They don’t want any trouble, and are trying to find a way to buy their passage into High Barrows.
They also heard of Okni’s passing, and wanted to leave a token of respect at his grave. Being the Scourge of the Tide, Okni and his Riders built up quite a reputation.
On their way out of Tide territory, they overheard of a gift being sent to the city by some of the Grak sorcerers. The gift was called Sliniss-Khan’s Lament. The hobgoblins think this is some sort of token of respect. The gift was 12 casks of Grakish liquor, known for being a rare and tasty treat.
*Slinis-Khan is a snake demon, known for his silver tongue and double edged deals.
*Sliniss-Khan’s Lament is actually a poison that would be laced with the Liquor. It’s effects would cause shortend tempers and mindless rage in anyone who took more than one drink.
*Khan was the snake demon who seduced Vargus Brightsun, the original Knight of Shadows, into opening up the Paths, and corrupted Vargus from a knight to an antipaladin.
- the Paths are tunnels to the lower planes, when opened, allow extraplanar into this realm.
The hobgoblins came back to their cave and found Jag dead in the front room. They are currently outside the cave, trying to get the nerve up to go inside and find the ‘ghosts’. Jag had set up a couple of minor traps, triggering ghost sounds and figments, that scared away the cowardly hobgoblins. The hobgoblins have a small collection of money in the cave, and are willing to pay the party 10 gold, out of their 30, to retrieve their stuff.
Nothing else of value is in the cave that belongs to the hobgoblins. Clothes, food, and some bits and pieces.
The leader’s name is Grop, and he leads the party of 5, once scouts for the blackened ear clan.
Should the party decide to kill and loot them, the hobgoblins have basic studded leather armor and shortswords, along with light crossbows. Grop is a second level warrior, the rest are first level.
Jag’s body will have the mask and a 30 silver. Searching the body will show that he has a crude map drawing tatooed on his arm. The map shows a ‘dead end’ recess in the cave, and a secret compartment.
The map marked a hidden compartment that Jag used to store the stuff he stole from Vardo over the years.