16 Growth 508
Lenoria and Rhain are still in Crownport after their last adventure and, after putting out feelers in the adventuring community there, the two have recruited two new companions.
Taganarn Relicshine is a treasure-hunting Halfling with a loquacious and friendly disposition. Regna Stoneshard is a more taciturn dwarven Magus with a pock-marked face and a dour outlook on life.
The adventures come across a notice that Mistress Londra Walera of the University of Crownport is looking for adventurers. She is the head of the Department of Artifacts. That definitely piques Tag’s interest and the rest are willing to go along.
The four companions go to the University and are led to the Department of Artifacts. Mistress Walera’s office is not huge, but it is spacious enough to accommodate them all enough to discuss the matter at hand. They are also introduced to Mistress Walera’s assistant, Bothran Trevarran.
Mistress Walera begins by setting the stage for the task at hand:
Back in the days of the Acheran Empire, there was an outpost for the Acheran legions, a waystation for their marches north into what would become Leilior and Borael. However, the waystation faced fierce fighting from the Yulani tribes that lived on the lands taken over by the Acherans. In one final, desperate battle, Yulani tribesman overran the outpost and took the head of the leader—this despite the aid of a legendary horn he is said to have said to have possessed that would summon the aid of tribesmen of his own. The tribesmen, however, are said to have respected the leader of the Acheran garrison as a worthy opponent and entombed the body beneath the outpost.
The University wants this legendary horn. The outpost still stands, however, it is currently overrun with hobgoblins. This seems to pique Regna’s interest. For the sum of 500 platinum pieces, she wishes to hire a band of adventurers to retrieve the horn. Anything else the hobgoblins may have found, the party may do with as they see fit—though they should bear in mind that the University would be interested in purchasing any other magical artifacts that they find.
Mistress Walera also states that her assistant, Bothran will be accompanying them. This draws a scowl from Rhain. She explains that he will be able to identify any artifacts that they come across and will be able to smooth the way with the Yulanian border crossing that they will have to make to get to the outpost. He will also be carrying an ancient map they have of the outpost—at least the upper level. Bothran goes out of his way to assure the party that he can take care of himself and that it is not part of their bargain to take care of him, only the horn.
Rhain tells the rest of the party about his encounters with hobgoblins and what they are like. Lenoria asks if it is unusual to have hobgoblins in that area—it is not; it is only unusual to have them in that concentration and to have such a nice stronghold.
The party agrees to take on the mission. Mistress Walera reveals that the stronghold is 80 miles to the northeast in Yulania and gives them directions and landmarks to the stronghold. They decide that they will leave that very afternoon. But first they have to purchase horses. Bothran will meet them outside the University grounds with his gear and a horse.
Tag and Regna split a horse between the two of them and Tag names it Krystal. Rhain names his steed Spirit and Lenoria names hers Firebrand.
When they arrive at the University to pick up Bothran, they see that he has a loaner horse from the University and that he has donned new adventurer’s clothes. He does not wear armor and apparently his only weapon is a finely-wrought dagger at his belt. They all load up and head northeast out of the city.
Along the way, Tag burbles on about the Vale—apparently his Uncle Osric was a treasure-hunter as well. But other than that, the afternoon is uneventful and the company makes camp on the open plain.
As camp is being made, Tag notices that both Regna and Bothran are studying books. It turns out that Bothran is an illusionist, a specialist wizard. Tag finds this interesting, as does most of the rest of the party. This explains why the man eschews armor.
Bothran takes a guard shift along with everyone else and the night passes without incident.
17 Growth 508
As camp is being broke the next morning, much of the party seems to notice that there is something behind the façade of Bothran’s face. His true face is much more reptilian, serpentine, and definitely not human. Lenoria calls him out on it and, obviously surrounded by armed and suspicious adventurers, Bothran points at Rhain and calls out, “Kill your companions!”
And Rhain proceeds to attempt to do just that.
The mighty barbarian attacks Taganarn, who nimbly gets out of the way of the big man’s axe.
A long battle ensues. in which the party defends themselves from Rhain and tries to attack the serpentine Bothran, who continues to hurl spells at them. Finally, Rhain fights off the domination that Bothran used to control him and attacks the serpentine wizard. At last, Tag backstabs Bothran and he falls. Rhain whacks his head off with his axe. The party then proceeds to loot the creature’s body, where they find a plethora of magical scrolls and devices.