Guest Editor: David Simmons, The Rolemaster Dude
The party had been lucky again, not only stumbling on the pass through the mountains but also catching one of the supply mule trains returning from their delivery to the fort. It was a quick and bloody fight since only two of the enemy had stayed to fight while the rest ran. The party had until nightfall at the most before those that escaped the ambush reached the fort and with them the news of the attack on the supply group. It seemed everyone was in agreement, the best way get the information the party had gathered, to the Margrave, was not a direct route back to the lake and the signal beacon but a round about way that would throw off any pursuing force sent out by the fort.
So the party headed west along the mountains following them until they could cut north along the eastern edge of the swamp to get back to the Lake and the signal beacon. That first night the party decided to make a cold camp high enough on the mountainside to watch for any sign of a pursuit. As the darkness of night came those on watch could clearly see in the distance torch lights at least three different groups presumably searching for the party or at least their lost mules, which continued through the night but never getting any closer to the party’s campsite.
The next day lead to another westerly trek along the foothills of the mountains base and another cold camp set on the mountainside, overlooking the valley below. That night a the camp was disturbed not by the distance torches of the enemy but by a hungry mountain lion who had pounced down on an unsuspecting Demeyo trying to wake the rest of the party to alert them of some noise he had heard coming from higher on the mountainside. Alas, the poor mountain lion had no chance against the swift sword of Lenore who had been one of the first to be woken up by Demeyo, and had sensed the danger and reacted before anyone else knew what was happening followed quickly by Sigrin Ironfist who basically finished the mountain lion off as his swing knocked it over the side of the little area where the party had set up camp. A little while latter the party settled back down for the rest of the night without further disturbance.
The next several days passed without any further encounters or hardships and the party made it to the lakeshore along it southeast corner, one of the spots furthest from any of the lakes islands, and decided to try and set-up and start a beacon to attract enough attention to draw a friendly ship to come pick them up. Although it was a good idea nothing came of it except the loss of half a day or a little more before the party decided to go to the beacon instead of the longer trip around the lake to the only fort and safe harbor along the lake shore.
It was a moonless night, and the going was rough for most of the party who had no real light to travel by and after a few twisted ankles and stumbles, the party decided to split into two groups, (Reuben, Mal, Winterlion, Sigrin Ironfist, and Lenore) and (Demeyo, Elise, and Amwise) although the split made little sense for traveling in the dark without light since both groups were made up of basically night blind individuals and the purpose was to travel ahead and scout out and light the beacon. Although, the Demeyo group did make a little better time then the following Reuben group but mostly because the second group decided to wait behind before following.
It was well after midnight by the time Demeyo, Elise, and Amwise made it to the river with the beacon on the other side. Since they needed to cross Demeyo decide to cast a handy little spell which would allow him to cross with ease while Elise and Amwise swam across. Why this was just too easy, there was no one at the beacon, they just walked right up and lit it. Of course once their eyes adjusted to the light they did notice about nine individuals about 100 feet away on a little rise up the beach aiming bows at them, oh well it was only three to one odds “why run when we can stay and fight”, after all it was the battle cry of our little group of adventures.
So the battle was on, of course back to our second group not knowing there was a fight about to erupt and after noticing the light from the beacon, and deciding it was rather a good idea Reuben cast a little flashlight spell and away they went. Back at the beacon Demeyo, Elise, and Amwise decided the best way to fight when your out numbered is to split up and everyone go a separate direction, so that way the enemy can choose which guy to gang up on, although it seemed like they were more interested in putting out the beacon then they were of trying to follow anyone, luckily Amwise had decided to stay as close to the beacon as possible so they could gang up on him after they put out the beacon and lit up a few smaller light sources.
It was not long before Amwise was bleeding profusely and trying to swim away for his life, while Elise after dropping one of the enemies was fleeing for her life, and Demeyo doing the same after exchanging a few sword blows and some long range arrow fire between him and a group of enemy archers. Demeyo and Amwise make it away and fearing the capture of Elise meet up with Reuben’s group and decide to try and catch the enemy by surprise by heading up river and then heading back down to the lake although they do find evidence of a camp abandoned by the enemy they are no where to be seen, so the group decides to have the brave Amwise swim across and light the beacon and then draw the enemy back to the river were they either have to try and cross while under fire or fight at range where the better range and accuracy of the party can over come the enemies numbers.
It was an ok plan but really only Demeyo and Winterlion have any real skill at the bow, and of course the plan goes awry when Amwise is chosen to be the one to sneak across and light the beacon, since he is the least likely to stick to any plan, and of course goes charging in to throw his daggers at the enemy as they once again appear over the little rise up the beach from the beacon. Although his throw is deadly and he drops another enemy Amwise receives several answering bow shots and two find there mark and once again Amwise is bleeding and and fleeing for his life trying to make it back across the river.
Luckily once again the enemy’s priority seems to be putting out the beacon (Man these guys are dumb, I mean if you did not want the beacon lit why leave all the stuff to light it in the tower?) Anyway, as they rush to put out the beacon Reuben closes his eyes and pulls back the arrow and as it reaches his ear releases and when he opens his eyes low and behold he hit someone and not only did he hit someone it was one of the enemies and it dropped him (Reuben is now thinking of joining the marines you know one shot one kill).
After a minute or two of exchanging arrow fire the party has collected Amwise from the river, and backed up to a range were only Demeyo and his longbow have any real chance to hit anything but the ground, and Elise having re-appeared from somewhere up the beach a long boat has been spotted and after a short exchange of who are you and why should we care the crew from the boat decide to bring the group aboard leaving the enemy on the beach and the Margrave’s army to deal with them.
After a couple of days travel back to Maethelburg and reporting their findings to the Margrave, the party decides to rest in the city before once again traveling out to the south to try and find out what kind of numbers this Dread Lord and his followers actual have and how real is the threat to the March and its Islands.