Based on the outcome of the battle with the giants, the party decided to change their course of action. Since the Giants were too powerful for the party and the Giant Cleric was their only lead, they decided to abandon curing Duke Killingsworth for now. Having been in the northern part of the island of Kensing for some time now, the party decided to head back south towards Nent and check on their interests there. They also discussed the fact that causing a bit of trouble for Duke Harcourt while they were in the area would not be such a bad thing. But first, the party needed to go back to Istivin to pick up the magic items they ordered earlier. The only problem with this though was that the Istivin city guard would be on the lookout for all six of them. This ended up not being too much of a problem because Smoth had a completely new body, so no one would be able to recognize him. Fin decided to go along, pretending to be Smoth’s pet. He flew over and perched on Smoth’s shoulder and they were on their way. The rest of the party waited just inside the forest North of Istivin.
When Smoth and Fin approached the gates of the city of Istivin, they immediately noticed the wanted poster nailed to the guardhouse. The main reward was for Capt. Belaine, being charged with treason. Smoth, Fin, Shun, and Keldon were only mentioned as a footnote with a supplemental reward. Smoth and Fin continued into town, slightly disappointed that they were not worth a higher reward. They went to the magic item dealer’s shop, and since they had their tokens given to them when they placed the order, they picked up their items without any problems. Before they left town, they also purchased five horses so every member of the party would have his own horse.
On the way out of town, Smoth and Fin dropped by Algorthas the Seer’s house on the way to meet back up with the rest of the party. Both the gate and the front door were locked, but Smoth picked both of them. The house was very cold with no signs of any activity in some time. But they could tell that someone had been there since their last visit because the body of the servant boy was gone. Smoth searched the library and found two books on animals that seemed interesting. Fin used Detect Magic and found a faint magic glow from a glass lens on one of the sage’s desks. He took the lens to identify later on.
After meeting up with the rest of the party, they rode south towards the village of Cranford. There they planned to visit Smoth’s teacher, Ashaurok. The weather was cold and snowy and the road deserted. They passed through a number of villages on the way, but almost all of them had been at least partially destroyed by giants. One village they passed through was in very bad shape, so Fin suggested they stop and help out a bit. He used his druidic magic to restore the wooden palisades and some of the buildings. He also magically softened the ground around the outside of the palisades to make it harder for attackers to walk through. While there, the party meet a ranger named Awcer, who was in charge of the defenses of the town, which the party learned was called Belvoran.
Some of the townsfolk sought spiritual counsel with Keldon and Shun. Smoth showed the children some magic and tried to teach them some, but they soon became afraid or disinterested. This caused Smoth to declare that he wanted to start a system of schools throughout Kensing to teach the magical arts to children who would otherwise not have access to such teachings. Keldon thought this was an excellent idea and pledged his full support in the endeavor. Keldon’s deity, Lirr, looks favorably upon those who further the teachings of magic and knowledge in general. After hearing this, Smoth seemed a little more interested in the teachings of Lirr.
By the time they got to Cranford, the weather had cleared and the sun was shinning. They went straight to Ashaurok’s hut and inside they found their old friend Solist sitting in a chair staring at the wall. Ashaurok was glad to see them and after her and Smoth caught up a bit (especially about Smoth’s latest reincarnation experience), they began to discuss more serious matters. Ashaurok took out the branding iron the party had found earlier and said she had tried to destroy it, but couldn’t. She also explained how she discovered that the brand was still having a controlling effect on the people it had marked even though she now possessed it instead of Harcourt. She also mentions that Nent is aggressively conscripting fighters and mages. Because of this, most of the towns and villages, including Cranford, are not pleased with Harcourt’s rule. With this advantage, the party decides to create dissension within the ranks of the newly conscripted armies, starting with the soldiers assigned to the small villages and hamlets in the countryside of Nent.
Roleplaying story award – 750xp each
Took the lead on bolstering the defenses of Belvoran – 200xp for Fin