SESSION 11: DAY 6 – CARAVANING ON THE NORTH WEST PASSAGE
Kord and Lucien make their way to Griffin Provisions to procure some lumber and other supplies to secure the Cragmaw Caves. As Talmark turns to find out more about the caravan Malandir looks at the warrior and says “Sounds like time that I made myself useful. I’ll come and look at the caravan with you Talmark.”
The caravan is staging in front of the Evergreen Stable between the castle walls and the stable.
Dedrick, the proprietor of the Evergreen Stable, and Othmann, his hostler, are busy looking after the horses and helping the caravan master to have a look over the wagons.
Rushing from left to right Dedrick checks the shoes of the horses and their tack whilst Othmann gives them a rub down.
Lounging near the Epoch Warehouse, Talmark and Malandir scope out the caravan. They find that it’s a wagon train of 2 wagons. By looking at the wagons they cannot identify what it’s transporting but the general mood of the caravan master and his guards is eager, as if great riches await them at their journeys end.
Talking to a passerby, they learn that the caravan master is a celebrated explorer that goes by the name of Andrin.
Observing Andrin for a while Malandir and Talmark note that as he is preparing to leave he carries a scroll case that he continuously takes out and reads. At his side is a finely crafted long sword and his hand never leaves its hilt.
Malandir casually makes his way over to one of the guards and uses Perception, Diplomacy, Knowledge Local and Sense Motive. After a fairly short conversation he finds that Andrin needs gold to repay his debts and he is wary of bandits that may rob the caravan. The caravan master may need more help. There are only 2 guards protecting the caravan and Malandir relays this information to Talmark.
Talmark approaches Andrin and declares that himself, his companions and the True Spear Mercenary Company are looking to travel to the north west and would he, Andrin, like some company for mutual protection.
Andrin is delighted and he agrees to travel with the party.
Whilst this little discussion is going on Malandir takes a closer look at wagons. He cannot work out what they are back hauling. Caravans don’t just travel back and forwards without a cargo and they always back haul, even if it’s just low quality goods. Anything really to earn extra along the way. The wily elf wonders if they could be transporting some type of contraband. It must be small whatever it is.
Meanwhile, whilst purchasing some lumber, Lucien schemes ways that they could have leveraged Sildar and chastises his lack of foresight by not healing the warrior when they had the chance. Saving him was one tick. But the party could have scored another by healing him and still another by maybe forgoing half the reward he offered.
Still, healing Sildar may have chaffed the men, who received no healing on the outing themselves.
Lucien and Kord are able to secure some timber and some basic tools to help them to secure Cragmaw Cave. It’s not a lot but it’s a start.
They return to the front gatehouse where they meet up with Talmark who introduces them to Andrin who quickly agrees to their request to place their planks and tools in one of the wagons.
Finishing their preparations, they start to leave the Burg. As they do they pass the ever-suspicious Knight Lorenz who takes a mental note of who is leaving with whom.
The party lags slightly behind the caravan as it winds its way down the dusty road. When out of ear shot they take the opportunity to discuss strategy.
Lucien offers, “Perhaps we could dig up and replant a screen of bushes from the surrounds in front of the cave as well -- a wooden door or wall or whatnot would not necessarily "stand out" but it would appear out of place to anyone glancing in the direction of the cave entrance.”
"Agreed," Talmark says. "Hopefully Sildar did not see the wares and can divulge nothing. Speaking of, perhaps he can be utilized as some manner of leverage against the Iorians? A spy in their midst or some such. We parted amicably, and we did save him, perhaps he will be grateful and willing to help, or at least disenchanted with the Order."
"As for the door to the cave, if I recall correctly we could set it back a little distance so it will not be too easy to spot. I do very much like the idea of camouflaging the entrance. Maybe someday we could put a good old fashioned tiger pit out front too."
Kord agrees "Using a screen for the front of the cave sounds like an excellent idea."
Malandir adds, “A barricade inside the cave could channel any attacker ... and some caltrops could be thrown down just before we are assaulted. Any enemy would find himself engaged by my bow before he attacks, and if he withdraws....”
“Then it is agreed,” states Lucien. “I’ll talk it through with the men.”
Lucien uses his Diplomacy to ensure the Men at Arms are on board, "Our intention is to use the caves we cleared as a waypoint, a safe haven of kind to rest in and retreat back to when required... And to be honest, it makes no sense at all to recover the Blue Lion foodstuff, travel back, turn them in for reward, then spend selfsame reward on the same foodstuff and go right back to the cave to provision. You all see the rational and agree, correct?"
"I have high expectations about this outing..."
Lucien then stops himself, nods, and walks away.
The men of the True Spear Mercenary Company all grunt and nod their heads in agreement.
Though he showed no cowardice on the first outing, he felt no sting of enemy weapons nor drew blood either. Just the way HE likes it, yes, but better to not remind the men he escaped all harm and reaped more gold than they. They notice not. They are fools.
As the caravan and party are trudging along one of the men screams a warning and, with his spear points, out that the party has walked into a nest of vipers.