NOVA

The Search Begins...

The adventurers, first searched the village for anything salvageable, Roberts recovered his cutlass from beneath the water trough, and Oris found a wicked scythe, known as Pelor’s Light, within the town chapel of Pelor. Then, with their new found friend, Cailen Theras, they began their journey south in pursuit of the Orc band that had taken their friends and family. They were leaving Llanowar, and heading to the nation of Telatium, and within it the capitol city of Telatium, for Telatium is known for its slave trade, and perhaps someone there may have been doing business with orcs. They traveled cross country for several days, until eventually they crossed into Telatium, and met up with the main road to Telatium City. Another day’s journey brought them to a rather unassuming minor crossroads. There were a few boulders strewn about, and what looked to be an old gaurdpost nearby. Just as they were approaching the crossroads, a rather diminutive little man jumped out from behind one of the bolders, he was a Halfling, carrying a rapier that seemed a tad disproportional.
“Haha! Enguard, or surrender your coinpurse!” The Halfling exclaimed brazenly.
“HA! What’s this!? Hahaha!” Roberts could hardly contain himself.
“very well then…” the Halfling readied himself, “NOW!” he exclaimed.
At that instant, a band of bandits jumped out from behind the boulders, and surrounded the party. There were now four bandits, and a Halfling staring down the heroes.
“Now, ongaurd, or surrender your coinpurse!” A smile spread across the Halfling’s face.
“Allright!” Roberts issued a Divine challenge upon the Halfling, and drew his cutlass.
At that the bandits dove in upon the party, one ran up to Brom and they engaged, another came hurtling in at Oris his mace flailing wildly. One of the Bandits rushed at Z, and another jumped in to flank Roberts. But his shield was too fast, and the Bandit did not harm him. The Halfling jumped in at Roberts, his rapier finding its mark. Suddenly Oris muttered something under his breath and thrust Pelor’s Light into the air, and a penetrating light erupted from the weapon, blinding all the bandits, but providing no hinderance for his allies. Cailen took the opportunity to lunge forward and get a solid hammer strike on the Halfling’s shoulder. Roberts’ sword flashed in the sun as he spun about, eviscerating the bandit to his side, and drawing blood from the Halfling. This caused the rogue to rethink his plan, and he ran for his life. Roberts quickly drew his handaxe and gave chase. Brom, finally bested his foe, cutting the man clean in half, before he ever had a chance to surrender. Oris did the same, separating a bandits head from his shoulders. Not to be outdone, Z blew his foe’s head clean off with a magic bolt, and the body fell, its neck smouldering. Roberts began to gain ground on the Halfling, and just as he caught up with him the rogue performed an incredible sidestep spin, and drove his rapier into Roberts’ back, drawing blood. Roberts came about flailing his axe, and nicking the Halfling’s shoulder, but before he could do any further damage, the Halfling had turned about, and climbed to the top of the guard post. Roberts’ had no hope of being able to follow him, weighed down as he was by his heavy armor. But Oris was not so encumbered, the deva came running at the wall, and threw himself forward, seeking a handhold, but instead he met the stone wall with his face, breaking his nose, and sending him sprawling on the ground. Z, at his companions’ behest turned and loosed a magic missile at the rogue. His aim was true, and the impact was felt by the Halfling, it threw him off balance and he came plummeting to the earth, upon landing he began begging for his life.
“Wait! Please, please, don’t kill me!” the rogue pleaded, “If you spare me I can make it worth your while. There is a hidden trove in the forest, within it 2000 gold pieces, all are yours if you spare me.”
“500 gold apiece, that’s not quite enough,” said Roberts speculatively.
“A-a-and, you fine gentlemen don’t happen to be traveling to Telatium do you?”
“Where else would we be going on this road?” Roberts’ patience seemed to be wearing thin.
“Well, whenever you get there, I can get you another 2000 gold pieces, just pleeease don’t kill me..” The Halfling begged.
“Information is what we need, not money.” Roberts deflected.
“Information? I’ve got plenty of that. What do you need to know?” the Halfling stammered, clutching at straws.
“We’re looking for our countrymen, taken as slaves by a band of orcs, we believe that they are going to be sold to some Telatium slavers.”
“Oh yes, I can certainly help you with that, just don’t kill me, allright?”
“Allright, now stand up.”
“Okay,” The Halfling struggled to his feet, “Eeh, oh, ow, hey im losing a lot of blood here, ah, could I, ah, have some bandages or…, something.”
“Sure,” Roberts bent down and patched the man up.
“Thankyou, now, shall we be off?” and with that, they set out for Telatium.
On the way Roberts decided the would get to know their newest team member.
“So, do you have a name?”
“Why as a matter of fact, yes, yes I do,” The Halfling had quickly reverted to a good mood when he learned that he was not going to die any time soon, “And it is Kor, I’m a lower-class merchant of Telatium.”
“Speaking of Telatium, what can you tell me about it?”
“well, for starters, Telatium has a very regimented society. There are distinct social classes apparent throughout the city, and even the nation as a whole. The low class lives in the slum district. It’s a cramped and disorganized district located on the northern side of the city. Just south of there is the area of the Middle-class, the more respectable merchants. Those who don’t openly trade slaves or anything illegal, not that they don’t sell those things, they just take extra care not to get caught. South of that area a river divides the city in half, on the Southern side of the river, is the academy, the Institute, the Fort, and the slave barracks, as well as the high-class housing and shops. The middle and upper-classes never trade with orcs, only the lowest of slavers stoop to that level, and they all keep their slaves in the warehouses by the Slum docks, but in the Slums, its one of the only ways to get by. I happen to be one of the more powerful of the Slum merchants, though I am not the one who bought your friends.”
“If you’re a powerful merchant, what are you doing out here robbing travelers like some highwayman?” One of the others asked.
“I said I’m a powerful slum merchant, which just means that I’ve got a lot more mouths to feed. So, When things get tight, I do what ever I can to raise money. If that means robbing affluent travelers, then so be it.”
“Allright, so I think I have a plan for this operation. All I need is a ship…” Roberts said thoughtfully
“With that, I can help you. You see it just so happens that I have a ship we could use.” Said Kor, a dangerous twinkle in his eye, “What’s your plan?”
“Well, we sail into the slum harbor, then we release all the slaves, aside from yours of course, to create a distraction. The slaves riot, giving us a chance to find our friends and sail out of there.”
“Not a bad plan, but there are a few complications. If the slaves start rioting, the army is going to be sent in. Nobody, wants the army in the slums, its bad for business, especially when they start asking who the rioters are, and where they came from, and then they start checking the warehouses, and the next thing you know, I’ve got an appointment with the gilloutine. Nobody wants that…”
“Well then, what do you suggest?”
“What if I told you I could get you into the warehouse where your kinsman are being kept, quietly, no questions asked?”
“I’d say I think we’ve got ourselves a plan.”
The tiny schooner slipped quietly in to dock at the slums, and the adventurers went ashore. Kor met up with a few shady looking characters, asked some questions, parted with some gold, and led the heroes to a small warehouse, a bit further in from the wharf. The party descended the stairs, into the building a small group of thugs stood between them, and the door to the holding pens.
“No, I will deal with these ones,” Kor chimed as he saw Roberts reaching for his cutlass. The Dread Pirate simply shrugged his shoulders and let the Halfling step forward.
“Evening gents!” The Halfling came on jovially, he exchanged a few hushed, parted with some gold, and the thugs stepped aside. The heroes came on.
“um, perhaps we should leave someone outside, to keep watch in case any guards show up.” Kor volunteered.
“Allright, lets see, Z, how about you keep watch outside?” Roberts dictated, Z turned and proceeded back up the stairs, without a word. Everyone else continued further into the warehouse. The inner chamber was divided, the holding pens being on the other side of the room. Kor elected to remain where he was while the others went to collect their friends. Roberts assigned Brom to remain with him. Everyone else made their way to the pens, Cailen leading the way. Their eyes scanned the thronging crowds, each searching for a familiar face, but alas even after several minutes of intense scrutiny, it was to no avail.
“Hey! Roberts, Roberts! We have a bit of a problem, there are guards on their way here now, the warehouse is to be raided! We need to leave now if we wish to live. I’ve already sent Brom to collect the mage and told him to meet us at the ship, so collect your friends, and let us be gone!” Kor seemed more flustered than they had seen him since he lay bloodied at their feet.
“None of our kinsmen are here, but take the others and get to the ship, I’ll meet up with you later.”
“Right!” and Kor, along with the others, was off.
The schooner sped full bore for the open sea, its sails taught in the wind. The tiny ship was fast, and it seemed for a moment as if she might escape, but she was not fast enough. Two Telatium war cruisers sped after her, gaining noticeably. A third broke off from the southern end of the docks, speeding forth on an intercept course. Just as all hope seemed lost, one of the cruisers veered sharply to starboard, colliding roughly with its sister ship, sinking both. But it was not enough, the third ship, pulling forward at even greater speeds, came alongside the schooner, and unleashed a fury of flaming arrows and bolts, the small ship was overwhelmed, and, erupting into flame, sank to the bottom. But Kor was not to be outdone, as just then, a small galleon broke out from the docks, sailing up alongside the Telatium cruiser, passing the massive warship. And there, at the bow of that warship was the infamous Dread Pirate Roberts, fending off a dozen men with his fearsome cutlass.
“Avast!” He bellowed, “Ye shall all remember this day, as the day that you failed to capture the infamous, Dread Pirate Roberts!” And with that he grabbed a rope, and, slashing its ties to the deck, swung forth, over the side, to the galleon. Alas, Roberts had made one miscalculation. His plate armor was simply too much for the rope, which snapped. Roberts did not cut a graceful swath through the air, but instead he plummeted toward the water. But it would take much more than that to kill the Dread Pirate, in fact, he never even touched the water, instead colliding with the galleon’s hull. Still, he was not yet out of harm’s way. Arrows from the warship began thudding into the hull all around, and things were looking rather grim once again. But Brom had other plans in mind, fearlessly reaching over the side of the ship, he managed to pull his friend aboard, and their ship sped off toward the horizon. Some of the freed slaves had agreed to come along for the journey, and were now manning the ship. Still, the adventurers could not shake a feeling of defeat. There kinsmen were lost, perhaps for ever, and their quest had failed.
“Say Cailen, why the long face?” Kor approached the large man.
“Because, slaver,” Cailen spat out the word like poison, “My wife is still in the hands of some vile monster, and I don’t even no where to start looking! But mark my words, Halfling, I will not cease in my search!”
“That’s good to hear…,” Kor spoke slyly, “for I know where she is.”
“What!? How? That’s impossible!”
“Ah, on my way out of that warehouse, I managed to grab the shipping manifest, and your kinsmen are on the list, just a few days ago they were shipped off to the island of Eileen a’ Ceedich.”
“HAha! Roberts! Set a course, full ahead to the west, we’re back on the trail!”
“Right, you hear that you land lovers?! FULL IMPULSE!”
And off they sailed, into the sunset…

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