Several weeks ago, the survivors of the main adventuring group staggered back into Glister after retreating from Xul-Jarak. They rested in Glister overnight – sending messages onward to Ratikhill via fast horseman. Their injuries were great, however, and so they elected to rest a few days before making their own way to Lord Nanther.
They were delighted and amazed when Hemgor entered the town along with Oreal Nanther the next day. They had given their friend up for dead and although they were saddened at Glynt’s and Gwendar’s deaths they were overjoyed to find Hemgor not only alive but accompanied by Oreal Nanther. Oreal was understandably keen to return to his father and so the party decided to escort him to Ratikhill after one more good night’s rest.
The next day, the weather was good and the party set off early. The road was quiet - rumours of war having long since driven many people away from the border. The party met few travellers on the road. Around midday, however, an armoured knight emerged from behind a stand of trees and challenged the party. He demanded they give over Belivar into their hands so that he might pay for his crimes at the Battle of Slaughter Meadow. Belivar’s friends unsurprisingly declined the offer (although Krorz seemed to find the whole situation quite funny).
The knight – enraged at the PCs’ defiance – summoned his companions. Another half-dozen armoured knights emerged from behind a hedge further down the trail and charged the party. The party spread out to absorb their charge, but Hemgor and Klara were unlucky. Both were injured – Klara severely – in the initial attack and Hemgor was also the target of a strange magical effect that forced him to flee from battle briefly. Three other knights charged Belivar, but the plucky hafling had managed to conjure his magical defences and seemed quite unhittable.
As the battle raged on, Hemgor returned to the fight and the knights’ initial advantage quickly wilted away. The party fought doggedly and heroically to defend their friend. The knights raved and shouted demanding that Belivar submit to their punishment. However, the party proved too strong and one after another three of the knights were slain. Two others fled, but their leader – his horse encumbered by heavier barding – could not carry its master away fast enough. Oreal’s arrows brought the horse down and as the leader turned at bay he was quickly surrounded. Although he had considerable magical powers of healing at his disposal he quickly fell, but not before threatening Belivar again. He warned the party that the Knights of the Scourge would never stop until Belivar and anyone with him were dead.
After the battle the party looted the bodies, healed their wounds and pushed on. Fearing another ambush by the rest of the knights they pushed on through the night reaching Ratikhill exhausted early the next morning. Belivar had been strangely withdrawn throughout the ride.
Accompanied by Lord Nanther’s son, the party easily gained access to the city. Access to the Nather family estate in the city was also similarly gained and before long the party were standing before a hastily wakened Lord Nather. He was delighted beyond words at his son’s return, but worried about the party’s confirmation of the other scouts news – that the Bone March orcs were preparing for war. He thanked the party – particularly Hemgor – profusely. Chambers were prepared for them and they went gratefully to their rest.
The next day, he rewarded the party – each member receiving 200 pp. Hemgor also received a private audience with Lord Nather after which he was very keen to visit the northern estate of Tumbledown. Oreal Nanther also had plans of his own. He wanted to return to Xul-Jarak to recover the bodies of his fallen companions. Klara and Krorz wanted nothing to do with the plan while Adoven felt it was his duty to join Ratik’s army to help push back the invading orcs. At this time, Belivar stunned his friends by telling them he was going to leave the party – he was very worried that the continued attentions of the Hextorites would likely end in one or more of his friend’s deaths and in good conscience he could not allow that.
In any event, as they mulled over their plans the party rested in Ratikhill for a little over a month. As they did so Ratik’s army gathered in the fields around the city for war was coming. Good news, however, filtered through to Lord Nather. It seemed that although the party had not been completely successful, their actions had disrupted the Bloodspear ritual and as a result Thrull had not been confirmed as Gruumsh’s chosen one. Concequently, several tribes had left his nascent alliance weakening the orc horde…