Each adventurer recieves a charter to explore the Greenbelt and rid it of banditry. They meet on the way to Oleg’s Trading Post, just on the border of the Stolen Lands.
30 Calistril: At dusk, the party arrives at Oleg’s. Trudging through the snow, they enter and meet the proprietor just as he was closing the gates for the night. Oleg and his wife, Svetlana, invite them in for the night and tell them their troubles: a group of bandits have been coming by on the first of each month, taking their valuables. The couple offers to house them for free, provided they take care of the bandits. That night, the party inspects the post to see how well it could be defended, except for Lance, who turns in early.
1 Pharast: In the morning, the party sets up their trap, creating kill zones and hiding from sight. When the bandit Happs and his three men enter the post, they are quickly set upon by the party: the druid Jathan prevents their escape by using the leafless bushes lining the entrance to the post in an Entangle spell, Victor uses his magic to distract Happs long enough for Lance to land a decisive blow, and Rurik and Mesharis’ nightmarish eidolon quickly subdue the other bandits.
After the fight, they restore Happs’ health so that they can interrogate him. Rurik is able to coax information out of the bandit by offering a deal: if he gives them the information that they want, Rurik will send Happs back to his village to work off his debt to society as an indentured servant, working on fields. Initially incredulous, Happs agrees to the terms, and spills what he knows: his immediate boss is a “bitch of a woman” called Kressle, but he suspects that she works for someone else. Mesharis’ interrogation of the three other bandits (namely, lining them outside of the snow and threatening to have his eidolon rip out their throats) also goes well: one of the bandits, named Dave, confesses the location of their camp, in the forest along the Thorn River. The other two bandits (Bandit Ben and Bandit Nate) aren’t able to add any useful information, and are put to the sword (or, rather, fang). Rurik then convinces Oleg to house the two surviving bandits until one of his friends can pick them up to put them to work. As thanks for their hut, Svetlana convinces Oleg to shelter the party for free for their stay in the Greenbelt. Also, Oleg gifts them with several potions from his stock, and buys the bandits’ equipment for full market value.
The work with the bandits done, the party heads off. They want to take care of the remaining bandits first, but they decide to pay a visit to a mad hermit Oleg told them about: Bokken. Riding east, through the snow covered plains, they arrive at his hut. They find that he makes potions, though they do not buy or order any from him. After that short visit with the unhinged man, they decide to track down the bandits, cutting across the plains to the forest. Along the way, they are ambushed by a trapdoor spider, surprisingly active during the winter months, but slay it easily. Within its abode, they find the corpse of a dead bandit, with a treasure map in his boot and wearing an amulet of a silver stag head, similar to one Happs was wearing. Mesharis suspected it was magical, but it was not. That night, they camp, Victor, Mesharis, and Jathan holing up in the spider’s former home and Rurik and Lance sleeping under the stars.
2 Pharast: Unfortunately, that morning, Lance discovered that he was inadequetely prepared for sleeping beneath the stars: he woke that morning chilled to the bone and shivvering for most of the day. After warming up with a fire started by Jathan, the party set out once more. The party’s keen eye for the weather noted that a snowstorm was approaching, with Jathan able to see that the snowstorm would hit three days from then.
It was nearly dark when they reached the forest, and found the tracks of the bandits that attacked Oleg’s Trading Post. As they followed the tracks, suddenly, Victor’s horse began to panic. Rurik’s animal handling training wasn’t enough to keep the mount from rearing, but Victor kept his seat, and the horse was calmed. The party was instantly suspicious, and Mesharis brought out his eidolon, with instructions to sniff out any suspicious people. It wasn’t until later that their vigilance paid off, when Lance’s campfire exploded into multicolored sparks in his face. The party spotted a small creature, a half cricket, half elf, the size of a housecat, fleeing the scene. Jathan immediately identified the creature as a grig, a mischevious fey creature, and called otu for it to halt. To the party’s surprise, it did, cursing and kicking snow like a petulant child. Before they could question her, however, Lance grabbed the grig.
“Let go of Tyg!” At that cry, Lance looked up to see a draconic creature with butterfly wings fluttering in front of his face, which then breathed a cone of multicolored smoke into his face. For several seconds, Lance felt very relaxed, and let go of the grig, who nearly fled with her faerie dragon friend. That is, until Jathan and Mesharis distracted them with coins. The coins, as well as the bribe Lance offered (once he recovered from his daze), convinced the duo that the adventurers were friends.
The two introduced themselves as Tyg-Titter-Tut the grig and Perlivash the faerie dragon, and apologized for playing pranks on the party: apparantly, they were having a contest to see who could play the best prank without being caught. They decided to help the “nice biggenses” by telling them where the “mean biggenses” were, even creating a detailed map in the snow for them. They also told them about a statue of a man with a stag’s head in the forest, and a glade filled with traps. That night, the two fey stayed with the party, Perlivash getting drunk off of Lance’s Brevoyan vodka and Tyg thoroughly entertained by Mesharis’ attempts at playing hand drums (he failed miserably).
3 Pharast: That morning, Lance woke up to a hung over faerie dragon sleeping on his face. After saying goodbye to the two fey, the party headed along the Thorn River to confront the bandits. Along the way, they took care of two bandits (Bandit Mike and Bandit Corr) who were heading away from the camp. It was nearly midday when they found the encampment. Initially, Mesharis tried to scout out the encampment by sneaking up with his eidolon, but found that he couldn’t approach close enough without alerting the guards. After a half hour, the rest of the party (Lance, mainly) grew bored, and attacked.
A fierce battle erupted: Lance and Rurik found the bandits to be harder to hit than they expected, and the leader of the bandits, Kressle, was especially furious with her two handaxes. In the end, however, the adventurers were victorious: two bandits were slain (one fell from his lookout tower after taking many hits from the nightmarish eidolon, suffering a broken neck from the fall, and the other was cut in half by an enlarged Lance as he tried to flee), Kressle was knocked unconcious, and the two other bandits surrendered. Lance, in complete annoyance by his inability to hit anything, and being made a fool of by the bandits, killed the bandit leader while she was down, much to the rest of the party’s dismay: they had planned on interrogating her.
Fortunately, though, they had two other surviving bandits, and Rurik and Nasheress questioned those two while the three others looted the encampment. The cavalier and the summoner found out the mystery behind the silver amulets: the bandits had another leader called the Stag Lord, a deadeye with a bow who wore a stag’s head (or the stag’s head WAS his head: the bandits weren’t sure about this), who commanded the bandits from the north shore of a lake to the south. Also, they found out that the man was an extreme alcoholic (the bandits had a case of spirits that they were going to deliver to him) and that he used passwords and codephrases to identify his men. Information recieved, the two bandits were given quick deaths, and the eidolon ate their remains.
The party decided to return to Oleg’s to sell their loot and hide from the looming snowstorm. Along the way, Mesharis and Lance get into an argument over the confiscated alcohol, which would not be resolved until later.
Lance (on Svetlana): “Oh, I don’t have any interest in her, since she’s pregnant.”