Last week, we left the adventurers fresh off a successful first assignment. Iolaus, Howl, and Gemma turned over the prisoners, weapons, armor, and money to Lord Artest, their Holy Warrior commander. Wilby and Rowan reported back to The Guard, having found themselves a little wealthier for the coins they happened to find.
With a report of more bandits at an abandoned manor house to the west, Lord Artest asked Iolaus to once again gather his team to investigate. He suggests starting with the only manor he knows of that might fit the description: Lord Tarin’s manorial home.
The late Lord Tarin died by his own hand about 10 years prior. Distraught from the death of his wife, Lady Kyrie, he burned several outbuildings and tried to burn the manor to the ground. Today, the lands are owned by his cousin, Lord Cryway. Because Tarin’s manor sits south of the Uthen River, it is off the main trade routes and Lord Cryway has simply left the lands fallow.
Following Artest’s command, Iolaus and his team gathered their needed supplies and set off across the countryside to locate the abandoned property. As they grow nearer the location, Wilby suggests that if the bandits are using the location, the raiding party would be assumed overdue by now and there could be additional watchers. Iolaus, agreeing sends Wilby on ahead to scout the manor for watchers.
Wilby broke from the rest of the party and after some time, he finally comes across an enclosed manor house. The outer wall sits on a ten-foot high raised embankment in front of a deep ditch. On the top of the embankment sits a ten-foot high stone wall. Wilby spots breaches on the southeastern side as well as the western side of the wall. Inside the wall, the obvious ruins of at least two outbuildings sit in the remnants of the last summer’s grasses.Smoke emanates from chimneys of the damaged manor house, a barn that still stands, and a couple of charcoal pits outside the walls. Several other pits have been already been stripped the charcoal, though an older one seemed to have failed to have converted the wood successfully, leaving partially burned wood.
The signs of active occupancy exist in the form of smoke emanating from chimneys of the damaged manor house, as well as from a barn and a couple of charcoal pits outside the walls. Several other pits have been already been stripped the charcoal, though an older one seemed to have failed to have converted the wood successfully, leaving partially burned wood that was abandoned.
The stone manor house shows signs of severe damage. The roof has holes and has collapsed onto the second floor. The barn looks to be mostly intact.
Worried about the potential for watchers in the towers, Wilby returns to the others. Iolaus suggests they divide into two groups, where Rowan and Wilby take up position to watch the charcoal pits while the holy warriors will gather in the trees to avoid their chain armor giving away their positions.However, although they wait until well after dark, no one comes to tend the two active pits.
The overcast night is already setting in and while they wait for a while, no one comes to tend the two active pits. Wilby and Rowan give up on waiting and return to the others where Iolaus decides to send Wilby and Rowan into the compound to scout the manor house itself. Using the breaches on the west wall, Rowan scales the embankment and carefully checks for traps. He spots a crude rope trap that would pull down a stack of old pots. Without setting off the alarm, he cuts the rope and disables the threat.
Wilby follows Rowan up the embankment and the two of them move along the northern wall toward the manor house. The overcast sky leaves the night dark enough that they hope to avoid any notice. They move along the base of the wall while looking for watchers, but the darkness that helps them, helps any potential sentries and they spot no one.
When they near the barn, the two of them see a man looking out the hay door in the upper floor of the barn. The crossbow silhouette confirms the intent of these people and they turn back. On the way, Rowan breaks off to check the back of the manor. The windows on the first floor are all boarded over save for three large stained glass windows. Light from inside confirms people are present. A service door sits on the back of the west wing and it looks promising. However, Rowan hears the sounds of metal clanging from within the building and turns away.
The two of them continue back to the breach in the wall. As they pass the rubble, Wilby steps on a hidden bit of debris and the noise of cracking wood fills the night. A moment later, a man peeks out from amongst the remains of the building, a crossbow barely visible.
Frozen, Wilby and Rowan count the moments as they watch the man scanning the area. The sentry looks at them, but keeps searching for the sound that drew his attention. Not finding the source, he eventually drops back down into the remains of a building. Relieved, Wilby and Rowan continue back to the western breach.Wilby keeps watch at the wall while Rowan slides back down the embankment to report their findings to the holy warriors.
At the breach, Wilby keeps watch while Rowan slides back down the embankment to report their findings to the holy warriors. After the report, Howl and Gemma, fearing the noise and complaining of being overly warm, shed their chain armor before following Rowan and Iolaus back to the breach in the wall. Rowan easily scaled the embankment, but Gemma slips on her way up the steep slope and tumbles back into the ditch with a startled cry.
Wilby heard the noise and quickly moves away to check on the watcher in the rubble pile. He made his way along the wall and spots the shadow of the man moving to investigate the noise.
The others, still gathering at the breach, noticed Wilby missing and begin to discuss where they need to go.
With stealth a cat would envy, Wilby comes up behind the man, slips his bow over the man’s head and with the string against the bandit’s neck, he twists the bow, cutting off the man’s air supply. The surprise attack causes the man to discharge his crossbow, sending the bolt into the darkness.
The others, still eighty feet away, see two forms struggling near the south of the pile. Iolaus, Gemma, Howl, and Rowan charge forward, with Rowan moving to the north of the debris. However, the darkness prevents a clear identification of who is who.
The bandit swings his crossbow over his head, trying to hit Wilby, but Wilby dodges the attack and plants his dagger into the man’s back. The bandit continues to struggle, but still can’t hit Wilby. A second deep gouge with his dagger and the lack of air ends the threat. Wilby lowers the man to the ground and then uses his bow to drag the man around the far side of the rubble pile as the others reach his position.
Wilby untangled the man from his bow as the others discuss what to do next. Iolaus wants to move around the front of the manor and they continue to discuss the plan of attack. Wilby, concerned about the noise, moves around the north of the rubble pile to provide cover.
The buzzing of a crossbow bolt past Iolaus’ head focuses their attention. A second bold screams past as well, but both disappear into the night. Iolaus scans the darkness, but can’t determine where the threat comes from. Howl, on the other hand, spots the bandits and quickly tries to put them to sleep. One of the attackers drops to the ground, but the other continues to reload.
Rowan fires his bow, striking the standing attacker as Gemma finishes the person off with a blast of energy that sends the person tumbling to the ground with a high pitched scream. Howl rushes forward, followed by Iolaus, Gemma, and Rowan. Howl takes the pouch from the woman he put to sleep while Iolaus examines the dead woman for a key into the manor.
To the north, Wilby watches as a group of men make their way around the north side of the manor. Not wanting to draw their attention, he holds his fire. Seeing that his companions, still engaged in a discussion, are unaware of the approach of four additional bandits, he looks for a way to warn them. Wilby locates a rock from the ground and tosses it in their direction. Gemma hears the noise, see’s Wilby, who points to the approaching danger, and then she alerts the others. The party, minus Wilby rush to the west side of the manor house.
The first of the four men round the back corner of the manor, heading toward the west wing. Wilby taps into an inner power he had felt building over time and marks the last man in the line. He takes aim and fires, striking the man.
Iolaus runs around the corner of the western wing and starts to cross the eighty-feet divide toward the approaching men. The leading man is taken out by another successful pairing of Rowan’s bow and Gemma’s magic before Iolaus can reach him.
The second man, whom Iolaus initially thought to be heavily armored, turns out to be massive in size and covered in muscle. The man swings his hammer, but Iolaus dodges and the hammer smashes some of the boards that covered the window. The holy warrior swings his sword striking the man’s shoulder and unleashing the wrathful vengeance of Felis into the man. At the same time, Howl calls upon Felis and unleashes missiles of energy into the large man.
Wilby shoots at the last man in the line, but his arrow goes wide and bounces off the stone wall. The bandit flees to the east.
The third bandit around the corner takes an arrow from Rowan and Gemma finishes him off with help from Felis.
Wilby fires one last time, again striking the man, this time sending him tumbling to the ground.
Rowan, who had been moving to join Iolaus as he was shooting, looks into the window where the boards had been knocked away by the big man’s hammer. He spots several barricades and people moving about a massive room. However, before a full measure of the space can be taken, someone from the inside throws some debris over the window, blocking his view.