Brigand Five: An Unflankable Story

Chapter 13: One Stop Shop

Surrounded by the remains of the gnolls, our heroes approach the travelers. In charmingly simple accents, they express their gratitude and aim to be on their way. Geandur and Seraphina, however, find their demeanor suspicious. While questions are asked about the cargo and their destination, Morningstar sneakily cures one of the heavy gashes on the bloodiest man. This confuses the fellow, but his slight relief is short-lived; for Geandur begins punching the men in the face to get answers. Seraphina plays good cop and tells them that everything is ok, that they can talk freely without consequence, and eventually, one of the men confesses that they stole the wagon and its contents from a dwarf coming from Lodegrove.

The heroes refuse to split the cargo with the thieves and make them a deal. They can leave with their lives, but they will leave with nothing else. As they walk sadly into the woods, Othfir yells at them to find jobs in Mossington. The heroes split up between the two wagons, though Quinn is forbidden from riding in the wagon with the sack of gems. Before long, they come across a sullen dwarf sitting on a stump. The dwarf’s name is Urgreth and he is the owner of the stolen cart and goods. He was headed to the council with his delivery, but the heroes convince him to return to Lodegrove with them so he can get an entourage.

They soon reach a clearing and are met with the sight of beautifully hewn stone houses and buildings, the city of Lodegrove. At Geandur’s request, Urgreth drops them off at the blacksmith forge, a circular building with smoke issuing from the hole in the center. The grateful dwarf bids them farewell and tosses them an emerald as a token of appreciation. Quinn snatches the gem out of the air before anyone else can react. The rest of the heroes allow him to hold on to it and they all head into the forge.

Upon entering, Geandur asks for Durged. There are a trio of dwarves inside, two of which look to the muscle-bound smith in the center hammering on an anvil. The renowned blacksmith Durged stops hammering and strolls out to meet the heroes. Geandur hands him a note he got from the blacksmith in Tanivas. Durged nods and accepts the note’s counterpart, a wrapped parcel. The smith says it will take a few days to attune and suggests the heroes have a look around. The heroes are all too happy to do so. Geandur places another order for armor that resists necrotic spells and leaves the blacksmith his axe to see if he can make it cancel magic. He also purchases a holy bastard sword. Othfir buys The Fury Club, a horned hammer that is fueled by rage. Morningstar buys a suit of armor that can absorb ice attacks. Quinn buys a dagger of flame and Arradon places an order for a grappling hook.

After departing, the heroes locate the resident enchanter, who resides in a stone dome. The dome is topped with a chintzy gem that rotates just above the stone, all the while playing the smooth tunes of dwarven crooner, Fronk Stonatra. The inside of the dome has been magically bleached white and several counters are topped with various gems, rings, and other sorts of jewelry. The enchanter, Willard, greets the heroes, sporting a pair of thick spectacles and white shocks of beard and hair. Seraphina is far more interested in these wares than the blacksmith’s and readies her coin purse. While she shops, Quinn buys a brooch to help resist magic and Arradon has Willard enchant his bow. After selling the emerald to Willard, Seraphina purchases an amulet to boost her magical power, a few rings to store spells in, a poison spray ring, and commissions the enchanter to weave in a magical resistance to her cloak.

After their shopping spree, the heroes decide to relax for the evening before setting out the next morning to Palefort. Geandur finds himself at The Boot’s Bottom, a popular inn and tavern filled with raucous and inebriated dwarves. He spends the night being outdrunk by the dwarves and loving every minute. The other heroes head to The Gricksbane Inn, another inn and tavern built around a massive preserved worm-like grick. The barkeep entertains the patrons with an oft-told exaggerated story of how he slew the very grick of the inn’s namesake. Othfir follows up the story with one of his own war stories of spiders and illithids and blood galore. Arradon, Seraphina, and Morningstar sip on their beverages while Othfir and Quinn guzzle theirs, and the evening ends in Othfir inquiring about Morningstar’s diety and Seraphina meeting Quinn’s pet mouse, Kitsa.

The next morning, the heroes meet up in the city and Othfir has a hearty laugh at Geandur covered in scribed dwarven swears, slurs, and other such insults. They head to the center of the city, reaching the massive pit where the miners work, as well as the station for the Deepcore Transit. A dwarf at the station loads the heroes up in a large minecart and magically propels the cart into the darkness of the underground. The rushing wind and subtle grind of the cart’s wheels eventually become background noise; many hours later, the cart slows and the heroes arrive at a station perched on a stone column that descends into the abyss. A friendly dwarf named Wrodi greets them and begins the process of switching the cart to the track to Palefort. As they talk with Wrodi, the heroes stretch their legs and hope they can reach Palefort in time.

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snakeskinjones

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