4th of Sunwane (November, year 506 P.C.)
The story opens on a mild and sunny autumn afternoon. Along a well-maintained road (known to locals as North Hill Road) amidst the rolling, oak-speckled hills just north of the small city of Riverhills in the Republic of Kalifaa, two figures amble along. In no hurry, Theodoric Fowler, and Vindle VonBindle make their way to Riverhills. Theodoric is an expatriate, former soldier from Prospolis, whilst Vindle, a gnome, is of indeterminate origin.
The new arrivals hail Theo and Vindle and approach them. The two pairs engage in idle conversation for a few moments, asking for news of other places, and exchanging polite pleasantries.
Without warning a group of ruffians rushes out from the woods on the opposite side of the road. Taken aback, the ersatz group responds to their assailants in kind. The attackers were clearly expecting an easy ambush of unprepared, simple travelers and are undone by a determined and skillful counter-attack. After the defeat of the ambush, Vindle and Theo ask if this sort of thing is common in the area. The two locals reply that, while not unheard of, banditry like this is quite uncommon. A quick backtrack of the ruffians’ path reveals a small encampment in the woods. Instead of a simple clearing and bedrolls, there are lean-tos, a maintained fire-circle and cooking implements, as well as other signs that rather than a simple overnight camp, the band intended to occupy the area for some time. It is decided that Ardadan will investigate further while the rest hurry to the town, sticking together for security. Leaving behind the small battlefield, thankful that they avoided becoming victims of a robbery, our band has no idea that this tiny skirmish was the beginning of events, which would shape their lives for many months to come.
A few hours later, near the outskirts of northeastern Riverhills, the group sees a Militia patrol. Lassidil notices this and mentions that it’s unusual for there to be patrols of this type, and wonders what it could mean. They approach and tell the Sgt. the basics of the encounter they just had. To their surprise, they are told that there have been several incidents of the same type (thus the patrols), and are directed to head straight for the Constabulary and give a report.
In town, the group travel up the High Street towards the Constabulary. Once arrived, and upon entering the fore-room, the group gives a brief summary to the officer there and is then asked to wait for the Constable himself. Shortly they are ushered into an office for a meeting with Constable Harrick. Here, they inform him, in as much detail as they can, of the events that transpired on North Hill Road. Ardadan adds that he found evidence of one to three more occupants of the camp than they encountered in the ambush. He also noted that they seemed well equipped, with gear in decent repair. They were certainly not poor either. All the bodies had coins on them and more were to be found among all the packs and bedrolls at the camp. He also noted that the party’s first impression was correct; the camp was set up for an extended stay, there were several caches of foodstuffs as well as spare arrows and the like. In addition, he found several tracks leading to and from the campsite, suggesting the site had been occupied for some time and engaged in some patrol-like activity. While listening to their account, Harrick seemed to be comparing their tale to notes and papers strewn across his desk, as the story wraps up, he looks up and addresses them.
The Constable tells them that, while not the first, this is, thus far, the largest encounter reported. Violence of this sort usually occurs less than once a year in this area, and now, in a matter of a couple weeks, there have been several similar events. He has recently concluded a meeting with the Mayor and Town Council, and, based on the current situation, it has been agreed to increase the town Watch and to implement a 1/8 call-up of the town Militia in order to patrol around the immediate outside of the city limits. So seriously is this being taken, that, in addition to these measures, the city has implemented recruitment of deputized bands to patrol and scout the outer, rural areas as well. The members of these bands are taken from qualified volunteers from the community (like Lassidil and Ardadan), plus interested outside parties…i.e. mercs/adventurers.
The first group was signed in today, during the late morning. Six adventurers took up the call. They headed straight out afterwards, planning to patrol to the northwest and west.
There was minor debate about this response being overkill, and costing the city too much, but, in light of everything, prudence won out.
Constable Harrick explains that these groups will receive the support of the city. Ammunition and basic, martial supplies will be provided from the armory, room, board & stabling when in town is available in the barracks, or at Old Inn (per a contract with the city) further, in addition to the pay, 15 silver coins a week, and in recognition of the risk any willing individuals are taking, the parties may keep any booty not verifiable as property of the city or the citizens, and not relevant to the investigation. He wonders if perhaps our little ersatz band might be interested?
Agreeing to meet again soon with their answer, the group heads to Saroyan’s, a local eatery, in order to discuss the situation and decide what to do about the Constables offer. Being locals, Lassidil and Ardadan naturally decide to accept. Theodoric and Vindle after a brief discussion decide they will accept as well. The four choose to continue to work together. Ardadan wishes to inform a friend of his, Bern (Ironside) of the situation and to invite him to join the party. He explains that Bern’s skills can be of use to the party, especially in concert with those of Theodoric. By now, it is quite late, so they will contact Bern in the morning, for now the party heads straight to the Constable to give him their answer. They complete the contract paperwork, and after, all head to the nearby Old Inn to rest (Ardadan, and Lassidil take advantage of available rooms due to their homes being on the outskirts of town and the hour being late.).