Kingmaker Reborn - Session 2

House of the Sun, Rochefort
Three months ago

"I still can't believe she passed the trials."

Sir Thoros Brighthammer shrugged at the halfling priestess. "She displayed the gift, and has the potential," he said.

Sunmother Isabelle Beauciel shook her head. "She barely passed any of theoretical tests. I have never before encountered a paladin who forgot so much of our holy scriptures."

"It's rare, but some of the anointed work more on instinct than knowledge."

"That's what worries me," the Sunmother said. "She carries a darkness within her. A strong desire for revenge."

"Then she will be tested," the senior paladin declared. "She has proven herself to have the potential to carry the light for now. Whether or not Dame Davona passes through whatever crucible that awaits her, stronger or broken, is between her and God."

Onestrio's Trading Post
Windsday, Asmolan 2nd, 108

After what felt like an eternity of painful sleep, Vico woke to a pleasant sense of warmth. The feeling was dashed upon seeing the the people who had defeated his band standing over him, while he sat on the ground bound by rope.

"Listen, cooperate with us, and things will go easier for you," Davona told him.

Vico decided to cooperate. After all, the party defeated them but kept them alive when anyone else would have just killed them. Maybe he can get out of this alive and intact. It's not as if he had any particularly strong loyalty to the Stag Lord. The information flowed from his mouth quite easily.

The leader of this band explained that the bandits work in cells, with information cut off from each other. Even in his own cell, where he was pretty much the second-in-command, Vico did not have a clear idea of how many bandits were in it. Only Ravenna, one of the Stag Lord's lieutenants and leader of his cell, knew.

Vico did know that there were at least eight other bandits in his cell aside from himself and the ones he brought with him. He also told them that cells have a large amount of freedom and low oversight. As long as each cell brings back their goods at the end of the month, they were free to do as they pleased. In fact, Ravenna won't be expecting his group back any time soon.

"Ok, let's hold a trial for him and the others," Davona said.

Vico was surprised by that. He did not expect them to bother with a trial. At least they won't kill them right away. He might have a chance to convince them to let him live.

"So," Davona continued. "He was helpful, but he had been robbing this place for months. So, I think it's only fair that we leave it up to his victim to choose his sentence." And she turned to Onestrio.

Both Vico and Onestrio were surprise by this. After all, the party's charter granted them full freedom to pass judgement as they wished. Onestrio was taken aback by them giving him the final say, but, still angry with the bandits, said to them: "Kill them. Kill'em all."

Davona drew her blade, and approached Vico. "I would say that it gives me no pleasure to do this… but that would be a lie."

"Hey! wait a min-urk," is all Vico managed to say before Davona coldly slid her sword through his heart.

As Vico died, so did something within Davona. The caelephilim felt a terrible sense of tearing in her heart, and all that was left was a void.

Cethin went to Onestrio, and put a sword in his hand. "It was your judgement that led to this," the kitsune told him. "If you make a decision, you should be the one to see it through with your own hands." Onestrio, shocked by how quickly the party killed Vico, let himself be led to one of the unconscious and bound bandits.

"Well? You've made your decision, what are you waiting for?" Cethin asked him. Onestrio stared down at the bandit. Then, almost without thought, stabbed his sword through the bandits throat. The bandit gurgled, and blood sprayed out of the wound. Some of it falls on Onestrio, and the impact brings the man back to his senses. He drops the sword, stumbles to the side, and throws up.

"Hey, don't go too far, there are still a few more left," Cethin called after him.

"Just… just finish them off, please," Onestrio mumbled, as he stumbled back to the house. Cethin, with a curious look on his face, watched him leave.

The rest of the party shrugged. They found nothing odd in executing a few bandits. Jupus and Arina went into the storehouse and slit the throats of the remaining bandits. Cethin was lost in thought, and Davona felt ill, likely due to her severe injuries, and needed to lie down. They then piled their corpses outside of the trading post, and set them ablaze in a pyre.

The next day, new travelers arrive at the Trading Post. Lorenzo Dinovio, mercenary, along with three other soldiers were the guards that Onestrio requested. Accompanying them was Gaspasi Savino, a middle aged male human from the Monster Hunting Association of Lurindor. Lastly, a male terranefblin named Minchdoya was with them as well.

Lorenzo noticed the funeral pyre just outside. The party explained what happened with the bandits. Lorenzo had his men set up camp, and went with Onestrio to speak in private. Gaspasi introduced himself to the party, as did Minchdoya.

During the day, the party tended to Davona's wounds as she remained bedridden. Later on, Gaspasi explained to the party that the Association was interested in sponsoring hunts for renown monsters in the Viridian Marches. There were several that they knew of in the Evergreen Plains, and would like to give the party the first stab at completing them. He tells them of a powerful hodag, the turtle menace known as Old Crackjaw, the dangerous dire boar Tuskgutter, and of a powerful tatzlwyrm.

The next day, Lorenzo was found setting up a bulletin board in the trading post, and pinned posters to it. He explained to the party that several requests were made by the Châteaufoy Trade House in regards to some problems in the Evergreen Plains.

First, the Trade House put up a reward to significantly curb the amount of bandit activity in the Evergreen. If any persons manage to bring proof that they had defeated over two dozen bandits, they would receive a reward of 800 gold pieces.

Secondly, there was a tribe of kobolds in the Evegreen Plains known as the Sootscales. They were never much of a problem before, but recently, something had stirred them up. The Châteaufoy Trade House would reward any party that manage to pacify the kobolds by any means necessary.

Lorenzo also asked Arina if they were willing to take on other jobs while they explore. After she said yes, Lorenzo explained that he had heard of a former mercenary that he knew had joined up with the Stag Lord. His name was Fredo Stasi. Lorenzo had worked with Stasi on a previous job, but the mercenary stole the whole company's pay for himself and fled.

Finally, Lorenzo had an idea of where he was, but he cannot hunt him down in the Evegreen as he was duty-bound to remain at Onestrio's. Lorenzo promised the party a reward if they managed to catch Stasi, and an additional reward if they broughtg him back alive to face justice. The party agreed, and Lorenzo gave them a description of Stasi: a human man with a light tone of skin, a grey beard, a shaved head, and part of his right ear cut off.

Afterwards, Lorenzo met up with his men. The three had set up some semi-permanent shelters within the trading post.

"Welcome back, boss," Roark the dwarf said. "Camp's set. Cozy enough 'til we build something more permanent."

"Good job," Lorenzo told them as he put away his tools.

"Saw you talking the explorers, sir," Marcel the halfling said while tending to their supper over the fire. "What were they like?"

Lorenzo took a moment to consider his response. "They're an eclectic bunch. Pretty much what you'd expect from adventurers. But they seem skilled and capable. Took care of those bandits easily enough it seemed."

The middle-aged human Vecchio harrumphed. "Pretty grisly business, that. They're the 'take-no-prisoner' type of folk?"

"Well… from what Onestrio told me, they did take them prisoner. Initially." The mercenary leader sat down near the fire. "Seemed that they held a quick trial for them. Well, I say trial, but it seemed they just let Onestrio decide their fates."

"Let me guess," the grizzled veteran said, "he called for their heads."

Lorenzo nodded. "Aye, and Davona, the bright girl that's currently bed-ridden, killed the man in an instant."

Roark shook his head. "Some trial," he muttered.

"After that, they finished off the rest while they were unconscious," Lorenzo continued. He leaned in close to the others, and lowered his voice. "Apparently, the fox-man convinced Onestrio to finish off one of the bandits. Some sort of life lesson for the man or something, since he was the one who made the judgement."

Marcel was aghast at that. "I-I don't understand. I had heard that their charter gave them full authority over the law in the region. Why would they do this?"

Lorenzo shrugged. He was around long enough to have seen a lot of things. "Like I said, eclectic. Just stay out of their way as long as they don't interfere with our duties, and you'll be fine."

"World's a harsh place, kid," Vecchio told the young halfling.

"Anyways, they've only just started, so we'll see soon enough what they'll make of this region." And Lorenzo knew that if it was not good, at least they could get back to Lurindor in no time.

Before the end of the day, Onestrio approached the party. He asked about them finding his wife's wedding ring. He told them that although his wife tried to hide it, he knew that she was distressed about losing it to the bandits. Since the party were going to bring the fight to the bandits, he wondered if they could keep an eye out for it, and return it if they can. If they do, he'd be happy to give them a credit with for his trade goods equal to a thousand gold pieces. Eager at the prospect of free goods, the party happily agreed to retrieve the ring, which Onestrio described as a simple gold ring with his and Sabina's initials engraved on the inside.

The next day, the party continued to tend to Davona's injuries. Meanwhile, a new visitor showed up at the trading post. A male human by the name of Joram Kaerny claimed to be a traveling priest of Deianeira. He had heard of exploration efforts in the region, and wanted to offer his services to help the expedition. The party asked him to come examine Davona's condition, but something about him did not feel right to him. After Joram examined Davona, the party confronted him, and convinced him to be truthful.

Joram came clean. He actually was a priest of Deianeira, but one that was almost excommunicated from the church. In his home village, there were several murders that were believed to be perpetrated by a werewolf, and Joram led the lynch mob that hanged their primary suspect. When it later turned out that the murders were done by a pack of worgs, the church investigated Joram, and found him at fault. Only the fact that the former suspect was actually a spy for a band of raiders that were planning to attack the village saved Joram from full excommunication. Instead, he was exiled to wander the lands in search for redemption over his overzealous actions. When Joram entered Lurindor, he had started receiving dreams of an abandoned temple of Deianeira, in ruins and overgrown with plantlife, guarded by a large and angry bear.

Joram believed that his goddess was giving him a way to redeem himself. He felt a pull to the Evegreen Plains, and that was why he is here. However, since he arrived, he stopped having dreams or feeling the pull. He believed that his goddess was now testing him. Joram asked the party for their aid in finding the temple, which he believed was one that was established and then abandoned during one of the many attempts to colonize the region. In exchange, he would use whatever power he has to aid the party and the people of the trading post without cost. The party agreed to keep an out for the temple and let him know if they found it.

During supper, Sabina apologized to the party while serving them their meal. When asked why, Sabina admitted that food at the trading post will be a bit lackluster in flavour as they had run out of exotic goods. Sabina hesitantly asked the party if they would be willing to help supply them with moon radishes that she knew grew in the Evergreen Plains, not too far away. In return, she'd be happy to get them a 500 gold piece credit with the trading post every time they deliver a basketful of moon radishes. The party, eager for some tasty meals and increasing their store credit, readily agreed.

The next day, the Evergreen Company felt ready to start exploring the region. Davona had not fully recovered, but she felt that she could finish her recovery on the road.

The first few days of exploration was uneventful. Quite peaceful actually. However, on their third day, they noticed movement in the distance. The movement was heading towards them. As it came closer, the Evergreen Company could make out a figure, being chased by other figures. The party readied themselves for the encounter to come…

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