During the battle of Graveth’s Fort, both Sir Bruce and Octavius had gone down under withering fire from powerful ballistas. Laska had just slipped out of the shadows to administer a potion of healing to Sir Bruce and get him back into the fight.
Sir Bruce healed himself as Laska took on Sir Darius Black and Faith Inhiri. When Bruce got up and back into the fight, she slipped out of combat and over to Octavius to bring him back up as well with one of his potions.
With all three back in the fight they were able to take out first Sir Darius Black. And then Faith Inhiri. When the Tiefling fell she exploded in a foul burst of necrotic energy. There were still 4 brigands manning the ballista towers. Laska took one of them out with a sneak attack shot from her heavy crossbow. Then she scaled the tower to take control of the ballista. It was already loaded. She fired it at one of the brigands across the compound and the ballista spear caught him in the chest and carried him clear off the tower to crumple to the earth below. Octavius did the same, climbing a tower to man a different ballista. When he got to the top, however, he found it had already been fired. Instead of reloading he fired his wand of magic missiles but the spell fizzled as the range was too far. It was a race to see who could load their ballista faster.
Laska was hit by a ballista spear and went down before she could reload. Sir Bruce leaped up on Leadbelly and charged the tower of the final brigand as he took aim with his ballista. Sir Bruce knew he would not get close the distance in time to use his lance so he hurled two javelins. The first found purchase in the man’s leg and the second in his throat as he slumped down dead. Octavius made it to Laska before she bled out and used a healing spell to save her. Octavius grunted, ‘Glad you are back.’ She wiped the bloood from her mouth and smiled, ‘I guess we’re even huh?’ Octavius nodded grimly, ‘Yeah, I guess we are.’
Searching Graveth’s Fort they found the desk of Sir Darius Black. There were papers there documenting the supplies and men of the fort including details on attacks they had made against trade caravans and merchants as well as The Village of Tommen. There also seemed to be a link between the Devil Cult of Bressard Montaine and this group of outlaws in the form of Faith Inhiri who was influencing their decisions and tactics and reporting back to the cult.
They also found 257 CP, 8560 SP, 1400 GP, 60 PP, 5 paintings worth 25 GP each, and box with 10 Emeralds worth 50 GP each. These emeralds were very similar to those the cult had given to the goblin chief Blort and others the cult had dealings with. The fallen Sir Darius Black carried Arrowbreaker – an enchanted shield that Sir Bruce claimed as his own.
The Master Treasure List was updated with each of the three party members getting an equal share of the loot. The three took an extended rest, camping out at the Graveth’s Fort before heading back to The Village of Tommen.
Greeting them was Sir Bentley Dunlavey who asked for a report. He congratulated them on their victory and when learning that they planned to travel back to Twin Falls Keep, asked Sir Bruce to deliver a letter for him to his cousin Duchess Fiona Falconhand. They also checked in with Warden Felicity Briarpatch. She deputized a number of townsfolk to come to Graveth’s Fort with wagons and oxen. All of the weapons and armor and excess trade goods that had been stockpiled by the brigands were brought back to The Village of Tommen in order to aid in it’s defense. Warden Briarpatch asked Sir Bruce to check with Duke Eltan Falconhand as to the fate of Graveth’s Fort. There was a question as to whether it should be burned or garrisoned or simply left empty.
The Knights of Tethyr travelled to Twin Falls Keep without incident. There they met with Duke Eltan Falconhand and Dame Claire Brinewind for an extensive debriefing. Sir Bruce held nothing back. He explained in exact detail all of the party’s adventures including the destruction of the devil cult run by Bressard Montaine, the liberation of the salt mine, and the fall of Sir Darius Black. Duke Eltan was quite impressed. After hearing of Sir Bentley Dunlavey’s rescue from almost certain death, Duke Eltan gave Sir Bruce a token of his appreciation. The Duke gifted upon him Ironbiter. The mighty enchanted lance had been in the Dunlavey family for generations and was given to the Duke upon his wedding to Sir Bentley’s cousin, Fionna. The Duke thought it only fitting that such a family heirloom should be bestowed upon the man who saved Sir Bentley’s life. The Duke also decreed that Warden Felicity Briarpatch should assemble and train a force to occupy and hold Graveth’s Fort so that it would not fall into evil hands again. He gave Sir Bruce a chest of gold to deliver to Felicity to help see to the needs of the garrison to be.
Later that evening The Knights of Tethyr dined with Duke Eltan Falconhand, his wife the Duchess Fiona Falconhand, and her long time friend Lady Lymera. Over dinner, the noble hosts were once again regaled in the stories of the knight’s adventures. Lady Lymera remarked on how the plant samples Sir Bruce had delivered had proven to be quite interesting indeed and wanted to speak further to them about it in the morning in her lab.
The next morning Lady Lymera explained that the samples Sir Bruce had provided her from his encounter with the evil tree had proved most troubling. The tree that Sir Bruce had destroyed was in fact the progeny of an ancient and storied tree of evil known as The Gulthias Tree. Legends tell of a vampire named Gulthias who worked terrible magic and raised an abominable tower named NightFang Spire. Gulthias was undone when a hero plunged a wooden stake through his heart. But as the vampire was destroyed his blood fused with the stake with a dreadful power. In time, tendrils of new growth sprouted from the wood, growing into a sapling infused with the Vampire’s evil essence. From this Gulthias Tree came the seeds from which the first blights were sown.
Seeds from the original Gulthias Tree grow into smaller versions of the original tree and can take root and pollute a forest with evil. They attract other evil creatures such as spiders, evil fey, and undead. And from these saplings grow the blights. Twisted plant like creatures that are evil and thirst for blood.
From the samples of the Gulthias Tree, Lady Lymera was able to craft a magical wand. This wand can be used to direct the wielder in the correct direction to get closer to the ancient original Gulthias Tree, the source of all its evil. Lady Lymera has asked that this source be found and destroyed. Sir Bruce with the assistance of Lady Lymera sent magical word to his superiors in the The Order of the Silver Owl. They agreed that this evil should be sought out and destroyed and confirmed that Sir Bruce follow Lady Lymera’s quest.
Lady Lymera also shared that she would use her skill in the arcane arts to aid their quest. She offered to craft magic items for them in exchange for gold to help her replenish her reagents and components. Sir Bruce spent 5,000 GP on a Javelin +2. Octavius purchased a Necklace of Prayer Beads for 5,000 GP ( with 400 GP of help from Sir Bruce), Octavius traded the arcane spell scrolls of lightning bolt, magic missile, and invisibility for a Ring of Swimming, and Laska purchased Dagger of Warning for 500 GP and Rapier + 1 for 500 GP.
The next day the Knights of Tethyr set out from Twin Falls Keep and traveled back to t The Village of Tommen. There they met with Warden Felicity Briarpatch to deliver the Duke’s decree that she was to assemble and train a force of guards to man Graveth’s Fort to protect the Old King’s Road between Tommen and Twin Falls Keep. The Knights gave Felicity the chest of gold entrusted to them from the Duke to help pay for the garrison. With the limited funds he had left, Sir Bruce purchased two potions of Greater Healing for 250 GP each. He gave one to Laska and 1 to Octavius . The Master Treasure List was updated.
Sir Bruce gifted his trusty war hose Leadbelly to Kip Briarpatch on the promise that he would take good care of him. And then Sir Bruce cast the summon steed spell. A powerful destrier suddenly ran out of the woods to come to Sir Bruce’s side. Sir Bruce gave him an apple and the two were immediately the best of friends. Sir Bruce saddled him up and the Knights of Tethyr rode out of Tommen.