Wherein the Nephews return home to recoup, recover and decide on future plans
Drake and Darwish return to Garmsdale. Upon entering the keep they are greeted by Master at Arms Kern, who is training men in the yard [KM: nice touch Craig]. They meet Bard (who was visibly happy to see them) and report on their activities since last leaving Garmsdale for Wayland two weeks ago to help the Earl’s daughter there.
Bard confirms the news that the King Pellas of Ironwall is dead, possibly felled by an assassin, and that his weak third son is on the throne. He also tells of the visit of the Princess of Ironwall, who came seeking Hartwood’s aid against the usurpers. Bard informs Drake and Darwish that Lord Richard Manning’s son is to marry the daughter of Shieldhaven, who are vassals to the Earl of Hartwood. Also, Hadrian, the Lady of Wayland’s guard and one of her few friends is in Bard’s service.
After discussing all that has happened in such a brief time (the belligerence of Eodred Marshall of Mosstone, the attack on Archendale castle and theft of the Amulet of Kaldor, the muster of troops in Southguard, the growing troubles of the Earl of Wayland’s wife, and the death of Ironwall); Bard, Darwish, and Drake conclude that there is a much bigger game underway, and they need to find out who is behind it.
They decide on a course of action:
- Discover who ordered the theft of the Amulet of Kaldor in Archendale
- Discover the fate of the Earl of Wayland
It is decided that Rhun Ward, eldest bastard son of the Earl of Hartwood, will join Darwish and Drake to aid them on their mission. Bard teaches them a simple cipher to use for getting messages back to Garmsdale.
The men set out in the early hours, and make the river crossing at Melling by noon. Their destination is the ruins at Sirendel, with the hopes of discovering who had convinced the desperate men there to attempt a raid on the castle of the Elorien clan. They cross with the help of Tibbis Fisher, get their horses, and travel discretely to Archendale for a brief meeting with Paylen Ward. They leave that same evening for Wayland, and make camp on the road at nightfall.
They are attacked by four men wearing the livery of Lord Rikkard Manning. They kill two of the men (including the Captain), and the other two flee into the night.