Of Relics of Olde
Wherein Drake and Darwish discover the existence of the Sigil of Kaldor.
(Aside: Drystan’s player Zejlko has regrettably decided to drop out of the game, reducing the party to two. To write the character out without killing, it was decided that Drystan had taken Darwish’s good mount (and the satchel of lending notes) and headed back to Hartwood to report to Lord Bard. Hopefully he will return someday in the future.)
As the evening winds down and the first of the sleeping arrangements are being made, a warning bell sounds at the keep. Racing to the courtyard, it is evident that someone had tried to stealthily enter the keep but failed. Archers on the wall are letting fly with arrows into the dark. Drake joins them for a single shot and shooting at a flitting shadow in the dark of night, manages to seriously wound a man.
Ser Eodred and his brothers make ready to give chase to the fleeing pursuers while Drake and Lorgal (a huntsman in the employ of Archendale) seek to find the wounded thief. They do so and Drake interrogates the man. They get little but “… Caer Sirendel” (an old Kaldorian ruin a day to the west and a known haven for brigands). Hoping to cut the would-be thieves off before they can return to the ancient fortification, Eodred and his brothers separate into hunting groups and thunder off to the west.
Drake and Darwish follow on foot, tracking the men by the light of the moon. It is soon evident to the two that the men they pursue have little woodcraft – which strikes them as odd. Suddenly believing they had been duped, the pair quickly returns to the keep. When they arrive it is immediately evident something is amiss. The sally gate lies open, and a body lies within the courtyard. They discover garrison soldiers spiked into their barracks and dogs lie poisoned throughout the yard. Believing the Lady Moraine might be the target of whoever the intruders are, they are relieved to find her locked in her rooms.
It becomes apparent the intruders were after something: the pair head outside of the keep and discover tracks in the moonlight where a rider had waited with spare mounts. The sign seemed to lead to the east, in the opposite direction from the ruins of Caer Sirendel. They quickly pursue but the cause seems lost until they stumble upon a shepherd in the darkness. He seemed quite frightened and reveals to Darwish (after he is calmed) that he saw riders before them who had stopped and made some mention of Southguard. Further, he had seen them leave the road and take the trail towards the Barrow Wood, an area of dark reputation.
They return to Moraine and prepare to wait for the brothers to return. She seems somewhat anxious for pursuit to begin immediately and specifically before her brothers return. Confiding in Drake, she reveals that an heirloom of Fallen Kaldor, the Sigil of Kaldor had been in the keeping of the Elorien family since the death of the Last King. Her brothers, with little respect for history, had never been trusted with knowledge of the artifact and she was loath to break her father’s wisdom without his presence.
She implored to Drake to give chase and if he needed help to seek Carrad the Borderer in the camp overlooking Archendale, offering an heirloom silver and sapphire bracelet to pay him for his services. Despite exhaustion, the pair departed immediately. The camp was easy enough to find and after being challenged by a pair of sentinels they found themselves escorted into the presence of Carrad.
They negotiated with him for his help, but he was canny, unwilling to aid without knowing exactly why the Lady Moraine had trusted two strangers with the task. Furthermore, he bristled when offered payment like a common mercenary. Eventually, Drake and Darwish revealed they had been sworn to secrecy and proffered that if his service required the breaking of that secrecy then they would continue without him. This seemed to earn Carrad’s grudging respect and he agreed to help. (Drake noted that although he seemed to loathe being talked to like a mercenary, he did accept the token from Moraine as payment). The two promptly sought their rest before an afternoon departure.