Your time in Fairhill has passed pretty peacefully, which has been a nice change of pace. Some of you have had the chance to travel, revisiting Reme or the countryside around Fairhill – actually very agreeable when people aren’t trying to kill you in it. The harvest has been and gone, and was successful, if limited by the damage Tavik wrought on it. The people of Fairhill had the choice of whether to be well-fed or rich, as food prices in the whole region are pushed up by the shortage. They chose to eat, enjoying the reversal of having better stores than many of their more wealthy countrymen in the cities.
Welby and Alana visited Reme, to sell on some of your ‘acquired merchandise’ from the last few weeks. Your fortunes are looking up. Arlen keeps promising a fair repayment for you. Some of the money you refused from him at various stages went into commissioning a set of statues in the market square. The likenesses could certainly be better – you know Schmaull isn’t quite as big and tall as he is depicted, Collin isn’t shown with a drink in his hand, and Valerie would have preferred if her statue counterpart were carved with both eyes still in – but the thought was there.
As the winter sets in, the conditions turn colder. Much colder, actually, and the snows fall a good few weeks earlier than normal. Travel may be more difficult.
The rumours that reached your ears alternately intrigued and bored you. The raids against the dwarves in the north caught your attention (not least for Hrothgar’s sake), and then news of the earthquake reached your ears.
Within just a few days, things were already in motion. You encountered a couple of groups passing through Fairhill heading that way, cursing the snows and their lack of preparedness for them, but still failing to secure adequate winter gear (you wondered if they could afford it).
Then, a messenger arrived. By chance, she found no-one in at the house in which you were staying, but a few well-meaning locals pointed her to the Drunken Cockatrice, where Collin and a few others were propped up (in Collin’s case, literally).
The letter she delivered was closed with a wax seal, depicting a hammer. Breaking it open, you read:
We write briefly, for time is short, and we would that that messenger had been away some hours before this. Word has reached us that the enemy is soon to spring the next move. An attack on Seawatch would be difficult, but not beyond their means, and the effects would be devastating. Aside from the harm to trade and travel, if they were able to organise a similar event to what you uncovered in Duskview, the force we would face would likely be more than we could withstand.
Word reached us also of the quake not too far from where you now winter. Ser Benjamin believes that this uncovered place is the tomb of Ser Radegund, a hero of some small renown who is best-known for happening upon an artefact well beyond her own power. An amulet of pure good – a powerful weapon, in the right hands. Ser Benjamin believes Saint Cuthbert has laid open her tomb to offer the amulet at the time it is needed most.
Your deeds and love for justice are well known already. We would move to claim the amulet ourselves, but we already northbound to warn and lay our plans to frustrate and delay the enemy. I must ask you, on behalf of our order, to take the amulet and keep it safe. Bring it north, if you can, but most of all, keep it out of the hands of the forces of darkness. There are many, not just our enemy, who would use the amulet for their own ends, or just to keep us from using it. I urge you to move posthaste.
Go with the spirit of retribution behind you.
Yours in fellowship and gratitude,
Retributor Jo-Dorrell, speaking with the voice of the Hammer of Retribution
You barely have time to digest the contents of this letter when Arlen joins you. It is not rare for him to be in the tavern, but this early in the day is unusual for him. He nods in greeting.
“It’s finally time I found a way to pay our debt to you. Nothing the town can offer you can really equal what you did for us, so I’m not going to try. The paltry coin we could offer would be, frankly, insulting to you.”
He pulls a letter that was tucked into his belt.
“I’ve written this for you to take to Hanel. He is the armourer-in-chief for the guards in Bard’s Gate, and an old friend of mine. I’m calling in a favour with him, and asking him to give you some items out of the stores. He used to keep a fair cache of enchanted items for the guards, but they tend to just be kept in the stores. Hopefully you’ll put them to good use.”
He places the letter on the table, and walks of to resume his duties before you can reply.