The World in Chaos
The party planning had been rushed. We didn't really give ourselves a lot of time. We were so eager to celebrate the reopening of the hall that we'd hardly prepared anything. I was running around, making what last minute plans I could, when I noticed someone had set up a tent in the front yard. I guess word had spread farther than I'd anticipated. I was curious, but had too much to do already to be able to investigate.
The party started, and people came trickling in, but there were eventually a decent number of attendees. We had a few drinks, and talked of old times, and a while after we started, a trader came out of the tent, rubbing sleep from his eyes. He offered fishing supplies for sale, which nobody either needed or wanted, and told us about a game he had been planning for the Blue Moon Festival. He would lay out three cups of drink. One would be plain ale, one poisoned, and one contain an experimental potion meant to help find treasures. No wonder Andris didn't allow him in.
We'd had a bit to drink at that point, and with some urging from Jacquelinne, were convinced to try this strange sounding game. A couple of rounds went uneventfully, until my turn came up. The cup I chose exploded in my hand - thankfully before I had a chance to drink it. Rosina dressed the wound for me, and I turned to the trader, prepared to strike him down for injuring me. He looked utterly confused, and a little bit scared, as he should have been. He explained that he'd lost his recipe to a band of brigands who were blocking the road near Foehan, and wasn't able to replicate the potion correctly with out.
I chose to postpone my vengeance, as everyone else seemed to think the threat from these robbers was a more urgent matter. And so we ventured through the woods, with only minor difficulties on the way, eventually reaching the settlement and finding it firmly in the grasp of one of the largest bands of outlaws I've encountered. They were packed tight into each building, with fully a dozen tents build outside as well.They were led, no less, by a powerful mage, who claimed that these outlaws were the rightful ruling power of the land. Jacquelinne fearlessly - or drunkenly - threw the severed head of one of the mage's subordinates at her, shouting, "This'll be you next!" The mage took fright and tried to flee, but Jackie's words proved prophetic as we surrounded and destroyed her. The rest of the filth were soon cleaned up, and the torn up remains of the trader's recipe found, nearly unreadable. We turned to head back to the hall, and found that the trader had followed us, cowering at a safe distance while we dealt with his problems. We returned the note to him, and bid him good riddance.
I am concerned by this turn of events. The forests and towns are overrun, not only with monsters, but with criminals as well. I returned to this land to find my hall - my home - abandoned and in need of much repair. It seems the problem may be more widespread than only that.
Ranger of the Black Roses