The party made quite the impression as they entered Westgate Keep with the manticore’s carcass across the back of their newly liberated draft horse. Atos did a brisk business in hand mirrors, Cal’Ren sought out and made the acquaintance of Dudley Talbot aka Mouse. Spark was made privy to rumors of a new god emanating from Springle by Brother Cadmon and the party, whilst relaxing at the keep’s interior tavern, The One Eyed Cat, met Fergl, a woodsman who volunteered to take them manticore hunting.
The next day, with Fergl’s assistance, the party traipsed to the lair of the slain manticore, only to discover that he had a mate and litter of young. After a brief, bloody battle, abetted by the sharp shooting prowess of their new party member, the scout, Taron, the mother and her young were slain. Their lair yielded a trove of booty, including a battered spellbook and a libram of health that, upon its perusal, made Spark more dexterous.
After several days’ stay at the keep, the Temple of Freya, located outside of the keep walls in the amalgam of tents and hovels known as Eastside, was attacked and set aflame by raiding beastmen. It’s resident artifact, The Crucible of Freya, was absconded with during the fracas and Shandril, the temple’s high priestess, implored the adventurers to retrieve it, lending them her holy blade, Valkeryia, as part of the bargain. Being erstwhile heroes, the adventurers attempted to oblige.
Aided in their pursuit by the tracking prowess of Fergl and accompanied by two guardsman from Westgate (being all the manpower the keep could spare), our adventurers’ trek led them several hours northeast by horseback across the River Briskly to the gates of the once abandoned and partially ruined Ilarion’s Keep. Once there, arriving just before the raiding party, the adventurers were surprised when the beastmen gained egress to one of the keep’s side towers through a partially hidden iron door.
Demonstrating his technical prowess once again, Cal’ren finessed the padlock to the iron door, gaining entrance for the party. Inside, they skirted a large pool of green goo but not before one of the hapless, blundering guardsmen was irrevocably slimed. Peeking out into the courtyard, the party espied a veritable horde of exultant orcs clamoring about the pilfered artifact hoisted aloft by a mysterious, chain mail clad leader.
Hiding, not one of Marcus’ strong suits, the mailed warrior was spotted upon the battlements which led to a pitched melee within the confines of the partially ruined tower. Wielding Shandril’s holy blade, Valkyria, Marcus slew many orcs that day, but alas, Okeer, their new comrade clumsily fell through the rotting floorboards and was dragged off by the marauding orcs.
When the party was beset by not just one, but TWO spellcasters, discretion became the wiser part of valor and the party judiciously fled, living (most of them, anyway) to fight another day.