Reunion in Trajanus & The Goblin Caves
The companions reunited at Trajanus, and made their way back to Scaptia (home village of The Four). Goblins foolishly attacked a halfling (Stem) and her wagon right in front of the heros and were soon put in the dead book. Some sort of druid/shaman was their leader - he carried a lot of potions. Stem promised the four a hundred gold worth of goods from her store in Scaptia. The Scaptia four went to the local wine house and caught up well into the night and the next morning. Celebrating their victory and boasting of each others' prowess with weapons or magic. Heard about goblins raiding the roads, found out where the goblins were striking from. (Cave goblins seen there now and then).
Cool goblin cave adventure for a first level party with goblins a plenty followed by a truce in which one goblin in particular dirty, smelly, brute (Mudglub). He befriended members of the party, and led Titus and his companions past his people to the real reason his fellow goblins had been raiding the town roads. Hobgoblins!! Not just any hobgoblins, but Tojarian soldiers, sent to take control of all the tribes in the area , and force them to cause trouble with the humans. The goblins were scared of the Tojarian soldiers mainly because they had a Black Dragon (Noak). Needless to say it was close but The Four overcame the odds, defeating the Tojarians and sent the She Dragon fleeing. In the aftermath (looting!!) The Four found a note of importance!!
A spy in the Senate and Tojarians in the Silverwood. With all their hard-earned loot (and borrowing some from dad for Titus), the companions loaded up their wagon…Yes, wagon with all sorts of goods and headed for Vetronus the meeting place of the Senate. The path was somewhat hazardous.
Four No More
At the crossroads The Four were approached by an old tinker selling all manner of crap. But before leaving he had a mental conversation with Remus promising great wealth and power for his help. He wanted Remus to denounce a cult member who had turned against his brothers and was helping the law. Remus enlisted Titus to help him find out more. At the next town the two mischief-makers found out more dirt on the cultist and then tried to discreetly discredit the man by going to the magistrate and telling him the cultist still worked for the cult. It went very badly, and only their fast tongues kept Remus and Titus out of imprisonment. The accused was near a saint!, who went undercover into the cult. He was also the magistrate's good friend. (Doubts were sown?)
The Four soon found themselves back on the road with Titus and Remus showing more spirit to be moving than usual (and mysteriously more gold). Goblin tracks leading off the path to blood captured their attention. After a short distance The Four found a cave with grubby Hobgoblin kids inside. After threatening the kids Calgorus vowed to return when the hobgoblins were grown and put an end to their miserable lives. Canderus had to drag Calgorus away before he judged them grown enough.
That night as the group were sleeping they came under attack by more hobgoblins. Barbarians they were and soon three of The Four were back sleeping on the ground while only Titus was still fighting from the bareback of Calgorus's mighty warhorse. After slaying the last of the big hobgoblins a smaller, nasty one grabbed Remus with a knife to his neck, and as Titus approached it cut the main artery. Titus went nuts beheading the hobgoblin and slaying the next hobgoblin that did the same with Calgorus leaving Titus shouting from horseback surrounded by blood and bodies. (He almost saw a devilish figure laughing quietly in the night). After the battle Titus helped Canderus recover from a nasty bump on the noggin and informed him The Four were no more and told him of the cowardly hobgoblins killing his friends.
After a mournful funeral, Titus vowed revenge against the Tojarian hobgoblins. (It didn't matter to him that the hobgoblins that killed Remus and Calgorus were not Tojarian). He then spent the better part of a week's travel drunk, including an interesting battle with a harpy.
New Allies (Zen and the minotaurs)
The next turn of events went the way of the two survivors when they met Zengalus and his two minotaur guards, Cassius and Brutus. Zen was a charming fellow who was assistant to the senator Aurelius and insisted we take the letter to Aurelius straight away. Zen volunteered his services and that of his guard to assist Titus and Canderous in getting to Vetronus and to see the senate.
Again disaster struck when upon spotting bodies on a nearby rise / hill with a pretty little swamp pool around the base Titus went to have a look on the mighty warhorse of Calgorus's. As he approached the top he saw Brutus the minotaur following. At the top the bodies were hobgoblins, killed by a large creature and just as Brutus approached Titus spotted a five-headed hydra feasting on hobgoblin bodies on the other side of the hill. Telling Brutus to run back and tell the others to get moving away, Titus drew his bow. The big fella (Brutus) tripped while worried for his master's safety and caused enough noise falling in the swamp to attract the hydra. Titus tried to distract the large creature to allow Brutus to escape but the minotaur was too slow in the swamp and turned to fight the beasty. Titus joined in the battle drawing his sword and fighting on foot. Alas, as it looked like Brutus might stand a chance, one of the slain heads returned and together all the heads tore him apart. Titus slayed yet another head even as he was returning to his horse. Whilst the hydra was feasting on Calgorus's mighty warhorse, Titus took the opportunity to sneak away and rejoin Canderus and Zengalus.
Further up the road, what was left of the group came across a very worried dwarf (Thraken).
It seemed Thraken was carrying the find of a decade; a large diamond worth tens of thousands of gold. Thraken was worried about the safety of his diamond and had it riding up the front of his wagon with him. Upon seeing the hydra further back down the road he belted the horses and made a run for it. Only after he had put a few miles between himself and the mighty beast did he realise the diamond was no longer in his possession. He pulled up his cart and tried to find his diamond when the heroes approached. At first he was hesitant but soon Zen and Titus had him talking. The heroes decided to backtrack toward the hydra and look for the diamond. It didn't take long for Titus to spot the diamond only a hundred yards from the dwarf, saving the group the risk of facing the hydra again. Happy to have his diamond back Thraken gave Titus the only other thing he had of value - a magical sword. Thraken said he had little use for it anyway, he preferred the axe.
Little Shop of Horrors
The next village proved to hold a strange sight for the travelers: a "magic emporium" dealing in fantastic creatures was under attack from the furniture, and the owner (Precilla) was turned to stone. It turned out there was a cockatrice loose in the store, some magical lizards, a rust monster (that destroyed Canderus's plate armour) and some sort of flying snake that caused the furniture to attack the heroes.
The battles were fierce with the group trying to be inventive in capturing the creatures that were loose, using crates, rope and in Zen's case, a scroll of sleep. Cassius nearly died when he was attacked by an sandwich that he tried to eat. The sandwich animated and tried to lodge its self in the minotaur's throat. Titus was unable to help as a table was pinning him in a corner and Zen and Canderus were engaged by a book and hat stand. Zen figured out the snake was causing the trouble and Canderus helped him finish the beast, just in time for a now nearly blue minotaur to swallow what was left of his enemy. After the shop was safe Titus (while looking for clues?) found some potions that reversed the effect of the cockatrice and they returned Precilla, the owner of the store, to her normal self. Precilla was so grateful she gifted the group with a few small rewards and a new suit of plate for Canderus - altered by her magic to fit.
The weary travelers found their way to the local inn to drink, boast of capturing some of the strange creatures (not the rust monster, Canderus made sure of that) and in the end get a good night (and morning) sleep.
Traitor in the ranks.
After a late start (about noon) the message bearers (the group) continued on their way to Vetronus, spending the night in the country air. As per expected, both Zen and Titus complained about lack of comforts.
Further down the trail the group came across a man on horseback waiting for them. Zengalus quickly told Canderus to stand down, for this was an old friend. The greetings were brief, for beside Zen's friend (Claudius) a large bugbear stepped from the trees. Claudius basically threatened the group, revealed himself to be working for the Tojarians, told Zen if he continued he would die, mentioned the Forest of Lies and set his big bugbear onto Cassius the minotaur. Titus and Canderus went to Cassius's aid, as he was very hard pressed by the big Tojarian shock trooper. Zen started up the road toward Cassius when more Tojarians entered the fray: a few hobgoblin archers and another skilled swordsman. Claudius just sat on his horse and watched. All to soon Canderus was hard pressed by a hobgoblin swordsman of some skill, Zen was having an archery contest with his crossbow vs the hobgoblin bows and Cassius the minotaur took a mortal wound falling to the ground with the big bugbear gloating over his body. Titus took advantage of the bugbear's lack of concentration and stabbed him in the back leaving his body beside that of Zen's guard. Next was the hobgoblin swordsman who was standing over the prone body of Canderus - he didn't even see Titus coming for him. Claudius decided that it was a good idea to leave and despite a few following crossbow bolts managed to get away unharmed. The last Tojaran soldiers were skilled enough with bows, but thanks to Zen's magic distracting them, fell to swords quite easily.
Canderus proved to be injured but not killed - the same could not be said for Cassius the minotaur guard. Burying such a large companion took time but there was a crowbar and shovels in the wagon. After losing his other bodyguard, Zen was looking forward to getting to Vetronus.
Vetronus and meeting the senate
Vetronus was a large city and the meeting place of the senate. Some very refreshing baths and new clothes later they were escorted to meet the senate.
The senate was made up of:
Supreme Chancellor Philemon (The leader of The Seven. A middle-aged, powerfully built, former general in the Bronze Legions, a man of great diplomatic skills and of unquestionable courage, he is only new to the office following the death of the late supreme chancellor Taberus. Philemon holds the portfolio of Defence and War).
Chancellor Aurillius (Zen's boss) (A tall eccentric man with a shock of curly dark hair, this younger man holds the portfolio of National Security and Internal Affairs, and heads up the many investigative forces across the nation, including the famous Light Cloaks of Vetronus).
Chancellor Caligulus (An older short and frail man with a fathomless knowledge of Avalin's neighbours, he holds the portfolio of International Affairs and Trade).
Chancellor Pompasi (A likable gentleman who always seems to find the right words to say to make people feel good about themselves, he is an older man with grey hair and holds the portfolio of Finance and Agriculture).
Chancellor Sistellas (A huge man with a very robust waistline and a grumpy demeanour, some would even say rude, he has grey hair and holds the portfolio of Architecture and Infrastructure).
Chancellor Minlassus (An older smaller man with long bushy eyebrows and owl like features, he is very well spoken and holds the portfolio of Health and Education, including the Wizarding community).
Chancellor Brandiuss (A tall older man with a youthful demeanour and a very quick wit, he has a powerful build and holds the portfolio of Religion and Festivals).
After much arguing the senate decided to send Zengalus and his companions to the Forest of Lies to see if there was a threat to the Avalin people. Much to Zen's delight, after the disappointment of having to go into the wild, they also allowed him to take another two minotaur guards: Krotus and ???.
Aventi proved to be an exciting stop-over for the group. They discovered the existence of a strange fire-breathing hound that had killed some of the locals and two of the local police force. After finding out more facts, the group headed out to a local farmer's house. Nonius the farmer was scared of the group almost as much as he was scared of the fire-breathing hound. Canderus decided to set bait for the hound by stripping off his armour and going for a jog. It worked and soon the rest of the party heard him calling for help. The group soon made short work of the dangerous beast which they dragged back to town for proof. After skinning the beast the heroes continued their journey.