It seemed that the arrival to Oleg’s was not unexpected. Greeted warmly by the wife of Oleg, Sveltana Leveton, she had assumed the party were the guardsmen requested to help combat the ‘tax collection’ by local bandits.
While this was not their purpose in arriving, she offered the party both reward and free lodging if you would protect her and her husband from the bandit group.
In questioning Sveltana about the bandits it was gathered that they had first arrived 3 months ago, not long after the trading post had opened. Almost a dozen ruffians, along with a rough man with a bow and a crass woman with two axes arrived shortly after dawn demanding a payment – or they would take Sveltana for ‘entertainment’ and burn down Oleg’s post. With no apparent options – the Leveton’s gave in – offering up both cash and goods. In a final bit of mockery and cruelty the bandit leader stole the wedding ring off of Sveltana’s finger and threw it to one of her henchmen.
Since then, the bandits have returned twice, each time with less and less support. They are expecting them again tomorrow morning if the pattern continues to hold.
The party decided unanimously that it would be in their best interests to help the Leveton’s, and immediately went about planning an ambush. With some in the house and others hidden in the trading yard, they hoped to catch the bandits before they could even react.
Exactly as expected, the bandits showed up in the early morning. The cloaked man approached the house where Myrd, Sturm, and Azok were waiting. Upon kicking the door open he was almost immediately slain – spurring the action of those hiding in the yard. Keriatlian put a group of the bandits to sleep while Kaarina unleashed her bow. It took only moments to either kill or subdue the bandits. In the end, only one survivor – Jon Westbrook, a 14 year old human – was left to account for what had transpired.
Jon promised to lead them to the river camp where his former leader (a cruel woman named Kressle) was located in exchange for his life. He had turned to banditry after his father was killed and his mother died of illness. The party agreed, giving him the chance to prove himself.
Investigating the slain bandits revealed that one of them had an amulet worked into the shape of a silver stags head. No other information was able to be gathered, and it was clear that the bandits did not have much on this trip.
Going south with Jon leading the way, the party was ambushed by wolves the first night. However, no one was irreparably hurt and the rest of the voyage was without incident.
Reaching the river (known as the ‘Thorn River’ by the various trappers and bandits in the area), the party forded it at a location further from the camp in order to sneak around from behind.
From the far side of the river the party was able to observe four bandits sitting around a campfire sharpening swords and eating a meager meal. Working on the same strategy as before – putting the bandits to sleep while shooting them with ranged weapons – this fight was more challenging.
Kressle herself emerged from a rough lean-to bow in hand and begun fighting while two bandits hidden in tree blinds tried to get a jump on the party as well. Eventually everyone made it across the river (some drier than others) and dispatched all of the bandits, save one who they kept for questioning. The party learned that this was just an offshoot of the main bandit fortress. They are ruled by a giant of a man known as the Stag Lord. While the bandit had never met him, he knows that Kressle and Happs (the bandit leader who was killed at Oleg’s) would take trips south to check in and bring the majority of their bounty with them. Shortly after divulging this information, the bandit was executed for his crimes.
Searching the camp unearthed the stolen goods from the Trading post as well as a few other items of unknown origin. Unfortunately Sveltana’s wedding ring was not found. Loading up the handcart with the stolen goods and everything else the party could find of value, they returned to Oleg’s.
Upon arriving the party saw that a small squadron of guards had arrived some time in the week they were gone. Bypassing them for now, they returned the goods to Oleg and informed Sveltana that her ring had not been found yet. They also introduced the boy Jon as a prisoner they had rescued, hoping that Sveltana would either have forgotten or forgiven the young mans crimes. Succeeding in this, he is now employed by Oleg and will begin doing work around the trading post as necessary.
From here the party can begin their exploration of the Greenbelt itself – all the while keeping their eyes and ears open for more agents of the Stag Lord himself.