Spes Novum

[Prequel] A quiet day at the Greengrass Festival

The festivities of the Greengrass Festival are well underway in Stanehold, celebrating the coming of spring season. In one of the local taverns a visiting dwarf by the name of Mazmoir is rudely interrupted in his celebrations by a small group of intolerant locals. Not heeding the threats of the individuals, the ruffians decide to try and convince the dwarf to leave with a little more violence.

While Mazmoir valiantly defends himself, one of the people seated next to Mazmoir is dragged into the fight. The fabulous half-elf named Darius is not easily impressed by the ruffians and draws his rapier in defense. Using his weapon, the new combatant rapidly disposes of one of the ruffians by killing him, the rest of the tavern is left in awe by how fast this escalated.

When the town guard arrives at the scene he can only come to the most obvious conclusion and arrest the harrassed dwarf for murder. Mazmoir would be added to the public executions that are taking place the next day as part of the Greengrass festivities. Darius, happy that he did not get pointed out by the crowd of witnesses, resumes his celebrations at the bar, joining two other young men who had just introduced themselves to each other as Marvin and Garrick.

Discussing the events that had just taken place, the three new companions decided, out of feelings of guilt and justice, that it was not right to have an innocent, even a dwarf, be executed for a crime he didn’t commit.

The next day the group sets out to the local square to join in on the public executions. One of the festival traditions is that the King absolves one of the prisoners of their crimes by choosing of the people. Darius, Marvin, and Garrick decide they will try to free the dwarf and have him absolved of his accused crime.

During the executions, even before the King has started the traditional absolving, a group of shadowy figures assaulted the stage. The figures assault the King while trying to free one of the other prisoners, an elf charged with theft. The three companions immediately ready their weapons in case they have to defend themselves. The shadowy figures interpret this as a hostile action and while two of the figures escape with the elf, the others stay behind and attack the, now four, companions.

After defeating the King’s assailants the group is brought to the King for clarification. After a brief audience, the King offers to hire these people to track down the prisoner, an elf named Talo, and find out how he is connected to the Shadow Cloaks, a group that opposes the King’s rule which is suspected to be the ones behind the attack. Without any other matters at hand, the group accepts the King’s offer.

Returning to the scene of the crime, the group succeeds in finding tracks of the Shadow Cloaks and follows them to an older part of Stanehold which had been destroyed in wartime and not yet been repaired. The tracks lead to the cellar of a destroyed mansion. In this cellar, the group encounters some of the Shadow Cloaks and find themselves face to face with a grim man who introduces himself as Lennix. Lennix explains that the taking of Talo was a distraction and that he and the Shadow Cloaks seek to end the reign of the corrupt King. During this conversation Talo is executed by one of Lennix’ henchmen as a threat to Lennix’ pursuers. Lennix offers them a chance to join the Shadow Cloaks to overthrow the corrupt King and asks the group to gain the King’s trust in order for future opportunities, if they were to accept his offer.

Unsure of what to do, the group returns Talo’s lifeless body to the King, hiding the fact that they had in fact met Lennix in the chase. The group is rewarded for returning the prisoner and is offered another job, if they would be interested.

Still not deciding which side to take, the group once again accepts this assignment. The companions are to find and aid the King’s nephew Eric, who has been sent out on a personal hunt in order to prove himself to his fellow guardsmen.

The companions head out to the nearby woods where Eric is supposed to be. Along the way they meet a treant sapling, guarded by a large golden maple tree, which is being harassed by some Twig Blights and a larger Needle Blight. The group takes pity to the sentient woodland being and decide to help him by defeating the Blights so that the sapling will not be threatened anymore.

Not much later, they find Eric near a cave, used by goblins as a small encampment. Together with Eric, the group decimates most of the goblins while the rest of them flee in absolute terror. Eric explains that he has been challenged to hunt down a Direwolf. Eric himself had camped in this very cave when he was chased by the incoming goblins, leaving his backpack and personal effects behind in the cave. Now that the goblins had been chased, he could retrieve his backpack and continue his hunt for the Direwolf.

The group agreed to help Eric in the slaying of the Direwolf, but keeping their involvement in the hunt a secret from the other guards. Soon after the five of them set off to hunt the Direwolf the group heard a harrowing howl from a distance, and the sound of the wolves was closing in…

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