We start with our party of three accompanying Captain Tristler, the captain of the guard in Artin. The party consists of Strega, an imposing figure of a man with a tendency toward cruelty, Knil, a dead faced teen with slightly elvish features, and Ollyn, a reserved character with a knack for remembering things.
The group is patrolling the forests around Artin when an arrow strikes the captain in the throat, dropping him to the ground. Ahead of the party amongst the trees are a pair of grey skinned creatures. One wields an ugly notched maul, and the other is reloading a bow. The two are Trist.
Ollyn and Knil take cover behind trees while Strega charges forwards to meet the trist with the maul in close combat. As blows are exchanged Ollyn and Knil both try their hand at combat magic.
Ollyn attempts to summon an arrow and fire it at the trist who is fighting Strega, but he wildly overestimates his magical abilities and merely manages to summon the shape of an arrow in the dirt on the ground. Meanwhile, Knil tries something similar, conjuring a disk to shoot at his foes, but is met with equal success. He then takes a tree branch and attempts to transmute it into a metal blade. It turns to a fine powder in his hand.
Magic abandoned, the two decide to do something useful and charge in to battle with swords drawn. Knil rushes the archer and Ollyn heads to where Strega is fighting. The archer fires a few shots to no avail before he is accosted by Knil and forced to defend himself. Outnumbered two to one, the other trist receives a gaping wound to the torso from Strega’s Naginata, and is decapitated by Ollyn mere seconds later.
Knil fails to land a clean blow on the archer, who tries to grapple him to the ground. The other two run over in an effort to help. Ollyn joins the brawl and they manage to stop the trist from strangling Knil and then somewhat restrain it between them. Strega takes a wild swing at the knot of fighters and luckily only hits the trist, slicing it’s back open and killing it after a few near misses.
With the fighting over, the party goes to check on the health of the captain. He’s on the verge of death and unable to give coherent directions back to the village, so Strega puts him out of his misery. After looting the bodies of anything useful, including the captain’s boots, the group spends some time deliberating upon how to get back to the village. They even go so far as to watch Strega struggle to climb part way up a tree for a (theoretically) better view. Eventually Ollyn decides to point out that he can recall the way they came in detail, and the party begin to retrace their steps.
After an hour or so they break for a meal and rest. Since Knil forgot to bring his own food, he steals some of Ollyn’s, who charges him double the ration’s cost as payment when he catches him. However, the party does not rest for long before an arrow whistles past Knil, who manages to dodge out of the way thanks to an almost precognitive instinct.
Scrambling for their weapons, the trio leap to action and turn to confront their attacker, Nonag “Oath Breaker” Fieldsman, who then calls for assistance. There is a burly man with a mace and a wiry looking fellow holding a quarterstaff. The archer who shot at Knil is hiding behind a bush nearby. Strega and Knil charge them, but the enemies disengage after a scarce exchange and begin to retreat. Unable to catch them, the party gives up the chase. As they watch their cowardly aggressors flee, they catch a threat yelled back at them:
“I’ll get you, Book-Burner!”
Remarking upon the strangeness of their encounter, Ollyn, Strega, and Knil continue backtracking to the village and eventually arrive in town at roughly 3am. Exhausted, they find their respective lodgings and fall asleep.
The next morning Ollyn, having slept in the pub area of the Inn, awakes to the sound of the Innkeeper trying to light the fireplace. Wordlessly, Ollyn walks over, takes the flint and tinder from the Innkeeper and painstakingly goes about making the fire. The Innkeeper is surprised to see him after they failed to return the previous afternoon, and starts questioning the whereabouts of the others and the captain. Ollyn states that the captain is dead, and the fire roars to life as thought to emphasize his words. Shocked, the Inkeeper does nothing for a few minutes and then strides out of the tavern, declaring that people need to know of the news.
Word gets out and by the time Ollyn reaches the town square there is already a crowd. A woman by the name of Victoria, the local huntress, takes command of the situation and orders Ollyn to bring the other two survivors. After selling the good captain’s boots, Ollyn sets out to find his companions and comes across Knil and Strega by the bakery hastily making what can only be described as DIY sandwiches, and convinces them to come to the town square. They continue to make their sandwiches on the way there, which is not the simplest of tasks by any margin, and then proceed to gorge upon their Frankenstein-esque creations. A trail of crumbs and perturbed expressions marks their path.
Back in the town square, Victoria lays out a plan. She and a select group will go and check the area where the ambush happened for any signs of trist or the group that attacked on the way back. Meanwhile, the party is to head south for Linvale and recruit the wizard who is rumoured to be there to help deal with any imminent threats. The gathering breaks up and our party heads out to Linvale.