A Not-So-Stealthy Reconnaissance
In the morning, the elf had still not woken up by the time everyone else was awake.
Rask started the day by visiting the Shrine of Luck once more, and leaving another copper piece. Sister Lia was up and tending to her gardens, and was very pleased to see the reverent little halfling again.
After this, Rask decided to check out the forests south of the Tresendar Manor, where he had heard rumors of a secret tunnel at the inn. However, he was not familiar with the type of brush and foliage, and ended up making a great deal of noise. He was stomping through the undergrowth when he heard a couple of voices ahead of him. The speakers had clearly heard his approach, and were now coming through the woods to try and find him. He beat feet, and was able to get away before the voices caught up with him.
Torbjorn headed to the smithy once more, but this time he bought fine materials and began to work on a battleaxe. The smithy watched him work all day, and was impressed by the fluidity of Torbjorn’s forging. His years in isolation had made him extremely proficient, possibly even artful, in his craft. It would be a long few weeks worth of work before there was anything to show, but Torbjorn took all of the knowledge he gained in his time in seclusion and began to apply it to this weapon.
Adeline spent a good part of the day foraging for supplies in the surrounding wilderness and, with a few coins worth of supplemental materials, concocted a nutritious batch of granola bars. The taste was pretty terrible, as Adeline was unfamiliar with the local fauna, but they were edible and would sustain her or her party for multiple days, if times ever got tough.
As evening approached, the party began to turn its thoughts to the Redbrands. They had discussed checking out The Sleeping Giant, the local Redbrand hideout, the day before, but the events of the afternoon managed to derail any further investigation.
Torbjorn sought out his companions, finding Rask first, sitting on the town green and feeding his pet mouse a chunk of cheese. “Wanna pick a fight?” he asked.
Rask seemed to think it was a good idea, but Adeline agreed only to come observe. They thought of asking Dominique, or perhaps Sister Lia, to join them for extra support, just in case things got hairy, but ultimately decided against it. Torbjorn was very vocal about being able to take care of things themselves.
Rask and Torbjorn approached The Sleeping Giant, and found four ruffians on the porch, lounging about in their dirty scarlet cloaks. Upon seeing the party, they rose from their seats and stood at the edge of the stoop.
The Redbrands made it clear that the party wasn’t welcome, not only at the tavern, but in Tumbledale as well.
“Is there beer in there?” Torbjorn asked the leader of the Redbrand outfit.
“Not for you,” he replied.
At this point, Torbjorn drew his handaxe from his belt. His intentions weren’t immediately threatening, but it caused the Redbrands to also draw their weapons, and their reaction made Rask pull out his daggers.
And, by now, there was no stopping the fight that was about to break out.
A Fight Has Been Picked
Torbjorn quickly became aware that he had found the fight they were looking for, and threw his handaxe at the Redbrand mouthpiece without a second thought. The axe took the ruffian in the shoulder and buried itself into the top of his ribcage.
Adeline had been watching the whole thing break down from across the street, and followed up Torbjorn’s opening attack with an arrow to the same enemy, catching him in the opposite shoulder. The force sent the Redbrand sprawling, leaving him unconscious and bleeding out on the steps of the tavern.
The other members stepped over their dying leader and charged the group. Two Redbrands attacked Torbjorn, trying to focus their strength on the barbarian, while a third headed straight for Rask.
Torbjorn held his own against two attackers, even with them each taking multiple slashes at him. Rask, however, was pretty badly injured by the first attack, and only barely managed to back away and get out of range of the second attack. Adeline tried to help him by engaging his pursuer, but even though the arrow she fired struck the ruffian, it was not enough to slow him down.
Torbjorn counterattacked with his greataxe, but the two Redbrands were flanking him, and he was driven back by their assault.
At about the same time, Rask was trying to evade the single charging Redbrand. He slashed at the ruffian, but missed, leaving himself open for a counterattack.
The Redbrand drove his longsword downward at the halfling, piercing Rask’s abdomen and leaving him bleeding out in the middle of the road.
Seeing this, Adeline rushed into the fray. As she approached the fighting, Torbjorn called out to her. In so many words, he insisted that Rask would be fine for the time being, but that he would not last another round facing two opponents simultaneously. Adeline rushed over to Torbjorn and quickly cast cure wounds, before turning to where Rask lay.
Her way was blocked by the Redbrand that had slain her friend. She dropped her bow, drawing her shortsword and attempting to strike, or move past, the opponent.
With a mighty heave of his greataxe, Torbjorn brought one of the Redbrands to his knees.
Adeline was able to wound the ruffian in front of her, but he still managed to strike her twice, and she was unable to get around him to Rask, dying, less than ten feet away.
Torbjorn brought his axe down on the wounded opponent and ended the man’s life, but his comrade quickly retaliated, nearly gutting the dwarf with his sword.
Another stab also left Adeline on her knees, and now both she and Torbjorn were close to falling unconscious themselves.
It was at this point, lying on his back in a pool of his own blood, far from the chaos of the city he loved, that Rask Underbough took his last breath. With a groan and a stuttering sigh, the last vestiges of his life left him forever.
Just a Moment Too Late
Things looked bad, and were about to get a whole lot worse.
Rask was dead, along with two Redbrands, and the remaining two party members with also within an inch of their life. The two opponents had also taken plenty of damage, but now had the adventurers at their mercy. Wounded and on their knees, Adeline and Torbjorn were not in a position to strike, or even fend off an attack.
The Redbrand standing over Adeline smiled, ever so slightly, and raised his sword above his head for the killing blow.
But before he could bring it down, the tip of a blade seemed to sprout from the center of his chest. He looked at it for a moment, puzzled, before blood started to stain the front of his jerkin and the life drained from his eyes.
Sildar Hallwinter had finished up his work for the day and exited the Townmaster’s Hall with plans to stop at the Stonehill Inn and grab a pint of ale. However, as he stepped into the street he heard a scuffle from down the street, and promptly charged toward The Sleeping Giant. He wasn’t wearing any armor, but did have his sword about his waist, which he drew as he approached the gruesome scene in front of the tavern.
He paused at Rask’s body to search for a sign of life, but did not linger long. It was apparent from eight feet away that Rask was no longer breathing. Instead, Sildar rushed to where Adeline was about to be struck down, and skewered the lightly armored Redbrand right in the center of his back.
Sildar barely stopped before he ran to where Torbjorn was still engaging the last ruffian. Torbjorn told him to stay out of it, and that he could handle the Redbrand, but when he swung at his attacker and missed, Sildar didn’t wait for an invitation. He delivered the killing blow to the last Redbrand, and then tried to help Torbjorn to his feet. Help which was, of course, refused.
However, the party did allow him to carry the body of their friend to the Stonehill Inn. Basic medical attention was applied to Rask, but nothing short of magical resurrection could save him now. It was made clear by Sister Lia that she was unable to perform such a ritual, and that there was neither the time nor the money to get to someone that could.
Torbjorn and Adeline had their wounds tended to before they lay down for the night. Sildar Hallwinter, Daran Edermath, and Sister Lia stayed up for another couple of hours discussing Rask’s funeral services, which were to be held in the morning…