The heroes awoke early the day after the “Mvashti affair” and met in the tavern of the Rusty Dragon. They asked Ameiko for directions to the Goblin Squash Stables, and made their way there forthwith noticing the town people starting to return to normal after the excitement of the past couple days. Upon arrival, Alderon greeted them with his characteristic charm and introduced them to Daverin Hosk the owner of the stables and informed the party that Hosk would be joining them to handle the hunting dogs. Daverin led them around back and introduced him to the selection of selection of horses that Alderon had purchased for them. Gollic discovered a pony that fit him perfectly, and while he hadn’t spent much of his life riding he felt a relative easiness around the animal.
Asharan inquired whether there were any white horses and Hosk pointed out the finely bred Lighting, but warned that Lightning had a bit of a stubborn streak. Asharan grabbed an apple from a nearby bin with what he believed to be soothing horse-like noises. Lightning promptly snapped out at Asharan, snapping down hard on his hand in the process of consuming the apple, giving Asharan a nasty sprain. Amberlee laughed at Asharan’s ineptitude and snatched her own apple to approach Lightning. The beast gently snatched up the apple and began to nuzzle her hand. Hosk roared with laughter and told Asharan that maybe he was better off with the dun mare, Beatrice. Grumbling, Asharan grabbed a second apple and approached Beatrice, and, while still unsteady, Beatrice warmed up to Asharan enough for him to feel confident in claiming her as his own. After saddling their steads, the heroes mounted up and began to make their way into the Tickwood, a trip Alderon informed them would take somewhere in the area of about a 90 minute ride. Asharan, deciding he was warming up to his mount, promptly decided that she would be redubbed “Dawn’s Light.” Gollic snickered in the rear of the party something vulgar about Dong’s Light being more appropriate.
The early part of the voyage found Alderon revelling the party with his knowledge of the surrounding area, pointing out several old ruins from the Thassalonian Empire and giving the party a short back history on that ancient land. He also discussed his textiles business and his background more deeply while at the same time continuing his flirtatious question of Amberlee and the rest of the party about their desires, motivations for being in Sandpoint, and their pasts. The party took a liking to Alderon for the most part with the exception of him being somewhat of a blowhard.
As the landscape began to change and the Tickwood reared up in front of them, Alderon began to scan for tracks more carefully and it wasn’t long before the hounds started to pick up the trail. Shortly there after the three dogs yanked at their leashes barking excitedly, Hosk informed them to get ready, and let them loose. The chase was on! Alderon spurred his horse quickly to follow the dogs as they streaked away up the dirt path. Amberlee following close behind as Lightning shot forth naturally and easily after Alderon. Dawn’s light resisted Asharan’s urging and the best he could manage was a slightly faster walk, while Gollic’s pony resisted all efforts to chase and reared up against Gollic, who held on for dear life.
Alderon continued to guide his mount toward a bend in the road as the baying dogs continued their chase, with Amberlee following shortly behind him on the other side of the road. Alderon, finally able to motivate his mount sped forward with a violent rush and gained several yards on Amberlee and the paladin’s wild prompting urged the horse to faster speeds. Gollic was able to get his pony facing the right direction and picked up speed to a brisk trot bringing up the rear. As the party rounded the curve in the road, a giant tree lay fallen blocking their path. Alderon deftly directed his mount around the end of the tree while Amberlee guided lighting right over the top. Lighting leaped and barely cleared the branches, her back heals scraping against the tree on the other side. Asharan saw Lightning clear the trunk and directed Dawn’s Light toward the center of the tree picking up speed, but his heavily armored frame along with his obvious lack of horsemanship proved to be too much for the horse as Dawn’s Light then proceeded to slam face first into the side of the tree letting out a terrible scream and throwing Asharan from the horse. Dawn’s light was firmly embedded into the branches twisted at an odd angle.
Gollic having witnessed the violent crash from behind, and never having really gained much actual speed, easily guided his horse after Alderon at the end of the tree coming to the other side as they watched the dogs plunge off the side of the road into a hedge of bushes. Asharan regained his feet with a bit of struggle and went over to try put pull Dawn’s Light’s head from the branches only to be met with a blood-curdling scream as his actions seemed to do more harm than good. Hosk came flying up from behind Gollic and lept from his horse shouting at Asharan to desist and let him handle it. As he did so, a gigantic crash as an massive old boar burst from the brush and charged directly at Amberlee taking a giant swipe at her leg as it ran by.
Asharan grabbed his sword and ran around the tree trying to cut off the boar’s path shouting to garner its attention. The boar swiveled at the short and lowered its head charging directly at the heavily armored figure before it. As it reached him, Asharan deftly stepped aside swinging his longsword in a quick upward arc cleanly slashing on tusk in half. The boar raged as the dogs reemerged from the brush and took off into the forest opposite Asharan with the animals in hot pursuit. Aldreon swung around and suggested they follow the rest by foot as the Tickwood gets pretty thick the further from the road you get and the dogs would work the animal back toward the party eventually. The group agreed and with Hosk’s guarantee that he’d have Dawn’s Light out and the horses tended for while they were gone. Alderon handed out boar spears to everyone and the party made its way into the forest with Amberlee taking the lead.
The path of the animals was easy to follow at first, but as Alderon had intoned the vegetation began to increasingly thicken as they made their way into the forest until the heroes found themselves blocked by what seemed like a giant never-ending wall of underbrush blocking their way. Amberlee leaped lightly into the air and flipped easily over the hedge to the opposite side as did Alderon. Feeling no such acrobatic endeavor was going to work for him, Asharan approached the brush and tried to being chopping his way thru as he dove into the undergrowth with Gollic nearby following suit, as they made their way into the hedge, the thickness was deceiving and both Asharan and Gollic found themselves enmeshed into the hedge struggling to make their way forward. Amberlee and Aldreon helped attack the hedge from the other side eventually opening a small hole with which they were able to reach thru and pull their friends to safety, but they had lost valuable time.
Gollic volunteered to take the lead and the party burst forward into the brush after the trail. After several twists and turns Gollic found himself crossing a small copse of trees and urged his group to make up lost time, and was in such a hurry he failed to take into consideration the ground beneath him. While his quick feet and reflexes were able to save him from the hole trap in the ground, Asharan following behind was not nearly as lucky, his armor once again playing havoc to his hunt. With a loud crash and a heavy grunt Asharan dropped quickly the 15 feet into the hole slamming into the ground. Alderon followed right behind tumbling over in a particuarly inept display and slammed down on top of Asharan with a heavy grunt. Amberlee, seeing her friends vanish in front of her, tried to launch herself over the hole, but misjudged the distance and slammed into the far wall of the pit, but was able to slide down the wall agilely enough to avoid collapsing on top of an already beat up paladin.
Gollic returned to the hole to find his allies stuck beyond arms reach and the party problem solved to find a way to extract them from the hole. Amberlee tossed her backpack and boar spear out of the hole with the intention of Gollic using them to ground the rope to pull them up when Gollic spotted a nearby tree that looked like it could support a person climbing. Gollic walked to the tree and tied an exceptionally dreadful knot which looked to his inexerienced dwarven eyes looked good enough and then proceeded to tie himself to the tree with the rope as well for support. While his allies didn’t exactly see the logic of that particular maneuver they were not apt to argue being at the bottom of the hole.
It was decided that Amberlee would go first and after many assurances from Gollic began to make her way up the side of he hole. After about 7 feet the knot easily came loose from the tree (which had to this time supported most of Amberlee’s weight, regardless of the Dwarf’s precence) and Amberlee dropped like a rock pulling Gollic unsteadly forward lurching at a rapid pace toward the hole. Gasping, Gollic slammed his feet into the ground in a desperate attempt to stop his momentum and came sliding to a halt right before the lip of the hole.
After a number of heckles and insults from the bottom of the hole, Gollic considered leaving them there but relented and returned to the tree this time making a much better attempt at the knot. Amberlee shortly then made her way up the hole followed by Alderon and finally, with the aid of all three pulling, Asharan was hauled up as the baying of the hounds seemed to be getting further and further away. Redetermined after catching their breath, the party took off again intent on catching the boar. As they advanced thru the much thinner brush the sounds of the dogs got louder and Alderon informed them that the dogs had circled the boar and was pushing it back toward the party. He advised the heroes to find a good place to make a stand for when the boar returned.
Shortly after Alderon’s direction the party came across a clearing with what appeared to be the base of a massive ruined tower from the Thassalonian era. They decided the stand could be made here and prepared to meet the boar, the group readying their boar spears in different fashions. Abruptly the boar crashed thru the tree line directly toward Amberlee. Amberlee responded by throwing her boar spear at the creature missing by a country mile. Gollic followed suit, but also missed erratically. Alderon, hiding behind the party at the back shouted to them “You’re supposed to let the boar charge ONTO the spears!!” Gollic and Amberlee then blushed close to simultaneously.
Deciding he had no use for the spear, Asharan tossed his aside, took up his sword and shield and advanced on the boar to make battle in the traditional fashion. Aldreon cheered at what he saw as a heroic move and Amberlee jumped down from her perch trying to flank the boar. Asharan maintained the boars attention and traded blows with the beast while Amberlee attacked the rib cage from the side and Gollic tried to hit home with crossbow bolts from the lip of the tower. Alderon stayed mostly in the rear and tried to offer what encouragement he could, causing Asharan to mutter about the uselessness of the nobility. Eventually the party was able to bring down the beast, not without taking some nasty blows of their own in return. The bound the boar to the spears and began to make their way back to the roadway to meet up with Hosk, while Alderon tittered incessantly about the fighting prowess of the party.
Upon arriving back at the road, they found that Hosk had extracted a battered and bleeding Dawn’s Light from the tree and the party began the voyage back to Sandpoint with Asharan riding an uncomforable shotgun behind Alderon to save Dawn’s Light the burden of carrying a load in her damaged and weakened state. The return trip was delightedly uneventful and Alderon even found himself weary which resulted in some much needed silence for the party. As they pulled into the city, Aldreon informed them he’d have Ameiko prepare the boar for dinner than night and the could feast in the success of the hunt! While the hunt had been a much bigger trail than any thought to have imagined the thought of succulent fresh boar lifted all spirits and the heroes planned to clean up and rest a bit before the feast began.
That evening the friends gathered again in the feast hall of the Rusty Dragon with those gathered cheering the prowess of the heroes that had provided their meals. The popularity of the heroes seemed at an all-time high. Alderon had the party served first and thanked them again for both saving his life and the fantastic adventure of the boar hunt. He begged the party to come see him if they were ever in Magnimar and the party promised they would.
As they were finishing up their meals, the revelry was interrupted by a man bursting into the front door screaming “Where is my daughter!!??” while waving a cane and cussing in Tian. The rest of the establishment found themselves studiously looking into their drinks as the silver haired and finely robed man made his way into the room. As the man continued his tirade, he noticed the heroes and turned full on them attacking them for being the irresponsible party that brought the goblin raid down on Sandpoint. He admonished the party as being amateurs that needed to leave the defense of the city up to the professionals like the city guard. That comment, in particular prompted Asharan to make a snide remark about the guards’ efficacy and as he stood to react to the man, Ameiko burst from the kitchen yelling at him.
The man demanded Ameiko leave this life behind and leave at once with him to Magnimar and he advanced threateningly toward her. The gathered crowd was shocked to see him grab her by the arm amid a violent exchange of Tian curses and try to haul her to the door. Ameiko responded by smashing the man’s head with the full ladle of soup sending stew flying across the floor and all over her father. The man was irate and affronted by this open show of defiance and thrust her back toward the bar as he stomped toward to door if a fury, looking back only to snarl “You’re as dead to me as your mother!” before he burst from the room. Ameiko’s face flashed pain and hurt, then anger as she picked up her ladle and shook it at the door shouting, “Guess I’ll have to make a new batch since Jack-ass soup is off the menu for the night!” much to the approval of the gathered crowd, before she made her way back into the kitchen with a quick step. Amberlee asked Alderon if he knew what was up with all of that and he informed them the man was Lonkiju Kaijitsu, Ameiko’s father and owner of the glassworks in town, a major employer and one of the four noble families. He’d been on the outs with Ameiko since his wife was found dead of apparent suicide a couple years back and Ameiko had chosen the life of a adventurer and, then, tavern owner which Kaijitsu didn’t feel was appropriate for a noble family.
The party thanked Alderon for the information, the horses, and the boar hunt. Alderon informed him he was heading back to his estate the following morning and repeated his encouragement that the heroes see him if they traveled to Magnimar. The party stayed up a while longer drinking and eating before going to bed full and safe after the long day’s ordeal.