DragonLord Harrak's Offer
"Members of our order can't strike directly at the Surrinak holdings without possibly arousing other nobles against us. But if independent agents can prove something's rotten in Surrinak country we can safely become involved and clean it up. That's why we need you to infiltrate and expolre."
"If you find another part of Slaughtergarde, which I suspect you will, I implore you to destroy any evil or tainted objects you come across. If you find something you can't destroy yourselves, bring it to the Shining Citadel when you're done exploring the situation and the site. If worse comes to worst, on your return, tell me about objects you had to leave at the site. I'll make arrangements in such a case."
"For your work, the order is willing to pay you each 800 pieces of gold upon your return.
You have left Sumberton traveling at first east along the road towards Dondurran before turning southeast towards the Wyrmbane Grove. Three riding horses have been gifted to you by the Crimson Guard and they have allowed you to make the trip swiftly.
A cool breeze is at your back and the thought of the ancient battle of Slaughtergarde is on your minds. You have discovered that at least one piece of the Slaughtergarde fortress had remained buried in the Stonemantle hills and now Dragonlord Harrak has asked you to infiltrate Surrinak lands and find out what is at the hunting lodge that the map leads to.
The rich farmland southeast of Sumberton finally gives way to the small forest known as Wyrmbane Grove and the steep outcropping of rock known as the Tanglethorn Mountains, easily one of the most striking sights in the valley. The Surrinaks have their ancestral home here. Castle Surrinak looms over some of the richest farmland in the valley and their house guard is law for many miles beyond their castle home. Collectively they are one of the most powerful houses in these lands.
You have been warned by Dragonlord Harrak that trespassers are dealt with harshly and that the insular Surrinaks see most people as trespassers.
You ride along the border of the grove following the map to where you believe the hunting lodge trail begins. Entering the grove turns the rich fall farmland into a dense gloomy dull forest. The moss is thick on the forest floor and the trees are ancient and gnarled. It is not long before the land begins to rise where the grove meets the foothills of the Tanglethorn Mountains
Somewhere in the distance through the trees you catch site of something behind you, just barely at the edge of your perception. You are not clear what it is but you are almost certain that it is following you. It is hard to tell through the trees and the fading light but from what you do see you think it is a group and not just a lone figure.
"You are unlawfully trespassing upon Surrinak lands. Throw down your weapons, you are accused of being assassins and spies and now you must face judgement. By orders of Lord Surrinak, all intruders to the Wyrmbane Grove will forfeit their lives."
Hap's spell ripped through the remaining spider swarm just as Grigori was backing up to defend himself against another onslaught of vicious poisonous fangs. The drow with a cloak of spiders had nearly done them in.
Grigori took to one knee to catch his breath and saw his companions regroup themselves as well. The woodland now had an even more sinister feel than before.
Justinian still felt weak from the poisonous bites that he took from the swarm but he was strong enough to walk over and feel the crunch of a twitching spider under his boot. The spiders had been a very unpleasant surprise.
The noble had claimed to be a part of the Surrinaks and he stated that Lord Ellistan Surrinak had given him the authority to kill all trespassers. Dragonlord Harrak had mentioned that the Surrinaks deal harshly with trespassers but this was beyond normal bounds. This had the feel like the Surrinaks were trying to keep something hidden.
Searching his body did not reveal much except that he wore platemail and carried the Surrinak coat of arms. The longsword he carried was well made but not exceptional. He also had 36sp and 20gp on him.
The archers actually looked more like common woodsmen and hunters with their trappings of fur and leather. Though further investigation revealed strange tattoos on their forearms.
"What?" exclaimed Hap with scorn as he examined the tattoo, "Those ain't strange! Pretty pedestrian if ya ask me… here, lookit this one, now this is strange, haha!"
Hap pulls his pants down partially to expose a butt cheek. A colorful tattoo of a cartoonish dragon squats over a smoking crack, its eyes squeezed shut in concentration. Shredded knight's armor and bloody bones lay at its feet. The caption reads, "I CRAP BIGGER THAN YOU".
Hap limps over and joins Justinian in collecting squished crispy spider gunk (wiping his fingers periodically on Justinian's cloak when his back is turned), and wondering out loud if they could possibly find any unconscious spiders, and mebbe if you guys would be more careful where you're tromping around, we could sew enough of them back together to make a halfling-sized super-spider-cloak, etc.
Hap eventually finds himself near the roasted dogs, inhales deeply and says, "Ay guys, I think I got a great idea for tonight's camp stew!"