When they returned to the outpost, they were told that they were just in time to attend the funeral services being held for Sir Karl. During the service, each member of the party spoke kind words about the former commander, and how each of them would continue to carry on the fight against the evil forces that worked to enslave all of Krynn.
For a fleeting moment, Thaddeus Durin was sure he had seen Maya at the funeral, but when he went to look for her, she was gone.
The new commander of the outpost approached and told the party that the work they had started desperately needed to be finished. Evil was moving across the land, and unless it met with resistance, it would spread its vile hand like a shadow and corrupt everything.
The ogre base still needed to be located, he told them. It also seemed that a lot of clues had pointed to something going on in the city of Sanction.
Feeling that they hadn't had much luck locating the Ogre Base, the party decided to head out to the city of Sanction and investigate what was happening. The trip took them more than a day, as they wound through treacherous mountain passages and eventually found the city at the base of several ominous volcanoes.
Upon entering the city, they noticed almost immediately that a large number of Minotaurs were roaming the docks. Most of the townspeople kept their distance from the large creatures, and the party decided that it was probably wise if they also headed in another direction.
As they made their way through the city streets, Thaddeus Durin made a startling discovery...
|You probably left it in your other pocket.|
A pouch of his steel pieces was missing. He mentioned that he had counted them just prior to entering the city; because he was hoping to stop at a magical shop and browse their wares. He suggested that the party turn around and see if they could locate where he dropped it. Reluctant, the party agreed and helped him look for his lost pouch of coins.
While searching around town, Tamera Beldon suddenly felt a tug on one of her equipment bags. She spun around quickly and caught the arm of a shady looking thief who had his hand firmly inside her bag. She twisted his arm as the party gathered around him.
He begged to be let go. He offered information in return for his release. The party was skeptical.
|Sorry, that's not the answer we were looking for. The correct answer was "Cheeseburger."|
He informed them that evil troops had a headquarters in the inn located in the southeast corner of the city. The party pressed him for more information, but he broke free of Tamera's grasp and ran away, disappearing into the crowd.
The party decided to head to the southeast corner of town and check out the inn. Maybe they could deal with the "evil troops" that were hiding there. Thaddeus Durin agreed, deciding that looking for his coins was now a waste of time, given that the thieves seemed to be openly operating in Sanction. The party secured all loose bags before continuing.
Quickly, the party made their way to the southeast corner of town. On the way there, they came across a large bridge that stretched over a river of running lava. Curious as to where it went, the party started to cross it...
|Do you think the bridge over lava is made of wood? Because, that would just be dumb.|
Standing at the far end of the bridge, a group of Draconians stood guard. The party stopped in their tracks and discussed their options. They could attack the Draconians, or they could turn back.
Not knowing what was beyond the Draconians, the party decided to be wise and back away without drawing attention to themselves. They made a mental note to return later once they had gotten more information. Besides, they wanted to head toward the inn and deal with whatever was there first.
It didn't take them long to locate the inn. They stepped in and were greeted by a balding man standing behind a counter.
|Sure, if you want to make the clues easy...|
As the party headed up the stairs, they felt confident that the innkeeper had given them the clue that they needed to find the trouble in the inn. Instead of going to their own room, they headed straight down to the north end of the hall.
Once there, they found the door locked. Kavina Do'Arden suggested that they break it down. When someone in the party pointed out that they'd be breaking the law, Kavina said: "We're either wrong or we're right, but we're not going to find out by waiting out here in the hallway."
She gave the door a solid kick and the door splintered under her boot.
A dark elf jumped up from his chair and drew a weapon. Around him, a group of fighters got to their feet. "What do you want?" the dark elf demanded.
The party told them to throw down their weapons and surrender. There was no need for bloodshed.
The dark elf laughed and told them: "I've had about enough of you." He snapped his fingers and ordered his men to attack.
Fully prepared for combat, the party met the fighters head on. Swords swung wildly as spells began to erupt and light up the room. It did not take the enemy forces long to realize that they were outmatched. The dark elf and a few of his cohorts attempted to escape as the party pressed in on them, but they were quickly cut down before they could leave the room.
Janessa Waylan suggested that the party not stick around for long. If anyone came looking for the fighters, they would not be happy to discover them all dead.
Tamera quickly searched the body of the fallen dark elf, and found a note. She read it aloud:
"The plan has to be carried out in stages. Stage One, which is already complete, was to threaten various small areas to the north and get the good armies to begin a consolidation of their forces. We were fortunate to find a rather hapless party that we were able to use to pass the false information to their leaders. It was pure chance that they were sent after Caramon when he was captured in Throtl. We couldn't have planned better for our purposes. We left clues behind to lead the group to Gargath, Jelek and Neraka. This gave us time to complete our plans for the ambush at Sanction."
When Tamera finished reading the note, everyone was silent. This whole time, they had been blindly following along to the enemy's plans.
Maybe it was time to upset those plans...
NEXT TIME: The party continues through Sanction to uncover more of what is going on...