The Company of Odd Fellows
There was plenty of daylight left when the party left the tower, but they were all exhausted from their ordeal so decided to set up camp for the day and then leave back to the lumber camp the next morning. Needles went into the surrounding forest to gather the ingredients needed for his healing salves and came across the remains of recent campsite. From the looks of things, it was a solitary person who set up there and they had left fairly recently, probably within minutes of the party exiting the tower. When he returned to camp he told the other party members of his findings. They came to the conclusion that whoever it was, was most likely waiting for them and that they would need to exercise caution when setting up guard duty that night and when traveling back to the camp.
The double guard duty didn’t seem to be needed as the night went by uneventfully and the party packed up the next morning and headed out. They sent Needles up ahead to scout for traps and ambushes. He didn’t come across any on the journey but did come across a single set of footsteps heading back in the same direction they were going. When he reached the edge of the forest and the outskirts of camp he saw a small band of mercenaries waiting there. He spotted the marking of the Black Fist on their armor and even though they were on friendly terms was unsure of their intentions. He made his way back to the rest of the party and informed them of what he saw. Even though they didn’t know of any reason to be worried about Black Fist mercenaries they figured better safe than sorry. Kain, Clarabelle and Domino were in the front, Bark in the middle and Andy and Needles hung back where their bows would be more effective.
When they entered the clearing it became obvious that the mercenary party was waiting on them. A human fighter in the back hailed them but didn’t come forward. That automatically put the party on their toes.
“Greetings Fine Fellows.. The Lumber Superintendent told me that you had been here recently and had left to pursue some errand deeper into the woods. I applaud you on getting these men back to work by solving the mystery of the recent disappearances. However it would seem that your former employer, now my current one finds that you would be worth more to him dead than alive. I do apologize but the contract has been signed and now must be carried out. "
All over the clearing sound of weapons being drawn could be heard…
Kain charged forward towards a small group of fighers in front of him, pulling out his Katana and Wakizashi. He crashed into them but missed with both weapons. Bark pulled forth flames from his hand and lobbed one at one of the fighters in the first group. It engulfed him in flames and fell to the ground. Needles fired his bow at what appeared to be another ranger holding a bow father in the back. The arrow struck spinning his opponent around. Andy’s arrow dropped another fighter in the front group.
The second set of fighters started launching arrows from their short bows, while the front set of soldiers began to surround Kain. A grizzled Dwarf moved forward as well to engage Kain. Domino pointed his mace at the far set of soldiers and one went stiff before falling over, his blinking eyes the only sign he was alive. An Arrow shot by someone behind the second set of soldiers struck Needles and another soldier flanked Kain, striking the samurai with his longsword. An arrow shot from another archer in the back struck Andy. The archer Needles hit tried returning the favor but his shot was wide.The leader who spoke to them before the battle moved forward but did not directly engage the party as another arrow struck Bark. Clarabelle moved forward and released her Firebolt at the leader, striking him but not doing enough damage to fell him. Bark lobbed another flame, this time at another lone archer behind the soldiers. He was also consumed by flame and fell to the ground dead. It was Needle’s turn to miss his mark as his next arrow at the other ranger went wide as well. Another arrow struck Bark and another sword slipped through Kain’s defenses. Domino waded into the fray surrounding Kain and decimated a fighter with his newly empowered mace. the leader jumped into the fight by attacking Clarabelle, giving her a slight wound with his sword. Clarabelle quickly returned the favor. Another exchange from both and the leader fell dead at Clarabelle’s feet. Needle’s next arrow took the other ranger down. The tide began to turn at that point with the party taking out the rest of the first group of fighters and what looked to be the leader of the second group. They threw down their weapons and surrendered.
The party was unsure what to do with this group that was just until recently attacking them. When Kain found how much they were being paid by the Black Fist for their service, he told him he would double it, if they worked for the Odd Fellows instead. to a man they all agreed, not only because they were being spared but because the offer was more than fair. It was a good thing these mercenaries didn’t know just how close they had come to winning that fight. They found out that the captain’s name was Bjarnni and the ranger that Needle’s killed was called Eastman. They confirmed that the contract was paid for by Bailey Laquin.
After the battle, the superintendent Risran met them and immediately apologized profusely saying he had no idea what they had intended and that Bjarrni told them that they were here to make sure the party got back to Newton safely. When he was told that Laquin was behind this assassination attempt Risran was furious. Many of the folk in Mosquito Marsh owed the Odd Fellows their life and that no amount of money was worth the debt they owed them. He told the party to get some rest and they would talk more in detail tomorrow.
The party was pretty banged up and when Domino tried to heal Clarabelle, he noticed that her wounds refused to heal. Thinking there might be more to the problem then healing, he knew she would have to refer to somebody a bit more skilled than him. They set up camp in one of the warehouses and rested for the night.
The next morning they awoke to one of the townspeople beckoning them to follow him. They did so and found a crowd of people standing around the mill. Risran was standing on a cart so that he could address the crowd. He told them that all of them owed a debt of gratitude to the Odd Fellows for saving their friends and family and for ending the threat the lizardman slavers posed. He then explained how the Odd Fellows had taken on this task at the behest of Bailey Laquin, not for money but to help another lumber town to get free of Laquin. And how had Bailey Laquin repaid them? By trying to murder them after they had did what was asked. The crowd was murmuring angrily by this point and chanting some not to kind words about Laquin Lumber. He then pointed to the Odd Fellows and said ‘Now what our new friends don’t know about us, is that we aren’t owned by Laquin, only contracted by them to deliver uncut lumber, and I say that contract is now done…who here agrees?’ A loud shout from everyone was the affirmation Risran needed. Mosquito Marsh worked for Laquin Lumber no longer.
The party met privately with Risran and told him that even though they were happy that they sided with them, they were worried about the repercussions of this move. So they chatted with the newly unemployed mercenaries and asked how they felt about staying here and offering protection to the townsfolk? They would get paid what Kain had already offered them, a 100gp bonus plus each would receive a Shield +1 that was taken from the Lizardman. They heartily agreed and the Dwarf. Dundal Ironhammer, that led one of the units was made the leader of the new Mosquito Marsh Militia. He was also given the Half Plate +1 they got from Slurra.