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Chapter 1.1 — A Miner Problem

Highlights

  • Gale, an escaped slave, pursues any avenue of removing the magical slave brand from her forehead.
  • After giving up on finding a Wizard, she inadvertently cuts the purse of the one man who might have been able to help her, causing him to ignore her pleas for help as she follows him to the library north of town.
  • Will, a Paladin with amnesia and a strong sense of justice, attacks the Half-Orc taskmasters of the local gold mine.
  • Jaba, who should have known better than to attack Maddy and Thaddy, gets told off by the village elder, Athek.
  • Will and Jaba investigate the mystery of an injured miner, Lucas, and discover that a man named Darius was responsible, instead of Thaddius like they originally thought.
  • Will and Jaba, together with local soldier Quel, confront and defeat Darius, returning him to the village for punishment.

The Full Story

Gale, an escaped slave on the run, and Will, an amnesiac Paladin of Torag seeking opportunities to render justice and drink ale, have come to the town of Sandstone. Meanwhile, local resident Jaba is working to solve an extraordinarily subtle mystery.

Gale bears a slave's brand scarred into her upper arm, and a magical glowing rune on her forehead, both of which mark her as the target of any bounty hunter who wants a quick payday. As a Sylph, she stands out in a crowd and has little hope of hiding anywhere for very long without drawing unwanted attention. Consequently, she pursues any lead on local wizards who might possess the power to remove the brand — an act which, as a sorcerer, she suspects she might be able to perform herself, if she learns the proper technique.

Unfortunately, Sandstone has little in the way of Wizards who are both trustworthy and powerful. The village Elder, Athek, is known to be a Wizard, but would be unlikely to risk his entire village's well-being to safeguard one escaped slave. There is an abandoned Wizard's tower to the north of Sandstone, with an expansive library still standing alongside it, but the Wizard there has been gone for decades and the old, withered librarian is either unable or unwilling to assist her.

Though Gale and Will meet briefly, they go their separate ways for now. Gale doesn't know whether or not to trust the Paladin — she knows them to be good people, but also lawful ones; and the law of the land is that escaped slaves return to their masters.

Will has his first major encounter after introducing himself to Jaba and the local barman, a round and cheery man by the name of Obed. Without any memories beyond his name and station, he hopes only to explore the limits of the profound sense of justice and purpose that he awoke with, just a few short days ago. Opportunity comes quickly.

Maddy and Thaddy, the Half-Orc taskmasters of the local gold mine, come into Obed's tavern, and demand a drink. The tavern's Dwarf watchman, Durgen, tells Will that Thaddius is suspected of having crippled one of his miners, Lucas, and sending him back home on a stretcher with no hope of ever walking again. Will grows frustrated with the Half-Orcs and their bad attitudes, and his anger comes to a head when Thaddius tries to leave the bar without paying for his or his wife's drinks.

Will stops them at the door. Thaddius pushes him outside. Will tackles Thaddy, and while they roll around on the ground fighting, Durgen knocks Maddy out cold with his hammer. Thaddy eventually surrenders, overpays for his drink, apologizes sarcastically, and storms off with his wife draped over his shoulder.

Will and Jaba decide to look into Lucas and his injuries, and go to meet the man. They find him, bedridden and seriously wounded with what looks to have been a pickaxe. Lucas claims that Thaddius flew into a fit of rage for no good reason and attacked him. With little else to go on, Jaba and Will return to the Cutting Edge tavern to decide their next course of action over a round of drinks.

While they plan, the village elder Athek storms in and asks what the hell they thought they were doing, attacking the mine's foremen in the middle of the day like that. Athek chastises Jaba, a local, for knowing better, and tells Will that they allow the two Half-Orcs a degree of latitude in the village due to the importance of their gold mine in keeping the region's warlords at bay. When confronted by Will, asking why Athek hasn't done anything about Thaddius's attack on Lucas, Athek tells the over-eager Paladin that it might not even have been Thaddius who attacked the man, in the first place. He directs them all to another miner, Darius, whom he believes might have been the real culprit.

Gale, in the meantime, has found a Wizard in the village's marketplace — by cutting his purse to get enough gold to buy passage to a faraway city. The Wizard claims his purse back menacingly, and quickly disengages from Gale and makes his way to the library to the north of town. Gale pursues him, asking for help with increasing desperation as he pointedly ignores her.

Jaba and Will arrive at the gold mine and confront Darius, whose snide attitude and half-veiled threats tell them all they need to know about the truth behind Lucas's injuries. They are about to confront him when Thaddius arrives back at the mine, Maddy now conscious but leaning on him for support, and orders Darius' shift back into the mine. Will apologizes to Thaddius, who looks more confused than appreciative, and who agrees to help them with Darius.

Not wanting to anger the village Elder again, the pair return to Sandstone with all that they've learned. Athek appreciates that they're trying to make it right, and sends one of the village's two Dervish warriors, Quel, with them to ensure that justice is dealt appropriately.

They try to bring Darius back to Sandstone quietly, but Darius fights back; by the end, Darius is unconscious, two of his underlings are dead, and the rest are separated from their ringleader and chased back into the mine by a furious Thaddius. Darius is returned to Sandstone for punishment, whereupon he is enslaved to Thaddy's service for his crime, and the session ends as Jaba and Will return to the Cutting Edge for the night.