5th day of the 1st ride of Summer-Flame, 1262
The elven bandits are upon us! Before we can do much of anything at least half a dozen cloaked elven bandits leap from the recently revealed entrance in the fountain … followed by a cloaked mage … followed by a massive black panther. The panther immediately pounced on me, and it took all my effort not to fall over. By the Grace of Sedna I managed to escape the beast by stepping into the mist and cloaking myself in water. Two bandits gave chase, while the panther and a bandit cut down Luca. Up to that point our elven comrades had sought to appeal for a parley, which was most emphatically denied.
I won’t lie, I cowered from the bandits and feared for my own life and had great trouble fending off the two bandits that chased after me. I once again summoned a great tidal wave with some success. Afterwards, in a graceless struggle, I managed to shove one bandit down the waterfall into a fatal fall. The other one I kept at bay with my mace, and I even landed a blow on him. Thankfully Sedna came to me in this hour of need and allowed me to heal my comrades, including poor Luca. Sedna broke the nerves of our assailants. They fled! Only one corpse remained, and another had tumbled down the waterfall. All others had disappeared down into the hill, taking their other wounded and dead with them.
As quickly as the flood of violence had come, just as quickly it had gone, leaving me trembling in my boots.
James convinced us that we had them ‘on the ropes’ so to speak and suggested that we give chase. Reassured by his confidence we agreed and downed a few healing potions to reinvigorate ourselves. We then clumsily made our way down. I half expected a deadly hail of arrows to strike of from the shadows, but we were lucky. All was quiet.
We pushed on, with James taking the lead at a small distance. His features were taut like a bowstring and his ever intense demeanour sharpened even further to that of a razor’s edge. This is his domain, he even seemed to enjoy the terror of it all! We followed his lead and explored the caverns below. These appeared to be many layers of bathhouses, of clear elven build, slowly descending in a spiralling manner. We found evidence of habitation in the top three levels, while the remaining levels were mostly bare. We followed the tracks of the bandits until we came to the deepest level, where could see faint light filtering into a corridor through a veil of vines and roots. The tracks led to the outside.
We briefly discussed what to do. Having become overconfident we assumed that they had fled from us. We decided to go outside to find their tracks and to discover if they were headed away from Allenham. As we stepped outside we were suddenly struck by a hail of icicles and frost that smote us hard. A hail of deadly arrows followed and three of us went down: James and Emrys, and Luca for a second time in under an hour! I urged Astrid to withdraw and dragged James by his collar back into the baths. Astrid dragged back Emrys. I then used a small diversion of mist to be able to recover Luca’s limp form. I then called upon Sedna’s blessings to heal my friends. I shall not go in detail how James’ confidence crumbled in the face of the heinous ambush. After all this ambush very nearly did us all in!
Admitting defeat we retired to the upper levels. Where we, after a brief discussion, decided to take our time to rest up. Luca looked absolutely dreadful. We did rummage through the stuff left behind by the bandits but found little of value or interest. I recovered Luca’s note, all crumpled up, and found another note warning of the presence of rats in an elven ruin, signed by a certain Prescott.
After resting up we departed, leaving another note for the bandits. We (perhaps hopefully) assumed that the bandits had originally come here to exterminate the gnomish rats and had been drawn into the matters in Allenham by accident. So we reassured them in our note that we had dealt with the situation in Allenham and that their involvement was no longer necessary and that we and they would be more happy chasing down our common enemy: the gnomish rats. (each on our own of course) Well, I hope that is what Luca had scribbled out in elven script, or at least something to that effect.
Our claims of ‘having dealt with the situation in Allenham’ turned out to be prophetic … in a doomsayer kind of way.
After taking our leisure we decided to climb out on top and to return to Allenham while some light still remained. We were unable to recover any of the dead elves, only some gear. We hastily made our way back. In town were once more greeted by locked doors and shuttered windows, while smoke rose from somewhere in the centre of town. We found the Allenham Townhouse severely damaged and the Lord Magistrate Strickland dead on the floor, as well as two of his guard. Syldareal and her daughter were weeping over the lifeless remains of Strickland.
After trying to console the women I helped them clean the bodies and prepare them for burial. Washing them and stitching up some of the wounds. Emrys kindly helped mending their attire. The guardsmen were collected by family. I sat in wake over the body, using my mistress’ gifts to preserve the remains.
6th day of the 1st ride of Summer-Flame, 1262
The next day Strickland was buried in the garden of the Townhouse, next to the wife of the former magistrate. Luca and I did our best to add some gravitas to the proceedings.
Later, I used Sedna’s gift to inform the Queen’s man William of the need for a new magistrate in Allenham. Falibur the smithy, yeoman Allen, and Syldareal agreed to form a temporary town council to see to the day-to-day affairs of Allemnham until a new magistrate arrives.
We were ‘awarded’ a mule for our efforts. A mule we will call Theo.
The bandits dispensed vigilante justice. I am much saddened by this outcome. Far too many have died in Allenham. I was hopeful that we had corrected the course of the flawed magistrate and could preserve lives. Alas, the fates can be cruel.
Sedna, give me strength.