Within Central Aurodei just north-west of the Shailian Penincula and a mere day’s march from the darkest shadows of the ancient and terrifying Byrnwood Forrest there lies the township of Oakmaul.
The man’s name was Staphan, and he approached each character sometime earlier in the week.
“I can see you are a kindred spirit, my friend,” he said. “Like myself, you are destined for great fame, and even greater rewards! Here,” he said, and dressed palm with a cloth purse that held 10 silver coins. “This is for you. Spend it as you like or keep it. But come to me for a meeting at the Horse and Toad this Freeday before sunset to hear a proposal and I will give you 10 more! Afterward you can do as you wish, and either way you may keep the coin.”
There were others there that Freeday afternoon waiting for Staphan, other ‘kindred spirits’ paid in silver. Introductions were made and explanations for attendance given; curiosity being the most common allure, the greed for more free silver a not-too-distant second draw.
A short time later the man called Staphan arrived, and on the table he piled a small stack of gold coins that drew both hushed words of alarm and eyes-wide exclamations from the surrounding patrons.
“Gold, my friends,” he said. “Easier to carry than the fist full of silver I promised each of you. And there is a trove of it waiting for us! You each have a skill or talent to lend in its discovery! What say you?”
Questions were asked, but no details given.
“All will be made clear once we are away from this cloud of ears, but only if you agree to accompany me. Otherwise, keep this gold as payment for your time and I will be on my way.”
After being stymied by Saphan about further details or useful information regarding his proposal, the party sends him to the bar so that they might discuss amongst themselves how and if they will proceed.
Falco Darkshroud gets a read on Staphan and shares his assessment with the rest; that despite his warm and eager demeanor the man has a cold and deadly air about him.
In the end it is decided that they will join Staphan but keep a very close eye on him and they call him back to the table.
“Splendid!” he says, “I will go and wake our guide straight away! He is right outside!”
The party follows Staphan outside to the town’s fountain where stands a crude, eight foot tall bronze statue of a bearded man. Staphan removes a leather case and from it produces an intricate golden dial.
“What is the hour?” he asks. Melamber Harkenstone tells him the time and he sets and consults the dial. With a smile on his face he steps into the water, places his bare palm on the statue’s chest and utters a strange word. Not even Brother Amaar recognizes the language.
The bronze man comes to life! Staphan turns his back to it and addresses the party. “For almost five years I have waited for this moment! Tonight we shall…”
Staphan never finishes his thought. The bronze giant kills him and takes the dial from his broken body.
COMBAT INSUES! The fight is very one-sided even though members of the watch answer the call to arms. Six good fighting men are killed, and Baragon Hulaar is gravely wounded before Falco recognizes that the giant is 1) fighting defensively and ignoring non-threatening people and 2) is making it’s way north-easterly.
The group agrees to stop fighting and sure enough, the bronze giant makes for the edge of town. Falco steals a horse to follow it while the rest of the group remains behind to aid the grievously injured Baragon and to try to find answers.
The remaining party members are heralded as heroes for driving the monster away. When the party asks around about the history of the bronze man, folks remember the former alderman talking it up a few weeks before it was delivered but otherwise by and large folks were unimpressed by it. A drunkard however recalls seeing Staphan bowing low to the statue with a strange flourish the day he first arrived into town.
“I’m thinkin’ he’s soft in the head, I am. ‘Good to finally make your acquaintance,’ he says.! When he sees me looking, he jus’ smiles and gives me a silver!”
Another man recalls a gray and weedy looking man by the name of Thom Dranik having a strange fixation with the bronze man; Thom would always be looking at it and would seem uneasy if anyone got too close to it or touched it. Also, Thom had a henchman named Meechum who was a bad sort who frequently brawled and drank to excess.
Neither Thom nor Meechum is anywhere to be found this evening, but it is discovered that their comings and goings were in fact the will of their employer, another man by the name of Reoch Sinarette who has for the last five or so years lived in the corner room of The Horse and Toad; a corner room that in fact overlooks the market square and the now broken fountain that so recently displayed the bronze man.
Sinarette is away in Pyrwell, and while he is gone the landlord of The Horse and Toad will not allow anyone into his room. Fulcrum Stonewarden, the dwarf Under-Sheriff of Oakmaul, agrees that there is no direct evidence that links this night’s terrible events to the absent man aside from spotty testimony about the behavior of one of his alleged henchmen. He warns everyone that, heroes or no, anyone who tries to break into the empty apartment will be clapped into irons.
After Stonewarden leaves, everyone agrees that Lawful Good sucks and that Falco should try to break into the apartment through the window when he returns.
Falco is back just before sunset the following day. He followed the bronze man as it bled molten lead all through the night until it collapsed just before sunrise, and just within sight of a strange ring of stones.
Game Session Ends