As Winter Comes

One New Year's Eve

On a dark and frozen night a chance at hope comes from an abandoned inn

Through the heavy snow and dark night a number of unlikely individuals converged at an inn in Gate Pass.

One was a warrior born soldier, a fair man, strong of stature and heart. I had heard of him. He was well regarded by his peers but do I sense a mission to prove.
One was a student and mage. His robes speak of precision and talent. He wears the sign of an impending change in his life. He has achieved much in his old world but now must find his place and prove himself in a new one.

One was the most intimidating of the lot. She has a lot of power that I think she chooses not to show. Her skin says more than her words did. A Ragesian living inside Gate Pass on a night like this. Maybe not rare, but certainly something unusual given where we now journey.
The last was.. well the story teller does best not to feature in the story. Let it be sufficient to say that I was there on a job and was glad to be at my destination rather than staying in the snow.

The night that drew in carried more than a storm. In the city that never stops celebrating its defiance and freedom there was nothing but stillness on this New Years Eve. The stillness was anticipation and fear of the Ragesian forces to the Western Gates who lay siege to the city and would surely attack within the week.

Our unlikely group found ourselves at the Poison Apple Inn. A sign on the door told of the owner being taken into custody. The Scourge of Ragesia had demanded that the city council round up known practitioners of the arcane. Through fear they had accepted to take some. This man was one, in his stead his wife had invited the Resistance to use the venue.

Torrent, a cleric who we suspect to be of the Aquiline Heart, bid us enter. After introductions we got to business. We were to get a briefcase of intel from the Ragesian Palace, take it from Gate Pass and deliver it to the Lyceum in southern Dassen. A warlock by the name of RiverEye Badgerface had worked in the Palace and now came to pass what he had seen on. A late wizard named Peppin was to be his contact. All we had of his was his signet ring and a code phrase to get us into the vaults; a heavily guarded bank. It would have to be enough. All of us were skeptical and on edge about all parts of the plan. As the bells of new year chimed we debated before agreeing to follow Torrents idea.

Before we could leave though, a sound of thuds like heavy objects falling on the roof sounded. Mercenaries of the Black Horse burst into the bar ordering all mages to surrender. It seemed like a strike planned to capture mages for the city council. The combat was complicated by the realisation that the roof was on fire and that the Poison Apple Inn was not the only building to be under attack. A brawl ensued between us and the mercenaries. Donnacha and Ta’waran diving into the fray and working together as if they had fought together for years. While the roof collapsed around us we made an escape to the street to be faced with a knight on horse back. A champion of the Black Horse mercenaries.

As quickly as the fight began it ended, the knight declared that we were not their enemy that night and rode away. We realised then that their foe was whomever was setting fire to houses in Gate Pass. Somewhere above us we could hear the sound of mighty beasts flying and battling each other. What else could be done in this situation; we got on with the mission.

Dashing through the streets we found time to help some of the citizens offering small bits of aid and helping the scared out of burning buildings until we reached the bank. It was a massive building which stood out amongst the rest of the city. It was 4 stout men stood in our way and there was no way we were getting passed the massive 20ft high walls.

To all our surprise, but I think Torrent’s the most, the pass phrase worked and we were granted entry. Inside we met a man who looked for all the world like Badgerface. He beckoned Rigar upstairs addressing him as Peppin. Once at a locker he asked “Peppin” to give him the password, a man who had met Peppin countless times before addressed Rigar as Peppin and asked him for a password we didn’t have. There was a moments confusion as the reality of the situation hit and everyone leapt into action; “RiverEye” trying to escape and all our group trying to put him down so we could question him.

Alas, with his ability to summon a Solon to his side, run straight up sheer surfaces and jump 30 feet with ease there was little we could do to hamper his escape. He slipped away leaving us to face the tower’s guards. As fortune would have it, the real RiverEye Badgerface was upstairs. He had been a prisoner to the imposter and vouched for us not being thieves there to break into the lockers.

The real Rivereye explained that the imposter was a shapechanged Eladrin. One of a team of 3 who had the case but believed they needed a password to open it before they could escape with it back to the Shining Lands of Shahalesti. This deception would buy us time to gather our recover for a moment at a Resistance safehouse and plan how to find and retrieve the case.

Oh, also, there was something about us rescuing a dire weasel from a burning house, but the less said the better.

- Paelias

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