With her prisoner in tow, Portia began the long trudge back to Valens, Valendia’s capital city. The party followed her warily, fearing pursuit from Lissa Drakreth, their former comrade. Several days out of Northcourt, however, and no pursuit was evident. Portia finally responded to Elbert’s complaining, and outfitted him with a sword and shield. He still had no armor, but resolved to make do.
Elbert also expressed relief that they were heading to Valens, rather than the court-martial he was awaiting in Northcourt.
After a few days of traveling, the party came to a large stone bridge over a river. Donovan first inspected the bottom of the bridge, and found a spot where sharp rocks had trapped several corpses from the current. They were full of arrows, and had been stripped and thrown off the bridge. Portia decided to continue trudging across the bridge while the other party members investigated. She got nearly halfway across the bridge when the terrain began to shimmer and change, and a large group of bandits, apparently led by two elves, appeared where there had been only stone. With nearly ten longbows trained on them, the bandits demanded they surrender everything valuable they owned – money, weapons, and armor.
Ari noted that one of the elves wore twin scimitars, same as she did. She challenged him to a duel – if she won, the group could pass unhindered, and if she lost, they’d surrender their items. The duel began, and it became clear that while Ari had the agility advantage, the elven bandit was stronger. Rather than let Ari die, the party jumped in to aid her. Augustus helped Ari take down the scimitar fighter, while Elbert and Portia began to work on the Archers. Early in the battle, the other elf, a sorceress, attempted to hamper the party with spells. However, Donovan turned her into a rabbit, rendering her harmless.
After a tough battle, the party claimed victory. Ari looted the scimitars from the deceased elf, Portia claimed the elf’s armor for Elbert and the bunny for herself. In addition, a chest was found near the pile of crates where the archers took cover. Donovan opened it up, revealing quite a bit of gold and silver, and some magic items. One of them was particularly eye-catching – a sword with a white blade and golden runes etched into it. It was recognized as the legendary weapon, Queensguard, but nobody knew where the sword had come from. All they know is that the powers change depending on the wielder. When handled by Portia or Augustus, the sword began to glow. Not knowing its powers, and lacking longsword specialists, the party decided not to use it.
The rest of the trip passed somewhat uneventfully. As they reached the Outer City of Valens, Tamera began to grow visibly uncomfortable, and finally elected to stay in one of the Inns outside the wall. Donovan asked her if she’d be safe there, to which she replied that she didn’t know. He agreed to meet up with her at the King’s Road Inn once his business in town was finished.
Portia directed herself and her prisoner to the Temple of Celia in the Garrison District of the Inner City. She turned in Elbert, and requested an immediate trial. The clerics of the temple refused, saying that three days was required for all those concerned to reach the city. Portia attempted to protest, but Augustus quickly pointed out that three days was quick for the court system. Portia reminded Elbert that if he was guilty, she’d carry out his execution herself. They carried him off in manacles.
Portia then attempted to enter the castle, but, after much argument, was stopped by the guards. She was able to find out the names of the three possible heirs to Arturos’ throne, however.
The Albion family are close cousins of the Knightblades, and consist of many honorable knights.
The Orren family are more closely related to the king before Arturos, Albert Lothar and his line.
Yet another family, the Locke family, claims to have the one legitimate heir – the secret son of Arturos Knightblade.
What lies ahead for our heroes? Find out next time, on D&D!