The party awoke in the morning and separated to pursue different avenues of investigation.
Sir Albrich and Petri attempted to Illicit more information from the Baron’s Guards but learned nothing new.
Brother Wymond toured the farmlands and spoke to farmers and shepherds who had encountered the bandits and returned with clues as to the armament and numbers of the bandits.
Druid Berengar and Sir Jean visited the Langdenwood and spoke with it’s fauna, learning the general location of the Bandit’s hideout.
Felix went house to house asking about missing persons and confirmed that a great many person’s are missing, but all had plausible explanations. he also learned that the Baron’s cook seriously suspected that the Baron was responsible for these disappearances, and that the Wizard Marcus was helping him hide it.
the party collated their facts, and slept once more. the next morning they set out to the neigboring village to try to speak to the Baron’s Disinherited son, Sir Quinten. shortly after arriving in town they learn from the locals that Sir Quintain is partnered with a local wool merchant and has funded an expansion of his operation. the party goes to the edge of town to visit the merchant and learn of Sir Quintain’s whereabouts.
They met the business partner, who at first welcomed them warmly but soon turned cold and a tad smarmy when it became apparent they were only fishing for information rather than looking to buy anything. after a brief and uncomfortable conversation that illuminated nothing but the wool trade, the party began to walk out, when Berengar, his ire ignited by a parting sarcastic comment from the merchant, turned and struck him. Berengar’s imposing appearance and violent action changed the merchants attitude toward further questions and he revealed to the party that he had been accepting wool from Sir Quintain without asking any questions about it’s origin. his suspected it was stolen but didn’t want to ruin a good thing.
meanwhile, Peitri snuck into Sir Quintain’s house to look for clues. several minutes later he emerged in a huff after alerting the manservant to his presence but escaped being caught do to his invisibility spell.
When the party met back up on the road Peitri revealed that he had taken a locked box from the home. after some discussion they decided to open the box and discovered Sir Quintain’s signet jewelry. upon close inspection Brother Wymond noticed that they were forged copies., only plated gold over common iron, and colored glass. at this point the party decided that they had enough information to make an attempt at taking on the bandit hideout.
in the early hours of the night the party set to scouring the region of the Langdenwood where they suspected the Bandit’s to be hiding out. with Halt’s skill at tracking and the help of some owls Berengar enlisted they were able find the lair.
forewarned by their scouts, the brigands poured fourth in much larger numbers than the party was anticipating. a midst the frayed ravel there was a knight showing no colors leading the attack. Sir Albrich charged the enemy knight, moving too far for his allies to support him. The more experienced and pragmatic knight blocked Sir Albrich’s blow and allowed his underlings to help surround and beat Sir Albrich near to death. he fell within seconds, wounded sorely but not unto death.
despite being outnumbered the superior skill and determination of the party felled or intimidated the brigands into breaking. the enemy knight was captured and revealed to be Sir Quintain, as was suspected. the party dragged Sir Quintain and a few other prisoner’s back to Langdon. the next morning they turned in Sir Quintain to his father and got to watch a very uncomfortable exchange between father and son. the son was placed into the dungeon and the party was invited to partake of breakfast at the Baron’s table, though the Baron did not join them.
While in the manor Felix and Berengar, followed by Peitri, decided to speak to the Wizard Markus and see if they could find any probable cause for the cooks accusation toward him and the Baron. over the course of over an hour of conversation the party members had discerned that Markus was holding very important information from them, and actively lying to certain questions. they had noticed a particular, unsettling light in his eyes when he spoke to them about Soulcaging. When Markus made a quick excuse and tried to move away from the party members, Berengar’s instincts told him that the man was just trying to put space between himself and the party to cast a spell. with no time to consider the consequences he stabbed at markus with his spear, and the man was ready for the attack. he dodged mostly out of the way but was nicked on the foot. once he had some space he cast a spell which surrounded him in a translucent bubble of force.
Peitri in a clever and unorthodox move used his mage hands spell to pull the curtains from the rooms window and drape it over the bubble of force to block Markus’s line of sight to the party, hoping this would rule out the use of soul caging. meanwhile berengar readied his spear for a powerful strike hoping to pierce the bubble of force. felix, also thinking quickly, cast a strength spell on Berengar to fortify his attempt. Markus, hidered by the curtain had to cast his own mage hands spell and pull the curtain from his eyes just in time to see berengar’s spear peirce his bubble and strike him in the forehead. the strike had lost much of it’s power passing through the shield and only glanced off the skull, but the force was still sufficient to knock the frail elderly man out.
searching Markus’s quarters and person they discovered several hidden containers of blood, marking him as a likely warlock. they also found a key in his pocket and discovered that the lowest level of the manor’s dungeon had been turned into some sort of dark blood magic sanctum. there were several bowls filled with blood and floating straw fetishes. when the human hair was pulled from any of these fetishes, it released a member of the household from a spell which modified their memory and behavior. the baron, his guards, and the majority of his staff had all been under enchantment. when the Baron was freed he was immediately furious and nearly killed the helpless Markus. Felix managed to prevent this by explaining it would be best to turn the warlock over to his guild for questioning first. the Baron eventually yielded but still cut Markus’s hands off and cauterized the stumps, for “stealing wills”.
the aftermath of this discovery was frantic. in the end the Baron was begrudgingly grateful and paid the party significantly more than the contract demanded, and stated that he is in the parties debt and will do whatever his honor demands and fortune allows if they seek his aid in the future. Berengar and Brother Wymond prayed to cleanse Markus’s sacrificial alter for 24 hours until it broke in twain, it’s dark powers defeated. Berengar and Lance returned to the oldwood. Lance attempted to learn more about wild magic but found only advice to speak to the dragons where magic is concerned. Berengar stayed a few weeks to learn of the Ent Language culture and history. the party elected to transport Markus to Pheld so they could turn him over to the Custodes Clavis Rutilus.
in Pheld, Felix’s mother chewed out Sir Jean for dragging her son into danger and nearly having his foot chopped off.
the party spent some time relaxing and training at Sir Jean’s lodge while he corresponded with others looking for the next job. about a month after Markus’s fall he sat down with those present and it was decided that they would like to join the crusade to push the Empire of Man out of the territory they had conquered in the wild lands over the summer. the party is just about to begin making thier way south to WyrmCastle where they can join with the Fellowship of Kobus as they marshall for the crusade.