After much secretive debate between themselves, Kithry and Oskar decided the “audition” provided by Violl was something they would try their hands at, for lack of a better option presenting itself. They were told that the ugly elf, Aust, would observe their progress, intervening if he thought it appropriate. The troupe headed out into the environs of the tropical greenhouse, Thaddeus, and now Aust in tow.
Although the party members could hear rustling in the trees around them indicative of the dire ape they were after, they did not locate the great ape until Oskar unthinkingly produced a large noise, causing the ape to drop from the trees above them onto the path in front of him. The sudden suprise might have worked to the dire ape’s advantage if the elf Aust had not been ready with a ray of enfeeblement, which he used to great effect upon the wild animal. The task of bringing the animal under their control became a simple matter of bloodying it to the brink of death before dazing it and dealing the final few blows non-lethally. When the deed was done, Violl revealed what the true mission they were to be hired for was: tracking down a dark lantern agent named Lucan Stellos who had gone rogue, stealing an important magical sword, a mere two days ago. Violl was willing to offer the party 2000 gp for the return of Lucan (alive) and an additional 500 gp for the return of the sword. He had little information to share with them, save the fact that Lucan had apparently left the city headed East, and his notes indicated that someone of something called Krell was of importance. Lucan had also seemingly gained strength and powers he was not previously known to possess, judging from the way in which he had assassinated the men who had been left to guard the sword at the vault where it was stolen.
Seeing their opportunity at pardon, Oskar and Kithry agreed to accept the mission on the condition that they be granted a royal pardon for their assassination of Prince Morcant outside Galethspyre. Violl hesitated, saying he had not the power to grant such a request, but agreed to meet with the party later that evening, upon the supper hour, with a decision after he had talked to his superiors. A few hours later, Violl granted the party a temporary reprieve from the warrant for their arrest, so long as they were on his mission. This seemed sufficient to draw the party into the quest. The 4 adventurers were given a letter of pardon, a 2000 gp letter of credit (against their quest earnings), as well as 4 magebred horses from House Vadalis to use on their quest.
Oskar was quick to use his letter of pardon to retrieve monies owed him at the House Kundarak bank in the royal square – for which the letter proved useful, since his name was identified in the bank ledger as that of someone wanted by the royal guard. Oskar was able to brush away the escourt that arrived to apprehend him and continue on his way.
The quartet of adventurers had not gotten farther than First Tower when Oskar suggested they sell their magebred horses for cash (relying on their old horses instead). Only Aust and Oskar seemed willing to part with these reliable beasts, for which they received 400 gp each from Farmer Thorsen. It seemed the party was little concerned with actually catching up to Lucan Stellos in the near future.
It was on their third day of leisurely travel that the party encountered its first serious challenge – a raiding party of centaur highwaymen intent on relieving the party of its gold. The rough terrain and narrow roadway meant that the attacks of the hooved highwaymen were limited to head on charges, which were successfully rebuked by lead warrior Oskar. Aust did his best to help with a giant moveable fireball, but the superior reflexes of the centaurs meant that no damage was done. After a few strikes against Oskar, the second centaur was downed, causing the third to make his retreat into the woods. He didn’t make it very far, however, as he was shot down in his tracks. A cursory search of the bodies yielded a handful of gold, 3 longswords, and 3 composite longbows, which the party took with it. The rest of the trip to Wroat along the King’s road was relatively quiet.
Once in Wroat, a certain level of trust had been established between the new and old party members, and the group agreed that it would continue Eastwords on the guise of carrying out its mission, but not invest any particular energy in actually accomplishing it. The promise of Breland’s borders in the near future meant that the royal bounty against them would soon be a thing of their past, leaving them to pursue whatever missions they might choose. With a clear goal now in sight, the group decided to cash in their letter of credit. Now flush with coin, both Oskar and Aust decided to use the cash to purchase magical “rings of sustenance”, allowing the two to go without out eating and feel rested with only 2 hours sleep after wearing the ring for a week. An exchange of coin for the ruby ring found in Prince Morcant’s torture chamber at Mooncrest Lodge also occurred between Oskar and Aust when Aust detected magic in the ruby. Finally, the group purchased maps of Breland, Zilargo, and Darguun for use in their future travels.
The group was able to reach the Zilargo border within a few weeks of travel, and were surprised to learn that they were still, in fact, only a week and a half behind Lucan Stellos, who was apparently headed towards Trolanport with a red-haired woman Oskar suspected might be Tamsin Arrowway. Only time would tell …