After bravely striking down an unquestionably savage and evil ogre and a somewhat-rightfully enraged Owlbear, the unlikely heroes, Belethor, Pitz and Shi’hemas took a moment to rest in the bosom of Tril’hema, the Oak Basket.
They deduced that the ogre had been living there for about a week, with no sign of Shi’hemas’ fellow strider, Ezregan having been by in that time. They also noticed a bunch of supplies but chose not to investigate them because it would be disrespectful and also they forgot.
As Pitz gleefully set about skinning the Owlbear and Belethor took a nap, Shi’hemas “left his mark upon the tree” and climbed to a high branch. As he kept watch, he examined the magic tent they’d confiscated from the circus. In search of aid, he entered into a strange and sinister conversation with his ethereal patron. She informed him of the tent’s nature in exchange for a single favour…
Nearby, unbeknownst to the three travellers, the Great Betrayer, Handle Landerhands was travelling along the road that skirts the Westward Wildwood with a rival squad of heroes composed of Brysseis, Tavon and Gunther. As a result of Handle’s complete failure to pay attention, even to simple instructions, the group were ambushed by a pair of snake-sorcerers.
As the attack commenced, Handle was immediately blasted out of the cart like an idiot. And then he fell unconscious. Brysseis, Tavon and Gunther put up a brave fight, but Brysseis took some heavy hits from the wizard lizards. And then she fell unconscious. Tavon, in the face of this terrible threat, fell unconscious. And then, as Gunther fought on alone, a mysterious horn began to sound from the nearby trees.
Belethor, Pitz and She’himas, roused by the sound of the horn, dashed unwittingly towards the battle. As they burst onto the scene, the serpent sorcerers began to flee, carrying the incapacitated Tavon and Gunther upon a magical floating disc. They also produced a wand and summoned a pair of fiery snakes to cover their retreat. With the help of the shrouded, horn-toting, orange-furred creature in the trees, the party attempted to chase down the wizard lizards using their cool mounts and excellent horsemanship.
Unaware that his former-manservant was slowly dying behind a nearby cart, Pitz rushed bravely into the fray. And then he fell unconscious. Belethor and She’himas tore into the lizwizs using magic and fists. She’himas also rode upon the floating disc and it was sick. The mysterious furry figure eventually emerged from the trees and made it rain goodberries as he tended to the fallen Brysseis and Pitz. Pitz, in a semi-conscious stupor, glanced up at the beastly humanoid standing over him and curiously whispered “…Father?”
Now reunited, the Quillion Quartet finally managed to destroy all nearby serpents. Sadly, they were not in time to save the unfortunate Handle, whose now-lifeless body lay unnoticed in the mud. It seemed the poor young halfling had been doomed from the outset by his ineptitude, fragile body, shameless disloyalty and poor life choices.
In the aftermath of the battle, the group were formally introduced to Ezregan, the Hobgoblin strider who had aided them. Though he knew nothing of a travelling circus, he did mention that the outpost at Tril’hema was currently staffed by a new recruit. An ogre.
Belethor, Pitz and She’himas delicately explained that they had sort of killed this newly-inaugurated strider a bit. Which was an honest mistake. Moving swiftly on, the party decided to move swiftly on down the road to rest up at a nearby Strider-encampment before renewing their search for the circus and the missing children.