Brothers of the Tor

Missing in Rooker

Now with two successful missions under their belts, the Tor-men returned to their mighty stronghold to report recent events and await new orders. Vernon Burnes for once was happy to see the returning agents, congratulating them for a mission well done. He issued each man 200 gold pieces before briefing the agents on their next assignment. In the Marcher kingdom of Falland, the Princess Rala, Daughter of King Berkley of Falland has gone missing, suspected kidnapped. She was last seen attending her studies in the massive port city of Rooker missing from her quarters with a good friend of hers found dead, slain by a dagger in her spine. Vernon tasked the agents with finding the missing girl, dead or alive, return her to her family and punish those who took her. Vernon said little information was known at the time about the circumstances of her capture, but time was of the essence for a situation as fragile as this and agents had to be deployed as speedily as possible. After but a single night’s rest the Agents packed their wagon and set out, bidding good luck to Dean Backer and his team on their mission across the border into the Bythennian Empire.

After crossing the border into Falland from the Chalim Confederation the agents noticed abandoned farmland and many brunt out homesteads. Clearly something was amiss in Falland. While plodding along the solemn road Arandur Nightwalker heard sharp screams and cries faintly ahead. What awaited the agents was sheer butchery as bandits raided a roadside inn, slaying the patrons and laying waste to the building. Dahl attempted to reason with the bandits, who judging by their accents were a multi-national group, but they refused to comply and battle was soon joined. Expecting the bandits to be little more then a bump in the road, they showed surprising discipline and skill at arms, and by the end of the struggle the agents were battered but victorious. The final butcher’s bill was 5 bandits dead, 2 captured, and 8 innocent lives lost, 4 of which caused indirectly (with the exception of one…. Kolt) by the Tor-men.

The agents buried the dead and interrogated their captives. Little information was gathered but they did learn that the bandits were in fact mercenaries hired some months back to reap havoc throughout the land. On the corpse of the mercenary leader Kolt Leakwood found a crest that appeared to be a bronze “R” with additional details within it.

A little over a day later the Tor-men came in sight of Rooker. While approaching the gates a dense crowd formed, begging entry within the walls but were kept back by city guards, declaring that no one was allowed within the city walls until order was restored. The Tor-men pushed through the people and were admitted into the city. The guard who lead the agents past the gate informed the Tor-men that riots had been raging in the city every night for the past week. He informed the agents that there is a populace movement in the city hoping to form a representative body of the people that has gained traction in recent weeks due to an influx of people fleeing rural areas of Falland claiming banditry is at an all time high and the nobles of the land are doing little to stop it. The guard also informed the agents that things had gotten worse ever since the city guard has begun lashing out at the people ever since the Princess went missing and Prince Warrick, her brother, showed up. The agents then asked for directions to the Tor offices within the city and met with Rander Booth, a Tor agent tasked with keeping an eye on Rooker.

Rander was glad to have additional Tor-men in the city but was unfortunately unable to help with their investigation. He had been kept occupied with the riots, and though he had investigated the missing Princess briefly had not been able to learn anything meaningful. Rander was prepared to help and arranged meetings with Duke Francis, the lord of the City and Knight-Captain Hart, commander of the city guard. Rander also took the opportunity to explain to the agents that the rioters were part of a group lead by a charismatic man by the name of Malcolm, who despite being the leader of the group was against violent action.

While en route to the palace to meet with Duke Francis, the agents encountered a commotion in the streets. Two men clashed in a brutal duel, swords flailing until one or the duelists throat was opened and he lay dying on the road. The onlookers then cried in revulsion as the winner, a strange looking man with bright red hair, leaned over his fallen foe and cut out his heart, licked it and then tossed it to an ominous rag tag group who appeared to be his companions. Rander informed the Tor-men that they were a band of mercenaries who arrived in town about two weeks ago and had been stirring up trouble since they showed up. They also appear to have no interest in tracking down a contract meaning they are either already employed or have their own agenda.

While meeting the Duke the agents also met with Prince Warrick, brother of the missing Princess and heir to the Kingdom of Falland. The Duke informed the Tor-men that they had been unable to find out what had become of the Princess, but were certain she had been taken by Malcolm and his band of miscreants in order to enforce demands or make a statement. Prince Warrick then attempted to order how the Tor would serve him in the act of finding his missing sister, but put off by his haughty demeanor the Agents rebuked the Prince and said they would operate alone and free of his command. This angered Warrick who stormed from the room, displeased by the Tor-men’s impudence.

The agents then made way for the city barracks wherein they met with Knight-Captain Hart and his second in command Lt. Alistair Whip. Hart informed the Tor that his men were spread thin as it was containing the riots and had no lead on the location of the missing princess, other then that he assumed like the Duke and Prince that she had been taken by Malcolm’s mob.

That night the Tor-men decided their best course of action would be to infiltrate the mob and try to find Malcolm and question him as to the whereabouts of the missing Princess. During their search Arandur Nightwalker vanished, not be seen again until early the next morning. While going through the city the Agents witnessed all kinds of violence, including rioters torching buildings, clashes between guards and the mob, and even a fully armed cavalry charge lead by Prince Warrick.

The remaining Agents were successful in tracking Malcolm down, who they met after he gave a speech to some of his followers in an abandoned warehouse. After the speech the Agents were escorted by some of Malcolm’s men (whom they had coerced into leading them to him) to a back room where they witnessed Malcolm speaking with a mysterious man in fine clothing and wearing a pendant in the same “R” shape as the emblem they had earlier found on the mercenaries corpse. He was accompanied by a half dozen guards equipped in foreign armour and wielding long scimitars. Dahl Orland recognized one of the guards as the red haired man they saw in the duel earlier that day. The mysterious then left and Malcolm turned his attention to the Tor Agents. Malcolm first attempted to recruit the Agents to his cause, claiming that what he and his followers were doing would help usher in a new age for the Marcher Kingdoms. The Agents flatly refused and then questioned Malcolm about the missing Princess. Malcolm, much to the Agents chagrin did not provide an answer to where she was but claimed he has his suspicions who does. When asked about the mysterious man Malcolm gave no answer. The agents had put together that it was likely the mysterious man who had hired mercenaries to act as bandits and attack rural villagers who in turn flocked to Rooker and joined Malcolm’s cause. As proof of this Kolt showed Malcolm the pendant they had found. This outraged Malcolm, and he opened up to the party, informing them the mysterious man called himself Orton, and that he was a very wealthy man from far to the south across the Heart Sea who had taken an interest in the work Malcolm and his followers were doing in Rooker. Malcolm also informed the Agents that he was fairly certain that Orton was behind the kidnapping. Malcolm then invited the Agents to accompany him to a meeting with Orton the next evening and that if they are willing to come can meet Malcolm at the warehouse at 7pm.

The Agents left and returned to the Tor barracks to sleep. There they re-united with Arandur and informed him of the details of their investigation.

The Second Adventure

Victorious from their first mission as full fledged agents of the realm, Dahl Orland, Arandur Nightwalker, Kolt Leakwood, and Jonas Rockhold returned to the Tor wherein they met with Commander Vernon Burnes. Vernon was less then pleased with the performance of the team, disappointed that they were unable to recover the missing funds. However Commander Burnes recorded the mission as a success stating that the prime culprit behind the crime Heward Birch, heir to the Birch lands and son of Lord Thomas Birch, was apprehended and justly punished. After completing their retelling of events Vernon Burnes appointed Dahl Orland, the young and inexperienced though surprisingly capable elf, as captain of the unit, who from this point on would lead the team on its missions unless deemed unfit for command. Vernon proceeded to brief the agents on their next assignment. The Tor had received word from southern Renoux that a small village located deep in the woods of that region had been experiencing mysterious attacks over the past several weeks, allegedly by the very trees themselves. Vernon Burnes commanded the team to investigate the situation and put an end to any further threat to the village.

After resupplying themselves with new equipment and armaments the Tormen set out post haste for the port city of Holder on the north coast of the Chalim Confederation where they met with Rex Mathers, the young captain of the Tor vessel Diversity. While en route to the Grand Dukedom of Renoux, Diversity and her crew were ambushed and attacked by Blood Shield raiders while navigating through a foggy haze. Mathers’ crew along with the skill of the Tor Agents were able to drive back the attackers. The Diversity though badly battered was still afloat and was able to limp to port, completing the voyage. With the ship in harbor the Agents departed the vessel and made for a port side tavern, where they were to meet guides who would take them to the hall of Lord Conner Red, the count of the beleaguered village. Two gnarled and unkempt knights met the Tor Agents and took the Tormen on a grueling four day trek along wilderness trails.

After days of traveling through nothing but thick forest the Tormen were greeted by the sight of Lord Red’s castle, a small though intimidating hold built atop a cliffface overlooking the sea of foilage that spread from horizon to horizon. Once within the Agents were greeted by a solemn faced steward who took them to the receiving hall. Inside the Tormen were greeted by Lord Conner Red, a very round and red faced man with long red sideburns whose girth spilled over his simple seat. Lord Red explained to the Agents that he had already made attempts to end the attacks himself, but his efforts resulted in the deaths of several knights and he decided to appeal to the professionals for aid. The Agents then made for the village with the help of a local by the name of Ray. Ray took the Tormen down narrow twisty trails all the while explaining the situation further. Ray told the Agents how the attacks have so far claimed the lives of twenty-two villagers and two knights and how the local leader, a bully named Hank, had killed another seven villagers, accusing them of witchcraft and blaming them for the attacks. While en route Arandur Nightwalker sensed a presence watching them, and saw a large silver wolf with the purest coat he had ever seen spying the travelers from atop a fallen trunk.

Upon entering the village the Tormen were greeted by the sight of rotting corpses, hung by the neck and left to decay for all to see. The team decided that it was best to meet with Hank immediately, and see if they could put an end to the witchhunt, at least for the moment. Hank however was not in the mood to negotiate with the Tormen who he perceived as interlopers. Deciding that Hank and his cronies were a danger to the completion of the mission the Tormen dispatched them, but sustained numerous wounds themselves in the process.

After limping from the wreckage of Hank’s home the Tormen noticed an elderly man wrapped in the cloak of their order waving them into a small stone tower. Inside the man introduced himself as Durnham. He had been acting as castellan of this long forgotten Tor library deep in the wilderness of Renoux. Durnham saw to the Agents wounds and suggested they should look for further help from a local healer and alchemist who could better aid in their recovery. Dahl Orland and Jonas Rockhold went in search of the healer while Arandur Nightwalker and Kolt Leakwood searched the forgotten library for any lead on what could cause the forest to attack a village that had stood unmolested for centuries.

The healer, who named herself Annabelle, was happy to help the Tormen, and gave to Dahl and Jonas a poultice made from various ground plants and fungi to help with their wounds, she also told the men they need only ask if they require any more help in their mission. Meanwhile, Arandur and Kolt found that any number of supernatural causes could be behind trees attacking a town, and decided they needed more information. Outside the library Jonas, Dahl, Kolt, and Arandur questioned their guide Ray about any other events that may have happened just prior to the attacks. Ray told the Tormen how Lord Red had sent orders to the town to begin clearing back the thick forest so that new roads could be constructed with the hopes of bringing commerce to this poor backward land. Instantly smelling a lead Captain Dahl Orland asked Ray to show them to the foresting site.

Not far from the borders of the village Ray escorted the men to a cleared field. The first thing Arandur noticed was the smell of death on the air. When questioned of this, Ray said this was the site of the first attack and no villager had been brave enough to return to collect the bodies. While they searched the Agents discovered several demolished sheds, hundreds of discarded trunks, and seven decomposing corpses. Arandur Nightwalker however discovered something of greater interest. While exploring the edge of the foresting site, where cleared land met with wild forest he found the remains of what had once been a great tree, one of the largest and most impressive oaks he had ever seen. And lying beside the great tree, shriveled and dry, Arandur found the body of what he suspected to be a Dryad. Calling back on his knowledge of nature Arandur deducted that the great Oaktree must have been soul bound to the Dryad, and when the oak was felled the ancient fey creature passed with it.

Before heading back to the village Jonas Rockhold, a pious man, insisted the agents bury the corpses of the fallen before furthering their investigation. By the time they returned to the village evening was upon them and they turned in for the night. In the morning the agents returned to the healer Annabelle to inquire if she knew anything of Dryads in the area. She said she had never encountered one in the wild but knew of a location deep in the woods she suspected of being a Dryad’s grove. After traveling for hours through the heavy brush the Tormen with the help of Annabelle discovered a small clearing, carpeted with the softest moss and decorated with wreathes of vines and flowers. However before being able to investigate further Kolt Leakwood heard a mighty crash and cries of anguish from behind, the village had fallen under attack. Running recklessly through the trees the Tormen returned to the village to find massive animated uprooted trees attacking the townsfolk and demolishing buildings. The massive trees seemed to be lead by the large silver wolf the Tormen encountered on their way into the village. The agents leapt to action, focusing their efforts on the wolf while attempting to distract the trees from killing anymore villagers. After felling one tree but sustaining heavy damage themselves the trees halted their attack and the silver wolf appraoched the Agents. In the dirt it etched a message “We must talk… find me” and ran off, while the animated trees returned into the forest.

That night Kolt Leakwood searched the library for any information he could find on dryads. He discovered that dryads rarely travel far from their soul bound trees, and to find one a ritual must be preformed in a dryads grove to draw out the dryads spirit companion who will then take them to the dryad. The next morning the Agents returned to the grove, and once there they performed the ritual, calling forth the spirit companion. The silver wolf appeared before the Tormen and motioned them to follow before trotting off into the woods. After following the wolf through heavy thicket they found themselves in yet another moss covered clearing, but this one had at the centre a mighty tree that stretched to such lofty height that Arandur estimated it must stand well over a hundred feet tall.

After a moment of silence Dahl Orland walked forward, calling up to the tree in greetings, and from the lowest branch dropped a strange creature. Though feminine in appearance the creature was unlike anything the Tormen had seen before, smaller of frame then even the most petite elf and with skin that more resembled the texture of a leaf the dryad was truly alien in appearance. All the Tormen save Arandur were by some spell charmed by the creature and instantly were engaged by it. When asked if the dryad was behind the attacks on the village the dryad pleaded its guilt, but insisted there was just cause. The creature brought forth from a high branch of the tree an ancient tablet of petrified wood. On the tablet written in a most ancient tongue of man was a contract between an ancestor of the Red family and the Dryads of the wood, stipulating that so long as the people of this land protect the woods they shall never be lacking for sustenance and the forest will never rise against them. the dryad lamented however that the recent logging initiative by Lord Conner Red violated this contract and resulted in the felling of her sister’s soul bound tree, killing her. The Dryad insisted the only way to right this crime would be by spilling Red blood. She asked the Agents if they would help her by luring Conner Red deep into her woods and bring him here within one week so that she may personally see to his end. The dryad insisted that since it was the job of the Tormen to protect the law, and a law had been broken, it was their job to see to her revenge. With that the agents departed, agreeing that within one week they will return with Lord Red at their heel.

While returning to Lord Red’s castle the Dryad’s spell weakened and the Agents realized the insane proposal they had just accepted. However instead of returning to slay the Dryad the Tormen decided that it would be in the regions best interest to try and convince Lord Red to negotiate with the creature and see if a peaceful resolution could be achieved. In the event the negotiations failed the Agents also wished for combat aid from Lord Red’s vassals.

When the Tormen arrived at the castle Lord Conner Red welcomed them generously, curious as to what news they brought. When told about the Dryad he was quick to ask if they had killed the “woods bitch”, to which he was disappointed to hear they had not. The Agents informed Lord Red that they wanted him to convene with the dryad, to which he agreed, but made the Tormen swear that if things turned foul they would be quick to slay the creature.

The Tormen, Lord Conner Red, six knights and a priest left the castle the next morning mounted on horse and arrived in the village by early afternoon. Conner Red addressed the people, informing them that he was off to correct the situation with the help of the Tor, and that the attacks would stop. By evening the Tormen brought Conner Red to the mighty oak tree where the Dryad was waiting. After a brief exchange between the creature and the count it was made clear a peaceful resolution could not be made and the Dryad attacked, summoning not only her mighty oak to fight but also several smaller trees. The conflict was quick and brutal ending with the deaths of the priest and one knight but two trees were felled and in a courageous effort that nearly cost him his life, Kolt Leakwood managed to slay the Dryad with a well placed toss of his javelin, pinning the revenge driven creature to her own tree. When the Dryad was slain her magic left the world too, thus ending the life of the mighty oak and her spirit wolf companion.

Upon return to the village an overjoyed Count Conner Red addressed the people, happily explaining to them how work could begin anew and that in time, once the forest has been pushed back, the people will have pastures and trade where before they only had the blackness of the woods. The Agents escorted Lord Red back to his castle, and once there the Count offered them a reward for their help. Jonas Rockhold asked that they be given a hundred gold pieces that he immediately gave to the local Ray to distribute amongst the villagers so that they may rebuild their battered town. This angered Arandur and Kolt. To placate Kolt Leakwood Count Red gave to him a book on the history of the Grand Dutchy of Renoux, an old illuminated tome that he took happily. Arandur however acted on principle and took back his share of the gold (25 pieces) from the amount given to Ray. Jonas was not pleased by this act of perceived greed.

Upon returning to the coast the Agents encountered Rex Mathers and the Diversity still at port, just having completed repairs. Rex was more then happy to transport the Tormen back to the Chalim Confederation, and unlike before the voyage was uneventful. While passing through a quaint town on the road back to the Tor, the Agents caught a glimpse of a member of their order entering a local tavern. Curious as to what a lone Torman was doing in the town the Agents followed him in. Inside Dahl Orland and Jonas Rockhold made conversation with the man. The man introduced himself as Dean Backer and agent of the Tor, he and his unit had been given a short term of leave due to the impending danger of their next mission and he was now returning to the Tor to resume duty. When asked by Rockhold what his mission was, Backer leaned close and quietly told the Tormen that apparently things were becoming uneasy in the Bythennian Empire, and that the Emperor’s nephew was making trouble. Backer and his team were ordered to infiltrate the Empire and observe events as they unfolded from as close as possible. Backer then inquired about the Agents own mission and afterwards asked if he could join them on their return to the Tor. After another long day of travel the intrepid Tormen came within sight of the solemn black tower of the Tor and passed under its sturdy gates ready, ready to report the success of their mission and see what task awaited them next.


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