- Captain John details the news he has since last they saw one another.
- he introduces the party to the cleric Kelly Palmer, whose husband, Doug Palmer, had helped them out before.
- He first asks if the party saw Lady Tanya Moreau in Swellburg. They did not.
- He speculates that she was captured by whomever had tailed them there. Moreau was supposed to dispatch them, but they apparently got the upper hand.
- He has no news about the lost artifact, but assures Newton that the best divinations are being applied to find it.
- He checks that the party still has the key to the exraplanar gateway. They do.
- He says that the other key left with Professor Farnsworth and his posse has been stolen.
- The mountain pass containing the gateway is also in danger of being taken by the Iron Kingdom and their allies.
- The Duchess Selina del Wuunder did not in fact provide any assistance as the party had hoped, though negotiations are apparently still underway.
- The orcs are still streaming out of the Wildlands, creating a third war front for Peloria to cover.
- The Arcane Empire, despite their loose alliance with Peloria, has not committed their forces to the combat, and therefore are not putting enough pressure on the Iron Kingdom
- The church hierarchy in Pela (occupied by the Iron Kingdom) has decreed that Roche is acting against Pelorian best interest by fighting for Arcane supremacy, resulting in a civil war.
- In short, Peloria is in trouble.
- He also says that Bee was targeted by Commander Locke because intelligence suggested he was a weapon designed by the Iron Kingdom
- Later reports suggest he escaped a secret compound when the Iron Kingdom army and some citizens raided it, killing most. The Dwarf escaped in the confusion.
- The Iron Kingdom has dispatched the death squad, the Crimson Fist, to hunt down and likely kill Bee and any of his associates.
- During most of this, a halfling named Lodus sat and listened. He’s the mayor of the town and the agreement with the Captain means he keeps abreast with all the plans John and his men have.
- Finally, the Captain tells the party about what he’s doing in the Freelands. Strongheart had given him the assignment to spy on the “Great Leader’s” army and report on its activities. He did not explain why.
- John has discovered a dwarf named Creben Durgard that may be a missing weapons developer for the Iron Kingdom that has been kidnapped by the Gnolls in the city of Canistooth.
- Apparently the Iron Kingdom has weapons they have not yet employed in the war, that they’re likely keeping secret until the Arcane Empire joins the fight for real.
- Speculation is that they’re some some sort of alchemical and/or mechanical weapon, similar to the cannons that the Iron Kingdom developed decades ago.
- Either way, this dwarf would be a great asset for any nation that could capture him. As such, he’s been planning a rescue (or capture) of his own.
- While discussing all this, Lodus leaves under suspicious pretenses, and Thomas discovers he’s trying to find a bird feather token.
- After some interrogation, the party discovers he’s been feeding John’s plans to a contact in the hobgoblin army with the intention of eventually giving the humans to the hobgoblins.
- The party decides to try making an agreement with the hobgoblins in which they capture the weapon maker for the Great Leader in exchange for the safe passage for all the humans into Kordian Land.
- The trick, though, is that they intend to make a switch, instead giving them Bee with the expectation he’d escape.
- When Benjamin Krysa returned, he demanded to speak to Jenny in private, apparently to scold her for leaving Roche
- Newton remains within earshot, and gathers that she’s sold the house in Roche and that she’s acting against her half-brother’s commands by leaving
- He also infers that she’s been to the Freelands, and possibly this locale before.
- Finally, it’s clear that the two are not on the best of terms. She gives her short sword to him angrily and storms off at the end of the conversation.
- Also in the Freelands with the Captain are Sergeant Doug Palmer and Corporal Marcus Terennis, and a number of Pelorian rangers and some Free Men who escaped the Warband’s wrath.
- After lots of deliberation, the party has formulated their plan to get the weapon-maker and fool the hobgoblins.
- Bert successfully brokers the agreement when the hobgoblin envoy when he arrives in the town.
- The hand-off is set to occur at a destroyed town near the Kordian border.
- Bee is given an anklet of translocation with a false abjuration aura on it, with the hopes this will allow him to escape once held by the hobgoblins
- The envoy sends a letter the next day identifying the group as being on official business. He also instructs them on where to find somebody who will make them appear to be hobgoblins temporarily.
- The next day, Capt. John’s men steal some more horses, and the rescue is underway!
- Some of the crew infiltrates Canistooth early, with the intention of setting fires and creating havoc once the distraction gets underway.
- Capt. John and Newton take the main force down the main road into town to attract attention.
Thomas, Bee, and Bert sneak down a parallel road and set up position behind the place where Durgard is being held.
- Once the largest group of combatant gnolls leave to combat John and his group, the three enter the building.
- Despite their efforts, they are spotted at this point by some guards, and they attack, including Bee raging in bear form.
- The three get inside and battle a troll. They also blind the gnolls that remain.
- They break into the hatch below to find their prisoner inside a magically tempered and dimensionally anchored cell.
- Bee destroys the bars while the other two fend off an invisible monster.
- Durgard is freed, and the four teleport away.
After the Summoning Wars
News from Captain John, and the Dwarf Weapon Maker