Chapter 27

A Change of Heart

May 23, 2020

The party continued the search for the outlaws led by Sir Robb and The Hood, learning that the Hood was in the local area with about two dozen Halflings known as Awaj, which translates as “desert ghosts”. Highly trained in stealth and archery, their raids have become more deadly to the mercenary escorts of late. This information came from Chip the Vagabond, a red-haired man some say is a druid who wanders the rocky hills between Targaton and Akamail.

He talked at length with Raz about her dragon hunting experience and the party’s desire to go after the local copper wyrms which were said to make the Badlands their home. He also seemed particularly intrigued by Raz, possibly seeing through her disguise as a human intended to keep her safe in Kuth, a land where hunting elves is a sport. When he departed, he left a clue as to where the party might find the camp of the Hood and his Awaj bowmen. 

The party went to the assigned spot off the road between towns and, scouting ahead, Kaamber saw a deserted camp with camouflaged Halflings lying in wait. The party went in anyway and he and Raz held a conversation in elvish with the unseen Hood, appealing to his half-elven nature and pretending to be on the run from persecution. Unconvinced for now, the Hood told the party to go back to the tavern in Targaton and there, that night, they received a scroll inviting only Kaamber and Raz back to the site the next afternoon.

In the morning, Ramona used her spells to mask the alignments of Raz and Kaamber against magical detection and they went off to meet the Hood, hiking back to the campsite just hours away. The rogues spotted the Halfling Awaj bowmen lying hidden as they went to meet with the Hood standing there alone, trusting but wary.

A long conversation ensued with Kaamber and Raz explaining everything about how they ended up here. In the telling of Raz’s long tale, the Hood was able to discern the less-than-heroic history of the party but was still sympathetic until, when observing that the party member Konnifer appeared to be Evil, Kaamber tried to argue in her favour. This incensed the crusading ranger so much that he ended the interview and walked away, advising them to leave Kuth or be considered an enemy.

While Kaamber and Raz were away, Ramona and Konnifer conspired to obtain more skeletons, which meant luring some local teenagers into a ravine and murdering them so the necromancer’s heiress could collect their bodies. Even though he was not compelled to do Good, Diomedes was suspicious of the two, having already tangled with Ramona’s previous batch of undead, but could not take them both on. Instead, he marched off to find Kaamber and Raz, finding them on their way back, but they were not very sympathetic.

Ramona took steps to ensure there was no sign of what she and Konnifer had done and everyone sat down to lunch to discuss their next move. Infiltrating the outlaws was not going to happen and, besides, Raz was sympathetic to the cause – any cause – that disrupted the practice of elf-hunting. Since the party was here on the orders of the Sultana Marid and not their own volition, coupled with the fact that there was nothing binding them to completing the mission, they collectively decided to abandon Kuth and find a way off the island.

It was then pointed out that Diomedes was the custodian of an interdimensional portal located deep in the Badlands. Even though the ranger couldn’t say specifically what lay on the other side, it seemed preferable to everyone to use it instead of trying to book passage on a pirate ship. Konnifer, however, decided to retire from the party and went her own way on her flying broom.

Raz, Kaamber, Ramona and Diomedes now face a trek east into the Badlands in search of a magical portal away from Kuth.

Chapter 28: Into the Wild