The day after rescuing the princess the adventurers were greeted by Chester the Bailiff who informed them that the thief from Taivas had been brought in and was ready for a trial. Chester did not want a crowd to gather at the courthouse like last time so he wanted to keep the trial a secret to prevent upsetting the mob. The adventurers agreed and so they went to the courthouse where they held the private trial for the thief, Ezekiel Atkins. Ezekiel was questioned about the events that transpired the night he was caught by Farmer Joe and he alleged that he followed the actual sheep thieves, who were Obramore natives, to see how they made their living since they were often seen flaunting their well doing around Ogden where Ezekiel and his wife Jemma had been struggling for so long just to feed themselves and their six children. The thieves began conducting their evil business late at night, and that is when Farmer Joe surprised them. The thieves ran but Ezekiel, being new and oblivious to such shady businesses, hid in a hay stack and that is where Farmer Joe found him after some time. According to Ezekiel, Farmer Joe took him to his barn where he was tortured to admit to crimes he hadn’t committed.
After hearing Ezekiel’s testimony, Farmer Joe was no less convinced that Ezekiel was just another ruffian. However, he was persuaded by the High Council to step down from his self-appointed policing post and allow the Royal Guard to patrol the farms to bring in the rest of the gang. The High Council was not convinced that Farmer Joe hadn’t just been using Ezekiel as an example knowing that he was not an actual member of the gang that for so long had been terrorizing the farmers of Taivas. They wanted to bring the gang in for questioning to finally absolve Ezekiel, whom they believed to be innocent, and appease the farmers. Depending on their testimony, Farmer Joe may even be punished for taking justice into his own hands. The trial was once more postponed until the gang was found.
After the trial, the adventurers went to the local smith, a young man by the name of Oerwurg Proudpike who ran The Exalted Steelworks. The adventurers inquired about his products, but Oerwurg was not confident in his work. He had inherited the blacksmith position from his father, who had passed last season from a night fever. He was not well trained in smithing, and asked the adventurers to help him get training from a master smith in Southern Territories. The mastersmith was an old dwarf from Taivodor named Trombley. However, taking a trip to the Southern Territories would prove to be troublesome since the recent insurgence of the orcs. Rhogar in particular was not keen on travelling to the Southern Territories, unless it was completely incognito. He recommended using the HUT to avoid suspicion from the commonfolk, lest they fear collusion between the High Council and Southern Folk. The adventurers agreed to use the HUT but that would mean procuring the aid of a halfling since the departure of Dae back to her family left them without.
The adventurers gave Oerwurg three hours to gather his things while they went to pay a visit to Rhogar’s contact Boris who owns the armory. Boris had previously expressed great disdain at the fact that Volantis was abusing its position as protector of the Alliance against the imminent Southern threat, and the adventurers promised to figure out a solution for the armorsmith. Fortunately, Volantis was on route to Taivodor and the adventurers thought they could stone two birds at once. While they figured out their next step, a raven arrived for Rhogar. The raven came from Nomastad’s military tacticians, instructed by the fallen Captain Gerard to inform Rhogar of the late King’s plan to retrieve the Queen and Princess and to subdue the orc insurgence. Rhogar read the message and he was forced to leave the adventurers for the Tiven Forest, where he was to meet a mercenary from the faraway land of Vagarath. The mercenary had been hired many weeks ago, but travelling to Glavvant had proven difficult for him and now he was finally arriving at the shores of the gnomish home. Rhogar was to escort the mercenary safely and discretely to Nomastad and therefore could not accompany the rest of the party on their current quest. Rhogar departed on his journey, and unbeknownst to the adventurers, it would be last time they saw their comrade for a long, long time.
Oerwurg met up with the adventurers and together they asked a halfling at the market to see if he would allow them to use his HUT passes, but the halfling was utterly insulted by the insinuation that he was a halfling of ill-repute, willing to sell his hard-earned passes which were meant to be given as gifts to friends. Oerwurg then mentioned that the best place to find people of ill-repute would be where such individuals tend to hang out, across from the Gilded Boar, near the Gilded Whore. After some investigating, the adventurers found their halfling and they haggled a price to get them all through the HUT.
Once in the HUT, the adventurers allowed the halfling to escort Oerwurg to Taivodor on his own and return so that he may guide them to Volantis. Although they had just met the halfling, he seemed particularly trustworthy and they knew Oerwurg would be fine on his own. When the halfling returned, they all made their way to Volantis, where the adventurers were now left on their own. The exit of the HUT lead to the outskirts of Volantis where the terrain became rocky and barely manageable. Down the main road, the adventurers went until they came across a chaingang of prisoners on a death marth, breaking up rocks with pickaxes as a guard dressed in Volantis’ royal colors trotted around on a horse, yelling out the prisoner’s names, crimes and years of their sentence. Amongst the prisoners, Oneshoe recognized the name of a halfling spellcaster who had been imprisoned for practicing forbidden magic. He tried to sneakily approach the gang but was discovered by the guard. The guard identified himself as Lieutenant Maximus Broadshield and he inquired about the nature of the business that Oneshoe had in Volantis. Oneshoe tried to bluff his way through Maximus’ questions but Maximus saw right through the fib. Fortinately for Oneshoe and the adventurers, Maximus held great disdain for the actions of the general responsible for the abuse of power, and he provided Oneshoe with the location of the general, General Tath Lionlash, so that Oneshoe may persuade him to step down, one way or another.
Before marching on to meet General Lionlash, Oneshoe convinced Maximus to release the spellcaster halfling to him so that he could carry out the death sentence himself. Maximus had gained a lot of confidence in Oneshoe through their brief conversation, so he allowed Oneshoe to take the prisoner to end his life as Oneshoe saw fit. The adventurers, along with the prisoner named Vlad, followed a map given to them by Maximus and they arrived at a forest, with foliage so thick no sunlight pierced through. They walked through the trees and found themselves at a dead end. As they turned around Jarijah and Vlad became ensnared in webs, which alerted the creatures that had spun them. An ettercap crawled down the web and attacked Vlad, causing him to become unconscious. It then proceeded to attack Jarijah and he met the same fate. Oneshoe decided to fight fire with fire and transformed into a spider to battle with the ettercap on its web. The ettercap met its end, but not before two more approached through the thick webbing in the trees. Tehpot stabilized Jarijah, and thinking quick Jarijah began attacking the webs with fire. A critical hit to the webs sparked a fire and the entire forest went up in flames. The cries of immolated creatures echoed through the smoldering forest, and the adventurers used this opportunity to make quick work of the two ettercaps that managed to avoid the inferno.
General Lionlash’s lodge became visible through the burning trees and so the adventurers approached it cautiously. The doors and windows were barred, as was the chimney which was smoking indicating the presence of someone within. Tehpot, perhaps through divine inspiration, realized that the only way to get into the house would be by causing whoever was inside to come out. The adventurers covered the chimney, causing the lodge to be filled with smoke. Genreal Lionlash burst through the door and encountered Mordai, who prevented the old general from reentering his home. The general confronted the adventurers and denied that he had done anything illegal or unethical, but after discovering incriminating evidence inside his lodge he could no longer deny the accusations, and so he was left with no option but to fight. He was quickly restrained by Mordai, and was knocked out. The adventurers took the General to Maximus, who did not want to be directly involved with the forceful persuasion of the general to step down. The adventurers realized that Maximus had used them to get rid of General Lionlash so that he could take his place, but saw no better alternative so they took him back to his lodge, and set it ablaze from the inside. Maximus did not explicitly approve of the death of Old Lionlash, but he promised that once he stepped into power he would stop the abuse of power, and allow all armorsmiths in the Alliance to keep and sell their armor, unless the defense of the Alliance truly called for their deployment to the front lines.
The adventurers made their way back to Nomastad and they met with Boris, who had already received a raven from Volantis, telling him to stop shipments of armor and allowing him to sell his armor as he saw fit. Oneshoe took some time to escort Vlad the spellcaster halfling to the Half Full Mountain, and Saerodor was happy to see his comrade once more. Saerodor thanked Oneshoe for freeing Vlad and granted him access to the Silver Dawn faction to aid in the propagation of freedom of magic. Although they had freed Vlad and restored Boris’ inventory, they had yet to finalize the fate of Ezekiel and Farmer Joe, and would have to keep a close eye on Oerwurg who was on his own in a strange country. The adventurers sensed a turning of the tide for their adventures, but only time would tell what the future held for them.