The heroes finally reach the bandit’s camp, secreted away in the depths of the Brecilian. A single sentry slumbers on the route the heroes take to enter the camp, and they praised their good luck.
Scouting the camp, they found about nine bandits in all, playing dice games and spewing their drink onto the ground. They were distracted enough that Kallian could have sung while she sneaked. They were all armed and armored, trading their plundered treasures as they won and lost, and seemed itching for more action than the dice games offered.The leader, Waldric Gore-Hand was present, writing on a desk. Scars covered his face and his eyes darted back and forth between his papers, his men playing games and betting their riches, and the sentry guarding the other entrance to the camp, who kept falling asleep. Sitting near Waldric was a small elven boy. He squirmed on top of a small wooden stool, looking back and forth between the rowdy bandits and the irate Waldric.
Of particular interest to Kallian was a pen full to bursting with riding horses. They weren’t calm, but also weren’t scared. The heroes plotted to spook the horses after opening the gate, releasing them into the gambling bandits.
Killing the sleeping sentry nice and quiet, Kallian opened the gate for the horses. Linnea fired a few shots from her arrows into the posts surrounding the horses and even scraping the flanks of a few horses. The horses flew into a panic, and dashed directly into the bandits, knocking them aside and trampling them just before the heroes fell upon them. The clever sneak attack put the fight on the heroes’ side and the rank-and-file bandit fell to the heroes quickly.
Waldric the Gore-Hand was a different kind of challenge. Shouting threats and promises, his frustrations grew as the heroes circumvented him to slay the remainder of his men. Demanding satisfaction for their deaths and his loss of resources, he took the heroes on all at once. The dual-wielding bandit was able to handle many heroes at once, fighting hard even when surrounded. Severely wounding the heroes, but being wounded himself, it seemed the battle could go either way. Then Blacktail entered the scene.
The mighty mabari tackled and mauled the bandit to death, and heroes caught their breath while thanking the powerful mastiff. The mabari pulled out a potion and drank it, but as the heroes marveled over its intelligence, the source of this cunning became obvious. The mabari began to grow tall and stand like a man, until a robed human stood where the mabari stood, the ornate copper collar still around his neck. He knowingly smirked as the elven boy exited the tent he hid inside. The boy seemed to know him.
In that moment, a number of dalish elven hunters rounded a corner to find the boy. Calling him by name, they were interrupted as the winding sound of loading crossbows surrounded the elven hunters, and several members of the clan found themselves beset on all sides by silent men in foreign armor. The faces of the armor conjured images of scowling creatures, and the elves froze.
The men held their loaded crossbows at the group of dalish elves and marched them into the open. Asha watched with growing anxiety as she recognized members of her own clan, the Brightmores. Her own Keeper walked into the clearing to meet Asha’s eyes with what seemed to be shame.
The little elven boy demanded to know what was happening. This was not what the man promised him. The boy revealed that he did know this man, and claimed that the man promised that his clan could cease the meaningless wandering that his people seemed cursed to do. They would have jobs and integrate with the rest of the world, and see what lies beyond the trees for once in their lives. As Blacktail chuckled to himself, the boy could see he had made a mistake.
Blacktail planned on making good on the promise, as him and his clan would have new lives in Tevinter as hard-working slaves. They would see the world outside the trees and would never wander again, if they knew what was good for them.
Shadow, Hocke, and an oblivious Pryft entered the camp. Pryft seemed to be left in the dark as to what was going on, while Shadow held out an expecting hand to the magister, Blacktail. Blacktail produced a coin purse and Shadow pocketed it before calmly exiting the scene with Hocke. Pryft was furious, but was met with cold smiles and reminders that it was “just good business”. Hocke and Shadow left Pryft in the clearing. Pryft begged the heroes to believe that he wasn’t aware of this.
Blacktail also announced his plans to take the town of Logerswold, now defenseless, filled with quarreling soldiers, populated by hungry and jobless villagers, and far enough outside of Ferelden that few would notice an entire town being taken to Tevinter. Blacktail marveled at the reputation he would have back home with the other magisters.
Asha steeled her nerves and offered herself as a tribute if she would let her people go. Blacktail refused, claiming that he would make much more money with this many slaves as opposed to one. Asha claimed that he would have to feed fewer people, but Blacktail countered that he wouldnt’ be feeding them anyway. The ones who survived the starvation would be sold as hardier elves and better products. Asha then told him about her proficiency as a healer, and her services would be seen as more valuable.
Negotiations dragged into more and more dangerous territory. The heroes would be “conditioned” into personal bodyguards for him, while the elves would be sold, along with the Fereldans from Logerswold. He would have fame like few others in Tevinter, and the heroes would sing his praises by the time it was all over. Kallian snapped, vowing not to be taken in by this plot, and drew a dagger before throwing herself at the magister. Thinking quickly, Asha fired an arcane lance at Kallian, who was knocked unconscious. Blacktail was pleased by the sudden burst of servitude and protection, but knowing that he couldn’t simply let the heroes walk about with their weapons and everything, he decided he would condition them here and now. A soldier brought him a large sack of lyrium dust. The magister lit his staff to a red hot heat, and dipped the staff into the dust. He demanded that the heroes undress and ready themselves to be conditioned if they wished to save the elves.
Pryft could take no more, and produced a dagger. To the astonishment of those around him, he swiped the dagger across his own hand, and drew the blood from himself before slamming the Tevinter soldiers to the ground. Moments later, Vauldur Krole, tied down to the back of a horse, followed by several of his trained retainers, charged onto the scene, having followed the trail of the heroes. The Brightmore clan saw their chance to retaliate, and the elves and Fereldens turned to the Tevinter soldiers with bloody intent. As the elves and Fereldens fought their own battle, the heroes charged at Blacktail, slaying the magister once and for all.
As the battle went on, the Tevinter soldiers were finally driven off by a third group of elves, who rained a volley of arrows down onto the soldiers. The Tevinter soldiers retreated, and the Fereldens and elves stood victorious with minimal casualties.
This third group of elves called themselves the Emerald Brotherhood. They were a group of elves who saw the plight of the elves and desired to change it for the better, by making peace with the other races of Thedas. They had seen Asha’s commitment to her people was great, and they offered her to join their ranks. Knowing that she couldn’t simply walk from her current path, Asha joined them as a free agent who walked among the humans, with the goal of fostering peace with the humans towards the elves in and out of their cities.
As a sort of initiation, they asked what Asha might do with the elven boy. He had sold out his people to slavers and might have cost them many lives. Asha was resolute that the boy must be educated more thoroughly on his people’s history and who they could be. The Brightmore Keeper, smiled and promised that he would be receiving his education right away. She asked Asha one last time to return to the Brightmore clan. They both knew her answer.
As the heroes looted the bandit camp, they found many treasures. Linnea reminded the greedy Kallian that they likely belonged to people nearby, and they agreed to return as many items as they could to the villagers of Logerswold. Among the treasures, the heroes found evidence of Bann Trumhall’s involvement with the bandits. They had been so successful because they had been directed by Trumhall. His treachery exposed, they returned to Logerswold with a newly restored Vaulder Krole.
Trumhall seemed hazy, as if he had woken from a long sleep, and it seemed he couldn’t easily remember what had taken place over the past month or so. He had no recollection of working with the bandits, but seeing as he couldn’t remember clearly, he submitted to justice the heroes found suitable. Sensing his honesty, and told by many working under him that he was a good man and would never do such a thing, the heroes petitioned the freeholders of Logerswold to reinstate Vaulder Krole as the bann of the Ruswold Valley, and make Trumhall his adivsor.
It was a vote of great debate between the freeholders, but seeing as they simply wished to get back to work and live their lives, the vote went through smoothly, and Vaulder Krole was made bann of the Ruswold once again.
The heroes departed for Denerim with countless thanks, coin, and smiles, even one from Krole, if only for a moment.