The party find themselves in Kelven, a small and thriving frontier town in the Grand Duchy of Karameikos. Whilst visiting a local inn, they are approached by a man called Stephen looking for a group to help out his brother Pyotr. Pyotr owns a farmstead, Sukiskyn, away to the east, and makes a living catching and taming wild horses. Recently, a herd of white horses was captured and Pyotr hopes to sell them for a fine price to the Callarii tribe of elves, as the white horse is their ancient tribal symbol. He needs help to take them to Rifflian, north and west of Kelven, where the main horse-trading occurs.
Stephan offers 100gp each for the job, as well as free food and lodgings, and free transport upriver. Stephan lets you know that a boat, owned by a man named Kalanos, will leave in a week’s time.
The week passes without event and the party boards a large rowing boat heading upriver so that they can be dropped off at Misha’s Ferry, which is a day’s walk from Sukiskyn. The boat is ‘Captained’ by Kalanos, a 40-year-old man with black, receding hair. He and his 8-man crew welcome you and get you comfortable for the journey.
After a few miles on the river, the banks become forested and not long after that the boat slams into a chain that has been placed across the river. A hail of arrows follow from the south bank and you realise you are under attack. The south bank is held by over 20 men, several of whom have dived into the river and are swimming to the boat. As the crew get ready to repel boarders, one of them pulls out a dagger and attacks the party. He is quickly put down by his ex-comrades whilst Sirius the Mage puts the swimmers to sleep and sets them to drowning.
The battle is swift, with Kalanos bearing the brunt of injuries with a heroic dash to shore to defeat the bandit leader. A search of the bodies reveals some branding and manacle scars but this means nothing to anyone. The river chain is removed and the boat sets off again.
By evening the party reach Misha’s Ferry which is just a small jetty and boat and wood cabin. Misha herself is nowhere to be found, but Kalanos explains that she is probably ‘out in the woods with her bear again’.
The party make themselves comfortable in the cabin and fall asleep. They are woken in the night by the growling of an angry bear, which after a while gets bored and leaves. Further into the night a woman’s body is found floating in the Volaga. From her druidic type garb the party determines that it is Misha and that her demise was brought about by bite marks around her neck. The party bury Misha in the morning and head to Sukiskyn.
The Siege of Sukiskyn
The trip takes most of the day, but close to evening you smell woodsmoke and then hear the harsh cries of a battle. Hurrying onward you survey a small homestead, Sukiskyn you presume, which is under attack from many goblins from all sides. Not being able to gather your thoughts you are ambushed from the flanks of the trail and have to put down a contingent of 8 goblins in wolfskin cloaks. When the fight seems near to the end, the party become aware of a group of 7 goblin wolf-riders heading their way. At the same time a shout comes from Sukiskyn – the gates are being held open for the party to escape into. They make it – just! But still have to repel some of the wolf riders before all is safe for a while.
You are welcomed by a man named Taras and his wife Alfana, who rush you towards the main buildings. You can see the barn is on fire and that much of the surrounding palisade will collapse soon.
Once in the main building, you pass through a number of rooms before being brought to Pyotr. He explains that the battle is the latest in a number of goblin attacks on homesteads in the area and that for some reason different tribes of goblins are working together. Three different tribes, made up of the Wolfskulls, the Red-blades and the Vipers have been attacking them. However, the Vipers left when they destroyed the barn and stole the white horses. Pytor humbly asks for the party’s help to defend Sukiskyn against the goblins until dawn, when the sun will force the goblins back to their caves.
The night passes, but not without event. Raucous drum beats come from the goblins and the party even witness the dragging of a screaming woman from another homestead into the forest to be…well they can only guess what.
Before dawn, the Wolfskulls give up the fight and head off in the direction of the Vipers, presumably to exact revenge. However, the Red-blades make a final assault. At the same time, a group of vampire bats come out of nowhere to infiltrate the building, sending everyone into panic. Sirius is hopelessly exposed. Having situated himself at the top of the tower to watch he did not expect a flying enemy. Bitten and drained of blood, the mage passes to the next world.
Before long the Red-blades gain entrance into the main building and it becomes Sukiskyn’s last stand. However, the goblins have already taken heavy loses from some inspired shooting from the bedroom windows. Shorty, Drendon and Dhavram pull out some heroic stops with the help of Pyotr and his family before the Gnhass, the Red-blade king, falls to the party’s steel. The Battle of Sukiskyn is won, but the party is wounded and depleted and the horses are stolen.
With the party mourning the loss of Sirius, Pyotr’s mother Kyama explains that conventional lore has it that those killed by vampire bats rise to become a vampire themselves. Although they find it difficult, the party remove Sirius’ head and bury it separately from his body, accompanied by the prayers of Dhavram.