As read to the group..
As the road comes over a slight rise, you see a defensive, hastily constructed barricade ahead on the road about a hundred yards away. An image begins to materialize near you along with a twinkling of musical notes similar to heavily buckled reins, as a mist swirls slowly into a transparent image of a Cormyrian Warmage.
An authoritative voice speaks from the image. “Warnings and Well met travelers. Under order of the Regent Queen of Cormyr and the Cormyrian crown, approach to be questioned. Any aggressive actions will be dealt with harshly.”
At this the image fades slightly. You notice your mounts relax visibly with the chiming of the bells, and you have little doubt you would be unable to spur them into anything but a slow gait under this powerful charm. A woman in ornate, yet functional plate mail armor, along with a lancemate and standard bearer are waiting on magnificent steeds in front of the barricade. She has short-cropped, auburn hair, a regal yet seasoned posture, and she sports a lance and shield with the emblem of Cormyr brilliantly detailed upon its battleworn surface. A helm with a purple plume sits on the saddlehorn, and the large pendant banner of the Purple Dragons flutters inspirationally in the wind.
A quick count reveals there are twenty-seven seasoned warriors, four scouts, a sturdy war-wagon, a war mage and the captain, Juel Markeen.
As you approach, she calls out to you to halt within easy crossbow range of the armed men behind the barricade. “Well Met travelers. I am Far-Captain Markeen, Sword-Hammer of Helm. In the name of Alusair, Regent Queen of Cormyr, stay your arms and be recognized. My scouts report you have four in your party. Do you wish to wish to challenge this number and for what purpose do you travel along the lost coast road?’
You see a score of crossbows pointed at you and the warwizard from the projected image has a wand leveled to cast a spell if needed.
Juel Markeen and her men were searching for anything suspicious after coming upon a ruined and burnt out caravan earlier in the morning just up the road. They counted 17 dead amongst the carnage. The players noted a well armed caravan had left Dawnpoint along this road the day before they departed.
When Aldern identified himself, she greeted him formally and politely but with a wary eye. Since she patrols this area, she knows of the Foxglove estate and that Aldern spends most of his time in Westgate and does not trust him. As they were deemed not a threat, Markeen exchanged information with them and the party was told about the carnage the Purple Dragons found and ultimately allow them to go on their way.
She also mentions Cormyrian charters for adventurers, but since they are escorting a noble, and they only have three members in the party they are not required to carry a charter, but she encourages them to do so anyways if they intend to travel to more civilized areas of Cormyr.
Given the information they had, after a small lunch, they decided to bypass the area of the caravan attack and take a detour into a (small DM chuckle) ‘less dangerous area” which would take them to the ancient elven ruins of Aierluin…
To be continued in Part III