Note: This session is non-canon, meaning its events have no bearing on or relationship with events in the main campaign.
The merchant caravan of Maneth Sunhaem is unusual in many ways. First, the Skyfolk has chosen to travel by land, instead of by airship. Second, he is traveling in areas that are neither safe nor settled, far from anywhere he might sell his cargo of textiles. Third, he is accompanied by not only his family, but also a priest and an alchemist. And fourth, he has hired five mercenaries to protect a caravan of six. But his gold is good, and so the sellswords do not question him.
Four days into their journey, the caravan came to a halt, and the Skyfolk disappeared into the forest, leaving only one behind to ensure that the mercenaries did not follow. Dissatisfied with this, Bimli, dwarf bard, loudly dropped a large number of stolen spoons. Though this was a failure as a distraction, the mysterious assassin traveling by the name of ‘hat’ needed no help, and was able to get close enough to the missing Skyfolk to smell something rotting. With this information, he returned to the party, who immediately suspected treachery. Blades were drawn, and only the return of Maneth’s wife Estelar prevented bloodshed. After a heated interrogation led by Chlora Fae-Blood, the elven sorceress, it was revealed that the ‘merchant caravan’ was actually on a mission to dispose of a crashed airship, bury its crew, and retrieve something only referred to as the ‘heart’. The rest of the Skyfolk return, somber and tightly holding a small locked chest. Discreet arcane analysis by the sorceress reveals that the contents of the box are somehow interacting with the magical field.
That night, a stranger appeared at their campfire, dressed in clothes far too immaculate and finely-tailored to be out in the wilds in. Seemingly unfazed by the immediate hostility he encountered, he attempted to skirt questions about his purpose, but eventually revealed that he had come for the locked box.
“I swear I will not harm you, but should I be denied, I cannot say the same for my… associates.”
Tensions rose after an unsuccessful attempt by Hat to sneak the chest to safety, and the visitor stormed into the night, promising unfortunate consequences. The Skyfolk immediately decide to flee to an airship they know will be waiting at a predetermined location a day’s travel away.
Come morning, the party finds itself traveling along the base of a cliff when suddenly a scarred man carrying a large sword appears in the road. Bimli immediately loads a stone into the sling he uses as a prosthetic for his left hand, spins twice, and downs the bandit with a hit to the head. As he collapses, a roar is heard as swordsmen burst from the cover of the trees, and the clifftop sprouts crossbows…