The next day the party left Ara in the company of the Anabelle Lee Mark 2’s crew. Captain Coppertree was not there but the First Mate was a trusted man and they knew Ara would be safer there than with them. The crew adored the little bird girl and would go out of their way to keep her happy. The party headed off towards the other side of the city walls to start on their investigation. As they walked through the Merchant District they saw signs of activity and someone handed them a notice from the Government District that the Grand Guild Games were being held in a few days and that all guilds were invited to battle for the title of number one. The prize was a brand new guild hall in the Upper District including upgraded citizenship to reside there.
Being newly formed, the Hand of Destiny, was eager to try their mettle against other adventurers. They signed up quickly, before heading out on the trail of Anastasia’s missing gems. When they cleared the city walls, they found a red haired elven female waiting for them. She said her name was Hepolita and that she had also been hired to track the shipment for Anastasia. A little wary but not seeing why anyone would lie to come on this mission, they agreed and joined forces with this new person. It seemed she was a fighter, which is unusual for wood elves. Kariss and Aleera went first, scouting ahead with their brooms of flying. Right behind them were Kaladrax and Malachi. They traveled by road for a few miles, following the trail of the shipment that was supposed to have followed that road. They were still following the road when they came across an overturned wagon in the middle of the road. The ladies on brooms were the first to investigate. When they found no threats they motioned for the others to approach.
They looked closer at the ruined wagon and saw a few crates scattered around the wagon. Many were shattered open with various gems spilling out. There were a total of three crates and two were broken beyond repair. Kariss tried to lift the one unbroken box, and was unable to. Malachi tried next and wound up with splinters in both hands. He snatched his hands back in pain. As Kariss managed to finally lift one of the boxes two earth elementals burst out of the ground a little ways off from the wreckage. The party fought the elementals. They soon realized that blunt force was the only way to defeat the creatures and chunked them down little by little until there was nothing left but rubble where they once stood.
With the immediate threat taken care of, the Hand of Destiny gathered up the gems into makeshift pouches made out of spare cloth Aleera carried with her. They tied up the bundles and fitted them into the bag of holding they had bought in town. With their bounty secured they looked around for any survivors. They hadn’t been contracted to do so but Kariss and the others wanted to check if they could be of any help. There were a few bodies strewn on the trail leading away from the broken wagon. They were all quite beyond help and the party took the time to give them a proper burial before moving on. There had been a lot of dead back there. Too many for a single shipment.
They kept following the trail in the direction the wagon had come from. Before long they came across what seemed like a refugee camp located outside an imposing stone fortress. Although there were many posted outside the walls, the gates themselves were locked against them. The party moved through the battle worn survivors. Kariss began assessing wounds and healing what she could. Aleera moved through the less severely wounded and helped bandage their cuts and place salves on their bruises. The other helped carry firewood and see if anyone needed food or water. Having done the best they could, the group went up to the fort gates to ask for admittance and to speak with the general in charge. They were told by the guards that no one could come in unless they could heal or help mend wounds. Kariss spoke up to let them know she was a cleric of Bahamut and could help the wounded.
They were allowed through the gates and found them immediately closed behind them once through. They were led up the ramparts to the tower of the leading general. He invited them to Fort Arlo and asked what they wanted in return for healing his men. Kariss demanded to know why the refugees outside the walls were not being helped. He responded, letting them know that the fort had been attacked by earth elementals regularly for the last week and that he could not afford the health supplies or the food to help those outside. Kariss argued that the people could help defend in exchange for help. The general was adamant that he would not waste resources on untrained peasants. Kariss looked at him in furious rage and said she would heal who she could. She didn’t think the soldiers should have to pay for the decisions of their general.
He thanked her and told them they could stay the night within the walls. The group refused, they would rather sleep outside with the helpless and defend them if needed. Aleera and Kariss healed what they could with magic and herbal remedies. Once done they retreated outside with the refugees and set up camp and a perimeter to alert them to any intruders. They went to bed that night with a watch posted and nervous about their own turn to keep vigilance over so many innocent people.