We find the group having just subdued the group of men who were involved with the suspicious activities around Beorngard the past few years.
“The Party” currently consists of Nwalme Anna, Araphor, Guthwyn, and Barforth the Bowman – who, with a name like Barforth, just likes to be called “Bowman” or “The Bowman” or even “Hey You!” – anything but “Barforth”
They are accompanied by Captain Thaliandor (Valar help us) and a squad of “Empress Guards in Training”
Their prisoners consist of:
4 teamsters who seem to be relatively local and were handling a wagon filled with bags of seeds
4 teamsters who are definitely not local and speak with that distinct accent of Rohan and were handling a wagon filled with various weapons and armor.
2 soldiers who could be from Rohan but are pretty quiet – one because he’s wounded, the other because he doesn’t seem to say anything.
And two men who appear to be 2 of the 4 leaders of this group (a 3rd leader was killed in the combat)
o Medium-level Retainer to Prince of Rohan (Recognized by Guthwyn)
o [I CAN’T RECALL THE DETAILS HERE] – but I think is’s a retainer to the Count of the Eastern Marches
3rd Prince of Rohan has been facilitating weapons for drugs trade with the orcs of the far north. The orcs grow the drugs – which are shipped as seeds and exchange them for weapons of a higher quality than they can normally manufacture.
The drug is a liquid that:
a. Has an effect much like alcohol without the hangover
b. One can learn to “sober up” and very quickly overcome the effects if one concentrates
c. Is dangerously and quickly addictive. So much so that stopping the drug has proven fatal in a number of cases
The King of Rohan has been addicted to it. The 1st Prince is working against the 3rd Prince.
The 2nd Prince also seems to take the drug, but he’s more interested in his scientific research than running the country
The 3rd Prince has cultivated a loyal following along the eastern provinces of Rohan such that the Rohan leaders loyal to the Empire are afraid that the 3rd Prince could bring in large armies from the east if provoked.
There are two castles in the main part of Rohan whose castellans/stewards are also in the pocket of the 3rd prince. One castle (“B”) is the primary destination for the raw seeds for the drug – and is where this shipment of seeds was headed. The Steward there runs an operation to refine the seeds into the drug. He seems to be holding the processing method as a closely guarded secret. The other castle (“A”) is well known as having the best armory in Rohan and manufactures some of the best human-made weaponry in the known world.
The 4th leader of the group – the Count of the Eastern Marches – has fled south along the main road – leaving just before twilight of the night of the attack.
Using Stormdancer and other tracking spells, the Party has tracked him fairly successfully. They got close at one inn along the way, but the Count was able to extend his lead a bit and managed to hire a river barge heading south on the Great River Anduin.
The Party has hired a barge of their own – managing to hire a very experienced Captain who claims to have the best barge on that part of the river – having an apparent edge of about 2 knots over the Count’s barge. Araphor has managed to improve that edge even more with is current spells, so that the Party’s barge is traveling 5 knots faster than their quarry.
We left the game with the Party closing in on the Count who is approaching the most trafficked crossing point between the western and eastern parts of the Empire.