The player characters (PCs) frankly discussed their agenda with Lord Falconna on the evening they arrived in Quick Stag, the central village of the lord’s fiefdom: They come on behalf of the Temple Ilendra, the principal Old Faith temple in the city of Strigis, wish to find information that he has about the Sacred Transformation and the Chaotic Transformation. While Lord Falconna seemed content to aid the Old Faith, he insisted that the needs of his people come before the needs of his religion: Thus, the PCs would assist his men-at-arms and knights in conducting some routine patrols to search for bandits. After two days of patrols, however, Lord Falconna assigned them to a somewhat different task.
Lord Falconna suspected that any bandits that have attacked the area may not be hiding in the hills and forests at the periphery of his fiefdom: Rather, they may well be sheltering in the homes of peasants and hill-folk. This is not an unreasonable possibility, given the winter climate, bandits’ practice of self-interested charity, and that many bandits are related by blood or marriage to Lord Falconna’s own subjects. (Indeed, the PCs’ interrogation of two local roughnecks, caught in the act of looting a days-old corpse, seems to confirm this.) Therefore, Lord Falconna assigned the PCs to pose as weather-beaten travels to four households located in the hills, with the intent to uncover any bandits — or sympathies toward bandits — that these families may be sheltering. Lord Falconna’s own soldiers are unfit for this task, as the local population is generally familiar with them, but the PCs may be able to gain the families’ confidence, playing either on their sense of pity (posing as travelers in need of shelter) or greed (offering them money in exchange for food and lodging).
All this said, Lord Falconna was emphatic that the PCs not harm his own subjects. The PCs are to uncover information about these peasants and hill-folk, not visit injury upon them. If there is no alternative in capturing a bandit — for example, if they encounter one who realizes that the PCs are working for the local lord — then they may use force.
The four households are: (1) The Whitelaws, whom Lord Falconna suspects of being secretly Ashoumite; (2) Old Leo, a disagreeable old widower and shepherd who lives alone; (3) the Black Rocks, a large family of dwarves, who seem to vastly prefer speaking the dwarvish language to Mura, the common tongue of Drau-Mura’s humans; and (4) the Othergrass family, who seems to be a rather quiet, unassuming family … strange that the locals should state that they have sympathies toward bandits.
The PCs began with the Whitelaw family during the mid-day, with Cevei and Conrad posing as travelers in need of food. The Whitelaw family seemed somewhat standoffish, but served them some cabbage soup and coarse black bread. Cevei and Conrad did not find anything suspicious about this family, and did not even discern whether they were Ashoumites.
The PCs met not only Lord Falconna, but a number of his retainers and locals in his fiefdom, including: the apparent captain of his soldiers, a knight named Rozna; a lackadaisical conjurer, Walter the Wondermaker; Indira, a local druid and priest at Quick Stag; and Old Leslie, a hypochondriac, possibly senile shut-in hill-folk who may have information about local bandits.
There are three standing stones on the west side of Lord Falconna’s fiefdom, which are according to Walter as old as Drau-Mura itself, and represent the ancient spiritual covenant between the land and the people of the Old Faith. Araceli meditated at these standing stones, and felt spiritually reinvigorated; he gained “extra” Inspiration.
The party’s adventuring bill for this session is 0 gp: They should assume that they have been adequately provided for by Lord Falconna’s servitors.