Liberating The Northmarch
The northwestern camp of Baile Tuatha is the home of a sizable gnomish contingent. In a drab, drafty large square building that serves as a makeshift courthouse the humbly-named Magistrate Squigwillis the Great confers with his colleague: public barrister, priestess of Garl Glittergold and sometime nemesis Trink “Steelhand” Firewater.
At this time, Ranger Commander Alloryd entered, flanked by Daanan Sidhe soldiers and accompanied by the human paladin Dirk Valen. Alloryd alerted the gnomes that the Elven administrators of the island have become aware of some ugly threats aimed towards the Magistrate and the Barrister. Alloryd explains that a series of controversial rulings by The Magistrate has created a great deal of unrest among the Baile Tuatha community and that the lives of The Magistrate and Trink (whom many accuse of being in league with The Magistrate) are in grave danger.
After a great deal of denials by the Magistrate and recriminations from Ms. Firewater, Alloryd offered the gnomes a chance to get off the island and participate in an operation sanctioned by the highest levels of the Elven government, perhaps the Faerie Queene herself. The operation entails sending a small group of trained adventurers to the Northmarch to secure a foothold where Farhuin’s refugees could be transported safely.
The situation is dire. The Daanan Sidhe Elves ruled The Northmarch centuries ago but relentless expansion by the humans of the Kyrian Empire sparked confrontation and eventually led to a Civil War where Elf fought Elf, and ultimately to a disastrous war between Kyria and the High Elves, and led to the Daanan Sidhe retreating to their great island of Anhuin. While the Elves are sympathetic to the plight of the refugees, the island is overcrowded and cannot support itself, and is a tremendous strain on Elven resources. Living conditions are intolerable and refugees have begun building makeshift rafts in attempts to reach the shores of Elven land. The sympathy of the Elves has limits however, and after repeated warnings not to enter Elven lands refugees attempting to defy those warnings are being met with deadly force.
Given the chance to strike back against the Cult, (and not coincidentally to get away from some bitter enemies) the gnomes decided to join the paladin Dirk Valen in the Elves’s plan. After enduring six months of training from the most experienced and demanding Elven military officers, the trio were given a task by Alloryd to determine their fitness, which was to simply travel south to Baile Deas and pick up a load of lumber.
Of course, the task wasn’t that simple and the party was assaulted on the road by ragged-looking human bandits. Despite some harrowing points, (especially when Trink Firewater nearly killed Dirk Valen with a blow from her morningstar when the paladin surprised her with an errant punch) the group managed to defeat the “bandits” which were actually illusory constructs. Their test completed, the party returned to Baile Tuatha to await Commander Alloryd’s orders.