Voices carried through the trees to Denn’s alert ears as he scouted ahead of the exhausted team. Adrenaline fumes carried the young Sgt., the sense of duty ran strong within this group. Trudging along the King’s Road toward Pitchfork, these few had seen more than their share of combat and sleepless nights in the past handful of days. Thoughts of the innocent women in their charge pushed him forward to discover the source of the noise.
He parted the foliage carefully and spied upon the conclusion of an apparent duel between a young noble in the livery of Viscounty Norwell and that of the team’s commander, Sir Brendan. The knight lay still on the cobbled road and the noble stood above him with a bloodied sword. The noble retinue stood in a half circle around a beautiful young woman on a horse. A noose around her neck.
Denn had seen enough to report back – and it wasn’t good news. The team came up the road as quickly as possible, Osweald on the left flank and Tannis on the right off in the trees. All they saw was the backs of the party riding off in a cloud of dust and the woman swinging from a tree.
She was soon cut down and after a few moments explained the events that had led to her being hanged. While at the lodge, Brendan had made a pass at her and was politely refused. The Viscount interpreted the events differently and accused her of adultery. He subsequently had Brendan’s men killed and arrested the knight to put him on trial in his own court. Upon arrival to Pitchfork, his men convinced him that he should duel the knight and save the trouble of a trial. Linfors quickly forgot all thoughts of Holly waiting patiently for him back in Ralspur when faced with this woman’s beauty.
The long walk to Hanlowell was eased by a merchant with one empty wagon who politely offered to carry them to the capital city. Tannis rightly guessed the offer was not only polite, but wise, in that Mallory the Merchant would have the Watch to help protect his journey. Count Symon was given the pertinent details and the team was introduced to the commanding officer of the Order of the Trident where their commissions were unfortunately being transferred. The team rested and accepted their orders to move to the town of Manzallore where they were put in charge of squads of their own. Denn quickly named his team, Sparrow’s Arrows, but the others were still pondering when after two short weeks a scout arrived to the command tent upon a foaming horse. Cohen, recognizing that the animal was almost blown, began to soothe it and healed the damage to its lungs before the beast could perish from exhaustion.
Runners ran from the tent carrying orders and the drums began to pound out a formation rhythm. The Trident marched a double-time north to the Wall where a tunnel was discovered which had apparently been melted through the rock underneath. Monsters were milling about on this side of the Wall. (Later, the team was to learn those tough lizards were called Flametongues. They are a favored pet of Salamanders used as pawns in battle.)
The team was given the responsibility of defending the right flank of the Trident and the melee ensued. Navigating the old ruins, the heroes led their squads forward to dispatch their hostiles, which included a very large Salamander, early thereby allowing the heroes to roll the enemy’s left flank and secure a decisive victory for the Trident.
Each member of the team was recognized for valor and bravery upon the field and the Captain awarded the heroes the Iron Trident – the highest honor in the Order. He told them over a dinner held in their honor, in full dress uniform, that he’d love to keep them, but that their skills were now demanded elsewhere. The team was told to expect orders to marry up with the Order of the Sword further east.