Last time, on The Chicks in Chainmail:
The Chicks found themselves escorting a merchant and his wares back to Calari from Stelmerch. He had lost his friends and guards in a bandit attack on the way up to Stelmerch. The road quickly turned dangerous. After dispatching a group of bandits, the Chicks were being pursued by a larger, deadly group of the criminals, and had no choice but to attempt to hide in the woods.
Bandit backup noticed the commotion the party had made dispatching their compatriots, led by the fiery whip wielding commander. They could be seen rushing up the trail toward the group.
Coby had lost all sense at this point and was shrieking incoherently. Cassie, newly rejoined with the party, attempted to calm Coby down. Coby, having never met her before, got even more freaked out. Hibiscus dropped a magical hand over his mouth to at least quiet him down enough to get off the road.
The rest of the Chicks worked to get the carts and animals off the road and to cover the tracks of the group. By the time the bandit backup arrived, there was no sign of the Chicks for them to follow.
The Chicks spent the next few days wandering the forest attempting to avoid detection of various bandit patrols and wild life. Coby’s demeanor calmed once the group was safely in the woods. The trek down the hill was slow, but steady with no major interruptions.
As the team approached the city of Formel, they realized they would be forced to confront bandits if there were to get to the city. After picking out a group of bandits to approach, Hibiscus disguised the merchant wares as simple carts of sawdust in hopes of getting to the city unscathed.
The Chicks relied on their quick wit to deal with the approaching bandit road block, claiming that all they had for sale was sawdust, and there was no real value in the bandits attempting to confiscate they goods. The leader of the group of bandits was not buying the ruse and asked the Chicks to explain how sawdust was in any way useful for sale.
Hibiscus and Cassie quickly gave their sales pitch on the wonderful uses of sawdust. They sell only the finest, high mountain, tree old sawdust. It has so many uses from clean up to healing powers. The Chicks explain the industry growth potential in sawdust and even offer an opportunity to invest in their venture.
The pitch worked! Perhaps even too well, as the bandits were convinced this sawdust would be worth its weight in gold. The bandits drew their weapons and attacked the Chicks.
The battle was controlled by the Chicks from the start. Early on in the battle, Coby nearly transformed. He was no longer the frightened, nervous merchant. A blood lust overcame him as he continually shouted at the lead bandit, firing bolt after bolt from his crossbow and the halberd wielding, chain mail wearing bandit. The Chicks were perplexed by the sudden change, but used it to their advantage to quickly overwhelm the bandits.
The bandit leader was allowed to live, but before the Chicks could question him, Coby kicked him repeatedly into unconsciousness. He would later explain that this leader was one of the guards he had hired to protect him on the road. He had been betrayed, and was taking out his anger at the loss of his friends on his betrayer. Eventually, Coby calmed down enough to drag the bandit into the town of Formel and turn him over to the authorities.
The Chicks rested in Formel a couple days while preparing for their journey on to Calari. While in town, they set up a storefront that sells store fronts to other merchants. They also attempted to sell the sawdust, forgetting it was a magical illusion.
While staying at The Trinket, the local inn, Bregaattempted to rent herself out as a trinket to the inn’s proprietor, Bartleby Ironside, but eventually gave up and had a good time drinking the night away.
Hibiscus spent time at the Leatherworks. While there, she asked the owner, Sir Galen Taylor, about the fire whip they had found on the road. Sir Galen could tell it was finely crafted, but claimed it was not one of his, nor could he tell by the markings who made it. While there, Hibiscus contracted Sir Galen to trace arcane symbols onto her leather armor, which he did for a modest fee.
Nead also visited the Leatherworks and attempted to find Raincaller work while in town. A meeting was setup early the next day to meet with some land owners who would be coming in from their farms.
Cassie spent the evening at the lake telling fishing stories and learning a new sea shanty.
Coby was in a hurry to continue on, and so rushed the Chicks to continue on the road to Calari the next day after business was completed.
While on the road, the Chicks encounted Count Vicros Milner II and his military guard. He recognized Nead, as he was acquainted with her parents. He was on the road to deal with some political disputes in Formel. With all the bandits on the road, and the constant merchant bickering, he was tied up with politics as usual. Before passing on, he warned Nead that something odd was afoot in the area, and she should be extremely careful who she trusts.
Later, the Chicks had a hearty laugh at the Count’s expense. He reminded them of a childhood entertainer and puppet and they had a grand time on the way to Calari, nearly dying of self-inflicted laughter.