As you talk to the farmers you get the following information.
There as soo few because many are holed up in town due to the number of orc raids. These few are the ones who do not have a relative that can take us in and still manage to feed ourselves. When faced with begging, starving or dealing with orcs we take out chances. The number of orcs that raid vary. I am not counter but I would put their numbers around 6 to 16 orcs. Seems it is never the same number when they raid. All we can do is hope to get some crops in and taken to market to survive another day. The last raid was a couple days ago. Old farmer Theodore tried to stop some from taking the last of his chickens. They killed him and stuck his head on a pole outside his home before burning it down. I think that was a warning to us all.
The farms are a good half day to the north. Just follow the road.
You continue north along the roadway sticking to the side of the road in the shadows to help conceal your travel up to the farms. A few hours go by and you can see that the farmer you helped with his fence is still toiling about on his farm. He waves at you as you pass by. As the sun approaches its highest mark you can see a clearing ahead. Namdar dismounts from his horse and is a little stiff from riding all day. AS you walk the last mile to the clearing you can see a farm with what appears to have a half planted crops. You can see the burnt shell of a small house and out building. You do not see anything moving. Off to the side of the house you see what looks like a head on top of a spear planted in the soft soil of the field.
The rangers are able to determine that the tracks came from the roadway and probably from the north. The tracks also lead back the same way they came from. They can not determine the number of orcs due to the number of times the bodies moved about around the farm. There are no survivors as a search of the house turns up a corpse of a young woman and a small infant both badly burned. The woman was tied to what once was a table before it collapsed thus you conclude she was raped by the orcs. The baby was drawn and quartered.
As the party leaves the farm following the road north you do not see any signs of orcs. Soon you arrive at another farmstead on the opposite (east) side of the road. You can see crops in the fields and a few fruit trees. The fruit is not yet ripe but will be in a month or two. You do not see anything amiss with this farm at all.
The rangers scouting the side of the roadway find that there is no orc tracks at all leaving the road to the east.
Lionel does not go into the dark yet.
Edited: KNtoran on 5th Feb, 2010 - 11:30pm
As you approach the fence and gate you will see the gate is open and the fence is in very good shape. Seems like no one has bothered this farm at all. As you approach the gate and the lane a middle aged man comes out of the house and hails you. As he approaches you see that he is a human of average built. He walks up to you and offers his hand. Saying welcome to my humble farm. I am Larry Hempstraw and this is my land. What may I help you with? He will tell those looking at the crops to try and not trample the beans.
The farmer will watch the elf girl in her inspections as he listens to your story. He will seem a bit put off that she is searching his property. He will glance back at you from time to time and tell you some information.
He has seen no orcs other than you and your companions he does not look at you at all while saying this.
He has not spoken to the other farmers so he can not tell you anything going on there.
While he does not barter with others traveling north he does seem to notice that there are less travelers headed north these days.
Krusten in her searches will find that the out buildings and the house have very good locks. The windows have curtains so she can not see into the house. The out buildings shutters are closed and locked from inside. Otherwise it looks like a farm just very well maintained.
Skedvick in his search around the place will find orc tracks leading off the road north of the farm headed east to a spot just north of the farms house. The tracks lead back west to the roadway from there. He finds it curious that there is just a old stump there. He can see other tracks leaving the road headed west deeper in the forest but not many. He feels that the majority of the orcs are still traveling north following the road.
Skedvick goes back and searches around the stump. He sees nothing unusual about it. Looks like a perfectly normal stump from a felled tree in the forest. Looking around the stump he can see that nothing is out of place. There is even a small hollow on one side like a small animals burrow.
The farmer is taken back by Krustens sharp question. He tells her he has nothing to hide at all.
When Pundit questions him he will say again that he is ok and there is no trouble here at his farm. He goes on to say I make double sure that there is nothing harming this farm. Why my half brother the Duke even stops by to see my farm at times and to make sure I and my farm are doing well. I lock the buildings to keep prowlers away from my stored goods. Even you friend the elf girl was trying to see what she could take.
With that he turns and starts back up his lane.
A lot has happened in the past few days and I will try to address is all here.
First of all when the farmer is shown the royal symbol by Lionel he will immediately bow his head and ask for forgiveness in his approach but his brother never told him that visiting royalty would be coming this way. He will offer you all a chance to rest inside his humble home and will lead you up the lane. As he approaches the front door he will produce a key and unlock the door. While the outside looks like a simple farmhouse with a sturdy look the inside is much nicer. The house is paneled inside with real glass on the windows. In the main room is a large oak table that has been nicely carved and polished. The farmer will call out to a person named Lu and ask that refreshments be brought. Form a door the as it opens leads to a kitchen a young lady brings a silver serving tray out with various fruits and cheeses. She places it on the table. She goes back to the kitchen and soon returns with a couple pitchers of drink. She lays one down and tells you it contains water and the other one as she lays it upon the table she says is wine. She turns to a cupboard and opens it to produce silver goblets for you all to use if you desire. After making sure there are enough for everyone she heads back into the kitchen. Larry then takes up a goblet fills it with water and drinks He looks to you all and says please sit and refresh yourself. I am sure the Duke will be pleased if you are able to tell him of my hospitality.
As you talk to him he can not tell you much about the dukes plans or visions or anything about orcs. He will tell you that he does not like orcs and he is glad that the duke has patrols out to see to it that orcs do not bother the farmers. He will deny any rumors about farmers being attacked and their families killed or farms burnt. He will insist that the dukes soldiers patrol the area and make sure that all is quiet. In a matter of fact he just saw a patrol not a day ago. The sergeant even made a point to see how he was doing and checking with him to see if there was any activity around they should know about.
Krusten on her searchs does not find anything out of the ordinary about the farm.
Namdar your able to get into the out buildings. But the last one you bent your large pick. Everything you see points out that this person is just as he says he is a simple farmer. Some of his stuff looks real new and well made but still simple farming tools.
We interrupt Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 Play By Post Game to share educational moment from yesteryear:
Today is: 29th March (GMT), in history on the 29th of March, 1911 AD the following death happened:
Felix Alexandre Guilmant: Composer, dies at 74