The five of us awoke at The Green Lantern after the journey back from Bugbear Falls. While finishing our recovery over breakfast at our favorite tavern-inn, we set out determined to ensnare the elusive slave-trading Hin, known as Nolurra, and bring her to justice. We devised multiple approaches, weighing out the possibilities of each one, before settling on acting as an escort for a merchant wagon.
We wandered through the open market of Loudwater, as I, Galanodel, mingled with the travelling merchants, making connections and prying information about which among them had ambitions to take their business westward. Through the chatter, we gained information that a merchant by, the name of Hudson McBay, was planning on braving the journey to Zelbross and trade some precious stones for coin. We were easily able to locate him dining alone in Fisherman’s Friend, the tavern set on the docks of Loudwater along the Gray Flow. After introducing ourselves and offering security on that expedition, which he gratefully accepted, we privately built a plan to trick Nolurra’s band of thugs should we encounter them.
The group split into two, myself and Liln left to procure an empty chest; Gi Pardeux, Gorspook, andGellig went to purchase some hay bales and reconnect with Mephis to reestablish our commitment to joining him on his crusade against evil spirits. We recovened at the western gate of Loudwater and set off on our trek. Our plan was to minimize the appearance of the travelling party’s forces by having Gellig ride inside the covered wagon (with the empty chest which was intended to lure the brigands), Liln to ride next to Hudson on the buckboard, Gi Pardeux and myself to walk alongside the wagon, and Gorspook to run a roving perimeter on his wolfhound Fire.
Day one was uneventful, but a fine day for travel. Halfway through the second day, we were making our way along the road and I was loudly singing songs of grand wealth while our eyes were trained on the foliage surrounding the trail. Without warning, we heard cries of anguish on the south side of the road. Upon a hill, we saw two figures. One of them, was standing and attempting to fight of vines and tall grasses which were wrapping themselves around his legs and climbing his arms. The other was completely bound to the ground by the frantic flora. To the right of that chaos, Gorspook rode Fire toward us over the crest of the hill, waving his arms to alert us that he was involved. Hudson stalled the wagon along the road so we could find out what exactly was taking place there. Liln bounded off the wagon’s buckboard and quickly hopped to confront the two suspicious figures on the hill. The man who was grappled to the ground by the plants, stood up. I walked swiftly to the base of the hill and let an arrow fly toward him. My shot was better than I had hoped, as I struck him in the forehead felling him instantly. We needed at least one of them to stay alive so that we could collect information which would help us locate Nolurra. Gorspook channeled his natural magics to create a flash which would temporarily blind our suspect, so that we could easily overcome and interrogate him. Unfortunately, it seemed that Liln took the brunt of that flare. Nonetheless, Liln hit the highwayman, knocking him unconscious. Gorspook quickly went to work binding him as he lay in the weeds.
Gellig and Gi Pardeaux stayed back to protect the caravan. While the skirmish was taking place on the southside of the road, there was a rustling in the trees on the northside. Gellig noticed it first and drew his weapon. To their horror, an aberration came bounding out of the woods. It had the body of a great cat, the face of a primate, and its tail had a hand-shaped appendage on the end. With the threat from the bandits on the hill eliminated, the group coalesced and the twisted, fearsome beast. The group was so overcome with the disturbance of its appearance and bizarre habit of vocally echoing our own words, that the team struggled to even make contact. It took the efforts of everyone on our team to fell the beast.
In the battle, the creature had blinded Liln with its venom. We did our best to comfort him and lead him into the wagon, along with Gellig. Regarding the tied up rogue, we spent some time interrogating him without gleaning much useful information. We reasoned that he was truthfully admitting that he and his former companion were plotting to rob merchant wagons on their journey and that they had come from the ruins of a temple in northern Zelbross. We were left unsure if he had any direct knowledge of Nolurra. He denied any association, but there remained an aire of doubt. We deliberated over what to do with our captive. As a bargaining chip in the interrogation we offered that his binds would be undone in exchange for answering our questions, but had not settled on what to do with him beside that. The group determined that we would take his weapons and armor and release him in, while suggesting that he continue down the road to Loudwater and abandon his plans to gain wealth through theft. All went according to plan, as much as we could tell.
We pressed hard that last day, crossing a stream and moving at a hustled pace to enter Zelbross around nightfall. The town itself is an eerie place. We brought the merchant wagon to a stable, run by a pair of dirty children, adjacent to a pub house there. It was in the pub house, named Fort Muck, that Hudson had planned to meet his contact. Gi Pardeaux and I joined our charge inside. I’ve been in some strange taverns, but this was something like I had never seen. The place was run by the lizard-like creatures known as Sahuagin. There were corrupt appearing beings of a wide variety here, and a pair of halflings who, by overhearing their laments, seemed to have been recently swindled out of some money. Hudson found his customer and began their deal, Gi Pardeaux and I stood just off to the side of their table to keep an eye on the surrounding riffraff. The deal wasn’t going so well, so I utilized my expertise in appraisal and negotiations to bring the feline-like being into reason. Through the back and forth, we won him over, Hudson made his sale, and we were paid.
While the trade transpired within the miscreant meeting place, Gorspook and Gellig put their botanical, holistic medicine skills to the test. They had collected some tar moss on our way to Zelbross, hoping that their knowledge of its properties could be useful in the brewing of a cure for Liln’s blindness. Between the supplies in their healing kits, their pharmacology, and the will to heal their companion, they were able to produce something they were fairly confident would aid his recovery.
After our goals were met, we secured a couple of rooms at the inn, tried some of the questionable libations offered to us, then braved the streets in search of the legendary Midnight Market. We had heard that there are merchants who deal in exotic and unusual wares at incredible prices. The merchant square was every bit as strange as professed in the local gossip. The dealers there were from extremely uncommon origins and their offerings not seen in any market I’ve ever parlayed. We did business with a human who seemed nervous, Gorspook purchased a chain shirt for Liln and an interesting, enchanted buckler, the properties of which we still needed to discover. We also met the undead merchant. The interaction with this merchant, was unnerving due to their spooky presence, but the selection of scrolls they sold were very useful and priced very low. I bought a scroll of Cure Blindness (with the hopes of using it to cure Liln) and a scroll of Knock. We quickly gathered our purchases and rushed back to the inn to rest before leaving this lawless town.
On the following morning, we woke and return to the tavern portion of the inn to find it devoid of life, apart from the cranky halflings still bitter from the theft the night before. We abandoned our empty chest and hay with Hudson and hit the trail. We were able to safely, and slowly, make our way back to Loudwater. Thankfully, the ointment made by Gorspook and Gellig had helped Liln, as the harengone’s eyesight was gradually returning throughout the trip home. We were disappointed that we had completed the escorting job without coming into contact with Nolurra or her gang, but reveled in the experiences we had along the way.
After speaking briefly with Marsh at The Green Tankard, we visited Curavar the Brazen. He was asking for us and wanted to share his recent conversation with Moonleaf about the horn totem he had stolen from a goblin tribe. He made us an offer to settle the conflict with the goblins by either returning the totem to them with a peaceful pact or to eliminate their presence from near Loudwater by whatever mean necessary. They are set up in an old dwarven ruin, south of town. He informed us that his main observation about their dwelling was the presence of traps. With plenty of daylight remaining, we thought it sufficient to leave the same day we arrived, to treat the threat with urgency.
We made our way through the Southwood and found the location we received from Curavar’s instructions. Passing through the crumbling stone structures, we found the entrance to a pit. This must be the place. We prepare ourselves to enter the unknown.