Nilmul 19, Year of Whispering Shadows – Morning
You descend the stairs at morning to discover that Goodwoman Wrafton has provided a hearty breakfast for you. The taproom seems very subdued this morning – local gossip seems to indicate that goblins attacked the walls last night, and that one of the young recruits was seriously injured by both arrows and a fall from the wall. Whispers say that after leading the defense, Sir Ricaver himself ran the young man to the local temple, where he is alive but still badly injured.
Before you can do much else, the elven forester from before bursts into the room, searching for Lord Wintersborne. She is bruised and a little battered, and seems to have ran from a long way – it seems that she has discovered the location of the kobold lair!
You tag along in her wake as he heads towards the Lord’s manor – the elves later tell you (as she speaks mostly in elven as she goes) that her name is Ninaran, and that she is a local ranger and forester. When you inquire about the possibility of her having an animal companion (that red-tailed hawk is a nagging question in the back of your minds), she responds that she has never met one that she feels lives up to her standards. When further asked about the red-tails in the area, she tells you that she has seen some, but that the behaviour that you’ve seen very odd.
Ninaran also says that she has seen cultists in dark blue robes in league with this kobolds, and that the attacks may all be interconnected. When you show her the bottom of the dragon pendant, she rears back in surprise and says that this is the symbol that she saw upon their robes – it is the mark of the death cultists.
According to Ninaran, the lair lies to the south-east, in a cave hidden behind a waterfall. She is fairly certain that none saw her approach, and she did see a raiding party leave as she ran back to town – now may be the best time to strike. With the threat of kobolds attacking the walls and with Ricaver’s recommendation of you, the Lord requests your help in eliminating the lair, promising a reward from his personal coffers when you return.
There is no time to waste, so you set off – fording the river to approach the lair more favourably from the south. Through the cover of the trees you can see the outside of the lair, and a group of kobolds outside. Most seem to be of little consequence, but one dragonshield does stand in an ancient stone circle, and seems to draw strength from it.
Unfortunately, a snapped twig under Warren’s foot and the clang of Thuradin’s armour alerts the kobolds to your approach, and a battle begins. You’re well-versed in the tricks of kobolds, and manage to dispatch the group, but not before a slinger flees the battle, warning the lair of your impending approach.
A short rest later, and you pass through the waterfall and into fierce battle. Minions swarm towards you, but are dispatched through strength of arms and magical might. The tide of the battle begins to turn… and a warhorn echoes through the cavern, declaring the arrival of the second wave. Irontooth has come.
Even with most of his allies dead, he comes – and as you strike against him, he becomes frothing mad, a veritable berserker. With one cleave of battleaxe, he rips into Thuradin, shattering bone and spraying blood.
It seems bleak, but the gods are with you – the Ladies give you luck, Peronis watches over you, Enora guides your blades, and Kaian strengthens your body for this final battle. Through a combination of blades, the wrath of holy Peronis, and magic, Irontooth is brought low with a final cry for “Kalarel and the Dark One, prepare my way!”, and his remaining minions scurry to safety. The battle is won, and hard-fought – but you are all there to reap the spoils.
There is gold, and a suit of magic armour, but the most interesting and worrisome loot may be the note that you find on Irontooth’s body:
Across the cave from the chest and pile of gold you find a slightly less welcome sight. There is some evidence of someone being dragged through the dirt by a number of small but strong goblins, as well as the sight of old blood. Also found is a scrap of fine black cloth, treated on one side – likely this was a scrap of a weathercloak, treated against traveling in the rain. After the discovery of so much riches, it is a somewhat sobering sight.
Not wanting to be caught in the night with kobolds returning to their lair, you race the setting sun home.
Ricaver awaits your return, and raises a fist in triumph as he sees you crest the road. The Knight rents you the finest rooms that Wrafton’s can provide, and you are rewarded by Lord Wintersborne with a satchel of gold. The first order of business when you return to town is to tithe part of the reward money given to you by Davon in thanks to the gods that watched over you today.
After returning from this errand, Warren seeks out Ricaver once more to warn him of the spy in Wintershome. The Knight is deeply concerned, for he has no idea who it could be with so many possibilities – one of the townsfolk, a visiting merchant… even the lord himself. It is a staggering prospect.
Warren also tells Ricaver of the blood and everything else they found, and shows him the scrap of cloth that the party found in the blood. Ricaver turns white despite his tan, and nearly staggers against the wall, uttering the words: “Dear Valonar, no…”