Wrapping up the night before, Ritiktalma broke into a grocer’s store but was unable to find much of worth. He took some apples for his troubles and headed back to his bridge to sleep, but overheard a metal man saying something about “damned squidheads!” Daegon fed some of the hungry children in the city. Harlan searched for information about the mountains they were supposed to explore, but wasn’t able to find much. Eventually everyone retired for the night and awoke to find Keel Pekrin in the bed and breakfast that most of them had slept in. Dimble got the politician to start talking and came up with some interesting information. Keel wants to be tough on crime and kind to the poor in the city, but he fears that his competition may be corrupt. In fact, Keel accused Jeth Migran of being bribed by the rich to run the poor out of town through inaction. Dimble was intrigued by this, but put it aside for later. Keel gave everyone 50 gold to begin the journey and promised 50 more upon completion, then sent them to the east gate to begin.
There they found a House Vadalis coach and its’ Dragonmarked driver awaiting them. They climbed into the coach and were warned to be careful and try to remain calm on the ride… The black horses spewed blue flames as they pulled the carriage at breakneck speeds; Daegon looked out the window as they raced on and he nearly lost his lunch… Dimble did. When the steeds stopped, they had made two days of travel in a handful of minutes. The carriage lost a wheel, but that didn’t stop the driver from disappearing. The party had arrived at Baran’s Keep. An ex-military outpost that housed mostly armaments, unused for years. They checked inside and found signs of recent habitation. They decided that they should be careful and they continued back outside where they encountered a wounded man.
The man was clearly shaken and badly wounded but still determined to keep walking to the nearest town, he was dragging a woman in a sack. After some coaxing, the party found out that he had been part of a caravan that was selling goods. The caravan had been headed out of Zilargo when it was assaulted by orcs asking about a blue orb… The same blue orb the party had been sent by Pekrin to retrieve. This man was the only one to escape the assault since Cerra, the woman he was attempting to drag to get help, had died along the way. He had walked for nearly a full day to reach the keep, and he found out that he had been turned around and going the wrong way that entire time. Harlan found some plants to treat the garish wounds that wouldn’t stop bleeding and Daegon and Dimble gave him food and water. They asked him to stay in the keep for safety and they promised to return once their task was done so they could get the man to Wroat and safety.
Having done what they could for the man, they set off into the mountain range, following Proud-Feather to the site of a fight long since ended. Eight kobolds lay dead and scavenged which told the party that the orcs had come through here ahead of them. They had some trouble navigating the terrain, but eventually made their way to a glade in the middle of the mountain range. An oddly lush, green location with a single tree and a small pond. Dimble found and spoke to a mole while Proud-Feather and Harlan picked berries from the tree. The mole told Dimble that it did not know of any large caves or of any blue orbs, but it saw large green creatures go by earlier. Dimble knew they were on the right track.
Just then, a large boar-like creature called a Tusk Terror came into the glade. Harlan made an attempt to handle the animal in a normal fashion, but Tusk Terrors are intelligent creatures and it seemed almost to be insulted by the gesture. The party decided this would have to be a fight and they fired first, letting arrows and crossbow bolts fly. The now enraged boar jumped over 25 feet in a single bound and narrowly missed Dimble with a deadly charge thanks to some quick thinking by the gnome. Unfortunately, the hind legs didn’t miss their mark and Dimble was sent flying, unconscious, into edge of the pond. Everyone attacked the creature, but it didn’t seem have as much impact as they had hoped. The boar turned on Ritiktalma, rolling away from the grouped party and behind the lizard where it gored him and almost sent him to join Dimble in unconsciousness. The fight was one-sided and things were looking grim.
Just then, the water in the pond magically healed Dimble back to an awakened state where he proceeded to warn the party that this was a fight that they would not be able to win. Ritiktalma led the charge away and into a rocky outcropping where the boar could not follow. The boar stood guard outside the entrance, daring the party to return. The injured party decided to rest before moving on. Harlan surmised that the Tusk Terror was likely a guardian of the healing pond and that they should leave it in peace, which curtailed Daegon and his attempts to end the beast to get the healing water.
Things were quickly going sideways and now there are more questions left to put on top of the pile. What did the metal man mean by “squidhead?” Is Jeth Migran really as corrupt as Keel claims? Why is Keel willing to spend so much money on this adventure? Enough money to hire a coach from House Vidalis that is pulled by Hell-Steeds… will he really be able to sell it for a profit and help the poor after investing so much? Who are these orcs? What is the blue orb and why does everyone want it? Will the injured man survive? Why does the pond heal wounds and why does the boar guard it? Our party only has one more day to find the orb and return to Wroat if they want to be on time for the Scylvane Arena tournament… Will they make it in time?