It’s a dark and stormy night when, on their way to Stonewreath Keep the party runs into a nasty group comprising a swarm of bats, some goblin grunts, dire bat-riding goblin cavalry, and a dire bat-riding goblin mage. Their gear is marked with the Orc Lord’s symbol. At least, it is until Aenor burns it off with a lightning fork spell that jumps to every single goblin.
It’s a tough fight but the heroes take down the goblins — except for the mage, who flies away. Llandrin Trawscoed (who used color spray to great effect during the battle by projectile vomiting gouts of rainbow light) sends his owl familiar Eli after it. Eli returns and reports that the goblin landed in the woods just outside of the keep.
They arrive at Stonewreath as the sun is rising, and meet Captain Glenna Obalda and her second-in-command, Lieutenant Cail Emmons. They confirm that Thurash Many-Rocks, Smasher of Elves and his fellow travelers spent a short time at the keep a few days ago. They seemed like decent enough sorts at the time. In fact, Thurash spent a lot of time in the chapel.
Hauling ass to the chapel the party meets Father Ammon, who is a really nice guy. He’s alarmed to hear that Thurash is a wanted criminal, and everyone’s pretty alarmed to hear that armed goblins are running around in the woods a few hours away. Father Ammon says Gaudrie the ranger is ideally suited to go after the goblins, and heads out to find him.
Obalda thinks the goblins were an isolated raiding party rather than part of an army – her patrols would have spotted a force big enough to pose a direct threat to the keep. Their main problem lately has been kobolds appearing in the tin mines near the village of Flowing Springs.
Lomo the wolf catches the scent of goblin behind a nearby door. He and Nureddin bust in and find the wounded goblin mage in Father Ammon’s quarters. They kill the hell out of him and search the place, finding a secret hole in the floor with a ladder leading down into a tunnel. Hey, maybe let’s find Father Ammon and ask him some questions? Or just stab him?
Lomo and Aenor’s raven lead the way in tracking the fleeing priest and ranger. The party quickly finds them, and Ammon screams something about how the fire is coming and the Orc Lord will kill everybody unless they get on his good side now. He attacks with a fire spell and gets a face full of ranged death for his trouble. But Gaudrie the ranger is scarily accurate with the arrows he fires from a gruesome demon bow fused to his arm; and when four goblin archers appear in the trees, the fight gets a lot tougher. Hochnor Half-Hand actually goes down at one point, but refuses to stay down. And Elanesse ultimately takes Gaudrie out with a pretty phenomenal critical hit.
The party finds 875 gold pieces on Father Ammon’s body, and some common magic items on Gaudrie’s. They also find this sealed letter in Ammon’s coat:
To the kobold emissary: Tell Catamoros, The Hunter Beneath that the Orc Lord finds his terms acceptable. – Thurash Many Rocks, Smasher of Elves