Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition: Secrets of the Snakewood.

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Boindal

With the last Kobold lying dead on the ground, Boindal sheaths his hammer and shield. After tending to the minor wounds that he has sustained, Boindal begins the meditation techniques taught to him by his master psionic teacher, rebuilding his psionic defences and refreshing his mind so that he is ready should any more assailants be lurking near by.

Once Boindal is finished with his meditations, he turns to his new found companions, "Well I be thinkin we should search these Kobolds, might be that they have something which will gives us a clue as to where they came from, or what they be lookin for."

Furgin takes the time to catch his breath and try to regain some of his expended energy. He prods the wound in his side and finds that despite the initial pain, the spear didn't actually pierce too deep. Satisfied that his wounds aren't fatal, Furgin walks towards the dead slinger, addressing Boindal on his way.

"I lay claim to whatever ammunition this damnable creature was using." He pulls a small sling from somewhere inside his breeches, rubbing the shoulder that had been hit moments before. "Could be useful when wielded by someone with a better eye." He laughs hard at his own joke.

Crouching to examine the kobold's corpse, Furgin calls to Kriv and Baldur. "You both can handle yourselves fiercely, that's for certain!" He pauses, eyes drawn to the cart. Hearing the faint groans of the injured man, Furgin is quickly reminded of the group's urgency to get him to a healer. "What about your friend? Is he ok? I have a little skill in healing if you'd like me to take a look?"

"They mentioned someone named Derindahl in our shared native tongue. By the sounds of it, he's the one pulling their strings. Something gives me the feeling that there is more to this than just some Kobolds hoping to ambush some unwary travelers. Perhaps the priestess will know of this Derindahl. We shouldn't dawdle here long. A short rest to recoup but then we must be off. We need to get John to town, I think he requires healing magics, but if you think you can help without threatening his condition it's up to him. I do not have command over his life." Kriv leans up against one of the trees to address his wound. It didn't look serious. he applied some pressure and the bleeding stopped. He'd be fine to go on soon. Dragonborn were made of hearty stuff.

"Thank you for noticing my prowess little one, but you surprised me yourself. One does not often think of Halflings as capable warriors, yet you felled many with your bow. I'm quite impressed. You certainly gave those Kobolds quite a beating as well, Dwarf. Quite the ability you have there, turning your flesh to the like of metal like that."

"Aye, tis a gift and a curse. Is me mental prowess that gives me my power, but it is also what makes me shunned in certain circles, especially amongst the dwarves, as they tend to shy away from anything more magical than their runes. That be one of the reasons I left my home, to travel the world and hopefully encounter people who did not find me as such an oddity." As Boindal tells of his home, he is reminded of the pressures he used to face due to his birth name and a desire is rekindled in his heart to make his people proud, "Perhaps with this group of adventurers I have found kindred spirits, and it may be that with them I shall live up to my namesake."

Boindal regards the Dragonborne and Human in turn, "You two seem to be knowing yer way around a fight as well, and I have to say I've never met a Bard who could handle himself in a fight like you can song master."

Furgin nods appreciatively at the compliment afforded by Kriv. After such a long time away from people other than traders, it was a good feeling to hear the pleasantries exchanged. "I think finding out more about this 'Dering-doo' character is a good idea," he says to the group.

Satisfied with his examination of the dead slinger's possessions, the halfling makes his way towards the injured man in the cart. Before he reaches his destination however, Furgin stops, Boindal's words sparking feelings of guilt within him. 'Shunned', like me... Furgin clenches his fists tight, forcing the sadness away from him. I must be strong in order to redeem myself. The words, however, seem empty. Furgin was scared at the prospect of this quest, but he knew that if he didn't at least try then he would never be accepted by his community - his family - ever again. His life would remain incomplete.

Furgin turns to face the dwarf. "I have also been shunned by my people. Although it was my own mistake that caused them to turn their backs...I'm here to rebuild my - but most importantly their - lives..." He trails off awkwardly, kicking at a few drifting leaves. Sighing, he walks over to the cart and pulls himself onto the back in order to examine the injured man's wounds and dressings.

"How are you holding up, sir?"

Baldur wipes the blood from his sword with a piece of rust-brown cloth before sheathing it.
"Where I hail from, you learn to fight or you find yourself under a giant's club. And I am no mere bard any more than you a mere dwarf; I am a Skald. I do not sing, but form fornyr­islag, or 'past-words-made' in the common tongue. These ancient verses lend me the strength of the heroes of old. Come friends, let us make haste to Winterhaven. My mug and parched throat both demand ale after this victory."

Boindal

"Aye! Now that be the smartest thing I've heard all day!"

The party begins to loot the Kobold corpses. Furgin routes through the pouches of the Kobold Slinger's leather ammo harness, finding some unusual ceramic orbs. They appear to be special types of ammunition.

Searching the Shaman's bloody corpse Baldur finds 50 gold pieces, a small red a amethyst, a vial of bright blue glowing liquid, and a piece of rolled parchment. On closer inspection, the liquid appears to be a common health potion. Casting his trained eye over the scroll, Baldur reads the complex instructions which although written in common, make use of such a complex arcane lexicon it would appear gibberish to those not versed in the arcane arts. Reading it he smiles to himself as he recognises a name passed down through the ages by scholar, wizard and bard, Melf's Acid Arrow.


--

With the sun setting the air is cooler now. The SnakeWood, though still visible from the road begins to break up as the adventurers journey on. Small farms are sparsely dotted about these clearings, the road straightening out as it reaches Winterhaven.

After a few hours travel the party finally finds the settlement. Wooden ramparts rise to protect a large town that glows with activity against the darkening sky, Winterhaven stands before them. On the far side of the town stands a lone stone tower, rising high above the rest of the settlement. The road approaching the entrance to the town is flanked by thick woodland as the Snakewood closes in again around the town, the farms now a few mile down the road.

Approaching the large, sealed wooden gates of Winterhaven, the group are met by two friendly members of the town militia; young men, ill equipped, their armour comprised of simple leathers, neglected and in need of repair.

"Evening lads!" calls the taller of the two, pausing a moment to look Kriv up and down.

"Ain't seen a Dragonborn in these parts for a couple of months," the other states rubbing his chin. He whistles, "Ain't you a biggun', eh?" looking the knight's armour up and down impressed.

The taller guard knocks his colleague on the arm, playfully, but with purpose, before turning to adress the group, "Ignore him, we haven't had many visitors as of late, what brings you to Winterhaven? Are ye Merchants?"

Upon the tops of the ramparts Furgin spots two more guards, with bows in hand. They appear to ignore the group, their eyes fixed upon the road and surrounding woodland.

Baldur

Baldur leans over the side of the cart as it reaches the guards. "Hail to thee. Merchants we are not, but we carry precious cargo. We have a man on board with dire injuries. He is in need of healing and we lack the means to aid him ourselves. Please, good sir, direct us to the nearest lŠkni - healing house or temple. There is no time to waste!"

Once Baldur has finished speaking, Furgin points up at the archers and addresses the taller guard. "You get many problems this deep in the woods? We came across some kobolds earlier. Seems like this place would be a target for raiding parties..."

Boindal

"Aye, my little friend here has a point. We've come across two groups of Kobolds already, and one of those groups was quite large. Seems to me they may be amassing for some reason in particular. Once we get this man to a healer if there be anything we can do to help just let us know. I can't speak for the rest of our party, but I am sure my other companions would be glad to lend assistance." Boindal lets his hand fall back to his belt where he still has the small wooden chest tucked away. Once we're out of earshot from any spying ears I'll show this to the rest of the group, could give us an indication of what those Kobolds be doin.

Kriv chuckles slightly at the guard's remark and lets his fellow adventurers finish speaking, "Speaking of assistance, perhaps you could help us with something. You see, this man's wife was kidnapped. We have reason to believe she was taken up this way and that the kidnapper is supposed to be meeting some Irontooth and Derindahl characters. Either of those names familiar to you two?"

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the Snakewood:

A hooded figure stands within a darkened hall, at his feet arcane runes glow red, wisps of curling black smoke surround the man. Extending his hand over the central rune, he runs the blade of a sacrificial knife over his palm.

"Untaradu al th'alahad" the figure utters as his blood spills upon the desecrated floor boards.
"Derindahl..." the man whispers, the pool of blood recoiling as if afraid of the name. Swirling, the viscous liquid begins to take the shape of a head, that of a Dragonborn. The eyes of the head open and stare directly up at the creature that had conjured it into being.

"Why have you disturbed my meditation, elf?" the Dragonborn hisses, disdain staining his voice.

"My lord, Derindahl, may I speak?"

The image stares for a moment, before replying, "What is it?"

"A wizard sir. A mage. He's been asking around town about unusual goings on. When I probed him further with questions, he revealed that he knew about the Rod of Ruin, he knew it had been stolen."

"Interesting..." Derindahl replies, "We can't take any chances."

"What shall I do my lord?"

"It was only a matter of time before some pathetic adventurer was sent in by the temple, the druids or one of the mage's guilds, but of course, I have planned for such a problem. If you fail me in this task, I will rend you in two with my bare hands, understand?"

The hooded man swallows hard, "Of course, my lord."

Derindahl snarls, "Right. Listen closely..."

--

Back at the gates of Winterhaven:

The shorter of the two guards cautiously comes round to check on the injured man.

"Oh dear, Aron, call for aid," he calls to his colleague, "this man has taken quite a nasty wound."
The other guard bangs firmly upon the gate three times with his shield, "Fetch Rond, we these men have wounded."

One of the archers atop the ramparts respond to Furgin and Boindal's questions, "Kobolds have become a bloody nuisance if you ask me, but you had better talk to Lord Padraig, he has been looking for a solution to these foul creature for a while." The archer laughs loudly, pointing to the party and calls to his fellow guardsmen below "Maybe we just found one."

Suddenly the huge wooden doors pull inwards, and from within Winterhaven three more guards emerge, two carrying a stretcher, a third with what the group easily recognise as a symbol of Avandra sewn into a tabard draped over his chainmail.

The healer looks to Kriv and Baldur, "My name is Rond, I am captain of the guard, but I am also one of the town's resident priests of Avandra. I will take this man to the Barracks if that is ok with you, and see to his wounds there. You are more than welcome to accompany me if you so desire." He points and nods to the stretcher men, who move over and begin to move John onto it.

Rond listens to Kriv's questions before turning to his allies as if to ask if they had heard such names. After a moment filled with quizzical looks and shrugs, he turns back to Kriv, "You might be better off asking around town. That said, the market is packing up for the night, and most people are either at home or at Wrafton's Inn." He smiles as if suddenly remember something, "To be honest, if you want to find out about something in the area, the Inn ain't a bad place to go asking, eh?"

Winterhaven

The guards direct the party through the gate and across the market square. Rond informs them that he will send for Ernest Padraig, and hopefully he will come down to the tavern to meet you all. "He frequently drinks with his people. Lord Padraig is the most down to earth noble I have ever had the fortune of knowing" he says, reassuringly. "Unfortunately, with the recent birth of his fifth child, he may be spending time with family. If he doesn't meet with you tonight, he will in the morning, I am sure. You seem to have had a busy day, and if saving a man's life isn't reason enough to toast to good fortune and Avandra, I don't know what it."

Even from the outside Wrafton's Inn looks comforting; the eight south facing windows glow warmly and the buzz of conversation and music drifts from the open doorway. Upon entering the party are hit by the stuffy yet familiar aroma of mead, roasted boar and open fire. A thin layer of smoke rests above the heads of the patrons, blanketing the eight foot tall ceiling. A large, busy bar sits directly across from the door the adventurers entered through while a other patrons crowd around a roasting pit in the furthest north eastern corner of the room. The place is crowded, but Furgin points out a brooding Elven hunter hauled up in his own corner across the room. The landlady, presumably a Miss or Mrs Wafton, stands at the bar, filling a tankard with some manner of strong ale. Groups of farmers are dotted around the room, drinking, discussing, some even arguing, but nothing serious. A group of older farmers stand around a young bard to the left of the Inn's entrance, singing drunken songs praising past heroes, as well as occasionally praising Pelor and Avandra for the great harvest this year.

A few patrons on the far right of the room are attempting to get an old man down from a table. Mrs Wafton shouts over the noise, "Get down Marcus, you stupid old fart, you are gonna hurt yourself!" to which a cheer erupts from around the room.

"I'll get down when I am dead, and not before!" the old man calls back, his speech slurred, half the contents of his tankard spilling over another patron. The majority of the crowded room go back to ignoring the old man has he begins to dance, girating and thrusting his hips.

Wrafton's Inn:

Pieter sits at a table surrounded by his fellow scribes and Valathrun. After a long day of asking about town, and coming to very little leads on the Cult of Orcus doubts have filled the young mages mind; did his order merely send him here as a fool's errand?

Looking up from his drink he sees a Dwarf, Dragonborn, Halfling and Human walk in to the tavern. It is evident from their gear and general composure that these men are no merchants. Suddenly a glimmer of hope; are these men capable of helping Pieter with his mission?

Furgin smiles broadly at the raucousness of the inn. It'd been a long time since he'd had the pleasure of being in such a cosy environment. "I'm going to ask about rooms," he says to his companions. "I'd like to get this pack off my aching shoulders." stretching his arms, Furgin breathes deeply, taking in the aromas of the roasting pit. "Smells good, doesn't it? I'll ask about getting some of that food, too. Smells like rabbit." Licking his lips appreciatively, Furgin meanders through the crowded room towards the landlady.

"Evening good lady," Furgin bows, flashing his best smile. "My companions and I would like rooms, if at all possible. I'd like to leave this pack in a secure place too, it's been weighing on my shoulders for too long now." He pauses, allowing for the woman to shout at the drunk old man once more. "Bit too much of the drink?" He chuckles lightly and then points to the roasting pit. "Any chance of a meal as well?"

Miss Wrafton leans over the bar to get a good look at Furgin. She greets him enthusiastically, "The rooms are secure darlin', Winterhaven is as safe a place as you ever did see." She smiles softly, "Rooms are ten silver a night honey, and a meal will cost you one."

She laughs are Furgin's remark about the old man, "That old Marcus Valendoor. He is a bloody fool and nuisance. But the punters love him, so what can I do eh?"

"Say, you and your chums ain't from round 'ere are ye?" she says eying the Dragonborn suspiciously.
As the party can see, the locals are a healthy mix of Humans, Dwarves, Halflings and Elves, with the mix leaning towards Humans and Halflings.

"So, ye want a room? What about your friends? You planning on staying for a while honey?"

Furgin laughs with the woman when she explains about the old man. She seemed like a pleasant innkeeper, much more accommodating to weary adventurers than some hed met.

"I'll definitely have a room, but you'll have to ask the others yourself, I guess." Furgin shrugs at the landlady's confused frown. "We've not been on the road together long, y'see. I don't know much about them myself. Except that they're good people... willing to help a man in need." Furgin counts out eleven silver coins and places them on the bar. She scoops them up and deposits them somewhere in her dress as Furgin continues talking. "Doubt we'll be staying more'n a night, miss. We've got some things to attend to." He hesitates, unsure how to phrase his next question. "...speaking of which, miss.... What can you tell me about the count? One of the guards - Rond I think his name was - said he often drinks with his people here your very tavern. I've never heard of such a thing before..."

Pieter glances up from his book in time to catch all four adventurers walk into the Inn, and he smiles as he casually flips closed the book he was looking at, there would be more time for reading later, but now was the time to act.

"Valathrun, Please let me know if anything of dire importance arises, but I think I have spotted some help for our cause, I will be back soon if it turns out I am wrong." He said in almost a whisper as he pushed his chair back and stood up, stretching his legs and arms from the long duration of sitting. He quickly let out a chirp, and a raven that was resting on the table quickly flapped to his shoulder, squawking in a quiet but happy manner. "Maybe these men will be different, huh Zed?" Pieter said with a smile as he scratched the crest of his raven.

Pieter made his way through the bar, getting shoved slightly and having to do a bit of shoving himself, before he made it to the halfling, who was no doubt trying to obtain a room for the night, along with maybe something to eat. He looked to be in conversation with the inn keep, but he had pressing business and was not known to be patient when it came to such things. He leaned down and patted the Halfling gently, as if afraid he would shatter the small thing, and said quickly. "You are not from around here, traveler, may I ask what your purpose in this town is, and maybe more importantly, why your friends are here as well?" with a half smile as he stared downward toward the small man. He was no hulking giant himself, and the halfling was none to be scoffed at among his own kind, but he could not help but feel awkward. He glanced up quickly toward the rest of the party, scanning them briefly and tried to determine what they would excel at. The Dragonkin would most certainly be the brutish type, but the human also seemed of sturdy stock, leaving him to wonder what he would do. The dwarf looked like, well a dwarf, short and stocky and tough enough to rough anyone up in this bar. The halfling he deemed was some sort of woodsman, his gear well traveled and his bow hanging from his back. "And may I add, a most interesting group you all are." He said with another half-hearted smile, hoping that these adventurers would be more helpful than the rest of the villagers.

Baldur

"Ah, the mead hall. Just the place for brothers of battle. Come, the first round is on me." Baldur takes the atmosphere of the tavern in his stride, revelling in it. He follows Furgin the bar, he pulls a large, wooden stein from his bag. The stein is carved with a detailed fesco, bordered by runes that ring the edges. He addresses the bar maid with cheery enthusiasm that had not been seen under the punishing heat of the day. "Greetings, maiden of the Ílrun! Grant my boon and fill by cup with sweet taste of truest victory!"

As the barmaid attends the important business at hand, Baldur notices the curious man patting Furgin. While fully aware of the halfling's prowess, biases are hard to shift. Baldur moves slightly closer to Furgin and spreads his elbows upon the bar to look even more intimidating. Strangers laying a hand on this small person in his charge just rubs him up the wrong way. "Furgin, my friend. What'll you have?"

The barmaid smiles coyly at Baldur's request, "Boy o' boy, you are certainly an enthusiastic one stranger." she says, laughing.

She pours out a thick, foamy liquid into the stein, and slides it across the bar. "First ones on the house darlin'. Big boy like yourself needs to keep up his strength, nothing better for that than the taste of Stormcloud Ale. Of course, all our produce is locally sourced."

Fluttering her eye lids she purses her lips and leans forward on the bar. Her attempts at subtlety are poor, she is obviously attempting to listen to the fledgling conversation between these newcomers.

Boindal

Being a Dwarf Boindal is used to the sites and sounds of the tavern. Having tied up Eponas by the trough outside, Boindal feels it's time that he got a drink as well. As he notices the strange man with a bird talking to Furgrin, and Baldur moving into position near by, he says to Kriv, "Keep a sharp eye out lad, looks like there could be trouble." With that Boindal makes his way to the bar positioning himself of the other side of the stranger. "A pint o' yer finest ale my good lady," Boindal says as he listens intently to the conversation being had between Furgrin and this new person.

"A mug of ale sounds good to me," Furgin says flatly to Baldur, not taking his eyes from the newcomer. "Having something to eat, Baldur? I hear the fowl is especially good." A tight smile flicks the corners of Furgin's mouth up as he flashes dangerous eyes at the raven. The raven's beady eyes stare as if into Furgin's very soul.

Suddenly, Furgin spreads a wide smile onto his face. "We're just passing through, sir! Isn't that right?" He shrugs to Baldur. "We encountered an injured man and felt we had to get him to a place where he could get help. Also encountered some particularly nasty kobolds. But we're here now, and in great need of a drink, food and rest."

"Kobolds you say, halfling?" Pieter stared with intent at the little man, wanting to press for details. "Is it safe to assume then, that you dispatched of them in haste?" He said as he stared at the Halfling more intently, his armor looked a bit scuffed up, but not too badly beaten, so they must have the combative ability he is searching for. He noticed the rest of the party placing themselves in positions around the halfling, so he rose his voice for all of them to hear. "Ah, but where are my manners, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Pieter, and I happen to need some assistance in a matter most dire, but before I go into detail at any length, would that interest you, Mr...?" He said in a questioning tone, to try and learn the little ones name and if anyone elses that would want to say theres for that matter. The raven cawed on his shoulder and leaned in close to his ear, and cawed very gently inside of it, almost like whispering. Pieter's smile grew broader at that, and he turned to see the dwarf sitting behind him.

"Does a quest sound good to you, Sir dwarf? Zed likes the look of you, as do I,and we think you could be very beneficial to our cause." He said with a full smile. Then finally he turned toward the counter, and opening his simple robe, the sound of coin could be heard jingling about. He counted out about 10 gold coins, and laid them on the counter for the woman, and said "Make sure they are all well taken care of, I think that should be enough for rooms and meals."

Then finally turning back to the halfling, he awaits the little ones response with a good natured smile, his raven constantly turning about on his shoulder.

Miss Wrafton's eyes almost light up at the site of gold, the local peasants wouldn't earn a single gold piece in a months work as militia and farm hand. Picking up the money,she bows her head, "Of course sir," another tankard of ale in her hands already, almsot appearing from nowhere. She places it down infront of Boindal.

"I'm quarter dwarf you know," a drunken man to Boindal's left states bombastically as he leans in to make conversation, "On my mothers side."

Furgin's initial caution towards the man soon subsided, this Pieter seemed like an honest fellow. The raven, however, troubled him. Either Pieter was quite mad, or there was definitely something magical about the bird. After a moments pause, Furgin broadened his smile. "Furgin Clearwater. Thank you for the hospitality, Pieter. You are a good man to welcome us with free bed and board. As for the kobolds," he twists to show the man, the puncture in the side of his armour, blood encrusted around the hole. "...They had a little bite, but nothing we couldn't handle. What kind of assistance would you be looking for?"

Pieter smiled as he saw the small man at least agreeing to hear him out and not just disregarding his plea. He started without delay, wanting to let the man know what he was signing up for, if he so desired. "Glad to have someone that will finally hear me out. I was sent by my superiors to investigate a little problem in this town, a certain cult has sprung up around here lately and they have been performing some rituals, as I have heard it, and I am looking to employ some bulk to help me with my quest, If you know what I mean." He said, glancing toward the bigger men of the group, and really hoping they could hold there own in a fight.

Pieter disregarded the man that drunkenly mumbled about himself being part dwarf, as his business was urgent at the time. Pieter turned his head toward the raven, and received a gentle peck on his eyebrow and smiled. He patted the bird gently with one finger before turning back toward the halfling, and his face grew a bit red. "Before you go thinking me a loon, this is my companion, Zed, He was, you could say, assigned to me a long time ago." He said with another good natured smile. "So can I count on your help? I assure you it would not be something for nothing, if that is what you wish." He said with a pleading look on his face.

When Kriv entered the tavern he took his time reaching the bar, choosing to thoroughly eye the room and it's occupants to get a general feel for the place. The atmosphere seemed jovial and the danger slim to none. Satisfied, he reached the bar and listened to Pieter's conversation with Furgin. The stranger's generosity surprised him, and made him somewhat uneasy about the man. People who showed such charity to obvious men of arms tended to be either desperate or up to something.

Noticing the barmaid's eagerness to learn things she wasn't meant to, Kriv figures if anyone might know where to find a fellow named Irontooth, she'd be the one. "Excuse me m'lady. But I'm looking for someone, and I was hoping that maybe you could help me? He goes by the name Irontooth. Likely a rather brutish and unpleasant looking fellow. If not, maybe you know of an Elliot? He's supposed to be meeting Irontooth and he could maybe take me to him. It's very important and I'd greatly appreciate your assistance."

Boindal

Boindal turns to the obviously inebriated patron at his side and replies, "Aye, and I'll be bettin that's your best part!" While the patron begins to ramble on about more drunk gibberish Boindal turns back to the conversation his companions are having. This bird lover seemed a bit strange but adventurers come in all shapes, sizes, and eccentricities. "So what exactly is it ye be needin some extra muscle for then? Surely if yer superiors wouldn't a sent ye out all by yer lonesome if'n the task were ta get ya killed?"

The bar woman takes a moment to look up the ceiling; she begins to shift through all the rumours and goings on she overhears on a daily basis behind the bar.

"Elliot you say?" she looks concerned, "Well there are only two that I know of. The first was a young hunter from outta' town who was talking to Ninaran over there," she points to the brooding elven Woodsman Furgin had spotted on the way in, "They had some very heated conversation before the boy left." She shifts on her feet uneasily before continuing, "Then there is the oldest son of our Lord Padraig. Alwas been a nice boy, but his father forbids him and his brothers to leave the confines of the town at the moment, what with all the trouble on the roads. What would Elliot Padraig want with some brute who goes by the name of Iron-tooth?"

Pieter turned to meet the Dwarfs gaze, and smiled once again before coughing a few times and closed his eyes, deep in thought. Then he opened them, and began to speak in Dwarvern. He explained to the man that there was a cult presence in this town, and while he could hold his own quite well, that having a group of adventurers to help along the way was not something he would pass up, and something he rather needed. He also explained that the group he was travelling with was none to be laughed at, and he needed them even more for that.

Pieter stopped for a second, before returning to Common. "It has been a while since I was able to use that language on someone with the ability to return it, it is good to recall it back to my memory." He said with a smile as the Raven began squawking, odd squawks that sounded a bit like words, but no more than that.

The taverns door opens again and the crowded inn quietens down to get a good look at the people walking in. Two town guards enter, accompanying an older man in full plate armour, minus the helmet.

The older figure stands at an impressive 6ft2, his hair a thick white main tied back for convenience and his chin covered in a thick white beard. His ornate armour gives off a faint glow, suggesting it is enchanted in some way, a long sword with golden decorative hilt is holstered upon the man's hip.

The group look around the room as the rest of the tavern returns to their drinking and conversation. The occasional farmer gives the older gentlemen a nod, which he reciprocates with a similar nod and a heartfelt genuine smile. The party notice that the Bard is no longer singing, and any playful arguments between punters have come to an end in the presence of this man.

One of the guards points towards the party and whispers into the old man's ear, before making his way across the room, squeezing through the crowd.

"Hail adventurers! Lord Padraig would like to talk to you, would you grant his lordship an audience?" he shouts over the din, bowing gently towards the party.

The group are escorted over to the furthest corner of the room where a table is being vacated by a group of young farm labourers. The old man, presumably Lord Padraig, seats himself, each of his guards positioning themselves on either side of him.

"Come, take a seat and drink with me!" Padraig bellows, chuckling slightly and beckoning to the assortment of stools arranged around the table, "What brings you to my beautiful town adventurers?"

Smiling, he places his tankard to his lips and takes a large swig, "Ah, nothing like the taste of Ale after a long day eh m' friends? And please, call me Earnest..."

Boindal

Boindal beams at Pieter, "Aye, I be thinking that both our paths be crossing each other, and I would say that me and my companions here would be glad to help, and it be nice to hear the old language spoken outside o my home, don't hear it much round these parts anymore." Boindal raises his drink to Pieter and takes a swig as the tavern doors open and a hush falls over its patrons. Boindal can't help but admire the man who most obviously is Lord Padraig, at how he seems to be loved and admired by his people. This, Boindal thinks, is how I'd be likin to spend my elder years, ruling over my kingdom and beloved by me subjects.

Boindal, along with the rest of the group, follow Padraig over to the corner and sit down, and after taking a larger swig of his tankard, not wanting to be outdone by even so great a man as this, Boindal replies. "Well yer lordship, I be Boindal Fellhammer and these be my companions Furgrin, Baldur, Kriv, and our newest acquaintance Pieter. We be on a quest to find out what it is that be troubling your area. Lot of nasty things running around, and we've already had a brush with a fair few Kobold tribes. Any information about what ye've been having problems with would be a great help."

Furgin smacked his lips appreciatively after taking a swig of ale. He nodded along as Boindal addressed Padraig. "Yeah, those kobolds seemed more vicious than the usual bands y'see skulking around, my Lord...." Furgin coughed in embarrassment at the pointed look Padraig gave him. "...Um, I mean, Earnest. They came at us quite aggressively. Just look at this!" Furgin twisted to show Padraig the puncture wound in his leather armour. "Are all the kobolds around here that ready to take on a group of heavily armoured folk? Surely they're not so bold as to attack yer lovely town?"

"Thank you m'lady, I'm doubtful the lord's son is involved in any of this, but you have given me a place to start." Kriv bids the barmaid farewell and begins to make his way over to the Elf when Lord Padraig enters. Not a noble knight to refuse the request of a lord, Kriv postpones his interogation of the Elf and approaches the table where Lord Padraig is seated.

"I don't think these Kobolds are acting on their own, m'lord... Earnest." Kriv adds while bowing curtly, obviously uncomfortable referring to someone of such position in such an informal matter. "The Kobolds who attacked us spoke of a Derindahl who was commanding them. We also dealt with some bandits who kidnapped a poor man's wife. The last of their party wasn't with them at the time and took the woman off to supposedly meet with Derindahl and a man referred to as Irontooth to sell her into slavery. We captured one of the bandits though I doubt he knows anymore than what he told us. Unfortunately with talk of cults about I think this Derindahl is somehow connected, and his intentions for her may be far darker than slavery. I have sworn to find this woman, and I mean to do so. Bringing Derindahl to justice along the way would certainly be beneficial for all those who value peace in this land."

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