With Malice Aforethought

A Long and Winding Road

A Night’s Respite

The party helped the unwell Big Al onto a horse and continued on their way, shortly catching up with Ashlour’s wounded steed, who had bolted in the fight with the one-eyed monster and being caught up by Kincaid and Hwell who had recovered sufficiently to continue after the others.

It wasn’t long before they were also joined on the road by a group of five men who were clearly dressed for wilderness travel and who showed the dust of travel on their clothes. They informed the party that they’d been hunting a cyclopskin that had separated from the rest of its group and had found its remains on the road. They laughed when the party called the beast a cyclops and told them that a real cyclops is 15 feet tall, rather larger than the 7-8 feet beast they’d felled.

They accompanied the party to the Wayfarer’s Inn, a staging post for travellers between Peakstone and Shattered Peak, leaving the horses in their care, finding a room for Big Al and retiring to the tavern to get food and pick up gossip.

The group they’d met on the road told them that they were bounty hunters who were able to claim payments from the guards in Shattered Peak in exchange for proof that they’d killed monsters in the surrounding area. Also, rumours suggested there had apparently been a murder in Peakstone.

Ambush

Arglebrath, Ashlour, Bragram, Hestus, Hwell and Kincaid travelled on early the next morning determined to get to the village and fulfil their contract with Sir Clarvar.

The day passed uneventfully until the late afternoon, when Ashlour and Kincaid noticed movement near a rocky outcrop over the road on an upcoming right-hand bend. Realising it to be a good spot for an ambush, the whole party climbed off the road onto the slopes leading up to the right. Their activity clearly alerted the would-be ambushers to their discovery and out rushed 12 kobolds armed with either spears or clubs, intent on overwhelming the party.

Kobolds rained down on Bragram, bringing him to the ground where he was stabbed by a spear-wielder. Spears were thrown into the crowd of PCs, without any finding their mark, and when their weapons were gone, they attempted similar tactic as before, this time against Hwell, but he shrugged them off with little effort, despatching the single monster that had succeeded in grappling his leg. Once the initial shock of engagement had passed, the ineptitude of the kobolds became clearer, with their only successful target being Arglebrath, who was given some healing by Hestus in an effort to ward off unconsciousness.

In time, the attack was routed – largely through Hwell’s heroics, and the party ensured that few escaped intact. Feeling safe to continue, the party returned to the road, but on reaching the bend, Kincaid saw that the rocky outcrop was tipping over onto the road. He called out a warning and the party scattered, except for Arglebrath and Bragram who could not react in time to prevent them from being hit.

The party began to dig them out of the rubble, but were hampered by the 3 kobolds above who were now hurling their spears down at the PCs. Hwell was sent to remove the threat (and duly did) the rest continued their attempted rescue of these trapped. Though both Arglebrath and Bragram were successfully dug out from under the stone, the delay proved too much for Bragram who with his dying breath told them of a letter he had from Sir Clarvar.

Further Complications

On opening the letter, they found it to be instructions for another of Sir Clarvar’s employees, Ganant, regarding negotiations for the purchase of the newly discovered mine at Peakstone Quarry.Letter to ganant
With the death of two horses, the party limped into the village of Peakstone and checked into the Cracked Stone Inn and began inquiring as to the whereabouts of Ganant. The Innkeeper thought the name familiar, but his wife recognised it at once as the name of a recently murdered man…

…Life is never easy for the party it seems.

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Valmar

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