With Malice Aforethought

A Stratagem of Subterfuge

Water and Teeth

Now that the threat the kobolds posed to Peakstone had been eliminated, the party headed back down the tunnel from which they entered the cavern, with the unconscious cleric in tow. At the underwater section of tunnel, they decided that the best swimmers among them would drag the cleric to minimise the time he spent underwater.

Although touch and go, they managed to void his lungs of water and keep him alive – barely – after taking him swiftly through the submerged section of tunnel. They then hauled him to the top of the shaft on the other side.

The rest of the party followed without mis-hap until Arglebrath snagged his foot on a section of stone tunnel. Grimfold reacted quickly, and went to his aid, but struggled to free him. Soon after, Ashlour also went to his assistance, but Arglebrath was threatening to lose consciousness through lack of oxygen and could no longer take action to secure his own release.

Looking up for a moment from his effort to free Arglebrath, Ashlour saw the Crocodilian monster approaching swiftly through the water toward them. He alerted Grimfold and the other members of the party belatedly volunteering with assistance, and with Arglebrath finally freed but Ashlour now losing consciousness, they were passed to the non-swimmers while the others turned to face the huge reptile.

The party (with the exception of Grimfold knew what the beast had done to the kobolds and prepared to defend their lives against its deadly attack. While it searched for a way to get at the party in the relatively narrow tunnel, Balfor attempted to strike first, with his fearsome blow deflected harmlessly by the toughened natural armour sported by the monster. Mark2 in his turn attacked even more ferociously, and felt the satisfying sensation of steel in flesh as his longsword buried itself deeply in the monster’s snout.

Obviously in huge pain and blinded by the huge cloud of blood the wound was making, the reptile retreated, giving the party the opportunity to escape – which was gratefully and swiftly taken.

Rest and Accusations

When the party emerged from underground, they paused on their way to their Inn only to gain some measure of healing for the enemy cleric and to eat. In the morning, and refreshed with an undisturbed night of sleep, S’heldon administered healing where it was most needed and the party began to turn their thoughts toward the prospect of negotiating for the rights to the mine.

They arrived quite early, only to discover Amecil Carussa already in negotiations with their rival to the mine – Caruk, who they had encountered two nights before. Although asked to wait, they persuaded Amecil’s aide to allow them in to see her, after Ashlour had made some circumstantial connections between Caruk and the clericCaruk had been described by the barman as having been very wet when he arrived to book his room, possibly due to having travelled through the underwater tunnels?

Though clearly not pleased, Amecil allowed the interruption and sat through a series of allegations (that Caruk’s colleague had been preparing the kobolds to attack the town) and counter-suggestions (the cleric was merely attempting to get the kobolds to agree to leave) until enough suspicion was raised as to the conduct of Caruk and his confessed colleague of Foril merchant house that she cleared them all out of her office and told them to resolve the situation before negotiating further.

Caruk was then adamant that the party should release his colleague to his care, but faced with numbers or the threat of law, he backed down in the face of the party’s plan to hand over his colleague to the authorities in the quarry town for them to decide what to do. After interviewing the cleric, the authorities found his story largely in agreement with Caruk’s so a stalemate was the result.

The party also learned that a hunter called Marnaloch had been charged with the murder of Ganant, the Clarvar house negotiator who’s role the party has assumed. The party investigated the case against him, finding that he had been charged because he owns hunting dogs (barking has been heard in Ganant’s room the night he died and because of a prior disagreement between them) made the connection and proved the involvement of kobolds in Ganant’s murder. The chance of his having been selected by the kobolds, coupled with the fact of Caruk’s colleague’s involvement with them would have been enough for their arrest, but for the protection of the Foril merchant house, and they were expelled from Peakstone, clearing the way for the PCs to begin negotiations.

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Valmar

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