While enjoying a mug of their favorite ale at the Fallcrest Inn, our heroes noticed an middle-aged woman trying awkwardly to get their attention. Calling on all her subtlety and tact, Arija blurts out, “Can I help you!?”
The woman, Helenia Rivitha, goes on to explain that a number of the local village children were missing, her nephew Edgeworth Gryn among them. She believes most of the villagers refuse to admit it, but something sinister is afoot. In an attempt to ascertain what happened, the party heads over to the scene of the crime. However, the child’s mother has no interest in opening recently closed wounds and promptly shuts them out. Satisfied that the heroes will help her, the woman takes her leave.
With few leads, the party begins looking for clues around Edgeworth’s home. Suddenly, it occurs to Arija: Who else was at the inn?
Upon reflection, there were other people at the inn. They first spoke to the mysterious looking Barodu. He revealed that he knows where the children have gone, but he dare not go alone. He will reveal their location, but only if he’s allowed to tag along. Wary, the heroes promise nothing.
They also neglected to speak to the innkeeper, Allagash. He knew the most about Barodu, saying that he had been in regularly and that his bill was paid in full. When asked about the old man who lives on the edge of town, he dismissed their question, saying that “all he does is ramble”. He knew nothing about the woman and her missing nephew.
AIAO thought he might have better luck with Edgeworth’s mother if he approached her personally, so the party set back out for their home. Confused by the warforged’s attempts to console her, Orwyne Gryn noticed his litter of cats. Picking up on their shared affection for felines, Orwyne takes a shine to Arija. After a bit of prodding, Orwyne allows the party to see her son’s room. A casual inspection revealed little, but their tabby friends notice something they missed. The cats migrated toward the window. Looking closer, the heroes found scratch marks on the inside of the window sill. Teslandar was certain they were left there by a Kobold.
Convinced now that the woman’s story was true, the other mystery was the old man on the edge of town. Once again, AIAO thought he could introduce the group. Unfortunately, the strange old man disagreed. Teslandar didn’t do the group any favors by calling the old man’s home a “shack”. Despite their friends’ faux pas, the old man rambled on about his missing stones. Argyle and Arija were allowed to enter and see the spot on the mantle where the stones last sat. The old man could give no leads, but he promised to reward them however he could upon their return… well, the half-elves, that is.
Having put it off as long as they could, it was time to set out to find the missing children. Deciding that it’s better to have an enemy they can see than one they can’t, they decide to allow Barodu to tag along. They each had their misgivings, however, and vow to keep their eye on him at all times. At last, they were on their way!
Barodu lead them out of the village and past the farms. Leaving the farms behind, the entered a sparse forest. After about an hour’s walk into the forest, they found a small clearing with a stream running through. Lying next to the stream was a small green figure. At first, the heroes were uncertain what dangers might await, they took a hard look at the creature. Teslandar was able to see that it was definitely a Goblin. How alive it was remained unclear.
Fearing a trap, Argyle and Teslandar came up with a plan to make sure the trees were safe. Argyle chucked a sun rod into the nearest woods. Teslandar used his Eladrin eyes to peer into the now illuminated trees. Their fears were not unfounded, as Teslandar was able to spot three Goblin Cutters hiding behind tree trunks. AIAO ran into the fray and registered the first kill. Teslandar and Argyle followed right behind, weapons drawn. As they ran forward, another larger Goblin jumped out in front of them. When they turned around, another half dozen enemies came storming out of the woods across the stream. To no one’s surprise, one of those was the Goblin lying in the field.
As the male members of the party went to work, Arija took a different approach. Dancing about on the edge of the forest, she hurled insults aat enemy after enemy. Several enemies took a swing at her, but none connected until Argyle had granted the party a Bastion of Defense.
Finally, the last Goblin was slain and the heroes could catch their breath. It suddenly occurred to them that Barodu had played no part in their encounter. When asked what he was doing, he responded only that he wasn’t needed…