The Jovial Juggler in Beregost was full of people at midnight, with the bard and his wife singing from the stage, and the folk of Beregost drinking, singing, dancing, and gaming. The innkeeper from the Burning Wizard, Armol, dropped by to tell Argaroth that two fellows had been asking for him; a tall, square-jawed fellow and a shorter man. Argaroth and Eldgrim decided to call it a night, and walked back down to the Burning Wizard. Inside, they did not find the innkeeper. Eldgrim rummaged in the innkeeper’s drawers and found a room key (ornately carved with a flame). Going upstairs, they noticed Argaroth’s door swing open and shut. The two went to the door, and the dwarf knocked. He heard rummaging. When they opened the door (it wasn’t locked; Argaroth carried his key), they saw a chair had been pulled beneath the roof window, and saw a rope disappearing – someone had just been in the room and left by the narrow window. Quickly, Argaroth jumped up the chair and climbed up onto the roof of the Burning Wizard, while Eldgrim ran downstairs to get outside.
Sliding down the roof, Argaroth saw a figure had jumped across to one of Armol’s sheds, and he followed suit, gingerly jumping the span, climbing up the shed, to slide down the other side as the mysterious figure ran south to cross the road into a field of barley. Two guards stationed at the gates to the temple of Lathander noticed the commotion, and came running. Using his magic, Argaroth sent magic missiles slamming into the escaping figure, downing him.
Meanwhile, at the Burning Wizard’s entrance, Eldgrim was assaulted by a second figure, a tall man with a square jaw. Missing a blow and hammering to pieces part of the inn’s front entrance, Eldgrim was badly wounded by the assailant’s dagger, but was saved when Argaroth came running up, using his sling to cripple the assailant with his well-aimed rocks.
The temple guards came and took Eldgrim’s wounded assailant, the corpse of the second one, as well as Argaroth and Eldgrim, to the temple for interrogation. Argaroth and Eldgrim were locked up in an ascetic cellar room for questioning the following day.
Eleint, 27th, 1366 DR:
The characters were taken up into one of the towers of the temple, to the office of the town’s mayor and high priest, Kelddath Ormlyr. He told them that the surviving assailant had been questioned, and admitted guilt. For their troubles, he offered them each a pouch of coins, which they rejected. Instead, Kelddath suggested they could give the money to Armol of the Burning Wizard Inn, and asked if they wanted something else instead. Argaroth suggested books they could use to gain entry at Candlekeep to the northeast. Here, Eldgrim wishes to look into dwarf history – particularly about his own roots – and Argaroth wishes to peruse the many tomes of lore there. Kelddath told them to return later in the day, and sent them off.
Armol was busy repairing the wall at his door by hammering a plank over the hole made by Eldgrim’s warhammer. A large trade caravan rolled into Beregost, just as Kelddath Ormlyr had suspected: “It was quiet yesterday, so today will be busy. That’s the way it is in Beregost.”
Sitting down for a cup of Berdusk wine with Armol, they chatted for a while, watching the caravan wagons roll in. With the caravan came a huge backpack overshadowing a diminutive halfling who entered the Burning Wizard in search of a meal. He introduced himself as Bastin, a halfling from Esmeltaran in central Amn. When Eldgrim and Argaroth decided it was time to leave, the halfling asked to join them, and was allowed to do so, despite Argaroth’s misgivings about the halfling race. Bastin mentioned that someone aboard the caravan was on the lookout for Argaroth, but had departed at Nashkel to the south.
Back at the temple, they met Kelddath on the steps of the entrance stairs discussing with a priest of the temple. Upon seeing them, he ordered the priest to fetch a pair of books for the characters. Eldgrim got a copy of Enthan the Second’s Herbs from the High Moor: Those I Surveyed Before Being Chased off by Trolls, while Argaroth received a copy of On the Division of Far-Away Thay into So-Called Tharchs by Kamradone of Aglarond.
With the books obtained, they set out on the Coast Way and soon lost sight of Beregost behind them. They walked all day long, with Eldgrim playing the flute and Bastin whistling and Argaroth lost in thought. At nightfalll, they moved off the road and set up camp. At first Eldgrim suggested to set up Bastin’s tent but Bastin insisted he could do that. It was a struggle to behold, but eventually the tent was up and Bastin prepared a good meal for them – albeit cold, as Argaroth suggested they not light a fire. From Bastin’s enormous backpack came black-veined cheese, spiced sausages and more. In the night, Eldgrim dreamed of Ironmaster and its valley, deserted. Sometime during the night, Argaroth’s hawk alerted him to the presence of wolves; Eldgrim set to building a fire. When Bastin was awakened, the realization that a fire was being built after all made him prepare a rather excellent late-night meal; and the fire drove off the wolves, eventually. Since they were up earlier than a priest of Lathander anyway, they decided to move on and make a good headstart on the day’s journey north.
Eleint 28th, 1366 DR:
Around Highsun, the three wanderers came to the junction between the Coast Way and the Way of the Lion, the road leading to Candlekeep. Here, a caravan encircled a waystone, and they met a woman named Leishan, with long brown hair with stripes of silver. She told them the caravan was having a stop here before moving on to Beregost, and all the merchants at the crossroads showed off their wares. Having a surprising amount of different, exotic and even magical (or so it seemed) items of all kinds imaginable, the characters spent a little time gawking. Eldgrim suggested that Bastin buy a book so that he had something to present at Candlekeep. After a while he returned, having procured the diary of one of the wagon-drivers: Though the caravan boasted an impressive array of items, from elven armor to famous paintings, they did not have any useful books. Eldgrim purchased one potion of healing for the staggeringly low price of three pieces of gold.
They moved on to the Way of the Lion, winding its way through low foothills and scattered groves. In the afternoon, they found a whimpering girl in a white, torn robe in the ditch. They saw that her face was bruised. Eldgrim used his powers to heal her by the grace of Moradin, but the girl seemed to be in a state of shock, not able to speak. Argaroth sent his hawk off to scout the surrounding area, while they asked the girl simple questions to which she could nod or shake her head. In this way, they found out that she had escaped, and by the sight of the hawk, they knew four goblins were in the hills to the north looking for her. They decided to leave the girl with Eldgrim’s pony and move into the hills to teach the goblins a lesson. Half a kilometer north of the road, they found their quarry – four goblins, having spread out, now closing in on the characters, shouting with shrill voices. Both Eldgrim and Argaroth understood their violent unfriendly words, having knowledge of the goblinoid language. One of them called the girl a ‘witch’ and demanded her back. Carrying dead mice in their belts and wearing shoddy armor and carrying rusting short swords, the party had little trouble defeating the goblins, although it seemed – quite clearly – that Bastin’s skills at throwing knives had been exaggerated. Eldgrim realized he’d gone a little rusty with his warhammer as well. They found a crystal pendant on one of the goblins, and the hawk alerted Argaroth of a fifth member of the group – a hobgoblin, further north. They decided to take the fight even further away from the road.
They came to a height from which they saw a hobgoblin sitting with his back to a cliff wall, eating meat off a bone. Between them was a small area of marsh. Argaroth made himself known, waving his hands and saying hello. The hobgoblin, red-hued skin making him look even angrier than he already looked, rose, longsword in hand and began to walk toward them. At first the hobgoblin denied affiliation with the goblins. Bastin asked if he should throw his knives, feeling it a little more this time around; he missed with all three knives. Eventually the group managed to defeat the hobgoblin and went back to the road.
Back on the road, the pony and the girl were missing. Bastin tracked them up the slopes on the south side of the road and into a pine forest. Soon enough they saw a second hobgoblin leading the pony through the woods, with two goblins pulling the limp form of the girl by her hair. Another fight broke out; Bastin finally managed to throw well (that one time), and the two goblins were defeated soon enough. The hobgoblin proved too strong, however, and both Eldgrim and Argaroth were out of spells; with fierce slashes, the hobgoblin felled them both, but ran off – maybe not having noticed the little halfling still standing – with the girl.
Eleint 29th, 1366 DR:
Eldgrim and Argaroth woke up to the smell of ham and melting cheese, sizzling in Bastin’s frying pan. He told them what had happened. They spent the day recuperating. Argaroth told Bastin to go look for herbs that could help them. After a few hours he returned with coastal herbs which they crushed to paste and used with Eldgrim’s bandages. Praying to Moradin, Eldgrim replenished his powers and by evenfall they decided to track the hobgoblin. An hour later, still in the woods, it became too dark to track the hobgoblin further and so they set up camp, hoping to track down the hobgoblin the following day. Bastin expressed some regret as to missing High Harvest Day.
High Harvest Day, 1366 DR:
They woke early and followed the hobgoblin’s tracks out of the woods and into a desolate area of grassy hills and rocky outcroppings. As they came close to a new forest further south, they found an ancient, abandoned mine and ventured inside. Deep below, they came upon a cavern guarded by two goblins. They saw the hobgoblin asleep on the floor, and the shadow of someone bent over a desk. Bastin and Argaroth aimed for a goblin guard each. Argaroth hit his target, and Bastin missed, even though this time he really felt it. The hobgoblin slept through the first commotion, but the man at the desk rose. The characters moved in for the attack. The surviving goblin guard ran back into the cavern to hide behind a barrel, while the man, who they now saw was elderly, wearing a tattered patched robe, ran for a chest. Argaroth began throwing rocks at the sleeping hobgoblin, while Bastin continued to throw away his knives. The mysterious man cast a spell, which Argaroth recognized as grease, causing Eldgrim to fall on his back.
A well-placed throw from Argaroth ended the hedge mage’s life, while Eldgrim managed to crawl off the ensorcelled area and slam his warhammer into the hobgoblin with great force. The mage dropped an exquisite-looking dagger of Calishite origin as he fell over the chest he had just opened. The characters let the cowardly goblin run off (but not before it slipped and fell hard on the greased area) and proceeded to investigate the chest. Most of its contents were mundane items – rations, an extra set of robes – but there was also a scroll – a poor man’s spellbook, not magical scrolls – with the arcane symbols describing the spells grease and change self and a potion, as well as a pouch of coins. Investigating the cave, they discovered a sliding section of the wall; behind was a small cell where they found the girl, asleep…