The victorious adventurers returned to Winterhaven, eager to glean more information. They found a much more subdued village than they had left, everyone seeming depressed for no apparent reason. Consultation with Salvana Wrafton and Elian the Old led them into the employ of Lord Padraig, who hired them to combat the kobold menace. Outside, Mikal Sternmark nearly came to blows with Aja Quickstep after mishearing his occupation of trader as traitor. Cooler heads prevailed, however, and Mikal was chained up and dragged away by the rest of the party.
The heroes decided that the best course of action would be to “rent” a horse to replace the beloved Biscuits. They managed to bluff an unsuspecting stablehand into giving them Lord Padraig’s best mare. Their next port of call was to reclaim the wagon they had lost in Arrival in Winterhaven. Upon arriving, however, they discovered that it had been taken over by the kobold bandits, and was being used as a base of operations.Combat ensued, and the only kobold survivor was a lone wyrmpriest, who managed to scamper off into the undergrowth.
Deciding against pursuit, the party changed course and set out for the main bandit lair, as identified by Lord Padraig. They found the area around the stronghold swarming with kobolds, and only managed to defeat them through coordinated attacks and the self-sacrificing tactics of Dravian Serpitine. The area was cleared, but the leader of the bandits was yet to be found. Aurora discovered that the waterfall behind the battleground actually concealed a secret entrance. Carric attempted to sneak in, but ended up alerting the guards within, who reacted with overwhelming force. Initiative was rolled again!
The combat in the bandit lair went well at first, up until reinforcements arrived, including the bandit leader: a goblin named Irontooth. His first action was to charge Dravian and slam him in the face with a greataxe, bloodying him with one blow! The encounter went downhill from there, with Dravian taking round after round of beatings just to keep Irontooth off the other, “squishier” PCs. Gallindan Hadarai summoned a huge ball of fire, finishing off most of the rest of the kobolds, but the fight’s outcome was still uncertain. The wyrmpriest the party had failed to finish off earlier reappeared with a vengeance, reducing poor Gallindan to only 2 hp. In a rare display of tactics, however, the party maneuvered him out of harm’s way while simultaneously luring Irontooth into the reach of the massive fireball. Even alight, however, the goblin leader was a force to be reconed with. He struck out at Dravian again, cutting right through his regeneration and knocking him down to 0 hp! He immediately began taking death saving throws, his sacrifice only alleviated by the fact that Irontooth himself immediately succumbed to the roaring flames around him. In a final show of defiance, however, the wyrmpriest charged through the flames, stabbing Dravian’s unconscious form and nearly killing him. Aurora, an accomplished healer, saved his life while the others took revenge on the hapless kobold. Victory was theirs! On Irontooth’s body, they discovered a mysterious letter from someone known as “Kalarel.”