In the morning, the Circle of Valor along with the rescued toymaker, Rehs Wrenwater, resume the pursuit of Baron Agwain. The trail the Baron has traveled now is sloping down into a thick woods. It is like a virtual twilight even at Highsun. Nolia checks the hoofprints and informs her companions that their quarry is only three hours ahead based on the marks left. There are signs of the earthquake having affected the area. A number of trees have been felled and there are signs of upheaval of the earth and more than one rockslide along the steeper areas.
The party makes their way down into the large hollow south of the nearby mountains. In a partially open clearing, Corthen and Vilnullas ride into it before discovering that two bears are removing honey from a large dead tree and eating it, while two other bears seem to have been chased off by the angry bees move toward the riders. The angry bears suprise the group with their speedy charge. Everyone panics and quickly spur their horses away from the clearing and the large pursuers. The group manages to elude the two bears, but they lose the Baron’s trail in the process.
The party regroups; Nolia searches the forest floor for signs of the Baron and his men. Less than an hour later she finds their trail once again. The half-elven ranger leads her companions to the northeast, closer to the mountains. A short time later the heroes ride up on a grizzly scene. Three foul ghouls are feasting on a horse and the flesh of one of Baron Agwain’s soldiers. The warriors leap down leading the attack on the abominations. Even Rehs joins the battle, throwing a few well placed daggers into the undead flesh of the ghouls.
Once the engagement is over, the party makes their way to stone cliff and the opening carved into the rocky surface. Silvaris leads the way into the tunnel. Further into the mountain the passage opens into a room where Erith discovers the mummified corpse of a dwarf lying under a table. Uldred finds an amulet just like the one given to Vinullas recently in Waterdeep by Dervin Stonecarver. Taking another passage to the right, the group finds a bloody handprint smearing one of the walls. A short time later, they find the shredded remains of two of Agwain’s men.
The party pushes further and find the tunnel opens up once again to the forest. Saedellas and Silvaris go back and recover the group’s horses and bring them up to the party’s position. Nolia says that she has found a trail of four sets of booted tracks heading off to the east. Now the kidnapper is on foot and without mounts after fleeing from the ghouls. Corthen pushes his friends through the forest seeking to rescue Kyrin Hawkwinter.
A short time later the heroes ride up and suprise Baron Agwain and his last two men. The nobleman surrenders his remaining men. Tellazar demands he release Kyrin. Her kidnapper says that his love has slipped away a short time ago and that they have been searching frantically for her since she disappeared. Silvaris goes to threaten the nobleman with a dagger, but before he can do so, a shower of arrows strike all around killing the Baron’s men, and wounding the Baron, Rehs, and Vilnullas.
Corthen, Vilnullas, Uldred, and Nolia charge up the ridge to engage the archers that fired upon them, while the others guard the horses and over Baron Agwain. The archers on the ridge have fled. Nolia checks and finds that their shoeprints are smaller than a human’s. Corthen returns to the others and binds and gags Agwain and puts him on a horse. The group moves off following Nolia searching for the missing Kyrin.
An hour later the party comes across group disturbed by the passage of many boots heading north up to the mountains. Before they get a chance to follow the trail Nolia stops everyone and points off to the east where she indicates she has heard shouting. The group follows the ranger. As they descend towards a stream bed and the obvious shouts, the group is suprised by the presence of an armored human hunkering down behind a mossy boulder. He motions the group to get down and up to where he is at.
Once the heroes have reached the armed stranger he points to two banks of the stream where the heroes can make out two bands of goblin archers firing at an unseen foe along the ferny banks of the gurgling stream. The stranger motions that the heroes should split to engage both groups of goblins at the same time and he will go into battle with them. The party members nod in agreement and head off into two different directions.
Corthen, Silvaris, Erith, Saedellas, and Nolia move across the stream to sweep at the goblins on the opposite side of the stream. Vilnullas, Uldred, Rehs, Tellazar, and the stranger move up to engage the other group of laughing goblins. Before everyone has moved into an ambush, the blonde haired human pulls his bastard sword and charges the goblin archers with a shout “In the name of Tyr!” The suprised goblins are caught off guard by the charging champion. The heroes take advantage of the goblin panic and dispatch them quickly and without much of a fight.
The heroes converge on the goblin’s intended target and they find a wounded green elf lying among the ferns with a bad wound in his leg from an arrow. He is clutching an antiquated shield and axe and is relieved to see the party and not a band of goblins. The heroes speak to the elf and offer to tend to his wounds. Saedellas speaks to him while he heals him and learns his name is Melandrach and he lives in this valley that his people call Laughing Hollow. The elven priest also learns that Melandrach was following a party of orcs and trolls that had just come upon a helpless human woman in the vale. The green elf says that the orc war party took the woman and moved towards the mountain. Melandrach was on his way to get aid when he was struck by the goblin arrow.
Corthen and the others speak to the green elf and learn that the recent earthquakes have done much damage to Laughing Hollow. The elf states that besides the uprooting of trees, a high cliff up at the mountain’s edge broke open and a horrible green bilious liquid flowed out of the mountain and down into the valley and making its way to the Delimbiyr. The concerned elf says that plants and animals that have had contact with this vile green water have sickened and have died or are dying. He says that is the same mountain that the orcs and their female prisoner are going to. Corthen asks Melandrach if he can make it home as the group wishes to pursue the orcs and recover the young woman. The green elf smiles and assures the young warrior that he should be all right. He gives him a worked leather medallion and tells him that if the group should encounter any of his people they should show the totem and they will aid the group.
The group leaves Melandrach and lead their horses towards the poisoned streambed of green bile and follow it from a distance. The stranger they met earlier has joined them. He informs them that he is a crusader of Tyr the Just and that his name is Luthoric Coldsnows. He says he has joined the search for Kyrin after hearing word in Daggerford. The group finally reaches the mountain and is discussing what to do with the Baron when a green elf steps out of the trees nearby and hails them.
The elf warrior greets them and introduces himself as Deldrach Longarrow, a messenger. The group greets him and asks who he carries a message from. Deldrach informs the party that he has a message from the Lord of Laughing Hollow, King Melandrach. The party is shocked to learn that the green elf they aided earlier is the ruler of these lands. The young green elf says that if the party has not stopped the orcs in time before they have reached their base in the mountains that the King would ask that they wait until his arrival before dawn before they enter the orc lair. The group agrees to the King’s request and make camp off a hundred yards into the forest. Nolia builds a small fire and the group sits down to discuss what to do with the prisoner, Baron Agwain.
Some of the more hotheaded members of the party seem to wish to inflict him with bodily harm. Saedellas and Erith remind the others that Agwain is a nobleman and although he has clearly acted irrational and broken the law, he is a prisoner and they should treat him well until he is turned over to either Lord Hawkwinter or other lawful authorities. Some discussion is made that they should leave him tied in the camp with the party’s horses. Once again more rational voices remind the others that leaving a bound man in an area known to have orcs and goblins would surely sentence him to a very short life if found. No one wishes to remain behind to guard Agwain, so Erith suggests that the group use a charm spell to control him and take him wherever they go. The group agrees that it is the best solution and they finish their meal and prepare their watches for the night ahead.