“I don’t suppose… there’s any way we can avoid this.”
“Nay. I think we be fightin’.”
The entire party travels north to Gorra, accompanied by Jerren who plans to visit his wife and family. They spend two days learning the ways of the mountain pass outpost community and the crisp weather of the high foothills in spring.
On the third day, a woodsman named Nell approaches the party in the barracks common room, reporting a possible smuggling caravan either lost or hiding amidst remote rocky crags. Nell leads the group to where they can see the caravan from a distance, and Iarien sneaks closer to confirm their suspicious activity, including
the presence of a true blood ranger and a magician.
With Iaren, Baelas, and Nell sneaking ahead, Falel takes Ronan and Milo to speak with the travellers. They are led by a man named Rennick Zammere, and his conversation with Falel results in the understanding of inevitable violence. In a grizzly mountainside battle, the party faces illusionary earth elementals, a fully armoured half-orc, and twin brother mountain dwarves. The elven archer nearly kills Baelas, and Ronan is somehow able to survive repeated deadly blows from the half-orc. In the end, Rennick charms the enraged surviving mountain dwarf and the two of them surrender for judgement.
The party is shocked to find one of the caravan wagons filled with slaves (including the missing dwarven merchant Glanir, his men, and a strange outlander named Charles). Slavery is abhorred in Tellarainne and punishable by death. Also alarming are the amount of rare magical items the party retrieves from their enemies, and the discovery of a cave tunnel the slavers had travelled through.
While searching the slaver’s belongings for magic, Ronan notices a simple iron ring somehow on a finger of his right hand. He has never seen it before and it radiates abjuration. Days later, he will remember Nell shaking his hand and assumes that’s how the ring got there.
Baelas recovers an ancient Elven Oathbow from the fallen elf, and immediately wraps it in a cloak, concerned for the dangers of such a dark item.
Noticing Nell is missing, they return to Gorra only to find that there is no such woodsman serving at the outpost.
They drag Rennick and the mountain dwarf back to Brinnigarr to face the Duke’s justice. However, Rennick seems unconcerned. After facing charges, he asks for his travel documents. They are retrieved from Iarien and the High Priestess (who were quickly trying to decipher them) and Rennick produces a heraldry seal that causes Duke Lornodel to immediately order everyone out of the chamber.
From outside, Ronan and Iarien can hear part of the Duke’s argument with Rennick. Apparently Rennick is part of an organization called The Crimson Talon which gives him free reign within the Kingdom. What’s worse is that he demands the return of his “product” (that quick witted Seneschal Tinithael has already set free). To everyone’s dismay (and the Duke’s barely contained rage) Rennick and the mountain dwarf are given horses, and ride off to the east.
The castle and town are confused and angry. In fact, Falel is asked to speak to Glanir and his furious men (that Tinithael had hidden). During the conversation, Iarien reveals that Rennick’s documents made mention of a dwarven outpost he was travelling to. The thought of an uncovered Lost Stronghold being used by these slavers further enrages the dwarves, and Falel leaves in the night with them to hunt Rennick down. Baelas decides he must return the oathbow to the elves of his home in Yarneya Nadath, whose wisdom will know how to better deal with the