Finding themselves abruptly returned home, the group quickly split into Lonepine and Haven contingents. Spazzlethrop and Edward hurried back to report what had transpired to the Elders…while Bridgette, Caldus, and Kendra returned to Lonepine to check on their families.
The Elders of Haven praised Edward and Spazzlethrop for successfully beseeching Ernhardur to warm the valley. They were surprised that Agamemnon had not returned and even more surprised to learn of what transpired in the sanctum. Having served Ernhardur before retiring to Haven, the Elders were aware that the Dragon was very interested in a “falling star” and some sort of ritual…but they didn’t know more than that.
The Elders offered to throw a feast for the returning heroes…but then noted that they couldn’t since all of the crops had been ruined. This lead naturally into the Elders telling Edward and Spazzlethrop that they needed them to travel to the south to find the two caravans that had been sent to procure food.
Oddly – Edward and Spazzlethrop learned that the Elders thought they had been gone for two weeks when they had only been gone for a little over a week. They weren’t quite certain what this meant.
Concerned about the “falling star” and other portends of doom, Edward insisted on visiting Ernhardur before leaving on this new quest. Taking a carriage the two quickly reached the Sanctum where they met Sothiel – the elf who Spazzlethrop had healed – and granted passage into the sanctum. Well, after the Fire Elementals guarding the entrance gave Edward a hard time. On his request, Sotheil did promise Spazzlethrop that she would research the gnome’s unusual condition.
Edward and Spazzlethrop found Ernhardur in the “Orb” room…but the dragon was indifferent to their presence at best. When they presented Aurachalcum the dragon identified it calmly. When they pressed Ernhardur to answer their questions the Dragon sent them away with a Command spell to “Leave”. Actually, it took two Command spells because Spazzlethrop passed the first Will save…the only thing that earned a measure of praise from Ernhardur.
Kendra, Caldus, and Bridgette spent the day with their family in Lonepine. They were surprised to discover that their family thought they had been gone for two weeks when they had only been gone for little over a week. This group focused on crafting – starting some leatherworking projects and beginning to explore the properties of the Aurachalcum. The town offered them what food it had – celebrating the heroes’ return – but it was clear that things were desperate.
The group quickly relocated to the Halls of Keldas where Kendra planned to have her daughters assist in forging armaments from the Aurachalcum. However, this plan was derailed by the Dwarves throwing a massive party for the heroes… There wasn’t much in the way of food to offer but the Dwarves had plenty to drink.
Edward and Spazzlethrop found the others in the aftermath of a legendary drinking party. Kendra was out of comission…but Caldus and Bridgette had cautiously avoided the alcohol.
Reunited, the group was charged by the Head of House Keldas to head into the south and locate the missing caravans. It was stressed at the future of the valley was at stake – famine could still destroy what Ernhardur had saved from the bitter cold. Kendra was loathed to leave the metalworking behind but trusted her daughters to the task.
The Elders of Haven provided the group with what rations they could as well as a carriage, two horses, and a riding dog. The riding dog took an immediate liking to Spazzlethrop…especially licking his sores.
The Albarn Expedition: The first expedition was lead by Eibon Albarn and the merchant Roe Hawthorn. For trading goods this expedition took gold, silver, gems, and the most advanced magical items.
The Aengus Expedition: The second expedition lead by Leon Aengus and Chase the Half Elf, better armed than the first expedition it was sent towards the hostile tribelands. For trading goods this expedition took metal tools, woven cloth, medicines, and simple magical items.
Leaving the valley behind them, the group decided to travel to the hostile tribelands in search of the Aengus expedition first.
On their second day of travel to the west they came across a strange thing… A gigantic boulder that, somehow, seemed sentient and could speak in Sylvan. It had a long and meandering style of speech – answering questions but in the most detailed manner possible. Spazzlethrop talked to it to confirm that the expedition had, indeed, come this way…then the group hurried on leaving the boulder behind.
In the evening, the group discovered an abandoned hamlet in a quiet mountain pass and decided to pass the night there. In the wee hours of the morning Edward noticed that they were being surrounded by a band of maundering orcs. He attempted to alert the others…but that only set the orcs on the attack.
A brutal fight – that Spazzlethrop mostly slept through – ensued.
The group emerged victorious though a single orc managed to escape into the night.
The group found a velvet bag that smelled of lavender on one of the orcs. They immediately recognized it as a magical item made by one of the craftspeople of Haven. Taking this as a sign that they were on the right track they continued on the next day.