1 Blood 90
Oidche, Oren, Rory, and Una are sitting in The Lord’s Head eating. Una is building towers out of bread, and Oren is knocking them down in irritation, and Rory is attempting to get Oidche to eat more, complaining that he is too skinny and frail. A castle page arrives (Oren and Oiche immediately attempt to hide) to announce that Lord Morgan wishes to speak with them.
Upon arrival in the great hall, the party watches as the Dwarven language tutor to Morgan’s daughter ends the lesson, and a few keen eared members of the party hear Morgan ask the dwarf for an audience with Graf Lothar von Dahl. Lord Morgan explains that there has been some increased Goblin activities near Mapledell, and the party is to investigate and report.
Oren and Rory pore over the map, planning the best way to go, while Una fusses over what books to bring. Oidche tries to make a case for bringing his cart and horse, but Oren dismisses that, because then they would need to cross the river at Cloverfield, and the town is ‘full of assholes’. The party sets off that day, to the sounds of Oidche wheezing in the back, trying to keep up.
As they are making their way along the river, south of Cloverfield, but still north of Mapledell, the keener eyes members of the party notice wolves stalking on either side of the trail;Oren reflects that they are oddly out of their normal territory. A fight ensues, which is won with the help of Kester, the Reeve of Mapledell. He looks much like Oren, but wears a wolf headed cloak. He and Oren speak about the wolves and how they are very much out of their way. He claims he has much to show Oren, and accompanies the group down the rest of the way to Mapledell.
Mapledell is a walled fort, with Goblin heads set atop it on spikes. Kester brings everyone around to see a few special heads, which he claims are no Goblin heads, but Hobgoblin heads. He tells Oren that a scouting party found Hobgoblins building a watchtower on the Odin’s Shield side of Goblin Pass. They were killed and the tower was destroyed, but it was difficult, and when everything was done, they discovered that the Hobgoblins were organized, with livery, and armor. He asks for help interceding with the Earl, saying that there needs to be a fort further down the pass; a proper fort, to protect them. He invites everyone to his home for dinner, and to stay the night. Oidche asks about tanners, and Kester says that for a hide, he will tan the wolf hides.
The livery found on the Hobgoblins
Kester’s home is an expansive two story home (with two bedrooms!), where everyone in the village comes to pass the time and drink ale. There is a mighty meal, and afterwards the hunters of the village, Oren, Rory and Una look at maps and discuss where another one such tower might be placed (across Goblin’s Pass from the other one). Una posits that there will be more Goblins there, since they are an organized army, the original tower inhabitants will have been missed. Kester also relates that they have seen Wargs, and been told of Warg sightings even further north, and worries that if there is another Goblin war, that they will be wiped out again in Mapledell. The party is put up in the empty bedroom once belonging to Kester’s sons.
2 Blood 90
In the morning, there is another gigantic meal, and Una is chastised by Kester’s wife to eat more because there will be much climbing up mountains. Sure enough, the party climbs westwards, right up Smuggler’s Ridge, where they can get a good look at the goings on, yet not be spotted themselves. Sure enough, there is another tower being constructed there, and many more Hobgoblins there than on the previous tower, including Wargriders on patrol. Oren signals to Mapledell using a mirror. The party has a long and lively discussion on what should be done next.
Since the Hobgoblins are attempting to be subtle about the tower business (and doing a fairly good job of it), they are not clearing trees away near the tower, and are instead sending out foraging parties to cut lumber as they need it, and as the tower gets closer to completion, they are going further and further out. It is eventually decided to hit the tower during one of these forays. Una says she can sabotage the tower so that it will fall when significant weight is put on it. They wait, until one of the foraging parties leaves, and then attack the tower.
The plan works quite well; hit the two guards on the tower, and then wait for the Wargriders to come around, and kill the Wargs from beneath them, and then take out the riders. Despite some quite good marksmanship on the Hobgoblin’s part, they eventually succumb with no casualties (but some grievous wounds) on the squadron’s part. While Una goes to work sabotaging the tower, Rory makes it look like there was a serious unsuccessful attempt to bring the tower down, and Oren rolls all the bodies down the hill and secures them in a cave, covering it in leaves. Oiche searches each Hobgoblin, and finds the mentioned livery, as well as Dwarven coins in leather bags stamped with the same heraldic symbol (soldier pay bags). Oren obfuscates all trails, in the hopes of leaving the returning Hobgoblins mystified as to the fate of their comrades. Their heads are severed, and the squad returns triumphantly with them, and the hides of the Wargs, to Mapledell.
In Mapledell, Una writes a report to be brought back to Lord Morgan, including the livery and the stamped pay bag. Once again, Kester agrees to tan the hides, but no one will take them as payment, as Wargs are seen as demonically possessed wolves. That night, it is decided to continue to the remains of Ravencrest Castle to the south, and see what we can see. Everyone agrees that the heraldry indicates someone has taken over the place, and is now directing a small Hobgoblin force.
3 Blood 90
Since it is quite a distance to Ravencrest, the squad starts early in the morning. They go on the east side, walking along the Odin’s Shield side. They get to the ruins of the first tower immediately, and Oren notes that no one has visited the site since it was destroyed. They can also see the other tower being built, and as tempted as they are to watch it fall, they realize that they have a long way still to hike. Just as they are about to leave, they hear the sounds of something very large stamping through the brush. Rory pushes Una into a tree, and everyone else hides, and stays quite silent as they watch a Hill Giant with a very itchy bottom stomp by, scratching himself. They resume their hike with haste, once again helping the frail Oiche (and once making sure Una does not fall down a series of waterfalls) over the harder parts. As they travel, they can see a series of watch towers already built on the Goblin Mountain side, indicating the two towers already found are the latest in a slow and subtle encroachment. Una and Rory immediately recognize that the towers are very well placed to be signal towers, leading to Ravencrest itself.
As dusk falls, the squad comes to a ridge above Ravencrest. They can see immediately that it is occupied. Smoke from all the forges pump out of the chimneys. Active and working siege engines are on the towers. As it slowly grows dark, the squad can confirm that there is at least not an army currently outside the building, but neither could they see anyone going in and out. It is posited that perhaps the Goblins are using the tunnels that they once used to sack the castle to go back and forth in secret. As night falls, the squad find a place to camp, huddling together in the cold without a fire.