- The party reaches Winterhaven, and is guided by the guards at the gate to Wrafton’s Inn. Here, they meet Salvana Wrafton, who greets them warmly.
- When the party offers her a shield taken from one of the Kobold Dragonshields slain on the road as a trophy, she visibly brightens and tells the group of the stories she’s heard from travelers about increasingly frequent and deadly kobold attacks on the road. She suggests that the lord of the town, Ernest Padraig, has been looking for capable fighters to deal with the kobold threat.
- After having been shown to their rooms, the party reconvenes in the common room shortly after, and begins to ask around about Douven Staul, and learns from Salvana that he did indeed stay at the inn, but failed to return several days ago, leaving his gear and belongings in the room. She is worried for him. She tells the party that she had seen Douven speaking on numerous occasions with the old farmer, Eilian, and with a gnome whom she hadn’t seen before. The group resolves to wait for Eilian to arrive at the inn – he takes his meals there every night, she tells them, since his wife died years ago.
- Eilian arrives, as expected, and chats with the party over dinner. He hasn’t seen Douven in some time either, and is worried too. It is clear, however, that the old man is easily confused. After some prodding, the party manages to get him to draw a comprehensible facsimile of the map he drew for Douven.
- Ellyjole spots an elf drinking alone in the taven, and tries to initiate conversation, but is rebuffed rudely.
- The following morning, the party approaches Ernest Padraig’s manor, bringing a kobold’s dragonshield with them as proof of their exploits. Padraig, while visibly cautious about the party’s motives, admits he needs their help, and offers them a hundred gold to find and clear the kobold’s lair. He is able to provide some indication of its location as well on a hand-drawn map.
- Armed with this information, the party sets out southward into the western wood of the Gardbury Downs. At a narrow defile between two rocky escarpments, they come under attack from what appears to be a kobold guard outpost in the woods.
- Having dispatched the combatants, they continue southwest to the location indicated by Eilian. It isn’t long before they reach a clearing scarred by a large dig site, apparently still very much active, if the dust is any indication.
- Unable to approach unseen across the open ground, they walk openly toward the site, and are greeted by a gnome who introduces himself as Agrid, the site foreman.
- When asked about Douven, Agrid answers enthusiastically – “this is Douven’s site,” he tells the party, “I’ll take you to him.”
- It turns out to be a trap, however, and when the party reaches the base of the pit, the crew turns on them and attacks.
- A spectral figure becomes apparent on the rocks overlooking the site, apparently directing the effort.
- After a difficult fight, the party manages to prevail, and finds Douven bound and gagged under a canvas tarp. They find an obsidian mirror as well, carefully crated for shipment.
- Douven is badly hurt, but stable, and they begin the slow trek to bring him back to the inn.
A Darkening in the North
Lost and Found