Today was full of surprises. We ran a couple of errands in a rather shady side of town, and made the acquaintance of Amarien via Eledron. She could be a helpful source of… hard to find items in Ilmor. Our task for Prince Celador began by joining up with his son, the Baron Voranael, and his grain collecting contingent of soldiers and clerical workers. He seems to have his head on straight, which is refreshing. He wears a badge of triumph which indicates his presence during the past victory over the hobgoblins fifty years ago. He seems eager and determined to beat the hoard back again, and I appreciate his practicality and apparent expertise in this subject. We made an happily uneventful journey north to Lasiris to begin collecting grain “donations” from the farmers. It was a surprising hard sell, as the people had already given the requisite amounts. We were able to convince some farmers that this grain was essential for their safety from the hobgoblin menace.
Our trip took an unexpected turn when we discovered a farm covered in ice. It is not winter, and no other farms were in this state. The farmer reported hearing strange noises in the night and waking up to a collapsed barn with missing livestock and blood everywhere. Theories floated included an avalanche, wizard, and dragons. It seems possible that a juvenile white dragon from the hinterlands veered into some lower terrain for a barnyard snack. Regardless, Voranael decided to leave half the contingent with the farmer to assist with repairs.
Later that night at camp we learned some interesting bits of gossip about our old friend Oron. Captain Arcaht intimated to us that Oron isn’t just a random henchman of Prince Malgonar, but also his bastard (and there are apparently many). This actually explains a lot of Oron’s prickly demeanor and determined efforts to prove himself… I actually feel some sympathy for him although he could stand to make a few personality upgrades.
The next day we moved to the town of Ossilien for grain collections. To our dismay, we found the town in the midst of a gruesome hobgoblin attack. Everything was getting put to the torch, people were screaming and running. Three things were immediately apparent: the grain storage building was on fire, there was a pitched battle at the town hall, and the dam (which preserves the irrigation system for Ilmor’s farmlands) above the town was getting dismantled. Before we could act, Voranael and his small group of soldiers rushed to join the battle. Nephera and I decided to save the dam. If it fell, it wouldn’t matter how much grain we collected… we struck down the hobgoblins at the dam with our fury and quickly returned to the town to try to reunite with Voranael.
A difficult battle ensued, with casualties on both sides. It is unfortunate we left so many soldiers at the icy farm, as their strength would have been helpful. As it was, we managed to fight off the hobgoblins but Voranael was severely injured. Captain Arcaht was able to stabilize the baron and Nephera was able to heal him to the point that he could stand. At this point we thought we were in the clear, but a movement in the corner of my eye jolted me back into action – I shoved Voranael back into the ground as an arrow shot past us – but unfortunately it found its mark in Captain Arcaht instead. It was a poisoned arrow and his death was painful but thankfully short. The arrow also had a blue ribbon attached, the signature of D. We quickly identified a figure standing on the ridge above us as the shooter, and Voranael’s soldiers took off after him. Their progress was severely impaired by a series of traps… it was a terrible day.
We returned to Ilmor and met with Prince Celador. He is now even more determined to march on Carok to beat back the hobgoblin plague, but we fear we need more support from the other princes. We also visited Prince Malgonar to notify him that Oron’s prey is still loose, with no sign of Oron. He seemed unconcerned, and this lessens him in my eyes… we also visited the grey Prince. Nephera made a tentative deal with him: we recover a missing box of some value to him, and he sends his elite guard to find out what happened to Prince Malgonar’s daughter at the spire. Two birds with one stone? There seems to be some sort of history between the grey prince and Malgonar’s daughter so I am not certain this plan will go smoothly. I am also concerned that the grey prince’s request may put us at odds with some of our new friends, specifically Eldrohn… but it is something we may need to do anyways.