- Telia, Thornand Barakasare hanging out in Harken Village’s only tavern, when Ciro walks in, looking somewhat bedraggled from a three-day journey by foot, with luggage in tow.
- Barakas is playing what he believes to be an entrancing Mickey Hart-style drum solo, but he’s about the only one in the room who believes this. The other tavern patrons though, however annoyed they may be, keep these sentiments to themselves for fear of angering his two feral-looking companions.
- Ciro, seeing that this group doesn’t fit the mold of the usual farmers and tradesmen around these parts, and might therefore make more useful companions than his other options, makes a beeline for their table and starts trying to chat with Barakas, who remains more interested in his bongos.
- Thorn, having been raised by the Woodsinger Elves, who frequently come into conflict with the goblins of Harken Forest, is even less inclined to cut this newcomer any slack.
- The goblin doesn’t leave, though, and he’s buying the beer, so they bear his conversation for the free drinks.
- About this time, Barakas’ mother, who doesn’t approve of his association with Thorn and Telia, enters the tavern to tell Barakas that he’s needed for a job in the early morning. They’ve just received a sending from his rich uncle in Fallcrest, Orest Naerumar, that a shipment he was expecting hasn’t arrived. That he would use a sending to contact them at all indicates how important this package must be to him. The carter would have checked in with the Fel family on his way through Harken Village – that he hasn’t done so indicates that he never made it. Barakas is to scout the King’s Road to the south to see whether he can find any evidence of what’s happened to the cart.
- While not happy about having to be awake and about at dawn, he has little choice but to agree, and Telia and Thorn decide to accompany him. When Ciro offers to help as well, they grudgingly accept.
- The next morning, they set out to the south, and after three hours’ walking, find a destroyed cart, its wheels hewn by large axe blows.
- As they investigate the scene, they’re accosted by a band of wood elves who, seeing the goblin with them, mistake them for members of a kidnapping gang that’s been plaguing their tribe recently.
- A bit of diplomacy, and Thorn’s ability to communicate using the hand signs and vernacular of the Woodsingers, ultimately convinces their leader, Salvana, that they’re friendly.
- Her own band came across the broken wagon a short while ago. The blood splashed over its seat indicates that a fight took place, but no bodies or cargo were found. They hadn’t yet followed the tracks they found leading away from the wagon into the woods, and can’t readily do so because they’re tending to a wounded member of their band whom they need to bring back to camp.
- The party follows the tracks, and despite their care, is surprised by a band of hobgoblins accompanied by a pair of goblin snipers firing from the trees.
- The snipers concentrate their fire on the largest of the party, Telia, to devastating effect, wounding her badly.
- After a long, brutal fight, the hobgoblins are ultimately defeated, and the goblins taken prisoner – one badly wounded and unconscious, and one conscious and bound.
- They question the conscious goblin about the cart’s cargo, and he indicates that it’s hidden in a nearby cave, but that when his band opened the box, “shadows came out and everybody started screaming.” He says he didn’t stick around to find out why.
- He’s heard about the kidnappings of the elves as well, but doesn’t know who’s doing it. What he’s heard, though, is that the kidnapped elves are being brought to a secret dock in the Witchlight Fens, and are loaded there onto boats to destinations unknown to him.
- As agreed, in return for his answers, the party releases him with the stipulation that he not attempt to return to his tribe and tell them about the party.
- They take the unconscious goblin with them as an offering to the elves.
- Too badly hurt to continue on to the cave, the party returns to the King’s Road with the unconscious goblin, and is faced there with the choice of whether they should return to Harken Village, or try to follow Salvana’s directions to the Woodsinger camp. They opt for the latter, leaving a note on the wagon in case Barakas’ family sends someone looking for them.
- Thorn, familiar with the elves’ system of describing forest locations, easily follows Salvana’s directions to the camp, leading the party there.
- The elves accept the unconscious goblin, who has survived the journey, as a sincere token of friendship – he will be able to provide valuable intelligence, they hope.
- The party accepts the elves’ offer to stay with them for the night.
What Happens in the Harkenwold...
Preludes and Introductions
In which we meet the players and their world