Her comrades laid low by the mindless menace of the ancient tomb, Alodia Vilad once again found herself alone. After taking some well-deserved rest, she realised that she had broken her promise to the halfing Belia to investigate the disturbing slaughter of the farmer’s cattle.
After visiting Belia, and renewing her promise to investigate the mysterious attacks, Alodia searched the scene of the crime. There she discovered that the wounds dealt to the animals appeared to be made by a manufactured weapon, and her skill as a woodsman allows her to locate vaguely humanoid tracks leading into the field.
The attacks had occurred at night, so Alodia decided she would stakeout the field, and watch for the return of the assailant.
Nearing midnight, Alodia grew weary from hours of hiding in the branches of a nearby tree, when she heard the sounds of a very one-sided conversation approaching. Keeping still, she watched as a young man in simple clothes walked beneath the tree in which she was ensconced. The young man hold aloft a fine longsword, and it seemed to Alodia that the sword was the silent partner in the conversation.
Dropping deftly to the ground, Alodia made herself known to the odd young man, who introduced himself as the son of another of the handful of farmers that make up the bulk of Ironthorpe’s population.
Question the boy about his motives revealed that the sword he held had spoken to him, and told him that slaying Belia’s beasts would complete a ritual that would release the dark god Zomasticar from bondage. The sword promised the boy glory and power for performing the dark deed.
Alodia tried to persuade the boy that the only result of his actions would be the ruination of poor Belia. After some dangerous back and forth, she managed to convince the lad to drop the sword, and return home to bed.
The mystery solved, Alodia visited Belia with the news, much to the halfling’s delight and confusion. The young swordsman Alodia had met was indeed the son of Belia’s neighbour, a troubled young lad.
Although Alodia lived up to her end of the bargain, Belia couldn’t live up to hers. Confessing her ignorance of the Goblin Mob, the farmer offered a small amount of gold, and the name of her cousin as recompense. The cousin, she said, was a lawman in far off Falcon’s Hollow; if anybody knew of the Goblin Mob, it would be him.
Retrieving the sword, and bringing it to Ragastus the next morning for inspection, Alodia learner that the sword was entirely mundane, and that the so called dark lord was an invention of the troubled lad’s mind.
Resolving to continue her investigation of the Goblin Mob, Alodia decided to depart Ironthorpe, and visit the lawman of Falcon’s Hollow. Her experience in the ancient tomb had taught her the folly of going it alone, and so she asked Arlent Bene, the innkeeper, to put out a call for would-be adventurers, willing to accompany Alodia on her journeys.
By dawn of the next day, Alodia had secured a travelling companion in Geoffrey Yournes, a roguish young fellow out for adventure, and intent on investigating a haunted ruin by the name of Weson Keep.
The coach packed and ready to depart, it looked like the pair would be facing the dangers of the wilds by themselves, until the appearance of Silvain the young acolyte of the church of Erastil. Declaring her desire to see the wider world, and dragging Ragastus behind her, Sylvain pledged herself to Alodia.
The party of four assembled, the coached pulled away from the Beggar’s Cellar. As the familiar inn receded into the distance, perhaps for the last time, the four newly-minted adventurers thought ahead to the struggles to come. A long carriage journey to the remote town of Falcon’s Hollow would have them craving excitement by the time they arrived.