Oathday, 3 Pharast 4711
Sandru’s caravan had set out from Magnimar at the crack of dawn two days earlier. Hearing news of fiercer goblin attacks near Sandpoint, Sandru decided to hire on additional guards both in Magnimar and along the road. Though Sandru prepared for the worst, the journey turned out to be calm and uneventful. Still, upon arrival in Sandpoint, the effects of the goblin attacks had been taking a toll, depending on who you asked. Less caravans, individuals, and groups had been traveling to Sandpoint as of late. As a result, business has lulled and the town was less occupied then normal. Upon the caravan’s arrival, Sandru dismissed the workers, unsure of when the next job would be. Sandru asked his workers to join him later at the Rusty Dragon as he needed to take care of business until then.
Zack decided to visit the Temple of Desna, Iain decided to see the town guard, and Tayllon went to see the town’s foremost goblin expert. In all, they learned that the last reported goblin attack was about five days prior. The injuries were significant enough to warrant Father Zantus’ healing, and to match other reported attacks in the last weeks, was done by goblins armed with fireworks. Given the previous regularity of the attacks, it was puzzling that Sandru’s caravan, a prime target, was left alone along the journey. The three mused on this as they winded down and kicked back at the Rusty Dragon.
Excited to see the first non-regular faces in a week, Mira brought them all drinks and asked about the journey. After making small talk, Mira and the other staff began moving tables about setting up a stage. Ameiko was set to play tonight, which was a rarity, but given the stagnation, not quite a surprise. As luck would have it, since not many performers would be traveling up from Magnimar to perform at the theater, it was likely to be a busy night for the Rusty Dragon, even if it was to be a mostly local audience. Iain decided to see if he could help get more of a crowd and wandered about Sandpoint.
Later that evening, the Rusty Dragon was fairly full. Sandru’s caravan and workers had taken up a corner nearest to the stage while the locals filled many of the remaining seats. While the patrons were eating their dinner meals, Ameiko sat on stage tuning her Shamisen, then following up with rather soothing ambient music. As the meal was winding down, Ameiko stood the greet the audience and was met with a smattering of applause. She thanked everyone for coming out and started her set with several folk songs. She paid tribute to each of the local peoples of the Lost Coast, and ended her set with a song sung in her native Tien language.
Before her last song of the night, Iain spotted Sheriff Hemlock entering the Dragon. Iain tried to motion him over, but with the volume of the audience, Hemlock didn’t notice Iain, and instead nailed something new to the “Help Wanted” board before staying to listen to Ameiko’s last song. After the final song of the night, Hemlock left. Tayllon quickly excused himself from the group while Iain and Zack went to see what Hemlock had posted on the Help board. Zack and Iain learned that the goblin bounty had been reinstated and while they were discussing taking it up, Mira interjected, also interested in the bounty, finding herself bored and missing the open road. They agreed to meet and set out the following morning. While musing about any others who may be interested in helping, they ran into Tayllon, who also knew of the reinstated bounty and was also interested They retired for the night, readying themselves for the journey the following morning.
Fireday, 4 Pharast 4711
Most of the goblin attacks occurred along the Lost Coast road outside the Brinestump marsh. Knowing that, the town guard assumed the perpetrators were the Licktoad Tribe, the goblins native to the Brinestump Marsh. The bounty had been set at 10gp per relatively fresh goblin ear, as well as a 300gp bounty for the head of the Licktoad leader, Chief Gutwad. Knowing where to head was one thing, unfortunately, the four had little to no idea how to wander the swamp. It was common knowledge that Sandpoint’s fishermen fish along the tributaries of the Brinestump so they asked them for advice.
As it turns out, there were two fishing trails off the Lost Coast road. However, since the original road had, over the years, become plagued with goblins, the fishermen now use a closer trail. The party also learned that the trail eventually would lead to the Walthus Proudstump’s shack. Walthus was a hermit known to be the self appointed warden of the swamp and it was suggested that if anyone knew how to best navigate the Brinestump, it would be Walthus. The group set out for the Brinestump soon afterward.
Being a local fishing hole, it didn’t take very long to get there from Sandpoint. The fishing trail was easy enough to find, and had a clear path to take. The swamp proved to be ominous and foreboding, but the group took caution in their stride. After crossing several of the wider tributaries of Sog’s Bay by way of rarely traveled bridges, Iain spotted an ominous shadow in the distance. He alerted the group but by the time they looked in the general direction, the shadow was gone. The group took further caution as they trundled onward eventually making it to Walthus’ “shack.”
As it turned out, Walthus’ shack was actually a stone two story cottage standing out oddly amidst the wilderness, save for the swamp’s overgrowth all over the shack. Politely, they knocked on the door and were greeted by a halfling. After some short introductions, the group was let inside where Walthus seated them at his dining room table. Unfortunately, Walthus knew little about the goblins other than that they lived somewhere to the southeast. While speaking with the party, Tayllon noticed an odd, unnatural rippling effect on the halflings hand and attempted to call the halfling out on it. Unfortunately, nobody else noticed and the halfling was unfazed by Tayllon’s aggressive attempts to offer aid. The halfling did mention that he had been previously injured chasing a rather large snake off his property and was in need of strong magical healing of which, he stated the group most likely lacked.
Sensing the need to question the halfling more, or at the least find an opportunity to explore the rest of the shack, Mira offered to heal Walthus’ physical injuries, but at the last minute used her divine powers to blink the halfling seconds into the future. With a short window of opportunity, the party rushed to each of the open doors as well as upstairs. Soon afterward, the party was assaulted by a hideous faceless abomination that tore a gaping wound into Zack. The creature was defeated before it could incapacitate any of the party members and before it could flee into the swamp. Shortly after defeating the creature, the group found the real Walthus, who had been hiding from the creature having attempted to fight it off shortly before the group arrived.
In gratitude, Walthus offered his magical cloak to the party, as well as his home as a safe house while they explored the swamp. The group took the halfling up on the offer and learned as much as they could from the swamp warden. Indeed the halflings did live somewhere to the southeast, likely not far off the older fishing trail, which corroborated with what the fishermen had told the group. Outside that, there wasn’t much else Walthus could tell them. Worn out by the ardors of combat, the group decided to take rest before trekking out into the swamp once more.