The Knights of Tethyr concluded their discussions with Constable Felosial Starsong in the jailhouse of Oakhurst. Felosial led them over to the granary to speak with the town’s mayor, Thadius Moonsong. But as they were crossing town, an old human woman came out of the Oakhurst General Store and approached Laska. She said to her, ‘You shouldn’t be here, my dear. Oakhurst is cursed. You might disappear like the others.’
Felosial looked sternly at the old woman, ’That’s enough, Louisa. No more of that talk. On your way.’ Sir Bruce tried to get the woman to speak more of what she had said, but Louisa looked fearfully at Felosial and slowly moved away. Felosial looked around as if trying to spot some hidden foe and whispered, ‘All will be explained Sir Bruce. Please let us speak with the Mayor.’
The group entered a large building that appeared to be a granary. Inside the saw a farmer tossing some hay bales about. ‘Morning Felosial,’ said the farmer. ‘Thadius is in his chambers.’ The half elf woman nodded and led the group through a door. A male half elf sitting at a desk by a fireplace and writing with a quill and parchment, stopped what he was doing and set down his quill. He stood up and raised his hand in greeting. He was a tall sharp eyed male half elf with long black hair who was very well dressed and extremely polite.
Mayor Thadius Moonsong introduced himself and got to know each of the Knights of Tethyr. Apparently their reputation had preceded them because the mayor expressed his thanks with all of the good deeds they had done for The Village of Tommen. Trade had opened up again along the Old King’s Road and that was very helpful to this small community.
Felosial mentioned to Thadius that the party had been ambushed by Drow outside of town. Both community leaders seemed quite worried at the mentioning of dark elves and seemed quite respectful of their powerful and evil reputations. They pressed each party member for details about the drow assassins. They each voiced concerns that and hoped that no drow would find their way to Oakhurst.
With their fears of dark elves at least partially allayed, Mayor Thadius Moonsong turned to the pressing matters of the town’s security. He explained that there was a powerful hobgoblin war clan that dwelled in the forests of The Wealdath. The Clan was led by Graldrog The Mighty, a cunning hobgoblin war chief. After some skirmishes between some of Constable Felosial Starsong’s guards and the hobgoblins about a year ago, Mayor Thadius Moonsong was able to negotiate a lasting truce with Graldrog The Mighty. Both sides were honoring the agreement and the signed treaty was working well. However, about two weeks ago Sir Mallory Marsdale arrived with his host of woodcutters. They had their sites set on the finest trees in the forest that would work well as masts for his majesty King Haedrak’s ships to fight against the pirate scourge. The best trees happened to be in the area claimed by Graldrog The Mighty. Hobgoblin emissaries warned both Sir Mallory Marsdale and Mayor Thadius Moonsong that such activities were in violation of the treaty. Thadius tried to convince Sir Mallory of his folly. But he does not seem to listen. Both Thadius and Felosial are very concerned and hope that as holy knights, Sir Bruce and Octavius can talk some sense into Sir Mallory Marsdale and convince him to keep his axemen out of the hobgoblin lands. Sir Bruce and Octavius pledged to seek out Sir Mallory and attempt to make him see reason and heed the warnings of Graldrog The Mighty. Sir Bruce secured a copy of the signed treaty from Mayor Thadius Moonsong.
Sir Bruce also brought up the fact that it seemed to him that there was certain demographic missing in the town of Oakhurst. Mayor Thadius Moonsong sighed and admitted that as many as 9 young women have been reported as missing in town. Six young human women named Elsbeth, Frigga, Jessa, Sofie, Triss, and Fiona have been reported as missing by their families. And 3 half elven young women named Kirien, Laira, and Cythien have also disappeared. Most families with young women still in town have kept them safely hidden away in their home, not daring to let them out for fear of losing them. After some questions and answers, Octavius and Sir Bruce found two common threads running amongst all 9 of the missing. The first was that all 9 young women were exceptionally beautiful. The second was that they had an encounter with a human man playing a flute. The young women were somehow glamoured by the music and were led off into the forest. Felosial suspects that some sort of enchantment magic was employed. The Knights of Tethyr vowed to look into the mystery of the missing women and lend what aid they could.
Lastly the party’s original quest given to them by Lady Lymera was discussed. The Gulthias Tree was known to both Mayor Thadius Moonsong and Constable Felosial Starsong. Both knew of the legends of the cursed tree and that it was supposedly growing somewhere in The Great Wealdath Forest. But no further insights were availed.
The party took their leave and began interviewing the families of the lost women. They found that the younger brother of the woman Sofie had witnessed a man he called The Piper playing his flute while his sister danced around the piper. The Piper marched off into the forest and his sister Sofie followed him. The Piper was described as a tall human man in his 20s or 30s with slicked back black hair. He wore a dark blue overcoat with a matching tri-cornered hat. The style of the coat and hat are unusual for Tethyr. Some reports from those that have seen him included the piper having glowing red eyes. Other witnesses and a written diary of young Sofie seemed to confirm these descriptions and circumstances but gave no further clue as to their location or motives.
The Knights of Tethyr stopped in the Oakhurst General Store and met Jarius Dronk. Jarius was a tall man with slicked back black hair and a well trimmed goatee. He was very well dressed in the style of the Tethyrian nobility. Conversations with Jarius revealed that he moved to Oakhurst a few years ago from Castle Tethyr. He said that he has connections there which bring lots of excellent provisions to his store. Most of his goods have moved through town from the roads to the west. But now that the old king’s road to the south is opened up again, he looks forward to Tommen salt and other goods coming through town. Sir Bruce made a good impression on Jarius. Jarius offered him a discount on his goods in the store. Jarius was concerned by the mounting tensions between the hobgoblins and Sir Mallory Marsdale. He hopes that Sir Mallory and his knights deal with the hobgoblins and continue their logging operations which do a lot of business with him purchasing supplies for their logging camps. The Oakhurst General Store is well stocked with rope, farming tools, seeds, and almost any nonmagical item or equipment. Sir Bruce purchased two vials of antitoxin from Jarius Dronk in Oakhurst for 40 GP total. The Master Treasure List was updated.
A large shrine dedicated to Silvanus sits at the edge of the town of Oakhurst. Large braziers of burning coals light the site at night and ward off the chill air. The Knights Of Tethyr had heard that female gnome cleric by the name of Pip Alulin tended the shrine. The party had heard rumors of Pip cultivating magic apples that that heal the sick and cure the blind and the deaf. In fact the town of Oakhurst has an annual celebration called The Festival of the Apple where Pip gifts an magic apple to someone in town in great need. She reportedly knew the forests of The Wealdath better than most and the party wanted to talk with her. However, the first few visits to the shrine were not fruitful in finding her. Eventually the party met her in the evening at her shrine.
The Knights of Tethyr found Pip Alulin to be a short forest gnome who wears earth tones and forest greens. She carried a bow and a short sword and wore the holy symbol of her deity – Silvanus. Her long dirty blond hair often fell in front of her face slightly obscuring her piercing green eyes which looked far older than her years. Her pointed ears always poked up through her hair. Pip spotted the blight wand that Lady Lymera had crafted for Sir Bruce right away. This led to a discussion of the Gulthias Tree. She had of course heard the legends that the original tree grew deep in the Wealdath. But she confirmed her own sightings of dark fey creatures and undead in the forest perhaps attracted by the Gulthias Tree that were similar to what Sir Bruce had seen near The Village of Tommen. Pip wished the party well in their quest to destroy the Gulthias Tree as it was clearly a blight upon the forests she loved so very much. In order to help them in their quest, Pip agreed to scribe spell scrolls for the party. Any paladin spells from her cleric lists could be scribed for a price.
Since it was getting late, the party decided to return to the Ol’ Boar Inn. They spoke with Garron Cooper, the innkeeper about getting a room. They negotiated a rate of 30 silver coins a day for food, drink, and lodging for all 3 members of the party. Concerned for Laska Jendelle’s safety, the party opted for 1 big room with three beds in it. The party did not want Laska disappearing like some of the other young women in town. Although the idea of using Laska as bait to lure The Piper back into town crossed their minds. But since the most pressing issue seemed to be the problems with hobgoblins, The Knights of Tethyr decided to turn in and travel to Sir Mallory Marsdale’s logging camp in the morning to see if they could talk some sense into him and get him to respect Oakhurst’s treaty with Graldrog The Mighty. Octavius Mort spoke to Laska and Sir Bruce about having some history with Sir Mallory Marsdale. Although he had not met the man he married the daughter of his former employer. This woman was very dear to him.
In the morning the Knights of Tethyr rode out in search of Sir Mallory Marsdale’s logging camp. They found it but to their horror found it had been recently attacked by the hobgoblin war band. Knights, guards, and loggers were strewn about the camp. Most of them cut down by swords, riddled with arrows, impaled by spears, or in a few cases ripped apart by something very large. Tents and supplies were still burning and the bodies were fresh. The attack had not been long ago. It may have even have happened over night. The fresh tracks leading away were obvious to the party, the hobgoblins had stolen several horses and wagons and seemed to have rounded up what they could of value. Octavius rushed forward into the camp and searched each body with a look of panic and despair upon his face. After checking each one, he seemed to calm down and his look of despair turned to one of hardened tenacity. Octavius turned to his two friends and said grimly, ‘The Hobgoblins are on the move. It is likely they have prisoners. We must track them down and make them pay for this.’
Track them they did. The mounted Knights moved quickly along the obvious trail. After a couple of hours they came to a narrow ravine with trees and bushes on all sides. A clever ambush had been planned and the party would have rode strait into it if not for Laska Jendelle and her Dagger of Warning. Erupting out of the bushes came 6 hobgoblins. But before they could attack, Sir Bruce called out to parlay using his considerable diplomatic skills. Graldrog The Mighty made himself seen on a hilltop ahead astride an enormous owlbear. Graldrog and Sir Bruce began shouting back and forth and so began some negotiations. They found the hobgoblins felt the terms of their treaty with Oakhurst had been broken. They had warned Sir Mallory Marsdale and Mayor Thadius Moonsong that the logging was a personal affront to them and their territory yet it did not stop. Graldrog The Mighty was willing to talk but Sir Bruce found he had nothing of any real value to offer them. Clearly they were not going to stand down on the power of the treaty alone. The hobgoblins wanted gold that the party simply did not have, having spent all of their loot on gearing up.
So eventually the parlay broke down and Sir Bruce turned to Negotiations with a Longsword to make them see the error of their ways. Sir Bruce and Octavius spurred their warhorses forward and lowered their lances together making short work of the 6 hobgoblins barring their path forward. But 8 hobgoblin archers rained arrows down upon them from elevated positions at the top of the ravines on both sides of them. Their full plate armor protected them, but the hobgoblins proved to have the advantage of the terrain and seemed to be well trained and disciplined warriors, unlike the goblins Sir Bruce had fought before.