In the morning, Grieg’s replacement at the watchpost, Bill, arrived. Grieg went out to talk to him, then returned to the hut to tell the adventurers that it was time to go to the town of Hurst. Along the way, Grieg revealed that he was taking the adventurers to Harnan, the chief principal of Hurst, before they would be allowed to stay in town.
The group got their first glimpse at Hurst from the top of a small ridge. The main town was a collection of roughly two-dozen buildings, most of which seemed to be single-family homes. The adventurers could see the beginnings of morning activity.
They soon arrived at Harnan’s home and Grieg knocked on the door. The old man who answered the door was hastily dressed and seemed to have just woken up. He ignored the adventurers’ attempts at pleasant greetings and asked Grieg, “What is all this? Where did you find them?”
“Well, I was watching the river, liken I always do. Then I hear this commotion from across the bridge. Seems 3 Goblins, and big ones too, ambushed these 4 as they were passing through. There was a bit of fighting. Well, it was some pretty good fighting if you ask me, with these four handily prevailing. They looked like they wanted to come in, and I figured, after a display like that, who was I to deny them?”
The chief principal quickly scolded Grieg for allowing strangers into the settlement, then turned to the adventurers, “Well, I expect Grieg let you in because he was bored and wanted to hear about the fight he witnessed, but since you didn’t slit his throat, I imagine you’re not completely rotten.”
Milanthis, hoping to avoid any ill will, spoke up, “Sir, we did not mean to intrude. We were trapped on this side of the mountains during the earthquake and are only looking for shelter and a warm meal before moving on.”
Harnan then invited the adventurers into his home, “Earthquake? You better come in and tell me about these goblins. Your encounter isn’t the first I’ve heard of in recent days.”
The adventurers then explained how they were helping Brutus Jale explore the Marakoon Caves when an earthquake blocked their exit and killed Brutus. Harnan had never heard of Brutus Jale, but seemed to accept the story. Harnan then stepped away for a moment to retrieve his glasses and a warm drink.
When he returned, he was startled to see a dragonborn standing in his home. Apparently he had never encountered a dragonborn before.
“Two of our hunters were out, not 2 days ago, when they saw a most terrible exchange of the arcane. There was a whooshing noise, and a man, about my age, or so they say, popped into sight. He took one look at them cowering, and they said he made a face of remorse or concern. Their tender moment didn’t last long, as two Goblins did the same trick and just appeared. Apparently they had been chasing the remorseful man.”
“He ran, quite fast, or so they say, throwing fire from his fingers at the goblins, who were tossing all manner of foulness back at him. There were a few more pops and the lot of them disappeared. Just as the hunters were getting their wits back, the man blinks back into existance, tells them ‘get back to your town. I’ll try to divert them if I can, but you must be ready for the worst in 3 days.’ Then he blinks away again, probably to fight the goblins. Needless to say, after such a display, those two came running back to Hurst, not even pausing to breathe.”
The village’s leaders were reluctant to warn the villagers for fear of a panic, but the two hunters refused to leave the town to scout and get any more information. The heroes volunteered to help and Harnan set off to find the hunters while the adventurers eat breakfast.
Almost an hour later, Harnan returned with two humans, a young woman with red-hair and plain brown clothes, and a man, only a few years older, wearing a green shirt and black pants. They seemed very apprehensive about entering the room, clearly uneasy about the prospect of related or reliving what they saw a few days ago. The hunters were reluctant to agree to help, but were eventually reassured by Harnan and the adventurers.
And at that point, my gaming group transitioned to start playing my Malune campaign.