Upon further interrogation, the bandit leader revealed that his name was Tarwin, and his brother’s name was Max. He explained that he had been hired to kill the Shallyans from the caravan and disguise it as a goblin attack, but refused to divulge anything further. The heroes, showing mercy, allowed Tarwin to live and he begrudgingly expressed gratitude.
With a little more information about the bandit attack, the adventuring party investigated the situation. They explored the area around the battle site and found the bandits’ encampment along with the corpses of two goblins, seemingly lending credence to Tarwin’s explanation. En route to the encampment, Gorian spotted a suspicious object on the path. Salix examined it carefully, revealing it to be a tripwire set to trigger a filth-smeared caltrop trap. Thanks to their quick thinking, the adventurers avoided a gruesome fate. Further exploration of the bandit camp uncovered a trail leading to Hugeldal and markings suggesting a horse and rider had recently taken that path.
As they emerged from the woods, the adventurers spotted the palisade surrounding Hugeldal. After discussing the situation with two rather unpleasant and sickly guards, they entered the town. Since it was getting late, they decided to stay at the local inn, known as the Bucket of Blood. The proprietor offered them his best room, but something seemed off. As the party rested, they set a watch at the door. Salix left the room to assess the situation, and sighted three hooded men sneaking around the inn. She followed them silently, taking care to remain invisible. They attempted to enter the room, but they noticed Ryxx and Gorion standing ready and tried to make a retreat. With their path blocked by Salix, they had no choice but to run out the side door. The party gave chase, but by the time they got outside the three assassins had ridden off on the horses tied up at the front of the inn.
All was not lost, however. After examining the area where the assassins had fled from, the party found a dagger coated in a mysterious substance along with a letter connecting a prominent doctor in town with the attempt on the life of the heroes. They reasoned that the doctor (affiliated with the Order of Physick) might have something to do with driving the Shallyans out of town as well. They went on their way to the former Shallyan hospice where the doctor had set up his clinic, but they were stopped by a mysterious grizzled stranger.
The evidence he held might be the key to the mystery of Hugeldal (to be continued…).