After attending to their morning dwarfly routines, the newly formed group of adventurers set out to speak with Alruse Finperis to get some more information on the Manor. Needless to say when they arrived, they found the apothecary very fretful as he was anxiously cleaning up his shop after the previous evenings ruckus. The apothecary told them Alruse was in the back and as they walked toward the curtain he gave Dervish a long, knowing glare, his enlarged head a dead giveaway that he had drank one of the apothecary’s specialty potions. Alruse was going over some ledgers and greeted the dwarves dismissively.
However, when Kildrak asked about the manor he seemed to take more of an interest.
“The manor, eh? what do you wish to know?”, asked Alruse slyly.
Kildrak explained that they were simply trying to find the way there and that they had heard the rumors of Gimaelior’s death and were interested in checking the place out. Alruse told them that he had an interest as well and had just recently sent a party of thieves to retrieve a map from an old man outside of town who was the last living person to have visited the grounds and actually set foot inside. He also explained how they had not returned and was worried they met their demise or had double crossed him. Kildrak’s heart raced a little, but he decided to say nothing of the map he had found on his way into town, instead holding his cards until he could gather more of a sense of the money-lender. Alruse explained to them how if they were willing to retrieve an artifact for him rumored to be located in the mansion, that he would handsomely reward them to the tune of fifty thousand gold, to be divided amongst them however they saw fit. At the mention of gold, the rest of the parties ears perked up (they had mostly been spaceing out).
“The only problem”, Alruse said, “is that I don’t know what the artifact is. However, I will give you this whisper box” he spoke, pulling a small wooden box from his drawer," and when I find of it’s make, the box will glow orange and a description of the artifact will appear inside".
He then handed the whisper box to Kildrak. He added that there were most likely all sorts of other items of worth in the manor that would make the expedition worth their while. Kildrak, speaking for the party, agreed to the terms and they set out to meet their guide at the thieves guild, a Dragon-born named Sal-Mur, who worked for Alruse.
After meeting with Sal-Mur, who Kildrak liked because he was a Dragonborn, the party set out on their way to the manor. They were filling full of wonderment as they began their quest, and each pondered what fate lay in store for them. After a few hours of traveling north-east out of Hill’s Pass, they came across some tracks and heard some faint grunting sounds in the distance. Tusk recognized the tracks as Ogre tracks, and the party proceeded cautiously. It wasn’t long before they were able to spy the Ogres in the distance, gathering amidst a clearing full of boulders and a few caves.
“An ogre den”, exclaimed Sal-Mur, “I don’t like the looks of this, we should go around them.”.
Just then however, the party spied a Dwarf tied to a rock near one of the Ogres, and they quickly decided that they couldn’t leave a fellow dwarf to become lunch for these giants, so they snuck up to the big ugly lugs, and attacked! A ferocious battle ensued, but before long the Dwarves proved their resilience and slew the ogres to the last one. After freeing the Dwarf, whose name was Targrim Tender-strike, or Targrim the Turgid, a Rune-Priest of Moradin, they raided the bodies, but however little loot was recovered. The group then continued on their way to the manor. After travelling the rest of the day the party decided to make camp for the night and finish their journey in the morning. They slept well with no interruptions and awoke feeling rested and refreshed. After first light, the group heard the sound of horses coming closer, and drew their weapons in preparation for a fight. They were soon set upon by a group of knights clad in armor and yellow robes. Sal-Mur recognized them as the knights of Velen and told the Dwarves to be at ease.
“Greetings shortlings”, the knights chuckled, hailing the dwarves. “How fare thee this morn in our fair duchy of Velen?”
The dwarves, sensing their sarcasm hesitated to answer.
“What do you want with us?” grumbled Kildrak. “We are simply travelling through.”
The knights then explained that they were tracking ogres as there was a recent influx of the ugly bastards spilling over from the border of Murandinn, the Ogre Kingdom.
“Actually” spat the dwarves, “we just slayed a group of them yesterday, we hate ogres”.
The knights chuckled and seemed surprised but pleased, and after commending the dwarves for their support, rode off in the direction of the slain ogres. After the knights left, the dwarves cooked some breakfast and set off for the manor. After travelling for a several hours, Targrim started to notice a faint shadow on the ground the kept briefly passing in front of them. In a state of alertness, the party wasn’t surprised when they were attacked from above, though they were shocked to see their assailant, a red dragon! Though the dragon was small, he was ferocious, and a gruesome battle ensued.
After much fire and gore, the dwarves managed to subdue the beast, and Kildrak, speaking in draconic, asked him where his lair was. The dragon answered despondently that he had no lair, which was very strange, and with a burst of smoke from his throat, collapsed into the grass. The dwarves, though shaken up by being attacked by a dragon, which many of them had never even seen, continued in silence toward the manor.