With gold jingling in their purses, the adventurers—minus Ioda—are drinking this afternoon at the Triboar Arms, a definite upgrade from the Talking Troll. Good ale and good company make for a good time, but some of the tavern’s patrons are complaining about the music. The bard is singing about St. Oswin again, just like every other bard in Triboar.
By now, the party has heard the story a dozen times: how St. Oswin single-handedly killed three enormous boars, how he founded the town of Triboar as a haven for travelers in the North, how we saved all those lives over the years, and so on and so forth.
“I’m fed up with bloody St. Oswin,” mutters someone at the next table, to general agreement.
St. Oswin’s Day is in two weeks. The celebration involves an assembly of the whole town at St. Oswin’s memorial, followed by some dull speeches. But this year there is something different—the election. Every seven years the Lord Protector of Triboar is elected on the anniversary of St. Oswin’s Day.
After that, everyone will seemingly forget about old St.Oswin for another year.
The adventurers drain their tankards as a rather foppish young man enters the tavern. He comes directly to their table and gives a short, stiff bow. “Friends,” he remarks in a cracking, almost pubescent voice, “you have been summoned by the Lord Protector. Please follow me!”
The Lord Protector
The young man is Foman Amblesheath, assistant to the Lord Protector of Triboar. He leads them to the Lord Protector’s tower, a simple two-story building which overlooks the Market Square. It’s an unseasonably warm Midwinter—at least in terms of the North—and many townsfolk are out and about in the square, shopping from street vendors and enjoying the crisp but sunny winter morning.
Foman shows Lantro, Reberkkah, Xenon, and Marxibis into an extravagantly furnished office. He bows again and then leaves. Seated behind the desk is Darathra Shendrel, the democratically-elected Lord Protector of Triboar. She looks weary, with a lined face and graying hair. She nods to Lantro, who had previously been in her employ.
“Ah, thank you for coming,” she says. "I heard about your recent exploits and thought you might be able to help. Please, take a seat.
“There have recently been some strange reports from the farms around town. Livestock turning up dead, women and children missing, and people claiming to see a strange figure wandering the fields at night.”
Reberkkah takes issue at livestock apparently being given precedence over women and children. Darathra is annoyed, but lets it slide. “Ah, forgive me, Reberkkah, I must have misspoke. Please know that we value all of the people of Triboar, and do not consider any of them beneath livestock in worth. That’s a silly thing.”
Reberkkah realizes she never told Darathra her name. Is it possible that the Lord Protector knows who she really is? Well, her parents were supporters of Darathra in the election seven years ago, and they are quite well-known in the Triboar region …
At this point, Darathra pauses and narrows her eyes. “Now, I wouldn’t normally pay attention to such things, but these reports are starting to cause quite a stir—people are becoming nervous and bringing up, erm, old superstitions. It helps no one.” She sits up straight and looks Lantro in the eyes. “Here’s my offer—I’ll give you forty gold pieces each if you can clear up this mystery. After the work you did up North, I think that you’d be a perfect fit for the job, and it leaves The Twelve free to deal with … other matters.”
When asked about “old superstitions,” Darathra reluctantly shares that there is a legend around Triboar about a strange monster called only “the Terror” which is said to haunt the fields about the town. She does not expand on what “other matters” are tying up the Twelve. Marxibis asks Darathra about the upcoming election, and she states that she does not want to talk about it.
The adventurers agree to Darathra’s offer. She informs them that Dorn Stonewood is a crop farmer with land to the east of town. His wife and baby went missing several nights ago, and he has since moved into the Six Windows inn for the time being.
Almost immediately after leaving the Lord Protector’s tower, the party runs into Westra Greatdew, a dairy farmer and one of Dorn’s neighbors. She talks excitedly about her own encounter with the Terror about a week ago. She mentions that all the trouble began when the apothecary Tarmock Felaskur started mettling in “that old graveyard.” Westra informs the adventurers that Tarmock has a ramshackle old shop on the eastern side of town.
The party decides to check out the Stonewood farm before attempting to connect with Dorn at the inn. They walk through town, taking note of the various shops and locations that might be worth checking out later. At the very edge of town, they find Dorn’s tiny cottage, which has been knocked flat and has claw marks on the door and two walls. Unfortunately, the adventurers were unable to surmise what kind of creature may have made these marks, and they were additionally unable to track the beast or Dorn’s family.
They also decided to check out the Greatdew farm and speak with Westra’s husband, who is dubious of her story. He provides information about Dorn, suggesting that he’s been drinking an awful lot. “And now I don’t want to suggest that maybe he killed his wife and daughter? I mean, Dorn’s not that kind of man. But he certainly has been drinking a lot lately.”
Finally, the party encounters Celestine Fleetdew who owns the farm next door with her husband Rowan. She hasn’t seen anything, but has heard Westra’s story more than a few times now and isn’t sure what to believe. She vouches for Dorn’s character, and notes that he’s been out looking for his wife and daughter nearly every day. When asked about her husband, she notes that he’s been spending a lot of time at the Triboar Arms as of late.
The Six Windows Inn
The Six Windows is a decrepit wooding rooming house near the edge of town. It’s run by Tolmara Hysstryn, a middle-aged woman who looks at least twice her age. She is glad to vouch for Dorn. In fact, she speaks so highly of him that Marxibis wonders if perhaps they are having an affair. She keeps this question to herself … for now.
Finally, she summons Dorn, who looks utterly fatigued. He is gaunt and pale, with dark, sunken eyes. His beard and hair have not been attended to in some time.
When Dorn hears that the adventurers have been hired by the Lord Protector to investigate the Terror, he is immediately relieved. He is also glad to tell them everything he knows, which, unfortunately, isn’ that much. About a week ago he was drinking over at the Triboar Arms. When he returned home, his cottage had been knocked flat, and his darling wife Kelsie and their small daughter were missing. He’s been staying at the inn in the meantime, spending most of his days searching for his family. The only reason he is not out searching now is because he just … needs a rest. He’s so tired.
Upsetting the Apple Cart
Mostly satisfied with the results of their interrogation, the party decides to check out the apothecary on the other side of town. The Market Square is still bustling, and lost in the din, they accidentally upset an apple cart. Unfortunately, this particular apple cart is operated by Shem, a hulking brute of a half-orc wearing chain shirt under his merchant’s clothes. Marxibis and Reberkkah talk him down, and get him to take a few deep breaths. Shem discusses his anger management issues, and how hard he’s been trying. The adventurers offer to pay for any apples that were bruised in the tussle. He appreciates this. Xenon tips him a gold coin, and Shem cannot believe his luck. The party are the rest of the way across the square when they hear Shem yell and curse loudly. Xenon’s “gold coin” was actually a copper piece in gold foil.
Talking to the Locals
On a hunch, the adventurers decide to return to the Triboar Arms, thinking it might be worth talking to Celestine’s husband, Rowan. Rowan is drunk as a skunk and fails to provide any useful information. Marxibis bonds with the bartender and owner, Nemyth. Nemyth is a tiefling who prides himself on offering a pleasant tavern experience for a low cost. He has a friendly rivalry with the Talking Troll. He also brews his own ales, many of which have names poking fun at Triboar’s other institutions. He is glad to see another tiefling. “We don’t get many of our kind up this way,” he tells Marxibis. Marxibis attempts to cheat him out of some free ales using her weighted dice.
There is a wizard at the end of the bar who offers a number of services. The party hires him to identify their magic items. The wizard is particularly concerned about Marxibis’ staff and Xenon’s crystal shard, both of which are linked to unspeakable dark power.
Adventurers Present at this Session