Our heroes, minus Ell (who is lamenting Nic’s death at the tavern in Winterhaven) and Oranna (who is remaining to comfort her), march into the wilderness with Perrin Pouchworthy. They’re seeking the Hand of Agaman which, from reports, is a powerful lost relic which might secure Calderas future should Halgard invade. Perrin, ever the archaeologist, has found a site that he thinks might hold the key to finding the treasure, and eagerly (perhaps to nausea) tells his listeners all about the ins and outs of his duties as they make their way there.
Upon arriving at the dig, however, our heroes are somewhat surprised to discover a few kobolds rummaging through the camp! Dorn Gular had told our heroes that he’d run into a few of the critters, even cleared them out of Winterhaven after finding it, and that they never posed too much of a threat. With this in mind, the present Stormseye Insurgents and Dragon, Perrin’s bodyguard, marched into battle, spurred on by the fear that Perrin might get himself in by charging toward the bite-sized nuisances.
Things did not go to plan.
The kobolds were under the command of a magic-user of some kind, who wielded a staff adorned with numerous blackened orbs. He was able to unleash some pretty nasty spells which burned away at the very life-force or their target! Necromancy at its worst. What’s more, Dragon and Thoradin found themselves in a sticky situation when the kobold archers hit them with some kind of viscous concoction which glued them to the ground! With the kobolds weaving their way past our hero’s defences, things were looking dire. Keridwen stepped up, putting the terrible fear of the Triple Goddess in her enemies hearts, whilst Thoradin, Dragon and Calitris did what they could to whittle away at their opponents.
Not wanting to risk defeat, the kobold leader ordered his men to stay and fight while he, himself, took flight. He ducked down a hole in the digsite that Perrin had mentioned he was yet to explore. As soon as he was out of sight, his minions selectively forgot his orders, and followed. Speedy things that they are, it wasn’t long until they had all disappeared. All but one, that is.
Flashing the fearful visage of her deity once more, Keridwen ‘persuaded’ one of the kobolds to stick around. He did so, cowering against the rock. An interrogation followed, and the kobold revealed what he knew… which was very little. They did, however, discover that it was these kobolds who had attacked Nic! More than that, it was they who stole his soul!
They were distracted almost immediately by a stone tablet that Perrin was happy the kobolds hadn’t destroyed or run off with. The table depicted a riddle, written in supernal:
A five point star with a perfect mate, I have no mouth, but tell your fate. On battlefields I double men, But oft ‘mongst thieves, I’m half of them.
He group puzzled over this for a little while; long enough to allow their kobold prisoner to escape!