We've spent a few days here in the Keep, and we've had plenty to do. We moved on the last of our kobold heads, converting them into the bounty cash, and we were finally left with just a couple of items (a potion and a scroll) where we'd not got a proper identification.
Another reason for hanging around the keep is that we were trying to get an audience with the earl to speak about the manor house. And we had an advert posted on the message board advertising our services.
We'd picked up a message from the kobold's lair too - which we managed to have translated. It talked about the 'king of trees' which, I recalled, is known around the Has area. We were planning to journey back that way anyway as the kobolds used the red clay from the upper hills there to daub their shields, and there were lots of them about that needed dealing with. If we captured any kobolds now, we could interrogate it about this king.
Before fulfilling our meeting with the earl we sought the advice of one of the renown Sages in the keep, with whom we enjoyed a meal. We discussed the the manor with him, and presented our case for allowing us the occupancy of the manor for his advice. He was very helpful and suggested many ways in which we could improve our argument and improve case to take it on.
As a learned man, we also asked him about this 'king of trees' name we had encountered. He also recalled someone called the Elm King, who might fit this bill in the eyes of the kobolds. The Elm King, he recounted, was a mountain man who was known to the kobolds. An expedition of some fighters set out to capture him a few years ago, but they did not find him, they only found more kobolds.
The meeting with the Earl went well, and we were granted permission to move into the manor with no rent or taxes for 15 months. This gives us a year and the time after that up to the following harvest. We're preparing to repair the building so we hope that the tenure is continued long after then.
After this meeting we did some more research into the land of the red clay inhabited by the kobolds, an area known as the Clay Hills. It turned out that the clay hills are not near to Has as we had presumed, so we have to choose where we're off to next. We think at this stage that the clay hills would be a better choice as we've got a more certain lead that way. We stocked up on provisions ready for the journey. And our little pony is upgraded to a full size mule.
After all this was completed, we set out from the Keep on the route to the Clay Hills. We went past the Bespin tower, and out into unfamiliar lands. The first unusual discovery we made was the tracks of three human size creatures on the trail heading away from town towards the tower. Intrigued, we followed on these tracks. After a couple of miles the trail turned off, heading up a small track that appears to lead to an old mine. We continued to follow - this was becoming interesting.
As we passed further up the old trail we come under attack. The first arrow missed me, and a quick survey revealed that we were being shot at from the mine entrance up a slope above us. Bernie casts his jumping spell on Bob the dwarf and he jumped off up the slope. Redamber lead the rest of us up there at a more sedate pace. The dwarf reached the enemy long before the rest of us and engaged them in hand to hand combat. Full-on fighting commences before we're close enough to join in them. The dwarf puts one of the orc brutes down, but took one large hit and so backed off.