"So big bird poof us here, then steal key... we find key, get blamed by big bird and town..." Mobo looks forlorn as he tries counting out the plots on his fingers, then looks to his trusty firearm. "Boomstick gonna need more bullets to solve this."
Jez looks at the Mayor and shrugs when he suddenly jerks away, having seen similar reactions when people put their arms around her shoulders and suddenly feel the dragon scales that are there.
Does the Dearstalker's Lodge serve good venison? And to you know much about the Untamanamoiname? Anything that would help us to gain his services. As I am sure you know, neither "Wild Bunches of Mercenaries" nor skilled trackers are cheap.
I carefully watch the Mayor to determine how much he is willing to pay for the return of his treasured key.
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (16) + 5 = 21
Well, last time we were paid 5000 gold sails to retrieve information on a missing tax collector and return the unpaid taxes to Magnimar. This sounds substantially more dangerous, and the Vernal Key sounds like it is very important to the livelihood of your fine community.
There is a thunderous noise as the jaws of all the assembled villagers hit the ground in unison
Wait what? How heavy are these gold sails you speak of? They can't be worth more than a silver piece, right? I mean, yes, the Vernal Key is surely worth so much, but we just don't have so much money - we can pay you 1000 - but that is the absolute maximum!
Yes, yes - take all the loot from his men and him that you can find, we only want the Key back. He is a most evil man, scourge of Galt and slayer of the innocents! the dubious looks of the villagers are enough to uncover that lie, but the mayor - responsible for collecting the taxes - maybe really thinks that way of a highwayman who takes from the rich and gives it to the poor.
So do we have a deal? the mayor slowly puts his hand forward, most probably hoping Nymeria will strike the deal.
Now, why would we possibly strike a deal. If you wish to put up your gold as a reward, we will probably take on that challenge. However, I am not too keen on striking deals that we may not be able to keep. I cannot say that I am the biggest fan of law and order, however, I know what we can and cannot do. And in this situation, I have no idea how powerful this Raven is, or even if he is responsible, so I cannot agree to such a deal.
Nymeria looks at the mayor but does not offer her hand in return.
I'm sorry, but they're right, this doesn't seem honest. Tell us what's going on, the whole story, and then we'll decide whether or not to help. I don't want to get mixed up in something I don't fully understand, I think we all had enough of that in the courtroom... she says, looking at the rest of the group.
Well, it looks like the theft of the Key has rather dampened the cheer of the festival. I suppose we might as well see if we can find this Red Raven guy. Perhaps he will have an ogre bodyguard who wishes to give Attalas his armor.
We head off to find the tracker and then set forth to find this guy. No need to resupply since Mobo and Attalas will just eat all the supplies anyway requiring us to hunt for more within a day or two. -- Unless one of you needs to resupply.
You meet OSt Untamoinen in the Deerstalker's Lodge, the half-elf has a noble bearing and an upper-class accent - something you truely wouldn't have expected. He is tall and lean and looks pretty much like an elf. His weapons, a lcomposite longbow and a handaxe looks like they are the products of very skilled craftsmen. As you approach his table he looks up and says
Uh... as he sees Attalas, Mobo, Ragnvald and Jez, but adds a Oh hello as soon as he notices Kosti and Nymeria.
Sir, I would love to spend some time with introductions, but I am afraid I have to skip the corteous words, because time seems to be of essence. I take it you noticed the hickledy piggledy outside? That is the noise of an encroaching panic because some dastardly thief has taken the vernal key. Now I, along with these unlikely band of travellers, have agreed to try to get the key back to Azurestone - alas, while I know my way around well enough, I lack the intimate knowledge of the lay of the land a native would have, so I thought 'Why don't be on the sure side and ask a knowledgable guide if he would be willing to aid us?' and so I do!
Kosti speaks fast, almost too fast, his eyes locking the stranger, his face showing concern fitting the grave situation.
Ah, the Red Raven, the infamous highwayman and protector of the weak - my dear sir, you have done right contacting me. I'm a hunter of great reknown and a trophy like the Red Raven is still missing in my collection - we have a deal!
Now Kosti tries not to snicker.
After he catches himself he replies to Mobo
Well,you don't see many companies containing a Goblin, an Ogre, a...whatever spawned that pretty lady, an Ulfen and a half elf. The rarity of such companies alone makes them appear unlikely - as in 'a rare thing'.
I look over at Attalas and Mobo: This Boarwood hunt is already boring, wonder how long it will be until we catch this Red Raven.
Jez then begins to hum a cheery tune:
Red Raven, Red Raven, run run until;
Our brave party catch you we will;
You stole the key, which was not nice;
So forfeit life will you thrice.
Mobo's boomstick a hole in your head will make;
Ragnvald's sword across your gut it will rake;
But fear of Attalas you end will foresee;
As the noble ogre your head will knock free.
Even if you run as fast as your legs go;
Catch you we will and your life will end in one blow.
Ah yes, that is why you hired me - the beautiful maiden says he's run north, but my friend here says he has run to the Boarwood - but the Boarwood is south of us! So we need my genius to find out who's right.
Ost moves to the place Nymeria indicated and after checking the tracks explains
You're both right, he fled north but then skirted around the village to the south - follow me, we're on the hunt! Sound the mort!
Ost begins to jog and only stops from time to time to check the tracks
This is so easy! He even stayed on the road, what an idiot!
The road winds through the low hills south of Azurestone which are now scarred and pitted by the rock quarries that give Azurestone its name. The packed dirt path picks its way through rocky hills covered with bush and scree.