The adventurers were gathered in the common room in The Halberd when a visibly upset Branka stormed in, dropping a note in front of Airest and quickly leaving. The cleric picked it up and began to read to the others. Kendall had been arrested for trespassing, the note asked for anyone with more information or proof of his innocence to come forward. First time offenders would be issued an official warning, however, Kendall’s offence was not a first. If no one came forward, he would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
With a feeling of embarrassment, Airest explained her and Thorn’s encounter with the half-orc guards a day or so previous. After finding and inquiring of Branka about Kendall’s situation, they find that the general opinion of the town is that the presiding judge runs a fair court. The trial, she continued, will begin at two o’ clock that day. Determined to help out the eccentric dwarf, the group headed out to take care of business before Kendell’s trial.
They visited Bowden, so that Thorn could see how his armor was coming along. The leatherworker mentioned that people had been very curious as to how the gnoll had come across the creature. Thorn then decided to head towards the clearing where they had first encountered Kendell. The rest, for lack of anything better to do before the trial, decide to follow him. As they walked through the merchant’s streets, they noticed for the first time an oddly elegant, large building tucked away just behind one of the shops.
As they made their way through the woods, Thorn motioned for them to stop. He had seen something out of the corner of his eye. A rune hound was stalking them through the trees. Heedless of the danger, Glamdring charged the beast. It spun and bit down hard on the dwarf’s armor. Thorn quickly charged after him, cutting at the aberration. Glamdring shrugged off the bite and swung, both weapons connecting with the rune hound who screamed once, then twice as one of Thorn’s axes bit into its flank. By now, the rest of the party had joined in, cutting and stabbing at the beast. Yosephine summoned a wolf to help in the attack. The poor creature managed to trip the beast only to in turn become it’s target, killed by a spray of acid. The aberration turned and bit at Thorn, who finally brought the creature down, his frost-rimed axe buried into it’s face.
As the beast fell, it let out a eerie howl. It was immediately answered by a chorus all around them in the woods. Deciding that discretion was the better part of valor, the team decided to make themselves scarce. Running through the trees, they could hear the clumsy crashing of large forms all around them. The town came into sight as they left the trees. Turning to look they could see no fewer than seven rune hounds break from the tree line.
As both predators and prey neared Malteton, the archer towers began to rain arrows on the rune hounds. Humanoid figures also began to race towards them. Tall figures with skin like stone and marble. Suddenly, earthen spikes flew out of the ground, a wall of stone teeth appearing in front of the remaining rune hounds to skidded to a stop in confusion. Their escape was cut off with more spikes appearing behind them. Corralled and in such a tight group, they fell one by one as the archers continued to rain death upon them.
They stood on the beach, watching the death of the rune hounds. It was only after they had caught their breath did they get a good look at the strange humanoids. They were grey-skinned, like rock, and wore strange aprons of different colors. The material was leather in nature but had been embossed to appear as dragon scales. Glamdring walked boldly up to them, the gnoll in tow, and inquired as to who they were.
The grey-skins replied that they had been hired by the city to make foundation and building repairs, as well as assist in the defense against threats to the city. They were stone shapers, humanoids who have a strange affinity with earth and stone. Able to manipulate them with minimal amount of effort.
As the stone shapers left, the group decided to try and visit Kendell, while Thorn headed towards the shop of Dilandee Merrytouch, the gnome. Yosephine, Jiggo, Glamdring, and Airest finally arrive at what looks to be a large armory. Stepping up to the outer door and talking to a guard through the eye-slot, Airest managed to convince one of the guards to let her speak with Kendall, though the visit would be a supervised one. Kendall explained, in his eccentric way, that his case was unusual as the hearing was usually during the trial.
Meanwhile, Thorn questioned Dilandee, inquiring for the reason that the western part of the island is forbidden. Dilandee could offer no new insights, simply stating again that the part of the island that Kendall was charged with going into was simply a mystery to them all. After asking him about black corsairs, Dilandee replied with a tale of a mysterious wreckage that he and a group of others had found once, but disappeared.
The others began to make their way towards the courthouse, somewhat annoyed at the missing gnoll, a somewhat key figure in Kendell’s defense. Thorn had returned to The Halberd, inquiring again about the black corsairs, this time to Branka. He was sidetracked however, when he realized that the inn possesses a basement. Branka explained that the entire town actually sits atop a huge stone block and that the basements for the stores and taverns are often carved into the stone.
By then, the others had arrived at the courthouse, declaring that they had new evidence to present to the court. In a surprising move, the judge accepted Airest’s story, even without the gnoll there to back them up and immediately threw out Kendall’s case.
Thorn meanwhile had run to Paelias’ and Dimopulous’ shop (stopping only to feed a strip of meat to the sorcerer’s pseudo dragon) Calling in a favor for the various services he had rendered the other two, he asked that if he did not return by nightfall, to burn down the customs offices. After sharing a nervous glance, the two of them agreed.
As the rest exited the courthouse a grateful Kendall in tow, the group went off in search of the missing ranger, yet again. However, Thorn had taken a different route to the courthouse and burst in demanding to see the judge. The guard was clearly not about to let anyone by without permission but the judge appeared and conceded to listen to the gnoll. Thorn demanded to know why Kendall had been arrested, to which the judge replied that the primary charge was trespassing and then informed Thorn that Kendall had already been cleared of the charges. Growing more irritated by the moment, Thorn asked why the land was forbidden, only to be informed that it was government land. Cursing and threatening the judge in Gnoll, Thorn stomped out of the courthouse.
Jiggo, having learned of Thorn’s request from Paelias intuited that the gnoll was probably back at the courthouse. After gathering the rest of the gang, Jiggo leads them back to where they had come. They caught the gnoll as he came storming out of the courthouse. Before he could be rebuked for his absence, he immediately declared that they should barricade the inn and be aware of attack there. His encounter with the stone shapers and his suspicions of the gang’s control over the governing of the island had led him to believe that retribution for their trespassing would come.
Back at the inn, despite Branka’s reassurances, the gnoll paces anxiously up and down the common room. They had been approached by Dimopulous and invited to a private meeting that night. As darkness fell upon Malteton, people slowly began to enter The Halberd. Among them were, Crowley, Bowden, Boyd, the half-orc who had repaired Jiggo’s door, and what appeared to be an alchemist who seemed to know Jiggo and glared his direction.
The sorcerer informed them that they are a group of townsfolk, interested in ousting the gangs from control of the town. The gangs it seemed, had become very interested in the party. From killing a large number of the Bones, to venturing far inland and even trying to make deals with the other gangs. The last point being a reference to Thorn. Jiggo angrily demanded to know why Thorn had been attempting to make deals with the gangs behind their backs. The gnoll simply shrugged off the question. Dimopulous went on to explain that the gangs worked together somewhat as one group. Each gang performing certain duties in the town. He, and the rest of his colleagues believed that it will only be a matter of time before the gangs approach the party with an offer, and when that happens, he wanted the adventurers to act as double agents and bring back whatever information they could from that meeting. The adventurers, wary of the proposal, accept. Thorn mentioned that he himself will help, only for a price which he refused to list in front of the others.
Dimopulous also mentioned that the forest is also a hotbed of enigmas. Rune hounds are not native to the island but lately they had a large insurgence of the beasts. There are strange invisible creatures which seem to slowly patrol around the island as if hunting the island in a set pattern for something, attacking the town occasionally when they are close by. Yosephine points out that the forest itself is strange as there is no debris or leaf detritus on the floor; it is sand all the way.
As they talked, Airest noticed for the first time noticed the details of Thorn’s collar. The small metal plates set into it had engravings of some sort of equine creature. She asks him why he had ponies on his collar. Offended the gnoll replied that it is for “his lady”.
The sorcerer then informed them that they have a lead on the gangs. Some time ago a lycan was imprisoned for the crime of being, well, a lycan, despite there being no such law in this port. However, Dimopulous is sure that the creature was almost certainly jailed for refusing a position with one of the gangs. He wanted them to break the lycan out of his hidden jail, and bring him back for questioning.
It was dark as they all made their way through the streets, towards the tavern that Dimopulous had indicated hid the secret entrance for the prison. As a guard patrol made its way up the street, Yosephine called upon her druid training to warp the wooden walls of the tavern, allowing them passage inside. After clumsily knocking a goblin dishwasher out cold, they search for and find the entrance to an underground labyrinth.
Traveling through the tunnels, they come upon a carefully concealed door, behind which they find an empty cell. After many nervous moments of stealth, they happen upon the cell of a half-elf. Thorn, who had been following the scent of wild pig through the entire underground prison stopped in front of this cell. Certain they had their man, they asked him if they would come with them. After forcing an indignant Airest to strip to prove she wasn’t hiding a Scales or Skins tattoo, he agreed to let them help him out.
The three of them made their way quietly back to the surface. Only to be greeted not only by the goblin they had rendered unconscious, but several of his guard friends. Thinking quickly, Airest called upon her deity to help her charm the creatures. Enthralled by her dance and song, they didn’t even notice the gnoll and lycan slipping outside into the darkness.