Bruegger stumbles over introductions to an angry wizard lady, but with her husband safe, she is willing to listen without smiting. Once it becomes clear to her who the invader was, and how it entered the warded cottage, she focuses properly on thanking the group. The golem, cooling off, but preserved by it’s animating magic, provides a free repast while Cannuth explains their errand. Sid refuses to eat his defeated enemy.
The group packs up after a short rest, and heads back to join up with the caravan with foodstuffs bearing preservation and flavor enchantments.
The next couple of days fall back into a normal rhythm.
Stopped for the evening, the food line is interrupted by one of the guardsmen pushing people aside to call Bruegger a “Pech” for shorting him of his biscuit with dinner. The bodies pushed stumble, and even Sid is jostled into another person. That person shoves back, calling Sid “Nightears” and an altercation looks to be in order, when Bloodjaw demands the first guard, Franz, back off. Sid stands down rather than acting rashly and picks his stew bowl back up…Bloodjaw sniffs the food of the chow line, but finds nothing, looking around suspiciously.
Once Sid tucks into his dinner, there is a moment of enjoyment of the somewhat more flavorful stew, followed by coughing, vomiting, and crying, as it feels like someone poured napalm in his mouth. Fhas tries to help, screaming that it’s poison, and Bloodjaw intervenes, as the entire caravan looks suspiciously at their dinners, dragging Fhas and Sid to the nightwagon.
There, sniffing Sid, he can tell he has eaten a blister pepper, probably picked, since it’s not from the local parts, and probably snuck only into Sid’s food during the disruption in the chow line. Fhas mixes a curative which calms the raging fire, though Sid’s stomach feels unhappy. Bloodjaw makes it clear that there is no poison in the food, and the guards finish eating. Eryn, watching it all, notes that one group of old hand guards never stops eating, and that Boris is nowhere to be seen. When Side returns to the main camp, Franz, the guard who started the disturbance, happily eating his stew, looks right at Sid and gives a little salute. All the guards with him seem to chuckle from Eryn’s point of view.
Bruegger pockets a vial of pickled cooking lard in case he finds an opportunity to avenge himself for being called Pech.
A few days later, during chowtime, Sid attempts to convince several newer guards about there being some great desserts at the chowwagon, so he can get closer to a wagon to continue his investigation of the suspicious elements of Alcori’s wagon. While the guards think he’s being extra strange, and not that there is a sudden set of wildly tasty dessert biscuits, they do move on in an effort to be away from the strange drow elf.
One of these guards, a wiry moustached fighter, uses Sid’s odd behavior to strike up a conversation with Fhas, eventually making it clear (though not suavely) that he is interested in her as a bunkmate, but is quickly rebuffed by the tiefling.
Sid learns little, and is pretty sure that trying to open the few shuttered windows on Alcori’s traveling wagon in order to get the paralyzation removal wand would be nearly impossible.
Cannuth returns the next day from an extended scout, revealing a series of problems: the town along their path with is the only pass through an out thrust of the mountains for about 150 miles appears to be wracked with a plague, and worse, it’s clear that hobgoblin scouts from further up the mountains have become aware of it, and a force of warriors is likely heading to the mining town to sack it.
Alcori makes plain for the entire caravan their plans: going 150 miles SE deep into the Heldannic lands is not an option for the caravan’s schedule, but passing through or restocking in a plague town isn’t going to solve any problems, and neither is being hounded by or blocked by hobgoblins. However, Cannuth’s report of the nature of the plague from the mayor and priest of the town has lead Alcori to surmise that it is magical in nature, and can be ended quickly if the source is found and snuffed out. Divinatory magic suggests it is within the main mine of the mountain town.
With that, the plan is explained, Cannuth and Night Watch will go to Duvik’s Pass, offering their assistance to explore the mine and snuff out the plague’s magical source, explaining that the rest of the caravan, having discovered a hobgoblin force approaching, will delay or distract them before retreating to reinforce the town.
There are some grumbles, but Alcori reminds them of their contracts, and the generous pay they are receiving, and the guards quiet down.
Cannuth and the Nightwatch head out on a hard ride to get to Duvik’s Pass before nightfall. Halfway there, Cannuth falls from his horse, clearly infected by the burning plague. Fhas and Eryn work together to restore him, and Fhas makes a drink from her healer supplies to help everyone resist more exposure to it.
There is alarm and consternation at the walled gate at the revelation of two dark skinned elves in Cannuth’s party on his return, but some diplomatic words later, and the group is let in, and led to the mine.
Descending into the mine shows them brutally murdered miners, and the footprints of kobolds. Finding a storeroom/cookroom with kobolds on the other side of it’s door, the group sets up, and makes sounds to draw the kobolds out into an ambush. Most are killed, and a couple knocked out. One is tied up and interrogated, while Sid kills the other unconscious one in front of it.
The kobold suggests that the shaman is beyond the other door in the cookroom, and the group enter, finds the door locked, unlocks it, and then takes up ambush positions, and opens the door without standing right in front of it.
There is a squeal, and a 6’ long albino dire weasel drops from the shelves in the revealed room into the doorway, baring it’s teeth…