CHAPTER THREE: Bounty Hunters
Cliff, Ehd and Sam joke and bicker among themselves about nothing in particular and eventually notice that two ogres are watching them curiously and confused. They hold a small piece of parchment between them, pulling it back and forth in a subtle struggle, arguing about who the treasure map belongs to. Sam over hears their muttering and using her charisma, convinces one and then both of the ogres to hand over the treasure map so the trio can help them find it and get them the spoils. The ogres are excited to have such talent at their disposal and invite the three in to eat changeling, which they think tastes like cheese. Sam looks the map over and it tells of a great treasure buried within the Tomb of the Tiefling Princess under Arabel.
The three hunters accompany the two ogres into their monster lair and Sam kneels at the body of a woman she believes may be Wisspyr’s mother. Unfortunately, the woman is dead and cannot be revived. The ogres are pulling strips of charred flesh from an unidentifiable body and eating, throwing back pieces to Cliff and Ehd, who let them fall to the floor of the cave as they step around the Ogre Warhulk into flanking position and ready their attacks. Cliff strikes first launching a flurry of punches into the ribs of the huge beast. The Warhulk roars and swings his flail around knocking into the three and sending them reeling. The Ogre Savage follows suit and slams his club down on Sam, knocking her prone, who retaliates with an attack of her own against the brute and with Ehd’s help, sends it stumbling back 15 feet. Cliff flips back and withdraws around a rocky outcropping and the Warhulk gives chase. As it comes round the corner and lifts it’s flail, Cliff lashes out again, striking the Hulk and then dodging the flail as it crashes into the rock wall.
Sam and Ehd work together to confuse and strike the off-balance Ogre repeatedly, while enduring the attacks from the creature. Cliff continues to elude the Warhulk and make his way back to the Savage to assist his two partners. The three of them manage to best the savage and lay him out just as the Warhulk makes his way around the rocks and back to the intruders. After a few moments, the Warhulk is outmatched by the tactics of the three dirty fighters and joins his friend in death.
Sam finds a pouch containing 300 gold among a pile of broken objects from Wisspyr’s wagon. They return to the East Way Road and call Wisspyr out of her rabbit hole. Cliff tells Sam to speak to the young girl and give her the bad news. Hearing that her parents are dead, the girl looks lost and confused. Tears form in her eyes and she just stares at Sam in silence. Sam offers her the bag of 300 gold and says that she needs to find her own way in the world now. They talk about making her walk back to the camp of the Silverymoon brigade but decide to take her on to the next town instead.
The four ride their horses through the afternoon and the skies darken as they approach the Thunder Peaks. When they cross the bridge over the Thunder Chasm, Cliff notices an army of skeletal creatures emerging from a set of large double doors in the mountain and crossing a second bridge down and to the right. He mentions it to his partners and they continue galloping up into the Peaks, through the rain and lightning and eventually down the other side towards the broken town of Winterhaven. As they approach the ruined gates of the small town, a man in shining silver armor halts them and asks their business. Sam, in a guise that looks very much to be the sister of the missing elven woman, tells the man that they are seeking Sona Summergale, also known as the Maven of Strings. The man says he remembers her well, and says he would very much like to see her again, as she left a deep impression on him. He introduces himself as Twitch, one of the honored guards of Winterhaven, or what’s left of it.
A priestess comes to join the knight and introduces herself to them as Sister Linora. The trio hand the young Wisspyr over to her to be cared for. Cliff catches the smell of the knight and recognizes him to be a lycanthrope. He leaps off his mount and punches the man in the face laying him out cold and causing him to revert into his wererat form. Sister Linora, is taken aback by the shifter’s actions demands explanation. Cliff explains that he had to punch him because he is a lycanthrope and will not apologize. Ehd asks Linora about the elven girl. Disgusted by the trio and just wanting them to leave, she tells them the Maven left a week and a half ago with four of her fans, they were headed for the Seven Pillared Hall inside the Thunder Peaks.
They get directions out of the priestess and take off back the way they came into the rain along the East Way until they hit the muddy Vale Road that leads them up into the mountains and through the Minotaur Gate, it is evening when they descend into the Thunder Peaks along the Road of Lanterns. Reaching the Seven Pillared Hall, they nearly trample a small kobold by the name of Charrak who offers to sell them information about the town. They ask him only one question, the location of the Maven of Strings. He tells them that she can often be found with her friends at the Halfmoon Inn. They toss him a gold piece and ride up to the Halfmoon, tying up their horses and throwing open the doors.