[as always, if I’m forgetting something, let me know]
In the middle of the night, during a torrential downpour, a woman screams. “My baby!” she cries. “They took my baby!”
The residents of Springvale are alerted. Valcoria the dragonborn scours the scene from her treetop perch but can only see the crowd beginning to mill about the carriage where Emma, the woman, slept.
Guidance uses his weird charm to calm Emma down while Vall asks Holston Trevere, the caraven leader, what’s going on. Guidance’s attempts to “soothe” Emma fall upon deaf, and frightened, ears, so he gives up the chase. Meanwhile Valcoria descends her tree and goes into Emma’s carriage to look for clues. Inside, the scene is a mess, and Cori notices scratch marks that seem familiar…
Outside, Vall uses his thaumaturgy to brighten the lanterns around him , and in doing so, notices strange non-human footprints gathering water in the mud. He calls for a tracker and Cori obliges. She notices the tracks but can’t follow them past the muddy footprints of the crowd milling about. But she does notice a single set of footprints that head off around the carriage. She, Vall, and Guidance investigate.
Across the spring, our heroes notice one of the carriages, the larder specifically, has been broken into—a hole has been ripped into the cloth. Vall makes the carriage shake to spook whatever’s inside, while Cori notches an arrow into her bow just in case. And from inside, out pops—a kobold head!, its mouth stuffed with biscuits. Cori can’t stop herself, however, and she shoots an arrow right into its neck, killing it instantly. Poor guy.
Guidance takes the body and eviscerates it; no baby inside. He then cuts the head off to keep, and no one is surprised because that’s what he does. A small group of onlookers watches them, including Holston.
The group heads back to Emma’s carriage and Holston orders everyone away and back to their carriages. Cori notices footprints past the muddied spot. Four kobolds, heading south. Guidance convinces the Inhalers to give them their hovering carriage, while Vall asks for soldiers and receives them—four soldiers, and four Peacekeepers. They climb into the carriage and head south, following the footprints.
The trek takes a full day. As they are traveling they come across two dead kobolds who appear to be strangled and bound by vines on the ground. As they investigate, the vines reach out and grab Cori, and nearly grab Guidance. A vine blight appears, as well as a bunch of twig blights. Guidance attempts to damage the vine blight but keeps missing (and pours salt on the vines to “dehydrate” them), and Vall drives the carriage into the blights, killing a couple and damaging the vine blight. In the end, they manage to kill the damn thing, and at the end of the battle, our heroes realize—they ain’t in Kansas anymore, and can really consider themselves adventurers.
One of the soldiers, Rowan, is injured in the battle, and Guidance grinds up the blights to make a poultice to “heal the wound.” Whether or not that is his actual goal, no one is sure.
The carriage continues south, heading toward a sparsely wooded area, reaching it by nightfall. The trees here are all white, even the leaves. Our heroes notice a ruined building, perhaps a chapel. Vall orders the soldiers to fan out so they can come upon the ruins from a wide angle, and Cori climbs one of the trees for a higher vantage point. (Guidance hides behind Vall, and cuts some of the bark from a tree for further investigation.) But before anyone can move inward, more kobolds attack, including some with wings. The party battles them, and Guidance gets a little distracted in trying to keep some of them alive, but in the end, the party manages to kill or disable all of the kobolds. Guidance now has two kobolds who are alive, but crippled so they can’t move.
They find 17 crudely minted copper coins among the kobolds—a small treasure, but the coins themselves are interesting: one the front side, in profile, an elf with abnormally long ears, and on the back side, a city nestled against a cliffside. Obviously this means civilization is … somewhere! But where? Maybe we’ll find out next time…