Gruumsh's Eye Fable

 

Next Morning


Breakfast is served early and Saslic and Banelin are waiting in the Inn at Dawn.

Minutes pass…

Then an hour…

It's almost two hours after dawn when Hragon wanders into view.

He waves cheerily, "Morning folks. Sorry running a tad late. The lass kept me pretty busy last night." he winks at Banelin, "If ya don’t mind I’ll just grab a quick bite and we can be on our way."

Saslic fumes at the sheriff's speech. "And how long will it take us to get to the valley? Is your tardiness going to put us into a goblin and orc infested wilderness just as the sun goes down?"

Banelin says nothing, but his stance clearly says he agrees with Saslic, and may be willing to do something more than just talk about it.

Saslic's words give pause to Hragon but seconds later he is smiling again, "Ahh relax you two I'm sure we'll make good time and you don't want me travelling on an empty stomach do you?"

He prepares to enter the Inn.


Saslic puts her hand on his shoulder, "Surely you can get something to eat as we go. Especially since it's getting close to lunch anyway."


Hragon sighs and shrugs, "Fair enough. Just give me a moment."

He enters the tavern and good to his work he is out a moment later shoving some bread and cheese into his backpack.

Old Grumps Shack


The first half of the walk is easy. Passing fields at first, then rolling pastures with a scattering of shepherds and their grazing sheep. Soon after that you are walking through lightly forested areas with occasional bare hills.

However the hill that Old Grumps shack on it neither lightly forested nor bare. It is thick with undergrowth and jagged rocks and when Hragon leaves the easy forest to start climbing it progress slows to a crawl. Only after a short time he calls a halt to have a rest and eat some food.

That done he leads the way half way up the hill and then starts to circle the peak. It is amongst a thick clump of gnarled trees half hidden by two massive boulders is the shack. One of the boulders and the side of the hill make up two walls, the other boulder makes up part of the roof and rough logs and a few boards make the rest. After dropping his backpack in the doorway and indicating Saslic and Banelin to do the same he leads the way up a short way beyond the shack where, mostly hidden by boulders and shrubs he pauses to point down the far side of the hill from your approach.

"Down there. Those be the Caves of Chaos."

Looking down you can see the side of the hill joins a long ridge that folds back upon itself a distance away. The ravine that makes up the crook has a scattering of groves of trees in it and Hragon points out a number of cave entrances on both sides of the rock.

"Old Grump used to spend a fair amount of time watching the Orcs and Goblins. They say he planned to write a book on their interactions or some such nonsense."

"Did he ever write the book?" asks Saslic.

Before Hragon can answer, Banelin says, "You do love to read, but I think we'd best scout those tunnels before we do too much more." He peers into the valley below, "We'd better be careful, if there are tribes in all those caves this could be much harder than I thought."

Hragon nods, "Oh yeah.. plenty of tribes down there. This place is a real hot pot of monsters and you welcome to them. Iíll come back here to check on ya progress in a few days. If you decide to camp somewhere else hide a note in the old fireplace and Iíll find ya. Good luck to you both. "

He waves and starts circling back around the hill and out of sight leaving Saslic and Banelin alone looking down into the Ravine.

The Ravine


Tall grass covers the majority of the sloping ground though patches of bare rock and the occasional bush break it up. A small meandering stream winds west to east passing through a couple of the thick, tangled and forbidding groves.

As they watch a pair of gnolls exit
6
one of the smaller of the southern caves and climb down the steep slope to the stream. Once there one fills a bucket whilst the other stands guard with shortbow at the ready. They then return to the cave. If they make any sound at any point it can't be heard from that distance over the sounds of the wind, insects and birds that populate the area.

"I hate gnolls, disgusting creatures." says Saslic. "I wonder if they have the Eye. Clearly the orcs don't or we'd know about it already."

"Aye, lets spend some time watching today. The villagers mentioned goblins, hobgoblins, gnolls and kobolds as well as orcs. It may be that the eye is in an area lived in by the less intelligent creatures. I want to see where the kobolds are living." says Banelin.

The elf and dwarf settle down for a few hours to watch and plan their approach.




 

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