The bright and cool morning sun breaks over the nearby mountainside. Hyln and Knives set off from their campsite, opting to rough it instead of outstaying their safety window in the nearby village. While scouting and gathering intel, it is best not to leave much in the way of a trace yourself. Walking for a couple of hours downhill, the tall pair see Hyxhuathil and approach it. They know to meet Tuhril, their contact and patron, and share with him what they’ve found. As the loose stones on the path crunch beneath Hyln’s feet, he thinks back to the last few days. Having to split up to cover more ground, he and Knives parted from the small kobold village they were in and began their rapid scouting. Hyln vividly remembers the smell of the spiced raw cavefish from the market that day, and how it stuck with him for a day afterwards.
Knives spied on a Svirfneblin trader for a day and a night, eventually following her into her warren. Grabbing a letter from her desk and quickly copying it, Knives then found a translator back on the surface. His spying of a few key phrases served well, as the letter revealed appointments and important trades going on over the next three months. If the letter was accurate, then several major players with connections to Gorbane would be tied up moving west. It appears the overall plan is to make Hargijk, the nearby Orc city, run low on food supplies from their northern and eastern farms and hunting grounds within a year. The exact purpose is unclear.
Hyln spoke to several acquaintances, pulling in his small net of contacts from respectable Hobgoblin sergeants to a Kobold sneakthief. Each one Hyln had recently been involved with in some capacity, whether helping them escape death at the hands of a pack of feral mountain lions, or apprehending them on behalf of a local authority and collecting the bounty. His conversations were brief, and the information he received fragmented and piecemeal, but being resourceful and tactful he managed to put together some key facts reasonably reliably. An agent of Gorbane’s will be passing through Hyxhuathil in a week or so; given Gorbane’s visions of his quarry moving west and south, an increase in dangerous activity is happening in those directions; several Kobold settlements, including the central horde at Hadrukk, have been granted special magics to help bring in the rogue dragon. A few other scant pieces suggest that a Gnoll hunting party, something rarely seen north of the Crown of the World, is being sent for. All in all, the information points towards a dangerous situation for this rogue dragon.
Gemscale looks around the room with the others, taking in the size as well as the blandness. They consume food and sit in mostly silence, which Tuhril seems to enjoy. After a while, he stands and leaves the room. “I will be back. I am meeting with my contact. You will be safe in here. Stay here.”
“Tuhril… is there a store to barter goods here?” Gemscale asks, stopping the Giant from leaving. He does not respond verbally, but instead raises an eyebrow at the gold dragon. “I have a fancy set of dice and a few other items I’m looking to trade…” Gemscales smiles sweetly at the Giant. Tuhril then leaves the room and pushes the stone door closed.
Meeting Hyln and Knives beside his abode, he speaks in a hushed tone. The gravelly voice sounding as clipped and considered as ever, the rumble of his timbre felt in every limb. “I thank you for meeting me today. We arranged to meet. We have met. We arranged to meet to talk. We are talking. You will follow me into my residence. You will meet strangers. We can talk plainly in front of these strangers. These strangers will not harm you. You will not harm these strangers. You will share you findings with me and these strangers. This will help these strangers. You are helping. Your are helpful. I like helpful people. You will follow me now.”
He pulls aside the 25foot tall door and slides it along the purpose-built smooth stone rails, the gliding, crackling sound showing a hardy, worn yet long lasting craftsmanship. HexFang, Aar, Lorrias, Gemscale and Zadkiel turn to face the doorway, and hear the clear clicking and slapping of claw and skin on the rough stone walkway encircling the table. Emerging at last over the top and onto the map-table, a pair of tall humanoids make themselves known. One looks to be a slender feline creature with feral eyes and a weather-beaten coat; the other appears to be a smaller version of Tuhril, stoic, muscular and hairless. His grey palour suggests a similar parentage, but his being about a third of the height and breadth of Tuhril betrays his kind: Goliath.
“HexFang should meet my scouting contacts. They have been paid to provide information. They will provide information.” Tuhril appears to have a hint of pride about him, as though he’s happy to introduce people to each other.
Hyln and Knives examine the group before them: a pair of young dragons, barely discernable in their age and size, perhaps they are the same, but one is gold with a subtle crown-like crest of small horns growing from the back of his jaw to the top of his head, while the other is green with similar protrusions but smaller and following the lines of her head rather than forming a crown.
A pair of Elfblood humanoids, one in flowing robes while the other in more flamboyant attire, stand beside a broody-looking human with stern, harsh features. His eyes pierce with an otherwordly quality not entirely threatening, but certainly something to be wary of.
What do you do?