The gigantic bat lay where it had fallen, pierced by javelin and arrow. The bloodied corpse of a gigantic bee—easily the size of a small dog—lay nearby. The party examined the bee corpse and confirmed it was “merely” an enormous version of an average bee; of particular concern, however, was the bee’s long stinger which looked like it could deliver a wicked wound.
Anyway, at the moment, the party’s focus was on the rest of the bats, and so they retreated to the side cave to await their prey. They waited until dawn began to smudge the sky outside. It was then the remaining three bats returned to their lair carrying bee corpses. The party pounced, and in a sudden and swift onslaught of sword and spell, all three bats were slain. With their prey slain, the party searched the bats’ cave and eventually uncovered a small pouch amid the muck and guano. The pouch, wedged under the decomposing corpse of some unfortunate, held two small translucent gems, a potion and a scroll tube. (Eventually, the party would discover the gems were moonstones, the scroll held a detect magic spell and the vial contained a healing potion.)
Satisfied with their haul, the party gathered their gear and headed out. Their goal was Dunstone, and they knew it would be a day’s hard marching to reach town before dark. Luck was with them, and they encountered no dangerous creatures on their quick march back through the dense, glowering woods.
As dusk fell, the party—some of them exhausted by the long day’s travel—stumbled into Dunstone. Immediately, Harald, Balasar and Bodrum went to the Tower of the Sword to report on matters while the rest of the party retreated to the Dwarf’s Folly for a well-deserved pint (or three).
The next morning, the party accompanied High Priest of Darlen Joonas Mattila to Dunstone Castle to warn Lord Benjam Oksanen of the lurking hobgoblin army. However, after a few hours waiting while Joonas spoke to the lord, it became apparent something was not right. Back at the Temple of the Sword, Joonas explained Benjam was old and growing more feeble and that he didn’t see vague rumours as any real reason to mobilise his forces or prepare the town. His grandson—Aavo—who many believed to be in charge of the town—seemed more inclined to believe the heroes' warnings. It was evident the party needed to gain more evidence to convince the powers that be that something must be done.
With this revelation, the party rested and made preparations to return to the forested hills to the west. During their rest, several of the heroes explored Dunstone more thoroughly. Saeldur—chatting with some old-timers at the market—discovered the honey of giant bees acts similarly to a weak healing potion. Meanwhile, Ozloc ingratiated himself with a local peasant family. Finally, Harald visited the elf Dulannis Fisfelond who was reputed to be the greatest weaponsmith in all Ashlar. The smith was intrigued by the young paladin’s silver sword and borrowed it for a few days to examine the blade—which he confirmed was magical. When Dulannis returned the weapon to Harald the young paladin immediately noticed the moonstone now set in the sword’s pommel. The translucent gem gave off a soft blue glow. Dulannis explained he sensed Harald was destined for mighty deeds, and the moonstone could—in the future—be used to imbue the weapon with greater magical powers. He also explained elves forged the sword long ago when they fought against devils and demons for dominion over the world.
Ten days later, on 15th day of Laerdonna, on the day after a full moon shone down on the town, with their recuperations and preparations complete, the party were ready once again to dare the wood-cloaked, rumour-haunted hills. Therein they planned to win through to the ruined monastery and uncover concrete proof of the hobgoblin threat.