You’ve been travelling along the High Road for days. As evening approaches, you spot a wooden signpost next to a trail that heads north into the hills. Nailed to the post are three arrow-shaped signs. The two marked “Waterdeep” and “Daggerford” follow the High Road but point in opposite directions. The third, marked “Nightstone,” beckons you to follow the trail. If Bert's maps are correct, Nightstone should be roughly ten miles up the trail.
As I see the signs, I stop in the middle of a flute duet with Zook, put my pan-flute away, and turn to my traveling companions:
So, who's going where? I'm still in search of my path, and I think for now I'll just stick around with you guys and your destination!
I am standing in front of them on the path. I am observing their reactions and hoping to myself that they are going to the same place because I am not ready to say goodbye to any of them! I have been very lonely since leaving my clan and this group makes me feel comfortable.
Krakkan takes out his notebook and jots down a few details. He's not an author so he keeps it brief. He just wants to compare his experience to the information in his out-of-date atlases and encyclopedias.
Perception check to observe his surroundings: 13
In an oddly gentle voice for someone of his size and appearance he says, "Aye, Nightstone sounds lovely."
Bert has been glancing down at his map throughout the journey. He's been on the road between Waterdeep and Daggerford dozens of times, having lived in Daggerford for years and traveled to Waterdeep for training, clients, and other business. But he's always on the lookout for new things in the real world to update his maps. A cartographer's no good if he only relies on other people's words and assurances. He and Krakkan have been comparing notes and pointing things out to each other the whole way.
"Hawk, I hope you join us! There are apparently problems the residents of Nightford have been having with goblins, and I'm sure you'll be very helpful in figuring out what's going on. Did anyone get any more information about that reward we heard about? Mandaway, I think the town's fairly small compared to Daggerford and certainly Waterdeep, though I haven't been there myself in a long time. May I ask what makes any particular pool a sacred one?"
He notes some peculiarities of the design and construction of the signpost to Krakkan, telling him about the person who maintains it, and how she really wants this crossroads to turn into a town of its own one day.
Nothing seems out of the ordinary, you do recognise Nightstone from an encyclopedia. According to your books, it gets its name from a large chunk of obsidian in the village square that has glyphs over it and radiates magic, although no one knows its purpose.
Having been to Nightstone there is no pool, but there is a moat.
Furnace hears Bert mention a possible Goblin problem"Well I do believe that Goblins will be the perfect specimens to test out my newest arcane abilities on and gather more data. I don't particularly have any set destination since I'm just travelling to travel so Nightstone sounds like a perfect next location compared to any." Furnace then pulls out his journal and begins to follow the group blindly as he walks and jots down notes at the same time.
Zook is eager to finally have some companionship during his travels since leaving the monastery a few weeks ago. He passes the miles on The High Road by alternating between silent time to himself, looking around and enjoying the beauty of nature, talking to birds and small animals he sees along the trail, playing music with Hawk and conversion with his new companions.
Earlier in the day, he strode alongside Krakkan for awhile, quite curious by his exceptional height. "Why, you're as tall as three of me! I believe you are the tallest person I've ever met. I don't suppose you're very good at playing hide and seek," the gnome says with a chuckle.
Upon reaching the sign, Zook says to the group, "Nightstone sounds as good as any place. There's nowhere I'm supposed to be other than right here at this moment and wherever it happens to be that my feet take me. And if there are folk there who are having trouble with goblins, then perhaps I can lend a hand. I'm not so fond of goblins, especially if they're bothering people they shouldn't"
You sense nothing out of the ordinary, you see a few small critters that seem to be following you, eating at some crumbs that are falling behind you all from someone's rations.
After following the trail for ten miles, you hear the ringing of a bell. The sound grows louder as Nightstone comes into view. A river flows around the settlement, forming a moat. The village itself is contained within a wooden palisade, beyond which you see a windmill, a tall steeple, and the high-pitched rooftops of several other buildings. Apart from the ringing of the bell, you detect no other activity in the village. The trail ends before a lowered drawbridge that spans the moat. Beyond the drawbridge, two stone watchtowers flank an open gap in the palisade.
South of the village and surrounded by the river moat is a cone-shaped, flat-topped hill on which stands a stone keep enclosed by a wooden wall. The keep, which overlooks the village, has partially collapsed. A wooden bridge that once connected the keep to the village has also partially collapsed.
You don't see anyone in the watchtowers, and looking past you don't see anyone walking in the street either. It is midafternoon so in most towns and villages there would be activity at this time of day.
Zook follows behind Krakkan and Forge, but stops at the edge of the drawbridge. He glances around, looking for any signs of activity within the walls, nodding in agreement with Forge that something seems a little strange here.
"Oooo sneaking! I love sneaking." Bert follows Hawk (Stealth: 21 Perception 7), and tries to head toward where the bell's being rung. "Town shouldn't be empty, something's probably wrong." He looks to the horizon to check for goblins.