Having arrived in Knightsbridge, the party split for the evening to pursue their individual interests. While Thadwick headed straight to the pub, No-Merit headed went in search of a library and an interesting book, while Arannis stayed in his room in the inn, enjoying a nice bottle of dandelion wine and a hot bath. Enna and Olivine, however, decided to make some trouble.
The ladies headed to a local marketplace and while Enna played lookout, Olivine picked the pocket of a local and promptly planted the goods on another passerby. When the city watch came by, the two bluffed their way out of it by saying they saw the one man steal from the other. The watch promptly hauled the suspect away to the local jail. Then, the two ladies felt the pang of guilt. They tried and failed to create a diversion and sneak into the jail. Failing that, they managed to pass some theives’ tools to the man in the cell in hopes that he could escape. When the man didn’t show at the arranged time at the pub to return Olivine’s thieves’ tools, the two women went to investigate.
Entering the jail, the two found blood everywhere and several decapitated guards. They left fairly uncomfortable and uncertain what to do next. They struggled to keep their activities secret from the others, but let slip a few clues. Knowing they had about a week to wait before Marius was scheduled to head north to Mistlevale, they decided to lay low and let the authorities handle it. Unknowing, No-Merit led Arannis to the library he had found, so he could find a good book, where they found the librarian murdered, and her liver removed and partially eaten. The party then decided it was time to act.
Gathering together at the scene of the crime, the group searched for clues. No-Merit noticed that the cuts were very precise, and matched up with a serial killer that came from Mistlevale. Olivine even managed to find a slight arcane trail, which the group followed out into the streets. Enna helped the group follow a more conventional trail, while Arannis and Thadwick kept the group moving. The trail led to one of Knightsbridge’s graveyards, where the party was surprised by a back assault by the familiar man from the jail and some undead minions. As the battle began, the killer promptly escaped. After dealing with the undead, the party followed the trail to the city guard barracks.
The party tried to follow the killer into the barracks, but were stopped. It seems that the guards had not noticed anyone besides guards entering the barracks. After some tense negotiation and a narrowly avoided fight, the killer was revealed as a doppelganger. The party defeated him, checked the body, and then parted ways with some very confused city guards.
In addition to some treasure (and Olivine’s thieves’ tools), there was a treasure map on the killer’s body. Having a week to spare, and seeing that the map led only a couple days away, the group decided to set out in search of adventure the following morning.
Making their way west, and encountered an orc raiding party in a wooded clearing, who they soundly defeated. Later in the day, they encountered a hobgoblin warband on the beach, which proved much more formidable, knocking a number of party members unconscious and sorely taxing their healing resources. Even in defeat, one of the final hobgoblins carried Olivine into the ocean in an attempt to drown her. After a tense fight, the party proved victorious, but were forced to set camp for the evening. No-Merit wisely prepared an eye of alarm ritual, since they were exposed on the beach. In the early morning, the alarm was tripped, and the group had a somewhat tense negotiation with some elven scouts and learned of a growing war between orcs and goblinoids in the area south of elven territory. The group shared a meal with the elves and received a gift in exchange for staying outside of the elven forest before heading on their way.
Crossing close to the forest, the party entered a saltmarsh. Wading knee-deep in brackish water, the group came upon a massive spiderweb holding a fire beetle and a pseudodragon. Investigating the webs, the party was attacked by an ettercap and several deathjump spiders. The party managed to defeat the spiders, free the pseudodragon, while the fire beetle escaped. The pseudodragon took a liking to Olivine, and decided to follow her.
Heading further into the marsh, the party was assaulted from all sides by a deadly hodgepodge of monsters native to the marsh, including a vine horror, a lizard man, a deathrattle viper, a ghoul, and a slaad tadpole, indicating that this might be a very dangerous marsh, indeed. The party once again was sorely pressed, particularly by the initial assault of the vine horror, who immobilized the majority of the party and made them easy targets for the rest. After a long battle, the party finally defeated them, though, and found the entrance to the cave mentioned on the treasure map.