Riding the final few miles into Drellin’s Ferry, you were met by the town militia, who were suitably impressed by your tale of hobgoblin skirmish, and your grisly trophies.
Word soon spread around the town that you had arrived, and you found welcome receptions as you visited various shopkeepers, sold items, and traded for more useful ones.
At the Old Toll House (rechristened the Hall of Justice), Norro Wiston spoke with you about the growing hobgoblin threat. He mentioned that until fairly recently, goblins and hobgoblins had been sticking to their homes in the Wyrmsmoke Mountains to the west. But in the last few weeks, more had been seen in the Witchwood, especially around Drellin’s Ferry.
There was also mention of forest giants, many years ago, but Wiston believes they’re all gone. Wiston also advised you to find old Jorr, a ranger in the Witchwood who knows his way around.
By then, it was getting dark, so you spent the night in the inn, where you all slept well and the halfling innkeepers did absolutely nothing to your horses.
At daybreak, you started up a thin trail rather than taking the road. After a few hours, and a strange beetle encounter, you found Jorr’s cabin. Impressed by your Sylvan-speaking ranger, who hates goblins as much as he does, Jorr agreed to act as your guide for a mere 3 gold pieces per day.
Jorr advised you that the old Vraath Keep would be a good place for goblins to hole up. On the road north toward it, Jorr told you the story of Vraath Keep:
A few generations back, Lord Amery Vraath claimed all of the Witchwood as his territory, and gathered a group of men at Vraath Keep to claim it. His top priority was ridding the forest of giants.
Amery’s men raided the giants’ steading, killed many, and drove the rest into the mountains. Two weeks later, the remaining giants returned and attacked Vraath Keep. The battle was fierce, but the giants won this time. There were no human survivors, but it is said that Amery Vraath’s spirit still haunts the keep.
Jorr is not one to believe in a bunch of “haunted keep” hooey, though.
Eventually, the road became a wooden causeway, running over a shallow, swampy stream. As you crossed, a couple of you noticed an unusually large snake in the water, near an overturned wagon.
That snake turned out to be one head of a hydra!
Hungry, and mean, the hydra advanced on you. Az Magyar used a Hero Point for a timely retreat before six terrible heads came crashing down on him. He pulled out in the nick of time! (In the quickening of battle, his use of the Hero Point also gave him a permanent +2 bonus to his Ride skill!)
Frustratingly tough, the hydra seemed to heal wounds almost as fast as you could deal them. One head was lopped off, but you were only whittling it down until San Te, using his own Hero Point, leaped onto the hydra’s back.
The remaining five heads of the hydra turned to face the monk, and struck at the irritation! A second leap carried San Te away from harm. However, the hydra did not fare so well… four vicious bites cut into its own back, and the beast died from self-inflicted wounds!
Jorr hasn’t been up this way in a while, but he knows hydras aren’t native to the Witchwood. This thing must have shown up since the hobgoblins started getting thicker in the area. That’s a bad sign.
You search the wagon, and find a magical mithral breastplate inside, along with some ruined hobgoblin armor and weapons, collected by the hydra.
Everyone gets 625 experience points!
Reminder: Everyone started at 12,500, so you have 13,933 total xp now. You’ll reach 6th level at 15,000 xp.