From the Journal of Sharak Langenbart, Weaponsmith:
25 Straasa 1508: Parth had found us again at the inn where Nels and I had previously stayed in Bartertown. I had not gotten fleas there or robbed, so I figured it was safe enough to stay at again.
We left Bartertown behind us early this morn and rode with good speed, if heavy hearts, back to Ardanyan. At the moment, I believe I wish to think more than write.
26 Strassa 1508: The journey was uneventful and my companions had the sense to keep silent rather than come into further conflict. We did decide that we should stop by Tungar’s mine on the way back into town, since it was on the way more or less, and see if we could see what was there that these elves thought was worth killing people over. We arrived there late yesterday afternoon and traveled off into the woods in the direction which the unfortunate Tungar had indicated the mine laid. We heard some loud animal noises, but were fairly startled when we came upon an enormous bear with a ram’s horns. None of us had encountered such a thing, but I later learned it was called a brithan. Since we had come off rather worse the wear from some smaller magical beasts we decided to back away slowly and not engage the obviously territorial creature. For reasons of its own, it decided to let us go, much to my relief, and we returned to Ardanyan proper.
Lacking the warehouse to use as our base of operations, I suggested the Red Raven Inn, since they at least served a good tankard of mead. We were surprised to find that our faces were posted on the sides of the doors, “Wanted: Dead or Alive” with the charges listed as “Slavery”. I suppose we had poked our heads too far down some hole, though we hadn’t even gotten all that close to the mines. Startled, we turned and headed out of town, though we stopped in an out-of-the-way spot and had the Illusionist disguise our appearances. Apparently, we had already been spotted by someone, as I soon became aware that we were being followed. After I alerted my companions, probably none too subtly, Parth broke off in an attempt to draw the attention of the person following us. It seemed to work and the rest of us took advantage of the situation and scattered. I stuck with Nels and we moved off into a nearby alley. I was quite surprised when we encountered a young human who gestured to us and opened a trick door that opened into a cellar. It had a heavy looking load on top of it though he opened it quite easily. Counterbalanced perhaps, I never did think to ask. I thought a moment and was reasonably sure I recognized him from my time reconnoitering at the Red Raven Inn so I suggested we follow. After a time of silence in the dark where we heard no pursuit we inquired after his name. He gave us the name Titoo and claimed to be mixed up in the business with the false slavery accusations. He had worked with someone who got busted for slaving and was currently in jail. We traded stories to some degree and discovered he had made an attempt to rescue his companion from the jail. I didn’t like the thought of attacking the guards given our luck with pitched combat up to this point so I avoided that topic to some degree. Eventually we decided it was time to try our luck at leaving the town and we we parted company. I suspected we would see him again, though we did not share our plans in detail. I was not sure how trustworthy he was, and he did not plan to leave town with us, so the less he knew the better. Our illusions were more successful this time, or the guards less attentive, and we slipped easily from town. We set up camp on a ridge where we could see people passing down the road from town and waited. The troll appeared at some point; he had escaped first I gathered, though his story was not particularly memorable. No sign of Parth.
27 Strassa 1508: Parth did not show up until this morning, soaking wet. He had circled around and confronted our tail and had quite a lively duel with the person until he was clubbed unconscious from behind. I don’t recall how he escaped, but it did involve a fair bit of swimming, and the damp air has not allowed him to quite dry out. In any event, we discovered from Titoo that the Brithan was fairly clever and would likely respond well to a one-on-one challenge and yield to a decisive wound. We decided to give the mine another shot as soon as possible…which, no doubt, means as soon as we complete our morning rituals. We’re reasonably well provisioned but I hope we do not run into significant resistance. I am again disheartened by the scale of the task before us. We stand more or less alone against a fortified city with innocent lives on the line. Let the Passions guide us as we descend into darkness.