The next morning in Milborne there is a bustle about the town. The Denfast’s, a family of farmers, has abandoned their land and are selling their remaining equipment. In conversation, the group learns about some trouble with the farmland in southern Haranshire. What was once a fertile place, the land has become waterlogged and swollen with standing water. The “New Mire” as it’s called has been growing for two years and no one understands why. The Denfast’s have lost their livelihood and are frustrated with Darius Carman’s lack of resolution to the issue.
Most of the party goes about town learning what they can of the issue, talking to the family and others around the exchange. Dain sends his servants to seek an audience with Darius although they are met with resistance from the doorman. Talman takes the opportunity to follow up with Semephis at the temple. Clearly Semephis is not in line and knowledgeable about the reasons that Talman is in town. Talman makes the best of it to ease Semephis’ concerns while at the same time impressing on Semephis the changes he intends to make. After his discussion, Talman goes around town and spreads the word about the healing services that are being setup at the temple.
The party, now regrouped, decides to attempt an audience with Darius Carman. Entering the mansion grounds they are happy to find Darius on his way out. Short and gruff at first Darius isn’t very cooperative. Dain attempts to appeal to the more noble side of Milborne’s leader and Darius begins to open up.
The New Mire problems are discussed and the group learns that there have been several attempts, at great expense to Darius, to solve the issue. Several parties of different skill have been sent and after wasted time and money have no more information than “Yup, something isn’t right here for sure!” Darius, in what he sees as a last attempt, commissions the group to help find a cause. He agrees to pay 50GP for two seeks investigation. He concedes to offer an additional reward if the party can resolve the issue within that time. The party, sensing his desperation, successfully gets Darius to double his reward for success to 2000GP.
Before leaving town the party also meets with Garyld. They update him on the progress in search of Jelenneth, and the events that took place with Kuiper and Oleanne. Garyld fills in some background on their roll in Haranshire. He explains that the 3 Rangers (himself, Kuiper and a yet unmet Shiraz, along with the druid Oleanne), have taken charge to watch over greater Haranshire. Garyld scribbles some notes down on a shred of parchment and places it in a little cylinder attached to the foot of a crow. The crow flies off to the south, “Inner-Haranshire communication.” He says. Before leaving Garyld delivers a map, giving the party a better sense of their position in Haranshire.
Heading south to investigate the New Mire, the party visits the small village of Harlaton. Although dotted with many farms along the way, the village itself is represented by not much more than the single tavern and common area. Inside the group meets a young woman tending the bar. The place is empty otherwise, even the cook has to restart the stove when the group orders up something for lunch. Lite conversation with the girl confirms the growing understanding of the local’s frustration with the Carman family.
In a short while and with the map marked the party ventures on westward across the northern end of the patchwork hills towards the New Mire. They decide to take a shortcut through the hills which is fairly easy going in addition to saving several miles of walking.
Scouting through the foothills, the group finds traces of goblins and comes across a cave. Without much hesitation Groat explores the cave confirming the presence of goblins. The group decides to take a direct assault and stations up at the first narrow passage. From this point the group easily dispatches goblin after goblin. Further in the cave the rest of the goblins are cleared. Searching the area the party finds three dried skins of red goblins. This stands out as all the goblins encountered in the cave so far have been green. The group takes the skins and before getting back to the path decide to secure the cave entrance. The dwarves find it and easy show of strength and cover the entrance for good.
The party creeps along the north edge of the New Mire, crossing farm after farm as the evidence of trouble is seen firsthand. They meet a young farmer on their way and after a short conversation he directs them towards the Denfast farm. Like the others along the way, Talman gives the offer of some work back in Milborne for a young farmer at the temple.
An abandoned farm is located and believing it to be the Denfast farm the group scouts the area. Before everyone retires there is a sound outside the house. Groat goes to investigate.