After defeating the last goblin, Natasha turned her attention to Marco, who was lying on the ground, on the verge of unconsciousness. She retrieved the small vial of healing potion from his satchel, and poured some between his lips. Shortly he began to recover his strenghth and was able to stand.
In the goblin camp, were Derek and Layla’s possessions and the horses for their wagon were not far off in the forest. The goblin shaman had a mysterious salve and some herbs in his sack, but their other items were worthless. They were able to return all of the cargo to the wagon and re-hitch the horses. Layla offered the party a ride in the wagon to Westlake, where they could enjoy the hospitality of their family’s inn. They arrived late, and upon hearing the story the innkeeper was happy to offer all his services free of charge. The adventurers settled into comfortale rooms, and were soon all fast asleep.
The next morning they were all enjoying a hearty breakfast when they noticed one of the serving girls pass by their table. She was in her early 20s, attractive and with black hair. She was wearing simple clothing. After she had passed Caspian had noticed that she had left a small note near his plate. He glanced at the note and it said, “Help me, please!” Caspian had seen her go down the stairs to the cellar. He and Natasha arose and followed her.
In the cellar she was waiting for them. She explained that her name was crystal, and she was from a small kingdom further east. She said that she was a daughter of the ruling family there, but her family had been overthrown, and she had narrowly escaped. She was now hunted by the usurpers, and she knows that Black Tyrell and his men have located her, and meant to take her back. She had discovered that they were staying in a cave nearby, biding their time, waiting for an opportunity to grab her.
“I want you to kill them,” she said. “They are evil men that mean me harm. I will generously reward you for your help.” Caspian said they would find the men, and took his leave. They decided to proceed to the cave and investigate, not knowing if they should trust this woman.
It was a short journey to the cave, and the group arrived in the daed of night. There was a stout door on the cave mouth that was locked, but Caspian was able to open it. Beyond lay a dark cavern opening into a tunnel. At an opening high above there was a flicker of light and distant voices. The adventurers proceeded down the hallway, which was closed at the end by a rusty porcullis. A flicker of light came from the room beyond, illuminating a lever on the wall. There also came the sound of heavy breathing.
Caspian pulled the lever and the porcullis opened upward with a creak, and a long clanging sound. The breathing, which was like a snoring really, changed to a low growl. A dark heap in the corner stirred and rose to it’s feet to reveal the biggest wolf Caspian ever saw. Bones clattered at its feet as it moved forward slowly.
Caspian sprung forward at the wolf, meeting it halfway, knives flashing in the dim light of the single brasier lighting the room. His slashes drew blood enraging the beast. Natasha moved foreward, drawing her sword and slashed, striking the wolf on the flank. The wolf lashed back with its enormous fangs, drawing blood from her arm through her light mail. Marco moved forward to help, but Caspains knives flashed again at the wolf’s throat, and it wimpered and fell dead.
At the other end of the room another porcullis closed the mouth of a passage leading upward. This too opened with a creak and clatter, and the party moved into the dark. The passage turned left twice as it climbed, and a flickering light was visible as they turned the corner.
“I know why you are here,” called out a gravelly voice.
The party members continued forward to from where the voice came, into a well lighted room. The room was furnished with three bunks and a table. Casks and boxes of stores lay about as well as armor, clothing, and weapons. In the center of the room stood a man with dark hair and a short dark beard, wearing leather armor, and a sword belt.
“I am Black Tyrell,” he said. “And these are my associates,” he added gesturing to two hooded figures standing behind him. “How can I help you? Or better, how can we help each other?”
“Crystal sent us,” replied Caspian.
“She did, did she,” scoffed Tyrell. “I wonder what lies she told you. ‘Crystal’ isn’t even her real name. If she told you that we have come for her, she is right, she is a traitor to her people, and we have come to take her to justice.”
“She sent us here to kill you, she doesn’t intend to go back,”. Caspian replied.
“Maybe we can help each other out. I need to bring her back, there could be some coin in it if you are willing to lend a hand,” answered Tyrell.
“What do you want us to do?” Said Caspian.
“Just bring her to the stables outside of Westlake tomorrow at midnight and I’ll make it worth your while.”
Natasha and Caspian conferrered privately. “We don’t know who to trust,” said Natasha. “We should agree to his offer for now until we can see who is lying.”
Caspian agreed. “It’s a deal,” he told Tyrell. Then they took there leave.