After meeting with Carman, the party set out to investigate the strange phenomenon of the New Mire. Nearly two weeks’ search led the group to a farm on the edge of the Patchwork Hills, where they met a young boy who told them a tale of frightening blue-skinned demons, which were deduced to be some unusual type of goblin. The party set out into the hills, following the boy’s description of where he encountered the creatures, eventually locating their lair. The goblins turned out to be stupefyingly cowardly and poor (as well as blue), and the party soon discovered they were in possession of a magical ring that might be the source of the waterlogging of the area. The goblin shaman was reluctant to give up the ring, as he claimed it was a gift from his god, Maglubiyet, forcing the party to give up a set of bracers of armor in exchange.
The group returned to Carman with their findings, collected their reward and proceeded to take the ring to the nearby town of Thurmaster in hopes that the local wizard, Tauster, could decode some of the item’s mysteries. Upon reaching Thurmaster, the wizard was easy enough to find, as his tower is easily visible from well beyond the town’s walls. Tauster turned out to be a cranky but (eventually) helpful old mage. While the rest of the group talked with the wizard, Thaelen ventured outside to chop some wood, where he was caught off-guard by a flare spell cast by Tauster’s apprentice, a young human woman named Marita. The party learned that Tauster had come from the mainland many years prior after a disagreement with his Guildmaster, but that he still had some contacts who he could contact to learn more about the ring. Marita turned out to be the fiancee of Andren, one of the young men who runs the Baron of Mutton back in Milborne. Tauster advised the party to head to the northeast to talk to Count Parlfray, who would be more open to aiding them in their mission to explore Vo Mandig’s new domain, as well as to meeting with the Duchess’s representatives.
After spending the night in Tauster’s tower (the lack of comfort still being far better than the fleas, grime and slop available at the local tavern), the party set out for Parlfray’s keep, which was under siege by a large creature resembling an ogre. The combined efforts of the party and the keep’s guard were only just enough to bring the monster down before it managed to break down the gates. The captain of the guard turned out to be Parlfray’s young son, Lyntern. The count met with the group to thank them for their efforts against the monster and to pledge his loyalty to the the Duchy. The party decided to investigate the origin of the ogre, which had been surgically and/or magically altered, tracking it back to the west, to the edge of the Hardlow Woods. Before plunging into the unfamiliar forest, the party decided to head to the southern edge of the wood to speak with the ranger Kuiper, who has the responsibility of watching the Hardlow Woods and a large portion of the lands north of the Churnett River. Kuiper volunteered to track the creature’s trail into the forest to allow the group to venture back to Milborne to gather information and supplies.
On the trip back from Milborne, the party was forced to camp down just a few miles from Kuiper’s farm due to heavy rain. Just before dawn broke, a group of bandits attacked from the forest, getting the drop on the mostly sleeping group. Six men armed with a variety of melee and ranged weapons, as well as scrolls and alchemical items, plus a flying priest with dark hair and a swarthy complexion, they gave the party everything they could handle, but in the end, the group managed to kill all but one bandit, who fled into the wood to the north and the priest, who flew off to the south.