On Monday, July 28th, Matthias enlists a pair of Citadel House Adventurers to convey Barnabas and a team of sappers to the Kobold Outpost and make it unusable as a stronghold in the future. They (and those characters already at the outpost being played) are:
- Verdis (HuS): Level 9 Human Fighter
- Simon (JeA): Level 4 Human Druid
- Fenris: Level 3 Wolf Companion
- Jonathan (JaA): Level 3 Human Musician
- Draft Horse Oscar Lindstrough
- Caramon (CoB): Level 1 Human Fighter
- Barfollowmew “Loamie” (NiE): Level 1 Half-Elf, Half-Human Cleric
As they go, Caramon notices an unusually colorful bird (red and blue with a pink circle on its head) following them. It follows them to the edge of the clearing around the outpost, but stops there.
Meanwhile, at the outpost, Verdis and Loamie are on the morning watch when a lone lizardfolk approaches the outpost. Loamie sees him and watches as he comes within 100 feet before sitting on the slope up to the mesa. After watching him sit a little, Loamie goes and brings Verdis over and while they both observe him, he calls out “can I come in?” in ensignal!
Gathering the others, they allow him in and learn that he has come to be an ambassador to the Vale on behalf of the Dragon Empire. They are highly sceptical of this claim, but agree to at least bring him to Citadel so Matthias can decide what to do about his request.
When the Barnabas team arrives, Caramon tells Simon about the bird and they settle in for the night after a long hike. Before bedding down, Barnabas expends much of his magic collapsing the main garrison chamber and some other passages.
The night passes uneventfully, except for Frank observing a colorful bird lingering in the area. He lets Simon know at the change of the watch, but neither Simon nor Caramon and Jonathan observe it on their watch.
In the morning, the 29th, the garrison packs up their equipment while Barnabas closes or collapses all tunnels but their sleeping area and the kitchen. Meanwhile, his sappers tear down and burn the timbers of the gate and collapse the well behind the kitchen.
With everyone moved to the top of the mesa, Barnabas carefully seals off the kitchen and the large chamber. During this time, Simon notices the colorful bird circling high above them. He convinces it to come down and when it isn’t forthcoming about its master, he captures it with a makeshift cage.
They spend the night atop the windy mesa, intending to set out in the morning and reach Citadel by evening. During Simon’s watch, a voice calls out along for its bird back. He identifies itself as Gibby and apart from wanting the return of Gub 5, he inquires after the names of the Vale towns, apparently updating old maps. Simon refuses to return the bird until they have met in the daylight and Gibby agrees to meet.
In the morning, they meet with Gibby who looks like maybe an albino satyr. Verdis suspects he is a fey, based partly on a vague resemblance to Viera of the Sleeping Satyr. They learn:
- Gibby is an avid map maker, but not willing to share.
- It has been about 50 years since Gibby updated this area.
- Gibby doesn’t get along with the Satyrs.
- Gibby considers the Dragon Empire “mean” but not competently so.
- Simon (and Vale folk by extension) he sees as less mean, but more competently mean, and therefore more dangerous. He is skittish about the possibility they will follow him home.
- Gibby will not trust them enough to visit Citadel, he also doesn’t quite trust them with his maps.
Having given him his bird, they part ways, gather up the rest of the Vale folk, and begin the trip back. Their march, which started later in the morning, is interrupted when Verdis senses heavy rain to start around 6, when they will still be a few hours from Citadel. They decide to make camp before the rain starts and finish the trip in the morning.
The rain stops around midnight, but during the last watch (Caramon and Jonathan), Simon wakes up suddenly feeling something on him. He sits up, crying out as a giant spider is flung onto the ground, waking Caramon and the rest of the camp. Webs bind Simon from the waist down, Verdis is completely enveloped in webs, as are Frank, Lash, Barnabas, and two of the sappers. Awakening to find themselves surrounded with spiders, Harold and the last sapper flee into the woods.
In the battle that follows, spider venom reduces Jonathan to only enough strength flee and sing a battle song. Loamie goes down, and Verdis, hopping and still bound introduces the tactic of falling on them, killing three of the four (we used the wield person mechanics, with a penalty to hit and low dodge threshold). Simon, having cut himself loose, engages with hatchet and fiery spells, proving very effective. Wounded, weak, and alone, Jonathan emulates Verdis in his bodily attack, crushing the last spider pursuing him. While Caramon has managed to stab a couple, when confronted with two, he too decides to attack with his body, crushing one but allowing the other to bite him while he’s prone before Simon burns it. Flailing wildly, Verdis helps Simon destroy the last one still on Loamie.
With the battle over, Verdis is cut free and heals the party. He doesn’t have the means to recover the strength of the many weakened party members, but Loamie is still able to walk and Jonathan can ride on Oliver. They cut the others free and set out for Citadel, soon reuniting with Harold and the other who fled.
In Citadel, they introduce the Dragon Empire ambassador to Matthias, who agrees to house him in Citadel House, to be watched over by the adventurers living there. He hopes that peace will be reached by having such a contact. Loamie levels up.