The Hilltoppers set out from the Old Hills, having been granted boons from the Elders. In search of rumors of dragons, they did proceed to The Black Cat Tavern in Baynar. Although hesitant, Cade overcome his fear and accompanied the group inside. However, once in the tavern an actual black cat ran across his path and struck terror in his heart causing Cade to flee. The warm greeting the Halflings received in the bar turned quickly to companionable laughter. As the Hilltoppers pass, those within stand and bow out of respect for their great deeds. Standing on a table, Eldon called the patrons of the tavern to attention and asked for information regarding the dragon sightings.
Rosie, the beautiful barmaid, recommended that they speak to one of the following three men: Bramsen (Local Oaf), Libsen (Arms Dealer), or Smything (Civic Leader). Once this information was imparted, the crowd called for a song. Eldon regaled them with The Lay of the Hilltoppers Return. The companions threw silver to the crowd and departed to meet with Libsen and Smything.
But first, Dnulper urged them to meet with his good friend the wizard Dimple. As they walked down the street to meet with Dimple, shutters and doors closed when the Hilltoppers passed. The friends arrived at Dimple’s home and workshop to find, to their surprise, that Dimple the Wizard was a gnome. After speaking with the wizard only briefly, a noise arose in the street; Dimple’s neighbors formed a small mob and shouted insults at those within. Dnulper and Percivillis quickly sprung to defend their friend with force of arms; the Halflings were not so quick to fight.
Stepping outside, Eldon began to speak to the crowd. Even as he began, he caught a head of lettuce with his face. He laughed it off and continued speaking, entreating the crowd to set aside their animosity. The big folk, however, took this as an incitement to fighting and drew their weapons, while Dimple cast a spell on the Hilltoppers to turn them into terrible lizards. Instead of lizards, however, the heroes were turned into large toads. Although Eldon was certain that he could have persuaded the crowds not to fight, their transformation was taken as a threat, and the neighbors fled.
The Halflings were quite upset with this turn of events, and lost confidence in their new wizard acquaintance, who begged their forgiveness and urged for a partnership. After regaining their proper shape, the friends hurried to meet with Libsen.
Their reputation preceded them, as Libsen and his clerk were quite excited to meet the famed Hilltoppers. He quickly offered reduced rates for all their goods. And for a reduced fee, Libsen also directed the adventurers to the Northeastern mountains to find the dragons responsible for the massacre. After leaving, the Hilltoppers made their way to see Smything. Kinter noted that something in Libsen’s report did not seem reliable and Cade concurred.
A crowd was gathered outside Smything’s office, listening to him as he closed out a vitriolic speech regarding the evils of the world. “The dragon is an evil without,” he declared, “but we must also recognize the evils within. We must change our hearts, turn back to true religion, and reform our lives.” Eldon broke in. “Good news! We have come to fight the evil without, so that you may turn your hearts to the evil within.” After speaking thus to the crowd, the Hilltoppers met inside with Smything. After much persuasion, Smything agreed to give the friends the information they sought.
As Smything imparted this information, Eldon noted an emblem on the wall: A wolf with the mane of a lion. He recognized this as the sign of the Order of the Wolf, an order descending from the wolves who fought against Aslan. Smything gave the adventurers information regarding the dragons and asked them to return with tales of their quest and offered companions to accompany them. The Hilltoppers agreed to return with tales, but Eldon did so warily.
After leaving Smything’s office, Eldon addressed the crowd once again. He recited the Lay of the Hilltoppers Return, introduced the companions, and sang the praises of Aslan. The crowd turned to their favor and took up an offering. Cade received their offering, but entreated them to give the gift instead to the poor and widows among them. The widows wept with joy.
After so addressing the crowd, the Hilltoppers sought out Bramsen. Upon the completion of a frustrating search, they found Bramsen hidden unconscious on his front porch. Cade healed his drunkenness, and they began to speak with one another. Bramsen agreed to give them information regarding the dragons only if they would save his brother, who had been kidnapped by the Order of the Wolf. Glad to be of service, and of detriment to the Order, the Hilltoppers agreed.
Bramsen’s brother, Jaymz, was being held at the Temple. Once outside, the friends agreed that Jarvis should spy out the temple while invisible. After investigating, he reported the prisoner’s possible locations and recommended that they enter through the back door. Unfortunately, the temple doors were closed. Not to be delayed from their quest, Kinter unlocked the chains on the back gate and the companions entered.
Once within, the six discovered that the temple was nearly deserted. Only a few guards roamed the halls. Jarvis, still invisible, put the first to sleep. Meanwhile, Kinter began picking the lock of a nearby door. Unfortunately, this set off an alarm. Thinking quickly, Cade surrounded the party with a field of silence. Inside the room, Kinter discovered crates full of treasure, potion ingredients, scrolls listing the rolls of the Order of the Wolf, and a single crate full of decaying human body parts covered in flies. Several party members vomited.
Continuing their search, the Hilltoppers reach the other room, presumed to be a prison. After picking several of the locks, a guard inside the room was alerted. Eldon cleverly persuaded him to open the door, and was promptly put to sleep by Jarvis. Jaymz, only twelve years old, was filled with joy at the sight of the adventurers and began to weep. Eldon quieted him before the guards could be alerted. Meanwhile, Kinter searched the prone guard and found a key to the prison cell. Unfortunately, the guard was awakened by a second ham-fisted search for coin.
The guard saw the adventurers and tried to stand. Knowing that he would then be able to identify them, Jarvis dashed to the guard and plunged his sword into the guard spilling his blood and entrails. The adventurers had hoped to escape without discovery, but now they had killed.
To Kinter’s joy, they quickly devised a plan to make the prison break look like a temple robbery. Cade and Eldon moved to find the other guards, at the main gate and the other lying asleep, where Jarvis left him. The first, Eldon dealt with: a sliced throat. The second fell to Cade: mystically held, and cleanly beheaded.
After dispatching the guards, the Hilltoppers eyed the prize of the temple: a large wolf idol made of silver, standing on an altar at the temple’s center. The idea occurred first to Eldon, and the others quickly agreed. They removed the idol and piled the guards atop the altar instead. Thus robbing and desecrating the heretic temple at the same time. Then they made their escape.
Knowing that this raid would bring suspicion down on Bramsen, Eldon and Jarvis rushed to his home to warn him and deliver his brother. Knowing that they must also flee, Jarvis and Eldon gave them gold just stolen from the temple. Bramsen quickly fled with his little brother to the docks to begin his new life. Though they had begun as enemies, Bramsen and Eldon had now become friends. The man gave the Halflings the needed information and asked them to send word whenever the Order of the Wolf is abolished, that he and his brother could return. And after bestowing the Blessing of Aslan, they departed.
Meanwhile, the others stashed the loot from the temple raid before meeting at The Black Cat. While there, men rushed in to the tavern and reported that Bramsen’s house was ablaze (a fire started by Bramson before he left). All the patrons, including the adventurers, hurried to put out the fire. Surrounded by guards from the Order of the Wolf, the blaze was quickly extinguished. Once the area was safe again, all of the party returned to Dnulper’s house to retire for the night.
While in the dead of night the Order of the Wolf did make a fruitless search to murder Bramson and his brother.