In addition to Erin, Thamior, Newt, and Esmey, the retinue bound for the dwarven kingdom on the mainland includes Erin’s new handmaid Helen Hale, Thomas in his capacity as Erin’s squire, and the leopard Feist.
Feran’s impounded ship is christened “The Silver Runner”, loaded with the crates of silver ore, and sailed to the port town of Watergate in the northern part of the mainland dwarven kingdom. Esmey uses Watergate’s architecture as an opportunity to school everyone on the history of dwarven stone fortification and the vitality to cannons.
The harbormaster mentions a blockage in the northern part of the dwarven road causing delays in transport. Nobody knows why traffic isn’t getting through, but it’s backing up the docks and causing unrest on the street.
Erin hits the mercantile district; after all, she’s a merchant here to trade silver! The word seems to be than it’s some manner of monster causing the trouble, but nobody’s escaped to tell what sort. She tries to drum up support for an armed convoy to break the blockade. None of the dwarf merchants are willing to take the risk, but she finds a minotaur caravan made of sterner stuff and willing to dare the monsters blocking the road.
Thomas is geared up to Esmey’s specification and on Erin’s dime to be a plausible caravan guard: a musket (student grade), studded leather, alchemy supplies for making gunpowder, Erin’s old shield. Erin upgrades to a +1 shield with a loan from Esmey. The abundance of hand-me-downs even sees Helen outfitted in something more appropriate for the rigors of the road: Thomas’s old leather armor, Erin’s dagger, and Esmey’s light crossbow.
After a night in a good inn, the Amarantine party joins up with the minotaur caravan, which is led by a fellow named Cowson.
Reaching the site of the previous disappearances, Thamior is sent ahead to scout. He hears growling and pulls back without seeing anything directly. His report upon returning is that it must be big, but whatever it is, it’s alone.
Leaving Helen back with the caravan, Erin marches in as heavily-armored bait, with the remainder of the force following 50’ behind. It’s not a subtle approach, but it works — she makes contact with a fearsomely beclawed green-skinned humanoid, twice the height of a man but for its hunched posture.
Newt identifies the creature as a troll, and uses Flaming Sphere to suppress its regeneration ability while his companions and the minotaurs hack it down. Two additional trolls are drawn by the commotion and a two front battle ensues, with the minotaurs holding back one troll and the humans holding back the other, while Newt stays in the middle directing the Flaming Sphere on one front and using Produce Flame on the other.
Searching the area after the battle, the trolls’ nest is found to contain a small amount of coin, sundry weapons, and one genuine treasure: a +1 greataxe. This ends up being gifted to Cowson, the leader of the minotaur caravan guards.
The company is feted upon their arrival at the dwarven town of Northgate.