The Ulberian half-orc paladin Honora, and her Brelindian companion Diedra, arrive in the town of Rellenford. They inquire about the “lord’s man” Klogis with the guards, who confess not recognizing the emblem he carried or the man’s name. One guard goes to ask the Rellenford guard-captain Gaelvar for information on Klogis, while the other directs the two women to Falcon’s Tavern to wait for a time.
When they arrive, the two draw immediate attention from another pair of out-of-town individuals of note. The autumn elf “miner” Baden immediately takes note of Honora’s gear and bearing, and identifies her as a Valysan on a pilgrimage of the sword. He and his companion, the wandering storm-caller Abbron, invite Honora and Diedra to join them; it’s apparent that all four have certain… interests in common.
The recently arrived women explain the nature of Klogis and his claims of noble protection. The “Candle Man” rumor is very familiar to the other two, though the seal is a curiosity; it reminds Abbron of the Black Gryphon, a mighty knight who rose to the rank of Count centuries ago, but whose descendants have since taken their own variations on his heraldry. At any rate, none of the Gryphon’s line have ever used a blank shield as part of their badge.
The four continue to compare notes until the guard returns, and confesses that Captain Gaelvar cannot assist them at all. He seems oddly confused or worried, and although Abbron attempts to wheedle some more information out of him, there’s little else to be had. Once the guard has left, the four muse that all roads seem to be pointing toward Tor Skalane.
Tor Skalane, from what they know, was a human fort that retained some elven presence until roughly a century ago, when it fell in a night and its defenders were slaughtered or vanished. Some suspect giants: in Brelindia, it’s said the giants come out of the mountains sometimes when the fog is thick. A variety of rumors surround the place: the dead walk, orcs dwell there, all manner of things. But from what Abbron knows, it seems a likely place for the bugbears he suspects of murdering travelers (and setting candles on their corpses) to lair. And Baden is curious to see if there might be some sign of an errant Councilor dwelling there. Certainly it would provide space for a sorcerer like Klogis to work his viler arts — and so, the four resolve to travel there in the morning.
They reach Tor Skalane at midday. The keep is on a hill strewn with immense boulders, allowing them to approach rather cautiously. Baden scouts, and notes potential entryways at the gate, at a large tower, in another of the courtyard walls, and finally an entry knocked into the throne room of the keep proper. (He also notes that the rumors of giants are apparently true, given the immense skeleton lying near a rotting catapult.)
The four enter the keep proper, in the hole hammered into what is apparently the throne room. Several frescoes have been recently defaced, and they spot a pair small and excessively hairy creatures — young bugbears, by all rights. Baden and Honora cut the two down, but not before one sounds an alarm.
And the bugbears come. Honora is first to engage the bone-adorned, skull-painted monsters as they enter the nearby room from upstairs as well as another pair of doors. The goblin men are a brutal group, led by some sort of hexer that carries a stave painted with an eye emblem and wears a large, preserved eye around its neck. The hexer is able to lock up Honora and Diedra with his curses, and the trophy-hunters lay out vicious attacks that nearly kill Baden. But divine wrath and protection, to say nothing of thunder and lightning, are on the heroes’ side. When the last of the bugbears is felled by dual greataxe blows, a momentary quiet again settles over that portion of the ruined keep.