Winter had been a busy time for Harold Trotter, ever since he saw his first white mouse in Enonia. Kee the Elf had observed him chasing a cat soon after that, but there had not been time to stop and explain the strange event or the fact that these subtle portents meant littlelings were spying on Enonia. It had taken some time for Harold to track the spies out of Enonia and as far as the Town of Cheddon, where he learned which house from the Direlands the spies originated. Satisfied that the spies were not allied with his old enemy, Sarumort, Harold camped out the remaining winter months in and around Cheddon before his return trek to his adopted home of Enonia. In particular, he felt some adventuring with his old companions would be a welcome spring vacation – as well as a source for replenishing his personal funds.
It was refreshing to see that any day spent lurking around the Mug and Pot Tavern was still a chance to see familiar faces. Parabellum, Kee, Aramin, and the ever-silent Ragnar were on hand – with a host of unfamiliar faces as well! It seemed the mercenary company Harold had tried to help found had floundered during the winter months and Aramin was now more of an unofficial leader to a ragtag band of explorers than anything else. There was also talk of some remarkable events that had occurred while Harold was away in Cheddon. An earthquake? A floating tower over a lake? A striped mage? Hmm, that made Harold a little nervous about his own clothes, but no one else seemed to notice. But what really took Harold by surprise was the sight of another littleling amongst the company!
Harold quickly overheard this other littleling went by the name of Randy. Was he another spy? Or worse, Sarumort in disguise? Harold vowed not to take his eyes off this “Randy”, even if it meant taking another trip to the old dwarf mines. Harold had always hated going to the old dwarf mines and long since thought they were played out for valuables, but there was much talk around the table in hushed voices of some quest and of dark ones that needed to be stopped there. Oh well. Perhaps Harold could find another secret treasure room down there after all.
The woods around the mines were as busy as ever with the Kobold-Goblin War – Harold and company seemed equidistant from the far-off fighting the whole half-day march to the mines. On one occasion, Harold was able to pull Randy aside and talk to him about what their sharper ears
heard and Harold was pleased at the results of the truthfulness test he put Randy through.
Everyone at least half-expected an ambush, so it was a welcome surprise when they were the ambushers, coming across a score of kobolds who looked like they had just lost another fight. Much time was spent parleying with the kobold sergeant, so much so that Harold was soon siding with those who hung back but quietly whispered that maybe killing these kobolds would have been a better idea. Having a squad of kobolds recovering behind you while you dungeon delve did not
seem like a great idea to Harold, but that is what they did anyway.
Harold’s chief concern was for his trusty donkey, Hermione. The company had only one other pack animal amongst them, a mule, so the mule and donkey were led down into the mines and left in the first large cave.