In the morning, the company set out from the East gate, expecting a rough day long trip without much for supplies.
Rounding the southeastern part of Bald Hill the party noticed some noise ahead that might have been a battle. Some in the party wanted to rush ahead along the road, but the majority won out and Tok was sent to investigate.
Tok had been gone what seemed too long to be coincidence. They had become concerned he might have been spotted lurking in the shrubs beside the road so ahead they went.
Rounding the bend and breaking from the thicker tree line they came upon a scene of chaos. Halflings, a few dozen at rough count, covered in red smears, screaming, running about, laughing, and having a grand time. Beer was being tapped from a small keg, and they were throwing cherries from bushel baskets at one another. Right beside the keg, getting a good early day drunk started was Tok, none the worse for wear.
This turned out to be a springtime ritual among the cherry farming halfling clans. A couple bushels of the worst cherries of the crop and a keg of good beer were brought to this intersection where a battle royale and party was had to celebrate.
Annoyed with Tok, some for his carelessness in not reporting back that everything was okay, others because he didn't invite them right away, they made introductions, bought 4 pints of the better cherries, collected Tok and prepared to continue on. That is when they were bid a good trip and warned about the werewolf that had mauled some folk on the hill recently. Apparently a drunken Tok was the least of their worries.
This was a fun little random encounter roll. The dice indicated two possibilities, a werewolf, or a bunch of halflings. The party lacked anything to defend themselves with so I decided to combine both in the above manner. I'm not against letting the dice fall how they will, but I'll err on the side of leaving open a suspenseful possibility before initiating a non-defensible tragedy this early on in the campaign. Next time . . . we'll see.
It was about an hour before nightfall when they reached Lake Farmin. The cost at the gates was a silver piece each, 10 times the cost of entrance at Restenford. Much grumbling later about "this is how you treat werewolf hunters", they paid the fee and entered.
They made their way to the Inn of Abraham where they again tried to use the story of being there to hunt down and eleimate the werewolf plaguing the area as a means of reducing expenses. It did win them a round of free beer, but did little to reduce the overall costs.
In the morning they set about finding buyers for the remaining gear that they themselves didn't need, as well as the gem appraiser and an alchemist. It didn't take long to locate all three.
Krak is a larger than average Orc who runs the armory and smithing operation. Olhatta is the jewler, and Hestel is the local alchemist.
With a little negotiation they had what they felt was a fair price for the leather and hide armor the bandits had worn as well as some of the weapons.
Olhatta charged a small appraisal fee and informed them that the gems were worth 10, 50, 100, and 750 gold respectively. It was the small flawless ruby that was appraised the highest. Olhatta offered to buy the ruby and could have the cash the next day. Agreed.
Hestel originally wanted 150 gold to identify the two potions, but a weakness for fresh cherries was his undoing. The price dropped to 100 gold after being given a few pints of cherries. The potions could be picked up the next evening.