With the return journey to Goldreach relatively quiet, the group soon found themselves arriving at the farmlands skirting the village centre. Once again, things seemed a little too quiet, though this quickly changed when they ventured further in. At the large building that served as the town hall, the party came across Elder Jonas in the middle of a heated argument with a group of knights on horseback. It seemed that the leader of the knights, an old battleworn man of imposing stature, had taken offense at rumours of the village arming itself and forming a milita. The actual milita were nowhere to be seen, as were the party’s allies, most likely hiding to prevent the suspicions from developing further, but at the sight of the party themselves, heavily armed and carrying the marks of recent battle, the Captain’s outrage forced the group to defend themselves, unwilling as they were to surrender to the knights.
A horrific battle ensued, with the group only just managing to overpower the two knights allied with the captain, whilst Talin bravely faced off against the brute himself. Outmatched by the sheer ferocity of the captain, Talin fought a brave, but futile duel. Arriving just too late to save their friend from falling beneath the knight’s blows, Morbo and the others finished off the weakened captin, who went down swinging. Alas, the paladin Talin’s efforts to protect his friends had proved his undoing; though more than likely saving another’s life by preventing the captain’s lethal lance charge, he had fallen victim to many ringing blows from the old knight’s warmace, and died immediately from the final, crushing blow to his head. A stout fighter and brave champion of justice had fallen, and the group were left to mourn his loss.
More unfortunately still, Elder Jonas appeared from where he had sheltered during the battle, anger in his eyes. He condemned the group’s violent actions, accusing them of damning the village should the other knights ever find out about the captain’s murder, and cast them from Goldreach, never to show their faces again. More than a little upset at this percieved betrayal, Morbo almost came to blows with the old cleric, demanding that if they were to be sent on their way, the group should at least be rewarded for eliminating the orc threat, as was promised, but when Morbo struck out at the old man after being called a “half-orc”, the cleric hardened his heart and bid them leave immediately or be forced out. Preferring to avoid the wholesale slaughter of otherwise innocent villagers, the group left the village after tending to their fallen and retrieving the spoils of their battle. No one tried to stop them on their way, but the stubborn dwarf, Thorid, defied the village elder and joined with the adventurers to aid their quest, seeing in them the potential to do more good than with a village of narrow-minded, cowering peasants. Their hearts heavy from their loss, the group set out.
From Thorid, the group discovered that their allies had left the day before, though they had intended on returning to the village to meet up with their friends once more; however, Thorid was uncertain as to the quality of their reception should they return now, and whether or not they would find the party once again was in serious doubt. Nevertheless, the group decided that it would be best to set out for the nearby port city of Carradin, where they might find a healer to restore their fallen companion to life, and a place in which to settle, rest and get their bearings in this unfamiliar land.
The journey would take the better part of a week, and the road was well travelled but dangerous still, so the group began their march sooner rather than later, and when darkness fell they pitched camp and rested for the night at the roadside.