Defending Moonstone Keep
Upon returning from Kobold Hall, the party followed up on their earlier plan to investigate Mallon’s possible plot to assassinate Faren Markelhay by returning to Moonstone Keep. When they arrived, the Lord Warden advised them that they had received the message sent by Mika, and that they had recently hired more guards and increased security.
As he had an appointment with an elven merchant, he asked the party to accompany him. One of his guards suggested they wait for Lady Allande Markelhay, but as she had been called away on another appointment, he did not want to keep the merchants waiting. They were already down in the courtyard. (The courtyard was chosen because it is easily defensible and heavily guarded.)
The elven merchant was not Mallon in disguise (as had been suspected), but a female elf. The party still suspected danger, and they were soon met with a berserker bursting forth from a wagon. The merchants all turned out to be Mallon’s bandit gang in disguise. Once the group was distracted with the bandits, Mallon finally showed his face. He was disguised as one of the guards, and managed to hit Markelhay with a poisoned crossbow dart before mounting a horse and trying to escape.
Nicodemus was hit by Mallon’s “Crippling Strike”, which left him weakened and slowed, so he sent Frik to try and scare the horse that Mallon had mounted. Frik jumped up and down and waved his arms and shouted, but the horse simply kicked him over.
Mallon eventually made his escape, despite being pursued vehemently by Feydreth. The rest of the bandit gang was defeated, and Nicodemus managed to heal Markelhay just before the poison did him in.
Markelhay was so relieved, he offered the group a chance to try and open an Elven Puzzle Box that has been passed down through his family over the years (in addition to a reward, of course). The Puzzle Box was warded to open only for one that was destined to defeat “The Great Evil”. (It could possibly just be “A Great Evil”, but the stories are so old, Faren barely remembers them.) He was never able to open it, nor find anyone else who could. The group has proved their worth, and Faren wishes to see if perhaps one of them is destined to open it.