(The names have been changed because… well, because I forgot them already)
As told by the Grey Wanderer at the Axe and Thistle,
My friends, gather around and let me tell you about the fate of Jebediah and his companions at the hands of the thrice-cursed Kobolds. As you may be aware, our enterprising citizen Merkle set up Jebediah and his comrades with equipment to begin mining copper in the foothills to the south of here. The party set out one cold, crisp morning with a spring in their step and a whistle on their ruddy dwarven lips. As is all too common, the last anyone saw of them was their red beanie caps as they passed into the uncivilized land beyond the safety hedge.
Several weeks passed, and Merkle grew more and more anxious for news from Jebediah. Enter our intrepid adventurers who arrived at our Duke’s behest to help our fair city. They set out in search of Jebediah… or to learn of his fate.
The adventurers passed through the hedge to find a rough, unforgiving landscape fraught with peril—with dangers around every turn. They bravely marched a half-day South, following the trail of the dwarves weeks before.
They discovered the site of the dig, evidenced by a protective wall and mining rubble. Upon closer inspection it was infested, nay teeming, with kobolds. The adventurers sought to converse, but the kobolds would have none of that, preferring to converse at the point of their javelins. The adventurers fought bravely and won out, questioning one of the wretches before he finally expired.
Jebediah’s fate was grim.
They discovered the kobolds come from farther south even, that there may be a whole land overfilled with kobolds so that they have to search out the lands closer to us to ravage it for their own purposes. But even more sinister they discovered the kobolds revered a creature that they only referred to as “the master” and he was in a series of tunnels under their feet at that moment.
Not wanting to get caught in this inhospitable land after dark, they still felt a sense of duty to find out more before returning to our fair city (and to verify and retrieve if possible the dwarf corpses). They went forward quietly into the dark but the kobolds were ready and lay in wait just inside the entrance.
The kobolds sprung their trap, laying about them with glee and even attempting to push a large statue down on top of the adventurers. The trap failed but our heroes were hard pressed to keep their footing, and their lives, in the filth the dirty little vermin lived in below the earth. Some kobolds escaped into the dark, finding hidey holes in the dark or perhaps retreating to summon reinforcements. The adventurers, satisfied they would not be followed but daring not to press on with their numerous injuries, retreated to safety.
Along they way back to town they found that someone had intentionally obscured their tracks from the morning. The kobold had warned that there were many orcs in the area, but the party did not find any evidence of them. A dark forboding came over our stalwart adventurers when they viewed the woods to the west, perhaps that is where the orcs are—far too near our little town, if you ask me.
Thus ends the first chapter of this saga, our adventurers are the first to return after venturing forth past the safety barrier, but I know they are hale and hearty and unafraid so they will sally forth once more and bring us more of their tales of adventure, conquest, and civilization of the wild western frontier.