With Kressle captured and secured, the party settled in at the now cleared out bandit camp for the night. With the morning's dawning the group searched the camp and recovered some of the spoils that the bandits had taken from Oleg and others over the last several months. With their first venture into the Green Belt successful, the party gathered up everything they could take and after retrieving a few more horses from the bandits, set back out for Oleg's Trading Post.
Stopping only long enough to retrieve their own mounts, the party made Oleg's by sunset that night at which point they secured Kressle in the stables. With their return they also discovered that the trading post had some new residents. A small contingent of soldiers under the command of a Lieutenant Kesten Garess had finally arrived to provide a little security to the only real outpost of civilization in the area.
The party began its efforts to interrogate the Bandit chief but the results were distinctly unimpressive at first. Kressle proved to be difficult to crack, defiantly refusing to cooperating and angrily insisting that the Stag Lord would easily destroy these newest interlopers to the Stolen Lands. However the party's interrogation was interrupted by a stranger who introduced himself as Aaden Baeyal. Claiming to be a representative of the Swordlords, Aaden said that he had been spying on the Stag Lord's bandits for the past several months and would be happy to share what he knew as it appeared that the party was the best chance he'd seen to bring the brigands down.
Providing them with a map that revealed that the Stag Lord had set up his camp in the ruins of an abandoned monastery at the head of Tuskwater Lake, he also alerted them to a number of other threats including a tribe of kobolds that dominated the central Green Belt. The party also had their attention turned to a number of postings that had been made on the bulletin board that Oleg had setup at the Post. A number of possibilities were raised for the party to pursing while they continued to map out their territory including:
- Gathering Fangberries for Crazy Old Bokken, an alchemist living out in the wilds several miles from Oleg's. He offered the opportunity to buy numerous potions at a discount as a reward.
- Deal with the Kobolds by way of violence or diplomacy. The Swordlords have committed to providing a 800gp reward for anyone that can bring Kobold activity under control.
- Gather Moon Radishes for Svetlana Levaton. The wife of Oleg is prepared to reward anyone who can provide her a stockpile of moon radishes with a 250gp reward.
- Returning Svetlana's ring to Oleg. Oleg has promised 1000gp in store credit to anyone who managed to return his wife's wedding ring to him.
- Bring the bandit problem under control in the Northern Greenbelt. The Swordlords have promised a 400gp reward to anyone who provides proof that they have slain or captured 6 bandits. (As the party has already accomplished this, Kesten Garess has already sent work back to Restov to have the party's reward delivered)
- Capture Falgrim Sneeg. Kesten Garess has posted a request to capture an old colleague of his who has turned to banditry. He is offering any four masterwork weapons for the capture of his old acquaintance. He is willing to provide two masterwork weapons should Sneeg be killed instead of captured.
- An intact Tatzlwyrm head. A rare and dangerous creature, Oleg is willing to pay 600gp for the head of one of these creatures to mount in his trading post.
- The body of Tuskgutter, a massive wild boar. A local hunter who was maimed by the wild pig, Vekkel Benzen has offered 6 +1 animal bane arrows and his masterwork longbow to anyone who can bring him the corpse of Tuskgutter.
With all of these many opportunities presented to them, the party decided to begin the process of fulfilling their charter to map their new territory. Starting out to the west of Oleg's the decision was to slowly work out in expanding half-circles from the outpost, moving deeper and deeper into the Green Belt until it was secured and they could finally turn their attention to the Stag Lord. Traveling for several days, the party did finally come across the patch of Moon Radishes that Svetlana was so interested in. Unfortunately they found a number of gorged Kobold's present. The beasts were unwilling to give up the prize and after a period of trying to reason with them, the beastly creatures attacked, forcing the party to exterminate them to claim the remaining radishes.
With their first prize in hand, the group returned to Oleg's and were greeted with Svetlana's gratitude for their efforts. Back at their main camp, both Sorry and Zeelax continued with efforts to win over the captive Kressle who remained stubborn but perhaps showed some cracks. Though Veli slicing off her ear likely did not help, despite the quick action to heal her by the rest of the party.
The group also met another newcomer to the post, Jhod Kevken. A priest of Erastil, he claimed to have had visions of a lost temple to his god somewhere in the Narlmarches. Claiming it was being guarded by a tormented giant bear, he asked the party to keep an eye out for it if they could and to do what they could to bring peace to the tormented guardian.
As the party prepared to set out once more, Aaden offered to accompany them, pointing out his skills as a mapmaker, and his many other gifts including extensive entertaining talents. While some of the group had some suspicions, ultimately the party decided to take the one time spy along as they headed back into the wilds.
Continuing to expand the map of the territory in their charter, the group came across a large cavern. Venturing in, they discovered a number of giant spiders that attempted to make them their next meal. While they proved a little troublesome the party quickly dispatched them and discovering the long since deceased body of a bandit they also recovered a crude map that seemed to indicate that there was treasure buried beneath a unique tree who's branches seemed to arch upwards like a clawed hand.
Continuing on their way, the party dropped in on the wild hermit alchemist Bokken, getting more details about his request for Fangberries, discovering that they would likely be found in the southern foothills just north of Lake Tuskwater.
Again the party resumed their mission, making their way south of the Spider Caves. While charting the region the group stumbled across that strange claw-looking tree and digging about it's roots revealed a stolen cache that they added to their spoils. Resting for the night, the group prepared to continue their exploration of the Green Belt on the following morn…