We begin again in Rivvihuas on the way back to Whitefield and home. Phoebe has business with the House of Maps and so the party seeks refuge in the arms of Gnomish Hospitality once again. The air seems tense and city guard can be seen on nearly every corner. As the group looks for rest and respite one of the guards calls out. Its Klaus from their last visit. He had decided after the madness before that he would abandon his merchant career to help guard his people.
He explains that some of the most dangerous criminals in Under Country have been seem in public for the first time in years. So the city is on high alert. He offers to buy them a drink when his shift is over and wishes them a fond farewell before returning his attention to his duties. Klaus is happy to see the adventurers who he regards as friends. The sight of the hats help calm a great many of the troubled citizenry.
The group becomes targets of the nefarious element as a clutch of thieves tries to steal their hats. Phoebe is sadly robbed but insists on returning home before justice is found.
Leaving the Gnomish city onto the bridge invites the first real conflict the group has faced in weeks. Goblin saboteurs swarm on the bridge interrupted by whatever chaos they are planning by the group. A cadre of goblin warriors and a sixth goblin twisted by foul magic. They also have a large explosive device strapped to the bridge. They want or wanted to destroy the bridge for whatever reason.
Once the bridge issue is resolved one way or the other the group travels north on the old road home. The trek takes a day shy of week before Whitefield is within view. One of the first things the group spots is their developed land. People work the land paid by Cyril. They seem surprised to see the group. “Ghost-eye said ye’d return but I din’t believe ’im.” one of the farm hands mutters.
A mysterious figure rides into astride a massive Elk, an elf from the Giant’s Wood seeking Lumiere and his friends. The figure, obviously an Elf ignores the staring townsfolk and excited chatter. It waits dispassionately until the group comes into view addressing Lumiere in Elvish, “You are later the expected. Come, you are summoned.”. The figure does not wait for them but heads back into the Giant’s Wood.
Regardless of how long it takes the group to organize and follow the summons the Elf is waiting just inside the forest. “This land is in danger.” the figure intones without looking back at the group. The towering forest looms over the party as they wander down the old road northward, something no one from Whitefield has done in generations. Light strains to pierce the canopy and animals undisturbed by travelers for so long scatter into the brush. The figure grunts conveying mild annoyance as voices echo ahead. It is a group of Orcs speaking their brutal tongue.
Once the conflict resolves the party is led to a section of Forest a few miles off the road. A handful of elves wait in a grove. They all wear serious tones and the trappings of various mystical and religious occupations. A white haired female leaning on a gnarled staff. “You are the first outsiders to be invited in this place in many years. But so many less then we had hoped. Your help is now required. Some of you.” she gestures at Lumiere." May help for love of his people but also to learn the truth of his unique companion." now at the sheath. She looks at the Hobbits, “You may help because what threatens us will surely consumed all you hold dear once the Giant’s Wood is naught but ash consumed by their war machines.”. She looks again to Lumiere, “The mist dissipates and we cannot stop it. A war not our own will spill through here and many will suffer for it. Make your choice now. Help us protect this place or return to Whitefield and prepare to be sparred no longer from the horror that infests your lands.”.