Brought together by a common desire (money), our heroes gather. Taklinn Holderheck and Kansif met as caravan guards, the only steady work to be found for those without a home, fleeing a past they would rather forget. As the days grow shorter and the air colder, even caravan work has slowed to nothing. On the rumor that there might be more work to be found further to the north, the duo set out for Triboar. It is several days travel and the cold catches them unprepared. Shivering and ill-equipped to last the night, they stumble across the campsite of Varis and Tree. Varis, a stranger on the surface world and wanted in the underdark, has taken to wandering the woods alone. Alone that is until she found an odd little halfling living under a massive fallen log. Tree he calls himself, and caring for the strange little thing has brought a sense of purpose to her life. The foursome find common ground and a sense of comradery as they share their histories with one another. As they approach the town of Triboar, they are joined by a lone traveler, a young half-elf named Autum. Another lost soul, looking for adventure in a world she has never experienced, they quickly adopt her as a kindred spirit.
Unfortunately, when they arrive in Triboar, they are told the flow of caravans from the ore-rich towns to the north have dried up do to an increase in organized attacks by a small band of goblins along the road to the north of the village of Melton. Discouraged and down to their last few gold pieces, our adventurers set off towards Melton in an attempt to remedy the situation.
The trip north to Melton is uneventful, but when they arrive at the gates at sundown, they are met with malice rather than open arms. Frida Greatheart, constable of Melton, is on guard duty at the palisade surrounding the small village. When she inquires as to the business of the adventurers she becomes noticeably agitated when they state they have arrived to eliminate the goblin menace. The group eventually is able to convince the constable to let them in, though she gives a gruff warning that they must leave as soon as the sun rises in the morning, and they are not to upset the goblins as they have not bothered the town and she does not want to risk bringing their ire down on Melton.
Once inside the walls, Taklinn asks about dwarves that live in town and is directed to the blacksmith, but when they arrive at the forge they find it is closed down for the day. The group makes their way to The Weary Knight, the only inn and tavern in the village.
Inside the inn, they converse with the dwarf a the bar, Granite Frostforge who also happens to be the blacksmith for the town. Granite tells them that a new tribe of goblins moved into the area about 3 months ago. Since then, they have attacked at least half a dozen caravans, preferring those that are weakly guarded. Survivors report that the tribe is led by an especially vicious goblin chief. A hunter named Dawn Mistwalker claims to know where the goblin hideout is located. At this point, Frida Greatheart walks into the bar and gives the party a side eye as she converses with the barkeep. It is obviously that she doesn't like what she is told and they begin arguing about the goblins and whether or not anything should be done about them. The characters at this point notice that the constable is wearing shiny black shoes with hard soles. When she asked by the party about her shoes, she explains that her day job as a tracker takes her into the woods and the shiny shoes are much easier to clean.
The party pays for rooms and a bath, but first head over to the butcher's (where they were told they could find Dawn) only to be turned away and told to come back in the morning. Returning to the inn, they take turns at the bath until Tree decides to eat the soap.
In the morning, the party heads to the butcher's at first light where they meet Dawn. Dawn tells them she was following an old game trail several weeks ago when she came across a cave in a small hill, and saw a number of goblins enter and leave it. She concluded this was their hideout. The cave is about a day’s travel north of Melton.