Several months pass, Ser Blathe is engaged, and as winter turns into spring, the heroes are asked to escort one of Bann Nicola’s arms shipments heading to the West Hills arling, where Arl Gallagher Wulff has recently been beset by darkspawn leftover from the Blight. After they arrive in the arling, the heroes are contacted by the arl, who requests they investigate the apparent kidnapping of his daughter Izot by Avvars. Although Kattrin is somewhat reluctant, the party agrees, with a handsome sum waiting if they recover her alive. At the arl’s winter manor, where Izot was abducted, the heroes search the scene and question the manor staff. The evidence they gather supports the conclusion that the kidnapping was staged, and Izot went willing. The reason for this is uncertain, but it is likely she had feelings for an Avvar in the group.
Armed with a trail to follow, fresh provisions, and a certain amount of zeal, the heroes head into the Frostbacks after Izot. They are about a week behind their quarry, but the cold of the mountains has preserved the trail. After two days, they are attacked by a red lion, a deadly mountain predator. They fend it off at first, but it later attacks at night. Then the lion is slain, and its pelt claimed by Orvell. The next day, they find the grisly scene of an Avvar air burial, a ritual which involves dismembering the corpse to be buried so carrion birds may feast on it more easily. The scene reveals signs of a fight, and two groups, one large and one small, leaving the scene. After much debate, the heroes elect to follow the smaller group, believing that it will lead them to the Avvar settlement of Redhold. After another day or so of riding, they stumble upon the scene of a massacre. Hundreds of Avvar farmers have been brutally slaughtered, and their corpses mocked. Soon, the heroes hear loud footsteps, and most hide in the abundant nearby cover. The source of footsteps, and the culprit of the massacre soon become clear-darkspawn.
Quote of the Day: “Mah hang ih huck to mah hord!” (My tongue is stuck to my sword!)