The party spent most of the morning investigating the City of Sumberton, finding shops and exploring landmarks (like the giant obelisk). After returning to the Sly Wink for lunch, they ended up sharing a table with a somewhat grizzled, bearded fighter who introduced himself as Aseir Rein He was looking for work too, so they agreed to join forces.
After a decent meal and some fine wines and ale, Shiggetam brought them news that the Chicane Guild of the Boatmasters was interested in acquiring their services, and told them to expect a visit from an agent of the guild shortly. An hour or so later, a halfling representative of the Chicane Guild (Vintra Marktunsel) arrived at the bar. She explained that a caravan of trade goods was ambushed by some goblins on the road south of Sumberton (near the Kurkle Ridge). She offered to pay 200gp (100gp in advance) for the safe return of the crates of trade goods (and implied that any other unclaimed loot that was recovered could make this a lucrative assignment).
The next morning the party (excluding Gundahar and Amastacia, who were absent) set off on the road towards Tulvercross. They found the site of the ambush, and determined that the wagon had been driven off the road, into the Kurkle Hills to the East. Following the trail, they came across a clearing where it became apparent that the ambushers had slaughtered the horses, burned the wagon and eaten at least part of the meat before leaving (presumably carrying the crates of loot with them). The party followed the trail into a box canyon where they discovered at the end of the canyon, an opening that led to a steeply downward sloping passage. They followed the passage downwards to where it opened out into a room, with heavy copper clad doors, lit by a couple of torches and guarded by two menacing hobgoblins – who were armed with vicious war picks. The party reacted quickest – attacking the hobgoblin impalers immediately. Aseir boldly rushed in to engage the hobgoblins at close range, and while he landed a blow, he was immediately impaled and suffered a mortal wound. The rest of the party fought back and eventually overcame the two hobgoblins. While trying to revive Aseir, Malloch was pierced between the shoulder blades with an arrow shot by a sneaky hobgoblin archer who had been hidden in an alcove on one side of the room. The goblin archer was swiftly dispatched by Rick, Taman and Jenny with a combination of arrows and magical bolts of fire and energy. Once Aseir had been revived, the bodies were searched and some coins were found. Worried that the fight may have attracted attention in the next room, Aseir then opened the large copper doors carefully – revealing a room filled with sacks and crates, a table and chairs and some chains and manacles bolted to the walls. On entering the room and investigating the table, the party was attacked by three goblins who had hidden behind the crates and sacks. Hurling javelins, they managed to deal a critical wound to Rick, who fell to the floor, bleeding badly. The goblins were dispatched fairly swiftly, Rick was revived and the party started examining the room.
Although the goblins has no treasure on them, one had a small key (like a padlock or chest key).
It was apparent that the room had been used as a prison to manacle prisoners of various sizes. There were also two large arches over the passages to the east and west, shaped to appear as huge demonic fanged mouths. This was clearly not the work of goblin or hobgoblin architects.
The piles of loot contained 3 Chicane Guild crates of spices (identifiable by the City of Sumberton moon-and-sheaf sigil). There were also a dozen sacks of various trade goods of lesser value (approx 100gp worth). It will require a wagon to carry all these goods in one trip.
On the table in the middle of the room is a fine set of Three Dragon Ante cards and 150sp of gambling wagers.