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After an hour of searching, you relocate their bootprints in the dusty road., and are able to follow them into the late afternoon. You see some other travelers on the road, some lonely pilgrims, others messengers, a few military couriers, and the occasional merchant.
A sign declares that you are nearing a town called Woolshire.
Hurry up and see if I can spot them before they enter the town. If not, then I am going to have to ask around, probably children or beggars about crossbows and crossbow bolts marked similarly to the one i found.
You arrive in town just after sundown, but were unsuccessful in beating your quarry there. Woolshire isn't much of a town. The last five miles before coming into town were mostly fenced pasture, with sheep being gathered into barns for the night. The town itself only has maybe two principle streets and an outdoor market that is all but deserted. The local garrison has guards posted at the roads into and out of town, but they don't challenge you, and there is not gate. Lights glow in the upper rooms of the two story shops, but most places are closed for business. It seems there is a pub/inn of sorts, The Sleepy Owl, with stables and a warm fire. Another tavern, The Hungry Turtle, is quite a bit less inviting, and seems to cater to soldiers and raucous travelers more than to a quiet hungry merchant.
As a stranger and an elf, you stick out like a sore thumb. As a military man, you blend in a little better. On the whole, you're a matter of curiosity, but no one is brave enough to full on stare at you.
At The Hungry Turtle you see most of the clientele are soldiers from the local garrison, plus a few local strongmen and rowdy young bucks more interested in drinking themselves under the table than finding trouble.
Interestingly, no one wears weapons openly, and when the proprietor notices you, he points a big sausage-like finger at the door. No weapons.
See if i can find an old man, beggar, kid, etc who would be willing to tell me about a man with a crossbow and bolts matching the ones I found. Also, conceal 2 daggers on my person and keep my stuff somewhere safe at the sleepy owl. (1d20+4) (1d20+4)
take 20 until I get it right.
For the rest of the evening they grumble about walking, the heat, the cold, the half-orc's BO. You know, the usual stuff.
The road to Lafierre is much better kept than from Whisperdowns. It is wider, with a good drainage. The country is rolling hills and fields, no more woods. You can see for miles when you are at the tops of the hills.
The soldiers pass without batting an eye. To them, you're just another out of work mercenary, meaning nobody is paying you to fight them, so all is well.
Make a spot check
Vicciano's errand is this:
1) buy a scroll of dominate person
2) buy potion of eagle's splendor
3) write a letter to Count Argough (A Red Valley diplomat) that intimates him in ordering an attack on Oldshire, and plant it in his study
4) steal a sample of his writing, and use his official seal on a parchment in order to forge a letter from him ordering an attack on Oldshire
Continue on as if I haven't noticed them and see if I can spot if the horses have any markings of who they belong to. They probably have a horse network or company that shuttles horses between towns. It will be a place to start. (1d20+4)
Excellent, they don't suspect a thing. Maintain my pace, which is maximum without hustling and start asking around the stables in town who deals with the circle H brand horses, or see if they are even rented.
You reach Lafierre at about sundown. The proprietor of the one livery you could find that was still open says that circle H horses usually board with him before he has a boy take them back to Woolshire, but he hasn't seen a group of two men and a half orc.