Eventually Boots made it back home and got himself cleaned up. The next day the group decided to head into West Leedshire late in the day to hand the key over to Captain Hiller. They set off without Broak—he slept in (and so did his player).
When they arrived at the village's garrison they were welcomed in and sent right up to see Hiller. After a brief discussion about why Yarrick wasn't delivering the key, they handed it over to Hiller, who was very appreciative of their success. They celebrated with a glass of brandy, and saw a friendlier side of Hiller that they had never seen before.
Soon after, Hiller wrapped the key in a piece of canvas and handed it off to one of his men, instructing him to "go and get things prepared." He informed the party that he would be leaving the next morning to head north to deliver the key to his employer. He explained that he would be leaving Sergeant Clauberg in charge in his absence, and to talk with him if Ander's bounty problem should come up.
After meeting with Hiller the party headed back home for the night. As they left the garrison, they saw several of Hiller's men loading up horses for the next day's journey.
As they approached their property, they saw a horse tied up outside, and a man loitering nearby. As they got closer they recognized their old friend, Willem—one of Albrecht's guardsmen. Willem greeted the party and then told them why he was there on Albrecht's behalf:
"A friend of Albrecht's named Gower in Leedshire had something very valuable stolen from him the other night, and he'd like to hire you to help track down the thief."
After informing the group that he didn't have any other details about the theft (obviously, the party knew exactly what it was), Willem gave them a small purse of silver for advanced payment on behalf of Gower. Being late, they invited Willem to stay for the night, which he did.
Away from Willem, the party discussed their options and decided to speak with Sergeant Clauberg in West Leedshire in hopes of finding out where Hiller was going, track him down, and steal the key away from him to return to Gower, all without—hopefully—implicating themselves in the theft.
* * *
The next morning they parted ways with Willem after telling him they would pay Gower a visit and then headed to the garrison in West Leedshire. When they arrived, they spoke with one of Hiller's men, but Clauberg wasn't there. The guard they spoke with didn't seem to know where Hiller was heading, so they made up a story about a death threat against Hiller and they needed to warn him. But the guard didn't waiver as he really didn't know where Hiller was heading, and informed them that Clauberg would be available later in the day. Realizing they weren't getting anywhere, the party decided to head to Leedshire to speak with Gower.
As they headed east down the road in the midday heat, they came across a broken down and looted cart. The remains of two men and their horse lay dead on the road, butchered. The contents of the cart seem to have been removed, just a few sacks of grain, torn open and leaking their contents remained. Ander quickly found some fresh tracks on the road: several humanoid creatures, larger than a man had slaugthered these people.
Cautiously moving down the road they crested a hill and saw, about 200 yards down the hill was a motley group: An ogre, 4 bugbears, and a giant boar pulling a supply laden cart. Leaving their horse and cart behind, they stealthily moved down the sides of the road to intercept the creatures.
* Please note: I'm writing this two weeks after the game, so this will be a short battle report *
Before they could get close enough to attack, a goblin leapt out from the roadside to warn the ogre and bugbears about the party's approach (there was a goblin scout ahead and behind the ogre and bugbears, the one trailing them managed to roll high enough stealth checks to avoid being spotted by the players).
Once they realized they were made, they began their attack. Ander managed to hang back from a great distance (with his faithful dog, Skrapeth) and continuously pelt the creatures with arrows. Audrey dove into the fray, working herself up into her barbarian frenzy to deal a lot of damage, as well as soak a lot up herself.
Boots was able to use his new spell, Cloud of Blades, on some of the bugbears, and Grabby attempted to cast a Sleep spell which was completely ineffective. They managed to bring down the ogre first, but the bugbears proved more problematic. Using some ruins as cover, Grabby played a game of cat-and-mouse with two bugbears, but was eventually rendered unconscious and dying on the ground. Boots had a similar experience as he was swarmed by the goblinoids (and an uncharacteristic move of moving in to help Audrey fight off her attackers). Another goblin archer (the scout that was ahead of its party) eventually made his way back and also engaged in the battle.
During the battle, the giant boar became agitated and took off down the road. Eventually all the bugbears and goblins were also dispatched, but at the cost of Boots and Grabby becoming terribly wounded. Audrey managed to stabilize Boots, and Ander rushed in to save Grabby.
* Please note: Because of people away visiting family, trips to Vegas, etc. the game probably might not resume again until late May/early June/and possibly now July *