Gaven points over to the horse and quietly says, "I would like to look at the horse. Duran, can you provide cover fire if something comes out to attack?"
"I will escort you and provide support while you search Gaven," says Varros, keen to take a look himself and try to determine the apparent direction the arrows came from.
Duran nods to Gaven and Varros and says "I'll follow you over and watch your backs should anything arise. Also I make no promises but if one of you could bring several of the arrows I may be able to identify what kind of arrows and who may use them. Perhaps they may be of use to me as well."
"Use caution in your approach," offers Oloc. " I will remain here with Stan and Ollie. The mage scans the hilltop for any sign of movement, ready to immediately warn the others if he spies anyone or anything.
Approaching the horse, Gaven, Varros and Duran note no significant smell and no maggots. The blood in the wounds, however, is thoroughly coagulated. Varros counts four arrows embedded in the beast's chest, two in its belly, and two in its side along the ribs, angled as if they entered from in front of the horse. None of the arrows is deep enough to have been fatal. There are several severe gashes from other weapons in the horse's legs, shoulders and hindquarters that likely immobilized the poor creature without killing it right away – perhaps days ago. Whether he ultimately died this past night from shock, dehydration, or some combination of the two is unclear.
There are no bags, but Gaven's examination of the saddle reveals an ornate "B" tooled into the leather. It is easily recognizable as the same symbol you noted earlier on the sign over the door to Barley's stable.
Of the eight arrows in the horse, six of them are damaged, while two could be reused. Varros withdraws them and hands them to Duran. To Duran's trained eye, they appear to be of inferior workmanship. Duran recognizes their make as humanoid, but cannot determine their origin more precisely.
Oloc notes no movement whatsoever on the hilltop, so he and the hirelings move up to rejoin the group near the horse, keeping extremely alert.
A continued inspection of the horse's immediate vicinity shows that the ground all around is trampled. A dagger lies near the horse, stained with what looks like dried blood, only the greenish-black color is wrong. If it is blood, it is neither human nor equine. In addition to the horse's blood, there is a dried, dark red blood trail, smeared in many spots, leading up the hill from the horse, in the direction of the farmhouse.
The grass where the partially smeared blood trail runs is crushed almost flat as if something heavy had been dragged over it. There are multiple sets of foot prints discernible to either side of the trail of blood and flattened grass. Among the sets of foot prints to the right-hand side you see dried drops of the same thick, black-green fluid that stains the blade of the dagger.
The thin wisp of smoke continues to rise, and the scent of cooking meat continues to waft down the hill.