"Hail friend! I am Varros Blackwater and these are my are my companions," Varros introduces each in turn and continues, "Might we approach? We have important tidings that could be important to you."
The young man nods motions you forward. "What news?"
Varros tells the man that they are on a mission for Captain Belloc. He explains the imminent goblin danger and ask the usual questions that the party has been asking regarding the ruins, area, goblins, etc.
Having lagged behind Duran catches up with the others and gives a nod as he his introduced.
As Varros talks to the young man Duran and Oloc scan the area around them for signs of Goblins or places where they might hide. The fighter and mage notice a few patches of trees and tall grass here and there all very small. While certainly not large enough to hide a host of goblins, they could provide cover to one or two scouts.
When Varros mentions Captain Belloc and the goblin danger, the young man frowns. "You'd better come with me." He turns and leads you through the gap in the fence toward a farmhouse and some outbuildings.
Oloc adjusts his robes and let's his mind wander to the ruins and what treasures may be found therein. He lets out a barely perceptible sigh, and focuses on the conversation with the local.
As you pass through the gap in the rails, Gaven asks, "What caused damage to the barrier?"
The young man loses his seriousness for a moment and laughs gently. "Time," he says. "Wind, rain, rot." He looks across the fields "It's a never-ending task – we have a lot of fence"
"What is the barrier supposed to be keeping in or out?" asks Gaven.
"It keeps in our sheep – most of them are grazing over on the other side of that rise." He points to an area just past the house and outbuildings.
Gaven then asks if he has heard the strange sounds and saw the strange shadows that Ned Willis heard. In answer to that, and to Varros' earlier questions, he simply calls out to the house as you near it. "Paw! Someone out here you need to talk to!"
Ned Willis is large, somewhat pot-bellied man on the boundary between middle age and old age. In his youth, he was no doubt as broad and muscular as his son. "It's just about lunch-time. Why don't you come in and we'll talk over a meal."
Inside, you sit at Ned's table and he serves you a hearty stew of mutton and potatoes – both of which he produced himself on the farm. As you eat, he tells you about his encounter of a few nights before.
He'd been out working on the northeast fence with his son, Tom. Just around sunset, he sent Tom back to the house with a barrow-load of tools. He stayed behind to finish up the final repair, and as he picked up the last couple of tools, he heard a rustling in a small patch of trees and underbrush. At first he thought it was some animal, maybe a deer. But then something dashed out. It looked like a man, only smaller – and ran off to the northwest where it, whatever it was, disappeared.
When Varros brings up the ruins, a darkness passes over Ned's face. "Yes, I know the ruins," he says. "Or at least I know all I need to know." Tom reaches over and puts a hand on his father's shoulder.
Ned goes on: "My brother – the damned fool! Twenty years ago he was having trouble making ends meet on his farm. Thought the only way to save it was to strike it big by dragging some great treasure out of Blackwell. I'm sure there's plenty in there. My brother, Al, said he'd heard a tale at the Northstar about some great blue gem. The Frost Giant's Eye he called it. But of course there's other things in ruins, too. It's not all treasure and gems. 'Don't do it!', I said to him. But he didn't listen. Ran off to make his fortune, and instead he met his fate."
He looks at Oloc, as if seeing something in the mage's face at the mention of the gem. "I won't tell you your business, but I wouldn't go in there for anything."
Then he pauses. "Of course, if you do go in someday... My brother wore a ring – a family heirloom. I know it's been twenty years, and you almost certainly wouldn't find him or it. But if you did, and could return it to me, I... well, I'd be grateful." Then he adds "It's just a simple silver ring, with a 'W' carved on it. It doesn't have much value, except it belonged to my father, and my grandfather before him. I always thought I'd pass it on to Tom. It's probably not worth more than 10 gold, but I'd gladly pay ten times that for it's return."
Ned then stands up, and Tom starts clearing the table. "Is there anything else I can tell you or do for you?" the farmer asks. "Or will you be heading off again? If it's goblins you're looking for, I'd say to head northwest after my running shadow."