Oloc sits on the edge of his seat as Ned tells his brother's story. 'The Frost Giant's Eye' he says to himself, his imagination wandering in an attempt to visualize such a treasure. He snaps back as he hears Ned addressing him. "We aren't headed for the ruins directly, but once we finish our mission for the Captain, I hope to convince my companions here to pay a visit. And I promise, when we do, we'll keep an eye out for your ring."
Gaven agrees: "If we find your ring, we will be sure to return it."
Then Gaven pulls out the map Harlon drew, "Master Ned, the barkeep Harlon drew us a map of the area. Would you or Tom be able to fill in any additional details, like where you saw the goblins and any other areas where scouts or even a host could hide?"
Ned and Tom both lean over the map and give it a quick scan. "That looks about right," says Ned, "though I'm not too familiar with the ground west of the road. But on this side, those three big patches of woods and scrub are your best bet. I'm guessing if these goblins come from Stagwood, you'd be most likely to find them this side of the road – and most likely in one of the patches nearest Timm's farm, if my shadow-man was in fact one of their scouts."
Tom adds: "As for where scouts could hide, there are too many places to count. Why I can think of at least a dozen small groves of trees on our property alone where a scout or two could keep out of sight. Searching for one would be like looking for a needle in a haystack."
Gaven puts on a more serious face, "The goblins plan on raiding farms. You should do your best to fortify yourselves. Better yet, you may consider taking holiday in Fairbrook."
Ned nods. "I thank you for the warning. But Tom and I have got to protect our sheep, so we'll be staying here. But we're both pretty handy with a bow, and we've got other weapons if things get close. My Tom's a big strapping lad, and I reckon I can still give the hammer a good swing too, if it comes to that."
"Thank you for your hospitality," says Gaven, who leaves 2 gold on the table before leaving. Oloc, Duran and Varros also thank Ned for the meal and the information and all prepare to head out toward Ned's 'encounter' in order to investigate this 'shadow.'
The sun is high and the day begins to feel a bit hot as you march out to where Ned spotted the shadow a few nights earlier. Based on Ned's description of the place, you find the location without difficulty. You can hear locusts chattering as you approach the small patch of trees where Ned claimed to have seen his shadow.
A careful inspection of the ground around the trees reveals the remains of a squirrel impaled on a broken arrow. About half of the small creature appears to have been eaten raw "on a stick" as it were. The arrow looks distinctly like the ones you recovered from the goblins at the farm.
The ground in and around the small area is somewhat dusty, and seems quite trampled. It's difficult to make anything out from the footprints. However, moving away from the trees, before the dusty area gives way to grass, you spot very faint footprints going off in not one, but two directions.
One set moves away toward the northwest, running roughly parallel to the direction you know the main road to run; the other heads due north, straight for where you've been told the woods east of Timm's farm are located.
The prints in both directions are very faint, barely perceptible, but they are clear enough, before they disappear into the short grass of the fields beyond the farm, that you are quite sure of the directions the two individuals headed. Otherwise, you cannot get any detail from them apart from the fact that they are booted and smaller than human size – not at all inconsistent with the prints goblins might have left.
Time Update: The time is roughly 1:30 p.m.