After a night in Nenlast you head south towards Fiveleague House with the intent of moving from there to Hammerfast to investigate why the dwarves have not been heard from in weeks.
You camp for the night in a barren, rocky area. During Mercaiden’s watch, a young man hurries down the road. Mercaiden stops him and investigates him, but he seems to be legitimately trying to reach Fiveleague House. He says he is travelling for a family emergency. He is carrying a magic rabbit’s foot that enables him to travel at twice his normal walking speed. Mercaiden allows him to continue on his way after Grae frightens him.
During Grae’s watch, a band of human archers and dragonborn spear fighters, lead by an Exemplar of Tiamat ambush the party. You dispatch the attackers with some difficulty. The humans are not Northmen. They appear to be local cultists. A pair of Gloves of Missile Avoidance are found on the Exemplar.
The next morning you track the attackers back to their lair in the hills. It appears to be empty. Within you find a large cache of stolen property including food and trade goods. Grae discovers a bag of holding containing 2600gp.
Knowing that you can ride fast to Hammerfast by nightfall, you speed down the road to the King’s Road, stopping only briefly to pick up some thieves tools from the Fiveleague House.
While Grae is in the Fiveleague House, he notices an unusual assortment of individuals sitting in the common room as well as the young man that Mercaiden stopped the previous night. You learn that his name is Al-ra-in. He accuses you of being thieves and brigands and flees Fiveleague House. Others in the common room included a dwarf merchant, a human merchant, a group of elves, five halflings, and a group of gamblers playing Three Dragon Ante: A satyr, a tiefling (who eyes Grae carefully), a kobold, an eladrin, and a human.
In Fiveleague House, Grae purchases a set of thieves tools from Barton, the human owner of the establishment. Barton asks a lot of questions and learns that you are dragon slayers. The halflings overhear this, and one, named Biddo, approaches and asks if you plan to travel to Fallcrest to kill the dragon that has taken over the town and who is exacting tribute from all the towns, villages, settlements, and farms in the Nentir Vale.
When they learn that you plan, instead to travel to Hammerfast, everyone warns you away. They claim that Hammerfast has been destroyed by a plague.
You do not heed any of the warnings, but travel to Hammerfast. The road is blocked in many places, and there are signs warning of the plague. When you reach Hammerfast, you discover that it appears to be locked and abandoned. Using her Skeleton Key, Baaki opens the great gates to the city.