After a short period of rest following the harrowing events in the sewers, and safe in the knowledge that the dockside assassins have been killed, the Fools decide to finally embark on their initial quest to return Hammer of the Lost Clan to its rightful resting place in Karag Dronar.
With the assistance of Graf Friedrich von Kaufman they procure free travel aboard the Red Arrow coaches and head South to Grenzstadt after a short and uneventful stay in the Orc’s Head tavern in Heideck, the only notable event being a begger in Heideck who grasped Karl’s leg and shouted “The hammer strikes on the anvil of the storm. Thunder! Thunder in the mountains! An ancient evil stirs. Doom! DOOM upon us all!” before falling silent.
When they arrive at Grenzstadt they disembark outside the gates to allow the coachman to avoid the taxes for entering the town. When they approach the gates there is a sign announcing a penny tax on any purchase of 1 silver or more to provide bounty money for Orc hunters. After further questioning of the guard they discover that a standard bounty of 6 Silver is offered upon production of a severed left ear of an Orc. There is also a 1 silver tax per leg levied on every man or beast entering the town. This tax is also subject to the penny tax meaning that the Fools have to pay 2 Shillings and 2 pennies to enter Grenzstadt.
Joachim enters into a sound argument as to why the trio should be exempt and instead offering to set the tax against future bounties, which are bound to be plentiful, as he is the notorious swordsman and adventurer Joachin von Wint…. During this lengthy oratory Boris pays his silver, enters the town and purchases a snack from the closest vendor and entreaties Karl to abandon Joachim and join him beyond the gate, which he gladly does with a wry smile.
Once within the town, the party heads to the Dwarven drinking hall of Dawr Urbaz, to locate Zarak Zurnisson, the ranger they were informed knew more of the Black Fire Pass than anyone. Sadly, he is not in attendance, being out in the pass escorting some merchants. He is not expected back for some time. The local Dwarves, outgoing by Dwarvish standards, inform the party that they could find a potential guide in the nearby Last Rest Inn amongst the bounty hunters.
Visiting the Last Rest (a much more down to earth establishment than Dawr Urbaz), the Fools discover a large quantity of local bounty hunters, the vast majority of them churning through their latest spoils and earning drinks from the local populace.
Joachim surveys the local clientèle to see if any of them are interested in leading the Fools into the Pass in search of Karag Dronar. Despite their posturing, the locals are mostly all recently returned from the Pass and have no interest in heading back out in the next few days.
One man does come forward and introduces himself as Hans Blichter, after a brief negotiation on exactly what the party are searching for, he says he is aware of the mountain they may be searching for and will take them into Black Fire Pass for a price.
The fools negotiate a fee of 6s to take them out to the pass, and ask to delay leaving for a day so that they can visit Theodosius von Tuchtenhagen and gain a permit to hunt Orcs so that they can use the bounty to offset the cost of the expedition.