We had finally tracked the Duke’s errand boys down, riding them to the point of two of their horses dropping. I feel bad for their mounts, but there was nothing for it, we did what had to be done. Before engaging with them we let Ingo Gertroy and the little ones, Tec Konuc Nac and his two friends, down from the mounts and they snuck off, the better for the negotiations. We decided to approach with a show of strength, but not overly hostile. With our two groups each approaching with caution, their four riding double saddle like a pair of two headed centaurs, ours calm but at the ready. We sent Suska Goodkind and Nalaena “Nala” Falcon ahead to treat with them as our representatives. They spoke for a time, and came back with an offer for single combat. I leapt at the chance, but there was disagreement about whether or not we should accept. Ingo Gertroy and Nalaena “Nala” Falcon ended up abstaining from the vote, I assume so that if we lost they could still pull off an ambush. Suska Goodkind and I both wanted to champion this, but in the end I convinced her that I should be the one to do it. It came down to the fact that she has her head on tighter then I do and she is more important to this then I am, not to mention the fact that if I watched her get hurt I might have to kill someone, but I didn’t tell her that part. The other champion and I made our terms, set our field, and got to the pain. He was quick, using a split spear weapon I wasn’t familiar with, and he got me good a few times. The key to winning this one was perseverance. I weathered his storm of blows, and came back swinging hard, cracking his chest plate. We traded blows, and it was a close thing, but I forced him to yield in the end. Suska provided healing for myself and my opponent, a truly honorable act. The next morning we parted ways, with the knights returning to their dishonorable Duke Kinter Cassio, but they gained a measure of respect from me. We continued on, walking beside our noble steeds as they recovered from their arduous run. We traveled this way all day and some of the night, and once we finally camped we had to ward the perimeter with fire to fend off the wolves. We set out again this way the next day, until we spotted smoke in the distance. Nala and Nyan (The Fire Gazer) Parun climbed their way up a pair of trees, and spotted the source of the smoke, a town on fire. After much debate on the merits of attempting to find out if this had anything to due with the kobolds, or rushing off to save the queen, we sent our more nimble and quiet members off to scout. They came back with disturbing news, the town had been invaded by bandits bent on enslaving them. Though comprised mostly of orcs, humans worked willingly amongst them. This made my blood boil. Ingo and the kobolds insisted that we did not have time for this, that we must go on to find the queen, but I disagreed. I said that anyone that wanted to go could, but that I would not leave until the bandits were dead or gone. After further disagreement, only Suska, Nala, Nyan and myself stayed with the others moving ahead to try to find the queen. I don’t really blame them, but at the time it did bother me. We decided that the best course of action was for Suska and I to create a distraction so that Nala and Nyan could sneak in and free the prisoners, and then lead them to our aid. We fought our way in, both of us having imbibed my potions to turn the tables in our favor, and fought our way into an alley way. We held there against most of the rest of the bandits, about eight of them. We held them off, killing as many of them as we could, but I began to wear down. Nala and Nyan were successful though, and the reinforcements came to our aid and drove the bandits out. We accepted their aid, and rested the night in what was left of the town. We had to leave without helping them rebuild, which I regret, but we new we had to move on to find the rest of our group.