Harkness, a goblinoid bounty-hunter like his father, nevertheless fails at some tasks his father was renowned for. To whit, tracking. He is horrible at it. Peribold and Hornsby are no better, but perhaps more naturally talented in this direction. In any case, after following the river for a couple days with no results (thinking that staying close to a major trade route would provide some extra safety), the trio head South East further into the woods. At some point, they pick up a trail and follow it for another day, only to lose it again.
Then, without warning, they crest a ridge and find themselves staring out over what can only be the beginnings of the Green Tide, not half a day’s travel from their lookout. As mages, they can feel the immense magical presence of this ancient place washing over them. They can just make out a massive stone face lying sideways on the ground, the remnants of some vast statue. Peribold wants to investigate, but Hornsby is firm: they will complete their current task, return to the guild and undertake further research. Only then will they consider returning to this place. Still, the aura is intoxicating and frightening, and neither of them turns away with ease. Harkness is disinterested.
The hunters decide it is time to return home. Harkness is no stranger to this particular variety of frustration, but Peribold and Hornsby are less accustomed. Still, the mood is light as they quickly and quietly make their way back to town. A day later, they are making their way between the gnarled, massive roots of the Blue Copse when they hear sounds of an altercation. Stealthily, they investigate and discover the very ogre they’ve been hunting. It is enormous, standing some nine feet tall and thick as a tree. It is currently quickly making its way through a pack of goblins and hobgoblins in a clearing. Each time it swings its club, another falls.
This is their moment: the trio quickly formulate a rudimentary flanking scenario, and take up positions. They wait, hoping the ogre will fight with the other goblinoids long enough to induce some exhaustion- but it tears through them like a force of nature, hardly winded. Harkness steps out into the clearing and directly challenges the ogre. The lumbering foe moves with surprising speed towards him, and seconds later they engage. Harkness fights with careful precision, prioritizing his own safety far beyond striking back. This is a necessity: a single blow from this monstrosity would end the fight, and the same could not be said in exchange.
Peribold and Hornsby make use of the distraction to cast attack spells at the ogre, but this turns into a comedy of errors. Harkness is more at risk of being struck by their spells than the ogre! He yells at them to try and be more helpful. They move in to improve their accuracy and perhaps give him a distraction he can make use of.
The fight is long, and punctuated by several near-tragic moments. However, in the end the party prevails, though not before they have done what seems like an impossibly large amount of damage. The thing does not even countenance its grotesque wounds until the very moment it expires, slumping to the ground. Truly a terrifying opponent. Harkness falls down exhausted, and after a bit of rest, pleasantly reveals that the only remaining task is to lug the creature’s huge head back to town. Peribold and Hornsby are . . . unenthusiastic.