The characters must travel to Equipoise and intercept a shipment of weapons.
The fastest way to Equipoise for an unladen group of travelers, is directly through the Taanwood. Another, easier but longer route exists for wagoneers, which winds Southeast before turning North.
The party soon runs into an Elvish messenger who conveys poor news. He is looking for the General Emissary Silarius of Taan. A great Giant wizard (named Stifle by the Elves, Coldblood by the Orcs, and Exileleadingtofreezingdeathandwewillspitonyou—or Grabubkub—by the Goblins.) is hosting war against the Elves in the Norther Taanwood. He has slain four military or spiritual leaders in as many weeks. General Silarius is needed by his people as their combat leaders run thin. Perhaps more concerning: Stifle seems to feature in the battles only long enough to crush the leaders, then he abandons his underlings to whatever fortune befalls them. He simply takes the leaders’ weapons as trophies and disappears.
The group resolve to continue their missions, since there doesn’t seem to be much they can do for the Elves. Crossing the Taanwood, they encounter several bands of Goblins and Orcs. In one instance, they free the Grapeseed Family who had a winery/distillery in the woods.
Finally, they arrive at the river which marks the base of the hill path to Equipoise. They find a party of Orcs ready with a ferry to carry a sizeable load up or down river. Cutting loose the ferries and routing the Orcs, the party moves up the hill pass and sets an ambush.
When a group of carts moved down the snowy path, the party sprang their ambush. In combat with well armed Orcs, an Ogre, and a Homonculus, Salmalen was slain.