Having “murdered” our “prisoner” (I say, “finished off that bastard who kebabbed me”), we camped on the way to the cave to recover, then headed to the bugbear cave.
Cog scouted ahead and spotted the sentries, went sneaking off and then … dropped something? Anyway, suddenly they knew where we were, and the fight was on. Six bugbears including their boss, but we held our own and eventually had all the grunts dead and the boss at our mercy.
The boss was very intimidated (Al’s good at that), and told us he had a contact named Vernon who comes out from the town at night and trades with them. Wait… “Vernon”? The shopkeeper in the town!
We decided to camp out and wait for other bugbears or Vernon to show up. Neither did on the first night, but on the second night a posse of folk from the town showed up led by none other than Vernon… who completely denied his involvement, and instead accused us of being in league with the bugbears and responsible for killing travellers. Given that travellers had been going missing for some time before we arrived (and presumably, since we headed into the mountains, no more travellers had gone missing), that’s a pretty flimsy accusation, but never underestimate the stupidity of people in large numbers.
Some substantial debate was joined, including a zone of truth (against which Vernon appears to have saved), but finally the winning argument appears to have been the following line from Al: “we don’t want to fight, we’ve told you the truth, but you can see by looking around what we have done to nine bugbears so far. We will fight you if we must. Some of you might survive, or you might not. Your choice.” Intimidate roll: 27.
So, we are enemies of the town now, but they’ll let us continue on our way. Vernon is most unhappy, but I think the townsfolk may be not quite so trusting of him any more. Good luck with that trading post, Vernon.