It is Springtime in the Reachness Vale.
The chest was believed to have been stolen by the Raven Roost Bandits who operate out of an abandoned mansion North of Avony. Our heroes surprised and beat up a couple of swampy bandits who were supposed to be the watchmen for the mansion. Then our heroes encountered the bandits, who hilariously outgunned them and then offered a reward of 2,500 gold pieces if the chest would be returned to them instead of the Mayor. The bandits told the heroes they would find the chest in the company of some Frost Kobolds even further north in the Kuldahar Pass.
Our heroes reached the kobold camp, and deceived Big Chief, the leader of the kobolds, into believing that they were the traders sent to pick up the chest from them. The heroes learned of Altova, a powerful and mysterious demoness who commissioned the theft of the chest. The party completed a few varied tasks for Big Chief, and then received the chest as their payment.
The heroes then hightailed it out of there, as the real traders were going to be there soon. On their way down through the pass, they encountered the ruins of the traders’ carriage, and poor Theron fighting for his life against the bear that had attacked it. The heroes spent a long time killing the bear, and then searched the all-black carriage, finding an Amulet of Altova and not much else. Theron had a head wound which gave him severe amnesia.
The heroes then trundled back to Avony with their new companion, where he promptly got locked up in the town jail after a failed intimidation attempt with the Mayor. The other heroes bargained with the Mayor for 2,000 GP for the chest instead of the original 1,000, and then the DM bargained with the players to let him go home and prepare the story for next time.