29 Lamashan 4707
The next morning, Mayor Maelin Shreed comes back to the inn to talk to the PCs. He asks for more details of what was happening on the barge. He expresses concern due to the incessant rain, the lack of visits from any Black Arrows in recent days and the rumours that are flying around town about strange things in the woods – displaced animals, hunters going missing and strange comings and goings on the Shimmerglens.
- Hunters have reported an upturn in wild animal attacks in the Kreegwood near the town. Normally these creatures reside deeper in the wood.
- In the past two weeks, a few hunters have gone missing. These were experienced guys that hunted deeper in the Kreegwood, mainly for pelts.
- Only 2 days ago, a hunter reported a strange event, where a firepelt cougar approached him, ran around his legs and then trotted off back towards where it came from. It repeated this several times, while making high pitched yowls and trills. Eventually the hunter ran off.
- There was a sighting of a group of ogres moving through the forest and crossing over to the Shimmerglens just over a week ago. Later that same night they returned. One of them was carrying a body.
He asks what their plans are and if there is anything he can do to help them. Will they check in at Fort Rannick.
During the conversation, Tilla Henkenson interrupts. She’s sat at another table having breakfast as she does every day before school. “While you’re at it, can you find out why the Skull River is running low?” This provokes a debate between the Mayor and Tilla about priorities. Her reasoning is that with the level of rain over the last few weeks, the river should be running high not low. In the end the Mayor will ask if they have time to look into it as well. Shalelu is keen to get to Fort Rannick as well, she wants to find out what has happened to the Black Arrows.
The party moves off to head toward the Fort. On the journey, they can see that the river is clearly low despite the rain, but the cause of this is not immediately apparent.
Soon they reach a bridge crossing the Skull River. As they cross, Tig hears the sound of a animal in pain. Tig, Stig and Samoth head into the woods to investigate while the rest of the party wait with the horses.
They reach a clearing to find a firepelt cougar trapped in a bear trap. Freeing the cougar and healing it, they are surprised to see it apparently attempting to get them to follow it.
Soon though, they hear the sound of loud aggressive barking. Bastarj is sent to fetch the rest of the party while Samoth flies ahead to investigate. He finds the source of the barking is 5 large aggressive hounds. He also hears a gruff voice singing about hunting cats. And moves off to find out where it comes from.
The party defends the cougar from the hunting dogs while Samoth encounters a deformed ogrekin and traps him in a pit. After some fruitless attempts to question it, the party gathers around the creature and as it emerges from the pit Stig charms it.
The creature tells them of his family headed by Mammy, who has lots of sons, with a somewhat confusing family tree. They ask the creature, named Rukus, to take them to his family and follow him for approximately a mile through the forest, avoiding traps along the way.
Rukus leads them to an overgrown path cut through a particularly heavy thicket of bushes and trees. Crude fetishes made from bone, twig and skin dangle from branches around the entrance.
They progress halfway up the path when Rukus detours into the woods and starts to move through them. passage is particularly slow, so Stig decides to continue up the path, only to trigger a pit trap, but he successfully jumps to safety. At the bottom of the pit are lots of sharpened stakes, and caught in them are the bodies of 3 men bloated with putrefying gasses. One of the bodies bursts open as the pit cover lands on it, releasing hundreds of flies.
They eventually emerge from the path into a large clearing containing a decrepit farm, with ramshackle buildings and a field of diseased rotting corn. As they pass by the corn heading to the farm buildings, a figure darts out from behind them striking Tig heavily with a wicked looking hooked weapon. Tig is struck several more times before people react and falls unconscious. The figure tries to dart back into the corn to hide but Kaz sets the field alight.
Rukus begs his new friends and his brother to stop fighting, so Stig tells him to run back to his house. The rest of the party surround the tall malformed figure and kill him. It is another ogrekin half-breed.
The group progress up to the barn and farmhouse. The firstly check the barn and are set upon by 3 more ogrekin sporting further deformities, but these prove to be little trouble. The rear of the barn is heavily boarded up but they spot two doors on an upper balcony. Behind these is a large room filled with webs, with two cages in the corners. The cages contain 3 men who are unconscious.
The men are rescued just in time as an enormous spider emerges from the lower reaches of the web and attacks them. They bring the men out to the clearing where Shalelu is waiting and to their surprise she recognises one of them as the second in command of the Fort. They stabilise the mend and decide to check the farmhouse.
Tig scouts the entrance where a door stands ajar. She touches the door and a trap is triggered causing spikes spring out and stab her. Razor sharp saw blades spring up from the floor, but she evades them.
Entering the house she finds more traps and decides to fetch the rest of the group, warning them to take care. The enter and as the explore they meet Mammay Graul. She is a corpulently obese ogrekin, that has learnt the foul art of necromancy, reanimating the corpses of her dead lovers and sons.
The battle is made easier by clever thinking by Samoth who uses a stinking cloud to incapacitate her and Rukus who is now aiding her. Cornered she dimension doors away, but is spotted by Shalelu who alerts the PCs and they rush out to finish the fight. Eventually she is despatched and the party decided to rest for the night