After having the situation explained to you by Shurod of the Wastewander tribe you buried Jerry in the cemetery at Stout Keep and began the trip back to Llaney to resupply and begin the long journey south to the city of Kulidair in the Holy Dominion of Egiolin.
The first night of the trip you were startled by an Orc wearing the Spider’s symbol that charged at your camp from the darkness before seemingly sinking down through the shadows around his feet. After that Saréna sprouted a second shadow around the campfire that briefly gave a thumbs up and melted away into the wilderness.
You return to Llaney after an (otherwise) uneventful journey to find a bundle waiting for you at the High Road Inn from Wally Winko. Two “Extra Special Winko Wonderbars” are addressed to each of you with a note (in Halfling) that the Innkeeper is able to translate for you as “When things are bad these will always make you feel better.”
You make plans to depart in the morning…
The group made their way around Llaney preparing for the trip ahead of them, likely to be about two weeks of time traveling on horseback to reach Kulidair, the capital of the Holy Dominion of Egiolin. They found the city busier than when they had left it for Stout Keep, the inns packed full and the streets overrun with the children of the refugees from the northern villages around Stout Keep in the wake of its fall to the Orcs. As local heroes the members of the party were able to get some reasonable deals on supplies for their trip and they departed in the morning.
The party also inquired at the local alchemist’s shop about any potions of healing that he might have available, but decided that the price he wanted for them was simply too high for them at the moment.
As the party crossed the mid-day mark they came across a High Elf traveling north on the Tall Road. One that Edgar and Mouse recognized from the Crossroads, he introduced himself as Jata Telpë, a messenger on behalf of Arnórë Tirvarda who was trying to find their former traveling companion Lord Seth. After being informed that they others hadn’t seen him since their initial arrival in Llaney he conversed briefly with Saréna (in passable Wood Elven) to make sure that this young Elven woman wasn’t traveling with the others against her will. Satisfied that everything was above board he bid them farewell and continued to the north, asking them to inform Lord Seth that his family was looking for him should they see him again.
In the afternoon as they continued along their journey the party came across a stretch of road with bushes along both sides. They could clearly see a poorly disguised rope laid across the road running into the bushes. It was pulled taut as they approached but only about a foot off the ground. A Halfling in a hooded cloak with a mask covering their face flanked the group from behind. Brandishing a shortbow (and fumbling their first arrow to the ground before nocking a second) it threatened them with “Your money and your food or your lives!”
Edgar drew on his draconic blood to pull the assailant’s hood down over their face which the bandit struggled with briefly, losing their balance and landing in the dirt. Sitting there dejectedly the would-be bandit took off the hood revealing herself to be Eryn, a Halfling woman. She pleaded with the party for assistance, she and her husband had lived in the north of Dorothel near Stout Keep until her husband was killed by the Orcs. She had packed up her two sons (holding the rope across the road from behind the bushes) and attempted to return to the village her family was from in the south of Dorothel but their supplies and meager savings had given out early on into the trip. Unsuccessful as hunters and gatherers, she had attempted to turn to banditry to provide for them.
The party took pity on the family giving them a few days worth of rations and offering to carry them farther south as they travelled (and to attempt to show Eryn and her sons Gilliam and Alard how to properly use a bow).
Day three was marked by an ongoing pouring rain (and a pair of pent-up Halfling children with no entertainment besides Edgar’s pet Homonculus “Professor Wigglesworth”) that made the journey highly unpleasant. In the late afternoon the party arrived at a crossroads with a road to Mebrook. Eryn and her sons thanked the party for their generosity and began their muddy walk to return to her family (close enough for them to arrive before nightfall) from there.
As the group approached one of the typical “Not tall enough for non-Halflings to traverse without pain and humiliation” tunnels through a hillside they heard other riders slowly making their way through it from the other side. When Mouse caught sight of them he mentioned to the others to stay cool because they were looking for a friend of his. The party was met by two Thell riders named Renzo and Mente who proceeded to grill the party on the whereabouts of a Thell rogue they believed to be named “Rat, or some nonsense like that.” They explained that they had been deputized by the household of Prince Clawes of Helladhil to retrieve an item that had been taken from one of his family members while in the capital. A few crafty lies and half-truths later they were on their way, offering a 10gp reward for information leading to the capture of the man they were seeking.
The party arrived back in the Crossroads and spent a night in the Inn eating something besides rations.
Another set of rations and feed for horses was acquired and another visit to the local alchemist’s shop was performed. Unfortunately our heroes found the prices on food in the Crossroads to be significantly more expensive (nearly double what they were in Llaney) and (due to the constant flow of “adventurers” through the area) the demand for healing potions allowed merchants to charge a much steeper price on those as well. Mouse took this opportunity to sell his worn armor and upgrade to something a bit more rugged.
Setting out to the south the party came across a set of standing stones to the side of the road where a small teepee had been erected with a lopsided wooden table in front of it. A crude wooden sign with letters in a few different languages formed a sign stating “U BUY”. The party approached to investigate, they were greeted by a Kobold wearing a broken wooden board over its chest strapped in place with leather laces as armor. He greeted them and in broken common asked “You buy?” The party asked to see his wares and he retrieved a bushel of withered ears of corn from the tent. Placing them on the table, smiling at them and nodding “You buy?” The party asked how much which was a question the Kobold had clearly never needed to address before, he told the party “You stay” and he went back to the tent and retrieved a second kobold.
The second Kobold was an old man, he walked on a rough wooden crutch and was missing an eye. As he looked over the travelers he recognized Mouse and Edgar, pointing at them excitedly and repeating “You! You! Heroes of Koboldia!” Confused but remembering the colony of elderly and unfit Kobolds that had taken up residence in the burned-out keep in Ferrelton they began to realize that might be where the Kobolds were from.
The older Kobold explained (in slightly better but still highly fractured Common) that “Bad men” had come to Koboldia and made their men fight for them, most of them had been killed (during some sort of night-time raid). But then Edgar and Mouse had arrived and made the bad men “go poof” and leave, allowing the Kobolds to be free again.
He offered the party members the corn for free, telling the young Wood Elven lady “Too skinny, take corn.”
Passing nearby the monastery where Saréna had been trained (and knowing that they offered shelter to travelers) the party diverted to spend a night there. The monks were happy to see Saréna and ask about her travels. The party was treated to dinner and access to the monastery’s baths where they were able to was some of the road off them. Over dinner the head monk (Brother Dusek) told them that the road had been quiet for travelers lately, not an uncommon thing since the Orcs had been attacking travelers, but even so somewhat unusual. He said the last travelers he could remember that stopped in the Monastery had been nearly a month ago: Two men (a father and son who took a great interest in the monastery showing a keen understanding of history) and some assorted others he took to be hired help as caravan guards. He said that even the Goblins that dwelled in the edge of the Adrindest forest to the south had been largely absent lately, but when he would meditate he couldn’t help but feel that something was wrong.
The group spent the night, made some donations in the alms box in the entry hall and made their way onward.
Where the Silver Road crossed through the eastern end of the Adrindest forest the party found a broken down cart to the side of the road. Upon investigation they found signs that it had been attacked by Goblins who had broken open a crate in the back leaving lead-colored smudges on the inside from whatever had been removed. On the opposite side of the cart they found a grave marked with the name Dananois.
Alerted to the sound of several creatures rustling in the underbrush the party found a pack of small shambling undead Goblins and a single Human-sized shuffling undead. The party sprung into action with Edgar ensnaring most of them within a mass of sticky webs while the other party members set about laying waste to the undead beasts. As they were continuing to fight the monsters they heard more of the tiny undead approaching. Edgar captured most of them in another mass of webs, but some of the monsters were beginning to break free.
As the party was surrounded by a number of the felled creatures but with more threatening to break free a small group of Wood Elven border rangers arrived and assisted the party with killing the remaining undead. Having seen the smoke from where Edgar had cast fire spells into the masses of webs they were drawn closer to investigate.
The lead ranger said he wished the situation could have been handled with the fire damage to the trees, but that there had been a number of similar incidents lately. He had a member of his patrol heal members of the party and urged them to leave the area as quickly as they could muster.
Looking over the remains of the undead it was clear that the Human zombie had been the remains of Jean Dananois, the archaeologist that had stolen the idol they had recovered from the crypts under the keep in Ferrelton (in s01e03).
As dusk approached and with at least a half day ride still between themselves and Kulidair, the party made camp in an Old Elven ruin on the north shore of the lake to the north of Kulidair.