“OPEN UP!” Pint Bloodhorn bangs at the door of the temple. Impatient, he curls his hefty fist and raises it to again hammer against the wood when it flings open. The priestess, looking very distressed, surveys the groups. Her displeasure is apparent, but she does not voice her anger at his discourteous manner. Before Tank can further damage the situation, Bay-Wynn steps forward to beseech the healer.
“My lady, our friend is in dire need of your assistance. We would be humbled if you would offer us your assistance.”
“Of course, my child. Please, bring him in” the healer urges.
The group enters the temple and Mira looks to the healer. When she waves a hand over a large waist high stone altar, Mira lays Otho across it. Though it is well past sunset, the temple is bright with the light of thousands of candles, including three ornate wrought iron chandeliers hanging high above their heads.
“What manner of undead has struck your friend?” Bay-Wynn gives the cleric the details of the ordeal that has brought Otho to his current state. As they discuss the details of his ailment, Mira looks to Pint and the others. She nods her head towards the door and the move outside to wait for Bay.
When Bay-Wynn emerges, she informs the party of the arrangement with the cleric. “Otho's healing will take one week... and one thousand gold.”
“What! That heretic is trying to rob us blind!” Pint howls with resentment.
“Last time I checked, you couldn't heal a squirrel bite on your own ass so shut your hole!” Bay snaps.
“Bay-Wynn, we do not have one thousand gold.” Mira states reminding her of their current lack of funds.
“She took the 500 we had as a good faith payment. We owe her the rest when we return for Otho.”
“I was looking forward to sleeping in an actual bed tonight.” Tank grumbles. “Come on Mira, let's go find us some dinner since it looks like we won't be visiting the pub tonight.” The two set off into the woods to hunt. When they return, Pint and Bay-Wynn have set up camp and started a small fire. Mira begins skinning the rabbits while Tank retrieves the groups stale bread.
They settle in for the evening and the Bloodhorns start with their usual tales of glorious battle. They've both each told these tales at least a dozen times. Each time the adversary is bigger than the last, fiercer than before. As she tunes them out and tries to gain solace from the woods around her, Mira feels a presence at the edge of the forest. She can't see it fully, but she recalls feeling that something had been following her and Tank as they hunted. Her instincts tell her that it isn't a threat; it is just curious. She tosses a rabbit leg into the edge of the forest. The dwarves don't notice, but her actions draw Bay-Wynn's attention. Bay-Wynn looks to Mira who just shrugs so she returns to her meal.
“Where's Njord?” Mira asks.
“He went to visit his 'lady friend'.” Bay-Wynn informs them with a smirk. After their meal, the group discusses how they will make the additional 500 gold. They have no choice but to sell some of their loot and acquired gear from their previous adventure.
The next day, they visit the merchant and sell most of their excess belongings. It gets them most of what they needed and they get the rest from Otho's pouch. Mira doesn't like taking from his belongings, but considering he'd be dead otherwise she figures he won't mind.
They spend the rest of the week in town. Mira, Tank and Pint do odd jobs for the local merchants and farmers to earn money for food. Each night, Bay-Wynn entertains the patrons of the pub in return for rounds of ale for the group. Most nights, once Bay has finished her performance, the drunkards tell fanciful stories. They seem to be competing for who can tell the most far fetched tale; from ghosts escaping an asylum, to loggers turning into zombies. When Mira hears a tale of a unicorn hunting people in the forest, she decides to tune them out.
“A UNICORN! I will hunt the foul beast and use it's horn for an axe handle!” Pint almost falls from his stool as he makes his declaration, spilling half of his ale onto the floor. “Ya can't kill a unicorn! Ya'll bring bad luck on us all!” Tank emphasizes dramatically as though he were foretelling the fate of the world. His eyes hold all of the seriousness of death even though Mira knew that he was so drunk he probably thought she was a unicorn.
“Mira” Bay whispers. “You hear that?” She nods over her shoulder to a group at the table behind her. “Loggers being attacked by druids... Now that sounds like something we can handle.” Mira glanced over Bay-Wynn's shoulder and tried to drown out the cousins so that she could eavesdrop on the nearby conversation.
That night at the camp, as the dwarves snored off their booze, Mira and Bay-Wynn discussed what they had each overheard. From what they could piece together, a group of loggers had been attacked by druids. One of the pub patrons suspected that the loggers may have ventured into the druids territory and were cutting their sacred trees. They agreed that in the morning they would try to investigate to see if there was an opportunity for an adventure.
In the morning, they visit the sheriff to see what information they can gather. The sheriff informs them of a body that he claims has been ravaged by giant insects. Pint inspects the corpse and determines that the death was in fact caused by a weapon. Bay-Wynn frowns in disgust as he removes the insect parts from the wounds.
He shows them how cleanly the bugs have been severed. “If they had been snapped off as the logger swatted them, the parts would be jagged. Also, this swelling is not from any type of poison.” He cut into the loggers flesh close to one of the wounds. The flesh was a pallid gray color. “If there was poison here, there would be either puss or the blood would have collected to this spot.” He looked up to see his comrades staring at him as though he'd grown two extra heads. “What?” he shrugged. “I see a lot of dead bodies.” The sheriff did not look convinced of the accuracy of Pint's assessment, but Mira and Bay knew Pint well enough to know that he would not embellish a kill that was not his own. They trust his word.
They thank the sheriff for his time and head to the logger's headquarters. They are greeted by a short burly human who Mira almost mistakes for a dwarf. Pint and Tank admire the loggers axes while Bay-Wynn asks about the rumors that they have heard regarding the wood shortage. Bazil, the human logger, had been admiring Tank's beard and Bay-Wynn has to repeat her question. Bazil tells them that there has been no signal from the lighthouse in many weeks and that the logs have stopped. The loggers have sent a party to investigate, but they are several days overdue.
“May I offer our services to help investigate the source of your troubles? For 500 gold pieces we will discover what has happened to the lighthouse and your missing men and get the logs flowing again.”
“I must consult with the grand master.” Bazil informs them and retreats through a large door at the back of the alcove. He returns with a tall, bare faced human. “How may I help you people?”
Bay-Wynn repeats their offer to the grand master and he scoffs, “I will pay you 100 gold pieces.”
“My good sir, this will likely prove to be a dangerous endeavor. We need adequate compensation to ensure that we are prepared for the task.”
“100 gold. Take it or leave it.” He gives an annoyed glance to Bazil as if he has better things to do with his time and doesn't appreciate being interrupted.
“For 100 gold, we will discover the source of the troubles and report our findings back to you.”
“Done” He says and turns to leave without shaking her hand to seal the deal. She glances at Mira and the half-orc knows that Bay would like to put an arrow in the rude man's ass. But, the pull of gold wins out and she stays her temper.
Bazil gives them directions to the lighthouse and the groups returns to the village to gather Otho and to purchase a few supplies. Tank stops in to check on Njord who decides that he'll pass on the adventure and will meet up with the group when they return.
The team heads out, following the path that Bazil had identified. The early portion of their trip is uneventful. They spend their days hiking and their nights sharing stories around a fire. They have passed two abandoned watchtowers that have provided no evidence of the loggers plight. The dwarves are restless to fight something and spend most of their hikes bickering.
One night after they've finished their meal and prepared for bed, Mira suddenly goes off into the woods. “Hey, where you going?” Bay-Wynn calls after her.
“I'll be back.”
The presence that she had felt a few days ago was still with them. In the woods, Mira comes across a large, beautiful gray wolf. She stares at it and it stares back; not afraid, not ready to attack. Mira places her hand on her chest and states her name. Then she kneels down and holds her hand, palm down, out toward the wolf. It trots slowly towards Mira and cautiously sniffs her hand while Mira stays as still as she can. When the wolf tucks it's head under Mira's hand, she relaxes and scratches behind it's ears. The wolf looks up at Mira again and as she stares into it's eyes a name enters Mira's mind; Drogheda. “Come, Drogheda” she says to the wolf without speaking and the two return to camp together.
“Ay! A puppy!” Tank declares. The wolf drops its head low and growls menacingly. “Uhhh... I mean wolf... it's a wolf.” Drogheda relaxes and trots back over to Mira's side while Pint falls over with laughter.
The following day, they come across a third watchtower and before anyone notices it, Tank charges a goblin that had been hiding at the base. He kills it with one blow as the others fumble to ready their weapons. In the chaos, one of the goblins manages to hit Bay-Wynn with a shot from a sling. The group makes quick work of the remaining goblins, killing most, but Mira grapples the last goblin to the ground.
“Are there any more of you?” Bay-Wynn asks with an unsettling calm in her voice. The fact that Mira hold the small creature off the ground by it's neck is all the intimidation that she needs. “The tower! The tower!” the creature gasps, clawing at Mira's hand.
Bay-Wynn, Tank and Mira head up the tower. Pint, Otho and Drogheda stay behind to keep watch. As they reach the top, a small band of goblins assaults them with arrows from the tower's cabin. In the turmoil, Mira accidentally sets off a trap and she and Tank fall through a flight of stairs. The impact of the crash kills their goblin prisoner. Mira grabs her sling and opens fire on the goblins. While the goblins try to defend against Mira's onslaught, Bay-Wynn quickly dons her spider slippers and slides out of the landing window, then climbs the outer wall.
Still distracted by Mira and Tank below, they don't notice her slip inside. Tank manages to push the goblins back enough to enter the cabin just as Bay-Wynn conjures up a ghostly hand that slams the trap door shut. The goblins shriek in fear. Since they hadn't seen Bay-Wynn climb through the window, they assume she has appeared out of thin air. They decide to make a quick retreat and grab small straps of leather from pouches on their belts. They use them to slide down the cables that are used to steady the tower. Determined not to let them get away, Tank jumps from the window!
On the landing below, Mira sees a large object flash past the window yelling a war cry that sounds oddly like Tank. She runs to the window and looks up first (to make sure that nothing else is coming) and then looks down. She sees Tank on the ground immobile and fears the worse. Then he stands a raises his hammer above his head scanning the area for more goblins. “That crazy fuck” Mira mutters in orc. As Tank heads around the south end to meet with the others, Mira see several goblins emerge from the woods to the north. They each have a torch and they use them to set the tower ablaze.
Back in the cabin, Bay-Wynn looks from the window and searches the surrounding area. She sees a flume that has been destroyed and another watchtower surrounded by a camp of huts. “Bay-Wynn! We've gotta go!” she hears Mira's booming voice through the closed door. She opens the trap door. “They've set the tower on fire. We've gotta go!” The two dash downstairs and join the others where they quickly douse the flames.
Bay-Wynn tells the group what she's seen and urges them to move quickly. She is certain that the goblins that fled are heading towards the camp that she spied from the tower cabin. Bay-Wynn scouts ahead and from the edge of the clearing she sees two guard towers, one on either side of the damaged flume. She tries to retreat to alert the group, but she is spotted and they sound the alarm. The others hear it as well and they rush forward to see what is going on.
By the time they arrive, Bay-Wynn has already killed two guards on the closest platform. As she moves laterally to find a strategic position, Tank and Mira dash through the clearing and stop directly beneath the guard tower. From underneath, the guards can not see or attack them so the pair assume that they will have to come down. Unfortunately for the fighters, several dozen goblins emerge from the camp.
Rather than remain under the tower as easy prey the rush forward to engage the oncoming goblin army. Pint and Drogheda enter the clearing to assist and they form a defensive line hoping to avoid being surrounded. Bay-Wynn and Otho provide offensive fire against the remaining goblins in the tower to prevent them from attacking their comrades from behind.
The platform guards are quickly dispensed, but the goblin's numbers have proven overwhelming for the group. Mira is surrounded and takes crucial injuries. Drogheda, seeing her new friend in trouble, breaks their line to comes to Mira's aid. Tank's left side is left unguarded and he becomes surrounded as well. Despite their impressive numbers, the goblins are eventually defeated.
Though she doesn't make a sound, Mira collapses in pain from her injuries. Her breathing is shallow as Otho comes forward and kneels beside her. “Relax my friend. You will be as good as new in no time.” Otho closes his eyes and draws forth his healing energy. After several moments, Mira breathes deeply as her pain subsides.