After a three day journey to the outskirts of the vale (as far as she deemed safe to venture), Rahimira returns home to her cabin at the edge of Falcon's Hallow. She had taken the trek in order to hunt for game that was scarce in the Hallow, but plentiful deeper within the vale. The more rare animal pelts will fetch a higher price with the merchant caravans that frequent the town. She hopes that the bright silver furs will also bring her coin of the same color. She also wonders how her good friend Randallo had fared with the dried meats and figurines that she had sent with him to sell at market before she left for her trip. She wouldn't be surprised to find him passed out on her pallet after helping himself to some of her stock of ale and dried meats. When she enters her cabin, instead of her friend, she finds a note on her table on top of what looks to be finely crafted leather armor.
I was able to find a merchant selling cauldrons since you have been wanting a new one. I purchased it
with the money from selling your last bit of goods. I had to pay Fenrick two copper coins to haul it to
your cabin and a third to mount it into your hearth....”
Rahimira walks over to the hearth and inspects the cauldron. It is a fine piece. She returns to the letter, hoping to figure out where he had gotten the armor and why.
"... I met some travelers down at the pub and we discovered that some children had gone missing. We
searched the orphanage, but found more problems than information so we decided to search the far side
of the woods by the lake. I'll leave a trail for you to follow so come meet us as soon as you get back.
Although I'm sure you won't need it, I bought you a leather armor tunic with the money left over after I
bought your cauldron. When you come, bring my friend Otho with you. If you don't see him at his
cabin, he may be out back with his goats. If you don't see him, ask the goats.
Until we meet,
By "problems", Mira assumes that they had come across something fairly dangerous. Otherwise he wouldn't have bought her the studded tunic that she "probably wouldn't need". Mira packs her travel sack with a weeks worth of rations, her sling and water skein, and straps her kukri to her back. She carries the leather tunic in her hand and heads to Otho's. As Randy predicted, he wasn't home. Despite feeling quite foolish she decides to ask his goats. She almost falls on her butt when the middle goat turns into Otho himself.
When Randy had come back to town to leave the note for Mira he had run into Otho and had given him a few more gory details about his adventure than what he had written in the note. Mira decides to return home for her great axe before they leave for the lake.
It takes the pair the remainder of the morning to track Randy and his companions, partly due to Otho's short stride. When they finally track the group they come upon a fierce battle. Mira doesn't yet see Randy, but she sees a small party in combat with a huge unnatural beast resembling both a man and a wolf. Both she and Otho watch the ensuing fight when she spies Randy darting towards them from the edge of the clearing. When he reaches them she demands an explanation, but Randy insists that one would come later once she helps his new companions.
Though a half-orc, Rahimira was never one for incessant brawling, but she could handle herself in a fight. She had never before faced a werewolf, but figured that it shouldn't be much different from a regular wolf. She dons her great axe and discovers just how wrong she was as the wolf parries away from her swing and strikes quickly with powerful claws making an deep gouge into her forearm. She stumbles back through the haze of pain and stares as one of Randy's new mates, a dwarf, deftly battles two unknown creatures that seemed to be fighting alongside the wolf. She continues to watch, and becames captivated by a human that she hadn't fully noticed before, as he wields a large curved blade and cuts down the creatures. She is immediately besotted, for even though she isn't much of a fighter herself, as a half-orc, she appreciates someone that can handle a weapon.
The wolf makes a charge to attack her again and, more from instinct than any skill, she slashes her great axe and cuts the wolf in two. As her adrenaline wanes and she regains herself, the towering human praises her defeat of the beast. She is immediately smitten. Otho casts a healing spell and Mira watches in awe as her wound stitches itself closed. The half-elf, Corgana, complains about being bitten and declares that this was more than she bargained for before leaving the group staring after her. Randy attempts to pick her pockets but she is too quick in her retreat. He falls and ends up groping her backside which earns him a hard slap that knocks him to the ground.
The new group sits down for a quick bite and some drink to regain their energy while Randy introduces his companions and recalls to Mira and Otho what has happened over the past few days. Mira notes that Randy has a new furry friend, a fox, that is resting at his feet. Quickly forgetting the dwarf's unusual name, Mira tells Randy "You owe me a pint for this one" and the group enjoys a good laugh. The human Godric, asks repeatedly about a young girl named Jeva. Mira thought that Randy had said that she was in fact the werewolf, but given Godric's constant musings about Jeva's werabouts she though maybe she had misheard part of Randy's story.
After a while of loafing about, the dwarf the stands up, thumps his chest and bellows "I need a warm up!" The bard, Bay-Wynn, has shared a few tales of Pint's love of a good fight, so in an attempt to impress her new comrades, Mira decides to grant his request. She stands, leans forward and punches Pint in the chest. The group goes silent and stares at the pair. Pint states "Is that what goes for a strike from an orc?". Feeling slightly insulted (although she did strike first), Mira decides to give it another go, but in her haste to show what she can do, she slips and only manages a slap against his shoulder. Pint grunts, "Humph! Even from a half-orc, I expected something to at least sting a little." Now feeling more embarrassed as she picks herself up from the ground and needing to redeem herself, she plants her feet and takes a steady strike straight to the center of Pint's face. He stumbles back several steps and when he rights himself, she saw that his nose was bloodied. The elven bard quickly jumps to her feet and draws her bow, aiming it directly at Mira. She doesn't turn, but hears the weapon being drawn and as Pint stares at her, she fears that she had misjudged the situation. Abruptly, Pint lets out a hearty laugh, spit a mouthful of blood and declares "I didn't need that tooth anyway". Obviously relieved, Mira smiles and extends her hand in friendship to the dwarf. He grasps it firmly and gives her a hard slap on the back as he laughs. The elf puts away her weapon, but gives Mira an irritated glance.
After a bit more rest and a few more stories from the bard, the group decides to venture on while they still have a few hours of daylight. They come across some ruins and decide to investigate. Mira senses two large beasts and brings the group to a halt. She senses a level of hostility that she has never come across before in animals along the edge of the vale; even those that are trying to escape as she hunts them. Unsure of what to do she hesitates. Her lack of decision proves costly and she is attacked. Thankfully her new consorts are able to handle the beasts and Otho again, provides restoration to the battle weary group.
Randy and Mira decide to scout the ruins ahead of the rest to verify that it is safe. They enter into a large open air courtyard. Off to their right is a set of rickety stairs that leads up to a watchtower. Along the right wall is set of doors that leads to what used to be a stable, but is now rubble. To the left is another set of double doors. They cross the courtyard and find a well off to the far left. There is a corpse there and Randy searches it's tattered clothing. Randy finds a vial of blue liquid, some silk rope, a thieves kit and a few coins. He pockets the coins and the vial and gives Mira the rest to keep in her sack. He tells her to keep the find between them and she complies. Straight ahead is another set of doors. Just inside is a long hallway that extends to the left and right. It sets Mira's nerves on edge so Randy decides to try to send his fox companion inside. After getting close to the door, the animal runs quickly from the ruins. They decide to get the rest of the group before searching further.
Still weary of the dim hallway across the courtyard, Mira decides to investigate the hallway to the left. Just through the doors she finds another hallway with more rooms on both sides and straight ahead. Searching the room to the left she find a silver light hammer and an iron bloom. The hammer has some Dwarven markings on it so she decides to see if Pint can determine if they have some significance. He scoffs stating that no one needs to read when there is fighting to be done. Mira shrugs and pockets both the hammer and the mushroom. Back in the courtyard Randy is peering down the well. It appears to drop about 30 feet. There is a rope hanging from a horizontal bar suspended across the top of the well, but it only descends around 10 feet. Godric and Bay-Wynn decide to explore the set of rooms to the left of the courtyard. From the main hallway, they enter into a large room immediately across from the courtyard doors. It appears to be a place of worship with an altar directly at the far wall and pews lining either side. There is a large anvil at the altar and Bay-Wynn suggests that Mira see if her hammer fits into the altar. It doesn't and Mira leaves the room to find Randy.
Suddenly the room goes black with Bay-Wynn and Godric still inside. Bay runs through the corridor into the courtyard and Godric, still inside, shouts “It's dark in here!" He tries to run blindly after Bay-Wynn and falls over. He feels something immediately wrap around his legs. Mira runs back to the edge of the room and halts when she find it pitch black. She can still hear Godric inside and tries to throw a rope to him, but fails. Godric attempts to light a torch, but it has no effect. Yelling "unhand me!", Godric drops the torch and breaks free of whatever has entangled him. As Mira keeps yelling "Godric! Where are you?!", Pint ties one end of the rope to himself, hands the other end to Mira and walks into the room in an attempt to find Godric. He has been grappled again and trips falling unconscious. Pint continues to search for him, but instead finds and unknown creature that he begins to wrestle. Mira calls out for Pint and Godric, but only Pint responds. Fearing that their ally may be wounded, Otho casts a channel energy into the room and Godric regains consciousness. Pint yells for Mira to pull on the rope, but she fails to extract him. Bay casts improve courage in an attempt to aid her comrades and, although still groggy and injured, Godric manages to break free and attempts to crawl out. Pint tries to return the way that he came, hauling the creature with him so that the group can defeat it in the light of the courtyard.
The darkness follows the creature out of the room and soon it engulfs Mira and Randy. While still holding onto the rope, Mira yells out that the darkness is moving and walks backwards until she can see again. Godric continues to move forward and stumbles into the hall though he doesn't realize it in the darkness. Randy attempts to fire into the darkness and drops his crossbow. The weapon fires but luckily does not hit any of the party. From the main hall, Bay-Wynn performs a detect magic spell and informs the group that there are two creatures and that they are the source of the magic. Pint makes a mighty throw and chucks the creature he is holding into the back wall. He then attempts to retreat and runs into Randy. Although retreating Otho keeps his wits about him and continues to cast healing energy which restores a majority of Godric's strength. In an attempt to confuse the creatures, Randy casts a ghost whispering, but they can't tell if it is doing any good. Mira makes another pull on the rope and pulls Pint out of the darkness. Godric manages to stumble out of the darkness and asks about Randy who comes running out shortly after. The darkness soon dissipates though the group is not sure if the creatures are now dead or have just retreated.
They decide to return to the woods outside the ruins and make camp. Randy asks Bay about the vial of blue liquid. Even though it is a potion to cure light wounds she tells him that it is poison. He tells Mira about the poison (really healing potion) and pockets it for safe keeping. The group settles down for the night and Pint takes first watch. Otho uses the remainder of his cast energy to restore the group to full health.
The next day, the group decides to investigate the watchtower. Bay-Wynn enters first and comes across a spider. She backs out of the room yelling "Spider!" She has made no secret of her distaste for spiders so Mira enters thinking that it is just a common arachnid. She grips her axe (just to be cautious) and enter the stairwell. She is taken aback when a monstrous creature descends on her. Again, reacting from instinct, she swings her axe and splits the spider from underneath. Godric again praises her use of her weapon and she begins to think that maybe she has more of a knack for fighting supernatural beasts than she though. Randy attempts to make it up the rickety stairs and falls through the first time, injuring himself. He makes it up on the second try, but finds nothing is in the room. He looks out from the tower but notes that nothing seems out of the ordinary. Making his way back to the group, he falls down the stairs again and takes significant damage. Godric decides to search the barrels at the base of the stairs and finds a masterwork short sword. Knowing that she doesn't yet have a weapon for direct combat he gives it to the bard.