We continue our journey east into the forest.
With no particular trail to follow, we simply continued in the general direction we had been heading, though it was difficult to navigate as the trees began to limit our view.
Eventually, the sounds of a stream could be heard in the distance, so we began to head toward the sound. As we traveled, River mentioned having the sense that we were being followed, though he could not be sure. The feeling persisted, so we attempted to lure the stalker into revealing itself by Jak hiding in a tree as the rest of the party continued east a short distance. But after a few minutes, no follower was seen and we continued on.
We came upon a clearing in which we discovered six gravestones, all of which had been badly weathered to the point of unreadablity, though we could tell they were probably human and perhaps associated with a good deity. No other signs of civilization could be found in the clearing, which itself seemed to be in the process of being reclaimed by the surrounding forest.
As this did not seem to relate to our specific mission, we continued on.
While Jak was up in the tree, he was able to spot a distant structure that appeared to be two towers rising above the tree line. We eventually ran into the stream we had been hearing, which flowed Northeast to Southwest. The stream appeared to be flowing from the same direction as the towers, so we followed it upstream.
We began so see tracks in the banks of the river similar to what we had seen on the road, so we assumed Kobolds were in the area. This was a hopeful sign that we were indeed on the right track. As we had hoped, the stream lead us straight towards the structure Jak has seen, though it turned about to be one tower split in two by the stream itself forming a waterfall as the water fell from the rocky outcropping on which the tower stood. We also discovered two wagons close to the base of the waterfall as well as horsed equipped to haul them loosely tethered to a tree across the stream. Neither seemed to worse for wear.
High up in the tower above, we could make out the outline of figure in the window, though it seemed oblivious to our approach. We chose not to alert it to our presence as we searched for a way into the tower. A passage, lit with torches, was discovered behind the waterfall leading into the rocks, in which we spotted a Kobald some distance into the passage with its back turned toward us.
Upon seeing the creature, River and Chronosophos began the attack, catching it off guard. Not wanting to squander the advantage, Jak rushed horns down at the unprepared Kobold, with Arak close behind. But we soon discovered that the Kobold was not alone and found ourselves face to face with several more of its companions gearing up to fight back.
One Kobold in particular proved very difficult to get a clear shot on and only when attacked face to face were we able to hit it at all.
The battle continued for what seemed like an eternity. At one point, Chronosophos fell and Jak would have surely followed had it not been for the rejuvenating presence of River and another mysterious force which Jak could not explain. Arak, on the other hand, seemed to be immune to the attacks of the enemies. In fact, we had a hard time recalling if they had attacked him at all, to the point where we began to suspect that they were purposely avoiding doing so! Which was fortunate given Arak’s uncharacteristically bad luck during the encounter.
Eventually, the last of the Kobolds fell and Chronosophos was revived at which point to surveyed the area. We discovered a large chest that we were unsuccessful in opening. We also found a note signed simply “K” eluding to the possibility that those we were looking for had been transported away by some sort of portal. A pedestal that may have been used for such an act was found in the back of the room, though we were unsuccessful in determining its exact function. This all seemed way beyond what we would expect from Kobolds. We also found evidence that followers of the demon, Orcus, were involved.
River ventured out to inspect the opposite bank of the river. Upon returning he recalled seeing a figure among the horses. After the party was informed, Chronosophos attempted to use his magical gifts to whisper a message of greeting before revealing ourselves. The figure immediately disappeared into the forest, too far away for any hopes of successful pursuit.
The only other exit to the room was a staircase ascending into the ceiling, which upon closer inspection revealed a hatch leading to the top of the rocky outcropping, seemingly meant to be hidden from view from those above. We inspected the tower in which we saw the figure from below, but deduced it must have joined the previous fight. It appeared the kobold had spent some time in the tower. Upon inspecting the second tower, we could find no means of entry. This will require further investigation.
Looking over the edge of the rocks, Jak bellowed into the woods another attempt to draw mysterious individual out of hiding, identifying ourselves as the party sent by the league to recover the caravan’s missing members. The figure reappeared and proceeded to gather the horses, seemingly uninterested in Jak.
Deducing that Jak had seen something down below, the rest of the party rushed down to the base of the waterfall to investigate, discovering none other than Yesper, the bartender from the Chicken, now gearing the horses up to the wagons, whom we deduced must have been the one following us.
Eventually we all gathered to Yesper’s location. While River seemed to be able to establish a civil rapport with the fellow Wolfen, information was not forthcoming and Yesper continued to prepare the horses for travel. Jak’s fragile control over his temper began to crack and demanded that the bartender stop moving and start talking in no uncertain terms. Reluctantly, Yesper revealed that he had been sent by K’kiran, the owner of the Chicken, to oversee our mission, insisting that he was the only one among us capable of driving the wagons. It had been noticed earlier that the note we had found was signed “K” and that K’kiran was the only “K” we knew. Yesper’s mention of the name only furthered our suspicions that all was not as it seemed. But suspicion was all we had. No proof.
As Yesper finished up preparing the wagons for travel, we informed him that the mission was far from over, being the wagon’s were in fact empty, that the caravan members were still missing as well as the cargo. For some reason, this confused the shifter, who seemed to be under the impression that we should have found the caravan members in the area behind the waterfall, being he could find no indication that they had left here. Clearly intent on leaving with the wagons, River attempted to salvage what little was left of the limited favor he had gained and asked Yesper to relay the events that had transpired so far. After having to simplify the information so that Yesper could grasp it, he gave River a flask of liquid, and lead the wagons into the woods, even though there was no road.
Jak did not feel right about just allowing Yesper to leave with the wagon’s, as it seemed to conflict with our mission, but feeling his grip over his inner demons beginning to slip and the fact that no one else seemed to see a problem, he let Yesper go.
Now we have no wagons or horses. Were they even K’kiran’s wagons to take? Things are not adding up. This was no simple highway robbery.