The party camped out in the woods in preparation for returning to town. However, after dark, they were suddenly attacked from all sides by a large pack of wolves, which the party correctly surmised were actually werewolves when they realized how tough they were individually. Although Parker, Iban and Drogo were invisible, all joined the general melee as the party was outnumbered. Even the recently rescued elf, Voromakil, aided them, though it turned out his non-magic weapon was ineffective against them. Iban successfully used a scroll of monster summoning and a trio of Troglodytes also joined the fray to aid the party. Although Drogo and Parker were both knocked unconscious, the tide turned against the werewolves and, after many had been slain, the survivors broke and fled, though Rowan managed to knock one down unconscious as prisoner. Meanwhile, Lune sprinted after the fast retreating pack and began a long pursuit.
The prisoner, once awoken, proved to be quite talkative, threatening the party and claiming that his pack were followers of some god or demigod of some sort that would “bring the outer darkness down” on the party’s heads. The pack now had a prophet among them, who had converted them to this new religion which had a quite nihilistic sound to it. As it would tell them little of real use, they slew it and settled in to rest the remainder of the night. Lune did not return.
Next morning, the party headed down to the southern Dwarf Bridge and crossed back to the south. The party now had Arduin use his tracking skills to find the track of the pack. He spent a good deal of timing looking and seemed to have a hard time finding it as he wandered somewhat randomly along the road on either side of the bridge. Finally, though, he found a few blood spatters that seemed to indicate the pack had turned aside and headed east, paralleling the Blueflood. The party considered following it in search of Lune (the ranger could not find any sign of his passage) but then Aldeberon pointed out that the monk would meet them in town. So, they departed south, Arduin once again breaking lose and returning north across the bridge to do his scouting.
The day’s journey was uneventful and the party stopped to cold cap in the woods off the track at the foot of the ridge that was their usual stopping area. They had not been stopped long (there was still some light in the sky) when a large party of brigands passed very close to them. By extremely good fortune, the resting party heard them, while the brigands failed to see the party in the deep gloom. The brigands, fanned out in a wide line, passed them and disappeared to the south. Clearly, this road was becoming ever more dangerous.
The next day, as they ate and prepared to head to Morsby, the party questioned the elf Voromakil. As he’d said before, he was a “chief lieutenant” of the Dragon Legion of Olengil, one of the armies of Elven Neldoreth (he mentioned in passing that he had not yet been given command of a company but expected to receive one soon). He had been on a routine, one-elf patrol that had passed clockwise around the Anchor Mountains, passing through the Barren Plains and then up into the Paren Highlands. It was a common enough mission, as the Elf King maintained a watch around the kingdom in every direction. When asked, he told the party the Kingdom’s greatest threat was from the Drow realms to the south, surface realms (unlike most Drow realms) and ancient enemies of his folk. The Kingdom was at peace and had been for a very long time, though small incidents were not uncommon, hence the patrol. While in the Paren Highlands, as darkness fell he was surrounded and overwhelmed by a ring of evil Wights. Voromakil lost consciousness at this point and next remembered the burning oil from the party. Rowan was openly curious as to why Wights would take him in the highlands a hundred miles to the south and then take the elf alive to the dungeon. It seemed odd, but the elf had no answers and agreed it was most curious. Voromakil was quite grateful to the party’s rescue, repeating that fact several times. He even went so far as to tell them to look him up if they ever traveled into the Kingdom. Better, he provided them a “lesser password” that would allow them to cross the border unhindered by the King’s soliders, Sulrist.
The party continued south, reaching Morsby in the late afternoon without incident (they’d seen no signs of the brigands that passed them the night before). Once in town, they made their way to the Paren’s Victory Inn and found Lune waiting for them. He had pursued the pack for a dozen miles or more along the river to the east, but finally broke off and returned to town lest he get into trouble on his own. The party took lodging for a few nights. Nali the Dwarf was also in town and most eager to speak to the party, inquiring what they’d discovered. The party gave him a full and complete rundown of the word that dwarves were taken to the east by order of the Giant King, while one or more perhaps remained in the dungeon. As this went on, Iban quietly cast ESP and used it on both Nali and Voromakil. The Dwarf was clearly most concerned with one of the missing dwarves, clearly close kin of his. There was no sense of anything particularly hidden from the party, either by him or the elf. He was somewhat taken aback at the broken Dwarf battle axe, and that Havok now carried it instead of Iban. However, he said nothing. The rest of the talk in the Inn was of troubles on the roads, both east and west. Brigands, monsters and the like had been plaguing caravans and travelers to a degree no one could ever remember happening. These were troubled times, and clearly people were very, very nervous.
Next day, the party conducted all manner of routine business – tithing, shopping (mostly ordering silvered weapons), and paying for the repair of the dwarf axe. They were also concerned with Parker, who had suffered the most from the werewolf attack. Rowan was not strong enough to cure any potential lycanthropy, and either were any of the priests in town. So, Aldeberon decided to escort Parker to the greater Druid to the north in the hopes he would be strong enough to aid her. They reached him in the early afternoon and he proved to be most gracious. First, he informed them that elves were not subject to that particular disease. However, the talk of lycanthropy and werewolves most interested him. To the north and a little east, he said, there was an old hill fort ruin that had lately been occupied by a particularly vicious pack of Werewolves. They were religious fanatics of some sort and had established some sort of “alien altar” (his words for it). They were unnatural, a menace to the region. Aldeberon speculated that these were the same pack that they’d had a few run-ins with, and now was actively tracking the party, finally having found them after several weeks of hunting.
Parker and Aldeberon now returned to Morsby and filled in their companions on all this, and the party resolved to eradicate this threat to themselves. However, they were going to want to have Arduin the ranger with them, so Lune was sent off on his goat of travel to fetch him. They would meet up at the Druid Circle and go from there, and the next night found them all together, hosted by the druid and his folk (Arduin was particularly surprised to have been dragged down here). When asked, the Druid said he would not send any of his own folk to aid the party in this attack, but did offer the safety of his grove as a camp whenever they wished it. (Didn’t mention it last night, but the area is named Glen Elven, and was once an Elf settlement very long ago).
Next morning the party followed a stream to north and east, coming at last to a valley at the far end of which was a high hill with the ruins of an old fort. The party had, by this time, all managed to become invisible so the approach to the fort was relatively safe and easy (managing a full party of invisible people can be tough but the party has some experience with it now, so I don’t worry too much about it — even Arduin seemed very comfortable doing it).
The ruins were just that, riles of rubble except for a tower and a few bits of wall. The two-story edifice was clearly occupied, as Rowan could sense evil in it. But, the party bypassed it and entered into an underground area down a wide staircase. Here, they began to explore a dungeon complex, soon running into a lone werewolf who they quickly slew (and thus giving up invisibility for much of the party). The wolf was sitting on a large supply cache, which the party took to the time to poison with a few potions. Nearby, they next came into a room with four more werewolves. A stout melee broke out, but the four were soon joined by two more, one a huge wolfman of immense strength and another that proved to be a wizard. The former tore into the party, knocking Parker (visible after a backstab) down with a near-fatal wound while the later did the same to Lune with magic missiles. Iban blew his horn of valhalla once more, bringing ins six Maerlings who the party armed with secondary magic weapons to strike the wolves. One of the Maerlings was slain almost instantly. Still, despite casualties, the great wolf and wizard were also slain. They had surprisingly little loot. Parker, aided by a death’s door spell from Havok, was quickly back in good shape, though Lune was less so.
The party now decided to explore a little more before retreating, and while they had the five reamining Maerlings, and next fell into a battle with a pair of men that proved to be wererats, an unusual alliance the party thought. They were easily dispatched and soon were found to have a pair of human prisoners, who claimed to be merchants from Manston, taken by the pack recently on the Dwarf Road. They were most thankful for rescue, though there was as yet no opportunity to question them – they diud promise rewards and nodded vigorously when Aldeberon mentioned the party might have need of their services. Continuing exploration, the party next ran into a lone warrior, one not a Werewolf. In a rather impressive display, Iban rushed him and, with a rather healthy dose of good fortune, cut him down very quickly (it was really impressive, lots of 20s!). After plundering this one, the party decided it was time to retreat and they made their way out of the dungeon without further incident. once outside, the party first used the Maerlings to assault the out tower, finding and slaying a pair of werewolves on sentry. Then, retrieving the magic weapons loaned to the warriors, ordered them to lay a false trail as the party headed off in a different direction, back to the Druid’s grove and safety for the night.
– That was a fun one!
– Experience: 1265 XP eac