With their magical gear and money recovered, the party realized that their lack of non-magic gear was a serious problem (no arrows, rope, spikes, torches, oil, etc). So, before they would be ready to seek their vengeance, they needed to replace supplies. Given Morsby was still free, and the nearest place to go in any case, they opted to depart the dungeon the way they’d come and get across the Blueflood before messages from the Giant King could reach this western outpost. Not wishing to risk any sentries or guards on the dwarf bridges, they made their way back to their boats, patched them, and got safely across the Blueflood. Hiding the boats on the south bank, they made a cold camp in a nearby hilly area.
The party now made their way down the track towards Morsby, seeing nothing of interest along the way. As the day grew late, they reached the Halfling village of Stock a few miles from Morsby. Quickly scouting, they found that there was no one outdoors at all (which was unusual) though there was smoke coming from a chimney or two. Parker, invisible, went and peeked in a few windows and everything inside seemed normal enough. So, the party knocked on a likely looking door wand were ushered in quickly by a scared Halfling. He told them that Morsby had fallen after a short battle. Their village of Stock had followed and surrendered — they’d been told to remain in their homes by the occupiers for the time being, until further instructions were received. In any case, they were told they were now subjects of the Giant King. The Halfings were all scared; they were not as numerous as the humans of Morsby and would follow their lead in whatever came next. For now, the Halfling family was all to happy to ensure the party was fed and even provided a few useful items.
At this time, the party made their way carefully to Morsby. It was growing dark, but it was clear there was more going on here than in Stock. Parker made her way into the heart of town and made her way up and back the Dwarf road to scout. meanwhile, the party again imposed on the home of some locals, who also proved to be helpful. Between questioning and scouting, the party learned that the mayor had surrendered after a small battle, the Morsby militia being heavily outnumbered by the attackers. Now, the enemy had established watches on both bridges, with the main bridge over the Paren River lit by a large bonfire. the watches were none too disciplined groups of Bugbears and a few Ogres — they had a barrel of ale to keep them enter. The town hall was occupied by the chiefs of the occupying force while the inn now housed a large number of human brigands, a detachment of the larger force that had blocked the road west of town. Further investigation revealed that the temples and the old watch tower were also occupied by enemy forces (the watch tower, which served as a store room, had been plundered and some of the materials had been sent off in commandeered wagons to the east, along with grain stores).
The party now debated what to do. There was a lot of discussion of leading a revolt to liberate the town, with much talk of burning buildings to cause distractions and confusion. But, after consideration, the concern was that, even if the party could help the townsfolk throw out the occupiers, it would just lead to an even larger army returning, one that would likely cause far more harm than seemed to be the case thus far. Further, the party could not stay tied down trying to defend the town forever (after all, they surely had a target on their heads). No, in the end, the solution to this trouble was unlikely to be here.
Around this time, Iban decided to scout the home of the local wizard whom he’d supplied with the scrolls and defensive advice. Crossing the river by stealth, he determines that the old man was not home – in fact, his home had been partially ransacked.
The party now decided to leave town, but first they wanted arrows and bows. Making their way across town, they managed to plunder a bunch of these from the drunken humans at the inn (they considered burning them alive inside it, but realized that there were a lot of locals there, as well. This accomplished, they slipped out of town and made their way to the Druid’s grove. After a goodly hike, they reached it and discovered that the Druid (and their horses) were gone, and the place was ransacked (it had not yet been rebuilt after the werewolf attack, but what temporary shelters had been erected were demolished once more. However, the horses left excellent tracks for Nordak to follow, and after a few hours journey, the party found the Druid, holed up in a secluded dale with their horses and a few followers. The enemy had come at him in force, he said, an opted to avoid battle. His followers were scattered and he feared the entire country was fallen under the Giant King’s sway.
Now with their horses, the party decided they would travel to Manston, there to seek help and to better understand their options. They would dispatch the Druid with a message to Nali in the Dwarf Kingdom as to their movements, and that they would meet him there to discuss options. This done, the enlarged group rode towards the bridge over the Kaz River, where’d they’d part ways. However, on approaching it, they discovered a very large army encamped in and around the bridge area. The army was strong, the strongest they’d yet seen. It had the bridge well guarded, but the majority of it (west of the bridge) was clearly deployed to protect from attack from the south, the direction of the Dwarf Kingdom. This changed the party’s calculation.
They now rode due south towards the Dwarf Kingdom, trying to skirt the enemy force. Although they did run afoul of a small unit of Bugbears, they managed to outrace them, with only Havok’s horse taking an arrow wound. With the Druid in tow, they made their way rapidly south towards the mountains and the Dwarf kingdom.
– Experience: carry over