After resting, recuperating, and reequipping themselves in Nedra, the party learns that Lord Tarly is seeking them for an audience. Koda feels that his quest for knowledge is over, now that they know the ashen pearls they found on Pyatt Ash were the source of the ash rat invasion. Hazel asks him to deliver a note and a gift to her brother. With that, Koda takes his leave to return home.
A couple days pass before Maester Rickard calls on the party to attend Lord Tarly at court. Lord Tarly offers his thanks for their assistance in saving one of his troubled towns. He also requests their aid in delivering a message to his liege-lord in Bellshadow.
It seems that since around the time that the orc raids began, the ravens that flew between Nedra and Bellshadow have ceased. Fearing that bandits in the Whispering Woods shot them down, he hires the party to escort a messenger to Bellshadow. They decide the fastest route is through the very same woods.
Almost immediately upon entering the woods, Hazel hears signals being sent through the forest, but they see no one. That very night, a hobgoblin bandit patrol ambushes the camp. A small, feral, monkey-like goblin with a large rock initiates combat before disappearing into the woods. The other hobgoblins close in on the party. In the ensuing chaos, the messenger is stabbed in the leg, Calcifer loses his right ear, and Hazel’s face is filleted.
Wishing desperately to be out of the woods, the party makes as much haste as possible after Hazel tends to the wounded with the aid of Mother One’s healing magic. They are in such a rush, that they almost miss the ambush the rest of the bandits set. The rock-wielding goblin faces off with Aura, while a raging bear-hobgoblin crossbreeded monstrosity sets upon Calcifer and two bowmen fire into the horses, causing them to rear and making Hazel’s life that much more difficult. Again, the goblin leaps into the trees and disappears, while the other bandits fall slowly but surely.
Hazel sets off to find and return the horses. In doing so, she stumbles upon the rock-wielder facing down Calcifer’s horse. This time the goblin doesn’t escape, and it isn’t long before the party finds the bandit hideout.
Sitting on a log inside the cave, they find a meditative goblinoid skeleton with glowing blue eyes. After a brief discussion with Aura, a tortured, malnourished demon lurches out of the wall and tries to feast on Aura, while the skeleton seemingly goes inert. Blaming them for its pain, the demonic creature is unfocused and weak. They dispatch it quickly and ride through the forest without another stop.
Once they arrive in Bellshadow, the party takes a deep breath and counts the loot they gained from the bandits. It isn’t long before another dark omen appears, though. While walking the market a few days later, a crying child is spotted making a ruckus in the center of the market square. Guards approach to drag the child away, but not before it spots Aura. Sprinting away from the guards, the child delivers Aura a note before disappearing into an alley…
Event Dates: The last week of Lesalali, 372 AH – The first week of Lipery, 372 AH