On the morning of the 2nd of September, the human fighter Kurell, the gnome Sorcerer Slartibartfast, and the halfling entertainer Katerina awoke on the cold damp grass out in the open next to the graveyard outside Alinsport. After eating most of Katerina’s rations her being the only one to have actually had some on her (or on her tiny halfling sized pony at least), the three of them decide to search again for the cart tracks they had see the previous evening, having noticed a particular mark in one of the wheel marks that indicated a distinctive notch in the wheel. Picking them up again, they follow them eastwards into open countryside for a couple of miles, loosing them shortly after they seem to turn to the north.
Spotting a shepherd in the distance they wander over and speak to the lanky youth, who looks at the unusual trio in aprehension. Katerina firstly starts asking if the youth had spotted any carts passing this area recently, however the lad had seen nothing, so she changes tack and decides to claim to be a cart inspector, and wants to know who has carts in the area. Suitibly impressed by the gift of her gab, albeit slightly concerned at the implication that they suspect his father as being complicit in the body snatching from the graveyard, the lad gives them directions to his parent’s farm. Slartibartfast take the opportunity to speak with a raven, who seems to consider the missing dead to be food but doesn’t remember seeing any recently.
At the farm, they again bluff their way past the farmer’s wife and get to inspect the farmer’s cart, which predicatbly has wheels that don’t show any signs of the distinctive notch. Returning to where they had lost the tracks, they again attempt to find them, and eventually do, tracking them in a big loop that ends up on the north_-west_ road between
Greenfields Oakhaven (*) and Alinsport.
The three return towards Alinsport. Whilst Kurell and Slartibartfast hang around the graveyard, disturbing a local mourner come to visit the grave of a lost relative no doubt, Katerina goes into town to purchase some more rations and a tent or two from Kristian’s Mercantile so that the group would be better equipped for their expedition to survey Lord Bergin’s land. Returning to the graveyard, the group make preparationus for another night in the open, before a looming thunderhead in the distance makes them suddenly miss the comfort of a bed in a proper inn. They return to town and retire for the night.
On the morning of the 3rd September, the day of Lord Enfield’s daughter’s wedding, the three spilt up to do different things around town. Kurell also visits Kristian’s Mercantile to stock up on his own rations, and (with a little prompting) starts to ask questions about the land they are intending to survey. He finds out from local Cashwa in town that they believe the “Old Woods” cursed by bad spirits – strange lights and noises at night and many years ago, many of their folk got sick there, so none of them go there these days.
Mid afternoon, the group head off to the wedding, intending to crash it, since only Tregarin actually had an invitation. The wedding is already in full swing, but Katerina sneaks in through a rear entrance and joins the throng, even partcipating in some impromtu acrobatics on the dance floor. Slarti and Kurell persuade the guard to let them in, having fetched Tregarin first to vouch for them. Slarti starts to get himself drunk whilst Kurell spends a short while chatting with Tregarin, telling him about what he’d heard about the Old Woods, before leaving and heading back to town to one of the taverns there.
Meanwhile, Katerina spends the rest of the evening socialising, speaking with Lord Enfield’s daughter and Lord Bergin again as well as several other people present. She hears a story about a merchant named John something who hadn’t turned up at the wedding. Apparently he had been in town a week ago, but had left suddenly – perhaps a business deal gone bad. She also hears about the blacksmith’s son who had apparently gone to the Old Woods to seek out the ruined tower that was rumoured to be there. Though he could have just run away from home instead.
Slarti, half-cut from drinking the “mildly” enchanted ale, returns to town, seeking out Kurell. In a bar, he goes up to a pair of quiet drinkers, perhaps thinking of insulting them to start a bar-brawl, but they turn out to be the Captain of the Guard and his deputy, off duty. Kurell quickly removes the troublesome gnome from the situation before he is arrested.
The next morning, the 4th of September, the group assemble at the crack of dawn, some more bleary eyed than others, at the gates of Lord Enfield’s estate. Lord Bergin meets them there, surprisingly bright eyed and dressed impecably again. Lord Enfield is also there, but looking a little rough around the edges, obviously having been celebrating the night before.
The group are provided with a pack mule, already loaded with a week’s worth of dries rations for the group, water skins and the ink and parchment they would need to survey Lord Bergin’s land. With instructions on how to get there, the group leave and finally set off on their quest.
Pausing for the night in Oakfalls, a small hamlet a day’s walk from Alinsport, the group awake on the 5th of September and continue, following the road eastwards, the river Konnash on their right. Finally, as the various farms start to thin, they finally approach a large wood ahead of them, stopping briefly at the last farmhouse. Here, they find that the farmers were keeping the horse of a merchant who had passed through over a week ago. Deciding to forgo the possible comforts of staying at the farmer’s house for the night, the press on to the woods, fording the small stream known as Smokey Creek via the remnants of an old stone bridge that was now nothing but large stones in the water.
Once on the other side, they pressed on into the woods themselves, following what they thought could be the remains of an old road, but could just as easily be a game trail. As it gets dark, they camp in the woods. In the night, Kurell hears a distant unearthly scream and later on Katerina’s watch, the camp gets attacked by three giant centipedes, which are easily dispatched.
The following day, Kurell and Katerina almost fall into a pit trap that had been built across the trail, and then later, Kurell is just missed by a large arrow he triggered. A little later, Tregarin, bringing up the rear and trying to make notes for the survey, spots some small creatures following them… As Katerina disappears silently into the bushes on one side of the trail, Slarti crashes his way through the bushes on the other side and Kurell and Tregarin start to reverse their steps, intending to confront their sneaky followers…