On the eigth day, Saeyir spends all morning bolstering sr. Harlock’s confidence by charming him and complementing his exeptional leadership skills.
They gather in the war tent with Terjon to interrogate Bagnak, the goblin chief. It does not go well. Bagnak spits in their faces, refuses to answer questions and rants long and hard about how the tribe will return ten times stronger and slaughter them all. He then turns into a snake, but Terjon manages to pin him down so Saeyir can cut him in half.
Saeyir then strolls out to the middle of the camp and holds a grand speech about the success of the expedition, and how they must surely be invincible now that they’ve defeated two whole tribes of savages.
Cromweld makes a sign saying “Deadgoblin”, and nails it to a post in the middle of the camp. He then loudly proclaims this as the settlements new name. Terjon takes the sign down after a few minutes, pointing out that Cromweld has no authority to name anything.
Meanwhile, people have begun dragging goblin corpses and piling them a few hundred feet south of the camp. They set the pile on fire, and mount Bagnaks head on a pole next to it. Cromweld finds Bagnaks severed arm, smuggles it inside the camp to his housewagon, and lays it on salt to preserve it.
Horst, who is standing guard, spots a group of goblins beyond the pyre, and alerts the other guards immediately. They stand there for a while, but makes no move toward the camp, so the guards decide not to pursue them.
A few hours later, twenty goblins come marching from the south, giving the corpse pyre a wide berth. The guards begin lining up shots, but before anyone has a chance to attack, the goblins stop and throw their weapons to the ground.
Horst, Saeyir and Terjon ride out to meet them. The leader seems to be the robed goblin who escaped the night before. He tells them he tried to make the tribe surrender after their defeat, but only these twenty followed him. The rest went south to join Worscha, a wyvern revered as a god by the tribe.
The PC decide to let the goblins take up residence in the former orc tribe’s village, if they do some manual labour for the camp first.
Terjon starts surveying the damage from the battle the previous night. Most of the camp is intact, but he finds that the camps food supply has been severely damaged by the fires, and will now only last until winter. He arranges a meeting to discuss what to do, and they decide to send a few riders out to the Purple Dragon garrison to send a message to Arabel about their situation, and then to One Horse to procure more supplies.
The ninth day, Terjon and Saeyir start riding out to the nearby settlements to procure more supplies. On the way they are assailed by a trio of massive werewolves. They outride two of them, but the third manages to keep up and fells Terjons horse. They quickly kill the beast, but not before it bites Terjon and infects him with lychanthropy. He heals his mount, and they ride on before the two wolves can catch up.
They reach the garrison, and tries to recruit more soldiers for the camp. Unfortunately, the garrison has no soldiers to spare, so they put in a request for reinforcements in their letter to Arabel. Terjon asks if the garrison force include any competent healers. He’s not so lucky, but finds out that there lives a powerful priest in One Horse.
They arrive in One Horse the next morning. It’s a tiny village east of the Storm Horns, surrounded by a dozen farms. The Villagers seem eager to help them, and organize a town meeting to coordinate their support, despite Saeyirs attempts to make them give up everything non-essential right away.
Frustrated and tired from riding all night, Saeyir bullies a family of farmers to lend him a spare bed. Terjon asks around about the priest. He’s told his name is Beltan, and he lives in a cottage two hours south of the village proper. The town meet is to occur in the evening, so he has time to talk to the priest first.
The priests cottage sits below the foot of a small hill. Terjon knocks on the door, and is greeted by an old man with a long beard, wearing the holy symbol of Chauntea around his neck.
‘I need help. I was told you were the best doctor in the area.’
‘Of course, come in. Would you like some tea?’
The cottage is full of potted plants and dried herbs, and smells of incense. Beltan pours some strong smelling liquid into a cup, and hands it to Terjon. As he takes a sip, the fumes from the brew makes him lightheaded, and he feels a prickling in his toes and fingertips.
‘Quite a pungent brew. What is it?’
‘A concoction of my own design, thank you. Now, who are you and what do you want?’
‘My name is Terjon. I’m from the expedition camp in the Stonelands, here to buy supplies from One Horse. We were riding east towards the mountain pass the we were assailed by werewolves. One of them bit me, and I’m afraid I picked up their disease.’
Beltan looks troubled. ‘Werewolves? When are you going back to the camp?’
‘Next morning, if all goes well.’
‘Go back to One Horse. I’ll meet you there in the morning and accompany you back.’
‘Listen up lad. There is nothing I can do for you right now, and I’m not leaving you alone when the full moon rises. But, I refuse to risk a werewolf running free in the village, so well ride back together. Now I’d prefer it if you left, I have a lot to pack.’
Meanwhile, the goblins get interned in a few spare tents north of the camp. They are set to work clearing the surrounding areas of stone and bring it back to be used in masonry, as well as gather clay from the brook to make mortar.
The guards keep the goblins separate from the rest of the camp, to avoid unneccesary conflict. Still, they suffer a lot of harassment from Cromweld, Saeyir and many other members of the expedition. On the other hand, Horst starts feeling closer to them than to the tall folk of Cormyr, and befriends the goblin leader and his subjects.
Bereft of an advisor to lean on, sr. Harlock spends his days on guard duty. Cromweld helps the carpenters, cooks the meals and teaches Comma to butcher animals. He also spends the time getting to know sr. Harlock better, which helps to raise the paladins spirit. Horst spends most of his days in the forest, claiming to be hunting. In reality, he use his time looking for his mysterious love, the dryad. He finds nothing, and grows more melancholic as the days go by. What little game he brings back, he shares with the goblins.
After four days, Terjon and Saeyir returns with Beltan and two wagons loaded to the brim with flour, grain and vegetables.
Beltan spends the following days helping Alexandra in the infirmary and practicing or discussing alchemy with Cromweld.
Cromweld suggests to sr Harlock that they hold a feast for the camp on the full moon, to celebrate the expeditions initial success and raise morale. The paladin loves the idea, and announces it immediately to the workers. Cromweld starts preparing for the feast immediately, and gets some workers to help him, making decorations and organizing some entertainement.
While searching the woods for his dryad, Horst happends to come across the former orc village again. To his surprise, the trees have allready begun to grow back, and now cover about a third of the area. He return to tell his friends about it, and Beltan tells them that the most likely cause is a druid spell called plant growth. It would seem that some resident of the forest is taking it’s chance to reclaim the area before it gets repopulated.
Day twelve, the PC’s decide it’s time to learn more about the surrounding wilderness. They send Ignace to scout the area west of the Orc Woods. He does not return that night, or on the next day. On the fourteenth day, they decide to send someone to look for him, two elves named Silsyir and Follous. The elves return carrying Ignace between them, bloody and mangled by wolf bites, but still alive. Now Beltan have two patients to treat during the full moon, and the PC’s have a place to start looking for the werewolves.
The goblins finish gathering the materials needed to build a lookout tower, and get the permission to leave for the forest. They do so immediately, eager to get away from the humans as fast as possible.
Saeyir follows them a little later. He finds his way to the now overgrown orc village, and finds the goblins huddled between the trees, trying to build primitive shelters. He requests to speak with the leader.
The goblin leader is meditating by a small pond in a clearing.
‘Can’t this wait? I’m busy.’
‘I need to talk to you about the defense of our camp.’
The goblin stands up, and turns to face Saeyir. ‘Very well, what do you need?’
‘If we come under attack, I’m going to send you a messenger. When I do, I need all your men to go to our camp immediately, and help defent it. If you need weapons, we have enough in our supply sheds. The guards are notified to let you in. Can you tell them that?’
‘I’m sorry, but my “men” are mostly peasants and kids. We can’t do much against anything that could endanger your camp.’
‘Perhaps you didn’t hear me that well. If we come under attack, your men are to go into our camp and grab weapons, then start fighting whatever is attacking us. Otherwise, you better hope we can’t defend the camp ourselves. Understood?’
(Successful intimidate check)
‘All right, I’ll tell them. Just don’t expect much, okay?’
On the fifteenth day, the day before the first night of the full moon, most of the camp is getting ready for the feast. The workers get a half day free to prepare and relax, with Cromweld leading the effort. Meanwhile, Beltan prepares the spell to treat Terjon and Ignace of lychanthrophy. Terjon asks Horst and sr. Harlock to join Beltan in the proceedings, knowing full well that he’ll turn into a savage wolf if the spell fails.
When the feast is about to start, Saeyir takes a large amount of food with him out to the forest. When he’s asked what for, he says he want to feed the goblins. Cromweld grudgingly lets him go.
The moment he steps out of sight from the camp, he throws it away. He marches straight into the goblin camp, and demands to speak to the leader again. When the leader arrives, Saeyir draws his glaive and tries to chop him down.
The goblin takes a few steps back, casts obscuring mist, and shouts something to his followers in their language. They start running through the mist in different directions. Saeyir lets his disguise fall, and reveals his true form as he takes flight after the leader.
Saeyir is much faster than the goblins, but his wings are too broad to fly below the treetops, and they vanish in the undergrowth before he gains the height he needs to follow them. He swears, and starts flying back to the camp.
On the way he sees a humanoid figure in a clearing, by a small pond. He turns to fly towards it, but it spots him and flees before he can see what it is.
Night approaches. As the camp lights up with fires and people start dancing and singing, Beltan, Terjon, Horst, Ignace and sr. Harlock gather and start walking towards the edge of the forest. Saeyir, just coming back from his botched assassination attempt, sees them and follow, as does Cromweld.
Saeyir stops sr. Harlock. ‘I need to talk to you. It’s urgent.’
‘It’ll have to wait, I’m wery busy.’
‘It won’t take long, I promise. It’s important.’
‘This is more important, now leave us alone!’
‘More important than one of our own being a werewolf?’
The paladin stops for a moment. ‘So you know, huh? Accompany us if you must, but stay out of the way.’
‘I’m talking about Ragnar, the soldier. He was bitten, remember, by the wolf that followed us from the orc village?’
‘By the hidden name, why didn’t you bring this up sooner? Terjon, get Ragnar! He can’t be left in the camp!’
In the edge of the woods, they chain Ragnar, Terjon and Ignace each to a tree, and start waiting. After a few minutes, the moon becomes visible over the treetops, and the three start to writhe in agony, tearing at their bonds. Beltan casts remove curse at Terjon, and he calms down as the spell purges the curse from him. He casts the spell again on Ignace, but it fails, and both Ignace and Ragnar scream as they start to change. Their clothes are ripped apart and their armor falls off as they transform into massive wolves.
Ignace is held in place by the chains, but Ragnar breaks loose and leap at Horst, trying to tear his throat out.
Saeyir turns to sr. Harlock and grins. ‘Do you see what you have done? You knew exactly what I was, and still you let me run rampant through your expedition. Everything that has gone right or wrong has been because of me, pulling your strings. I thought you holy warriors were supposed to have integrity, and not depend on your squire telling you what to do at every turn.’
Sr. Harlock turns red, and overcome with anger and shame he draws his sword and smites Saeyir. At that moment, Terjon feels the paladins aura of courage fade.*
Meanwhile, Horst swaps blows with Ragnar the werewolf, and Beltan unlocks Terjons manacles before he retreats back to the camp. Cromweld tries to join the melee, but Saeyir has drawn his glaive, and keeps him away with the blade.
Two werewolves, in a form halfway between wolf and orc, comes to Ragnars aid from between the trees. One of them swings at Saeyir with a crude blade, and he turns to face it instead of Cromweld. The werewolves are followed by a bald headed orc wearing robes made of hides and tree brances, who stays at a safe distance, half hidden by the vegetation.
The second orc-wolf and Ragnar gang up on Horst, but the little green one is much to handle, even for two lychanthropes. He gets help from sr. Harlock and Terjon, and they both soon lie bleeding on the ground even though the strange orc heals them. However, one of them manages to infect sr. Harlock with it’s disease before it is put down.
Saeyir takes some heavy hits from the remaining wolf, but repays them in kind. Cromweld casts burning hands, and they both fall to the ground burning.
The strange orc flees through the woods with Horst hot on his tail, but manages to escape.
With Saeyir battered, burned and unconcious, Cromweld readies a spell to finish him off. Terjon draws his sword.
‘No! He needs to be held and questioned, not killed!
The PC’s carry Ragnar and Saeyir to the infirmary, gathering puzzled and concerned looks from the rest of the camp. Saeyir gets bound before he is treated, but Beltan assures everyone they have nothing to fear from Ragnar that night. He is nearly dead, and won’t wake up before he turns back.
Horst and Beltan look after Ignace all night as he howls and thrashes against his chains. The others let the celebration continue, to drown out the noise of the shackled animal so they can get some sleep.
- Trying to kill someone who pose no threat is an evil act. When a paladin performs an evil act, he loses all special abilities granted by the paladin class, and cannot regain them before he atones for his sins.