For a moment a tension hangs in the air as T’alen confronts Lornaal. The barbarian grinds his teeth as though he would say more, but instead stalks towards the inn, a cloud of anger surrounding him. There is a sigh of relief-most profoundly from T’alen himself-as the big northman steps through the shattered door of the tavern and disappears from view.
The rest of the group look at each other for a moment, bidding their own thoughts. It is Terrence who once again breaks the silence over the village with his call for unity and a statement of his opinion. As the tension eases out, the group turns to speaking of more mundane concerns, leaving the matter for the moment.
While most of the party sets to searching the town for clues or other hidden survivors, Kandure and Matrim strike out to confirm the direction that the wights left. They follow the tracks of a large group to the east. Though the ground is hard and the road is covered with fresh snow there is enough evidence to convince the two woodsman that there are perhaps fifty members in the group. Maybe more.
Father Talton announces that he is heading to the Hoffsteader farm to take one last look at the place where the little girl was presumably made ready to receive the soul of Nargash. He asks if anyone will accompany him and sets off with those that volunteer.
Terrence takes the opportunity for rest to try out the magical gloves captured in the battle by the Blackstone. He spins, flips and does cartwheels with an agility that draws grins and looks of surprise from anyone who happens to notice him. Such an air of adolescent exuberance surrounds the young man as he tumbles about that all are reminded of his young age.
Finished with his play, Terrence returns the gloves and heads to the inn to see to Lornaal.
Alone, hunched on a stool next to the bar, the northman has wasted no time in tying one on. A selection of bottles lie strewn across the scarred wood of the bar with a few having fallen to the floor. Lornaal is drunk.
Terrence edges closer, drawing a tankard from a tapped keg he sits next to his large companion. Lornaal stares into his bottle for some moments before he even seems aware of the young Thraycian’s presence. When he does finally turn to observe Terrence, there is a look of pain and loss written in his ice-blue eyes.
Slowly the group drift into the inn. A dozen villagers have been found, huddled in cellars, attics and outbuildings. Many seem stunned and even puzzled by the events of last night. Few can give any real details for they thought to hide as soon as it became clear that the village was under attack.
What they can tell makes for chilling listening.
When Kandure and Matrim step through the door of the inn and shake off the snow, all of the members of the group in Tundrein are assembled. Terrence, looking to lighten the move makes light of using the gloves as he offers a pint to the party leader.
A round of laughter follows.
When things settle down Talton reveals what he has learned from his second investigation of the rude alter.
I know little of such pagan things, but I would guess that the alter was for more than just sacrificing. Some sort of mystic rite was part of it. Something that required not just offerings but a gruesome sacrifice. Thinking back now, the wounds on the family members that were killed were similar, but not all the same. On the father, they seemed imperfect, almost clumsy. His death was gruesome, but not controlled. As the goblin’s went on, however, they seem to have improved their methods. By the time of the last sacrifice… well, it was not pleasant. If I had to guess, I would say that Nargash is new to this kind of ritual. These things are complicated and require perfect execution and precise timing for the magic to work. He… it… is still trying to master the dark magics.
Coupled with the information offered by Matrim and Kandure, the group rouses itself. Though no decision has yet been made concerning the wights or travel to the north, by common accord the party prepares to ride to the Old Mill. There is still enough light in the day to accomplish such a thing and with one member still missing, there is an incompleteness to the company.
As the group mounts up and begins to ride south, Lornaal stumbles along behind, taking enormous swigs from bottles that he holds in each hand.
Matrim Tracking Check: 6d20 + 13 = 19
Terrence Tumble Check: 17d20 + 12 + 2(Gloves) = 31
The Old Mill
A few hours have gone by since you cowed Ein and the sky is growing dark. An anxiety has crept into the gathered villagers, though they try to keep themselves in good spirits. Alma, you find yourself pacing about the perimeter of the camp, investigating every rustle of bushes and snapping twigs.
It seems a painfully long time since Kandure and Cora left.
Not for the first time, you look to Cabello, wondering if you shouldn’t ride forth to see what is keeping your companions.
The noise of approaching riders draws your attention. Hissing a warning at the others, you race to the broken wall that rings the property. Bubba, his eyes large and staring into the growing gloom, notches his bow beside you.
It is with relief that you see Kandure’s shaggy grey wolf trot into sight, followed by the woodsman himself. Next is Cora riding beside… MATRIM! Following on the ranger’s heels the rest of the party ride into view. They appear tired and their clothing and armour hold more dints and rents than the last time you saw them, but they are complete.
A feeling of vulnerability slowly lifts from your mind. The company is reunited and strong. Though you note that the barbarian is VERY drunk.