Once again Big Jerry brought Janus an Elven Cleric of Silvanus, and Little Jerry, his son, stepped up with Hunter the mighty Halfling Fighter. New to the team was John with Alagazar a mysterious Human Mage from the Order of Thoth, and Josh with Hazar, Alagazar's thuggish bodyguard a Human Thug.
The Baron of Westtower (a name change from last time), thanked Janus and Hunter for finding where the missing villagers were located. While the Giant Ants forced the duo to retreat the last time the Baron Guards were able to follow up and get the villagers out.
The Baron has new troubles, apparently the village of Kensla is refusing to bring in the harvest. Several villagers have been attacked and killed including the Baron own Baliff. Much of this occurred after the Baron's Huntsman found and killed the pack of wolfs that did the first attacks.
The four walked to the Great Hall of Westtower passing the former huntsman in stock. The Baron greeted them and outlined what they needed to do.
Do what it takes to get the villager to bring the harvest in! Find those wolves and kill them.Alagazar talked to the Huntsman, all the poor fellow could relate that he killed a pack dozen strong. He doesn't understand why the attacks are still continuing. Janus blessed him and wished him better days.
The four went off to Kensla. First they passed the hamlet of Darktower with the Mill, the Greenhaven Inn and a Tollbooth. They took the turnoff to Kensla and a mile down the road they found an overturned cart with with a dead tinker on the grounds.
An examination of the body found bloody gashes across the back and multiple wounds on the front. Sadden the party wrapped up the body, uprighted the cart, put the body in and proceeded to Kensla. Once there they went to the Temple of Mitra where they met with Elder Anselm. Elder was saddened by the Tinker's death and had his Acolyte Carl take him into the Templeyard to be cleaned up for burial. During introductions the Elder and Alagazar exchanged harsh words after the Elder expressed disapproval of Alagazar being a mage of the Order of Thoth. Neither man was going to be back down.
The rest of the party calmed things down and they went down to the village green to meet with Tomas the village Reeve. The party explained that they were from the Baron and had come to deal with the wolves so that the harvest may be brought in. The Reeve was firm about the village demand but also offered help in the form of Yoluf a local trapper. Plus arranged for food, drink, and some sleeping space at the Estate house. Elder Anselm was much more "difficult" during the conversation generally taking the hard line that wolves must be stopped. During the conversation they learned that the Baliff was killed on the High Meadow, and the attack before that involved an elderly couple on the north side of the village.
That evening the party was introduced to Yoluf the trapper. He did not cut an inspiring figure, coming off as a local yokel complete with a slow drawl. However he did know the region and the party did not so I guess they were stuck with each other. They went to the Manorhouse and retired.
Then in the morning the party when out to High Meadow where the Baliff was dismembered. During the conversation the prior day the party learned that not only the Baliff was killed but torn apart in a dozen pieces. All Elder Anselm could say was the scene was indescribable. Even after two week there was still traces of blood throughout the meadow. After careful examination Alagazar and the party figured that the Baliff was attacked near the meadow edge, killed or injured badly, dragged 20 to 30 yards, and then torn apart.
A careful examination of the surrounding cropland led to a trail. They were able to follow it out of the field for about a mile into the wilderness. Then finally lost it in a ravine. Pondering what to do next they realize they didn't have Yoluf with them. So they headed back and met Yoluf at his house preparing fur racks. There they decided to check out the elderly couple's house with Yoluf.
Once there they carefully examined the area. The door was deeply scored with claw marks and blood was splattered throughout the cottage. However Hazar was getting suspicious as this scene look more like a thug hit than a wolf killing. The lock on the door wasn't forced but opened. The mage Alagazar then said that despite the difficulties with Elder Anselm they are going to have to ask to look at the bodies of the couple.
Learning that they laid in the burial catacombs of the village, they were able to get the priest's permission to look at the body provided that Alagazar stayed outside. Elder Anselm was not going to take any chance that thothian magic will be used to desecrate the couple's bodies. So Hazar went in and examined the bodies. Sure enough like the tinker there were gashes on the back. However when turned to look at the front wounds, Hazar was pretty sure they were stab wounds made with a knife, crudely torn at to make them look like an animal attack.
Meeting with Reeve Tomas, the party discussed the possibility that the wolf attack are really the work of men not beast. Elder Anselm immediately blamed local Beggars that were in the area. Beggars are outcast Tharian Horselords that have been dishonored or lose their horses due to misfortune. They wander from locale to locale doing what odd jobs including illicit work to survive. These beggars have been warned twice by the Baliff to leave the area and still they remain. Elder Anselm immediately became convinced that the Beggars were to blame for all the trouble.
The party and the Reeve tried to came the Elder pointing out that further investigation is needed. They would go out and meet with the beggars and see what they had to say. So that afternoon Yoluf and the party went out to the Beggar encampment. There they met the Chief Darius. The conversation was basically going nowhere but before the party left Alagazar gave the chief a silver mark, a 1 lb silver bar worth 240 silver pieces. Alagazar convinced the chief it was a free gift, and only ask if anything was heard about the wolves to let them know. This seem to move Chief Darius and he bid them safe journey.
It was evening when the party returned to the village. Rather sleep at the Estate House they decided the party would go into the wilderness and set up a trap for the wolves. They kill their donkey and spread it's blood around then made camp underneath a large tree. Sure enough during the 2nd watch, several wolves came. One attacked the party while three dragged the dead donkey away. During the fight Hazar was injured badly however thanks to Hunter and the rest of the party the wolves were driven away.
In the morning the party decided to return to the village to fetch Yoluf to track down the wolves that attacked them. However when they arrived at the village they found it nearly empty. Tomas was nursing a head wound. He apologized that he couldn't stop Elder Anselm from forming a mob to go deal with the Beggars.
To be continued tomorrow.