Gahmil 16, 1517
The next morning, right after morning orders, the members of the Ivy Stone are summoned to the Commandant’s office. They report, apparently arriving before the adjutant or their Touchstone. They wait a few minutes, and a younger soldier arrives, who asks their reason for being in the office. They tell him of the appointment, and he goes into the office, then indicates they should join him.
Inside, the commandant is examining a map, but he turns and tells them he has a task for them if they will take it. Apparently, the elder from a small village called Girand had reported being harassed by bandits. But yesterday afternoon, a merchant reported that the elder now believes that two people have been taken by slavers. This makes it a higher priority, so if they would, go check it out.
They decide they will go, find the merchant at Nik Nak’s, and he tells them about what he found when he left 3 days ago, which is what he reported to the commandant. They return to the quartermaster, use their status letters to acquire a few essentials and set off, through the woods to the south following the trail the merchant told them about.
h2. Gahmil 17, 1517
Riding as hard as they dared through the darkening woods, they arrive at a clearing with a small village. Apparently this is Girand…but there is no one around, and as they look arround, they find a dead bodies, including some who had apparently been flayed, and a few apparent survivors. These survivors, however may be horror touched, so they set off to find the horror. Before long, they find what was probably the Girand Kaer, so they head in, beneath a tree.
Inside, they encounter an illusory block to their passage, a pit, that proved quite unlucky, and luckily discovered some sort of trip wire trap of swinging blades. However, coming upon a long set of stairs, they decide that if someone had gone in, they should have already tripped the traps, so they go the other way. There, they find old planks over a pit, and a few stands of old timber, that may have had some purpose, but they do not wait to divine it. Another long set of stairs, but this one has a narrow plank wedged above them. In descending it, Larr and Juhani fall prey to a trap on the stairs when they lose their balance on the narrow ledge.
At the bottom, they find the Kaer proper, with a dwarf and four female orks hiding. They ran from the village after discovering the bodies, and hearing what may be the raiders coming back. They deny that anyone was alive, but they only found 16 of their fellow villagers bodies. This is odd, as our adepts only found 11 bodies, and the five touched survivors. The villagers are given some rations, and told to wait until our heroes return. And then they return to the village.
This time, however, just as they approach, one of the survivors is shot with an arrow, and she shrieks and charges at them! Before long all of the 5 survivors have joined the fray. Not only do they prove somewhat difficult to put down, they have a tendency to stand back up! After several minutes of fighting, during which each of the adepts demonstrates some of their capabilities, they find that the villagers have some sort of small worm or insect that has wrapped itself around the base of their spine. Once the body is sufficiently damaged, this creature flees, and is fairly easily killed.
In the aftermath, they try to flush out who shot the arrow, as they proceed to burn the bodies in the round house, giving them at least a semblance of a decent farewell. Then they head to the felling site, where some of the people disappeared, and they find a dwarf similarly infected, again eating of his companions. They return his body to rest and dispatch the parasite. While looking for any clues, they find that something, or some one, has been dragged through the woods, so they follow that path. Before long, they almost stumble into a natural clearing where there is a camp of around 30 people, including a troll, with another score of people tied to stakes in the ground. Knowing they are unable to deal with such a force, there return to the village.
From there, they send Camron back to the Outpost to tell the army that there are a number of slavers and they need to be dealt with. Juhani, Rakishi and Larr rescue the survivors and begin the trek back.
h2. Gahmil 20, 1517
Camron covers the 60 or so miles in less than a day, arriving back at the Outpost in the late morning. She proceeds to interrupt an officers meeting and after a few tense moments convinces the commandant that he needs to send men as soon as possible. She gets a few hours rest, and she begins a march back with 20 men, with Captain Caruler in charge.
Meanwhile the others head back up the trail, where they encounter an ogre, that is known to the villagers, and he is sent on his way with a few coins. They meet up with the reinforcements in the late morning, and send the survivors to the Outpost alone.
Together, they arrive back at Girand in the mid afternoon, the men exhausted. Captain Caruler sends the adepts to get good info on the slavers, but they discover most of them are gone…except the troll a few orks, and an elf that speaks Theran…