Just after dawn, the adventurers’ find themselves discussing the direction to take.
“Let’s follow the road – they were taking this cart somewhere, we play the fools once again!” – Nitsuj argues.
With no other plan, they head east along the hard earthen path, just barely wide enough for the cart. After a few hours of travel, the air heavy with the cold of autumn, they find a small clearing and rest.
“Does anyone else smell that?”, Anastasia asks right before a large brown bear smashes through the brush and charges Sebastian.
Sebastian pulls Heaven’s Vengeance up to take the blow and is thrown back, getting the wind knocked out of him as he lands hard on the ground.
Galan dips behind a stump, sees the perfect moment to leap up onto the back, sliding down, ripping a large gash in the side of the bear.
Nitsuj pulls out his holy symbol – “Begone you zombie bear!” and drives the symbol toward the towering ursa. If undead, the bear is unaffected by Nitsuj’s efforts.
Nitsuj watches the huge bear rake Sebastian with his razor sharp claws, nearly disemboweling him. Enraged, Sebastian retaliates with a mighty blow directly to the bear’s head.
“That’s the one!” – Sebastian yells triumphantly.
Even though the death blow had been delivered, the bear still managed one last violent blow connecting with Anastasia. The massive bear paw, nearly half the size of the halfling, pins her to the ground, bones breaking. The bear falls to the ground, dead.
Surviving the attack, healing spells are immediately rendered to Sebastian and Anastasia.
“That bear was going to eat you! But don’t worry! I was going to cut you out of it’s belly!” Galan says, trying to break the ice of the nearly deadly encounter.
A closer inspection of the body yields that this bear was not a normal average bear. Large patches of fur and flesh are loosely hanging on the body. Huge lesions cover the underbelly. The skin is almost translucent.
Determined to take the head back to Renye, Galan goes about beheading the beast, and processing out the body. Inside the stomach, Galan finds a chewed up dog collar similar to the one they recovered off the unholy beast earlier.
“The bear must have eaten one of those demon dogs, and probably some undead. Makes sense. This bear is more a zombie and bear to be honest. This collar though – magic or not – certainly worth a lot of gold. Rubies, maybe electrum, it’s valuable.” – Galan reports.
Continuing up the road, they spot 3 carts being pulled by 6 cultists. Shadowing them, they observe the cultists setting up for camp.
Deciding that an ambush while they sleep, stealing their cargo, and just continuing up the road is the plan, they quickly enact it.
Waiting until daybreak to attack, Galan starts off by sneaking down into the middle of the camp. The cultist on watch, completely unaware of Galan’s presence. Galan approaches, dagger in hand, and trips over a stone, completely foiling his attack. The watch screams for help, and soon, cultists are pouring out of the tents.
Watching the chaos erupt below, Anastasia casts sleep from the overlooking ridge, sleeping most of them. After a few minutes of deadly combat, the cultists are put down.
“Let’s pile their bodies on the carts – maybe we can turn them into red juice, we can sell the story with them, who will question us? They only identified us before by Morgane’s height. We don their cloaks, and ride in with these fresh bodies on the carts. We take some of their dug up bodies with us. Mix them up. We are just doing our jobs… digging up bodies, you know…” – Nitsuj offers.
Deciding upon that, the adventurers’ sleep for the night. Packing up the carts with corpses, they pull the carts north along the path.
After a half day of pulling the carts, a rough fort is spotted off the road along a small creek. Making sure their disguises are in order, they pull off the main path toward the fort.
The cultist out front of the door pulls a large lever and the door swings open, and waves them inside. Inside a foreman directs them to take the bodies to the upper floor. Wanting to blend in, they quickly unload the corpses into the juice hopper.
“Let’s steal some of these jugs of juice. We can’t burn this place, too much stone, and too many to assault directly, but clearly the juice is a precious resource. As long as they don’t have it, we are slowing them down” – Nitsuj whispers as they head to the room of empty flasks. Taking 4 large glass flasks to the room for filling, they fill them up. Nobody even sees them They load them into a cart, and wait.
Waiting for the cover of darkness, just as the gate was getting ready to be closed for the night, they drag the cart out the front. Behind them, they hear someone asking a question.
“Don’t look back – just keep going – we are on a mission! Just ignore them. If they come after us, we flee to the forest, and regroup” – Nitsuj commands under the strain of the cart.
Nobody followed them. Deciding to find a place to stash the cart off the road, they pull the cart south.
Anastasia thrusts her finger toward the forest canopy – “Look up there! Does that look like a glowing column of light? It isn’t like the other ones we have seen, but it is glowing. My halfling curiosity must know what that is!”
Carved stones form a rough trail. A carvings look Elvish in nature. Soon the main path is completely out of sight. Opening before the party is a huge tree in a clearing. Glowing lights surround the branches, blinking in and out. This is the source the light that Anastasia spotted.
92 xp combat
1000 xp lifting the curse
3000 xp stealing the juice (plot quest)
1 dog collar (1000 gold)
One beheaded undead bear & paw