After a minor amount of aided sleep (they were hit in the head). Dalhar and Oswin awaken in their cave cell which has a few new guests. It seems that an old woman and their Gladiator friend with the broken ankle had also been rounded up last night. The half-elf explains that they had come for him while he was sleeping. He was unable to make any noise and they were on him even before he could make a move. The old woman says her name is Vilma Merridie and that she and her husband had lived in the village since it was built. They used to run a farm but after his death she had moved to the small pink cottage on the lake. She too was just taken from her house a few hours ago.
While listening at the door, Dalhar has decided that it would be in their best interest to escape. He knows he can take down the door but is unsure of exactly who is on the other side, other than some troglodytes. Even though he has no weapons he is confident that he can take them out. He is not so confident about getting out of the temple but figures whatever happens above would be better than waiting here to die.
Without so much as a word to his friends he kicks the door open and steps out. The trogs are on him instantly but his armor holds their first round of attacks. He swings his big fist at one of them and hits it hard but it does not go down. Oswin scoops up some sand from the floor of the cave. Again the trogs swing their claws at Dalhar and one of them manages to get past his armor this time. Oswin casts a sleep spell. Dalhar uppercuts the same trog again, removing its head from its body. Two of the trogs press their attack and one manages to get past Dalhar’s armor again. Oswin activates her shadow cloak ability and Dalhar throws a haymaker at the trog that hit him and connects. Oswin sneaks out of the room behind her friend. One of the Trogs releases his stench and though Dalhar is unaffected, Oswin starts wretching. The other Trog grabs her by the throat, starts to dig in his claws and glares at Dalhar. Realizing that even if he could keep Oswin alive he is too hurt to make good their escape anyway, Dalhar backs into the cell. The trog throws Oswin back into the cell and again slam the door. Dalhar starts plotting his next attempt.
After a brief attempt to strong arm information out of their prisoners, Anrak realizes that Joshua will not allow him to continue to torture these men. By noon he and Joshua have been patiently awaiting the return of their friends in the basement of the Foaming Mug for nearly 10 hours. Realizing something must be wrong they decide that Joshua will stay with the prisoners, while Anrak goes to find out what is keeping their friends.
Anrak heads straight back to the Inn of the Slumbering Serpent and goes up to his friend’s rooms. He finds that the (Half-elf’s) room has been ransacked and there are obvious signs of a struggle. The room he and Joshua share with Dalhar has not been slept in, nor has Oswin’s room. He goes downstairs to question Olwin the innkeeper about his friends. He says that they came back just before dark last night, they ate and went up to their rooms. Also around 11:PM, Dalhar walked out into the night and never returned but neither of his other friends have come back down. Anrak brings the old man back up and shows him his friend’s ransacked room. Olwin has no explanation for this. He explains that neither he nor his wife saw or heard anything before closing the common room and going to bed. If anything happened in the night while they slept, it didn’t make enough noise to awaken them nor any of the other guests.
Anrak is tired of asking questions in this town and getting no answers. Other than conflicting rumors he and his friends have been fed they have found out nothing about what is going on. It seems as if either no one knows anything (which is unlikely considering the timeframe involved) or they are being purposefully misled. As a matter of fact, the only person in town that doesn’t seem to have been lying (other than the mayor) is the crazy old man living in the woods (of course the hermit also hasn’t really told him anything either). So he goes back outside and again crosses the road and walks into the grove of stately elms.
As he approaches Ramne’s shack the scene is much the same as it has been during his two earlier visits, except this time there is a very familiar looking weasel perched on the old man’s shoulder. The hermit smiles at Anrak and says, “so, now we know for sure.” Anrak is confused because if he knows anything for sure it is that he is not sure about anything he has learned so far. So he says, “what do I know?” To which Ranme answers, “well at the very least you know that what is going on in this sleepy little burg is much more than you thought it was, and I know that you are not here to gain my confidence and kill me.” Anrak couldn’t argue those points.
Throughout the most lucid conversation he has ever had with this man, Anrak finds out that the weasel is named Whiskers. People in the town have been affected by what he can best describe as a magical enchantment or curse for over a year (definitely since before that unfortunate incident at the Foaming Mug). He knows many people that are definitely effected, including: most of the people remaining in the outlying farms, the blacksmith and his sons, the carpenter and his family, the town shop owner, the people in the farm across from the Foaming Mug, the town constable and his deputies, the people in the farm near the constable’s quarter’s, and everyone up at the temple (including but not limited to the priestesses). There are several groups of troglodytes stationed around the town. Though the headquarters of what can be best described as a “cult type” organization in the town is the Sanctuary of Ninurte (which is where his friends are presently being held), its true center is out in the woods south of the new caravan trail. Though he has never seen the place himself, whiskers has trailed the troglodytes as far as the edge of the flooded woodlands. He knows that Whiskers could have followed them further but Ramne didn’t want to chance him being caught.
Armed with what he believes is the definitive explanation of what is going on in the village, Anrak heads back to the mayor’s home. Once he relays the information (making sure not to mention it comes from the hermit) the mayor seems very worried. With the layout of the effected people, he realizes that if Anrak is correct, his house and family are surrounded. He reveals that the two elves staying in the cottage down the road are his compatriots and that Anrak and his friends should come up with a plan of attack and contact them after nightfall. The mayor himself is going to be busy securing himself and his family until the next afternoon and so will be of little help until then. As far as the question of the prisoners, he can offer no help. If all the constable and his agents are effected, there is nowhere in the village he can insure they stay locked up unless the party themselves are willing to keep watch over them and then that will only work as long as they are not over powered.
Unsure of what to do he heads back to the Foaming Mug, hoping that Joshua is still there and has not also been taken by the mysterious force affecting the village.