The party has heard of odd attacks happening in the city of Stalton’s Moor. They have decided to make the trip from Nehéflem to Khazaars to investigate and possibly make some coin. They leave their homeland and cross through the tiny nation of Zenoah and are finally on Hural’s Road. With only 4 days left on their journey they have decided to take a break from the road and stop at the nearby town of Greenglen. The town is a logical resting point on their way to the city and a good place to get the grime of the road off of themselves after their long journey from Nehéflem.
About a day’s travel from Greenglen the party encounters signs of a recent ambush. Just ahead of them on the road is a freight wagon that is turned on its side. There are the bodies of 4 men lying on the ground. All of them a riddled with arrows. Attached to the wagon is a horse which is dead and has been pierced by 8 arrows.
As the party is investigating the scene, 3 men come out of the brush on the roadside. They act confrontational but are plainly afraid. Two of them advance slowly with their short swords drawn and ask “what business do you have here?” “Zimic” explains their journey, which calms the men significantly. When they are asked what happened here the third man comes forward to explain. He is older looking with long grey hair and beard. He says his name is Robert Grunwald and he tells the following tale:
“I am a merchant and I was traveling my normal route from Zenoah to Stalton’s Moor when they were suddenly surprised by a hail of arrows from the right side of the road. Whoever the archers were they were deadly accurate. They didn’t miss one shot. In just a matter of moments four of his hired guards were dead. The horse pulling the wagon spooked but it was taken down by another volley and the wagon tipped over. Before we could collect ourselves I heard my daughter’s voice screaming. She had been in the wagon before it tipped over. I ran round the wagon to find that she was already gone. I imagine she had been pulled off into the woods. We were just searching for her but couldn’t find any trace of her. I fear something foul has befallen her. Would you please find her and return her to me?”
The party ask Robert and his men a few questions to determine if this story is true and if there could be any specific reason for the event. After a short while they determine that this was indeed a random act of violence and will willingly aid the merchant.
Zimic sets off into the woods alone to determine what direction their quarry has traveled. He finds a path of drag-marks which winds through the trees. He also runs into a few traps. The traps are not lethal and it seems that they are designed to discourage anyone from trekking through the woods. But he runs into more than a few before he turns back for his companions.
He explains the issue of the traps to his compatriots and they are off into the woods to find the merchant’s daughter. They travel for 20 minutes, almost constantly tripping over trip-wires or falling into pits before they decide to stop and reconnoiter the area. They find that there are far more traps in this area than could have possibly been set between now and the time of the ambush. They also realize that the path through which the merchant’s daughter was dragged seems to have a higher concentration of traps than the surrounding area. Also it seems who/what-ever was dragging her through the area managed to purposefully avoid setting off any of the traps. Finally they recognize that these traps are really not hidden very well and so it should be much simpler to avoid them in the future as long as they are paying attention.
After another 10 minutes of traveling through the woods they realize that the trail is advancing towards a clearing. The trail goes through the clearing and to the east. There are what looks like seven large burial cairns in the clearing but other than that it seems featureless. The party splits and flanks the clearing on two sides. Dalhar and Druno conceal themselves behind some trees along the south side. Zimic and Ozwin skirt the east side. Zimic manages to not fall into another pit trap and hangs onto a tree for dear life.
When the party settles into their positions they realize that they are hearing a lot more animal noises than they were previously, particularly those of wolves and birds. They recognize that they are coming from within the clearing. Druno decides that he has waited long enough. He leaps out of his hiding place, hefts his warhammer and shouts, “Show yourselves you cowardly bastards!”
Moments later a thick fog starts emanating from the middle of the clearing and soon it is nearly completely engulfed. Dalhar also jumps out from behind his blind and brandishes his bastard sword. The Ozwin pulls her bow to cover what is left visible in the clearing. A moment later Druno decides he has waited long enough. He shouts, “You cowards, I’ll flatten all you skulls!” and charges into the fog. Dalhar charges also.
With his bow drawn, Zimic decides to try to maneuver around to the north end of the clearing to see where the drag-marks go. An arrow is fired from behind Dalhar but it misses him. Ozwin could not get a clear view of exactly where the shot came from. Just then something slides out from behind a tree and stabs Zimic in the back of the leg. He squeals.
Dalhar heads into the fog. Druno can be heard exclaiming, “now that I know where you are you can have a taste of my hammer!” and there is a resounding clash of arms. Zimic wheels around to find he is standing just feet from a short pug-faced creature. It is holding a dagger in each hand and wearing leather armor that is adorned with all manner of local sticks and leaves. Zimic let’s loose a shot from his bow and hits the creature. Ozwin also turns and fires at the creature but
Whether it is the quick action or the cunning of its camouflage, she misses. Zimic looses another arrow but misses as well. The creature tries to bolt back into the cover of the woods. Ozwin takes another shot and hits. The creature falls to the ground dead.
A hard thud and a crunch of bone ring out from the center of the fog. Druno yells, “Now who’s next?” There is suddenly a huge increase in the amount of animal calls and the sound of footfalls running for the hills. Zimic spies several small figures bolting into the woods but can’t really make them out as they bolt into the underbrush.
Moments later a gust of wind emits from the center of the fog and Druno is standing over another dead body brandishing his bloody hammer.