Start Date: September 15, evening
Start Status: Crossing over
Start Location: The Wilds
It's a wet and grumpy group that settles in to camp on the fringes of the clearing southeast of the stream. The crossing proved harder than it looked, with lots of mud to go around. But after getting the beasts across and tethered where they could graze on the patchy and dried out fall grasses at the edge of the clearing, the group split their time between watching the skies, cleaning up in the stream, and making camp. Everyone is nervous about camping near open spaces, though the dense undergrowth and weeds make for reasonably soft bedding when packed down and covered with a blanket.
The night passes quietly. Sunrise brings clear skies and a light breeze from the west. The party and the mules are all well-rested, so they eat a hasty meal, then hit the trail, or lack thereof. As before, the dense trees and undergrowth make for slow going, but as the group progresses on their south-southeast course, the forest thins a bit. A few hours into the hike, Maro raises a hand, bringing the troupe to a halt. He points off to the east, where something glints in the sunlight.
The two elves plus Mordikarr move off to investigate; the rest of the group takes defensive positions. It only takes a few minutes for the scouts to give the all clear. As the others move up, they find Mordikarr stooping near the broken and scattered remains of a kobold. Maro is circling an old oak nearby, while Rawon is poking at a large patch of burned ground with a stick. "Someone no like kobolds," says the wildman, gesturing beyond the torn corpse, to where several others lie in similar condition. Each corpse has been crushed and pulled apart, gear scattered, weapons broken. The ground nearby is trampled and torn up, too confused to make much sense of what might have done the damage.
"Looks like someone tried to start a big fire here. There's burned kindling, and more wood piled nearby. I smell oil too." Rawon looks at Maro. "It's marked, isn't it?"
Maro nods, then reaches out a cautious hand and touches the scorched wood near the symbol carved into the oak's trunk. "We're sorry we weren't here to help. We hope you're all right." He stands in silence next to the tree.
"Search the remains, maybe we should bury them?" says Durego.
"No. Leave them. They'll serve as a warning for the next fools," says Maro. "But if they carry any valuables or supplies that aren't destroyed, I... I think we can take those." His eyes widen slightly. "I think... we're known here. I get the feeling we're safe for now, but don't cut any green wood!" He returns to his silent listening.
"Bunch of elvish hog-wash if you ask me," whispers Raúguey as he and Ohwatoo check around for anything valuable or useful.
"Perhaps, perhaps not. Remember what we saw back when we fought the gnolls. There are many strange things in these woods and I have a feeling we may never know all their secrets. Hello... what's this?" He yanks a red leather cord from beneath a corpse, from which hangs a medallion of some sort.
"Careful! That may be trapped! Remember what happened to Urúvion!" Durego speaks just as Ohwatoo is about to touch the thing. The pair step away from the remains and study the crude brass symbol, a snarling wolf's head surrounded by flame. "Fraykulka," growls Durego. "I'll wager we're near that shrine we saw before. We should have cleansed that place when we had the chance."
"I think it's just a common medallion. We saw similar stuff in the maze."
"Perhaps. I'd feel better if we could purify it and smash it though. These damn kobolds, they're everywhere."
"Well, they had some loot," says Raúguey. "I found some silver and gold, and a pair of small gems. in a pouch. I guess we could take them." He casts a glance at Maro.
"Go ahead and pack that stuff away Raúguey. Let's get ready to move out. I'll wait with Maro for a minute." Rawon joins his fellow elf near the tree. A few minutes later, the pair rejoins the others, and the group continues south-southeast.
By midday the woods have petered out, and the party finds themselves first in scrub, then in open ground. Everyone keeps an eye on the sky, but there are no signs of flying creatures. Shortly after leaving the trees behind, they stumble across... the road! "We must be east of the Fraykulga shrine," says Ingvild. He gestures east. "There was a village ruin six or eight miles on, right? We should get moving, and get past that. Remember we found those beast remains near here. I don't think we're safe just yet."
The next few hours are tiring but straightforward, but they don't reach their goal, the ruined farm, before the sun is setting. No one is happy about camping in the open, but the long miles have taken their toll, and the will to march is flagging. It's a cold camp and a cold meal tonight.
The next day is a straight up hike. This is known territory, and the old roadway provides clear guidance. The party makes good time, pushing past the ruined farm and on toward their base near needle spire. As the sun sinks they spot the trees that mark the woods near the camp site, and two hours later, full dark, they make camp there.
FOB seems undisturbed. You have firewood and some rations stored here (approximately 4 days for the party). You are down to 10 days grain for the mules, and have an additional 10 days rations carried.
The kobolds carried 15 GP, 35 SP, and 2 small gems, which has been added to group loot. There's also a brass amulet (holy symbol?) with a wolf's head surrounded by flame inscribed.
End Date: September 17, nightfall
End Status: Home again
End Location: FOB1, The Wilds