The main party has used the spires to head to the Blackpool Maze area. The goal: get Locky's remains and get them back to base camp so they can return them to Locky's family. Let's see how that goes, shall we?
Start Date: October 16, late morning
Start Status: These are not the tracks you're looking for.
Start Location: Blackpool Spire
After examining the strange pit-tracks, Maro says, "These look like they could be from those bug things we fought in the vault, the ones that killed Grit and my sister. We should be careful. The tracks aren't that old, they might still be around."
"Let's angle southwest, through the woods to the old roadway, then follow it around to our camp. Someone remembers the way, right?" Raúguey is already edging south, peering through the woods.
"I'm sure we can find it, sounds like a good plan. Let's move. Without the mules we should be able to get there and part way back today, provided nothing happens," answers Rawon. The group shoulders it's collective packs, and sets off in their usual marching order. Mordikarr and Rawon set a fast pace, but keep their eyes open and weapons ready. The thought of those bug-things...
A couple hours sees the party at the road, and the elves and Mordikarr take a quick look before the party starts along it. "Look. There. There. And there. More tracks." These are old and blurred and indistinct, but there are a lot of them following the old roadway. "Gola-ka, dog heads, or maybe bugbears."
"Eyes open people," mutters Dagmarten.
Move on, still moving fast. As the group travels Durego looks back at the party's wake. "Well, if they're still patrolling, they'll know we're here. No hiding those tracks. The others pause and look. Ten people over soft ground leaves clear signs of passage.
"You're right, we can't really hide that. Best thing is to keep moving."
Two hours later the party leaves the old roadway, heading north into the woods toward the old camp site. The pace slows a bit but not much. An hour or so later, the trees thin and the open ground beyond the low cliff is visible through the trees. "Slow now. If they found the camp, there could be traps," says Rawon. Ingvild moves up and he, Rawon and Mordikarr advance in line, eyes peeled, while the others follow in their footsteps, weapons drawn.
There are no obvious traps, but it's clear that the gnolls and their allies found the camp. The place has been trampled, the pool fouled, and several fires have burned large sections of grass and undergrowth at the base of the cliff. Ingvild points to where the empty chest was buried. It's rusty hulk laying half in the stream. "They dug it up. I guess they thought there might be something good inside."
"I hope they didn't touch Locky's grave," says Durego. "Let's go see." The group heads off into the woods to where they laid the poor Halfling to rest. Durego pushes up front with the scouts. As you get close, you can see the site has been disturbed. Dirt and stones are scattered around the grave which, surprisingly still appears filled in. "What did they do?" whispers the cleric. Then he stops, stock still. "What is *that*?" He points.
There is a head, mud smeared and rotting, sticking out of one end of the grave mound. "Is that... Locky?" asks Rawon. "I can't tell." The elf takes a big sip from his flask.
"I think it little one. Be careful. May be trap!" Mordikarr carefully reaches out pokes at the head with one of the party's long poles. It moves a tiny bit. "We cut off head right? Why it no move when I poke it?" Mordikarr pokes again, harder this time.
The eyes open. Or rather, black pits where the eyes should be. The head turns slowly to face the group, the mouth works and you can see the thing's blackened tongue moving behind rotted lips. Then the ground heaves, and it rises. And rises. A vast bulk of decayed fur and flesh surmounted by Locky's rotting head. There's a *second* head, complete with massive beaked maw, in the center of the thing's chest. It clambers out of the pit and snaps it's beak a couple times.
"Ere now lads! What the 'ell have you gotten us into?!" cries Strom, readying his sword.
End Date: October 16, late afternoon
End Status: Locky, you've changed!
End Location: Locky's grave site