With the legal situation cleared up, the party is free to leave Auslaug and head back out to the Wilds. During their stay in town the group decided they needed to do something about the flying denizens of Nest Tower. What that "something" is remains unclear to the humble GM, but it probably involves fire. This turn was a transition back to wilderness mode; the trip out was uneventful.
Start Date: November 6, Year of the Badger, morning
Start Status: Back to camp
Start Location: New camp near Needle Spire
The trip back to Needle Spire and the nearby camp takes eight days. The trip is uneventful, except for two days of rain near the end of the journey, and the rough camp northeast of the spire is undisturbed. After a night's rest the party leaves the retainers guarding the mules and heads for the spire to check their stored goods. Without the mules they make the hike in a couple hours.
There are disturbing signs at the spire. The tall grass around the base of the structure has been variously torn up, punctured, or flattened. "Many things come here," mutters Mordikarr, stooping over familiar puncture-tracks at the spire's entrance. There are many sets, leading in several directions, south, northwest, southeast, and west. There is no discernible pattern to their travel, and the tracks are several days old, certain before the rains of a few days past. There is no way to tell if they are coming or going (or both).
"Demons in the spires," mutters Dagmarten. "Do you think they, whoever they are, know we're using them to travel?"
"These are old. If they're looking for us, they missed by several days. But we should be wary." Rawon takes a sip from his flask. "If these are the bug-things that killed Grit and Nissa, we don't want to meet them again, especially not when we're beat up and tired after a fight in Blackpool."
"Let's finish what we came here to do. We need to check our supplies. If they're gone, we're going to have a shorter trip than expected," says Durego.
"Bee ready for trouble," Raúguey loosens the sword of bees in its scabbard. He nudges Ingvild, who works the lock on the spire doorway. The door vanishes, revealing the usual fog-filled interior.
"After you," says the thief, gesturing to Raúguey. The fighter enters, followed by the rest of the party. Nothing within has changed, but since the walls absorb anything left behind, that's not surprising. Ohwatoo hurries to the pedestal and sets up the combination for the Fridge. Ingvild works the key, then moves to the door and, when everyone is ready, opens it. Beyond the door it is silent, cold, and dark. A quick check on supplies shows they are intact, frost-covered, and undisturbed.
"Well, I guess we need to decide if we want to risk leaving this stuff here," says Ohwatoo.
"Have you seen tracks around these things before?" asks Grendor.
"No," says Maro. "The ones near Blackpool were the first we found."
"Maybe they're just checking the neighborhood, or it's a random patrol. I'm not sure it's a good idea to leave this stuff here." Ohwatoo says distractedly, his eyes on the rock walls. "Strom, what do you make of this construction?"
"Frozen, laddie, it's frozen." The dwarf looks over the wall that completely surrounds the spire. "These builders knew their stuff. Buildin' a dome like that takes brains. It ain't dwarf work though."
"Well it's cold in here. Let's leave the stuff for now, and get moving. We want to check the old camp and see if it's been revisited by the flying creatures, or whatever came from the spire." The party moves back into the spire, jumps back to their point of origin, and exits, sealing things up behind them. When they head north, they try to hide their trail as best they can, but the tall grass makes that difficult.
It's after noon when they reach FOB1. The rain has washed away some of the foul deposits left by the so-called harpies, but the place is still a mess. There's no sign of additional damage, and no sign of puncture-prints either.
"Right, we're here, we know the lay of the land, and we have six or seven hours of daylight left. What's the plan?"
End Date: November 6, Year of the Badger, early afternoon
End Status: Plans
End Location: FOB1