"You sure you want to go off on your own?" asks Dagmarten. "If something happens, we won't be able to help you."
"Rest that busy brain of yours brother, we'll keep well away from the entrance and find a good place to hide." The thief turns to Mordikarr, "Ready?"
The beastmaster nods and gestures to Mageta, who darts into the woods ahead of the pair. They move off, quick and quiet, back to Hill Hole.
"Best get to work if we want to find a good place to camp. Daylight's burning." Raúguey begins to pack up the cooking kit and other general supplies, while the others finish eating or work on obscuring the signs of trail and camp.
It takes an hour or so to get moving. The party heads north-northeast, sticking to the higher ground offered by the hills and avoiding the wetlands to the west. They march through rough terrain, tree-covered hills that are cut here and there by creek-bottomed ravines and patches of dense undergrowth. The sun is sinking toward the horizon when they call a halt. "Best start looking for a campsite. We're making slower progress than I'd hoped," says Durego.
Rawon slaps Maro on the shoulder. "We'll look around a bit, see what we can find in the way of camp sites. Keep watch."
Durego pokes Tesso. "Let's go, we'll look to the east."
The scouts are gone for an hour. When Tesso and Durego get back they have little to report. "More trees, more underbrush, and no water," says the cleric, sour expression on his face. "Maybe moving camp wasn't such a great idea."
The elves return a short while later. Maro says, "We found a decent spot about a half-mile northwest. It's a little bluff above a creek. Not much, but there's enough clear space for a camp and some big boulders for cover."
"We found something else too," says Rawon. He points southwest. "There's a moose corpse about a half mile that way, well, most of a moose corpse. Something ripped it apart and carried off the rear leg quarters."
"Stev maybe?" asks Raúguey.
"Maybe. It's old, so there are no tracks. Let's get to camp, the days are getting short and the sun's dropping fast."
The group moves, sets camp and sets the watch. It's dark by the time they're settled and fed. It's quiet around the camp-fire as the wounded quickly take to their bedrolls. The others take watch by turns, shivering as the night air turns cold.
The next morning is crisp and cold. The clerics are quick to the task of healing. Durego doles out a dose of kettle to each of the wounded before using spells.
OOC: Don't forget a full day of rest heals 1d3+CON HP. If you stay camped, the wounded will receive this benefit.
Kettle: 1, 1, 3 healing for Strom, Grendor, and Dagmarten. Dag is fully healed.
One cure each: 5, 2 Strom and Grendor
Reserving remaining cures in case something has happened to the scouts.
"Guess we better go see what our wanderers have discovered," says Rawon. He gestures toward Maro, but Dagmarten stays his hand.
"I'll go." Seeing the elf's skeptical look he scowls. "That's my brother out there. I've been hunting the woods since I was five. I know my way in the wild. Besides, do you really want that clanking armor following you around? Let's go."
Maro nods to Rawon. "Go ahead. We'll expect you back before dark."
The day passes with only minor interruptions. Mordikarr and Ingvild finally stumble upon the camp mid-afternoon and report on what passed during the night. Dagmarten and Rawon return just as the sun sets and report their findings as well. After all have spoken it's time for plans and preparations.
Time and a couple more spells completely heal Strom and Grendor. Everyone is at full health.
Ingvild and Mordikarr arrived at Hill Hole late afternoon and found a reasonable spot to watch from, a few big boulders shrouded by a cluster of pines. All was still until night fell, then there was some activity. Right at dusk several of the bug men came out of the main entrance and scattered in various directions. One more or less followed the party's departure trail (couldn't tell if this was chance or tracking), another climbed straight up the vertical hill and disappeared over the crest. Two more went northwest. An hour or so later there was a lot of scraping and clanking from inside the tunnel, followed by Stev shouting "STUPID GATE!" This was followed by even more noise, then a really loud *CRASH*. The pair guess that Stev closed the gate. He did not come outside.
A few hours later two more bug men, accompanied by several smaller creatures, came outside and wandered around the entry area. It was too dark and too far to see what these smaller creatures were. Ava reported they were little bugs. Shortly thereafter the bug men that left came back, one carrying something that looked like a deer carcass, and all went back inside. The rest of the night passed quietly.
Dagmarten and Rawon reached Hill Hole fairly early in the morning. Mageta found them and guided them back to Ingvild and Mordikarr. They exchanged information and took up the watch. The second pair saw no activity during their first two-hours, so they began a circuit around the site. They found some blood sign in the woods, the dead deer perhaps, but nothing else of note. The terrain around Hill Hole is much like that the group passed through yesterday, hilly and wooded, with ravines and creeks leading away south and west.
End Date: November 20, nightfall
End Status: Out and a Scout.
End Location: Temporary camp ENE of Hill Hole
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