There are several quite reasonable locations near the group's midmorning stopping point: a little hill with rocky cover and a nearby stream, a second hill with a small spring in a shallow cave, and a third with lots of trees surrounded by open meadows. The group presses on, heading southwest first, then circling east. With good weather and the prospect of a safe (and dry) campsite tonight, they make good time, covering a broad swath of more open ground to the south. That's where they find the first strange statue, an antelope staring at the horizon.
"I got a bad feeling about that," muttered Durego the ever-cheerful.
"Who do you think made it?" asks Maro.
"There are creatures, terrible abominations, that can turn their victims to stone simply by looking at them," says Ohwatoo. "Maybe this is the result."
"Well, keep your eyes open!" says Ingvild, laughing uneasily at the implied joke.
"Who has that magical mirror? Rawon? Make sure you keep that handy," adds Dagmarten after he smacks Ingvild in the back of the head.
The group continues their curved course and comes across several other statues: a deer in mid-leap laying on its side, a hawk with a broken-off wing, and another deer. This last is odd since half the creature is missing.
"Wind and weather?" asks Raúguey.
Ohwatoo shakes his head. "I think not. Look here, there are scrape marks. It's almost like something was eating this stone."
Raúguey pulls out a hammer and gives the remaining rock a few taps. The stone looks like granite, but it's quite brittle. He grabs the remains of the statue and hefts it. "It's light!" he exclaims.
Ohwatoo tests the stone too. "Odd. It's like pumice. Perhaps whatever did this has drained away a portion of the vital material from the rock. We should check a complete statue and see if it's the same."
"If it's all the same to you, I'd just as soon we get moving," says Rawon. "The sun's getting low, and if there's something roaming around out there that's turning things to stone, I don't want to be around when it stirs."
The others agree, and the group continues on their way. They pause once more when they find a patch of gray gravel scattered on the ground. "If a creature eats stone, does it poop gravel?" asks Frakki. No one has an answer. Late in the evening, just as they leave the scrublands, they find another complete statue, a wild turkey. Ohwatoo and Raúguey repeat their tests, and the material proves to be the same, light and friable.
Night descends, but the group presses on, hoping to get back to one of the three good campsites they'd found earlier. As the moon clears the horizon and lights up the thickening clouds forming along the western horizon, the group sets up camp on a low rocky hill.
|The big map - revised|
OOC: the statues were in the more open area you explored in 11,55 and 11,56. The last one was on the southwest edge of 12,55.