Arriving in Kalvarnach after being ambushed by bandits, the companions went their separate ways to seek the comforts of town. Mortimer the Meek visited the university to learn about the Feondas attacks of six months ago. Danoal found the greatest tree in the city to meditate at, regaining spent Rindath. Olaf went drinking, while Tomin found lodgings for himself and Anais. He enjoyed a hot bath after two weeks travelling on the road.
That night, all were awoken by a disturbance outside. Panic was spreading quickly through town because Feondas has apparently struck from within the mine! Most of the tunnels had been sealed six months prior, but a miner named Joson reported that a Feond had killed his wife and stolen away his daughter just an hour before.
The companions converged on the mine entrance, to find that search parties were being sent into the mines while Magientists and others guarded the entrance. The heroes volunteered, but asked for a guide. A miner named Sven volunteered – he had lost one arm during the attack six months prior, but it had been replaced with a flux-powered claw.
The party moved deep into the mines, seeking out the lower levels. They found no obvious beast tracks, but they did find a set of booted tracks and the occasional blood spatter. Following the tracks, they found that the sealed tunnel had been burst open. Moving into the expansive gallery below, they discovered strange runic writings and mask-like drawings on one of the walls. Danoal thought the writings looked somewhat similar to the sigils of the Demorthen, but still distinctly different. Mortimer was transfixed in wonder at the horrific intelligence that apparently drove the Feondas… Danoal shoved Mortimer to snap him out of it.
Following a natural stairway downward, the party found itself in a small cavern with a pool of water, and three tunnels leading into the dark. A young girl's body was crumpled in the corner near the pool. Tomin investigated and discovered that the girl was dead, having been mauled quite brutally. Something in Tomin snapped at that point, and he angrily started screaming for the creatures to face him. Sven picked up the girl and started running for the surface.
In the tunnels, something stirred.
As Tomin advanced on one of the tunnels, Danoal used his Sculpt Earth ogham to raise a wall of salt, sealing the tunnel. Danoal's relief was short-lived, as a pair of giant rat-like monsters came screaming out of another tunnel. The creatures were quickly dispatched, but more waves quickly followed. The party decided to beat a hasty retreat.
Mortimer was in the lead of the retreat, and was shocked to stumble upon Sven's body, dead on the ground with the girl's corpse still in his arms. The torch scones they had lit behind them had been extinguished again! Picking the girl up and running with the creatures in pursuit, they were horrified to discover that a door had been closed and barred from the other side. With no other choices available, they turned and fought the monsters while Olaf bashed the door. Eventually, the creatures retreated, and the heroes returned to the surface as other explorers took their place to hold off the Feondas.
Near the entrance of the mine, the girl's father Joson came forward to thank them for finding his girl. Tomin, suddenly suspicious, stopped to investigate the girl's wounds again. The claw wounds she suffered were too big to match those of the creatures they just fought. Looking closer, he saw bruises near her neck … grabbing the father's hand suddenly, he verified that the hand fit the bruises. Tomin punched Joson hard and yelled at the town watch to arrest him. Thinking back on the broken seal in the tunnel, Danoal realized that the position of the broken wood suggested it was broken from the surface side of the tunnel, not the Feondas' side. And a hint of fresh blood was visible on Joson's scabbard as he lay on the ground.
Accepting this evidence, the watch quickly arrested Joson for interrogation. The next day, the heroes learned that Joson had recently renewed an affair with an old flame whose husband had died in the Feondas attack of six months past. They conspired to murder his wife, and killed the daughter too when she witnessed the crime. They then tried to disguise the murder as new Feondas aggression, unsealing a tunnel to sell their ruse. Both hanged for the crime the next evening. The town awarded the heroes with 32 azure daols for there role in restoring order and discovering the true culprit!
A few days later, the party resumed their journey to Mudan, next travelling to the town of Crail. They visited the woodworkers and Mortimer bought a crossbow of exceptional quality. The villagers warned that the melting snow from the mountains could easily flood the road that lead from Crail to Gline. Their alternate options were to charter a boat or to take a longer route through the forest. Deciding that a boat which could carry 6 humans and 2 horses would be too expensive, and not wanting to risk flash flooding, they opted for the forest path.
Sadly, the forest road wasn't as easily followed, and they got lost a few times. Then the hordes of strange birds started watching them. Danoal sensed this was unnatural. When he finally had enough and threw a stone at a bird, they all rose and attacked!
To be continued…