he next day, the group set out to the farms to see if they could track which way the ambushing gnolls came from. However, it seemed the gnolls coordinated their strike, as multiple tracks could be see coming NW, N, and NE. They headed off into a thunderstorm directly north, hoping to test their luck. At first, they spotted a shack next to a dried up pond where they sought shelter while the storm passed. Inside, they found a barely readable soggy letter among some miscellaneous gear hidden in the floor planks.
After the storm, they headed back into the fields. Tobrin came across a tree with some markings on it, reading “200 soldiers march at sunset while 20 monks quietly meditate.” Beornwolf thought this might be a riddle, with the numerals meaning steps. Also, Tobrin believed this was referring to an incident 500 years ago, where several monks at the Temple of the North Star defended their temple against a hoard of incoming Terran soldiers. They still weren’t sure about directions or pacing though, and figured this didn’t have to do with the gnoll encampment. So, they set off to perhaps returns at a later date.
Niem spotted some grazing horses over a hill. Everyone attempted to sneak up on the horses and hopefully catch a few. Despite being able to mount one or two horses, the overall racous activity was too startling to the wild creatures as they bucked and stamped away. As dusk approached, they found a small alcove in the hills that would properly keep a camp from any further storms.
The rain and storm returned periodically throughout the night, but there was little else to report for each watch. The next day the party set out Northwest of the town, where they came across a traveling missionary of the Sovereign Host named Sebald. The cleric announced that he was drawn to the area because he sensed a grave evil, and wished to accompany the 5 on their current mission, wondering if their goals were related. Together, they spotted two gnolls collapsed in the plains, dead from suffocation. They followed their tracks back to the gnoll encampment, which was a gruesome looking fort perched atop a hill.
Sebald didn’t think they would immediately attack a holy man with intent to trade, and agreed to trojan horse them inside where they could surprise attack. This proved unnecessary in the end, as all the gnolls within the walls were also dead in and out of their tents, like the two in the hills. The mouth of a cave leading into the hill, the gnolls den, emitted a dark miasma, and shadowy veins reached out from within along the ground.
The gnoll situation seemed to have remedied itself, but Sebald still requested they help him investigate the evil that was inside, and perhaps killed the gnolls. With the promise of spoils and one less threat to the region, they agreed. Sebald was able to keep the deadly miasma at bay using his religious totems and incantations as he cautiously led the 5 inside. Like the outside, this den was also littered with gnoll corpses, and as soon as they came to a larger room, growls echoed in the darkness. Shadow wolves leaped out from dark passages, surrounding the group. But the creatures were not any match for the party, and soon the halls of the gnoll’s den were silent once again.
First, the adventurers investigated a room that seemed to be well lit from behind the door. They found a room dedicated to Gruumsh, this tribes preferred deity. Similarly, they investigated a barracks room with little to be curious about. Eventually, they investigated a dark room which appeared to be empty as Harper slowly lit the room with torchlight. Eventually, the light hit a dark, specter, standing over a gnoll corpse. The creature, blindfolded, hideous, and draped in shadowy dark cloth, shrieked as it furiously turned its attention to the adventurers.