Our intrepid band of
heroes player characters return to Oleg’s for some well deserved rest after their bloody jihad against the mite menace. Skragger and his man Tobias are summoned away to Restov for powerful trade meetings, while Elyelah, Nylrah and Harlowe are left to continue mapping the Greenbelt in their absence. The fortuitous arrival of fellow chartered explorers allows them to maintain schedule with little interruption, a gnome enchantress and her elven huntress guard.
Harlowe bemoans his sorry position, beset on all sides by fae estrogen. It was to be a long trip indeed.
The gold mines nearest the Sootscale lands is explored with reckless mine cart shenanigans, and incidentally leads to the development of ‘air brakes.’ In the furthest reaches of the mines, a small colony of rust monsters had set up a colony and were feasting on the abandoned mining tools. The group deals with them in short order and breathe a sigh of relief than the armor wearers weren’t present for the conflict.
Further excursion lead the even more motley than usual group to the border of a dense wood, it’s entrance marked by the broken corpses of the Erastil pilgrims and the not quite as broken not-corpses of some angry trolls. The bests are put down in short order. Horses are tied, and entrance is made on foot.
Inside, a broken marble path is found, along with the nasty wood creatures inhabiting and inhibiting the place. An opening skirmish takes place, and the group beat feet into the not-so-lost-anymore temple to Erastil to avoid further retaliation.
The temple lays ill-kept, overgrown with vines in a strangely beautiful and almost appropriate state of disrepair. The remaining pilgrims are found, dead, clearly brutalized by a great and powerful force of some unknown origin.It’s known soon enough, as an enormous bear bursts into the center room and begins rampaging. The group, now cursing their luck that the armor wearers aren’t present, charge to meet the beast head on. Harlowe tackles the beast and climbs onto it’s back in a strange display of machismo and an uncharacteristic willingness to stand in the breach for reasons he can’t even quite verbalize. Elyelah and [ gnome sorcerer ] stride forward as well to corral the best, as [ elf ranger ] and Nylrah pepper it from afar. Violence happens, the fair bard and enchantress are nearly mauled to death in the jaws of a mega ursine, Harlowe curses the long leash he gave his alchemy supplier, and with lives in the balance and not a moment too soon, the beast is felled and the temple restored.
A dark curse kept the sacred ground and the holy man that tended it bound, forced to inhabit a form more fitting to the furies he’d misguidedly shown in years past. With that, the grizzly fate of the pilgrims are revealed, the temple is given a new guardian, and the humble cartographers, nobles and men at arms of the Greenbelt secure another hex for civilization.