The party took a long rest through the better part of the morning, and awoke to find Governor Nighthill nervously awaiting them. He begged them to go out and rescue an artillery engineer who had been taken by the raiders; at the sound of being offered 125 gp cash in advance, with more on the way when the job was completed, the heroes were (mostly) sold. Jandar Abzan worried about the party’s odds if they had to fight a dragon again, but Nighthill assured them that they wouldn’t be expected to put themselves in such grave danger — merely gather information and retrieve a hostage.
They took the rest of the evening to buy supplies; all but Kallisti bought a pair of Health Potions, and Jurgen Jurgenson picked up new armor. However, twilight had fallen and it was only getting darker, so they decided to rest through the night and pick up the trail the following morning.
On the Trail
The trail wasn’t hard to find; it was the tracks of an army of hundreds, and cut a wide swath through the rolling hills of Greenfields. After a full day’s march, the party broke camp. When they awoke, fresh eyes realized that the heading was almost dead-on for a route to Elturel. At the pace they were going, it was a little less than three more days’ march to the River Chionthar, and then the city across that.
On the fourth day, however, they ran into a worrying scene. A half-dozen Kobolds killed, along with the body of an Elven monk. They checked the bodies, finding only a few things of interest: An empty journal with three missing pages; a ring, with the inscription ‘Love, Katerina,’ and on the Monk’s person, a Holy symbol. Kallisti took the things from the Kobolds’ bodies, while Jandar Abzan took the Holy symbol.
The majority of the rest of the day was spent burying the Elf’s body; his grave was marked with a hammer from Jurgen’s pack, and a dead bird Kallisti found. The party marched a few miles away before they made camp.
In The Mist
The next morning, the morning mist that had greeted them each morning since leaving Greenest was much thicker; one could hardly see a hundred feet in any direction. The party lost the trail, but continued in much the same direction they had gone. They did find their trail again, the next day. The third day of thick mist, they decided to depart from their trail slightly, heading slightly diagonal to the path. And that was when they found the town.
The town was abandoned; that much was clear, at least. They couldn’t find anyone, and the locks were smashed on the doors nearby. Jurgen split off, trying to find any sort of landmark that he could; he found the Castle on the hill. Then he immediately went to find the rest of the party and bring them there, as well.
When they climbed the parapets, looking out over the town, they saw three other major landmarks: the Church, the Mill, and a town square.
At the Church, they found bodies—dozens of them, massed into one corner of the Church as if it would protect them from the spears that had cut them down. At the mill, they found it burned down. Suddenly, the entire place seemed awfully familiar, though nobody could place it. And then they went to the town square, and it became all too clear where they were.
A pair of crosses stood in the middle of the square, and from them hung two tortured-looking bodies: those of Governor Nighthill and his Castellan. Serenity panicked and cast Detect Magic, believing that it must be some sort of illusion, but it seemed to be all too real. While the spell affected her sight, Kallisti had her look at the ring and the journal. While the ring had no magic, the journal was subtly magical, but Serenity couldn’t identify what sort of magic it was.
They left the town behind and spent the second half of the day marching ever onward. The next day, they spent the better part of an hour trying to figure out ways out of the mist—Kallisti wrote “Let us out of the Mist” in the magical journal; Jurgen breathed his fire, Jandar Abzan lit a flame in the grass. But even still, the day passed uneventfully, following the trail that had been exactly where they’d found it in Greenest the first time.
The next day, Kallisti found in her journal a slip of paper that had not been there before: a flyer. Each of the heroes saw something different: Kallisti, a promise of abberant horrors; Jurgen, a challenge to his bravery; Jandar saw a man who saw himself as beautiful in a mirror; and Serenity saw a promise of safe haven in the mist. All of them, though, had one word at the bottom:
There was no explanation for it. And there was nothing for the party to do but march onward. Where they made their second unsettling discovery for the day.
Six Kobolds and an Elven monk, dead from sword wounds. Their things were still there, as if they’d never been taken, so naturally Kallisti took a second ring, and Jandar offered her a trade: she could take the second Holy symbol if he could take the second journal. She accepted.
Only, as they tried to leave, the Kobolds got up. The fight with the undead Kobolds was fierce, but in the end the party was triumphant. They made camp for the night, wondering what horrors would face them in the morning.