We continue on the adventures of the Northward Travellers after they leave the survivors of a large village that was burned to the ground by Marabor. The group decides to head north, following their only lead they have: the trail of the magical wood.
A few days into the journey they stop for a well earned rest, but when they awake, they find their numbers dwindled, a note in the place of Naloor’s bedroll.
The group, confused and concerned, retrieve the letter and read it:
I regret to inform you that I must leave your company. A number of events have conspired to make me realize that this is the best thing for the group, and for myself.
First, the death of Janthro. While it has taken some time to settle in, I realize that his death shocked me deeper than I had originally realized. His death was needless, and stupid, and could have been avoided. It made me question the reason for doing what we needed to do. Is this the ultimate outcome of our journey? I didn’t dwell too much on this at first, as I had more pressing concerns to occupy me – namely, the curse.
Upon reaching the Temple of Lyon, I felt as though a great weight had been lifted from me. Besides the removal of the curse, I met others there of a like mind. While it was a temple dedicated to Lyon, I still felt at home there. But upon leaving the temple, I had a vision in the Mirror of Truth that haunts me. I saw myself, as I existed years ago. A self that I still admire, but I had thought I had moved on from. Having seen it, it made me realize that perhaps I haven’t moved along as far as I had first thought.
But the final straw was the Dragon. I could barely contain my own hatred of the vile thing. It was all I could do to not throw myself at it. I realized at this point that I was a danger to myself and the rest of the group. But more importantly, it also made me realize that I still struggle with an inner chaos which I had thought I had put to rest.
More to the point, I no longer feel so connected to our quest. So I have decided to take up semi-permanent residence at the temple of Lyon, until such time that I achieve the peace that I seek.
Saddened by the loss of Naloor, the party then strikes forward. They number only four now. The group slowly loses numbers as they continue, and some have doubts of whether they will succeed now that so many who have fought along side the King have turned aside. All that remains now is Thorax. Albrecht has left on his own quest, Janthro fell in single combat with a Maraborian General and now, Naloor finds himself changed in such a way that he can no longer continue on the quest.
Yet, Thorax, The Bard, James and Thuk’kk continue northwards.
After a day of travels, the party then encounters a small, pristine, yet vacant village. Standing before them is a small woman. They party moves forward to speak but she shyly turns away. When pressed she explains that the village has been cleared out by a group of kobolds, many of which are still being held as slaves. She tells the party where the kobold lair is, and asks them to go through it, and save the remaining members of the village.
The woman is found out to be wearing a Hat of Disguise, but her true form could not be determined.
The Bard did wish to obtain the Hat, and made a deal with the woman to be given the Hat when he returns with the other members of her village.
The party does so, finding the lair with relative ease, then entering and slaughtering the few kobolds within.
They found a chained kobold in a corner who spoke common, pleading for his life. He explains that he is Drask, a kobold from the Freelands of Tycho who came here to escape persecution by other kobolds. He is not a evil, slave-driving kobold who worships evil gods, but a kobold, like the others of his kind above ground, who strive for harmony. Their tribe has come to Moran to seek trading arrangements. However, they have been overtaken by members of their tribe and Drask, the chosen representative, has been captured.
The Group frees Drask and he thanks them, saying that his sister and other villagers are waiting for them above. They travel down the long winding path that leads to the exit, then climb back into sunlight. Outside, they soon find the village burnt and slaughtered kobolds laying about.
Drask cries for his tribe, and especially his sister.
The Group remains for a day in mourning.
Drask decides to join the group. He feels that now, without his tribe behind him, he has nothing else to do, except fight for the freedom of Moran.
The group welcomes Drask, and they head northwards.