From the pages of Gorefang’s Diary
7th of Pharast 4710 (Sunday)
Me and Naias returned to Oleg’s in the morning with the bandits and stolen goods. When we arrived, we met with two more adventurers who had the same charter as us. One was a small, plain-looking human girl called Red Lotus, while the other was a tall, elfish man with golden hair and eyes, wearing shining scale-mail. He introduced himself as Calandrel, and we welcomed them both.
We questioned the bandits (Calandrel had a very intimidating look. Must be the golden eyes) and they told us about the Stag lord. The first two bandits went on about how he was a very dangerous man, both strong and a skilled archer. Their leader, Kressel, said that he once was, but now he was a drunkard, and not what he used to be. My original fears of this man lessened greatly when hearing this, but a drunk warrior is still a warrior, and I think our battle with him is becoming more unavoidable by the day. Before handing the bandits over to Garess, they told us that his camp can be found on the north bank of the river Thorn.
We returned Oleg’s stolen goods, and he was very pleased. But a look of disappointment was on his face after searching the crates. It seemed the bandits had taken Svetlana’s wedding ring. We asked the bandits about this and they said that their own camp had been raided several times by small creatures called Mites. Mites are small, blue, evil creatures that were weak on their own, but were quite deadly in a pack, a fact which I quickly told the others. Svetlana said that we shouldn’t waste our time with something so trivial as it was dangerous, but we decided to explore the hills south of Oleg’s in an attempt to find both the Mites and the Stag Lord’s Camp. After spending the rest of the evening hunting the land around the trading post, we settled in for the night.
8th of Pharast 4710 (Moonday; half moon waning)
We set off in the morning south-east, to the low-land that lay between the post and the hills. While exploring the lands near the forest’s edge, we came upon a large area of scattered bones. I recognised the bones and a mixture of small and large animal bones, as well as some human. Troubled by this, we readied ourselves for attack from whatever creature left these remains. Red Lotus spotted a large webbed area of ground and told us that it looked like the lair of a giant Trap-Door spider. While we thought about the best course of action to take (it would be dangerous to fight the beast, but just as dangerous to leave it to kill), Caladrel took a large pole and decided to poke the web! It seems his shiny armour and intimidating eyes are to make up for his lack of intelligence! Before we could react properly, the spider jumped out of its web and sprayed Cal with its webbing. Naias let an arrow fly straight into the spider’s hide, while I brought my axe swiftly down on its head, but this was not enough to stop it. Red let fly a jet of green liquid at the beast, but missed. It appears the small-human girl has some magical aptitude, but the quickness of the spiders attack had affected her aim.
Suddenly, from the forest, a half-elf wielding a large staff and clad in furs and leather jumped out and attacked the spider. He brought his weapon down upon the creature and crushed it with a single blow! With the spider dead (and leaving quite a mess), we thanked our new friend, and he introduced himself as Aramil Planespeaker Wildstiller, a travelling druid who had come to the forest to tend to it. He had a strange birthmark on his face in the shape of an Oak-leaf, and I thought that it must be some sign that he was destined to follow the path he walks, in the same way my blood takes me down mine. I asked if he would care to join us in helping rid the land from bandits and other evil creatures, and was pleased when he accepted.
Cal suggested that it would be good to search the spiders hole to see if anything had been left by any of its victims, and we agreed. He had a tough time of climbing down (I admit chuckling to myself once or twice), but he got to the bottom and found the corpse of a bandit among the debris. Searching the corpse, Cal found another of the Stag-Lords amulets, and a small parchment. When he returned, we saw that the parchment was an image of a claw-shaped tree alone on a hill, and in its roots, someone had drawn a large X in blood. We discussed the drawing as we made camp for the evening, and decided that should we come upon the tree, we would investigate, as it was clearly important to the bandits in some way, either as a marker, or a place to hide their stolen goods.
9th of Pharast 4710 (Toilday)
After a restful night, we continued south-west into the hills, following the edge of the forest. After a while, we came upon a rocky outcrop with a large seam at its base. We investigated the dark crevis and while inside, Cal’s sword lit up as bright as day. We saw that the walls were glittering in the light with a shine not unlike gold. We decided to make a note of this place and return at a later time.
We wandered the hills for the rest of the day. The evenings hunting was exceptionally successful. Naias and Aramil proved to be great hunters themselves, and the three of us managed to secure enough food for a few days.
10th of Pharast 4710 (Wealday)
Another uneventful night. We decided to trek on south towards the Thorn river. We came upon a small ravine with the river running through it and an old bridge crossing. I voiced my concerns over the safety of the bridge and our horses. Naias reminded us that the bandits camp was on the north bank of the river. We decided to press on to the east and come upon the bandit camp from the north.
As we travelled the hills, we came upon the scene of a recent fight. It appeared as thought a band of kobolds had been set upon by the same Mites we had been told of. The entire kobold party was dead, and a single Mite body was found. The Mite tracks headed east, so we followed. We soon saw a lone tree and assumed it to be the one from the drawing in the dead bandits boots from a few days ago, but as we got closer we saw it was a lone sycamore. The Mite tracks ended here and after a brief moment of searching, Cal found a hole amongst the roots. We decided to leave the horses here and enter the lair, and I left my trusty orc weapon in favour of the smaller hand-axe taken from Kressel. Naias took this opportunity to question Cal on his profession, and he informed us that he followed the paladins path. This, I thought, would explain his shiny armour and glowing sword.
Aramil and his pet, Lick the jaguar, entered the cramped tunnels first. At the first turn we went left and soon entered a large chamber with a steep slope. Aramil climbed first and when he reached the bottom, he was set upon by a pair of Mites. He quickly killed one and the other ran down a nearby tunnel. We pursued and entered into a second chamber, one full of wet slime dripping from the walls and celling. Here we witnessed the first Mite informing a second of our arrival, and upon entry, the second commanded a group of 3 giant centipedes to attack us. Aramil and Lick quickly took out the first two while I buried my axe in the third.
We chased after the Mites and saw that they had scrambled through thick roots over a small chasm. We decided to quickly scale the roots down into the chasm and climb up the other side. Aramil and Naias climbed down ready to help Cal should he need help (He got stuck and couldn’t move. Silly Paladin). While waiting, they were attacked by an even bigger centipede, possible the mother. While Cal climbed swiftly downwards, Lotus attacked with more of her acidic spray. I went to climb down, but grabbed a root that had been cut through and fell to the bottom, right infront of the beast! Cal quickly stepped over me to defend me, but the creatures long tendrils attacked me as I stood up. Red and Naias hit the beast with their attacks, but I could feel its vile poison slowing me down as I slumped too the floor. Before I could fall unconscious, but orc blood gave me strength for one last action. I quickly grabbed a potion from my pack and emptied the vial down my throat. Its magic worked fast and I managed to stay awake. I saw the others surround the creature after it downed Aramil. His pet finished it off by tearing out its throat. We regrouped and Cal helped the druid with his magic, while Naias gave me a second potion from his pack. We steeled ourselves, ready to face whatever vermin we would encounter next…