Chronicles of Ancient Darkness

The Viper's Throat

In the aftermath of the encounter with the bear, the party, Mina’s relatives from the Wolf clan and Wolf get themselves together and head West, in a rather awkward silence, to find a suitable spot to camp overnight away from the dead bears. They find a spot about about 3/4 of a mile away, and the Wolf Clan members agree to keep watches.

The night passes uneventfully, and the party rises a little after sunrise. It is a chilly April morning, the surrounding trees just coming into bloom. Wolf is missing, presumably off hunting or exploring. The party heads back to where they left the bears, which lie where they fell and pick up the trail which they were following that leads north. The trail is obvious enough and Valkilmer notices the party they are tracking seems to have picked up speed at this point and is definitely hurrying northward. The trail seems no more than a day old. Anja looks to see if there are any children’s tracks in with the others but is unable to distinctly determine if this is so. The tracks head due north and the party follows them for about 1/2 a mile and discover a point where the tracks seems to stop and their are signs of a struggle, a rolling around in the dirt kind of struggle. Anja looks again for children’s footprints and does indeed find what is likely the tracks of a child off to one side, as if not really part of the struggle. Valkilmer notices that while the bulk of the party continued on north, there is one person’s tracks that run off to the East. The child’s tracks continue North. The party decides to follow the bulk of the tracks north and shortly comes to the second tier of the Snake Den Bluffs which consist of more terraced levels on a roughly 30 degree slope. Looking up to the bluffs can be seen a number of outcroppings and ledges as well and dark spots which must be more cave entrances. It is now about midday.

The party starts out on a path that winds its way up the bluffs and after about 1/4 hour of climbing, it becomes clear that the trail they are following is leading to a flat, terraced level in the bluffs with a cave entrance nearby. Valkilmer and Kym-mae notice that in the entrance of the cave stand the remnants of a wooden barricade or door. The doorway is quite large, about 10’ across and about 10’ high. The door or palisade looks as if it has been torn down and is not off its hinges due to misuse but rather because of being partially demolished. Valkilmer and Kym-mae also notice a stick or staff about 4’ high driven into the ground in front of the cave entrance with something dangling from it. Valkilmer, ducking down behind rocks and staying close to the bluff wall, tries to approach the cave entrance unseen. The rest of the party tries to remain as hidden as they can while Valkilmer moves up ahead. Kym-mae thinks this cave may be the ’Viper’s Throat’ which is an important location for the Viper Clan, in the same way as the Heart Den is important to the Wolf Clan. The Viper clan is known as a hard-working clan, clever but recently shamed as two generations ago their mage joined the Soul Eaters.

Valkilmer makes his way stealthily towards the cave entrance and approaches the cave mouth from the side. He notices several fire pits on the plateau in front of the cave entrance and the scattered remains of the fence that was once across the entrance. He also sees the staff, 4’ in height, placed in front of the entrance; it’s then he notices a dead starling dangling by a thong attached to the top of the staff. Valkilmer listens at the entrance but hears nothing. He also notices a small alcove to the west of the cave entrance that harbours fire wood and is sheltered from the elements. Valkilmer, following the tracks finds the ground well trodden and worn around the entrance and assumes the party they are tracking entered the cave. Valkilmer returns to the group and reports what he found. It’s suggested Jub might know something of the significance of the dead starling on the staff and it’s then the party realizes that Jub is not with them and must have slipped off unnoticed before they reached the cave.

Kym-mae says she will announce the party’s presence to anyone in the cave and hands her baby off to Valkilmer; Anja immediately takes the baby from Valkilmer. Makkar and Kym-mae approach the entrance and Makkar yells inside, “Hello! This is Makkar from the Sea Otter clan!” Kym-mae hides behind Makkar and adds a meek, “Hello?” The closer Makkar gets to the cave entrance the more of a sense of dread he feels, Kym-mae on the other hand feels that although the situation is strange she remains unafraid. Kym-mae smells something rotten from within the cave. Kym-mae goes back to the rest of the party and begins to make a torch; the other Wolf clan members assist her and soon a torch has been made. Makkar rejoins the party on the trail as well and suggests they all make torches. Anja suggests they approach the cave entrance as a group. The party spends 15 minutes making a torch each and then moves to head back up. Anja begins to try and explain something about ‘not taking chances’, and ‘this is where they are’ and ‘having to do her ritual’ and fiddles with her talisman. Makkar exclaims, “Oh! Bear Anja!” “Right.” Says Anja and then adds, “One stomp yes, two stomps no.” and walks off…

2 minutes later, bear Anja emerges from the bushes, Kym-mae backs off. The Bear has Anja’s bundle of equipment in its mouth. “Anja, is that you?” asks Valkilmer? The bear answers with a single stomp on the ground. Kym-mae still hides behind Valkilmer and begins to back away. Bear Anja tries to signal for Valkilmer to carry her stuff, “You want me to scratch your neck Anja?” asks Valkimer. Bear Anja casts him an angry bear look and waddles towards the cave entrance. Valkilmer picks up Anja’s equipment and slings it over his back.

Anja, approaching the cave entrance feels a bit weirded out by the starling but not too badly. Sniffing at the cave entrance, bear Anja smells dead deer and dead human. She judges the dead deer smell to be about 5 days dead, and the Human smell about 3 days. Bear Anja feels reluctant to enter the cave, and then moves to the staff in the ground and knocks it over. Immediately upon knocking it over bear Anja feels an increase in her dread of the cave. She hesitantly sniffs at a grease that coats the rim of the cave entrance and smells years upon years of caked on animal fat. The rest of the party as well as the Wolf Clan members approach the entrance behind bear Anja and try to peer into the cave entrance as well. Nearly everyone but Kym-mae feels a deep sense of dread and fear at the thought of entering the cave; Talis also is not so fearful. Talis and Kym-mae cross the threshold into the tunnel beyond the entrance and though Kym-mae is able to pass without any strange feeling coming upon her, Talis definitely feels a sense of dread though she is not compelled to stop in her tracks. Valkilmer enters as well, and is momentarily gripped by a deep fear that this is the absolute wrong thing to do and feels unable to move for several seconds.

Kym-mae and Talis move down the tunnel with a lit torch and see what could only be smelled before, the carcasses of three deer, gnawed and chewed upon. Talis, moving forward, calls for Valkilmer to join them. Valkilmer, now shaking himself into action, comes to have a look as well. Kym-mae also come into the room and sees not only the deer carcasses but also sees the carcass of a human, in much the same condition as the deer, partially eaten and torn open. Talis, seeing this, throws up.

Bear Anja, previously reluctant to enter the cave, conjures up the courage to enter. Makkar, also stepping across the threshold gets hit palpably with a wave of fear and feels paralyzed in fright for a few moments; though shakes it off a few seconds later. Bear Anja, entering the cave, is also hit hard with a terror she cannot explain and remains frozen in a panic for several seconds before shaking herself out of it. Both of them seem physically exhausted by the will required to even enter the cave.

Talis, getting herself together, examines the dead body. Valkilmer raises his axe in case something ‘jumps out.’ Talis, sees that the chewed on body is that of a Sea Otter, Shawtin, a fisherman for the Sea Otters and a friend of her brothers. Kym-mae calls out “Hello?” again, but there is no answer. Talis feels suddenly quite uneasy and suggests they leave and turns to go. Suddenly there is a growling from behind Talis. Kym-mae, not looking back, runs for her life. Talis runs as well, though she keeps pace with Kym-mae, “Help!” she yells!

Bear Anja and Makkar, upon hearing the call for help, shake themselves out of their stunned state and run down the tunnel towards their friends. Talis hear something lope up behind her and then feels something slam, or push into her back; the push feels like hands. Valkilmer, seeing what has knocked Talis down is frozen in fear and shock. Makkar and bear Anja rush as best they can towards the chamber in front of them. Anja the bear turns the corner and sees what has attacked Talis and though surprised manages to continue her charge. Kym-mae pauses a second to try and grab Talis’ wrist and help her to her feet. Talis, falling forward, turns her fall into a tumble and rolls out of the way of beastial hand trying to grab at her from behind. Anja charges the creature and slams into it and knocks it backward several feet. Talis stands up and turns around to face what has attacked her and pulls out her bow. Makkar, entering the room and seeing the creature stops in his tracks again, frozen in even more fear! Bear Anja, snarls and backs up, protecting Kym-mae’s retreat. Talis whips an arrow out of her quiver and nocks it to her bow. The creature makes a leap at the bear and bites at her snout, though the attack barely scratches her. Anja raises up a paw to thump it and but it realizes the bear’s intention and releases its grip, dropping below Anja’s swipe. Valkilmer, snapping out of his shock, raises his axe again to attack and moves in on the creature. Makkar runs towards the beast with the intention to kick it. The one Wolf clan member who made it into the cave, no longer paralyzed in fear, readies his spear and moves in towards the creature. Anja, swings a mighty paw at the creature’s head and rakes its face with her claws. The creature rolls away after having been hit and tries to regain its footing. Talis releases her arrow at the beast and her arrow sticks into the creatures tough skin. Valkilmer moves in closer to strike! Makkar rushes the creature as it prepares to leap and tries to kick it but it quickly moves out of the way and he misses. Bear Anja tries to swipe it with her paw but its quick movements take it under her swing. The creature leaps at Makkar, biting into his ribs and draws blood. Kym-mae rushes backs to the cave entrance and sees Mina’s uncle and the other two wolf clan members who look shocked and confused and ask her what’s going on! She quickly blurts out about the deer and human carcasses within and that some manner of creature is attacking the party. Meanwhile, bear Anja raises herself up on two legs and brings her weight down on the creature, pinning it to the ground. The creature tries to bite Anja’s arm as she pins it but is ineffective. Valkilmer rushes to where the creature lies pinned and smashes it with his bronze axe, burying the axe head deep into its side. Makkar moves in to join the pile on and slams its head with his fist and knocks it into unconsciousness.

Back at the entrance the other Wolf clan members still seem reluctant to enter the cave further despite the plight of their traveling companions; Kym-mae waits there with them.

Anja, perched over the unconscious creature sniffs the air and smells something like a mix of cat and human approaching from the north passage. Makkar, looking up to see what it is, sees a black shape of a heavily muscled cat-person hybrid and is stunned, his brain breaking under the strain of it all. The creature then screams a Nazgul like scream, to which Kym-mae couldn’t care less (and Talis and bear Anja being unaffected as well). However, Valkilmer is stunned again and the wolf clan man who entered the room faints in terror. Talis, with the arrow still notched to her bow, takes aim on the creature. Anja moves towards the creature which now tries to claw her but cannot penetrate her think hide. Anja lunges forward and bites the creatures head and neck and nearly snaps the neck in two. Talis releases her arrow into the cat creature’s side and sees it slump to the ground, hanging from bear Anja’s jaws. Talis quickly moves to both creatures and slices open both their throats, making sure they are dead. She then tries to gather her spent arrows but finds they are both broken.

Anja moves to nudge Makkar and Talis goes to the unconscious Wolf clan man and slaps him, but he does not wake up.

Back at the cave entrance, Mina’s uncle manages to pluck up the courage to enter the cave, but the last Wolf clan member is still to afraid to enter. Kym-mae goes back into the chamber with the dead creatures, takes a look at them and remains pretty much unfazed.

Talis checks the creatures for any sort of clan markings or something to identify them as human. She finds faint Viper clan tattoos on the face of the cat-creature. Talis puts death marks on both of the creatures. Anja walks over to Valkilmer and tries to gently claw her possessions off his back, she collects them from him and leaves the cave. Talis picks up the torch from beside the unconscious Wolf clan member. Talis then moves towards the passage to the right with torch in hand. Outside, Anja finds a hidden spot from the other Wolf clan member outside and transforms back into human form. Unfortunately, the strain of transformation is too much for the exhausted bear and she collapses into unconsciousness.

Talis sniffs the air as she enters the passage before her; she smells dampness but nothing more. Checking the ground she sees nothing to give her pause. Talis then approaches another chamber and listens intently, but hears nothing. Valkilmer, Kym-mae and Makkar follow Talis who enters the chamber and sees three matted straw bed rests on the floor, a spear leaning against the far wall and an open topped woven basket of birchbark. Talis pokes the basket with an arrow and looks inside, finding three well made torches. Valkilmer eyes the basket as a potential carrying case for his possessions and Talis gives Valkilmer a length of rope for tying it to his back. Talis checks the sleeping straw on the ground and finds a pair of deer hide mittens and a 6" long bone snake carving. Makkar, noticing Anja is missing, calls back to her, “Anja! Go right!”

Talis, getting fidgety, takes a passage leading to the right and leads the way through a long series of twists and turns, most of which Talis remembers to mark the walls with arrows indicating the direction they came from. After a few minutes of moving through tunnels the party enters a chamber and sees something crouching in the corner, it growls at them. Looking closer it seems to be a wolf, though no one is completely sure it’s only just a wolf. Talis drops the torch and nocks an arrow to her bow. Valkilmer picks up the torch and tosses it towards the wolf into the middle of the room. In the increased light, the party sees a wolf momentarily back up from the torch light, frightened, and then it charges forward. It leaps at Makkar, biting him in the side but not penetrating his clothing by much. Talis steps away and aims at the wolf. Valkilmer backs away as well but readies his axe. Makkar tries to grapple the wolf but it squirms away and runs past him. Kym-mae ducks behind Valkilmer when Talis, using the walls around her and Valkilmer’s shoulder as a brace, she leaps over the charging wolf and clears it easily. Valkilmer positions himself to protect Kym-mae and the child and the wolf rushes past him and into the darkness beyond, fleeing back the way the party came. Makkar notices as it ran past him that it appeared to be bleeding from the side. Talis looks about the room and finds blood traces in the corner where the wolf was hiding. Valkilmer, frustrated by the random wandering around of the party, checks for tracks and finds the paw prints of the wolf are tracking blood.

The party leaves the chamber and continues taking right hand passages, mostly remembering to put arrows on walls. After several minutes of wandering, Talis finds a cavern that looks like it hasn’t been entered in a very long time. She makes an ‘X’ on the wall. Talis continues to lead the party down passages the are on the right until she comes to a place where the tunnel becomes very narrow and then enters into a small chamber. Talis, taking a torch with her enters the chamber and finds herself in a cavern with all the walls completely covered in paintings of snakes. Kym-mae follows her in. There is a large stone in the centre of the room with a black, carved wooden staff in the shape of a snake upon it. Looking at the paintings on the walls, Talis sees the snakes depicted eating other animals and snakes eating one another. Talis and Kym-mae leave the chamber, rejoin the group and continue to explore the tunnels.

Meanwhile outside, Anja regains consciousness and moves back near the cave entrance and rests against the rocks with the remaining Wolf clan member who still has not entered the cave.

The party within the cave continues to travel down the passages with Talis leading them, followed by Valkilmer, then Kym-mae and then Makkar. After several confusing minutes of venturing down passages, Talis begins to panic and takes off trying to follow her arrows out of the cave system. Talis, running ahead comes again to the room with the straw beds. Makkar, Kym-mae and Valkilmer, taking a different route come to a passage with no arrows on the walls. Kym-mae calls for Talis, hears her respond and follows her voice. Valkilmer follows Kym-mae but Makkar takes a different route, finding a chamber with four cages, about 4’ high, with grasses in the bottom of them, against one wall. A painting on the wall depicts a Mountain with herds of Auroch and Bison moving away from it. Makkar searches the room but sees nothing else besides the cages with their beds of grasses. Kym-mae, Valkimer and Tallis, some distance away in the room with the straw mats, realize Makkar is not with them. Talis turns back, yells for Makkar, who yells back and Talis follows his voice. Valkilmer recognizes the mountain in the painting as the mountain of the World Spirit. Valkilmer goes back to get Kym-mae, who complains against further investigation of the cave and wants to leave. However, she relents and follows Valkilmer back to the room with the cages.

As a group, the party then moves into a larger tunnel that slowly widens to about 15 feet across. On the north side of the wall is a depiction of a snake, painted very large which continues the entire length of the wide tunnel. On the south side of the wall is painted another depiction of the mountain of the World Spirit with various totemic animals descending from it. The passageway begins to descend slightly and grows a little damp. On the ground are littered the bones of several small animals. Kym-mae notices two parallel furrows on the ground, that could have been made by the dragging of a travois. At the far end of the corridor, the party comes to a large wooden fence that stretches from wall to wall and floor to ceiling. In the middle of the fence there is a door, lashed into place with two lengths of flax rope. Makkar calls out but there is no response. Talis unties the door and takes the rope which kept it shut. Makkar then opens the door, while Talis nocks an arrow to her bow. Looking inside the entrance reveals a larger cavern with pillars of stone rising to a high ceiling and several large ramshackle cages, made of wood and dome shaped.

The Heart Den

entry unfinished

After a grueling three days of near constant action, the party has finally found some refuge with the Wolf clan at their camp set up at the Heart Den. Faetun, the Wolf Clan leader, having learned of the party’s trials, has made it clear that Black Dasus is an enemy to all the clans and it is nearly clan duty at this point to hunt him down and kill him. Mina, returned to her family, although still in shock shows signs of recovery. Anja and Shine are placed under the care of the Wolf clan healer along with Kym-mae’s careful attention.
- The party decides to spend some time with the Wolf clan and try to recover from their wounds and general exhaustion.
- Jub, though having made his presence known the the Wolf clan, generally keeps aloof and to himself in the forest. He scouts the area around the camp and up onto the cliff wall above the Den itself. He finds large wolf-like prints that seem to scout the perimeter of the camp.
- Tallis, while recouperating from the crushing blow dealt to her ribs from the rolling log, practices obsessively drawing arrows quickly from her quiver and actually becomes quite good at it.
- Jub spends his time embroidering a baby ‘sack’ for Kym-mae’s forthcoming child.
- Kym-mae is busy ‘nesting’ and making preparations for the coming of her baby.
- In all, the party spends 7 nights tending to their wounds and generally resting up.
- On their 8th day at the camp, a woman comes rushing into the camp crying out for Faetun. She tells of a desecration at the Sundown Burial grounds where she and her mate brought her recently passed father to be interned. She describes how the bones of their ancestors have been scattered about within the cairn and left among them were 3 groutesque, oversized wolves heads. Faetun is outraged and gathers several hunters with him to go and investigate, the party (all but Kym-mae) go to investigate.
- At the burial ground, the group encounters a lone man standing at the entrance to the cairn. He introduces himself as Kalüt, and as one of the blood-bonded. He tells how he was called here by his ‘bonded’ and that the spirits of the area and confused and angry at the desecration. Jub enters the cairn and sees that indeed the bones of the ancestors have been torn from their resting places and scattered around the tomblike cavern. On the ground with the bones are the three heads of the large wolf creatures the party encountered a week ago, their eyes pure white. His intention is to find those that

Fight or Flight
Demons, and log traps, and dire wolves! Oh, my!
Session 5

The Break Down:

- While Kym-mae and Anja wait with Akrea and Mina the Wolf clan girl by the entrance to the cave, Valkilmer and Tallis investigate a dripping sound deeper in the cavern and discover a creepy man, apparently blind, who demands to know what they are doing here. He learns they have rescued Mina from the pit cavern and demands her return. Tallis refuses and Valkilmer wards him off with a lit torch. He flees the room, but before doing so makes strange screeching noises. Tallis and Valkilmer pursue him and see an exit from the cave leading outside. They take it just as a swaem of bats enter the room. Valkilmer screams. Once outside they attempt to find creepy man tracks but cannot. They head eastward looking for another cave entrance, don’t find any but Tallis finds lingam berries and collects them.
- Meanwhile at the cave entrance, Kym-mae administers to the unconscious prisoner’s wounds with Anja’s help.
- Tallis and Valkilmer return overland to the cave entrance where Kym-mae, Anja, Akrea, Mina and the Wolf clan prisoner are. Just then the swarm of bats enters the cave entrance from the tunnels behind and begins to bite any exposed flesh. Anja shoves the children under her sleeping sack and desperately tries to light a torch, receiving a few bites in the process. Kym-mae takes shelter under her jacket and Valkilmer rushes in swinging his axe knocking bats out of the air. Anja manages to light the torch and between her and Valkilmer the entrance is soon cleared of bats. Tallis enters the space and spears the injured bats on the ground with an arrow and begins to collect them.
- It is discovered that their Wolf clan prisoner has died and the party decides to leave.
- Once outside, there is some discussion about wether or not they should check to see if the deceased prisoner had valid death marks or wether to prepare him for the death journey. Kym-mae says ‘no’ as he is a disgraced clan member, but Tallis and Valkilmer go in and collect him. Tallis checks for death marks, finds he has remnants of them, but decides to reapply earth blood circles to his forehead, chest and heels nonetheless.
- As they are getting ready to leave the creepy man comes rushing to the cave entrance from out of the darkness but this time his eyes are yellow with red pupils and he has long, black claws and elongated teeth. He seems reluctant or unable to leave the cave entrance. Tallis sticks her tongue out at him and he bellows at her! The party backs away and Akrea fires an arrow into his shoulder and he retreats into the cave.
- There is more debate about what to do and Kym-mae starts off to the east. Valkilmer is hit from behind by a rock from the cave mouth.
- Kym-mae is rejoined a short distance from the cave by the Wolf who acts as her guardian.-
- Just then Makkar, the giant from the Sea Otter clan appears down by the tree line below them and hails Tallis. He comes up to greet them and is filled in on what’s going on. Just then the creepy man bellows from the cave again and Makkar bellows back.
- They party leaves, following Kym-mae and heading east along just below the ridge line.-
- The party heads east along the bluffs and just notices the creaking of many logs as they tumble down upon them from a deadfall along the ridge line. Most of the party miraculously emerges unscathed but Tallis takes a good size log right in the ribs and is badly bruised, sprained and winded. A pale face is seen disapearing at the job of the ridge just as arrow fire comes from the forest at the bottom of the bluffs though Kym-mae notices it’s not aimed at them but at the ridge line. Baul and son coming running out of the forest and warn that it’s Black Dasus at the top of the bluffs. Baul stops when he sees hows badly injured Tallis is. Baul is eager to pursue Black Dasus but Anja insists the party is in no shape to do so. Tallis groans a lot.
- The party head south into the woods away from the bluffs and Kym-mae continues to call for any Wolf clan members that might be about. Baul and son run further ahead into the forest to see if they can find any Wolf clan.
- The party continues to walk south and comes across a dead deer covered in strange, black growths. They figure this must be the disease the Wolf clan spoke about that has been effecting the animals in the area. They avoid the deer and continue south.
- They travel for a couple of hours (during which time Kym-mae shoots a rabbit) when suddenly Wolf becomes very alert, though not anxious, and proceeds ahead stealthily. The party follows as quietly as they can and can see a clearing in the distance whereupon Wolf suddenly goes tense and his hackles raise. The party follows him slowly to the edge of the trees but see nothing, except Tallis and Makkar who see a diminutive figure like a small woman with pointed ears, snail antennae and gossamer wings sitting badly wounded near the far side of the clearing. Makkar and Tallis approach the figure but it seems to shy away, a bit unsure of where to go. Wolf, next to Kym-mae, begins to proceed around the clearing to the east, in stalking mode. Anja notices that no birds seem to sing to the south of them. Kym-mae and Valkilmer follow Wolf. The little creature sees Kym-mae, looks astonished and approaches her, “You are the one who carries the T’silla!” it exclaims and goes on to hurriedly talk to Kym-mae about what that means.
- Just then on the south end of the clearing a massive, dark wolf appears; the light around it diminished into twilight. Three other large wolves appear momentarily and briefly another small figure, this one twisted and black, can be seen on the back of the largest wolf. The wolves attack and Kym-mae scoops up the little wounded creature and flees back north. Makkar, Tallis and Valkilmer engage the attacking wolves. The battle is furious. Makkar is badly bitten but remains standing. Tallis takes to the trees and begins firing arrows from aloft. Valkilmer engages with his stone axe and deals crippling blows to the wolves, whose teeth seem to have little effect when they bite to tear open his guts. The twisted creature on the back of the lead wolf yells something in a disturbing tongue and the wolves take off after the fleeing Kym-mae. Makkar picks up his huge bow and begins firing arrows. Tallis leaps down from her tree (onto a dead wolf). Things seem to be going badly for the party when suddenly a great brown bear emerges from the north edge of the forest and charges the wolves. The bear seems to wear Anja’s talisman. Valkilmer fights bravely but is bit hard on the leg and goes into a rage! He strikes madly at the wolves, destroys two of them and is about to attack the bear when he comes to his senses. The largest of the wolves, with the twisted creature on its back, flees to the south again…

The whole story:

Just inside the entrance to the cave they took shelter in, Kym-mae and Anja watch over Akrea and Mina the Wolf clan girl; all the while wary of their unconscious prisoner lying sprawled beside them against the wall of the cave. Anja gives Mina her rabbit fur cloak to cover herself and keep warm. Kym-mae decides to check to make sure the prisoner isn’t bleeding to death and, with Anja’s help securing the wounded man’s head to control him in case he suddenly awakes, redresses his wounds. Anja then offers Mina some food which she hungrily accepts and devours. She takes some more food from her satchel and offers it to Akrea, who insists on waiting for her to eat before he will. Anja decides it’s been long enough since she last ate and so the two of them take a moment to dig in.

Meanwhile, deeper in the cave, Tallis and Valkilmer face off against the creepy man with seemingly sightless eyes. Tallis trains her bow on him and Valkilmer stands beside her carrying a lit torch.
“Demons?” He questions, “No. Not yet… Clansmen! What do you want?! What are you doing here?!” He raises his club threateningly and cocks an ear in their direction.
Always quick to respond Tallis pipes up and answers, “Taking shelter from the rain. Who are you and what are YOU doing here?”
Without answering her question the stranger snaps back, “Why this cave!”
As quietly as he can, Valkilmer reaches for a stone on the ground and then throws it against the wall to the creepy man’s left. The stranger starts at the noise but does not move from his perch on the rock.
“Tricky clansmen,” he says and then suddenly turns his ear and appears to be trying to hear something beyond them.
Tallis, sensing his desire, quickly makes a lot of noise, “NYA NYA NYA NYA NYA!”-
“Bah!” he shouts angrily and then takes a step forward. “I don’t believe you! You could shelter anywhere, why here!?”
“We found a little girl,” says Tallis. “Did you put her here?”
“What?! No, I did not! Where is she! What have you done with her!” He seems more agitated and angry and takes another few steps towards them.
“We rescued her!” says Tallis. “She’s coming with us.”
“No!” shouts the creepy man. “She stays here! Where is she!” He raises his club again in a threatening manner; Valkilmer notices he seems poised ready to strike not at them but at the rock wall beside him.
Valkilmer makes a sudden move and tries to kick him in the chest but it appears the man is more alert than his seemingly sightless eyes would suggest and he manages to move out of the way causing Valkilmer to lurch forward and miss him entirely.
“Tricky clansman!” he says again. “Where is the girl!” He then steps forward again but this time Valkilmer shoves the lit torch in his face and he reels back! “Arghh!” he yells as he recoils and stumbles back a few paces. “I can see you’re not going to make this easy…” he says menacingly and then crouches low and begins a high pitched screeching for a few seconds. He then quickly turns and flees back in the direction he came from.
Tallis and Valkilmer follow fast on his heels and come to the end of the short tunnel but see no sign of where he could have gone except up and out through the hole above their heads which leads out onto the bluffs. Tallis quickly climbs out into the open air and rain and looks around but does not see the creepy man anywhere. She calls down for Valkilmer to join her quickly and look for his tracks. Valkilmer puts the torch he was holding down at his feet and thinks he briefly hears another high pitched screeching from deeper within the cave back the way they came.

Back at the cave mouth entrance, Kym-mae also hears a screeching from within the cave. “Did you hear that?” she asks Anja and then wonders aloud, “Bats?”

Vakilmer stows his axe away in his belt and just as he begins to climb up through the opening a swarm of bats bursts into the room and fill it with their mad flapping and screeching.
ARGHHHH!” Yells Valkilmer as he scrambles to get out through the hole.

At the cave entrance Kym-mae hears what sounds like Valkilmer screaming in alarm. “Was that Valkilmer?” she asks Anja.
“Sounds like it,” says Anja.
They both go back to what they were doing.

Outside and above the hole to the cave below, Tallis stands in the rain (though a lessening rain) while Valkilmer checks the ground around them for signs of where the creepy man may have gone. He finds nothing and Tallis begins marching to the east looking for other entrances to the cave where the creepy man might of slipped back in. Valkilmer follows her and they walk about 90 feet but find no other entrances. Tallis, gives up on looking for entrance but decides to not make the whole tromp through the rain a complete waste of time and looks for wild berries. She is in luck and spots a bush of lingam berries and takes a moment to gather a few handfuls. She then leads the way down the bluff to where the cave entrance is where Anja and Kym-mae wait with the two children.

Back at the cave entrance, Kym-mae and Anja hear again the screeching sounds and then the flapping of many leathery wings getting louder. A moment later Anja is hit in the back of the neck by something flappy and leathery and bats begin to spill into where they sit from the tunnel behind them. Quickly, Anja yells for Akrea to get down and she opens up her sleeping skins and throws them over Akrea and Mina who crouch on the ground. Kym-mae also covers herself in her sleeping skins. Anja, nothing left to cover herself with and getting bitten by bats, quickly pulls her flint and dried moss from her satchel and begins to frantically spark a fire. Despite the flurry of bats she manages to miraculously start a little fire and then quickly lights one of her torches and waves it about her head, smacking bats left and right trying to clear them out of the cave.
From just outside the cave, Valkilmer and Tallis see Kym-mae crouched under her skins and Anja flailing about with the torch and the horde of bats whirling about them both.
Valkilmer suffers an internal dialogue about the probability of lighting a fire in the rain and igniting his own torch but then, having come to some definite conclusion yells “There’s no time!” and he runs into the cave mouth shouting, “Awoo! Awoo! Awoo!” Once inside, he swings his axe about his head, knocking bats to the ground (and getting bitten on the cheek) and generally adding to the chaos.
Panicking, Mina crawls out from under the skin off the skins but is quickly scooped up by Anja and held close though she still suffers a couple of bat bites on her unprotected flesh.-
The torch definitely seem to be driving the bats away and several dead and wounded bats lie on the ground. Tallis moves into the cave and begins to stab wounded bats with one of her arrows. The combined swinging of Valkilmer’s axe and Anja’s torch succeed in driving the rest of the bats back into the cave and Anja steps outside into the rain with Mina clinging tightly to her, tears streaming down her face. Anja retrieves her rabbit fur cloak and wraps Mina up in it again.
Akrea emerges from under the skins as well. “What was that!” he asks. Tallis offers him a dead bat on the end of an arrow.
The ground it littered with about 16 dead bats. Kym-mae rises and checks on their Wolf clan prisoner and finds that he is no longer breathing. There are lacerations on his neck and arms from bat bites but it is unclear if he died of these bites or just finally succumbed to his other traumas. Kym-mae kicks him.
“We should leave this place. This cave is the haunt of a beast! It’s a haunted cave!” announces Valkilmer.
Seemingly unfazed, Tallis turns to Anja and holds out a handful of Lingam berries. “Berries?” she asks.
Accepting the strangely timed gift Anja in turn asks Tallis, “What did you find?” But Tallis’ attention has already moved on and she moves about the cave mouth gathering up dead bats.
Meanwhile, Kym-mae unties her rope from the dead prisoner’s hands and feet and coils it back up.
“So, we should maybe find a different cave,” she states matter-of-factly.
“Yes,” everyone agrees.
“This cave in haunted,” repeats Valkilmer.
“Haunted by what?” asks Anja.
“A beast!” responds Valkilmer.
“A man,” says Tallis. “Maybe.”
“We chased him but he disappeared with magic,” states Valkilmer.
To which Tallis responds, “He didn’t leave any tracks.”
“And then he summoned the bats,” adds Valkilmer.
“Yeah he might of done that,” concurs Tallis.
“I think he probably startled the bats,” suggests Anja.
“No, he said we would pay, or regret, some word that meant bad things! And then he started ’Eek! Eek! Eek!ing, and then there were bats, but we were gone by then, sorry,” explains Tallis.
“So he startled the bats,” confirms Anja.
“I think he summoned them,” Tallis firmly states.
Valkilmer pipes up again, “I think he said ’ACHNO’WACH’ANO’GAH’ and summoned the bats. He used a spell!”
“It probably doesn’t matter,” says Kym-mae as she packs up the rest of her stuff and readies herself to leave.
“Yeah!” exclaims Tallis. “He was blind, he had viper clan tattoos.”
“Yes we should pack up and go,” agrees Valkilmer.
Tallis responds, “…I didn’t unpack.”

Just then the party hears a scream of rage from deep with within the cave.
“Oh we should go now because he really wants Mina!” urges Tallis.
“Ok let’s go!” agrees Kym-mae.
But Tallis, unable to resist taunting that which is dangerous, quickly takes a 4’ length of her rope and moves a little ways back down the tunnel and stretches it across its width, jams it into the rock on either side utilizing bits of bone gathered from the floor, and this effectively leaving behind a trap that would likely trip any passersby.
Outside, Anja takes a moment to wash off the bite wounds on herself and Mina.
“We should get out of here,” she adds as she washes. She then stiffens as she remembers the dead Wolf clan man lying in the cave entrance, “we have to get him.”

Everyone but Valkilmer hears what sounds like a deep pounding from within the cave, like something solid being struck on stone.

“Time to go,” says Kym-mae and starts walking away to the east along the bluff.
“We can’t just leave him!” says Anja.
“Ok let’s go, come on!” Says Tallis, implying she’ll help gather the dead man.
“Can somebody else give me a hand?!” asks Anja.
“You,” says Tallis pointing to Valkilmer, “come on. Let’s go.”
“What we take the Wolf man?” questions Valkilmer.
Akrea looks nervous and shakes his head worriedly, “I think we should go.”
“Valkilmer and I are fine,” says Tallis to Anja, “we’ll go get him, stay there.”
Anja seems reassured by Tallis and ascents to waiting outside. “Ok,” she says.
Still confused, Valkilmer turns to Tallis, “Back in?”
“Be brave,” Tallis tells him.
Tallis and Valkilmer run back into the cave entrance and grab the dead man and pull him out, Valkilmer taking his shoulders and Tallis taking his feet.
“What are we doing with him?” asks Tallis, hoping to get out of there quickly.
“Let’s get out of here first,” blurts out Anja, also obviously nervous.
“We’re dragging a dead man around?” asks Tallis incredulously.
“Not that far.” says Anja. “What did you find in the cave anyway?”
Tallis quickly responds, “Creepy man!”
From a little ways off Kym-mae shouts back, “He was a disgraced clan member leave him.”
Perhaps deferring to the will of the dead man’s fellow clan member, Tallis then says, “It’s her clan. leave him.”
A moment of pause from the honourable Anja and then she simply states, “She said so,” in a tone of grim finality.
Before they leave, Tallis quickly leans down over the dead man, and checks him for death marks; tearing open his jerkin and removing his shoes to make sure all three areas have been properly anointed. She finds remnants of death marks on him and decides to quickly reapply earth blood to the markings and so takes some ochre from her pouch and mixes it up using some of her own spit to form the paste.

There is another bellow of rage from within the cave, quite a bit closer now.
Kym-mae continues to waddle off, confident the others can catch up quickly. Anja stands some distance away from the cave mouth and waits as Tallis finishes reapplying the death marks to the Wolf clan man.

Suddenly in the cave entrance appears the same creepy man seen before by Tallis and Valkilmer, but his eyes are red with yellow pupils. He opens his mouth in a hiss and elongated teeth rim his mouth. The nails on his hands are longer and black. He doesn’t seem to want to come out of the cave but stares instead directly at Tallis. In response Tallis sticks out her tongue at him, to which he hisses and spits in frustration.
Realizing in horror that the supposed blind man can now see them she shouts, “Valkilmer! Look at it! It’s a demon!”
“I told you! The cave is haunted! Go!” Valkilmer calls back.
The creepy man/creature growls lowly but does not leave the cave.
Akrea stands and stares at the creature as if transfixed, mouth agape.
Perhaps thinking of the evening’s darkness Tallis asks aloud, “Do you think he can leave at night?”
“I will not stay around to find out,” says Anja.
“Do you think he’ll find us and night and eat our bellies, or something?” asks Tallis.
“Then we should leave,” says Anja. She then turns and says direcly to Akrea in a very unconvincing way, “No probably not.”

A little distance away Kym-mae is approached by wolf who had appeared from the forest below them. The meeting is a happy one and Kym-mae pats down wolf who nuzzles her affectionately.

Still in front of the cave, Akrea removes his bow from his shoulder, notches an arrow and takes aim at the creature. Anja watches as he lets the arrow loose and it strikes home, hitting the creatures shoulder whereupon it hisses and recoils back deeper into the cave.
Valkilmer then removes his spear, moves up to the entrance and extends it towards the darkness within, ready for anything that might come out. Tallis notches an arrow to her bow and takes up a position behind Valkimer, covering the area of the dark cave mouth.
Anja speaks up in this moment of silence, “We should get out of here.”
“I have a problem with what we discussed earlier, that we’ll be ok, that it wouldn’t do.” Tallis says firmly, obviously not happy with leaving such a dangerous creature, especially one angered explicitly by them, behind and free.
“We should leave before more of them come,” suggests Valkilmer.
“Fine,” says Anja scooping up Mina and heading towards Kym-mae and the wolf.
Akrea notches another arrow to his bow and follows her, looking back at the cave mouth as he walks.
“Excellent shot,” says Anja to Akrea and despite his fear his face cracks into a broad smile. Anja does not smile back.
Valkimer, still covering the cave entrance tells Tallis “You go, I’ll wait here to see if it comes out.”
“What?!” says Tallis.
“Go! Follow the Wolf woman!” urges Valkilmer.
“What if it kills you?” asks Tallis.
“It’s not going to kill me,” says Valkilmer. “I won’t wait here long.”
“Why don’t we both go?” suggests Tallis. “Shouldn’t we both go?”

Suddenly from down by the tree line a bellowing voice yells out, “TALLIS!”
Everyone jumps and turns quickly to see the huge, impeccably dressed form of Makker shouting up to them, a broad smile on his face.
“It’s a giant!” yells Valkimer and he turns his spear towards Makkar.
“No!” shouts Tallis to Valkilmer.
“I’ll cut you down to size!” threatens Valkimer, his spear pointed directly at the giant man.
“No! He’s a friendly clan! No, stop it!” Tallis shouts to Valkilmer.
STOP!” shouts Makkar and instantly brings order to the confusion.
“Hi Tallis,” says Makkar as he trudges up the bluffs to great them. “Found you.”
“Um… there’s a Demon. In the cave,” says Tallis. “This is Valkimer. From the Auroch.” she says indicating the man pointing his spear at Makkar.
“Hello,” says Makkar to Valkilmer.
“You have a giant in your clan,” says Valkilmer.
“I know right?” smiles Tallis gleefully, obviously proud of her massive kinsman.
“how are you?” asks Makkar of Tallis in his quiet, non-plused way.
“There’s a demon he tried to kill us,” answers Tallis.
Valkilmer then butts in, “these lands are haunted with ghost dogs and demons!”
“And husband thieves,” Tallis adds perhaps not a little bit condescending. Then again to Makkar, “Why are you here?”
“Making sure you didn’t cause trouble,” grins Makkar.
“No! I haven’t!” quips Tallis. “I’ve been great.”
“Demon…” quotes Makkar, suggesting Tallis’ involvement.
“I didn’t do it!” says Tallis as if suddenly feeling the sting of a false accusation. “I found a little girl!” she adds and points out the child wrapped in a rabbit fur cloak and clinging to Anja.
“Where?” asks Makkar.
“In the cave,” Says Tallis. She then signals to Anja standing nearby and flanked by children, “Anja! Anja, This is my clan member!”
“Hello,” says Makkar to Anja, his pleasant grin opening wide.
Anja pauses a moment and considers the giant, “I saw you at the meet didn’t I?”
“I came late. Maybe,” answers Makkar.
Very ready to move on, Tallis asks Makkar, “Are you coming with us?”
before Makkar can respond Valkilmer is hit hard in the back with a large rock thrown from inside the cave. There is another roar of rage from inside the cave but nothing comes out into the light. The giant Makkar steps forward and bellows back into the blackness within, “YAARRGH!”
“Let’s go,” states Anja firmly, not for the first time.
“I don’t think this is where I should be.” offers Kym-mae, seemingly for the tenth time.
“Let’s start walking,” urges Anja.
“We should leave. Demons are bad,” offers Makkar.
A little unsure, Tallis asks “Shoudn’t we kill it?”
“I don’t know how to kill a demon,” says Makkar.
“Fair. I guess we should go,” says Tallis and she notches an arrows to her bow.-
Makkar spreads his arms wide and begins walking away from the cave entrance, herding Tallis as he goes.
“Stop it! You make me trip,” complains Tallis, though she seems not really offended.

The clouds in the distance are beginning to break apart and the rain has noticeably lessened even in the last 5 minutes.-

As they begin to walk away, Tallis asks Valkilmer if he’s alright, “Are you ok?”
“I’m fine. Let’s go!” he responds proudly.
Makkar takes a look over at Valkilmer, looks him up and down and warns him that his wound, from the will likely get infected.
“In-fec-ted?” says Valkilmer, looking confused.
“Your back. Where the rock hit you,” says Makkar with confident medical authority. “We should go, and then I can treat you.”
Another rock comes flying out of the cave and hits Valkilmer in the back again but bounces off harmlessly.
“LET’S GO!” yells Valkilmer, and then turning to the cave yells back, “STOP IT!”

As the party walks away from the cave, the bellows of rage receed into the distance and a barely audible “Thieves!” can be heard screamed after them.

The party moves slowly having to travel with a pregnant woman, a lumbering giant and two children, but the rain is much less now and the sun is coming out. Tallis, looking for something to do as the seven of them trudge along, flits back and forth and up and down the bluffs gathering berries. She is very successful and manages to collect loads of ripe berries, easily enough to be considered an entire meals worth.

Valkilmer, ever wary, takes the time to cover their tracks as they leave the cave behind.

Kym-mae continues to call into the forest searching for more Wolf clan members.

As the party travels along under the bluffs, an ominous creaking sound is heard from up above and a tumult of logs begins to tumble down upon the party. Valkilmer runs and scoops up Kym-mae and continues to walk straight ahead; somehow the logs fly by him without even touching him. Makkar lifts Akrea into his arms and shelters him against the tumult. A sapling whips by his back but barely scrapes him. Anja twists and turns with Mina in her arms and is hit roughly in the shoulder but protects the child. Tallis, pulling off an amazing dodge under one massive tumbling log, comes up only to be hit squarely by another slightly smaller log and is slammed down the hill, coming to rest at the bottom with the log on top of her. Ouch.

At the top of the ridge line the party sees a pale face disappear just as an arrow flies out of the forest at the bottom of the bluffs. Kym-mae notices the arrow was not fired at them, but instead up at the ridge line. Makkar puts down Akrea who immediatly notches and arrow to his bow and aims into the forest.
“No!” shouts Kym-mae, trying to get Akrea’s attention. “They’re not shooting at us!”
From out of the forest runs Baul, painted and camoflagued, and his son. “It’s Black Dasus!” he yells. “He’s been tracking you, we saw his yesterday above the ridge line!”
Valkilmer, puts down Kym-mae and yells back at Baul, “You were firing at us!”
Baul wheels around to face him and yells back, “Are you a fool?! It’s Black Dasus! He just tried to kill you!”
Valkilmer counters with a defiant, “But you have no clan!”
“Shut up Valkimer!” yells Anja.
“Don’t be a fool! It’s him! I’m not your enemy!” responds the bewildered and frustrated Baul, not sure how someone could be so obtuse.
“There was a demon,” says Anja.
“What?” says Baul, looking a bit overwhelmed.
“A demon, with red and yellow eyes.” A
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Baul
“We should move” Makkar who goes to carry Tallis
“By the Spirit, can she move?” Baul, quite concerned.
Tallis hands her bag to Baul

Kym-mae moves into the forest-
“Do you know where the wolf clan is camping?” anja to Baul
“I passed some in the forest, they’re on the move, they’re all heading south. It’s the disease, the disease has them running.” Baul “Black Dasus has been tracking you, I saw him on the ridge line yesterday.”

The party moves quickly away from the bluffs and deeper south into the forest. Baul and son accompanying them.

Once into the forest, the group stops to tend to their injuries. Kym-mae takes a look at Tallis and determines she has severe bruising but nothing is broken.
“You’re just in pain,” she says to the wheezing Tallis who promptly musters enough strength to give her a good hard shove.
Kym-mae then takes a look at Anja who is covered in cuts, scrapes, bites and bruises. Kym-mae doesn’t believe any of the wounds are infected and she applies a herbal poultice to her bite wounds and binds her arm so as to stabilize it.
Kym-mae then moves to examine Valkimer who tells her he’s fine and doesn’t need help. Kym-mae tires to poke Valkilmer where he was hit by the arrow but he deftly moves out of the way.
Makker examines Tallis and tells her she’ll be fine.
Valkilmer takes a moment out behind a tree and removes his jerkin. He comes back and submits to Kym-mae examining him and administering to her binding his wounds.
Anja begins to fiddle with her bear claw talisman absentmindedly.
Baul steps forward, “I’m concerned that Black Dasus will return.”
Anja, “We are too. We should try to find somewhere safe. Especially, if he brings someone else with him I don’t know if we can fight him right now.”
Baul, “Although your plan makes much sense to leave, I find it hard to stomach that man being on the loose.”
“I would rather he be on the loose and us alive to find him later, than him on the loose and us dead.” Anja
“Why is he following us?…”" Tallis
“He’s probably setting up traps right now.” Makkar
“What a jerk…” Tallis
“We should go.” Valkilmer
“You lead the way crow man”
“I shall though I believe this woman here knows the area better than I do.” indicating Kym-mae
Tallis gives baul some berries, he give some to his son.
Baul stands looking to Kym-mae, waiting to follow her lead.
“You move faster than us you should scout ahead.” Kym-mae to baul
A moments pause, as if considering their chances against Black Dasus should he return, “Are you sure you’ll be alright?”
“Well don’t scout too far ahead.” KM
“As you wish.” Baul and his son go on to scout ahead (has Tallis’ pack).
Tallis and Valkimer really start to feel the effects of fatigue.

The forest gets considerably darker the further they head into it. They see the occasional deer trail. Kym-mae takes out her bow to shoot a rabbit if she sees it.

Valkilmer and Anja see what looks like a dead deer ahead of them through the trees. Wolf seems aware of it, but doesn’t pay it any particular attention, he steers clear of it.
Anja suggests they examine it, Tallis urges Makkar to check it out, Kym-mae, citing that they’ve already checked out enough strange things today steer clear of it. Makkar (carrying Tallis) and Anja move closer to examine the dead deer. It is covered in hideous black boils and growths on its body and neck, some of them blooming out in gross profusions of flesh. It’s quite dead and quite diseased.
“Eww.” Makkar
“Don’t touch it,” says Anja and she turns to follow kym-mae again, avoiding the diseased deer.

The party continues south through the forest, looking for somewhere to make camp.
“Everytime we make camp we get shot at. I can’t get shot at right now.” Tallis
“Maybe if we talk to them they’ll stop shooting at us.” Makkar
“They tried to kill us with logs. They almost killed me with a log. I don’t want to talk to them.”

Kym-mae manages to bag a rabbit along the way and she adds it to the other rabbit hanging on her belt.

The party has covered about 3 miles in the past 3 hours.

Wolf goes still. Kym-mae goes still as well and listens carefully, indicates for the rest of the group to go still. Wolf has his ears facing forward. Kym-mae enters cover. Anja, gets behind a tree and draws her knife. Makkar puts Tallis down and she notches an arrow to her bow.-
Wolf moves up about 10 feet and is followed by Kym-mae, about 20 feet behind. Wolf continues to move forward slowly. Makkar tries to signal to Anja to watch Tallis, somewhat successfully, and begins to move forward. Valkilmer notches an arrow to his bow as well and moves forward with Kym-mae, trying to see what the wolf is looking at. Akrea notches an arrow to his bow as well and steps in front of Anja as if to protect her. Mina, looks up at Anja wondering what’s going on. Makkar, as well lifts his bow and notches an arrow. Everyone notices that his bow is taller than he is.
The wolf moves up to the edge of a clearing up ahead.
Anja gets the sense from Wolf that he is alert, attentive, interested, but not fearful.
Anja puts her knife away and moves closer, stroking Mina’s head in reassurance.

Wolf at, the edge of the clearing, stares straight ahead.
The party moves up to the edge of the clearing to see what is happening, trying to be as quiet as possible, though Anja stumbles and puts too much weight on her bad arm and cries out! Makkar however, almost disappears into the foliage. Tallis, pretty much does disappear. Wolf turns at Anja calling out but some puts his attention back on the clearing.

V, KM and Anja see an fairly large clearing with fallen, rotting trees, semi-tall grasses, and shrubs dispersed without. Tallis and Makkar however, see a very small creature, like a small woman, about 2’ tall, with snail like antennae on her forehead and gossamer wings down her back (one of them badly torn) sitting behind a log on the far side of the clearing. She looks quite badly wounded with various tears and scratches on her, one eye filled with blood.

Tallis and Makkar step into the clearing. Makkar puts one fist into the other in a gesture of clan friendship and gestures towards the creature in the clearing.
“I wanna help you!” Makkar
“Are you ok?” Tallis
There is no response from the creature in the clearing, though it looks tense and ready to move.
Tallis removes some berries and holds them out in offering.
Kym-mae, for a moment, sees a whoosh of movement to her left. Wolf reacts to the same movement and his ears go back, his hackles raising.
The creature in the clearing backs off a bit and seems to look past Tallis and Makkar who turn around and try and follow her gaze.
Anja, seeing the wolfs movements, pulls out her knife again.
Tallis and Makker, staring back at the forest, see the rest of the party in hiding, but see nothing else.
Tallis crouches behind a log, putting it between her and the forest where the rest of the party is.
Wolf, his ears back and his body tense, begins to slowly move forward in the direction the blur of movement went.
Kym-mae draws her bow and follows wolf slowly along the perimetre of the clearing, with Valkilmer just behind her.
The little creature moves about the clearing in a nervous manner, keeping her eye on Kym-mae. Tallis and Makkar follow her lead and take careful note of what the little creature seems cautious of.
Anja, listens in for a moment and realizes although there is bird song coming from the direction they came from, there is none at the southern edge of the clearing.
Tallis and Makkar slowly make their way across the clearing, being careful not to startle the little creature, Makkar making friendly gestures.
Makkar notices the little creature looks a little desperate and confused, Makkar motions for her to come to him, with healing herbs in his hand. Tallis motions for her to stay away from where wolf is.
The little creature moves to the edge of the clearing on the south side.
Anja motions for Akrea to keep an eye on Mina and fiddles with her Talisman, feeling the tension in the air.
The little creature runs back out of the forest, skitters to the east side, sees Kym-mae and freezes. Wolf notices her but his attention returns immediately to the south.
Valkilmer calls out to Tallis and Makkar, “Otters!”
The little creature obviously very surprised, mouths something when she sees Kym-mae. Kym-mae lowers her bow and tosses a rock at Valkilmer to get him to stop yelling, “Shut up,” she says under her breath. The creature approaches Kym-mae, hobbling but wide eyed with wonder. Kym-mae moves forward as well, beconing for the creature to come hither.
The little creature comes up to Kym-mae and speaks in wonder, “You are the one who carries the T’silla!” and smiles (it’s a bit creepy).
“T’silla? What do you mean T’silla?” responds Kym-mae.
“The opener! The one that opens!”
“Opens what?” queries a suspicious Kym-mae.
The little creature looks confused
“What is closed?” asks Kym-mae
“The valley!” responds the creature
“What valley?” KM
The little creature looks over her shoulder and then back at Kym-mae, “Did the Mulassat find you?”
“You’re the good ones, not the bad ones, yes?” KM
The little creature seems to give that some thought and then responds, “Yes! The good ones!”
“Are the bad ones coming?”
The little one looks over her shoulder again, “We know the Mulassat, the Dark Ones, want the T’silla!”
“I know they want them.”
“that would be bad!”
“They took my husband, I need to find my husband, he can fight them.”
“I know not of your husband. The Mulassat, if they had the T’silla it would mean much pain for us!”
“Can we get to my clan, to my Wolf clan, they can protect me.”
“In the Valley we can protect the T’silla!”
“In what valley?”
“In the valley!”
“Are my people there?” she looks confused “Others like me!” and points to the dots on her face
“Maybe. You must come with me! I will lead you! You have a guardian!” and she points to the wolf. “The mulassat would not bother you with such a guardian…”
Tallis moves between the little creature and the southern edge of the forest, as if to protect her form that edge of the forest.
Wolf has moved further forward, ears still drawn back…
creature, “Unless…. RUN!” looking over her shoulder, “You must follow me!”
“how far is the valley! which way!” KM
“You must follow me!”
“Baby’s coming soon!”
“The Mulassat are here!”
Wolf backs up a pace, he looks a little afraid…
Just then, a huge back wolf come to the forests edge
“The bad ones?”
“Yes! Mulassat! Run!”
KM scoops her up and turns to run.
Three more dark wolves step up behind the lead wolf. A darkness comes with them, their immediate surroundings sunk into twilight. Rising up from the back of the lead wolf is a small, black twisted creature, who screams something in a earpiercing screeching language and the four large dark wolves surge forth to attack the party.
Wolf runs forward and attacks the lead wolf, though he comes away with nothing more than a mouthful of rough hair. The lead wolf bites back in turn and Wolf cries out as the dark wolves teeth sink into his shoulder.
The second wolf charges towards Tallis who pulls back her bow and releases at arrow at the charging beast, the arrow sinking in deep though not bringing it down.
The third wolf runs at Makkar who tries to punch it out of the air as it leaps but misses. The wolf tears at Makkar’s chest with it’s teeth and gouges him badly.
Valkilmer yells to Kym-mae, “Run back to Anja!” and raises his bow, aiming at one of the charging wolves.
Makkar tries to grab the wolf that tears at his chest, and though the wolf wriggles out of his grip he slams it it the head with his fist and lands a very solid blow.
Kym=mae turns and runs, or waddles, as fast as she can to the north, carrying the little creature with the torn wing with her.
The lead wolf attacks wolf again but misses, wolf just dodging out of the way.
The second wolf, charging Tallis with an arrow in it’s side, leaps at her but nimble Tallis is able to move out of the way in time and the wolf harmlessly overhead.
And the forth tires to bite Makkar but also, likely still stunned, misses as well.
Tallis ups a tree.
Valkilmer releases the arrow trained on the wolf that attacked Tallis and hits home. He hits it in the neck and it goes down.
Makkar again tries to grab the wolf in front of him, succeeds but it wriggles out again, though he still hits it. However, the wolf wriggling disperses Makkar’s blow and the blow only meets the wolf’s thick hide.
The lead dark wolf bites again at Wolf and sinks its teeth in again, getting a better bite.
Another wolf leaps at Tallis but cannot quite reach her as she climbs the tree.
The wolf in front of Makkar tries to bite him in the thigh. Makkar tries to slam it with his knee as it bites him but it simply chomps down on his thigh as delivers a monstrous bite.
Tallis reaches a branch and climbs onto it.
Valkilmer drops his bow and draws his hand axe, charging forward and swinging at the wolf at the foot of the tree. He hits it hard in the back but it doesn’t quite go down.
Makkar, blood spurting out of his leg, moves again to grapple the wolf in front of him but again the wolf moves out of the way.
Wolf, reaches up under the lead dark wolves neck and grazes the wolves chest with his snapping teeth.
The lead wolf charges past wolf, shouldering him out of the way, and the twisted creature on his back yells something in that hideous dialect.
The other wolves moves to charge past Valkilmer, slamming him in the process and knocking him back.
Wolf turns and chases the lead wolf, biting at its rear and taking a bite out of its rump.
Then, from the bushes on the north end of the clearing, there is a roar and a huge brown bear charges out.
Tallis, up a tree, draws an arrow from her quiver.
Valkilmer yells out, “Anja! Protect Kym-mae from the bear!!” and swings again at the wolf in front of him, hitting it in the hind quarters. There is a nasty sounding crunch and it goes down, though still conscious.
Makkar, with no wolf attacking him, grabs his bow from the ground.
Wolf again bites at the lead dark wolf, misses and the lead wolf turns around to bite him. However, Wolf quickly moves out of the way and the dark wolves jaws clamp down on empty air.
The charging brown bear runs towards the nearest wolf and chomps down on its back but her bite only catches the wolfs fur.
Tallis notches an arrow to her bow as does Makkar after he scoops up his bow and an arrow.

unfinished and under edit

session 4

In which the party breaks camp and marches east towards Wolf clan territory

session 3

In which the party meets Kym-mae, continues north along the fox tail river, encounters a strange young woman in the Sea Otter burial grounds, turns east towards Wolf clan territory, makes camp and is ambushed a second time in the night.

Session 2

In which the party meets Baul and son, heads north along the fox tail river and in ambushed by arrow fire from the forest

The Cold Break of Dawn
Session 1

Session 1 opening

On the banks on the Smooth Snake river, about a morning’s walk from the sea coast to the south, the sun rose on the chilly morning of the first day of Spring. It is the vernal equinox and the Sea Otter, Bear and Willow clans have met here to celebrate as they do each year. There was much celebration over the past few days, as friends were reunited, trade deals made, marriages arranged, disputes settled and general feasting and song, dance and storytelling.

The mood was entirely jovial however, as this year, the meet has been joined by members of the Wolf clan, who came bearing news of a strange illness that was afflicting the prey, and even some of the hunters, in their territory. They told of hideous black growths forming on the bodies of deer, and the deer falling dead soon after. The concern among the Wolf clan was great, as not only were the prey believed too sick to eat and the clan was beginning to feel the tightness in their bellies, but a few days earlier two of the Wolf clan hunters had fallen ill with the same sickness.

There was talk as well of missing children and solitary hunters from Bear clan, Wolf clan and Willow clan. All three tribes reported people going missing while out on hunts or gathering wood or checking traps. It was noted that the disappearances usually occurred at damn or dusk, but tracks that were follow of the disappeared usually ended abruptly and seemed to disappear. So far the Sea Otter clan remained the only clan present who had not lost any one.

There was also a strange visitor to the meet this year. A man, a warrior from the deep forest, from the Auroch clan, had mad his way, alone, to the meet proclaiming he had come to bring good will to the peoples of the open forest. His name was Valkilmer, and he walked tall and proud in amongst the people gathered to see him and seemed especially keen to speak with local storytellers so that they might learn of his exploits. He said that he would continue his journey north after the meet, to see the Sea Eagle clan and further extend greetings from the Aurochs.

Valkilmer was approached by a young storyteller named Shine who sought to make the newcomer feel welcome. Upon learning that Shine was a storyteller AND a messenger between the clans, Valkilmer proclaimed that Shine would “tell his tale” and “sing of his great deeds!” Shine was a little taken aback and the boldness of this strange man from the deep forest, but nonetheless did his best to make Valkilmer feel welcomed and important.

Anja, a rather stone-faced hunter from the Bear clan, also extended welcome to the lone stranger as well as to the members of the Wolf clan, offering them food which she had collected from the Bear clan breakfast fires.  Shine then took the opportunity to entertain the seldom seen Wolf clan with an exciting story and his audience was greatly impressed and engrossed in his tale! Shine received much praise, admiration and perhaps a bit of a following from these particular Wolf clans-folk.

Then Valkilmer, amidst the open stares and sidelong glances from people who had never seen someone from the deep forest before, strode out into the middle of the camp grounds and announced his presence. “I am Valkilmer!” he proclaimed, “from the mighty Aurochs!”  He made quite the spectacle standing alone in the centre of a group of curious clan members as he held his spear proudly at his side. A bit of a crowd stared at him as he cast his gaze about as if reviewing his subjects, although others turned away, perhaps too shy or even a little embarrassed.

Despite the spectacle of Valkilmer vying for everyone’s attention, another crowd was beginning to gather around the Willow and Otter clan leaders (Seasni and Hi’Tenna respectively) as they discussed who should go on the hunt to bring back the prey which was needed to symbolically start the feasting.  Valkilmer, Shine and Anja walked over to see what was happening. They were joined by a very large and imposing hunter from the Wolf clan who called himself Moop, and a young woman from the Sea Otters, Tallis, who couldn’t seem to contain her curiosity at what might be under discussion. Without a moments pause, Valkilmer offered himself as a worthy hunter to seek and claim this important prey. Hi’Tenna, the Otter leader, although approving of the idea of letting a member of the Auroch clan be part of the hunt so as to extend goodwill towards their clan, was concerned that Valkilmer may not have the skills required.  The hunt, after all, must be a sure thing.  At this point Shine stepped forward and vouched for Valkilmer’s hunting ability, insisting he was indeed a great hunter, and was an appropriate choice. The Otter leader seemed suitably convinced of Shine’s claim and agreed wholeheartedly to Valkilmer’s participation. Several Bear clan members stepped forward and nominated Anja for the hunt as well. Anja deferred to her clansfolk saying she would go if it was their choice. The Bear clan was in unanimous approval and Anja was included in the hunting party. Moop also volunteered for the hunt and was backed up by his clansfolk. So it was that Moop, Valkilmer and Anja took up their spears and bows and headed into the forest to find prey. Shine, not wanting to miss the opportunity to witness the great hunt, tagged along as well. And climbing up and along great tree boughs, they were all followed by the stealthy, and somewhat odd, Tallis from the Otter clan.

It was not too long before the party discovered the tracks of a deer leading north away from the camp. Anja, Moop and Valkilmer collectively were able to follow the trail for some time before another trail, that of a human, was detected meandering north as well. It was determined that the tracks were likely from a man traveling in no particular hurry. At that moment, Tallis who was hanging out in a tree branch, dropped to the ground behind them to see what was going on. Valkilmer, his attention absorbed in examining the tracks, heard the sudden snap of a twig behind him as Tallis landed and he whirled around and hurled his spear in her direction! Tallis, having luckily dropped to all fours when she landed, was missed by the spear by as little as a foot as it whizzed over her head and stuck in the ground behind her…. The rest of party stood in a moment of stunned silence, when Anja quietly collected Valkilmer’s spear and returned it to him. Valkilmer went back to examining the tracks as if nothing had happened. Just then, Anja noticed blood on the foliage near the man’s tracks, took a closer look and confirmed it was indeed human blood.

Shine, eager to improve their chances of finding prey and discover the meaning of the human blood, began preparing a ritual which he believed would allow him to contact any spirits nearby and learn from them where and how to best find the deer they tracked, or to gain insight into the story behind the blood. Moop remained with Shine as the rest of the party followed the deer and man tracks for another 200 yards or so when they came upon a small clearing where the ground cover had been crushed and the earth torn up in places as if something sharp were thrust into it again and again. Blood, only a few hours old, could be seen on the ground where the plants had been flattened. As the party stopped to observe this strange scene, they heard an aggressive snuffling coming from the bushes. Suddenly, a wild boar charged from the underbrush and headed directly for Anja! Anja was able to throw her spear at the charging beast but it glanced off its shoulder barely wounding it. Quickly, Valkilmer leapt forward and thrust his spear into the boar’s ribs before it could complete its charge. The thrust was a mighty one and the boar was stopped in its tracks and fell to the ground, breathing its last. Valkilmer, placed one foot upon the boar, and withdrawing his spear proclaimed, “I have killed this boar! Remember this Shine, sing of it in your tales of my deeds!” Just as quickly as Valkilmer had announced his victory, Anja ran to the boar and dealt the coup de grace to end its suffering. She made a prayer of thanks to the boar’s spirit and the world spirit and began straight away to clean the boar properly, leaving an offering to the Bear guardian, and then prepare the carcass to carry away with them.

Meanwhile Shine, with the sounds of the encounter penetrating his consciousness while he prepared his ritual, allowed thoughts of the boar to enter into his visualization of his ceremony, hoping to gain insight into what had happened to the boar. Moop, waiting with Shine as he chanted his way into a trance, began to get a little fidgety…

With Anja gutting and cleaning the boar, Valkilmer continued to examine the clearing and saw that there were more man tracks heading north-east and these tracks appeared to be carrying a great weight. While Anja finished properly cleaning the boar carcass, Valkilmer followed the man tracks to the north-east.

200 yards away Shine suddenly found himself perceiving the world through the eyes of a wild boar. He found himself sniffing about through the forest then suddenly the earth seemed to give way beneath him, he fell and found himself surrounded by darkness! He felt as if the very leaves and twigs around him were pressing hard up around his body and his face! And then, there was a searing pain in his back as something cut him down the length of his spine and then he was free and in the light again…. free and enraged! All he wanted was to strike out at that which had hurt him! He charged off into the bushes, his back bleeding and his mind obscured with the pain that consumed him. In addition to this vision, Shine also felt, momentarily, the clear emotions of a strong malicious intent as well as those of fear and panic.

His ritual finished and his trance broken, Shine walked with Moop to the clearing where Anja had just completed cleaning the boar carcass and tying it up so as it could be carried away. From the canopy above, Tallis peered down at them.

Moop, seeing the deer tracks leading northward and tired of waiting around, took off alone in pursuit of the deer they tracked while Shine, Tallis and Anja followed the course Valkilmer had taken and soon saw him paused up ahead, staring at something. Valkilmer, somewhat ahead of the rest of them, had moments before spied a man not some 100 yards distant kneeling perfectly still, his back turned to him. Valkilmer advanced slowly upon the man as stealthily as he could. Shine, Tallis and Anja followed suit, also seeing the man up ahead who seemed to not have noticed them at all. Slowly the party approached, weapons at the ready should this man be hostile, but still the man showed no sign of noticing them.

“Hello?!” Called out Valkimer, “I am Valkilmer! Who are you?!” but there was no response. Shine ventured a lively tune on his drum, as if to show the party was no threat, but still the man remained motionless. Changing tactics completely, Shine then strode forward an hailed the man again in a loud and friendly manner. Still no response. Tallis, moving through the trees above, now was able to see that the man knelt over the prone body of another man. Valkilmer saw this as well, and soon Shine and Anja could also see the other man. Getting as good a vantage point as she could from her lofty perch, Tallis tried to determine who the man was who lay on the ground. She could just make out his style of dress and guessed he was Sea Otter clan! She quickly climbed down from the branches and moved towards the man on the ground, anxious to determine if he was indeed Sea Otter and how he fared. The man’s chest appeared to be rising and falling from his shallow breathing, indicating he was indeed alive, but from up close several deep wounds could be seen on his chest and abdomen. The kneeling man still remained relatively motionless, his face twitching from time to time and his hands resting on the other man’s face and body. Tallis pulled on his jerkin and this snapped him out of his reverie. “Hello. Who are you?” asked Tallis as the others stood around a bit unsure what to do.

“Oh… hello….” answered the man, looking somewhat scared and unsure of himself, even not quite fully aware of his surroundings.

Valkilmer recognized the kneeling man’s clan tattoos as those of the Wisent, the deep forest Bison clan. Anja also recognized the tattoos. As well, From this position closer up the wounded man’s tattoos could now be plainly seen and he was indeed Sea Otter clan as Tallis suspected. Tallis recognized him as Kalik, a hunter whose personality won him no lasting friendships within the clan and who was somewhat disliked, but by no means hated.

To the kneeling stranger Tallis repeated, somewhat annoyed and concerned, “Who are you? What were you doing?”

The Wisent man seemed a bit more aware of his surroundings now, though he seemed still to shrink back a bit from those around him, as if frightened. He raised his hand to a headband decorated with feathers he wore across his forehead, touching it as if to confirm its existence. “I am…. Jub.” He answered, “I was healing this man. I found him here.”

The party considered his words, and Anja for one felt he was indeed telling the truth. The party looked to the man on the ground and though he was breathing the man’s wounds seemed too dire to move him and Shine suggesting he run and fetch Sita, the Sea Otter healer to come and see what she could do, and with that and ran back towards the clan meet.

Meanwhile, Moop had followed the trail of the deer they hunted for some distance, lost it momentarily, was looking to pick it up again and noticed he had come round in a circle and could see Anja, Valkilmer and Tallis standing and talking to this stranger. He joined them just in time to see Tallis reach out and pull the man’s headband from his head in response to which the man immediately slapped his hand to his forehead. Tallis, being the closest, was the only one just able to see the small, black circular tattoo on his forehead donating him as an outcast… Without missing a beat she gave threw him his headband back and looked to the wounded man on the ground, checking on his condition.

Back at the camp, Shine burst into the meeting grounds and sought out Hi’Tenna, the Sea Otter leader, and explained the situation. Kalik had been found wounded in the forest and Sita was needed to help him. Sita was summoned and slowly hobbled her ancient body over to where Shine and Hi’Tenna and several other Sea Otters who had gathered to see what the fuss was about.

“Why can Kalik not come and see me?” she queried in her quavering but kindly voice.

“He is near death Sita," responded Shine. “He only lived because another healer has helped him. This other healer is with him now, but his wounds are grave.”

At this Sita grew concerned. “Another healer? And Kalik so badly wounded? Take me to him immediately," she commanded, and she, Kalik and three other curious Otters entered the forest.

It was soon apparent that they would make to progress travelling at Sita’s slow and delicate pace, and so Shine and the three others hoisted her up and carried her in order to cover more ground quickly.

When Shine, Sita and the other Otters arrived at where the hunting party waited with Kalik, it was seen that Anja had already made a travois with which to carry the wounded man. The man from the Wisent clan, Jub, figetted at the approach of these new strangers and his hand rose to his headband. “Who are you?” questioned Sita of Jub once she had looked over Kalik’s body.

“I am Jub.” He answered, but backed away from her gaze.

Sita, though seemingly full of questions for Jub, now had her hands full with assisting the moving of Kalik to the travois. “His wounds are dire, but he is alive," she repeated as she applied a herbal poultice to his wounds and bound them with a hide wrapping. “We must get him back to the camp immediatly. Take him to my tent, and be gentle!” she warned. With that Kalik was lifted gingerly by the three Otter hunters and they and Sita started to make there way back to the riverside.

It was decided by the group, that although there was concern for Kalik, it was still of the utmost importance that large enough prey be found for tonight’s feast that would symbolize the abundance that was hoped for in the coming year. Anja, Moop, Valkilmer, Shine and Tallis slipped off into the forest again in search of the deer tracks that had been lost while Jub wandered in the direction of the clan meet.

It wasn’t too long before the party luckily picked up the deer tracks again and closed in on their quarry. Valkilmer approached quietly with Anja while Moop stayed back and took aim with his bow. Anja and Valkilmer split ways, Anja coming round to the front of the deer and Valkilmer approaching it from behind. Suddenly the deer was running! It must have heard them! Moop let loose his arrow but missed, Valkilmer’s shot hit home but was not enough to bring the deer down. The deer ran wildly directly at Anja who waited with her spear, but at the last moment is saw her and turned to avoid her. Anja sprang from her hiding spot and hurled her spear at the turning deer, hitting it squarely and bringing it down in a tumble to the forest floor. Immediately she ran to it’s side and gave prayers of thanks as she made sure it suffered no longer.
The deer was indeed a handsome stag and would readily be accepted as a sufficient kill for the feast and so the party quickly tied up the prey so that they could carry it and headed back to camp.

As the party headed back towards the river, Jub began to hang back. When they neared the encampment, he refused to come any further, but rather said he was fine where he was. The others couple not convince him otherwise and moved on.

Back at the meeting grounds there was a great cheer and celebration when the hunting party returned with such a fine specimen. Valkilmer boasted of his fine archery skills and received much praise but Anja kept quiet, not needing or not understanding Valkilmer’s need to be in the spotlight. The party inquired as to how Kalik was doing and were told he was very badly wounded but would, miraculously, survive.


Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.


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