The children left the town square and headed south as Lucca Earthbow had pointed. Just outside of the small town of Flow and before entering the Feywood, the group paused to go through their backpacks and see what gear the town had provided for their coming of age quest.
Each backpack contained five days rations, a small tent, a winter blanket, a full waterskin, and piece of the trail map to Kassen’s Tomb. In addition, distributed as evenly as possible among the backpacks are 50 feet of hemp rope, a box containing tinder and three tindertwigs, a labeled potion of cure light wounds, three torches, a grappling hook, and a small bottle of local brandy with a note from Mischief reading, “Sorry!”.
Flint commented that the town was forcing them to work together since each of them have a part of the map and “the grappling hook is worthless without a rope, and torches without tindertwigs are useless”. Moth was quick to agree and her clever mind began to piece together the map. When it’s finally assembled, Patrick nodded in agreement and the party set out into the woods.
The woods were cool and the sunlight filtered through the fall leaves giving everything a soft glow. The party was in good spirits as they made their way deeper into the woods. They travelled for about two hours following a narrow path. The path wandered through the raking claws of the trees, some of them now bereft of their leaves, which crunched loudly underfoot. Up ahead a fallen tree trunk blocked the path. Suddenly a trio of snarling humanoids leapt up from behind the log, all greenish skin and fearsome tusks, bellowing vulgar challenges to the party.
Ugly Ivy moved to a small rock away from the orcs and sat quietly, hoping the orcs, like the villagers, would look past her. Clod charged the orcs and missed with his home made spear. The orc quickly responded to Clod’s attack, and hit Clod with a great axe dropping him instantly to the ground. The second orc moved to confronts Patrick swinging his axe, hitting him squarely across the chest. Moth took aim with her bow when she suddenly started to laugh loudly. “They are illusions. They aren’t real.”
Clod cracked his eye, “I’m not dying then? I felt sure I was.”
Moth giggled merrily, “I thought they were real too until I smelled the pipe tobacco. It’s a signature scent of the tobacco smoked by” Holgast. He must be hiding somewhere in the bushes nearby."
Clod scrambled to his feet, a bit embarrassed for failing to know the orcs weren’t real. Brushing himself off, he gathered his spear from where it fell, shoulders his backpack and asked, “Are we ready to continue on?”
After dealing with the illusionary orcs, they continued through the woods in good spirits. The map was fairly easy to follow and as the sun began to fade, a cold wind began to rattle through the forest causing leaves to fall in abundance. Darkness was falling and there was no sign of civilization in sight.
Patrick suggested, “We need to find a camp site soon before we lose the remaining light.”
Searching around, the group found a suitable spot, surrounded on three sides by a thicket of bushes. The ground was level and firewood was plentiful. Flint made a fire and each of the members of the group offered up parts of their rations to make a nice stew for their meal. As they ate, wolves could be heard howling in the distance.
Moth shuddered. “They seem to be getting closer.”
Ivy nods, “Yes. They are hunting. They are hungry.”
A deep growl from the bushes caught the young children’s attention, “Indeed, they are hungry and on your trail, my little dumplings.” Red eyes gleamed from the bushes, and the firelight showed an unusually large wolf crouched as if to spring. The wolf had an evil, almost intelligent light shining in its deep red eyes. “I apologize I could not eat you myself, my dumplings. You look most delicious, tender and well-fed, but I have eaten my fill already this evening.”
Flint said, “I’m not delicious, the dwarf though might be.”
Patrick shot Flint a dirty look, but the large wolf commented before Patrick could retort. “Dwarves are stringy. But when one is hungry, one can overlook a bit of gristle. If you survive, I promise to come back and try to eat you later….but not tonight. Sleep lightly, dumplings. The wolves are coming.”
The beast turned as if to leave, when Moth asks, “Wait, aren’t you a wolf?”
A hearty chuckle could be heard in the bushes, “I’m a worg. My name is Greymantle so you know in whose belly you will digest.” With that Greymantle slinks away into the bushes.