ME10 / S31 / Colsday 53rd of Astral, 88 AD (1:6:4/23)
Participants: Zanzaren Zharius(6*/23000) , Corm(6*/23000) , Ackpub(5.5/19000) , Big Nose(3.25*/6000) , Flint Fireforge(5.75*/21000)
A late start to the day.
Zan holds up the departure to 11 am, because of his desire to inscribe some new spells that he has worked out while traveling on the road. Remarkably, they seem to work.
It is late afternoon when they reach the 20 lg station, which is, again, completely burned out. They decide to press on as the road snakes through the rain forest. Just after the 22 lg marker it is getting dark, so the party looks for an entrance into the forest. They find a path leading off to the east. There are some paw prints on the path unlike any thing they have seen before. Ackpub is sent forward to reconnoiter, and actually quietly comes to a pair of strange medium sized canids. Their front paws look disturbingly similar to the humanoid hand. Ackpub further decrees they are actually talking to each other, in a language that he doesn’t understand at all, but there is one phrase that is repeated many times, which is actually in orcish: “Headchoppers”.
Ackpub goes back to the party to relay this information. Leading the party back to confront them, the trail is lost amongst the branching paths in the rain forest. It is pitch dark at this point, Camp is made at a convenient glade. During the night they are attacked by four canid forms. Zan’s knowledge of extraplanar creatures identifies them as Barghests, beasts from the Infernal region that have some affinity with goblins. During the attack one of them levitated. When the battle seemed to be going against them, two of the Barghests suddenly disappeared. The remaining two were vanquished.
The rest of the night in the glade passes undisturbed.
Temsday the 54th of Astral
Around lg 23 the rain forest gives way to savannah. High grass and scrub stretch into the distance on both sides of the Road, which has been generally northward for quite some time.
Just before lg 24 off to the east you can make out a farm stead that has been completely consumed by some conflagration. The smell of burnt wood still hangs in the air.
At lg 25 there is a little thorp of several farms, huddled against an intact caravanserai. Stop for discussions with the people, and the party learns that Malsfoe had passed through here, and that the burnt out farm was the former home of Cinder’s family.
The party pushes on til late afternoon, at lg 28. They stomp down the grass in order to make a space for camp on the savanna. Night passes uneventfully.
Lisday the 55th of Astral.
At lg 30 there is an intact caravanserai, but only with a single human caretaker. He says that the turnoff for Harkon’s Hold is ahead. Sure enough there is a stone road to the east just past lg 34. The party makes a camp here.
Highday the 56th of Astral
An early start and a few leagues down the road take you to a gate in a large palisade, the entrance to the town of Harkon’s Hold, a set of human, handling, and some dwarven homes and workplaces. Just inside the palisade there is a caravanserai to the right, and to the left a medium sized drinking establishment, behind which looms a large pile of clinkers and other mining waste. There is a signboard over the main entrance naming it “The Slag Heap”.
After seeing to the horses and mule they cross the street and enter: it is cool and dim, a single human doing washing up and tidying. An extremely comely young woman sits at a table, eating a bowl of stew. It is about 10 am