On the way down the mountain Isobelle explains what they know about Candawyn’s disappearance. A discussion ensues as to Quion’s next course of action over that information.
Isobelle gets the report of the lich attack from the previous week. Isobelle asks Damien to find anyone that Adams was working with in the area, and to question them. The Baron is informed that Quion is aware of Cadwyn’s missing state.
Wythri goes to find Eldamoth in the library to make sure he is alright, and then goes to have a hot bath.
Quion goes to talk to the Baron about the Necromancy problem in the area. He then solicites the help of Wythri in studying the black mud found up in the hills.
The mud stays cold, even in warm environments. It’s oily, difficult to wash off, absorbs energy applied to it, like absorbing a fire, though it does dissolve. It also has an acrid smell. Whythri finds it absorbs her magic, dissolving as she fuels it.
There is a theory of the negative plain, which this substance may come from. It’s assumed that it is similar to the elemental plains. This substance may have leaked through from it, possibly in a spontaneous portal opening between the two plans.
Wythri informs the Baron that she is not amicable to hosting the Elven entourage when they arrive. An argument ensues over the matter, mostly it involves Wythri saying no and the Baron saying yes. The elves are due any day now, making Wythri uncomfortable with the situation.
Quion does an autopsy on the corpse of Adams. He determines the man was killed by someone chewing on his intestines, all the other wounds appeared to have occurred after he was undead.. The body is later burned and purged.
Damien is called to the Baron’s presence. They discuss the theory of a necromancer in town, the Baron reminds Damien of his brother’s presence a while back.
Damien goes to visit Hawthorne, and inform her of his knowledge, and possible connections.
Hawthorne inquires if Wythri had anything personal if she could track the Necromancer. Hawthorne then retrieves the Family Signet Ring from Damien, and gives it to Wythri to do her magic. Hawthorne finds a quiet place to sit with a bottle of wine, while Wythri casts.
Wythri finds Damien, and then a faint signature of a mind near Crow’s Head Mountain. She tracks it out magically, finds the source and makes a note to tell Hawthorne later. She goes back to her studies and preparing for the Elves arrivals.
Everyone is a bit on edge with each other due to various topics, conversations are stressed at best.
The contingent from Aigialia arrives, as the weather worsens. There are seven in the contingent with a small number of staff.
Simimar Maejestros is Wythri’s uncle. Oriana Aureus, his apprentice and lover. Filvendor, Wythri’s brother, and younger of twins. She is unaware of who the other four guests are, Akia Aureus. Haldius, Dionisis, Belatrix Caltha.
The Baron holds a full court to welcome the elves to the Barony.
After the initial greetings the court mingles, Filvendor goes to great Wythri with a friendly hug. Catching Wythri off guard.
Wythri does note is that none of them look to be surveyors, farmers, or anything that may be leaning towards cultivating the land. The do appear to be closer to an adventuring party, not even a diplomatic mission.
Wythri gets Filvendor off alone where they talk about the real mission of the Elven request for the lands. Simimar requested a specific parcel of land, though he doesn’t know what Simimar really wants. Wythri informs Filvendor of what they found when she went up there, to warn him.
One of Dr. Rothbury’s men comes to the castle to deliver a note. It reports that he found the population of a village south of the gate missing. Hawthorne assembles her team to go investigate.
Gunn goes ahead to Dr. Rothbury’s estate to talk to him about the letter. As he approaches he notices something ahead in the bush, bringing his horse up short. An owl-bear with tentacles for arms comes out of the bushes, Gunn immediately turns and leaves the area.
Isobelle requests the others to go ahead and then goes to talk to James, asking him to try and find out why the elves are really here.
She then goes after to meet the others who are already on their way.
Gunn meets the group on the road as they travel out to the Gate.
The others get to the gate to talk to the others, they know nothing at there.
Hawthorne arrives and is told of what’s going on, she has them head towards Rothbury’s estate. When they get there one of the large servants meets them, an Owl Bear comes out to investigate, and appears to act like a guard dog, and goes back into the woods when the servant looks at it.
Dr. Rotherbury greets them at the door and invites the group in. Robert the Half is also inside, severely drunk. They get the story of the village from him;
He was in the area fishing and went to the village to get a place to sleep for the night, he found the village deserted with signs of violence. He followed some tracks out and found the villagers, he did not describe the carnage.
Hawthorne ordered him sobered up, and wanted to leave immediately. The others requested they wait until morning, since it was now dark. Hawthorne agreed reluctantly.
The next morning they get up early to go investigate, Robert leading them to the village.
The village is small, maybe thirty people maximum might live in it. They look through the village for clues. Doors have been kicked in, blood is in and outside the houses. Magic seems to have been used in the fight, there are burn marks that do not match what a torch could do. Quion determines whomever did this was quick, and killed everyone within about ten minutes.
Robert leads them to the bodies, he does not go any further. Hawthorne goes first, there are a number of bodies in a hollow. It appears they were burned. There are maybe two dozen bodies here, close to the whole village.
Gunn determines that whomever did this headed back towards civilized lands. Five or six people and some large dogs.
Quion investigates the bodies – some were killed by arrows, some were hacked, some were gnawed upon (both by dogs and humans). Gunn talks to one of the crows in the area to get some better information. He learns that there five or six people, and a few dogs with them.
They send Robert back with a message to the Baron and then head off to follow the tracks.
Approximately another day and a half they come across another village. This village attacked approximately the time they reached the first village. They rush off to track the attackers quickly, Wythri casts a spell to make the horses travel faster, Quion gives the direction of the next closest village.
Towards nightfall they start to smell smoke and see an orange glow up ahead. They hear screams as they approach the village, and make haste.
They see someone come screaming out of the village. Hawthorne vaults off her horse to try and protect or catch the woman, but misses, Niamh does catch her. Wythri sees someone silhouetted by the fire launches an arrow that kills the commoner.
A woman’s voice says “We have company, the Baron’s men.” Four more figures come out of the flaming village. A warrior, an elf, a man in a robe, and a dwarf, with four dogs. They are the Circle of Iron…