The party left the war camp, trudging their way to the northeast towards Helbmond Forest. The map they had seen had given them the impression that it would take two days for them to reach the edge of the forest; however, they quickly discovered that the map had been wrong. In the end, it took them four days to reach the edge of the forest.
At this point, the party was conflicted. They had three paths ahead of them: they could either go north-northwest, skirting the edge of the forest to try to get around it without much incident, east, avoiding the forest entirely but sacrificing time, or northeast, straight through the heart of the forest. Valgest argued for avoiding the forest in its entirety, citing the dangers, while the rest of the party opted to go to the north. Since an agreement could not initially be reached, the party agreed to make camp for the night, and make a final decision in the morning.
Soren had the first watch. While he was awake, he heard a snarling coming from the forest. Fearing an attack, he went carefully into the forest, to investigate the noise. He found a wolf there, snarling at him. Opting to fight it, he scorched it with a ray, killing it. The fight was not over though, as two more wolves accosted him. He fought them, eventually killing one by shocking it to death (with the unfortunate side effect of locking its jaws onto his leg), but found himself at a major disadvantage. Yelling for help, he continued defending himself until Naftis was able to come assist him. Naftis was able to save Soren, and the two of them brought back meat from the wolves, with Soren injured. Naftis had the second watch, and so rather than go back to sleep, he opted to stay awake with Soren until his watch began, and the two of them began to cook the wolf meat into jerky.
Naftis’ watch, and then Roywyn’s as well, went by without incident. However, Valgest was not so lucky. While he was on watch, he noticed two sets of lupine eyes staring at him from the forest. Not wanting to risk being attacked alone, he woke up Darowin, who had not been awake yet. Darowin fired an arrow at the set of eyes, hitting it but not piercing the creature’s skin. The battle had begun, and the two very large wolves, larger than those that Soren and Naftis fought, jumped into the camp. Darowin quickly made vines and undergrowth appear, entangling one wolf (and Soren, who was still sleeping), but failing to entangle the other. At this point, Naftis and Roywyn awoke, and began to fight as well. The four of them fought very well, but it was extremely difficult, with most of the blows that landed simply glancing off the skin of the wolves. The party was met with a stroke of luck, however, when a mysterious Halfling flying kickapow’d one of the wolves, dislocating its neck, killing it instantly. As for the other wolf, Roywyn managed to seriously damage it with her quarterstaff, and between that and the rest of the party, eventually the wolf was brought down. When both wolves died, they turned into humans, which the party thought was strange. They believed that they were feral druids. Soren slept through the whole fight, only awakening once, when the monk killed the first wolf, but he quickly fell back asleep.
Once everything had calmed down, the party immediately questioned the Halfling. They found out her name was Kasxa Unu, and that she was a monk who had left her temple to find her inner peace. She said she had found it by hunting out these druids in the forest. Roywyn could tell she wasn’t telling the full truth, but nothing was done about it. As a show of faith, Kasxa allowed the party to tie her up for the rest of the night, so that they could trust that she would not harm them in their sleep. The rest of the night passed without incident.
When the party awoke, Soren was extremely confused by the presence of the monk, and almost set her alight, but was tackled by Naftis before he could do so. The situation was quickly explained, and everyone calmed down again. At this point, the party needed to decide in what direction they would head. Ultimately, it was decided that the party would go north, to investigate an elven village. Kasxa had told the party of an elven village nearby that was offering a bounty of a masterwork weapon, in exchange for the removal of a dark force that dwelled in the center of the forest. Soren and Valgest wanted to ignore it and head east, concerned for theirs and the party’s safety, but they were outvoted, and so the party went north. On their way there, they passed where Soren had fought the wolves during his watch, and saw that near the charred and dead bodies there was a den. They heard a soft sound coming from it, and chose to investigate. They found a wolf pup in the den, seemingly orphaned due to the killing of the other wolves. Soren offered to put it down quickly, as opposed to letting it die a slow death as nature took its course on the defenseless pup, but he was slapped and then tackled for his idea. Instead, Ahshantil offered it food, and took it in as his companion, playing fetch with it for a half-hour. Once this was over, the party continued north.
A few days later, as they were traveling, they reached a clearing, with the full moon shining down on them. Suddenly, everyone but Roywyn began to hear strange sounds, sounds that were extremely saddening, such as that of slaughtering children, or the death of a loved one. Almost simultaneously, Valgest, Darowin, and Naftis all transformed into wolves, and began running full-out towards the source of the odd sounds. Soren, Kasxa, and Ahshantil followed them, running towards the source of the despair-causing sound. Roywyn caught up to them, and managed to break the enchantment with a song of her own, and so the four of them followed the three new werewolves towards their destination.
Eventually, they reached the center of the forest, thick with undergrowth and overgrown trees, where they saw two of the werewolves attacking an odd, burnt-looking tree. The third werewolf was off to the side, unconscious; the four conscious members of the party could only assume it was Naftis. Unsure of how to proceed, since they didn’t want to hurt their friends, or have their friends attack them, the party waited until morning, when the full moon would go down and their friends would transform back into humanoid form.
They did so, and after watching the tree be enveloped in darkness, and also put out gale-force winds, eventually the morning came, and the three afflicted lycanthropes turned back into humans. The rest of the party quickly dragged them away from the tree, and Roywyn used her healing magic to heal the three party members of their injuries. She told them that the people they had fought that were thought to have been druids must have been werewolves, and that the three of them had been afflicted with the disease. After some deliberation, the party allowed Soren to light the tree on fire. As this happened, the tree let out a sickening wail, and appeared to die. Soren didn’t feel very well, but it appeared that the threat had been vanquished.
Near the tree was an unknown humanoid, with mottled green skin, and green hair as well. No one knew who or what she was, but she did have a pouch with a few gold pieces, some unknown berries and twigs, a pickled fish, and a strange blue orb. Roywyn took the gold, Ahshantil took the pickled fish and the berries, and Soren grabbed the orb. The party decided to bury the body, because they didn’t know what else to do with it. After this was done, they headed on their way to the elven village.
A few days later, the party reached the edge of Cranonna, an elven village, and they were greeted by an emissary. He questioned them, and after hearing part of their story, allowed Naftis, Ahshantil, Verion, and Roywyn to enter the village and speak with their elder, Thadriel. The rest of the party, not trusted as much as the full elves or the gnome (everyone loves gnomes), was forced to wait at the entrance.
Upon reaching the elder’s home, he came out and began to speak to the three elves. While they spoke, Roywyn went into the town, and began performing her whistling, in order to earn money. Naftis told Thadriel the story of how we came to be in the village, and asked the elder about supplies. He agreed to let the party stay in the village for one night, and then provide them with enough supplies to reach the human village of Draigadain, at the northeastern edge of the forest. Naftis also mentioned the odd tree in the middle of the forest, and Ahshantil showed the berries he had found. The elder said that these berries were usually found with hags, who used them for alchemy. He noticed that the time at which the tree was destroyed was the same as when the people in the village stopped having strange nightmares, and so upon calling Soren in to inspect the orb that was found, granted Naftis the bounty that was promised. When Soren reached into his bag to retrieve the orb, he found it slightly damp for some reason. When Thadriel was inspecting it, the orb began to shoot out water from seemingly nowhere. The party agreed that it was probably a Stone of Power, although a minor one, and Soren took it back, filled his waterskin, and put the orb back in his bag. As for the bounty, Naftis received a masterwork elven longsword, the last piece of their old culture, from before they were forced out of their homelands.
Before he let them go, the elder mentioned that there were lycanthropes in the forest, and the party confirmed that they had run into them. The elder said that a few of us might be afflicted, not knowing that a few already knew they were, and offered for the town’s clerics to attempt to cure them.
Soren was feeling absolutely awful, having not slept since he burnt the tree, his awful nightmares keeping him from sleeping and regaining his physical and mental energy. Knowing that there were clerics in town who might be able to help, he asked the elder if he could go see if they could at least identify, if not heal, what was wrong with him, describing the situation in detail. The elder said that although he did not know if anything could be done, Soren would be allowed to go see the healers. He did so, and they prayed around him, removing most of the curse and finally allowing him to sleep.
Thinking about the offer the elder gave, Darowin and Naftis opted not to be healed, citing the greater power they possessed, and the fact that it was controllable. Valgest, however, took the elder up on his offer, and through the clerics’ prayer, was cured of his lycanthropy.
With most of the formalities taken care of, a feast and party were thrown in celebration of the defeat of the hag and the restoration of good nights’ rests for the elves. Everyone had a very good time, with Roywyn performing her whistling, Ahshantil breakdancing, and even a beatboxing performance from Kasxa. Valgest and Soren did not enjoy it nearly as much as the others due to their natures, but they had some fun getting mildly intoxicated. Soren used his Dancing Lights ability to create fireworks and lightshows to go along with the music, and everyone had a nice time.
When the celebration was over, everyone had a good night’s rest, and woke up raring to go in the morning. Having been given enough rations to reach the edge of the forest and another village, the party set out towards the northeast. After a few days, Soren began to notice that he could recognize some of the areas that the party was walking through. Having never actually been told the name of the village they were headed towards, he worriedly asked Naftis where the party was headed. Upon hearing that it was Draigadain, Soren paled. Worried, the party asked what was wrong, and he explained that the only one in danger was him. He told them that this village was his home, where his parents currently lived, provided they were still alive, and that he was not very well-liked in his hometown. This was due to his actions before he ran away, and the unfortunate circumstances that caused him to leave in the first place. Considering that he hadn’t been seen there in over six years, and that most of the people believed him to be dead anyway, Soren made a crude disguise to wear, in order to attempt to not be noticed, and the party continued on towards the village.