DINNER FOR A HUNGRY GOD
As the group has decided to return to Laecemere, they begin heading in that direction. The fog has rolled in from the swamp and the mountains and so the going is slow. It is late at night and a long walk back to the town. Elara is quite displeased with the whole situation and earns herself the nic-name “Grumpy McDragsherfeet”. Endis once again, returns to dog form and is pretty much useless, except for his nose. He managed to smell danger, just in time for the party to be jumped by a group of bandits. As he can only talk in barks and woofs, the group is unaware of the bandits and is taken by surprise. A battle ensues. The bandits have with them a large direwolf. It takes a few chomps out of the group members, but with the aid of Fumblewsky the fumbletastic bandit, the group manages to kill most of the bandits and the direwolf. The only bandits still standing when the direwolf is killed, attempt to flee. One is killed, while the other escapes. At this point, the group is exhausted. It has been a long day. Elara, even though she doesn’t need to sleep, refuses to move. Thoradin throws her over his shoulder and the group continues to Laecemere, which turns out to be just over the next hill.
Once in town, the group heads to the 12th Bell to retrieve the wagon and horses of the Yellow Jackets. Thoradin, still carrying Elara, directs Jakob to show him the wagon and horses. They sneak into the barn with Endis the dog/wolf/thing, while Mbutu and Adeya wait outside. As Thoradin throws Elara into the back to the wagon Jakob has pointed out, Bonnet, the stable girl, is woken. All she sees is a large wolf in front of her, with runes all over its scruff. She is terrified and begins to shout. The party members in the barn are able to hide in the wagon, while Endis runs in circles around Bonnet. Adeya and Mbutu hear the little girl’s cries and are also attempting to hide, when a crowd of people pour out of the Inn. They ask us to come help and so Adeya and Mbutu follow the crowd into the barn. Bonnet is in the corner, crying and peeing all over herself, while Endis stands at the entrance to the barn, growling. Adeya steps forward and claims the wolf as her pet, saying she sent him to the barn to bed for the night. The crowd is swayed and returns to their drunken slumber in the Inn. Adeya, convinces Bonnet to return to the Inn to clean herself up. She hands the little girl a gold coin and promises to watch over the barn. With Bonnet out of the way, the group hook up the horses to the wagon and are soon on their way. Thoradin and Jakob drive, while the rest of the group slumbers.
Adeya and Endis, now in dog form, are the first to wake. They take over the driving and allow Jakob and Thoradin their turn to sleep. On the road, the group meets a farmer and his children. They are heading to Laecemere to sell their crops, but offer the party enough oats and hay to feed their horses for 3 weeks. Endis and Adeya decide to take their offer and give them a lift back to their farm. On the way, Endis asks the farmer, whose name is Jim, the news of the land. Jim is all to eager to share. He mentions that the Duchess of Loveland has sent an envoy to see Prince Devlin about a marriage proposal. She seems to be hated by most of the peasants, and the prospect of her marrying the Prince of Haete is an unpleasant one. The envoy is heading to Prince Devlin’s castle in Hartgard, the capitol city, which is where the party is ultimately heading as well. Jim also mentions the farmers market in Masingale, which will be happening in about 2 weeks time.
Once the party reaches Jim’s farm, the deal is made. 5 gold will get the party hay and oats for the horses for 3 weeks, as well as a tune-up for the wagon. The party is glad to pay, but refuse the hospitality of a place to stay for the evening. They are in a hurry to share their news with Prince Devlin and bid farmer Jim farewell. In parting, Jim reminds the party to steer clear of the ominous corn. As the party continues on their way to Masingale, they eventually pass the ominous corn. It seems to be a rather large patch of corn that runs alongside the road. At this point, Elara is driving, which in retrospect, seems like a bad idea. She hears a woman’s scream in the corn and so veers off the road into the cornfield. Thoradin and Jarem, who are sitting up front with her, are strangely oblivious. Adeya and Mbutu are drinking in the back of the wagon, unaware of the stupidity of their comrade. Endis is, of course, a wolf again. As the wagon plows through the corn, the party hears footsteps all around them, as shadowy figures run through the corn alongside them. All of a sudden, a woman appears in the corn. She is huddled in front of the wagon, but Elara recognizes her for what she is: a witch. She managed to turn the wagon around and head full speed out of the corn. As the wagon plows through the corn, Adeya and Mbutu are plucking ears of corn from the back of the wagon. The ears are black and withered. Once on the road, the followers become visible. It is a party of undead and they are chasing the wagon! Adeya and Mbutu throw the nasty corn at them, as Elara urges the horses to a full gallop. The wagon managed to outpace the undead, which are seen returning to the corn after their unsuccessful chase.
The next few days pass uneventfully, as the group makes their way to Masingale. Elara names the horses Buttercup and Sunshine, which they are not happy about, as they clearly have peni (that’s the plural of penis for you noobs).
The party reached Masingale. It turns out to be not so much a town, as a large marketplace. Thoradin’s first stop is to find a leatherworker who can turn the skin of the direwolf into gear for the party. He spends most of the day working with the tradesman, to learn a bit of the skinning trade. Adeya finds a vendor who will buy the armor and weapons the group picked up off the bandits, and she also buys a sling with some bullets. Elara goes to a fortune teller, to see if she can find anything out about her necklace, since Elazrael was so interested in it. She managed to find an old woman who smells of incense and other, less savory things. She pays the old woman, who tells her the amulet and Elara’s fates are intertwined. She then goes into a trance saying things like “The Hungered One will awaken” and “Death is in her future”. She also informs Elara that the amulet is Aléatoire’s Eye.
Jarem and Mbutu set out to find someone who can grant their armor and weapons magic abilities. They manage to find a wizard named Dexŧrösïtüs ::rabbits:: ::doves:: ::fireworks::, who claims to be able to work enchantments. Jarem makes a deal with Dex, where Dex can enchant him to tell stories of his awesome magery. Dex agrees to this and enchants Jarem’s new direwolf armor. Mbutu questions Dex’s abilities and managed to get himself enchanted with Morning Woodicüs, which makes his balls glow and his…well, you know. Endis spends the day hiding from everyone and setting up camp. That night, Endis has strange dreams of his dead brother, and Elara dreams of a Hungry God eating the Earth.
The party leaves Masingale, with their purses laden and their backs warmed with direwolf skin gear. The 5-day journey to Hopper’s Crossing passes by quickly and quietly.
The party arrives at Hopper’s Crossing and manages to make it through the town successfully. No Inns burned down or anything. They make camp on the other side of the river from the town. As darkness falls, Endis becomes a wolf again, though he is learning to talk. His “L”s are a bit rough, but he is learning to make himself understood. As the party sleeps, Endis dreams of a GIANT LOBSTER. He awakes with a start to a distant booming. He gets everyone up as silently as possible. Elara puts out the fire and the party attempts to move the wagon, but they have been spotted. It’s an Earth Titan. It speaks, asking if they know the way to Harthelm Castle. That just so happens to be where the party is going, so they offer directions. It turns out it was not the Earth Titan speaking to them, but the human riding upon it. He is the envoy from the Duchess of Loveland and he offers the party a lift. His name is Farquad and as he orders the Galeb Duhr to make room for their new companions, he tells the party about his mission and his mistress as they travel through the night.
The party arrives in Hartgard with much fanfare, as they are riding on the back of an Earth Titan as part of a royal envoy. Farquad drops them off at the castle and goes about delivering his message.