After a night of well needed rest the group of unlikely heroes decide to accompany the caravan march, but not before sitting down to a full continental breakfast featuring, not surprisingly, an assortment of ham and bacon given to them by the innkeeper as thanks. The team agrees to a fee of one gold per day with “room” and board, and acquires any necessary supplies before taking off. As they leave the city the festivities seem to be picking up as the town prepares to celebrate the festival of light, a Christmas-like tradition in which towns-folk wait till the eve to bring a lit candle to their would-be beloved and if accepted the candle stays lit celebrating their love with dance and jolly.
As the long trek north begins, it becomes obvious that the majority of the caravaneers are unhappy about the slavers trailing at the tail end of the caravan, but before talking to the troupe’s leader, Carl Buckins, the group comes across a lone elf traveling by horse waiting in the road. Mr.Buckins greeted the huntress as Enna, welcoming her back from her business to the troupe. Rio quickly takes note of her “qualities,” while Sol keeps a silent observance as she asks about the slavers trailing the tale end of the troupe. Sol bites his tongue as he holds back his anger, but it doesn’t take long before he asks the slaver’s leader, a tall, red-scaled dragonborn, about the chained elven slaves surrounded by his group of guards. Harsh words are spoken in draconic, leaving the rest of the group only in wonder as to what was said, despite the brief conversation had, Sol manages to keep his cool despite being unhappy about the treatment of such people in plight, regardless of it’s legality. As a paladin, his duty comes first and foremost to upholding the law, weather or not he agreed with it. Enna too seemed displeased, and asked the tall knight about the conversation had, gaining very little from him that helped, eventually leading to her taking time to feed and talk to the slaves directly once night fell. Keeping a close distance, Sol watched over the interaction, while Dusty and Rio got up to their normal mischief and Vanessa spent her time absorbing as much information as she could from the local caravan’s alchemist.
Trouble began to brew when the lead the dragonborn, Draxan brought his prized half-elf to the campfires, chained and reluctant to obey. Her captor sought it fit to try and have a bit of fun, prompting Dusty to take it upon himself to play along as offer to rent her for her “services.” Unawares to her, the half-elf slave put up a great fight, eventually realizing what was going on when the first of her shackles came “miraculously” free, but all the fight she had put up screaming and kicking attracted the rest of the party to the seen. Sol was the first to argue against what was happening, providing the perfect distraction, but unfortunately leading Enna to take matters into her own hands as she saw one of her own kind shoved underneath the slave wagon to be raped. Not knowing our group of unlikely heroes, she took aim and shot one of the guards, which lead to Sol unleashing his sword on the two in front of him. It wasn’t long before the rest of the group closed the distance, attempting to aid their allies as Dusty convinced the slave girl to play along as he quickly freed her form the rest of her constraints. While the group engaged the guards, Dusty and the half-elf woman made their escape into the night, but combat was cut short as Draxan angrily called for a halt to the violence and called Mr.Buckins to the scene where one of his slave-catchers lay dead. The team bitterly ceased their quarrel with the prospect that they might lose their contract with the troupe, Mr.Buckins agreed to take on the loss of pay for the team’s actions. After some brief words everyone dispersed, and the dragonborn finally realized his prized half-elf slave had managed to escape. Fortunately, Dusty had managed to lead their pursuers on a wild goose chase, giving the girl what money he had and directing her back to Eastbridge as he covered their tracks and injured himself to deceive the slavers into believing she managed to escape on her own.
That night while everyone slept, Vanessa’s dreams took on a sinister tone. She dreamed about an eerie, red-eyed crow pecking at her face as a cloaked figure warned her about something called a “noctus,” its warnings implying that she must kill it or be killed. The figure seemed vaguely familiar, as if it was the same presence that saved her so long ago.
But it wasn’t until the following day that Enna spotted a grisly seen of dead bodies in an overturned cart ahead on the road, and Vanessa was certain of their reality. Upon closer inspection, it became obvious that this was no mere accident; the bodies lay strewn on the ground with ritualistic markings drawn in their own blood and dismembered limbs. Even the horse lay dead in front of the cart. As the party drew closer, a chill ran down Vanessa’s spine as she spotted two red eyes among a murder of crows pecking and flocking over the carnage. She suddenly recognized the markings as something she had seen from the same cult that she had escaped from. Relaying what she knew about cult activities, she informed the group that this was no work of one person alone and that her dreams had warned her about this the night prior. As the crows leapt into the air to flee as they drew closer, Dusty was the first to try and take down the red-eyed crow as Vanessa tried to command the bird to fall. As her spell faltered, it was obvious that the bird was able to understand her, but it was Dusty’s arrow that brought it to the ground. Before she could make sure the crow was dead for good, the birds’ corpse disappeared, making Vanessa all the more worried.
After setting the cart afire to cover up the scene, the group returned to the caravan, only to spot three stone creatures coming directly for their troupe. As the constructs drew closer, they quickly had to decide whether or not they would engage, as the three stone constructs carried a ruined stone above their heads, not stopping as they came down the path. The caravan eventually decided to move aside and let them pass, the group doubting their ability to stop such creatures. After trailing them a safe distance away from the caravan, the team eventually returned to the caravan, leaving them feeling at a loss as to whether or not they made the right decision to let them go.
That night Vanessa wasn’t the only one to find sleep uneasy, her dream’s warning and the day’s encounter adding to her doubt that encountering the same cult she had fled yet again was anything but coincidence.