The group discusses their options before leaving the safety of the shrine. Zeekali opts to go scouting for the children, since the group needs to find out who those kids are and what bearing they have on the mystery. The others decide to go into town to learn what they can and maybe try to find a way to save the town.
Zeekali heads off in the direction of the town. The group had discovered there seems to be a bubble that covers the town and it protects anyone inside it from the predatory animals and the spiders and the undead. Zeek gets inside the bubble and beginning on the eastern side of town, heads south to circle around the town looking for any farms or buildings nearby that might have children. It is a rather dull trip, but finally when Zeek reaches the northern end of town (it takes him a bit to get up there), Zeek notices a distinctively used-looking wide trail heading into the woods. He hesitates a moment, eyeballing the bubble’s edge and trying to decide if it is a smart move. Finally with a shrug, Zeek sets off along the path figuring he would rather report back that he found children than report back that he found a path that MIGHT lead to somewhere. He travels along the road for sometime before realizing he might have wanted to let someone know where he was going…
The others go into town. Tahir and Kaeth go again to the town square and approach th elders. Saori and Saul head off to speak with a few people about who might have carved those beautiful figures. After speaking with several people, they learn that a man named Lerrik has a son who is the one who does the best carving in town. They are told Lerrik is in the main hall helping with the set up. They go in and speak with Lerrik only to learn that Lerrik’s son and his daughter both carve, but his daughter is very young still. Saul quietly eyes the bag containing the figures hoping for a glimpse of magic. He does not see any.
The town quickly finishes setting up the final touches of the festival and as things just start to get underway, a group of 6 adventurers comes into town. All human and obviously well traveled, they are greeted by the same elder in the same spot as the main group had been the night before. The other group is made up of 5 men and a woman. One of the men is stunningly beautiful. His facial features are delicately formed and his hair is a long black silk curtain that is held back with silver clips. His warm brown eyes seem to always have a smile in them. His mannerisms are graceful, his hands slender and delicate. His clothing, a white loose shirt and tight black leather pants, is designed to set up his perfect physique, wide shoulders with a narrow waist and hips. His name is Mikhael, the group soon discovers. Dantal: a large burly man in heavy armor with short blunt-cut graying brown hair who is quiet with cautious grey eyes that survey everything closely; Silas: a tall rangy fellow with overgrown brown hair wearing very worn leather armor and a brown and green patterned cloak and carrying a bow; Victoria: the lone female of the group who is short with honey blonde hair and ice-cold hazel eyes. She is voluptuously formed and wears a light travel skirt and a very light weight cotton blouse. Lawrence: a medium sized man with a shaggy brown hair and startlingly silver eyes. He wears a robe over chainmail armor with a brilliantly gleaming holy symbol of Sehanine prominently displayed at the collar. Rico: a short thin fidgety man with spiked black hair and brown eyes. He wears light leather armor and a dark mottled green cloak. He carries a variety of bags and pouches on his belt as well and a multitude of daggers. Our group soon learns that this other group is from about 150 years in the past… which would be 50 years after the fall of this town.
The groups decide to work together and they soon learn thru various means several things:
1. The children do not come to the final night of the festival because there was a prophecy about something bad happening during the last night of the festival. So it has become tradition to leave the children at home.
2. If something bad were to happen, everyone in the village, even the children, knows to go to the dwarven town in the mountains to the east. While it is a bit of a journey, it would be safer than staying.
3. Silas knows of a place that used to be a site of evil worship to the southeast. It is a bit out of the way if you are heading to the dwarven town, but he thinks it might be the best place to investigate as a source of the evil cloud.
Zeekali, after some time of walking, comes upon an old farmstead. The barn is in noticeable disrepair, but the thing that stands out about the farmstead is that it is in excellent condition especially since it supposedly hasn’t been used in 200 years. The fields have very few weeds growing in them and the fenced in yard in front of the house is in order. The house itself is made of wood. The roof is still in excellent condition and the windows to the house have not been broken. Zeekali fails to notice a minor trap set, but does manage to evade the small arrow that shot out at him. Once he gets inside, he sees that the furniture, though dusty is is excellent condition as well… none of the fabric is disturbed by time. Zeek spends a good deal of time exploring the house. Zeek takes notice of several interesting facts about the house other than its obvious lack of decay.
1. The dining room table has a heavy wooden table and 6 chairs, each of which has a bird prominently displayed on the back.
2. Each of the bedrooms has carvings of various nature items vine work, ivy, grapes, trees, streams and such around the outside of the door jamb.
After much searching, prodding and pushing, Zeek finally discovers a secret tunnel that opens if you tip the very heavy wooden dining room table along the southern edge. Zeeks goes down there and slowly becomes aware that time has passed and he begins to feel a sense of urgency. He finds a secret room with 2 backpacks in it. He takes some of the more useful items from the backpacks.
He heads down a tunnel that is in the eastern wall. He begins to run hoping to make it back before the green cloud descends…
The others have joined forces with the new group; they have decided to try saving at least one person. The green cloud is getting closer now and so they have one shot at it. They decide to save the tavernkeeper, the one who is holding the story telling contest. They concoct a story about a tree that looked like it was going to fall on her roof and lured her out with stories of an impending storm. The tavernkeeper steps outside to keep people inside from panicking. As soon as she gets outside alongside the building, Kaeth and Tahir throw a bag over her head and and Kaeth picks her up and they all start running for the path. The cloud is almost upon them.
They get outside of the bubble and the tavernkeeper vanishes. So does the other group. Kaeth acts like he is gently setting the tavernkeeper on the ground (since he is unsure if she is still on his shoulder or if she somehow was never there to begin with?) then they all take off running to the shrine. Zeekali pops out from a tree along the path to the shrine just as everyone runs by. One of the people tries to grab him, but he ducks back into his hole before realizing it is his friends. Zeek follows everyone to the shrine.
At the shrine once again, the noise is not heard from the village this night. In the morning, after the ghostly children visit the shrine and leave, the characters search the pool area for anything that might have been left behind by the other group. They find a note signed by Rico.