Day 6, Month 9, 3 After the Night of Fire (ANoF)
The player characters - Kiarra Foxten, Devron Sharpis, Barm Vaks, Torvu Peng, and Teela Goran - along with Maila Arette rest as guests of Andar Phaldern in the Tower of Demolak for several days. In the meantime, the surviving villagers of Stor's End along with some of the orcs and goblins attempt to bring a semblance of order back to the new community, and send a small party back to Wilkerson Dale to report the goings on there. The player characters turn to Maila Arette during the evening of the 6th day of the 9th month during the 3rd Year After the Night of Fire to learn more of her personal quest. She tells them that before she was captured near a small river (which she believes is the river the characters told her about), she was travelling with two others who were scouting. They had agreed to meet at the river, at a prescribed spot marked with a small area of bracken. She intends to go back to the river, and try to find her friends.
The player characters debate going with her, and while some sentiment is expressed that they need to take care of their own, they feel that they owe Maila too much for her help in defeating the evil of the tower, and tell her that they will accompany her, on condition that she and her friends return with them to Stor's End. Maila happily agrees, and the group makes arrangements for provisions and other necessities before preparing to depart the next morning.
The morning dawns bright and clear, and the player characters and Maila set out several hours after sunrise. Tracing their route back towards Stor's End through the Clandar Hills, they come upon the river once more. The characters are strangely disturbed by the water flowing into the hills, and begin to travel upstream, the river winding its way in a southwesterly direction. They travel the edge of the river, the hilly terrain making their trip rather enjoyable as the day warms up, but their joy is short-lived as they come upon the wreckage of a camp. Several skorons and carrion reapers are present here, but at the approach of the player characters, the carrion reapers take wing, leaving the characters and the skorons eyeing each other. Four of the skorons boldly attack the player characters, but are killed by the characters, and Barm Vaks skins them for their hide, while Devron Sharpis does some fishing at the edge of the river. The campsite is deserted, with just a few odds and ends of refuse left for the characters to peruse. An alarmed Maila spots what appears to be a small, silver ring in the wreckage of the fire pit, and she recognises it as belonging to Kalev Hale, one of her travelling companions of old.
Kiarra Foxten and Teela Goran tell Maila that she shouldn't be concerned. The ring could have gotten into the fire pit in all manner of ways, perhaps even brought there by the skorons. Maila is somewhat appeased, but Kiarra can tell that the other woman is still emotionally overwrought by the whole find.
Consulting with Maila, the characters search the edge of the campsite. Barm is able with great difficulty [and a few Style points] to spot the tracks that the makers of the campsite left. The characters decide to follow the tracks, and proceed to continue along the edge of the river. The player characters continue to travel, but are approached by a group of men, ragged in appearance, carrying signs of disease (but fortunately not corpse rot) and armed with home-made spears and one of whom has a nail-embedded club. Demanding the characters' valuables, the ragged men attack the group when Devron denies their request, and the characters make short work of them, taking care to avoid catching the disease. Teela is somewhat shocked at the barbarity of these men, but is told by Maila that they were likely the victims of some mental illness as well. That said, Maila tells them that she recognised one of the men as being from the stead of Helforn, one of the small, self-contained fortified "villages" that were found in this part of Scondera in the Before. While Maila wants to loot the bodies, the rest of the characters dissuade her from this on the basis of the disease the men carried.
The player characters continue cautiously along the water's edge, and as the day comes to an end eventually find what appears to be an abandoned, overgrown building that was once a place of worship devoted to the Divine Mother. Devron says that this would be a good place to seek shelter. The others agree, and after making sure the building is secure, set up a small camp in what used to be the monastic quarters. Unknown to them, as night descends, there are predators on the loose in the structure. The first they learn of this is when Kiarra, standing watch, awakens Devron to tell him that there are "eyes, lot of eyes" watching the group...
The game session was one that the players thoroughly enjoyed, as it had been some time since they had played Desolation, so this was a treat. Additionally, this was the first complete scenario that Angela, the new player at the time, had played and where she was excited to find out more about her background and what had happened to her friends from the Before. The players were also wondering what kind of creatures were about to attack them in the ruined shrine of the Divine Mother, but they had to wait another week to find out. <g>