Day 14, Month 9, 3 After the Night of Fire (ANoF)
Devron Sharpis and Barm Vaks make their way cautiously in the direction of the charnel smell, having the others hold back for a bit, and come upon what appears to be large charnel pit that is finally burnt out, with mere wisps of smoke rising from it. They return to bring the others to the site, and Rovanis Gellorin, their newest companion, explains that this is the mass graveyard that the villagers of Abreal use to get rid of the dead, as the ground in the area of the village isn't suitable for graveyards, due to some properties that are not understood too well. Barm tells the others that he has found a series of prints that lead away, deeper into the Kiton Forest, from the graveyard, and the characters decide not to linger.
The characters continue on in the woods, following the trail, and find that Rovanis is somewhat clumsy. The elf tells the characters something about himself, and Devron confides in Kiarra that he thinks Rovanis is trustworthy. They continue on, and Barm comes to a small stream, and finds a old firepit nearby. He estimates it is three days old. There are traces of a fight nearby, but Barm and the others cannot tell who was fighting and who or what they were fighting against. Barm cannot find any more tracks here, and the group decides their best bet is to continue on and follow the stream, although he has some reservations about this. The characters stop for the night as darkness starts to close in on them, and set up a campsite.
During the night, the player characters are attacked by a small group of forest creepers, dangerous rodent-like creatures some 3 feet long with sharp claws and prehensile tails. Devron is hurt somewhat seriously, but Teela Goran is able to treat his injuries, and she tells him that he is not infected from the wounds. The rest of the night passes by uneventfully, and the characters are able to set off at dawn the next morning.
Barm is able to find some tracks that he had missed the previous day (he failed his skill roll), and the characters head away from the river, and go deeper into the woods. They come upon what appears to be a trail, and follow it to the best of their ability, keeping their eyes out for trouble. They are attacked by a wild boar, but make short work of it, and manage to skin it and keep some of the meat off the beast for food. Continuing along their path, they come upon a small campsite, but are interrupted by a voice asking them what they want. Three individuals emerge from the trees, and a delighted Maila Arette greets them by name - Kalev Hale, Jarna Lovalin, and Edrik Hansohl - three of her friends that she was looking for. Kalev is pleased to see her, as he had feared she was dead when she did not return from her scouting mission. She greets Hale warmly, and gives him back the silver ring that she has been holding onto for him since she recovered it from a fire pit and campsite closer to Stor's End (see the first session). Hale is unfortunately not able to give her better news, as he tells them that three of their other friends have died at the claws of a terrible beast, some sort of Broken and Warp-Weaved wolf.
While Maila and her friends renew their acquaintanceship, the player characters talk about whether or not they want to try and deal with the creature mentioned by Kalev and his friends. Eventually, Kalev, Maila, and the others rejoin the player characters, and begin to have an earnest discussion about matters. Edrik tells the player characters that the creature is roaming currently through the old ruins deeper in the forest; the trail leads to the ruins, which Edrik and Jarna claim is Old Abreal, the actual town that existed before the Night of Fire. They learn about what Kalev and his friends know about the beast, and decide that it will be possible to take the beast on. Deciding to rest and confront the beast in daylight, Devron, Kiarra, and the others camp for the night with Kalev and his friends. The player characters and their new allies talk about various matters pertaining to the creature and Abreal, while Jarna and Rovanis go about reestablishing their own particular bond. (It turns out they were lovers when Hale and the others first arrived in Abreal.) Kalev and his friends tell them that Mayor Carew Hanover is not a bad person, but that the stress of the creature's presence is hindering the town, and Hanover tends to have a "greedy and selfish soul." Once the characters decide to rest for the night, they set a watch.
The next morning, the player characters along with Kalev Hale and the others head deeper into the forest, following the trail, as Edrik Hansohl leads them towards the ruins. They arrive at the ruins to find a small town, very much overgrown with brush, creepers, and various other plants. Barm spots several skeletal remains of animals, and some bones that he thinks were people, some of which are quite recent. Edrik says these are the work of the beast. As the characters move cautiously into the ruins, Edrik and Barm scouting ahead somewhat, they hear a howling sound from deeper into the overgrown town. The characters are distracted by the howling sound, and fail to notice four wolves of enormous size stealthily making their way towards them through the foliage and the ruins. It is with horror, that Kiarra screams as a shadow detaches itself from the shrouded ruins, and launches itself at her...
This game session was the first of Desolation that the Friday night players had played since May, and they were a bit rusty at first. Hence the encounter and fight with the boar. The players did a really good job of handling some of the stuff that I threw at them, and to be honest, Kathy and Nick commented that they found the skirmishes and combats to be an excellent refresher course for the system to some extent. David is growing into his elf character, and there was some excellent roleplay and interaction between him and the rest of the player characters during this session. As for what has attacked Kathy's Kiarra, well, that has to wait for the next installment on Friday night. <g>