Our adventurers—Gudmund, Thedoran, Liffi, and Nurok, departed from Still Fall the next morning. Their clues—several scrolls, a letter sealed in violet wax, and a map with cemeteries marked in red ink, had the entire party on edge. While traveling with the caravan, young Liffi noticed some tracks heading into the woods. Curious and eager to gain more clues, the party followed the tracks into the snowy forest. They eventually followed the erratic, human-like tracks into a cave, where they found a frozen dead end with no one there but a corpse. In this corpse, the party noticed red veins facing the wrong way.
Upon joining the caravan, Nurok pointed out the smeary smell of smoldering smoke. Indeed, the scent pervaded the air for miles. Sadly, the smell was coming from the ashes of the old Feldir Inn. Though many had perished in the fire, a young groundskeeper named Apperbell Komvu had taken charge as best he could. After the noble healer Nurok tended to the woundd, Apperbell shared the alarming story. The previous night, shambling shapes had moved out of the wood, seemingly desperate to get inside the inn’s walls. In the ensuing struggle, the inn had set to fire and many, including poor Old Man Feldir, had met their ends. Apperbell also noted sighting a mysterious, red-eyed woman standing on a will outside town. A local young girl had also gone missing with no trace. Upon inspecting the ruins, the party came upon a thorny plant similar in appearance to the strange veins they had earlier found running through the dead man’s body.
That night, Gudmund and Thedoran stood watch over the uneasy camp. An eerie calm had settled over the snow-covered plain, and throughout the night, the sleepers stirred. Just past midnight, Apperbell ran to Thedoran, shouting that he had just seen Old Man Feldir moving clumsily amongst the trees.
And the Drow’s theory was confirmed. Their visitors were the dead.
The camp was roused. Liffi’s sharp eyes peered through the darkness, making sure that any enemy kept their distance. Gudmund roused the camp’s able-bodied into a vigilant fighting state. Nurok and Thedoran went through the camp comforting the terrified survivors and caravaneers, even prickly Master Brimble Gofft. After what seemed a freezing eternity, watching the shifting shadows amongst the trees, dawn finally came.
As the caravan left the site of their grim vigil, Thedoran noticed a body lying partially submerged in a frozen river. Upon extracting it, he found the little girl that Apperbell had mentioned—still alive.
The Dark Elf brought the poor child immediately to Nurok. Gudmund stood guard as Liffi watched over the girl, who was close to her own age. Upon further examination, the healer found—to everyone’s horror—that a crop of the same wicked red vine had been planted in the girl’s hand. Panicking, Thedoran declared the hand must needs come off, but Nurok bid the standers by leave the area, and was able to extract the parasite without damaging the girl’s person. After a long night of terror, the good news was a welcome balm.
A dark power is at work in the Northern Realms. Now, the company moves forward to the Dwarven city of Holdstadt, where hopefully they will find have, rest, and above all, more clues.