The adventurers were roused from their beds before dawn by a knocking at their doors. As promised, Miri Broge had come to call them for breakfast. Lo-Kag, Zanne, Balin, and Skrag dressed quickly and headed downstairs for their meal. Rangrim, meanwhile, had slept in his armor, having passed out in it that night. He blearily stumbled over to the bathtub and rolled into the lukewarm water, rolling over several times to wash off yesterdays trail dust. After breakfast the party gathered provisions (and ale) and stepped out into the waking city streets.
After an hour or so, they were beyond the outer wall of the city and on their way to Sheaf. The Eastern Road was seldom used, and in poor repair. The party’s progress was greatly slowed by the muddy, overgrown road, but they pressed on long into the day with few breaks. Midway to Sheaf, the party happened upon a patch of grass that had been flattened by something. Balin and Skrag recognized the signs of a struggle and located a small courier’s pouch half covered by the grass. The pouch contained only a note addressed to the City Guard from the residents of Sheaf. It warned of monsters attacking the village by night, carrying off men, women, and children and disappearing with the dawn. The note implored the Guard and anyone finding the note for help. It was decided that Skrag and Rangrim would hasten back to the city with the note, while the others would build a camp nearby and await their return.
The dwarf and half-orc ran long into the night, reaching the city walls after midnight. They spied Captain Alain Voth through the rain and beckoned him down from the wall to receive the note. Voth informed the messengers that no guards could be spared, even in such a dire situation. He implored Rangrim and Skrag to return to their comrades and press on to the village and investigate the danger. With that, the two two began the long run back to camp. The runners reached the camp by 9 that morning, passing along the message before collapsing from the exertion. After several hours recuperating, the party again set out along the muddy trail.
It took another full day’s travel to reach Sheaf; mud, insects and choking vegetation harrying them all along. They reached the western edge of the settlement just after dark as the rain began to fall. The village was beset by an oppressive stillness. Nothing moved, nothing made a sound. Something was very wrong in Sheaf…