From the private diaries of Princess Illiria:
A tale of bold adventure as written by Lady Illiria Callathian of House Callathian in the month of Klarmont this common year of 978 from the home of my father, Lord Callathian. May his spirit always lend light to the protectors of the realm. This is a tale of the brave clansmen of Sukiskyn Steading and their valiant defense of their homes against a rising tide of evil which threatened East Karameikos, if not all of the great Duchy itself. Guided by the steady hand of Ethan the Pure, relying on the forest lore of Darkin Youngshanks, and aided by the strength of the mighty Traldarian warrior Udoben I am able to relate to you all the dark days of adventure which befell us all…
PC’s have no trouble holding the steading against the goblin squads which attempt to overrun the buildings. Assessing the damage the attacking monsters wrought the clan’s leader, Pytor, is completely despondent. With the theft of his entire herd his successful horse operation is ruined. He begs the PC’s to try and save his animals from the clutches of the goblin hordes. He reminds the elf princess that the pregnant mare is amongst the captured. The pressure to rescue the herd of whites is indeed great. The cleric uncovers religious fetishes carried by the goblin dead which indicate the two goblin tribes worship the ancient beast lords the Dog, and the Bear.
The party consists of the elf princess who is always accompanied by her ranger body guard, the visiting cleric feels compelled to investigate the threat of the beast lord cult, while the fighter who is under Pytor’s employ is ordered to lead the expedition. The four will be able to travel on the horses they arrived on. They leave by early afternoon quickly on the heels of the retreating goblin horde.
Knowing they were only hours behind the fleeing horde, the PC’s take deliberate care to stay just off the monster’s heels. The ranger mostly ranged while the party stayed put, bringing them up once he had scouted many leagues ahead.
The frightened herd of Sukiskyn whites is spotted across from a wooded hillside with a rocky brook trickling along the front. The primitive paddock is constructed of thorny bunches of brambles grown into a thick, dense mass approximately four feet high. Two wargs loiter outside the one opening. The horses are too frightened to attempt to run or leap the thorn bush walls. The horses have the capability. They could easily leap the paddock walls, and outdistance the wargs, but they are too gripped with fear.
The PC’s count the number of horses in the paddock, and look for the pregnant mare amongst them. They notice it is only half the herd. 21 total horses are in the thorn paddock, and the pregnant mare is not among them.
The elfin princess cast forth arcane symbols in the air breathing strange words of power and a white wisp, tendrils of delicate smoke begin to rise from the earth around the 2 menacing dire wolves. Unaware of the subtle clouds enchanted qualities, the fearsome creatures doze gently into a sleep. With the only outside guards neutralized, the party boldly approaches the goblin’s front door. The stout wooden door has a crude lock keeping the handle from working. The elf’s lock pick set does not have the appropriate tool to unhinge it so the ranger, and the fighter?cleric? jointly kick it down. The warriors force their way into the entry. After lighting torches one of the party members (I believe it was either the ranger or fighter with spear) moves down the passage way. Confronting the goblin blockade they quickly overrun the position, and continue on.
They push their way into the main hall of the underground goblin lair. Here the goblin shaman with the rock pythons has assembled his personal guard to meet the attackers. He immediately throws two squirming snakes and one manages to wrap around the elf’s arm. The guards rush the party. While the elf struggles with the crushing grip of the rock python, the warriors make quick work of the goblins. It takes a moment to stab the aggressive snake, but not before the elf’s arm received significant crushing damage. Chance to cast spell has been reduced by 25% until healed. The party takes a moment to attend to the wounds received in the two quick melee sessions. The cleric and the elf received wounds which require attention. While administering the triage, the party forgets about the other Rock Python the dead goblin shaman had hurled. It strikes from the shadows and bites down on the elf’s leg causing a wound. With this minor annoyance dealt with the party investigates the room a bit. Here they find a small box with three bottles of potion, jewelry, and coin. They also turn up a wounded goblin (or one of them surrendered?) and do a fast interrogation. Confirming that the goblin raiders are making for the Lake of Lost Dreams the fighter kills the goblin.
The party is now confronted with the issue of the split herd. The pregnant mare is believed to be essential in the goblin’s plans and whatever the goblins are up to should be stopped. Unchecked goblin aggression and sorcery can only spell doom for countless Traldarian homesteaders. But to forge ahead onto the lake would mean leaving the current horses they just secured defenseless and lost in the Dymrak forest.
The ranger smartly asks if he knows any helpful information about the Dymrak and wants to roll against his wilderness lore, and folk lore skills. Scoring a good roll, he knows of Loshad, a centaur. He is rumored to be a self appointed keeper of the Dymrak and the creatures which inhabit it. Surely if he could be summoned he could be entrusted with the safekeeping of the horses. The fact that they wish to pursue even more horses and save them from the black goblin beasts should say the woodland druid to their cause. There is a glade in which the Vylari elves pay homage to the keepers of the forest not far from here and the ranger recommends they make an attempt to contact Loshad. The elf and the cleric agree to accompany the ranger and try and call the on the centaur while the fighter chooses to stay and guard the horses.
The ranger knows the fabled greeting verse but says he is not good at such things. The cleric steps forth and gives his best oration in the woodland glade. Presently a centaur appears flanked by three majestic war horse and gives the group a greeting. The centaur listens intently to what the PC’s have to say and offers a bargain.
Loshad agrees to take the 21 Sukiskyn horses under his protection but if the PC’s would like them returned to Sukiskyn Steading they will have to destroy the earthly champions fighting on behalf of the Dog and the Bear. These two loathsome servants of evil crave power over the Dymrak and wish to feast on the blood of its denizens. Upon delivering their heads to this glade Loshad will release the horses from his care.
He does forewarn the party they lack the weapons of power to face these demons. That they are men transformed by the disease of lycanthropy and will take special care to defeat. The path to the lake will bring you face to face with danger, but also on this path will you find the tools you need to be victorious. None have called on the vanquished beast lords of old in countless centuries, and the goblins should not be allowed to try herald their return. All this Loshad discloses to the PC’s.
“Ask the Vyalia elves who watch the lake for where such weapons of power can be found. Ask for the weapons of the huntsman because the beast is loose.” And with that the mighty centaur vanishes into the forest with his body guards and the herd.
Upon returning to the Viper’s lair they find the fighter bereft of horses. He explains three magnificent war horse came galloping into the glen and led the herd away. He was transfixed by the brilliant singing which emanated throughout the surrounding forest. While the language was not intelligible, the effect was exhilarating as it was calming. He assumed the negotiations with the magical centaur went well.
Resuming their journey now on foot (as all the horses went with Loshad’s heralds) the PC’s arrive at the Lake of Lost Dreams .