Hunter was torn he wanted to find the focus of this ancient magic and he had no issue pressing on through the night, but Toby and the bear cubs were in no shape to defend themselves and Magen’s men had joined up to journey with them, not fight in the dark alone.
Shaking his and lightly kicking a small rock on the ground Hunter let out a small sigh before speaking in a low voice. “I have to agree with Shara, while I would love to push on, it would be unfair to Magen’s men to leave them in this place alone overnight.”
“I’d also hate for them to think we were lost and start looking for us.” Hunter said with a little more confidence.
Having decided the heroes return to the old lumber camp and set in for another evening of rest. Toby is much better and says that tomorrow he would like to return to Murgberg (on his own if you are still investigating the woods) and will return late the following day once he has re-equipped himself.
That night the eve passes without incident again but in the morning the heroes wake to a strange sigh indeed. Just into the woods, along the trail that the heroes have been taking the last week or so are ten simple wooden figures hanging from the trees. They don't radiate any kind of magic or baneful energy and yet... the give you a cold feeling just looking at them... as if they were a warning or signal for danger???
They look like this...
Everyone can make either an Intelligence (Arcana) or (History) skill check
As Shara finishes her morning prayers, the first rays of sunlight begin filtering through the forest. On her way back toward the cabins, she stops and stands still when she notices the figures dangling from the trees. She hadn't seen them in the pre-dawn darkness, but now they were obvious--and disturbing.
She approaches them slowly, wondering who might have done this, and why.
Shara and Corwin are not sure what if anything the figures mean, they just creep them out. Hunter had read in a dusty old tomb of history once that in the early days of the Thule Empire, the peasants and other simple folk use to put out similar stick like figures to ward off evil spirits of the previous Age (the Red Age or the time when the evil Red Elves rules most of these lands). Later it was said that some evil creatures would use such totems to taunt and frighten people as a symbol that they would be marked out for death.
“I know these,” Hunter said quietly to no one in particular before he focused himself and talked to the group, “I remember reading about these totems when I first left home. Back in the days of the Thule Empire these were used to ward off evil spirits.”
Hunter’s voice grew a little quieter and hoarser, “but more and more these totems have been used by evil creatures to signal a target has been marked for death. They are supposed to frighten us.”
"Someone knows we are here and is none too happy about it."
Shara's expression grows more troubled as Hunter explains the figures. "I don't like that they know where our camp is," she says when he finishes. "I hope Galan and the boys will still be safe here."
She takes a step closer and turns one of the figures around, looking at it closely. "I wonder why ten of them? There are nine of us..." she muses. "Anyway, now the others really can't be left alone at night, so if we're going to find that focus, we should get moving."
[sblock=Mini stats]HP: 33/33 AC: 17
Spell slots: 1st: 4/4, 2nd: 2/2
Spells prepared: Burning Hands, Faerie Fire, Flaming Sphere, Scorching Ray, Protection from Evil and Good, Shield of Faith, Cure Wounds, Healing Word, Inflict Wounds, Prayer of Healing
Just checked the RG and yeah, it's 3 retainers. (The groom, the page, and the squire.) So 9 of us altogether.
Edit: Although honestly that 10th one almost made it spookier. Like...who's that one for? The animals? Someone we have yet to meet in the forest...meaning the figure-leaver has some knowledge of the future? Or are they just messing with us? Or was the number totally random?
The heroes hastily cut the figures down without problems and discard them in the bushes. Toby makes ready to head back to Muntberg then and asks everyone if they would like him to pick up anything else?
Just want to know the plan for the day. You can go to either monolith and try and push through to the center BUT you may not be able to make it back to the camp by nightfall. Do you want to try or inform the retainers you might be later or that it might be spending the night out in the woods, etc.
How would you guys feel about having the retainers and mules/carts accompany Toby back to Muntberg? They'd all be safer in a group, and we wouldn't have to worry about them for a couple days, so we could camp in the forest.
If they're going to stay, Shara's staying in camp while you guys look for the focus. No way she'd let them stay overnight alone now that they've been threatened right here.