"Well," Farmer Trill starts to say a bit sheepishly. "About a week ago he rattled some folk with his talk of monsters from the past, and the 'death which comes in the night'. And we found him in some sort of trance after that spouting some mumbo-jumbo that noone could make out. When we shook him out of it, the ground started to quake and we all thought the land-shark was coming to swallow us, but it never showed."
The farmer looks off towards the woods as if he is looking in on the old hermit. "He doesn't hurt anyone and just wanted to be left to his bees and flowers. And we are all for that because he trades in mead, and it is some mighty fine stuff, but he hasn't made any in quite some time. Not sure what's going on, I thought maybe someone stupid went and hired people like yourselves to stop the Bee-Man before he hurt someone. Sorry I jumped to a conclusion there."
He seems worried about the Bee-Man, and why he has recently changed. Your insight gives you the feeling that he also worries someone may think the old hermit dangerous and want to get to him before he hurts anyone.
"Well, we are not aware of anyone wanting to see the Bee Man hurt." Lindrel says. "We were just hoping he might have more information about the land shark. If he's been acting weirder than normal, perhaps we should see if there's an outside source of this behavior. If I remember the area map, his stead would be in that direction. Do you know any convenient trails we might follow to get there without getting lost?"
"Lost," the farmer says with a wide grin. "If you check in on the Bee-Man you can't get lost. Just follow the bees or your nose. Haha! His glade is full of wildflowers of every color and description, you can't miss it."
"Good hunting," Farmer Trill calls as the group heads north towards the forest.
It is less than fifteen minutes when the group arrives at the edge of the forest. There is no campsite of lumberjacks about, but by the numerous tree stumps in one area they must have been here once before. There is no path into the wooded area, but you do notice a couple bees buzzing about at some random wildflowers.
Just to make certain, we are heading to the Bee-Man's glade. Or you could follow the treeline back towards the keep(southeast) and perhaps run into the lumberjacks. I'm good either way, trying not to railroad you, but to many options would probably slow us down even more.
Lindrel looks at her companions. "I suspect we can find the lumberjack camp faster than we can find the Bee Man. But which place is more likely to attract the land shark. One man and his beehives or a camp of lumberjacks, pack animals, possibly a chicken coop or two, etc. Maybe we make sure the lumberjacks are safe first."
Rorik listed to the exchange with the farmers , then thought about the change in plan from finding the bee man to finding the camp. "Finding the camp will probably be easier, and someone there might even be able to give us better directions that "follow the bees".
The group follows the treeline for a half an hour and find an odd site.
It looks like there was a campsite here at one time, it shows all the signs of having been torn down quickly. The group even notices that a few trees have marking on them as if someone had tried to chop them down and then stopped suddenly, never returning to finish the work.
Lindrel is looking at the ground looking for places where a land shark or other burrowing animal might have popped up. It occurs to her that they think it's a bulette they are following but what if it's a remoraz?
Lindrel has little trouble finding the wierdly tilled earth that seems to mark a large burrowing creature near the surface. She finds the "exit hole" now filled in on itself, near two partially cut down trees. The axe marks are only a couple days old.
The grass around the campsite shows the brown square impressions of tents, and the burn marks of two small fires. You find all kinds of lose gear and simple items. A tent peg, some frayed rope, a wash cloth and a leather shoe are just a few of the items strewn across the hastily broken camp.
There are no bodies and no blood to be found anywhere. You can all tell the camp was attacked, but they fled before the creature got the chance to make one of them its meal. Tracks lead in the same direction you were traveling, and are only a few days old.
I'll let this soak in and advance the thread THU/FRI. And answer any questions till then.
The group continues on, as the sun rises but an hour before reaching its peak. Ahead they see a thin tendril of smoke from a small fire and this leads them to a campsite of lumberjacks. Lumberjacks who look to be in no hurry to cut down any trees.
Most of the men lounge around the firepit, staring into it forlornly. As some of them notice your approach the stand hurriedly eyes wide. "No! No!" the say in a loud whisper, all talking at once. "Walk slower, and softer or we're all dead."