-Since the Somberlain is almost always twilit (save encountering the open tombs and the night creepers), the party had no sense of when to make camp. They decided to sleep when a consensus was reached that they needed to do so. They set up watch and laid down for a period of fitful sleep. Each watch thought they heard something out in the fog at various points, but in the unrelenting silence it was hard to discern what was real and what was imagined.
-During the fourth watch Nimy woke up to something whispering her name. When she opened her eyes she found a black furred creature with a segmented body and eerily human eyes next to her. It smiled and then scampered off like a four-legged insect. She alerted the rest of the party, who stared out into the emptiness around them for the next hour as Ymanie memorized her spells and Ingrid and Roderick sat in their daily prayers. Just as they were about to break camp and set back out, Ymanie began rifling through her belongings. She was clearly panicked, didn't stop searching through her bags long enough to respond. She was frantic, but took a deep breath and regained her composure. She told them that one of the two Somberlain stones they used to gain access to the spectral road was missing. And without two stones, they had no hope of getting off the Somberlain. To quell their fears she let them know that it was not impossible to find more stones along the way. In her previous travels she had discovered several, and with a less than confident smile told them she was sure another would turn up.
-As the party continued their journey, they formulated a plan to enact when they next camped. Ingrid would cast a hold person spell through a glyph of warding. Nimy would sleep inside this protected area with the remaining Somberlain stone, which the rest of the party could access through a secret password (a password so secret they wouldn't even share it with their dungeon master.)
-After what they reckoned to be five or six hours of travel, the party stopped when they heard the unmistakable sounds of battle in the fog ahead of them. Dorcas untied herself from the safety line and crept ahead in silence, Zarn at her side. They crept close enough to witness four men, clearly adventurers, clashing with a group of four 8' tall white crab/beetle creatures. The creatures seemed to be protecting one of their own, and the men weren't committed to full combat, but seemed to be testing the creatures with the occasional probing attack.
-Dorcas relayed this scene to the party, and they agreed to move foreward as a force to both make their presence known and possibly lend a hand if there was trouble. The men--a cloaked magic user, a thief, a blond haired, blue eyed fighter, and a stern cleric wearing the spiked mace symbol of an unknown god--looked on warily as the party emerged from the fog behind them. The fighter and the thief stayed close to the crab beings, occasionally making feints, but the cleric addressed the party. He introduced his own group as The Way, and the party noticed they all bore the sigil of four arrows, emerging from one point, aimed forward in a singular direction. This cleric, who didn't give his name, said his party were traveling along and came across these creatures, which seemed hostile. This claim seemed dubious, as the creatures didn't seem to be the aggressors in this situation. Noticing that the creatures bore bagged cargo strapped to their sides (suggesting they were possibly intelligent), the Sparagmos-Fweedom Collective suggested that the Way back off to see if there was a chance to parlay with the creatures instead of fighting with them. The Way scoffed at this, and the fighter and thief fully engaged with one of the creatures, slashing at its outstretched claws. The cleric told the party that if they helped, The Way would gladly split any loot they pulled from the creatures' corpses.
|Like this, but whiter and crabbier.|
-The battle was difficult, despite Sparagmos' superior numbers. The Way were clearly hardened adventurers, with great skill in combat and several powerful magic items at their disposal. During the clash the creatures focused solely on The Way--further evidence that the party chose the correct side.
-First the frog wizard fell, then the thief (backstabbed by Dorcas), then the cleric, but the fighter would not go down. His blows always seemed to strike true, and any damage dealt to him also reflected back on the attacker. His insistence that the party fight him in close combat tipped them off to his weakness. Shepard kept him engaged, but the rest of the party attacked from a distance until he fell.
-One of the creatures approached the party after The Way's fighter was killed. It bowed foward, tipping its head to the ground, and then its back opened. A small,
-The creature identified itself as the leader of a most sacred pilgrimage. His race, the Krak'nal, inhabited a dying world, the conditions of which no longer allowed them to spawn. As it was in the millenia before, the Krak'nal knew they must move to another world, leaving behind their civilization and starting anew. This group carried the future of their race tied in those sacks at their sides--hundreds of thousands of carefully preserved eggs, which the group were to bring to a world chosen by their sages. Their leader gave thanks to the party, telling them that their names would be forever sung by future generations of the Krak'nal, as it was they alone who snatched their race from the jaws of extinction. It offered them a small handful of gems, wishing it could do more for them. The party suggested that they could perhaps do more, and asked if they had any spare Somberlain stones. The Krak'nal pilgrims gladly offered them several spare stones, thanked them, and then were on their way.
-Shepard, running low on the rotting humanoid meat that sustained her, cut several selections from the corpses of The Way. She also took several locks of hair, which led the party to think she might be into eating that now, too.
-Ingrid stacked the corpses and said a blessing over them, commanding in Astarael's name that their trip to the Other Side remain one way.
-The party set off and walked for several hours. Through the fog, they caught occasional glimpses of a diminutive black creature keeping pace with them, but due to its speed and the danger they would face if they left the Somberlain, they could do nothing about it.
|The Way wasn't based on these lads in any, err..way.|