The forest greets them with little more than spiders in Sister Helle’s hair at first,
but they aren’t far from the village before the blacksmith, Caolan, steps out of
the trees along with several other men, all armed. They attack, and the party
defends themselves, taking care to only knock the men unconscious, not kill
them. Though Shavok tries to reason with them, it is only when their numbers fall
that they finally turn and run, leaving Shavok badly injured. But they regroup and
take a breather.
Their breather is interrupted by a taunting, rasping voice; a small, strange crow,
perched on a nearby branch. Even Max has nothing in his knowledge of lore to
explain this mocking creature, and Tygra nearly attacks it. The crow states that
it is delivering a message — Things are not as simple as they may first appear
here— and flies off.
Disturbed, the party can come to no conclusion regarding the creature’s
provenance or purpose, though Tygra suggests that some evil force might have
driven the villagers to this poisonous rage. The silver link Shavok carries has not
changed. The men are stirring, so the party moves forward.
They come across the abandoned remains of the Dalish encampment, not far off
the track in the forest. The elves’ wagons form a circle around the cold ashes of a
campfire’s remains in a shallow pit. The wagons as well as the debris around the
camp show signs of a struggle. Shavok and Tygra investigate more closely and
discover from the patterns of blood that the attack was not a wholesale slaughter,
but there are no bodies at the campsite.
Helle notices clear tracks that lead towards the south/southeast, as on Eshara’s
crude map. All footprints seem to belong to the elves, with no signs of tracks
made by their attackers. Did the elves leave under their own volition? Did they
destroy their own camp?
Max hears whimpering, which, when Tygra investigates, turns out to be a tiny
kitten with a broken leg inside one of the overturned kettles. (Helle finds ten
silver and a bottle of wine.) Tygra bandages the kitten up, and they decide to
keep it. Max, it turns out, is explosively allergic to the cat.
Shavok fondly recalls Anders and his cat, Ser Pounce-A-Lot. Max recalls Anders
much less fondly, but nonetheless, the name sticks. Tygra and Shavok set up a
defensive perimeter blocking most entrances to the camp. They divvy up watch
and proceed with the night.
Max wakes up two hours into the night with the kitten on his face and has an
allergy attack, which startles Tygra at just the right time, as she hears something
off in the distance. The sound of faint, mocking laughter seems to drift out of the
trees. Dark, mysterious figures, like jackals with glowing red eyes, surround and
attack the party.
Tygra goes through them like a thresher. In death, the creatures change their
form, becoming what looks like Dalish elves, bearing wounds similar to the
ones Eshara sustained. The party is shocked, but before they can even process
their shock, the strange bird returns to mock this tragedy. The bird speaks of
Mythallen as a fool and states that it is no animal. It denies having a master, and
warns the party that Mythallen has their scent and will not rest until they are
gone. Then it flies off.
The kitten pokes its head out of Max’s pocket, meows happily, licks his face and
sends him into another round of sneezes, to Tygra’s delight. The party decides
they need to rest and sleep, as well as tend to the bodies. But they are split over
when to do so; Max and Tygra wish to cremate them immediately, while Shavok
and Helle don’t think it wise to create a pyre with so many uncanny creatures out
hunting for them.
The rest of the night, they are plagued with haunting dreams, and when they
awaken to burn the bodies, they have disappeared. Shavok is annoyed with
himself for not having burned them. Following Eshara’s map, they come to a
massive tree that has fallen across a deep chasm in the forest, forming a natural
bridge to the far side. The chasm is nearly a hundred feet deep, with a river
rushing across tumbled rocks below.