Still reeling from Allistair’s sudden betrayal, and hungover from a collective blackout at the Westoft Twins’ party, the group walked the long, painful trip from the Westoft estate back into Auchendale. Upon arriving in the city, they decided to do what any proper millennial adventurer would do after a long night out- get brunch! During the delicious and expensive meal, they discussed their backgrounds, and got to know a new possible ally- Vaellyn Zau’val, the half-Drow bounty hunter. After a day relaxing and recovering, they set out to investigate rumors of a grizzly murder outside the city.
They arrived at the scene of the crime to find the bloody remains of a merchant slaughtered in the road outside a simple farming community. The remains of the body was more meat than man, and the horses which should have been pulling his cart were mysteriously absent. A particularly long-winded farmer discuss the details of what he saw- a trader was riding his horse drawn cart while playing a fiddle when a huge winged demon landed and started an attack:
“It gets real quiet like, and I hear the screeching noise again, only this time it’s a little louder and it sounds like it’s coming from the treeline. Then it gets real quiet again for a spell, and suddenly I see the demon land like a lightning strike. BOOM. It hit the ground like a blooming explosion right in the road in front of the trader. Huge it were- the demon, not the explosion, although the explosion were huge too. I couldn’t get a look at it’s face, but it’s body was massive, like nothin I’ve seen before. And the wings! Giant black wings, it had. Big as an ox cart, the wings were.” -Sven Grover, elderly farmer
The group convinced the local investigators to turn a blind eye, and performed a rudimentary investigation of their own. They found that some demon had attacked, grabbed the horses, and flew over the treeline, knocking down a few branches on the way. The group decided to travel into the forest to find an unknown druid who had recently warned the locals to stay out of the forest for at least the next week. Way to follow directions.
They arrived at the foot of a hill, punctuated by regular rocky overlooks. After battling a few strange plant based creatures, they discovered their mysterious Druid- none other than Hagmar Valtoris, the very same druid who joined them against the Mysterious Warrior in the Alternate Realm.
Hagmar was in the middle of an unknown spell, apparently attempting to bind a massive Thorn Colossus. When the group disturbed his ritual, they had to face off against the giant creature. After a difficult battle Hagmar was finally able to complete his ritual, forcing the creature back to the Plane of Thuu’l.
After seeking Hagmar’s guidance on the attack, he related his theory that this was likely the work of an adolescent male Griffon trying to make a territorial claim on these lands.
“Intensely territorial, the griffin is. Must be that the previous alpha of these lands has died. I heard of another attack a few weeks ago outside a copper mine. When the Alpha of a Griffin territory dies, it leaves a dangerous power vacuum. What we’re seeing is the adolescent male griffins attempting to claim these lands for their own. They attack anything in the area as a show of dominance to the other male griffins. These territorial battles continue for years, sometimes decades until one Griffin is successful in its claim as the Alpha of it’s territory.” -Hagmar, on the Griffon attacks
Hagmar went on to talk about the myth of the Griffonsmoot, an intense battle between any male Griffons attempting to take control of a territory. It’s said that the winner of this fierce battle becomes the Griffon Lord, master of the territory. If the myth can be believed, once a dominant Griffon takes control of a territory, the others will fall in line and the attacks will stop.
During these discussions, Vaellyn pressed Hagmar about the details of his animal companion, Becky the Goat. She asserted that a rich noble has requested that someone find his missing daughter, Rebecca. Vaellyn asserted that Hagmar transformed the poor girl into a goat. Hagmar remained aloof about the topic, but never the less invited the group to rest and recover at his campsite.
Will our heros stop the senseless merchant slaughters? What was that strange blood ritual at the end of the Westoft party? Could Becky the Goat really be someone’s missing daughter?
FIND OUT NEXT TIME AT DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS!