Escaping from the bandits quickly became the parties highest priority. Taking the stolen horses to the northwest, the party lost the pursuing bandits quite quickly in the hills and forests.
Determining that whatever fate had befallen Azalea could not be helped in short order, the party decided to wind northwards towards Oleg’s, exploring what they could along the way.
Several interesting discoveries were made – initially they found a trapped animal, later discovered to be a Thylacine in a pit trap. They freed the beast, and later met with the hapless trapper who had happened to capture it. Introducing himself as Everitt Taby, the man was a sorry sight. Half starved, balding and completely unprepeared for the area, he devoured a large share of food. He had traveled to the wilds of the Greenbelt in an attempt to rebuild his life after losing his entire family to sickness in Longshore where he had been a prosperous owner of a counting house. However, his skills did not translate well and he has struggled to survive. Informing him of Oleg’s potential need as his business grows, he seemed skeptical but thankful.
The party then moved further north and encountered the feared dire boar Tuskgutter. His fearsome reputation did not stand up to the party, and he was slain, butchered and carried to Oleg’s.
The head of Tuskgutter is now installed above the hearth in the common room of Oleg’s – and the proprieter is quick to tell of the deeds of the charter group that has saved him from bandits and slain the beast. With business starting to pick up he is thinking of expanding his operations once the bandit threat is fully eliminated. Rewarded with arrows and a powerful bow, the party continued winding their way back south towards the bandit fortress once more.
They discovered the tell tale signs of what could be a very rich gold mine, and struck their claim. Additionally they encountered a hidden temple in the deeper parts of the forest.
After dispatching a fearsome bear guardian, the party was able to use Dumathoin’s Key to open the main doors.
They discovered that this temple is dedicated to Elhonna, and not Dumathoin, even though it has many of his sigils and signs inscribed within.
Inside a strange scene was found – over two dozen bodies were laying prostrate on the ground facing a large altar. Upon the altar was the remains of a bear, seemingly sacrificed using a magical dagger.
Moving further southwest after claiming the dagger and reclosing the doors they encountered more details of Elhonna worship – notably a medium sized statue of a humanoid. Standing atop a pedestal carved with a motif of marching figures with the heads of elk, the statue is in poor shape overall. Strangely, the head of it is only carved up to the jaw, and the rest of the head seems to be unfinished, but is smooth and polished like a wig-makers dummy.
From here, the party elected to move south east back towards the river and again towards the fortress of the Stag Lord, as much of their required exploration has been completed.