The heroes met at the "Wet Trout" in Easthaven. It was a hard morning, the spring had come late and the chill was still in the air. The dwarven cleric Arifal had been dispatched by Dain Stokely Silverstream to answer an old debt. The man known as Orlin Sandheaver and his family were in peril at their homestead east of the Redrun. Old debts are paid by dwarves, they are paid in full and so the mighty war priest of Moradin was sent forth.
Jerimia of Icewind Dale was a ranger and guardian of these lands and had heard the call as well. Settlers east of the Redrun had come into a strange peril and they had lost communication. The Arch Druid Bromstead Talcaster had dispatched his ranger to go to the aid of the dwarf, Arifal to meet this new threat head on before it became too great.
So it was that at 9 O'clock in the morning, on a cold and drizzly Wednesday morning they set out from the "Trout" to find a canoe to take across Lac Dinneshere. They searched a bit as most of the fisherfolk were out looking for knuckleheads on the lake, but after a while had finally come across a man willing to rent them one and not for exorbitant prices.
They rowed carefully across the lake as in even spring it was fraught with potential mishaps. Arifal made attempts to draw Jerimia into conversation by telling the young man of the history of the dwarves in the dale. Jerimia for his part kept silent and gave a casual nod to paying attention. Arifal had reputation as a fell handed warrior after all. The trip took nearly an hour, but at last they arrived on the other shore and pulled their canoe out of the water. They knew they may need to get it waterborne swiftly.
Passing down the vale they felt the bite of chill air and watched about with care. They had no idea what had caused this state of affairs, but the quiet and cold left a eerie feel in the air. The fog rolled in shortly after. The stream still ran quickly and clear. But it was far too shallow in points and swift to try to canoe up. They first came to a smaller cabin with impeccable thatching. This place had been ransacked and Jerimia explored the outside while Arifal went in. They found that the owners, who were ironically enough the Thatcher family had been slain. Carefully following the tracks, they discovered that Worgs had attacked the family some 3 days ago.
This did not bode well, but they still took the time for a cursory look, they also had to wait out a sudden spring storm. Further investigation showed that the old couple (as they were in their 60's) were fast assaulted but the worgs took their time with deliberate malice before slaying them. Jerimia discovered a dagger forged near a century ago in the forges of the Battlehammer clan and passed to the Thatchers for some old dead of valor in those past days when Akar Kessel troubled the lands.
It became a more troubling thought that the Thatchers had been slain for days. This boded poorly for the Sandheaver family. With a harsh and sudden spring storm upon them, Jerimia and Arifal decided to wait it out in the cabin. They took to watch and rested. It was a perfect time for a hot meal and so they indulged. But the storm was soon ended and they felt the pull of necessity to push on. While it was cold and getting darker, They pressed forward towards the next homestead.
When they arrived in the area again they found carnage. Jerimia and Arifal split up after seeing the bodies of the wife and her daughter torn to shreds, but not devoured. That was a difference from the last and it made them question. Arifal found the father and his son dead not far from it. It was somewhat baffling until Jerimia discovered the youngest son hiding near the top of a great pine. The Homestead had been mostly ransacked but it appeared they tried to run for it instead of holding up.
Jerimia discovered that the child was traumatized (and rightly so) but that there was in fact yet a worg nearby (the creature had a name, but none could speak its vile tongue) and it had eagerly awaited the opportunity to slay the child or his would be rescuers. The boy's name was Lithstan and he was 7 years old. He was brave and wise enough to run up the tree. He would not come down easily. The worg stalked forward, but Jerimia was well hidden. Arifal then broke into a mighty dwarven war song, his spirit soared with the hope of battle and Jerimia had alerted him to the beast's awful presence.
Waiting until the beast had committed itself to violence, Jerimia shot his great ash wood bow at the beast. His arrow sunk deep, the worg was unaware of the ranger's presence and was shocked by the sudden assault. It was completely unprepared for Arifal's attack. It was swift and complete. Arifal's hammer smashed its skull and the beast fell dead at his feat. Arifal then was able to coax the boy down in his gruff, yet friendly manner. The boy was familiar with dwarves and complied readily.
It became an issue of now what to do with young Lithstan. After a bold debate they decided to secure him in his house and return with the Sandheavers. They carefully set the house to be a safe place to escape to. They pressed on in the morning to the Sandheaver homestead. When they arrived they saw the Sandheaver's out and gathering supplies in a furtive manner.
Arifal hailed the father, Orlin and told him the situation, it was confirmed by Mr. Sandheaver who swiftly gathered his family to escape. This was exactly what the worgs had been waiting for. They had set an ambush and now pressed in for the kill. Arifal rushed the family inside and then set himself to guard the door. Jerimia swiftly went up to the roof and drew his mighty bow and again set himself to shoot. The battle was short and sharp.
The worgs were swiftly slain by hammer and arrow. As the second worg tried to flee it was struck down by fire from the heavens. Arifal had called upon his holy powers to strike the beast. With the death of the worgs, our heroes left the field with the family in tow. The surviving worg in the area kept track of the party as it split. Arifal went on with the family to recover young Lithstan, while Jerimia went further east to check on the last settlement.
Of Arifals journey there is not much to be said. He pressed on firmly but at pace the family could keep, they made good time, yet even so, Jerimia quickly caught up. He had pressed on and found yet another slaughtered homestead. He had also discovered what appeared to be mine detritus in the high part of the river. There was more at work then they realized. Arifal had recalled one Durncrag in the tavern of Good Mead who had mined these parts in decades past. There was more mystery here than they had figured. The Heroes led the family to the safety of Easthaven while the remaining worg kept pace with them, it thought better of challenging them.
The heroes arrived in Easthaven and prepared the night, Orlin Sandheaver was grateful and made sure that the heroes had a warm bed and warm meal for the night. In the morning things would be sorted out, but for now all was well.
The next chapter: Into caverns darkly will be in 2 weeks. It will see the fulfillment of the first part of the tale of Icewind Dale.