Cold, wet, and after Ellifayne looked up at the stars and determined they were far east of where they had been, Cole, Ishtar, ellifayne, Gaelron and garcon looked around them. they were standing in a large open field, with nothing but tall grass and teh occasional tree as far as they could see. Ishtar was still a were-rat and manacled. He hissed at the rest of them. Gaelron told everyone to watch them and began clearing teh area for a campsite. He also dragged back a large fallen tree and started a fire and started setting up their wet belongings. and tied up the horses. Ishtar turned back into his normal self and they discussed what to do. With no clue where they were, other than east, they decided to head west in the morning. They also knew they had to find a cure for Ishtar's lycanthropy and Ishtar said he wodul consult with his god about teh fastest route to a cure. the news from Ishtar's god was not good, but they moved east anyway. At night they shackled ishtar, and with the moon almost full, there was no small amount of panic amongst them. The next day as they were setting up camp, a man in chain mail walked towards them he had no pack of any kind and when hearing their tale, offered to help Ishtar (who hadn't told him anything was wrong). He led them to a small creek and instructed Ishtar to enter with him, and performed a simple ceremony over the him. As Ishtar was drying off they heard rustling to teh north and it seems they had been followed by a bipedal feline named Toshiro (who later showed them his extensive maps of teh lands, which is hen they determined they were very far from home, in uncharted lands) and his companion teh Crimson Fist as well as an acrobat named rashad and his small cloaked companion Mitt. They dined together in teh brisk evening air and apparently when no one was looking the wandering priest had vanished. In teh morning, they found a bag addressed to them wishing them luck intheir journey home, and within it was several magic items. gaelron informed Toshiro they wanted to get supplies before heading west and he told them they shoudl head swouthwst to teh nearest twon, which was about 2 days away. Before they arrived in town, they came upon a small farm-house and met its inhabitants who told a story of being assaulted by large lizard like creatures who really didn't harm them or take much, but who :stole their beuty". As they ate with this kind woman and her brother, Mitt, who had stayed in teh barn, noticed these large lizzrds trying to steal their horses. He let oiut a lionine roar and alrted his new friends who rushed out to see their horses (and gear) being ridden away by these armored bipedal lizards. Toshiro and the Crimson Fist began chasing teh horses on foot, and the rest tried to launh a missilie assault, but already they were too far away. Quickly they gathered up what belongings they had taken inside and followed the very noticeable path left by the galloping horses. Eventually they all met up at a small cavern entrance the horses had headed into. With everyone accounted for they headed in, and after travelling but 100 feet or so emerged from the cave in the mountains (???). The air was thicjk with teh smell of oil and metal, teh ground was soft and teh tracks were easily followable. They came across one of teh horses corpses, stripped clean of all meat, and not that old. they found teh trail led to a walled city, and after discussing ways to break in, the Crimson volunteered to get them entry. He climbed the walls and found several guards. Swinging his sabres, one struck the hard stone and snapped, and as teh city alrm went up and flare arrows were shot, he ran back down teh wall, while Mitt waited for an oppurtunity to enter the city 9after having fallen in his attempts to climb) and Rashad and toshiro ran up to save their friend. Gaelron waited where they were, while everyone else fled to teh north. Without too much difficulty, they all got out of the archer's visual and missile range and sped off into the hills, hoping to be able o pick up the trail of their companions. The Crimson Fist was nowhere to be seen, as was fist. But Toshiro sniffed teh air and said the Fist would show up. Finding a small cave to stay while the mounted soldiers looked for the individuals foolish enough to lay siege to Ironridge, they slept a couple hours and found their companion's trail and met up with them. Mitt was missing, and Gaelron informed everyone he had to get Dural (his horse) and his equipment back while teh trail was still warm. Garcon agreed, and they continued north, with everyone else following. Mitt had made his way into the city, but was caught and detained for several days. When he finally got out, he was unable to find his friend's trail, so he started to ply his trade in Ironridge. Every city needs a thief.
Making their way through the mountains towards flatter, greener land ahead, they came to a point Toshiro told them where the original riders left the horse and gave them to a group of humanoids. They followed the horses (Dural is a good horse) up a trail that headed up a small hill. The trail was cleverly camouflaged, and with The Crimson Fist and Toshiro scouting ahead, they became aware of something trailing them in the woods off the path. They tried to sneak up whoever it was, but the trailer surprised the party when he stepped out onto the path and announced that he was looking for something that had been stolen from him as well. As he moved closer, everyone was able to see that his beauty had been stolen, just like the women and her brother they had encountered earlier. Slightly wary of this newcomer, but understanding his plight they allowed him to join them. Toshiro and the Fist continued to scout ahead and discovered an entrance to an ancient tomb or temple of some sort, as well as a stable. Reporting back with this information, they moved cautiously up the hill and were ambushed by several orcs who lay hidden on top of the numerous large rocks. This band of 9 quickly moved into action and struck down the orcs without too much difficulty and moments later were attacked by almost 20 more as well as a two-headed giant and several ogres. Not only were there large ambush-prepared rocks, but pits as well. Gaelron, moving into action fell into one of the pits and a large bug came running into the fray and seeing several people struggling to get him out, whisked them aside and tried to pull him out. The ettin ran towards this bug and trying push him into the pit also, missed horribly and fell in himself, right on top of Gaelron. The ettin’s massive mass made Galeron invisible and Cole and the big bug started to try and pull the ettin off him. Meanwhile everyone else held back the orcs, and soon found the battlefield covered with the vile creature’s dead bodies. Finally, Cole and the bug pulled the ettin off enough to see Gaelron and Ellifayne jumped in to aid him (thinking not at all of the 20 foot drop). Gaelron had lost consciousness, but was still alive. With no more living enemies around, they grabbed their fallen comrades and retreated down the trail. Ishtar invoked Prentios to allow him to speak with the bug, who had followed them, and found out he was a kind fellow, sworn to smite the evil plague of Yuan Ti which was plaguing the land. The party patched themselves up and started heading back up the trail to launch another assault. As they approached the hill-top and began discussing a plan, Garcon merely walked into the encampment and started heading for the tom, claiming he was sick and tired of waiting and needed his spell book back. This time, it was the party who fled, as not only orcs and ogres came out from the tomb, but trolls as well. Almost half the party lost consciousness this time, and with everyone greatly wounded they retreated again, having burned none of the trolls. Sinjin reported a naga lay in wait inside the tomb, and this bit of news sent a shiver down everyone’s spine.
They made haste back to their secured camp-site and spent several days tending to their wounds (which were numerous). They discussed various attack plans and ways to get inside. Throughout all this Garcon sat around camp, quite depressed. His spell-book was the culmination of all he knew, without it, he was practically useless (hey, no wisecracks allowed, Garcon is quite useful!). While on double duty at the start of one evening, Ishtar and the big bug sat on duty, combing teh perimeter and the biug heard a ruckus. He leaped high into teh sky towards the sound and found nothing, not even Ishtar. Quickly he ran around the camp's perimeter. looking for his new comrade and coudl not find him. He woke everyone up (a prospect that startled more than one person, a 7 foot tall bug waking you up has the potential to be a very very bad thing). Everyone quickly jumped into action and Toshiro scouted out where the ruckus had been and determined that Ishtar had been captured by the nefarious Yuan-Ti slavers to the south. Still only half strength due to their injuries and tapped of spells, they made quick pursuit, but shortly they came upon the sorry fact that teh slavers had taken Ishtar off on horseback. Toshiro silently vowed revenge. They returned to camp, even more frightened than their brush with death had brought them and all had a restless night's sleep. On teh third day they made their back up into the small vale nestled in amongst the surrounding peaks and Toshiro scouted ahead, determining that there was no one guarding the entrance this time, they moved forward back into this ancient tomb. Cautiously they moved inward and found a hallway with many doors off of it. They listened for any signs of activity, but heard nothing. The Crimson Fist approached one of the doors and turned the knob, finding it locked, but just as he realized this, everyone heard a click and a hige block of stone fell on top of him, the sound of his bones snapping like dry twigs was painfully apparent. Gaelron and Toshiro quickly ran to pull the block off of the Fist and eventually managed to budge it enough that Cole and Ellifayne were able to pull him free. His chest barely heaved with life. Quickly Ellifanye knelt over him and cast sevearl healing spells on him, resetting his bones nad closing most of his wounds. The Fist looked back at the huge block and shuddered and they continued on, much more cautiously. They came to one doorway that had several large timbers supporting teh inevitable falling block from falling, and though this probably indicated thi door was safe to enter. They made their way inside and found a small blacksmith's shop, with a multitude of poorly made weapons adorning the many shelves. There was also a small crack in the back wall and they squeezed through, finding a natural cavern beyond. The cavern seemed to be soem sort of barracks, but no one was present. They did howevere see a sturdy metal ladder leading down. The ladder led down over 20 feet into darkness and Toshiro volunteered to lead the way. As he started climbing down, he was pulled from the laddeer by a pair of strong claws. He let out a dreadful roar and everyone jumped into action, getting down the ladder as fast as they coudl. they found a small group of trolls (damned if they had only burned them in their first encounter...) drooling over the idea of humanoid flesh other than orc, they started biting and clawing. Sinjin saw one troll retreat down a hole in the back of the chamber, and the rest of the party fighted valiantly. but with teh Fist already having knocked on Death's door today, they were no match for the fearsome creatures. They retreated up the ladder and Cole grabbed one of teh straw mattresses and thre it down the hole while the trolls followed. He quickly started lighting a torch and Gaelron grabbed the ladder attached to the wall and started pulling it, in hopes of stopping the trolls from following. With a valiant cry he told his comrades to reatreat, and as they ran towards the exit, they saw a pair of wicked clws grab him, ripping his pride and joy, his plate armor, and with that Gaelron drpped into the hole. The party quickly ran over and saw one of teh orcs throw him off while several others started ripping his body apart. Toshiro and the Fist were both quite bloody themselves and looked down, calculating their chances to survive. As teh troll that had pulled him down started climbing back up, they saw gaelron use his last bit of strength to wave them on, his blood filled mouth urged thm to "go..." Quickly, Cole magically worked the stone floor, sealing off the lair and they retreated. They picked up Garcon and the bug, who waited outside, one because he was too big to fit in the smaller passages, ond one because he was quite depressed and (rightfully so) felt quite powerless. When the Big Big noticed that his friend gaelron did not emerge from teh tomb, he looked about frantically. Cole tried to calm him down (and stop him from going inside) by telling him that gaelron had died saving them. The bug thoughtfully fingered the giant tooth Gaelron had given him and walked with a much slower gait than normal. They returned to camp and Cole took Dural aside and spoke with him. They two returned to camp and Cole reported that Dural was going to keep Gaelron's dream alive and continue on the path home. All who knew Gaelron, paid their respects to Dural, the Big Bug took the necklace from his neck and placed it around the horse's neck. With that, Dural walked away and everyone raised a drink to Gaelron that night. Is it possible that bugs can cry?