My dear, I appreciate your concern, but I could not live with myself if I put you in harm's way. I think the bet way you can help is to go home and give hope to your new friends' parents. You have been saved from what all thought was a certain death. If you can come home safe, perhaps their wee ones can be returned safe and sound as well. Do you think you could come back to the town and show them how brave you were and help them stay hopeful that their loves ones will return?
She claps her hands and nods excitedly, almost skipping as she moves to catch up. She does get down on one knee and look Perrin in the eyes for a long moment, then gives him a big hug, burying her face in his shoulder. He actually wags his tail at the attention before looking at Nox with a "What?" expression on his face.
The two of them follow Nox. Graymoon remains vigilant in the clearing and waves the mage to follow the child before following suit.
Jeva walks alongside Laucian. "You don't seem like them. You don't seem as comfortable with a weapon as they are." She looks at him with open curiosity.
As you walk through the forest, you notice that the party is not alone. It's more of a feeling than anything specific, but then you see Eluf watching from alongside a tree. When he sees you notice him, he smiles (with still way too many teeth), nods, and steps back out of sight.
As you walk through the forest, you notice that the party is not alone. Whoever is accompanying the party, though, doesn't seem to be approaching - they are keeping pace, walking alongside.
The kobolds' trail is obvious. It's almost like someone is intentionally marking the trail.
Jeva, looking a little nervous, finds a reasonably stout branch lying on the path and picks it up. As she walks, she idly swings it at taller clumps of grass as she walks by, her other hand absently resting on Perrin's shoulder.
As you walk, you notice a wolf on a rise in the distance watching you through the trees. It doesn't approach or make any threatening moves. Graymoon watches your backtrail carefully, waiting for a pack to come up behind the slower party, but they never materialize.
Finally, after several hours of walking, the trail brings you to a primitive crossing where the river narrows and falls over a short ledge. The stone shelf is damp and slick, but passable. On the far side, the river has worn the stone down in a narrow but deep slot where the water rushes through. Crossing it should not be a problem. It will require a DC 7 Acrobatics check to jump across or something more creative.
Acrobatics checks or description of alternative plans, please!
Laucian reaches the gap and hesitates, speechless for the moment. Looking back at Jeva, he grins, "Well, this reminds me of a story." He jumps over with only slightly more success than Nox, but his balance is worse, so he ends up teetering on the edge and windmilling his arms. Graymoon reaches across the gap with his longbow and pushes, allowing the entertainer to regain control.
Graymoon turns and offers a hand to the young girl, which she takes. Once she has cleared the gap, he looks back across the river one last time and follows suit.
Perception DC 10:
There is no doubt in your mind that she needed no assistance. The girl has nerve and strength for one so young.
Clear of the river, Graymoon stares back at the way they'd come. Grimly, he turns to the druid and asks, "Lizardfolk? And kobolds? I'm not sure which I like less. These lizardfolk are friends of yours? Do you think those kobolds might be related to the ones our doughty friend is tracking?"
I expect that they are of the same tribe. The chance of 2 tribes of Kobolds being tracked by the same Lizardfolk Druid and being brash enough to attack outsiders seem low. As for Eluf and his tribe, they were friends to us and he says he was a friend to my father as well. They did right by us in aiding and expediting our return to town
Graymoon's eyes narrow, but he nods. "Then you have a truce with them. I will respect that, but I have had problems - lots of problems - with lizardfolk in the past. Kobolds are much worse, though. At least I don't have to ask if I must stay my hand against one of them."
Judging from the agression we saw from the Kobold's prior, I don't think you will lack for something to do friend. And to me, this scooping of children would be awfully good bait, especially with these obvious tracks. I wouild have a hand on a hilt.
On this side of the river, the woods seem quiet and foreboding, more so than they were before the crossing. All you hear is the gentle flow of the main river and the rush of the water forced through the rocky cut you crossed over.
As you move away from the river and even its sound begins to fade, you hear splashing and the cries of an animal in distress. Just as suddenly, the cries stop and the splashing subsides. All is soon quiet again other than the sound of your feet and Jeva whispering questions to Laucian.
The illusionist finally shushes the girl and stops talking himself after a few glares and at least one axe-shaking from the others.
Allowing for rest stops and a brief lunch, the sky is beginning to darken as you follow the trail. Nox and Gilgar are aware that your path has led you directly toward Droskar's Crag and the sun will be setting behind it from your perspective. As a result, you are going have an early 'sunset' because you will be in the mountain's shadow.
Do you wish to maintain your march in the early twilight or stop and set up camp?
The dwarf's darkvision means the party could track all night as long as the tracks are clear enough.
Rolling on your behalf to keep things moving:
Survival (tracking) with penalty for conditions 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (14) + 5 = 19
Graymoon is able to locate some clues, also, giving you a +2 to your check. He seems to be pretty proficient at tracking, but he makes no move to make a point of it, just sharing things he notices. Making you look better, too, since he's only whispering them to you - no one else needs to know!
And until it is pitch black, the elves' low-light vision allows them to continue aiding the dwarf's tracking if he has any trouble, but he doesn't seem to have any doubts as he marches forward, axe in hand.
Rolling on your behalf to keep things moving:
Survival (tracking) with penalty for conditions 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4
Survival (tracking) with penalty for conditions 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (11) + 8 = 19
Finally, the party finds themselves a stone's throw from the same abandoned dwarven monastery where the ironbloom mushrooms were found such a short time ago. By this time, it is pitch black, however, and Graymoon counsels against entering without light of some sort.
"You may be familiar with it from your recent trip, but do you know what's active here after dark? Who knows what comes up out of the ground after dusk in an old building like this?"
"The loggers in town said they seen a lot more ghostly figures in the trees of late. Rumors have held that the woods were haunted for years, but most of the loggers said they've never seen evidence. Now, to a man, it seems like they've all seen something."
"If there's things about that should be dead and aren't, I have to think an old building like this would be a likely place to find them."
Those of you that look at the young girl accompanying you can see that her eyes are wide as she looks around as if expecting to see a ghost at any moment.
I agree old friend, and we already know that there is are Worg in the area. Let alone that we cleared out creatures that the Worg was afraid of, I doubt they were the only. I recommend we get what rest we can and continue at first light
Let me know what precautions you intend to take. Watches? When and who? Campfire? How close to the monastery? The trees of the forest come fairly close to the structure, but there's room to camp between the trees and the walls. Clearings in the trees are a bit harder to come by, but you camped in one last time. Anything else specific you want to do...
My vote is for a normal watch rotation with Gilgar taking the middle watch as that is when it will be darkest and the Elves taking a watch on either side. I am thinking that we stay in the trees as I don't like the idea of the Kobolds having cover to shoot from, but I am open to other votes.
Gilgar suggests a cold camp, amongst the trees (not in a clearing), and is fine with the suggested watch order. Being amongst the trees will help keep our presence a (hopefully) secret, and make us a less easy target. If a tree large enough can be found, it would be good for the group to sleep reclining against it (or at least near it) to use it as not only cover, but also as defense.
There are trees in these woods, especially this far from the logging camps, that are upwards of 20' in diameter. You are among giants here.
There are three likely choices: A 10'-diameter tree northeast of the monastery near the cliff (50' from the building), a 20'-diameter monster a few feet off the trail you followed (roughly southeast), about 100' back from the monastery's clearing, and a 15' footer set back both from the monastery and the trail (south about 60')
Nox takes the first watch while Perrin alternates laying at his side and nosing around the camp-tree. After the party has settled in for an hour or so, the night-time noises of the forest return.
At the deepest part of the night, while Gilgar is on watch, he notices that the normal sounds of the forest stop. Soon, he hears chatter and laughter from the direction of the monastery. As he waits, the voices move toward his right, but they stop too soon, too close. As he waits, watching that direction closely, debating whether to wake the others, the noises of the forest slowly return.
When the time comes, he awakens Graymoon, telling him about the voices. The elf nods and moves a short distance from the camp-tree before disappearing completely, even from the dwarf's darkvision. Trusting the elf knows what he's doing, the dwarf gets some rest.