After leaving the smoking wreck of the rare and expensive gnomish airship behind, the group continued on its way. Albrecht explained your route in a bit more detail: the path he has plotted to Fort Kalabuto follows the Panalopan River north along an old road established by the early pioneers and used these days to bring shipments from the farming, logging and mining operations outside of the Crucible back to the city. The road follows the river to the bridge at Lyria’s Crossing. Once across the river, the path continues to follow an easterly branch of the river along a lesser-used trail that skirts between the Bandu Foothills to the north and the Laughing Jungle to the south. Once the trail reaches the edge of the Maneri Plains, it turns north again, but you will break from it at that point and travel due west to Ft. Kalabuto.
The next few days passed without incident. You lunched with a small group of goblin fishermen on the banks of the river and learned about the goblin drink known as dagger fruit wine. The weather was agreeable, if hot, and you maintained a good pace. The road began to climb as the banks of the river became steeper, eventually becoming a relatively sheer drop of around 60 feet. Soon, Lyria’s Crossing came into view. The bridge is an ancient span, pre-dating modern society. It’s some thirty feet wide and stretches a full mile to the eastern banks of the river. A small guard shack at its foot is manned by five soldiers from the Crucible.
As you neared Lyria’s Crossing, a strange mist had begun to rise up from the river. By the time you reached the bridge proper, the mist filled the river bed and spilled over the bridge itself. The guards at the bridge placed barricades across the span and explained that the mist rises just before every new moon. Sometimes it lasts only a day, sometimes weeks, but when it’s up, travel is forbidden. People who enter the mist never seem to come out of it.
With the day winding down and continued travel out of the question, the party set up camp. Two other groups who had just crossed from the other side of the river also set up camp: a blow-hard merchant named John and his crew and an elf named Rickets and his entourage. Rickets and company set up a ring and began taking bets for a cockfight that would be staged. Krom saw an opportunity to practice his developing thieving skills, while Syl and Ivan saw an opportunity to make some easy money. Wanting no part of this, Celeste spent time with Albrecht and the four G Shine employees explaining her religion.
Things quickly went south. Syl and Ivan were trying to rig the cockfight by using Ivan’s magic to calm the opposing animal, but they were spotted by one of Rickets’ thugs. Meanwhile, Rickets himself spotted Krom moving suspiciously toward the carriages, away from the action. After a moment of confusion and a failed move by Krom to intimidate Rickets, the cockfight crew decided to teach our heroes a lesson. The merchant John immediately began taking bets on this new fight, putting 50 gold down on Krom to win.
The fight was stopped virtually before it started as Krom, using more force than intended, dealt a nearly fatal blow to Rickets. His crew, cowed by the show of strength and violence, threw down their weapons. Rickets would have died, but Ivan and Celeste quickly came to his aid. He lived, but will bear a horrible scar to remind him of this night. The cockfighting crew quickly retired to their campsite.
When the situation was under control, most people settled down for the night. Ivan continued training his wolf, Celeste said a prayer with the goblins, and Krom decided to try to get the merchant drunk. They drank dagger fruit wine together until John seemed fairly soused, but when Krom tried to lift the man’s purse, he showed that he was still fairly sharp. With Krom’s immense strength and skill with a weapon fresh in his mind, John decided against confrontation, writing the attempted theft off as Krom’s having had to much to drink. He kept his money and retired for the night, and Krom realized he had work to do if wants to hone his burgeoning thievery abilities.
In the morning, both of the other crews set out for The crucible, leaving you alone at the crossing. The mist remained, and Celeste, Ivan and Syl started to investigate it. With their combined knowledges of religion, nature and arcana, along with some divination spellwork, they learned that this mist was magical in nature, a mix of illusion, enchantment and necromantic magics that seemed to swallow any magic directed at it. As Syl studied it, he felt a tug at his demonic blood and an overwhelming need to walk toward the mist, which appeared in his mind as yawning, black chasm. Celeste quickly grabbed him and kept him from walking off the cliff.
An argument ensued over what to do. Ivan experimented with ways of blowing the mist aside, but his magic wouldn’t be sustainable enough to get them across the bridge. Syl, after his experience, was adamant that regardless of how long it took to disperse, he was not going into it. Krom, however, was concerned that the other factions trying to find the Tamaxolan outpost first were gaining ground with every day that passed. You decided to wait until morning, no closer to an agreement on what to do if the mist remained. Luckily for you and for the pace of the game, the mist dissipated the next morning, and the journey continued.
Nearing the end of the tenth day of the journey, you came upon a small goblin village where you were quickly welcomed. One goblin shared the secrets of the dagger fruit tree with Krom, while others offered food and shelter to the group. The hospitality of the goblins seemed suspect, and their shaman remained aloof, secluded in her hut. Celeste attempted to speak with her but was rebuffed by members of the tribe. Speaking with Helmut, you confirmed that something seemed off even to the goblins in your group. At dinner some members of the party ate the offered food, while others quiety cast purification spells and still others refused altogether. The food was good and not poisoned, the goblins offered entertainment for their guests and, as the night wound to a close, they offered their meeting hut for sleeping. Syl, Vasu, Albrecht and the four G Shine goblins bedded down in there, while the rest of the crew settled in outside, near the horses.
Elke, the village shaman, eventually approached and explained that while she mistrusts foreigners a great deal and thinks they bring curses, perhaps she is wrong. She explained that the village is cursed, that every night a beast known as the chemosit, a huge thing that looks like a bear but is shaped like a gorilla, sneaks into the village and steals a villager and eats its brains. She asked that you destroy the beast and save the village. You agreed and she painted goat’s blood across the doorway of the hut to draw the monster into the trap.
With Albrecht and G Shine safely hidden in other huts, you all waited, ready for battle. Ivan, in the shape of an owl, kept watch and alerted the rest of the party when not one, but two chemosits entered the village. The male climbed onto the roof (or the roooof) of the hut, while the female crept toward the door. The male let out a terrifying roar that shook Krom and Vasu, but the effects were mostly nullified by the preparatory magic Syl and Celeste had cast, thanks to Ivan’s warnings. The female pounced into the hut, but the combined efforts of Syl, Vasu, Celeste and Krom brought it down. The fight moved outside, where the male pounced on Krom and battered away Ivan’s spells before being brought low though your combined efforts.
In thanks for saving the village, Elke presented you with a Spirit Fetish and a small treasure map they had found on the remains of some traveler killed by a tiger. The village celebrated you as heroes, and Celeste’s divine teachings found fertile ground.