Chronicle of Valar Silverlance #9

It seems that Gregory has disappeared. Buggered off entirely. I can't say as I'm surprised. He has threatened before to run for the hills and it appears he's finally done so.

Our passage through the forest was slow after our brief encounter with the ettercaps. We traveled for hours just to cover a few miles. Somewhere in the late morning, we noticed a large plume of smoke coming from ahead in the forest. Several more hours of travel found us at a clearing, filled with wagons and people surrounding a large bonfire. We were greeted by a man named Bodac, who welcomed us to join their camp for the evening. He explained that they were travelers from the east and were passing through the forest before heading south to Daggersong. Something about his words struck me as false, but I couldn't be sure. However, a warning to my companions was certainly in order. Even if Bodac hadn't been lying about something, the pale old man glaring at us intently from his wagon on the far side of the camp would have made me wary of these people. The old man's wagon itself seemed strange and unusual and we resolved to give it a closer look during the night.

Khashana, who had taken our horse to be fed, watered, and cared for, reported that on the way back to the camp, one of the women had given her a brief, but blunt, warning to be careful. More evidence that our caution was not unwarranted. There was a feast and a dance, but most of us were careful as to what we ate and drank. As the party wound down, we saw our opportunity to investigate. Khashana would stay near the fire so we could communicate using her telepathic abilities while Wil and I snuck around through the treeline and to the old man's wagon. The wagon seemed to have an extra compartment down below the wheels. Wil slid under and used a cantrip to turn part of the underside invisible. Much to his surprise, he saw a young woman staring back at him. I'm not sure how either of them managed to surpress a scream at that.
 
Wil let us know what was happening and we moved fast. Khashana retrieved our horse and got him ready to pull our wagon, even as the frantic scraping from the woman increased. Finally, I could take it no more and undid the latch that kept the woman in. She scrambled out and grabbed on to me in such a state of hysteria that I had never seen before. I soothed her in Elven as best I could as she babbled about needing to get away from someone named Papa Grigori. Likely the old man in the wagon. Another person slid out from the compartment as well, this one a male human.
 
We were hastening towards our wagon and escape when the old man came out and howled, of all things. Men came out of the other wagons, almost like clockwork. Two undead hounds also appeared at the noise. The fight was chaotic and messy. I held off two of the men and both of the hounds even as two other men went after Wil as he stood on our wagon. One of the camp women opened her door to toss weapons and armor to the two people we had freed, but she was clubbed for her trouble. The man we had freed took up his sword and shield to help. Khashana helped us and hindered our foes with her spells and abilities, even at one point forcing Papa Grigori into the huge bonfire at the center of camp.
 
The battle came to a conclusion when I sent Papa Grigori into whatever foul afterlife he had waiting for him. As we caught our breath, the others in the wagons slowly poked their head out to view the carnage and mayhem we'd caused. Surprisingly, they seemed relieved at what we had done. Not happy, perhaps, given that we had just killed at least a half-dozen men that they knew and perhaps were friends with. But they did not attack us or condemn us for what we had done. Now that I've chronicled these events I will, by Ioun's silver tome, inquire closely and find out what has been happening here.
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