After much discussion of possible options the group finally decided - despite Dunn's objections - to escorting Seldra Tylmarande to Helm's Hold. The fortress was over 20 miles away over rolling hills to the south east. Rather than walk a dangerous prisoner that entire distance they chose to purchase riding horses and commission a horse from Lord Neverember's stables for the prisoner. As the party departed one of their number stayed behind in the Hall of Justice.
Mayor Galt was originally unwilling to pay half up front for the delivery mission but Barra pressed the issue in secret. The dwarf was stubborn as his kin's reputation but a little pressure soon changed his mind on the issue of payment. Barra's own organization had ways of making life unpleasant for those who spurned its members and the party's stature as heroes went a long way to convincing the dwarf of what the 'right' choice was on the matter. With a purse full of coin Barra went to join his comrades.
While the party haggled with a local merchant for the horses Barra skulked away into the stable and secretly reading a horse for himself. Then to cover his exit he stealthily opened one of the paddocks and released the animals into the streets causing a commotion. Once the animals were wrangled back into place he sat atop his mount along with his comrades as if he'd been there all along. It was almost an hour after the group departed that the stable-master realized one of his stock was missing.
With fresh mounts the group returned and accepted transfer of the prisoner. Seldra was unarmored and her hands were shackled to the saddle of her horse. Fast riding would be near impossible for her in this condition and she was not allowed spurs nor the freedom of movement to control her mount. To prevent her from speaking she was also gagged with a leather covered iron bar, as much a bridle as the one in her mounts mouth. Her eyes though burned with an inner fire and she looked pleased to be joining this procession.
The spring day was pleasant and mild. The sun was mostly blocked by white clouds with floated lazily across the sky. A soft breeze made leaves dance in the treetops and the ride went well. Until that is a woman's scream echoed across the hills and forced everyone into a state of alertness. There was a quick discussion about the source of the scream and whether it should be investigated. Alek felt it could be a trap from the local Uthgardt barbarians to lure the party off the roadway. Much of the group agreed. Dunn and Furakas though would not idly ignore the scream and rode off to scout it out. Just minutes from the road they came across a small clearing and realized how dangerous the situation was that they had just rushed headlong into.
A rustic looking woman was crawling backwards across the ground weilding a hand-axe as a pack of wolves pressed ever closer to her. Her right arm hung limply at her side and was awash in fresh blood. She used her left arm to whip the axe back and forth to keep the wolves back as best she could. There were about a dozen normal sized wolves and three larger more vicious looking beasts. They were easily ten feet in length and strange spiked protrusions erupted through their fur. Each tooth in their powerful jaws were about the length of a mans hand and their deep set eyes lusted only for blood. As Dunn and Furakas arrived their horses began kicking and acting unruly in terror. The noise of the frightened animals attracted the attention of the hungry dire wolves.
With a shout Furakas called out to the rest of the party back on the road as he reading himself for the wolves charge. Some of the beasts abandoned the small morself of woman-flesh to circle the horses and these new threats. Dunn noticed that the wolf pack seemed to have more than one leader, none of which were the huge dire wolves.
Furakas did his best to protect both him and Dunn from the wolves initial attack. Both adventurers kept their horses in control and managed to avoid being pulled from their mounts until the rest of the party arrived to provide back up. As Furakas watched the woman was seized in the jaws of one of the pack leaders and tossed about as she screamed.
Once the full party had arrived the tide of the battle was turned. Rather than acting purely defensively they were able to push the wolves back and regroup. Mariz used his abilty to flow like water to rush to the young woman's aid while Malorn and Barra stayed back and provided ranged assistance. Barra was especially effective in using the trees for cover and eventually tapping into his ability to levitate to acquire a perch high up in one of the large trees. Alek was first to realize that the pack leaders were actually werewolves. Luckily he had purchased a shield of Silver Light which magically altered all nearby weapons into silvered weapons. This boon for the party helped in making short work of the lycanthropes, but not before they could wound both Furakas and Mariz with their tainted bites.
Once the group had some breathing room Dunn was able to weild his sword most effectively and made short work of three of the beasts. Both Alek and Furakas used their shields in unison to protect their teammates as well as keep the wolves focused from attacking the lightly armored party members. It was a tough fight but in the end the wolves were routed or cornered and killed. Only one wolf managed to escape the clearing alive.
The young woman, Regina Tress, turned out to be the daughter of a local logger. She and her father were running to Neverwinter while being harried by the Uthgardt lycanthropes who had burned their home. Regina begged the heroes to rescue her father, Tomas, who had sacrificed himself so that she could try to escape the predators. She also carried rumors of Helm's Hold being beseiged by over a thousand Uthgardt, but Mariz doubted the validity of her claims. He kept silent on his objections though as the group decided it would be best to return to Neverwinter with this news and put off the prisoner transfer until this business at Helm's Hold was sorted out.
The party returned to Neverwinter after dark and split up. Most went to the Temple of Selune, known enemies of lycanthropes, to seek healing Mariz and Regina's festering wounds. The rest of the party returned to the Hall of Justice to speak with Lord Neverember as well as return the prisoner to his jails. The Lord was displeased by this failure and having Seldra returned to his responsibility. He explained, despite the groups protests, that Neverwinter had no resources to send to the defense of Helm's Hold and that the protection of the spell-scarred was a low priority for him. Helm's Hold had stood for over a hundred years, it could last for a few weeks more even from a threat from the Uthgardt. As the group exited, crestfallen, Barra stayed behind with some harsh words for the Lord. As a result of his outburst Lord Neverember removed the heroes from his favor but let them keep the 100 gold peice downpayment as a parting gift for this newly shared information.
It was a bad night for the group overall. They were exhausted, upset, and in some cases under very real danger from the werewolves bite. Perhaps dawn would bring a new perspective on events...