Journeying through the forest, the party encountered many strange beasts. Each monster had an insignia burnt into its flesh (the same insignia found on the Zombie Bugbear from the temple). Finally, they arrived in Burskinston, but noticed that everyone seemed to be in a rather dim disposition. Local women had been disappearing from the village. The parents of these girls told the party that their daughter was last seen at work in The Hole, the local tavern.
Upon arriving at The Hole, the party was greeted by Milos, the old bartender. He told the players that Ethan was last seen speaking to a man in a black cloak, a member of a Nomadic religious group of some sort that was passing through. Suspecting the man of foul play, and wishing to find Ethan, the party began to track them outside of town.
After a few encounters with more branded beasts, the party heard chanting. There, they saw a group of hooded men, gathered around 3 different circles, connected like a triangle. In the furthest circle stood a manacled Ethan Slightfingers. Two men guarded each of the prisoners and began approaching them with knives whilst chanting. The party hatched a clever plan: Duchess Catslove would sneak up into a tree and ready her crossbow. Meanwhile, Torojiro and Nell would attack the men with daggers in the circles. Tiggs would run toward the other circle. Folith, hearing the chanting and recognizing it as a dark summoning decided to play a countersong.
The countersong held the summoning at bay, but alerted the guards, who slit the girls’ throats, spilling blood into the circle. A bloody battle ensued, with the cult members still trying to fulfill their ritual, while dealing with the party. Duchess Catslove made short work of their sniper, then went forward to rescue Ethan Slightfingers. As she pushed him out of the circle, the lead cultist began to rise and chant louder. The other noticed the bodies of their fallen foes beginning to glow and ran to join Duchess as quickly as possible. Suddenly, all of the corpses vaporized and the lead cultist delivered a threatening message “Foolish mortals! We are few of many. Our century-long task will be completed soon. Everything is in order, all the plans have aligned. This world of man, light, and order shall fall, and we will bathe in your bubbling blood and feast upon your rotted flesh. Your souls shall power our war machine, as we spread out across the land! KNEEL BEFORE THE CULT OF DISCORD! KNEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEL!”
He hurled a fireball at Nell and Torojiro, the two purest souls in the party, and was suddenly transformed into a giant spider. The battle was fierce: Torojiro delivered a flurry of blows, while Nell smashed at the beast with her mace. The Mighty Tiggs hacked and slashed at the abomination while Folith tried to pierce its flesh with his rapier. During an attempted backstab, Duchess was wounded by the scorpion’s tail and poisoned. The party finally slayed the beast, cutting all of its limbs off and then beheading it. Nell used her divine powers to cure her fallen ally.
Amongst the tattered remains of the cultists, Folith found a spellbook, written in an unknown scribe. Always possessing an interest in arcane wizardry, which was not common in Pheramat, he took the book with him to study. The party also found a tattered manuscript, which read “Spread from the East, and the Pits of Hell. This world will fall once the light in the wood is extinguished. Praise be to Nerull.”
Though victorious, the price for victory was quite high. Tiggs rendered Ethan unconscious and they dragged him back to Burskinston. None were looking forward to telling the girls’ families the news…