Arriving at the top of the sacred mountain Pallex, Trinsk, and Illin go to the Earth Temple and are shown straight through to report to Funtt Dufononur. They inform him of the day’s progress before Illin asks about exchanging his beast charm (collected from the Fanged Monkeys) for a healing charm. Funtt tells him (somewhat hypocritically) that beast charms are frowned upon, but he’ll allow him to keep it since Illin is a Ranger and not a Guardian. Funtt tells them to continue their investigations as they see best and to find out why Rhorn has neglected his duties this day.
Leaving the Earth Temple all immediately head over to the Water Temple, hoping to get their relatively serious injuries tended to, and are lucky enough to find Arosfied Evenflow, the Master Healer. Whilst they are healed by Arosfied they have a pleasant chat with her and she even agrees to give Illin a new healing charm in exchange for his beast charm. Departing fully healed they head to their usual eating hall.
Looking for Rhorn
Over dinner Illin asks around the hall to see if anyone has seen Rhorn that day. Unfortunately no one has, so when the meal is finished they head to Rhorn’s house to see if he is there. The lights are off so Pallex knocks. When there is no answer Pallex tries to open the door, which to his surprise turns out to be unlocked. Illin goes to walk in, despite the darkness, but stops abruptly as he realises a chair is lying across the entry. Spotting a candle next to the chair he picks it up and Pallex lights it.
Rhorn’s room is a disaster. The chairs are all overturned and one of the bookcases has fallen over and is leaning on the table. In such a small space it is easy for Pallex to notice Rhorn’s backpack is sitting at the end of his bed, fully packed. Turning to the wardrobe he opens it and finds that Rhorn’s uniform, armour and weapons are all still neatly inside. This disturbs everyone and they start searching the room which leads to Pallex finding a large, still sticky, blood stain on Rhorn’s pillow.
Searching the Town
Splitting up, Pallex heads to the nearest City Warden Garrison and tells them about Rhorn’s disappearance and what they found in his room. The warden on duty takes some details about Rhorn and Pallex and informs him that the will assign an Investigator to look into it. Meanwhile Illin and Trinsk has started knocking on nearby doors (which still have a light on) to see if anyone saw or heard anything. A young boy informs them that he saw two Hospitaliers carrying Rhorn at Dawn. When Pallex returns they decide to head to the Hospital.
Stopping at their assigned barracks, Pallex and Trinsk have a brief conversation with Commander Garuen Pollahs. They inform him about what they’ve been up to with their special assignment and how they are going to investigate at the Hospital. He agrees to dispatch the reserve squad if they haven’t returned in an hour.
Arriving at the Hospital, the main door is opened after they knock on it. Staing their business, Illin asks the Hospitalier if Rhorn has been admitted to the Hospital. The door closes and a short while later the same Hospitalier opens it again to inform them that no one new has been admitted for the last four days. They ask him about how hard it is to get a Hospitalier uniform and he admits “not difficult” before wishing them luck.
They return to the barracks to tell Garuen that there was no sign of Rhorn, before all agree to retire for the night, as it is very late. Illin still manages to knock on a few more doors with lights on to ask about Rhorn, but to no success.
A New Day
Illin gets up early (despite the late night) so that he can ask more questions before they head out. It turns out his extra effort pays off as he encounters Tailen Semoriat, a street cleaner, who happened to see Rhorn being carried by the Hospitaliers the previous day. Tailen offers to ask around in the course of his duties and let Illin know what he finds out. Illin then rushes off to meet Trinsk and Pallex at the lift.
Heading out to the still empty field, they follow their tracks to the site of the battle against the Fanged Monkeys. There they discover that the only part of the monkeys corpses left are the bones, and the bones are exceptionally clean, just like the ones they found in the cave the previous day. Pallex also finds plenty of the thin straight lines which they have been tracking, heading in different directions. They determine that the lines leave the clearing heading northwards, and decide to follow them.
Following the tracks for a while, the three of the move around a tree and see straight ahead, crossing their path, a Horned Bear. Trinsk notices the large bear and also sees the strange yellow ethereal glow around it’s head, which he tells Illin and Pallex. Illin tries to tell Trinsk to stay quiet but it is too late. The Horned Bear has heard them and lets out a large roar as it turns and spots them.
Close to Death
Reacting quickly, Illin notches an arrow straight at the bear, but unfortunately misses. The bear then charges Illin, attempting to impale him on its horns, which Illin manages to avoid. Pallex is completely surprised by all of this and as he moves to attack he stumbles straight in front of the bear’s face. It seems to be upset by this and roars at Pallex, focusing its eyes and attacks onto him.. A continued chain of misses by all combatants is broken as the Horned Bear draws first blood. It stabs into Pallex with its horns, lifting him off the ground and clamping Pallex into its jaws.
Pallex fares poorly as the bear crushes and impales him repeatedly and keeps him firmly held. However Illin and Trinsk take advantage of the bear’s focus and start whittling its health away. The bear become enraged by this, but eventually succumbs to the attacks, dropping a severely injured Pallex from its jaws as it collapses, dead. Pallex spends some time resting to recover, while Illin skins the bear and removes its horns.
New Tracks to Follow
Everyone decides they should see where the bear came from so they start following the bear tracks back. The tracks slowly move around in a large loop, leading Illin to decide that the must be something in the centre. A couple attempts to find anything around the middle of the loop are unsuccessful though and they instead head back to where they fought the bear and reacquire the thin straight lines and follow them north for an hour.
It is getting into the afternoon by this stage and, despite Illin’s suggestions that they push just a little further, Pallex decides they should head back. It takes a fairly steady effort with a little bit of running near the end, but they make it to the lift as dusk is falling and get back inside the walls.
Illin instantly heads off to find Tailen, while Pallex and Trinsk are a bit moire practical and go have dinner. Tailen has headed home for the day and when Illin arrives he is excited to hear that Tailen has found some information. Tailen tells how he saw two people wearing Hospitalier uniform near a warehouse, whose location he gives to Illin. Illin heads straight there and although most of the warehouses are closed, there is one which still has two guys shifting some crates. He asks them about the Hospitaliers and they tell him they saw them at Garrin’s warehouse.
Regroup and Get Ready
Illin finds Pallex and Trinsk at the eating hall and scoffs down a dinner while telling them what he found out. They decide to go and report to Funtt however when arriving at the Earth Temple they are told that Funtt is unavailable. He has been called into a War Council meeting and there is no set time for it to finish. Deciding not to waste the trip, they head over to the Water Temple to see if they can find Arosfied.
Arosfied is happy to heal their injuries again and is thoroughly impressed by their recounting of the combat with the horned bear. He asks if the know why there has been an emergency War Council session called as he thought it might have something to do with their mission, but they have to disappoint.
Heading back down the mountain, Trinsk is concerned about the state of the blobs which have been getting dropped off at the Water Temple library, so the party heads there and has a good chat with Gardelion. He shows the the completely inactive blob corpses and likens them to a berry. He admits that he has no idea how they would function.
The next step is a late night investigation of Garrin’s warehouse. Everyone heads home and recollects their equipment (Pallex changes into clothes which aren’t torn and bloodied) before meeting up again at the barracks. They tell Garuen about their plan to investigate the warehouse and he once again agrees to send support if they don’t return.
Into the Darkness
Arriving at the warehouse, all the nearby buildings are dark inside, including their target. Pallex checks the large cargo doors at the front, but they appear to be chained shut from the inside. So he wanders over to the pedestrian door and, to his surprise, finds that it is unlocked and it swings open. It is pitch black inside so Pallex decides this is the perfect time to use his Darksight charm.
The room instantly comes into focus and it is clearly an office with a desk, shelves, paperwork and another door which opens into the warehouse. Pallex heads over to the second door and opens it to a narrow walkway between stacks of boxes. He follows it down and it connects with a wide thoroughfare through the middle of the warehouse. Walking down and looking into the side passages Pallex is quite surprised when a guy holding a crossbow steps out from a corner ahead, peering into the darkness. Pallex freezes and the guy looks for a moment longer before calling out, asking if anyone is there. When there is no answer the guy wanders back around the corner and Pallex hears him faintly having a conversation with another person.
Knowing there is danger, Pallex heads back out and gets Illin and Trinsk and the carefully leads them through the darkness into the warehouse. Despite Pallex’s careful whispered instructions and guidance there are more than a few bumps. They reach the side passage which the guy emerged from and Pallex peers down it. It appears empty however there is a door at the end which looks slightly strange to Pallex, although he can’t put his finger on why.
Heading down the passage, they are about half way down when suddenly the door drops open, like a drawbridge, and bright light spills out, illuminating the three of them. Behind the door are two guards and instantly they fire their crossbows into Pallex. Pallex advances and they draw short swords to counter as the fight gets close. It doesn’t last long though and as a few quick blows and a mind blast are all it takes to leave the guards unconscious on the ground.
Pallex ties them with Illin’s rope and gags them with some cloth while Illin searches the small room. A trapdoor in the floor is discovered and with the guards secure they open the trapdoor…