Dallas finally came to in the House of Healing in Joven; the woman who was with her and also unconscious is still out, however. After finding her way to the Joven Messenger's Mosque, she was Gated to Woodland, where she was able to hitch a ride south to meet us in Logging Town. She shared with us a strange nightmare she'd been having about a creepy voice telling her to free it from an amulet. Ayman has an amulet on him, but we're not sure if that is the one that was meant.
Ghost and I wrote up a message for Dwight (about Dorian going missing) that I sent via a crow to Woodland in the hopes that it'll find its way to Armand, who can Gate it to Dwight. After the group tricked Shocko into a much-needed bath, we set off northwest, following the river for a bit, then though the trees. On their watch that night, Linora and Shocko found a group of traveling halflings, which she managed to get to follow her back to camp; the halflings introduced themselves as Old Pete, Lenny, Bruce, and George. During much drinking by most of the group, Ghost snuck off to follow their trail while I charmed them in the hopes that they'd give us more information while they were pleasantly drunk. The halflings told me that our friend Homer was in their village a few days ago, but wasn't there now, and that we should ask the sheriff. They then offered to take us to their village, but since I was afraid that they'd go back on their word once they were sober, I pried them for more information; they let me know that the village was a couple of hours north of here in the trees and camouflaged, and you need to say a password (which had been "ham and cheese") to a certain person.
The next day we set off north by northwest; we begun to see clouds rolling in (Dorrmags had been warned of a bad storm coming). After a while we noticed the ground starting to look tilled and doors set into the side of the hill (but painted to blend in), and the halflings led us back into the treeline. He knocked on a tree and gave a password ("old reliable"), and we were allowed into an elevator in the tree and taken up to the village.
Ghost inquired about Homer again and Old Pete told us that two weeks ago some of that group stayed and some headed back to Logging Town, but Homer stayed longer and snuck out of town in the middle of the night. We found the sheriff and we learned that he does not like Homer (our friend apparently doesn't pay taxes and also wanted to ravish the sheriff's daughter), and he and his daughter came with us to have drinks.
At the tavern, Ghost asked the barkeep about Homer- he knows him and had seen him last a moon ago, and that Homer had headed east. The sheriff informed us that Old Pete knows a way into the mine. At this time Dorrmags and the sheriff's daughter Edwina began flirting; not wanting to miss a great opportunity, Ayman and I decided to try to be mischievous and make Mags look silly, which worked almost perfectly. Meanwhile Ghost went looking for Old Pete, who told her more about that secret way into the mines.
We set off soon afterwards and traveled back through the forest, making camp at the river where an interestingly placed fish made for much amusement in Linora's tent. As the group was laughing hysterically, we noticed a random person laughing with us- it was the short man called "The Master" who a few members of the group had last seen in a tent under a cemetery. He invited us into his tent (always larger inside than out) where he told us about a new credit system he was starting and that he had seen Homer go east to the mine and that the paladin was still in there. Then, going into sales-pitch-mode, he told us that if we signed up he would give us a helpful item. The rest of the group quickly agreed and put their hands on a midnight blue orb he had put on the table, but I held back, not trusting this. Not wanting to be separated from my party or the like, I (and SwampFox) finally did the same; The Master chanted and lighting hit the orb. When our vision cleared, we were again sitting in camp and The Master's tent was missing; our left wrists also felt warm and when we looked, we noticed The Master's midnight blue symbol integrated with Khrom-Vel's before they faded again.
We spent the next day and night back in Logging Town, then headed east towards the mine. The rain began that morning and became a heavy storm the day after as we traveled. That night the lightning started and while on watch I noticed a crowd of something moving west. I sent my fox to look and woke up Linora so she could fly out and see while Ghost went off, as well. My fox came back terrified and unable to tell me what he saw, but when Linora came back we learned that the crowd were lots of howling shorter-than-human figures. Fog rolled over, then a huge shape (looking like a dragon) blasted the crowd, which stopped and the fog rolled away.
Meanwhile Ghost noticed her tattoo glow faintly as she went to look at the figures; they appeared to look frozen to death and were grey hairy things with manes and two toes. Even though the creatures seemed to be dead, I sent a messenger crow to Logging Town to warn them to be on the lookout just in case.
The next day it continued to rain but the storm stopped as we continued east for half a day until we reached the mine. Ghost informed us where the guards were stationed and the group made up a plan on how to get in. Unfortunately the plan went awry because of Ghost and some hobgoblins, and all hell broke lose when the enemy noticed us and sounded the alarm. Most of the group ran in every direction to fight after this (for some reason), instead of retreating and making a new plan, and Mags ended up getting killed by a pair of bugbears (luckily he was able to seal up the mine entrance with a wall of thorns before that unfortunate occurrence). After this nonsense had gone on for far too long, I yelled at the group that we had to get far away before the creatures inside made it out another exit or the wall went away (or was chopped through). Adventurers we may be, but we're no match for an entire mine filled with goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears, and who knows what else.
~Cyneric Conroy, Order of the Fleet Fox
May 17th, 3rd day of Bleakmoon