In the Land of Seven Sisters, in a town known as The Hag, a bard was killed. Entirely by accident, his skull cracked against the stone hearth of the Clover Mead Tavern. The Clover Mead was packed to burst on account of an unseasonable, devastating blizzard. The Spring Festival had already been underway for a week when the stormy winds and icy cold set in, driving the hundreds of out-of-towners along with a good many locals into the towns few inns and taverns. Days trapped indoors, drinking, gaming and waiting out the storm led inevitably to at least one brawl. During the brawl the bard was jostled and died.
At first the townsfolk called for the tavern to be burnt to appease Melora, whose blessing keeps the Land of Seven Sisters safe from the creatures who make their homes in the mountains and from the even worse tax collectors of more “civilized” lands. Cooler heads prevailed and the Clover Mead was instead closed, locked and barred until the storm ended, at which time a formal decision would be made. In the meantime, the 150+ folk who had been living in the tavern were invited to enjoy the hospitality of Merchant Oakhall’s manor. It was while staying at Oakhall Manor that an elf was rescued from a snowy demise.
Groug and Vana heard a faint call in the storm and Groug strode out, waded through hip high snow and saved the man from certain death. His name was Tavin and he’d been fleeing some creature or creatures that had tailed him for two days outside of The Old Dame. He gave them the slip in the snow of the storm and had made it to The Hag before his strength gave out. He offered to pay ten gold to each brave soul who would accompany him back to his home in The Old Dame so he could reunite with his family.
That night the heroes each had the same terrifying dream: something unnatural and terrible was about to befall the town called The Maiden.
Before leaving by boat through The Fen, Chleah and Contessa convinced the town leaders that the Clover Mead should not be closed down or destroyed. It was declared that the tavern would stay open and intact for as long as music or singing could always be heard in honor of Melora. If silence reigned for even an instant, it would be a sign and the tavern destroyed. Contessa’s father hired Groug to act as her servant and bodyguard for 50 gp and gave Contessa 150 gp for her to “have a little adventure” in The Land of Seven Sisters (since this place revered Bards, she should be quite safe).
Jalpoor the Halfling, whose family worked The Fen for generations, took the party by boat through The Fen and as far upriver as they could pole. This took two full days and one overnight poling. A further day’s fast travel brought the party to The Foundling, a fortified Inn just west of the fork in the Black River. Many folk were holed up in the Inn, having ridden out the storm and having heard the howl of “unnatural wolves” out in the wild. No one had come from The Old Dame since the storm let up, which was somewhat unusual.
A few hours West of The Foundling the party was haunted by unnatural howling that grew closer, coming from the North. They tried but failed to lose their pursuers, earning themselves the time needed to choose a favorable battleground. Eight ghostly hounds attacked the group. Their jaws did not bite, merely filled their victims with the deathly chill of winter’s cruel grasp. They were easily dispatched, despite their insubstantial natures.
Further on, the group found a campsite with a dead man and woman, their throats torn out. The empty bedroll and doll of a child told them someone was missing. A quick search turned up the now dead girl, grinning, leaning against a tree. The blood of her parents plastered her face and neck.
The group made camp one hour further West and carefully selected a site for defensibility in the event of an attack. There was an attack. Over a dozen creatures fell upon the resting party. Inaddition to the scouts encountered before, there were Arcanix Hounds and a sparkling glittery Pack Leader.Pushing themselves hard the next day, the party made it in the late afternoon to The Old Dame. There they found hundreds of corpses. They carefully searched and learned the following:
- Over two hundred corpses; many people escaped or are missing.
- Personally saw 30 who showed signs of “going crazy”
- Many folk had locked themselves inside their homes or basements. Some of those were still locked in, alone, but somehow killed anyway.
- No silver could be found, although it looked as if some people had tried using silver as a weapon.
- No signs of magic rituals were found, nor the corpses of any attackers.
The heroes resupplied themselves as best they could from the ruined town, stayed one night, and then headed towards The Maiden. The Maiden lay nestled in a great wood, and was peopled predominantly by elves. After four days of travel, the party arrived late in the day and almost immediately confirmed that the people in their common dream really do exist and are who they appeared to be in the dream.
They sought out Merchant Evergreen, a town leader, and advised him about all they had seen except the dream. He said that he takes them at their word and asked what they should do. The group inquired about silvering weapons and retired to a private room to decide what course of action to take.