They then set out to find if the Lost Kingdom was still civilized, but not before being attacked again by a group of Hobgoblins and Kobolds. This battle left the group tired and battle weary, though they did have assistance from some unknown source.
The group continued through the forest heading west for the rest of the day. As evening approached, the druidess Acelia commanded the trees to lower and surround the party – forming a makeshift wall of thorns. Therefore, the survivors’ first night was a peaceful one, overall. The next morning delivered a new surprise to the group in the form of one of the forests native inhabitants – a 36 foot long Dire Bear! Fortunately, for the group, the bear appeared to have no interest in them whatsoever.
Turning north, the group of survivors started again, only to come under attack later by a group of flying worm-like wyvern creatures. The creatures apparently had some sort of spore-cloud breath weapon, leaving Misha, Toll, and Kobort incapacitated, before Dart finished the last of the things off.
After marching on, sometime later Kobort managed to walk right by a hidden very young green dragon that was looking for lunch. Dart managed to spot it however, and quickly returned to warn the group. About time he was doing so, Misha spotted the dragon stalking Kobort, and rushed into battle. With his companions joining the fray, the dragon fell quickly with minimal damage to the group.
As the group began to search for a place to camp for the night, they came upon the same fortune-teller that some of them had met on the ship. Giving a speech to the companions and offering one last time to tell the fortunes of those whom were interested, the witch Baba Yaga summoned forth her hut and left the group for good.
The Last words of Babba Yaga
Paths cross, Shall I bestow a glimpse of what is or can be? Will now be the last meeting, or will it be on the field of battle? Will you hear me before you leave the protection of Valshiren, and descend into the valley of the Bear, the Badger, and the Wolf? Will you swim the depths of the seven celestials under the light of day or night? Will you live beneath the shadow of the beast or will you shine the light of the sun upon its foul heart?
Dart: Will you accept the changes at the end of your life?
Gwendon: Will you claim destiny as your own?
Toll: Will fate guide you when you question it?
Misha: Will you have the nerve to become what you can be?
Kobort: Can you look beyond the surface to see what lies within?
Acelia: Will you seek protection from a beast…
Galladro: … as well as provide it?
Arlinde: Can you still the tongue of a mockingbird?
Magh: Or quell the fire of a raging heart?
Or will you enter blindly as is your want? Will you flee the challenges ahead and return to your home? Destiny has lead you to this point – here and now. Your future is your own and I am but a cloudy window.
Starting out the next day, the group encountered a pair of Ogres – who nearly spelled the end of Dart and Gwendon. Fortunately, the party proved to be more deadly, and managed to net another neat little treasure in the form of a victim the Ogre’s just had finished with.
Later that morning they came to the edge of the Valshiren – the name of the forest given by the fortune-teller. They decided to camp there and scout out the hill leading down into the valley to see what would be the most logical next step. What they came up with and set about doing was to add onto the rickshaw and make it a giant sled that they could all board and ride down the hill. A journey they would make the next day…
Early in the morning, after completing the sled, the group of survivors pushed the contraption down to the snow slope, and began the journey down the hill. However, the trip was not destined to be smooth, as they soon came to discover. For thirty minutes into the trip, Misha began to cough up blood and then scream in agony as something began to eat its way out of her. It seemed that the Wyrmspawn that the group had faced many days ago had breathed a seed-cloud on the party – one of which had spawned within her lungs. As it chewed its way out and attempted to devour its host, she managed to knock it away before passing out from blood loss, where Gwendon finished it off and knocked it off the cart. Kobort managed to drag Misha over the top of himself, where Toll could render his healing arts and pump the blood out of her lungs.
While trying to avoid the blood shower he was receiving, Kobort saw an even more disturbing site in the form of a cloud of kites, goblin kites to be exact, pulling a balloon in pursuit of the party. On the ground was patrol, consisting of 10 orcs, in hot pursuit. In addition, by the time they reached the base of the hill – the giant bear had joined in the pursuit. As the sled leveled out on the plains, it ran over a hidden barbarian hunter who had been lying in wait for a herd of elk. Out from the snow around the stopping cart jumped a band of 20 barbarians – just in time for combat. The barbarians decided to avoid attacking the party after Toll provided magical assistance to their wounded brother. Unfortunately, they also decided not to aid to the party in the battle, merely defend themselves when attacked. As soon as the Orcs were in hearing range, Toll shouted out in their native language that a giant bear was coming to kill them, but only one actually looked before fleeing the battlefield in terror.
With a clash of steel, wood and bone the battle began in earnest. Orcs and goblins fell left and right, but not before leaving their mark in the form of a dead barbarian huntsman and two fallen party members – the mysterious pyre of the monk Dart and the unfortunate demise of the barbarian Magh. Acelia was also struck down, however the wounds were not immediately life threatening. The act however caused the apparent enragement of the bear, which with one swipe of the claw dragged the balloon out of the air and trampled it before rushing into combat to finish the fight before checking on the fallen druidess. The bear then spoke to the shaman of the barbarian bear clan hunting party, telling them to protect the druidess. The barbarians, not able to understand the common language of the party, indicated that they would help. The party was able to understand them however, thanks to the faith of the dwarven priest Toll. They then began the five-day journey to the village of the bear clan, with the cart pulling the wounded barbarian and the wounded adept survivor of the group (whose name they discovered was Balin). Before leaving Toll discovered that the body of Dart, consumed in flame without harming the vegetation below him, was gone and a warm stone that vibrated with the pulse of life had taken his place. Toll took the stone with them on their journey.
After 5 days of travel, the weary group finally reached the encampment of the Bear Clan. However, they discovered upon arriving that the clan itself was preparing to move – it seemed that ‘All Dragon’s Eve’ was nearly upon the valley, when all five of the moons come full at the same time. Believed to be a time of evil in the civilized world, here in the valley it meant the possible return of Umtarathrx the White, who last came into the valley to feed over a thousand years ago. The group followed the barbarians to a shelter where they could rest and eat soon found that trouble had a way of following them.
While checking their cart, Misha and Kobort discovered their food stores partially consumed by reptiles and something had made a nest amongst their belongings. Searching all of their personal belongings, Gallandro discovered that his pack was the only one disturbed, and that his blanket was missing. Fearing that some small white dragon or lizard may be around, Toll had Acelia cast several spells to divine if an animal was there while Misha went looking around the campsite for tracks. Acelia discovered that there was in fact a dragon in the neighborhood, and the group stirred up the barbarians looking for it, but turned up nothing. While this was happening, the companions heard a scream from Misha outside the tent and ran to discover the source of the new threat.
Misha, it seems, had found an animal burrow out on the outskirts of town. Unable to discern what type of animal inhabited the burrow, she ‘bravely’ crawled into the burrow after it. The inhabitant, a wolverine, was not amused. It chased her out and then proceeded to open up a natural can of whoop ass on the chastised ranger. The rest of the group, as well as a few barbarians, managed to arrive just in time to prevent the wolverine from killing Misha, who Toll then healed. The barbarians, believing that Misha had bravely challenged the wolverine to 1 on 1 combat in the same hand-to-hand style that they lived by, were mighty impressed with the young ranger’s’ prowess. Moreover, told her so at the feast in the gift of the wolverine’s pelt.
That night, as everyone settled down, Gallandro and Gwendon noticed Gallandro’s backpack shift by itself. Gwendon immediately smacked the pack hard with her magical cane. Whatever had been in it hissed, shot out of the bag, and out from under the tent. Toll managed to get a glimpse of the creature and was able to identify it as a Pseudo-Dragon – an intelligent tiny race of draconic creatures with a stinger for a tail and the disposition of a cat. After searching outside for some time to no avail, most of the group returned inside to settle down for the night. Misha however, buried herself in the snow and watched for the little dragon to return. Finally, it did return, though she lost where exactly it went after it circled around out of view.
Next morning, as the group was rousing to meet another day, Gwendon got the shock of her life as she opened her eyes to see a gaping pseudo-dragon maw right in front of her face. As she went to smack it with her cane, she discovered that her hands tied together and she smacked herself instead. Seems the little creatures were playfully vengeful. Gallandro was very excited at the prospect of having a Pseudo-dragon as either a companion or a familiar and encouraged the group to let bygones be bygones and make peace with the creature so it would return. The day was spent in the barbarian’s preparing to move, and the following day the entire camp began its trek – The main entourage towards the distant caves, and a hunting party – plus the two rangers from the group – towards the Crescent Elk’s Hunting grounds.
Four days later, the hunting party had a successful hunt; with the two ranger’s taking down a crescent elk own their own. As is the custom of the Barbarians to feast on the heart of their kills to gain their power, the two elves decided to try it the ‘Barbarian’ way and began to chow down themselves. Misha felt a rush course through her body as she did this, and collapsed in a heap. Kobort managed to revive her, and they began to hunt again. The second hunt was successful, but the pair of rangers learned that the Crescent Elk’s give as good as they get, when it nearly mortally wounded Kobort. Again, Misha followed the Barbarian tradition and again the experience proved to be too much for her. The barbarians and Kobort restrained Misha as she quivered, shook, and snorted her way through another ‘experience’ before falling into an unconscious state. The Barbarian’s, having taken some wounds from the second hunt, decided that they had enough, and began their trek to meet up with their people.
The group traveling with the main barbarian tribe spent 7 days traveling to the eastern edge of the valley. There they crossed the great stone bridge over the river, and made way to their ancestral caves. Upon arriving, they sent 100 of their fiercest warriors into the caves to ensure that the group would have no problems reaching their destination. After a short time, the warriors returned and escorted the clan into the caverns