The party spent the night recovering at Syruss Shortroots’s estate. Just before dawn, the manor and grounds were shaken as if by an earthquake. Later, the next day, the group was told that as they had destroyed the portal Selphyna Vengencya Shortroots had established inside the manor house, so Blokk Ironheed and his team succeeded in their mission to seal off the caverns below the estate.
As they enjoyed all the luxuries of breakfast at Syruss’, Morgan O’Malley, now healed and rested, approached them with much anxiety. She said the more she pieced together what they had told her of their adventures when they first went to meet her, the more she was afraid that something had gone more wrong than was believed. The party had recovered both the backpacks she had been entrusted to bring to Narvesyn School, but only the first had been complete. The second, by the party’s own admission, had been a scrap of it’s former self, emptied of everything. Morgan remembered when she was abducted, the halfling Chowder Roughsole had been present. She is convinced he has the contents of the backpack and will probably try and sell the item, not knowing what he has.
The group made it clear in their rumblings that they have a special hatred for Chowder. Rabbye spoke for the party, agreeing to help Morgan track down Chowder and recover the item. Though she was deliberately vague on what the item was, their dislike of Chowder and her sincerity were enough for them. When Morgan informed Syruss their intention to go to the southern city of Corisa, he thought better of giving them any of his steeds, saying that for the area they were heading to, discretion would be the better path rather than flying in on “fantastic” mounts.
Setting off to the south southeast they found themselves in very pastoral lands and neatly appointed farms. It became apparent by the houses dug into hills and other architecture, plus the presence of Hin that these were the Halfling Shires. Wanting to get information and a pack animal, Gaelwyn convinced the group to flag down a halfling farmboy who in turn ran to get his father. They made the acquaintnece of Tibernos Wartwood who took them to his village where they had a couple round of drinks at the Rigatoni Sauce Tavern. There they learned that there had been trouble of some sort recently in a couple of the northern farms and that the people on both had gone missing. They learned there had been recent sitings of what the halflings called “the dark lady”. They also got the impression that Syruss Shortroots was respected in these parts and essentially looked upon as the “lord” of the area. Finally, Gaelwyn also negotiated for a sturdy, if halfling sized, geld pony with bags to carry some of their things. They made their way back to the road and headed south once again for Corisa.
As evening approached, they started thinking seriously about a place to camp. Elygyn & Gaelwyn broke off from the road, west and east respectively, climbing small hills & out of site to scout out potential camp sites. Elygyn investigated some strange noises up ahead, discovering a great depression in the gentle hills, but also discovering adolescent halfling couple furiously making out. They screeched and pleaded with him not to tell their parents. He told them to get lost in very even tones.
At the same time, Gaelwyn was seeing things with her infravision that didn’t make sense, so she took the time to light a torch and climb a small incline to see who was moving around so quietly ahead of her. She slipped on the glossy surface beneath her boots, dropping her torch, horrified at her discoveries! One, she’s climbed and slipped on the abdomen of a a large, pony sized black ant. Two, at there were at least 4 more of the monsters she could see, each with a halfing curled up in the grip of their mandibles. She backed away painstakingly slowly to avoid aggravating the ants. The one she stepped on followed her at a distance, its antenae twitching curiously.
The Elves returned to the road at the same time to report their findings. Gaelwyn’s took priority as the massive ant slid out from the brush and onto the road. Thinking quickly, Elygyn downed a potion of insect repellent, and the giant ant immediately reacted by attacking Oaklyn instead. The dog yelped as it’s leg was bitten and the group pounced on the giant bug. Elygyn, in a fit of defensive rage, hit the ant so hard with his sword, he knocked it’s head clean off and sent it tumbling away. During the brief fight, Rabbye found Morgan O’Malley very close behind him got his blood flowing. Gaelwyn was adamnant they help those doomed halflings, Elygyn and Morgan talked her down and convinced her they were not ready to take on what could be a nest of the monsters. They travelled on.
Travelling was uneventful. The group decided to skip looking for a place to camp and set up on the side of the road. Even the first couple of evening watches passed with no incident. On the last watch, Elygyn and Gaelwyn noticed what they took to be a shooting star at first, until it circled west and came back round closer to them. Staring they could make out the silhouette of a chariot in the sparkles. Gathering their gear together and getting underway, the elves told the rest of the party what they saw. Cresting a hill they came face-to-face with a giant man’s angry face under a massive lion’s mane. It was a manticore pulling the chariot of a warrior woman with jet black skin and glowing red eyes. She screamed at them as the chariot shot over their heads, “The daughter of Zhargas is upon you!” Flying over them she threw a handful of bone fragments at them. As they scrambled to get their bows and spells ready to combat her, the dark lady flew off as the “seeds” she threw grew and knitted themselves into a giant bone cyclops.
Freaking out, Allyn unleashed a fireball from his wand and damaged the skeletal golem, but rendered Gaelwynn unconscious, burning away her clothes and damaging her armor. Strawberry struck the golem knocking out chunks of bone, and got pummeled mercilessly almost to death by the thing’s massive fists. Morgan and Rabbye again paired up, slinging daggers at the creature’s single eye, knocking it back where Elygyn was able to pop it’s head off with some clever sword work. J. Hawkyns healed Gaelwyn and she crammed the massive skull into her bag of holding for reasons known only to her.
The hurried along the road then towards the port city of Corisa, encountering two men in armor they had never seen the like of before. The men spoke with a strange accent, but seemed to be of the same racial stock od Morgan. They told the group they would be expected to catalog their weapons at the gates of Corisa lest they be arrested. After reaching the white walls of Corisa, they indeed encountered guards at the gate that requested they present all their weapons while a sdcribe cataloged them. Inside, they saw Halflings, elves and huimans who had apparently gone local — dressing in Tunics and the light armor of the guards. Visiting the different quarters of the marketplace and chapel districts — where the cuilt of Aurora had not been heard of Hawkyns found out to his consternation — the group rested up and healed, making two sizable donations to the temple of Varyn the Preserver. Morgan O’mally did not make their rendevous, but a halfing intimated to them that she arranged for their passage out of the city on a ship after the secret auction she secured their invitation to. They were given a medalion to present to the secret auction house guards in the southern half of the wharf. Seeing a more modern looking ship actually float from the sky and land in the wharf’s northern end, they were confident things were coming together and agreed to attend the secret auction to recover Morgan’s lost object.