The party departed the city quickly, spending just enough time to recuperate and re-supply before making the day long trek to the Neverwinter Wood. They journeyed on the East Road until they reached the outskirts of Thundertree then cut North to the forest. Just outside, they crossed paths with what seemed like a displaced troll family. The group decided it was best to dispatch the trolls but after the combat they realized one of them had been carrying an infant. Unsure of what to do, the party left the squalling troll infant to it’s fate and carried on to the edge of the forest.
After a rest for the evening, the party ventured into the forest. Ugarths keen tracking senses quickly picked up the trail of a group travelling north. They soon stumbled into the group as they were lying in wait behind cover. The group they were tracking attacked first inflicting heavy damage from bowmen, and calling in several bears to support the men wielding greataxes in melee. The battle did not go well for the Uthgardt. Although, the party realized what the Gray Wolves had been talking about with regards to the “Strange Magic” that had imbued the Uthgardt. Their assailants attacks had been empowered by a strange, yet increasingly familiar blue flame originating from scars on their bodies. The same type of scars that the spellscarred of Helm’s Hold had been afflicted with.
After the battle the party found a pile of the barbarian’s things nearby. Among them were two Gray Wolf pups not much older than 13 or 14. They were released from their bonds and told the party that they were captured and were being taken to the shaman of the Uthgardt. They explained that there were rumors that the shaman was sacrificing things to some dark god. And that the sacrifices were giving them the strange magical power. After the party explained their intent to kill the Shaman Alassa, the two younglings proposed a plan. They would sprint back to the gray wolf camp, and convince them to attack the following morning at day break. This would draw the main force of uthgardt away and give Desmond and his friends a chance to kill Alassa. They all agreed it was the best chance they had.
Parting ways with the gray wolves, the party marched hard though the night… The unforgiving forest threw many challenges at the group and they killed or avoided several Uthgardt sentries but eventually made their way to the Uthgardt camp.
Soon after the party arrived at the outskirts of the camp, the sun began to peek through the trees. True to their word, the wolves made their attack as was evidenced by the sounding of horns far to the south east. The party hid for a long while as the camp nearly emptied then seized their opportunity and snuck further into the camp when most of the force had left.
The camp’s center was a clearing surrounding a low hill adorned with a circle of ancient standing stones. In the center of the circle a large shard of obsidian jutted out like a wicked black claw. Ominous clouds seemed to circle above the hill. Surrounding the hill was an array of tents and wooden lean-tos. Not far from the circle of stones, two large tents stood, and between them a number of wooden cages held several howling and barking wolves. A larger cage held an angry looking Orc.
On the hill several people busied themselves with some ritual. As the party approached, they saw a couple tough-looking barbarians come down the hill, pull a wolf from its cage, and feed it some draught. The creatures body transformed into a young human who choked and sobbed as they roughly dragged it back toward the hill.
Seeing no good thing to come of what was happening, the party charged into the clearing and felled the two barbarians. Chaos ensued. The shaman ritual performers sprang into action calling out to the woods. Several combattants came out of tents to join the fray. And on the hilltop one young shaman threw herself at the foot of the obsidian shard and opened her own throat gurgling “Use me for your will, oh masters!”
It quickly became apparent that Alassa was at the top of the hill as well. Once the girls blood had spattered the obsidian, Alassa chanted an alien sounding incantation and the dark clouds above filled with lightning. The lightning flashed toward the obsidian spire then arced out to Alassa. For a moment she screamed in pain but soon she began to laugh. Her body swelled to four times its size and electric blue fire coursed over her skin.
She joined the fray then, slashing and stabbing with her claws and swinging a wooden totem around as a bludgeon. Several immense dire bears charged out of the forest as well, called by their shaman masters. The party was locked in dread combat, taking heavy damage and dealing as much in return. Meanwhile, the angry Orc locked in his cage saw the opportunity to escape, he bit through the lashings on his cage, found his trusty staff in the nearby tent, and lept to action, hurling fiery pain at his barbarian captors.
The battle ended with Alassa being overwhelmed by the combined force of the party. Her form collapsed in a disgusting but familiar way into a smouldering pile of bluish goo. It reminded everyone of the mad guard in Helm’s Hold, Farron Gond. As they searched the remains, a glint of silver silver shone in the ooze. Once again they were reminded of Gond and his foul cursed pendant
The Orc introduced himself as Fazaak. He was a wizard, trained by a Red Wizard deep in the heart of the Neverwinter Wood. His master was more torturer than tutor however. Through various circumstances he had become captured. After hearing Desmond’s story he was intrigued enough to see the story to its conclusion… with perhaps the promise of gold and opportunity to burn things as an added bonus.
Pixel and Belgron decided to examine Alassa’s pendant. It seemed to radiate a charm that Pixel could not resist… She just had to hold the thing. In a fraction of a second she fell forward into the oozing remains of Alassa and clutched at the silver medallion. In her mind she fell for an eternity blackness surrounding her like a dark blanket. Then a booming voice echoed in her ears “Ohhhhhhh… the Masters will have great use for you” Then her eyes crashed open as a stinging pain wracked the hand that once clutched the pendant. Belgron stood over her with a large stick in hand. He had managed to swat the pendant out of her hand and it faintly clinged to the ground in some nearby bushes. Shaken and somewhat disturbed, Pixel joined the rest of the party along with Belgron.
The party found a few useful items among the Uthgardt possessions and decided to follow the sound of battlehorns. They found the battle lines soon enough and with their help were able to turn the tide in favor of the gray wolves. They found a triage camp and decided to rest before heading back to Neverwinter.