Our new heroes, Goa’Dün and Mikhail – strangers to one another – found themselves united by a common past from uncommon roots. Having each quelled, in their own distant lands, a dangerous cult, they were transported through time and space to a new location which they found completely unfamiliar.
After an initial bout of shock and confusion, they managed to make their way to the Village of Catawen. The locals were friendly and cordial, but moribund over the loss of many of the village’s children. They had either wandered off or been kidnapped, and rumor was that a witch had been spotted in the forest.
Ruminast, a priest in the village temple, offered to lead the heroes to the forest where the witch had been sighted by a hunter the day before. The village Smithy, named Cyrus, had set out a few hours earlier to investigate himself and had asked Ruminast to join him, since both had done some adventuring in their youth. Ruminast refused, citing temple work, but in his heart, knew it was due to his own cowardice. When he met Goa’Dun and Mikhail, he saw his own fear for what it was and decided to go and do something about this problem.
On the road to the Morast Forest, the party was assaulted by Stirges and Fire Beetles. During the fight that ensued, they discovered that Cyrus had also been assaulted by these creatures, and had crawled into a beetle’s burrow to hide while he waited for the creatures to retreat back into the forest at nightfall. Hearing the commotion of the fight, he crawled out from the burrow and joined the fray, helping to dispatch the assailants in short order.
Cyrus, now reunited with his old friend Ruminast, and their new companions Goa’Dun and Mikhail, urged the party to move into the forest quickly to try and locate this witch.
A short while later, the foursome came upon an old house in the woods. The house had an enormous tree spring straight up through the middle of it, leaving the roof and upper floors in tatters. The tree’s leaves were unusual in that many of them were a natural green color, but may others were pitch black. In the yard in front of the house were two Goblinoid creatures, with pitch black skin. The Goblins seemed to be fighting over something, and noticed the party as they came around a tree in front of the house. “You don’t belong here!,” one of them hissed as he threw a rock at the adventurers.
Several battles ensued, as the group battled from the front yard, through the house, into the back yard, and down the stairs into the basement, with Goblins in their way at every turn. They noticed as they moved through the house that the trunk of the tree was like the leaves; half of it looked like a normal tree, but it had black streaks twisting their way up the trunk and out along the branches. When they stood close to the tree, the black material lashed out them with an acidic touch.
Finally in the basement, they could hear the chanting of the witch down the hallway. The path ahead was covered in black roots, coming down from the tree above. The roots, as the tree upstairs, lashed and spat acid at them as they proceeded down the hallway. When they turned the corner into the main chamber of the basement, they saw the witch holding a child by the neck over a pit that seemed to be filled with bubbling black liquid. She finished her incantation and dropped the child into the pit. A few seconds later, a black goblin crawled up out of the black tarry substance. It was then that they realized that the Goblins were, in fact, the abducted children.
They leapt into the room with their full fury born, destroying the witch and taking care to not harm any more of the children. In a small chamber behind the witch, they found a couple more children, who would have been next in line to be tossed into the pit. With the witch dead, the surviving children returned to their normal selves—but she had one last surprise up her sleeve. As the heroes turned to leave, the black substance in the pit took shape into a large tentacled beast, bearing in itself a writing mass displaying the faces of those it had already consumed.
Goa’Dun took up a position between the beast and the children, his hulking frame shielding them from harm as the beast was taken down. Finally safe, the menagerie of heroes and kids returned to what they presumed was the safety of Catawen.
Upon reaching Catawen, another story was unfolding. Several of the village’s houses were on fire, and the village square was under attack from Kobolds. Several dead and wounded lay about, and Halenk Redbark, the son of a local farmer, had just staved off the last of the attack with his herding dogs Fitch and Gritch. The dogs were not lucky enough to survive the encounter, and Halenk swore revenge for their deaths. He, an accomplished hunter himself, told the group that he knew where they were holed up, and asked Goa’Dun and Mikhail to assist him in putting them down.
Goa’Dun agreed, as did Mikhail, on one condition. First, they said, they had to get some rest. It had been a long enough first day in Catawen already.