After the battle with the cooking pot, the party exits the dark cave to find their manservant, Roneth, talking to the trapper with the wolf companion. He seemed surprised that they had fought the cauldron, because he would have thought they would just leave the cave, like he did the when he found out it was alive. After passing some minutes chatting, the party leaves the trapper. They make their way to the Thorn River, with plans to cross it there, then explore some miles south, and cross the river again while exploring westerly.
Hucklebuddy begins his crossing much as he has done before, making easy progress, drifting with the lazy current of the river. He feels a sense of calm elation at being in the river, and a quiet pride as he smoothly propels himself through the dark water. As he nears the opposite shore, his feeling of wellness, of tranquility, is shattered by a sharp pain in his leg. He twists around in the water to find a fish, double his size, has decided to make a meal of him.
Back on shore, N’name and Beta notice their little friend is in some sort of distress, and take up the rope to pull him back to shore. What follows is an epic three-way battle:, the fish moving inexorably upstream, his dagger-like teeth buried in the flesh of the halfling’s calf; Hucklebuddy, thrashing against his attacker, trying to desperately to stay afloat; his friends, on the riverbank, heaving as mightily as they can to bring him in safely. As the seconds ticked by, it looked like the gar was going to win, and make a meal of the halfling, as he went under one final time, but at the very last second, N’name and Beta were able to heal him enough for him to swim to the surface, and then proceed to yank him and the fish up onto dry land. As the halflilng caught his breath on the embankment, the fish flopped back into the water, but as it was begining to swim away, an arrow shot out of the trees downstream, an arrow with a thin rope tied to it, holding the fish in place.
Thinking quickly, the group rushed over to the trees, whereupon they found an unfamiliar halfling holding the other end of the rope, which was alternately threatening to either slip through his fingers or pull him into the river. “Hello,” said the halflilng, “my name is Silas. I don’t suppose you could help here, could you?” he asked, sweat beading on his brow.
Acting together, the two humans and two halflings were able to make quick work of dragging the fish back onto land, where Hucklebuddy proceeded to take his revenge on the fish. Afterward, their new friend lead them through the forest, taking hidden trails and winding many times back and forth, to a large hedge, a ten foot high wall of thorns. Once within this wall, they were introduced to the hamlet of Rushbottle, a halflings-only settlement hidden on the banks of the Thorn River.
The folk of Rushbottle were friendly, for the most part, one or two seemed to dislike the larger folk of the party on principle, while one person took a disliking to Hucklebuddy, because he thought Huck stole his saddle. Wishing to persuade this gentleman otherwise, Hucklebuddy gave him the saddle and bought an old beat-up one from the village (please remember to subtract 8gp from your wealth, Daryl). Hucklebuddy also attracted the attention of several young lassies, who are currently unattached and of marriageable age. One of these maids is Polliarra, the local druid-in-training.
During the festivities, the party learned about several threats in the surrounding areas, including a lurking spider and a tribe of creatures known as mites. These two hazards lay between Rushbottle and a potion maker named Bokken, who lives near the South Rostland Road. It is feared that one or the other perils have claimed the lives of two members of the village, Mendila Tosscobble (one of the rangers known as the Woodriders), and Pollisera Bumblehill, the village druid and Polliarra’s mother.
The party agreed to look for the missing halflings, and set out the next day.
As the group traveled northerly, the see a small herd of elk in the distance. As they watch, they see something erupt from the ground and take down a young elk. Searching somewhere else, they found the remains of a campsite, several days old. They found some tracks that headed, unfortunately, back toward the spider lair.
Determined, or perhaps more resigned, to find the missing halflings, they confronted the spider, and after a few hits it was dead, and they were not. They descended into the spider’s hole, and found naught but a desiccated human body (upon which nothing was of note other than a shortsword, a map, and an amulet) and caved-in tunnel entrance.
Relieved to not be a spider’s meal, the group continued their search. About four miles east of the spider they found a crack in some rocks, and within the rocks was a cave. Within the cave was an arthropod that shot a thin, sticky filament at the intrepid Hucklebuddy, who once again was the point man on the mission. Through the might of the elven cleric the party was able to defeat this monster as well. A search of the cave revealed another collapsed tunnel entrance, as well has some yellowish flecks of rock. No one was able to identify said flecks, however, so it’s probably nothing worth remembering.
The party was trying to figure out if the cave was a good resting spot when we left off.
XP per person: 467