veryone, hearing a crashing sound outside, is jolted awake. Rongo, the first to stir, perks his ears up and hears Angela call Talin’s name outside. Not sure if the two of them are in distress, Rongo blows a hole in the bamboo wall with a blast of fire and rushes outside. Meanwhile Aumanil checks Talin and Angela’s rooms, finding that the Ranger left his Sword and armor and Angela left her water pouch behind. Whatever happened, they left in a hurry. Atka and Fang Po Po rush after Rongo, the only two able to keep up as Rongo propels flames from his feat to race across the ground, and Po Po uses his Airbending to run at extraordinary speeds. The others follow behind, and the three in front can see the tracks go deeper into the forest. As they pass a large rock formation however, a huge Earthen arm swings out from behind it and close-lines the Firebender! Running recklessly through the forest, they have stumbled into two lumbering Earth Elementals…
The group quickly engage the Elementals. Once the rest of the group appears they make short work of the spirits and re-evaluate their situation. Rongo, realizing what probably happened, and knowing Talin’s skill in battle, decides it will be more wise to wait until morning to pursue them. Waiting till Talin returns to human form will be less risky, but it may be too late for Angela. Returning to the Tavern the group gets a bit more sleep until morning. As light begins to creep over the horizon, Rongo can hear a scream in the distance. Knowing they can wait no longer, they gather their weapons (as well as Talin’s) and head off. Atka tracks the scent for a few miles until they come across the scene of a battle, blood splattered across the ground, trees and rocks uprooted. It seems Angela didn’t die however. Talin, his tracks now huge clawed paws, leads left and travels up towards a stone peek. The other trail is nearly impossible to see, but it goes left and circles around the base of the mountain to the right. The group follows Angela’s trail with Atka at the lead. They cross a river. It takes Atka a while to relocate the scent on the other side, but when she does she continues her steady pace. Eventually it leads to a small cave that tunnels through a thin part of the mountains stone walls. When you get to the end, Atka stops and lets out a low growl. The sun is just rising. Atop a small bank just ahead stand Veradin, accompanied by a few other figures.
Talin, you awaken in a dark cave. Your limbs burn and you are covered in blood. You feel full and stronger than ever before, but naustious. Besides you is the corpse of a mostly eaten deer. You are completely naked. When you walk to the end of the cave, you see you are at the top of a stone peak. The forest is below you. You see a clearing to your left at the base of this peak, in the clearing stands Veradin, his back to you. Three other figures stand by him, two are soldiers, the other a monk. Two glyphs are drawn in blood on the ground, in the one to Veradins left sits a man in dark robes, cross legged. in front of Veradin there is a kneeling man with a sack over his head. Your companions come into view from a small tunnel below the bank Veradin stands on. It is unlikely they can face Veradin, or escape for that matter, by themselves. you can see a path along the mountain side that winds behind the enemy position and into the forests behind them, where you probably would have an easy time sneaking up on them without notice.
Talin, breaking off a large dear bone, sharpens it into a improvised knife and heads down into the forest, planning to flank the enemy position. The rest of the party, confronted by Veradin, stops as he addresses them. He demands the return of the ritual (which nobody but Aumanil and Veradin knows is the Resurrection ritual) and threatened the group with the death of the man in the hood. pulling it off, the person is revealed to be Kio! Veradin holds up a vial and says it is the antidote to a poison he has given Kio, and that unless they give up the scroll he will die. Aumanil, not wanting the conversation to get any more involved and reveal his secret to the group, quickly produces the scroll and throws it to Veradin. Veradin catches it and throws Aumanil the antidote before kicking Kio down the dirt slope.
As Aumanil catches the vial of clear liquid, Veradin and Togashi step into one of the runes drawn on the ground and Veradin activates it, causing them to teleport away. In the meanwhile, Talin was at the edge of the tree-line, but Togashi spotted him. Rather than give him away, he motioned for him to stay hidden before dropping a piece of crumpled parchment on the ground. Aumanil, realizing too late that the liquid was NOT an antidote, rushed to help Kio. Kio, bonds cut by Rongo, told him to relax and procured his own vial of blue liquid, to the bewilderment of the rest of the group. The other man on the hill orders the two warriors to attack while he activates the last rune, causing a dark aura to burst from its boundaries, and the man is overwhelmed by the strength of an evil spirit. An Ethereal Defiler. Talin launches out of the forest and stabs one of the soldiers in the throat before he has a chance to react. The other is stunned by the blood covered naked man with a bone knife. A terrible fight commences. It is a long a fearsome battle but eventual Rongo is able to land the killing blow with his skilled swordsmanship. The group re-unites and fills eachother in on what happened to Talin and Kio. Talin reads the note Togashi left. It says he serves Veradin against his will, that Angela was captured, and that the Lycanthropy he has contracted can be resisted… or even mastered.