† After dispatching the latest gnoll huntmaster we decided to camp for the night in the same cave we rested in earlier in the day and used as cover with the wizard’s curtain to make easy work of the latest threat. Reed and I stood watch and heard the ettin roaming a good deal away and also saw the blue light flash from the portal at the pentagram in the opposite direction. After relaying to the group what we discoverd, we decided to wait until first light and then go to the pentagram and investigate. During the wait there was an peculiar event where Cain appeared to become possessed and said to Peren, “Why are you wearing the armor of the Sacred Queen? You know it does not belong to you and you must return it at once or not even Brim can save you and your lowly companions”. Afterward, Cain remembered nothing of what he said. Peren confirmed that Pelor is definitely not known as or associated with the Sacred Queen so we suspected that perhaps the armor is falsely marked with Pelor’s symbol. We examined the unknown amulet Cain has in his possession and also Peren’s armor to see if we could discern the source of the strange occurrence and possibly find something out of place, but found nothing evident.
† In the morning, we approached the pentagram from within a copse of trees and saw 3 hyenas and two gnolls that were fancily dressed in comparison to the huntmasters we’d encountered before, which we identified as acolytes. One of the acolytes was loading bodies of dogmen from a cart into one of five pits between each of the points of the pentagram and, thus we determined the other to be the leader since it was not doing the grunt work. We decided to make some noise while still under cover in the trees and see if we could coax part of the group to come investigate and be able to ambush them. It seemed to work at first as the hyenas started to move toward us, but the leader acolyte stopped them. At that point the impatient dwarf threw our plan away and rushed the field on his own. Once the battle started the leader acolyte shot a magical fire enchanted arrow into the trees we were hiding in, which had been set up as a trap to catch fire and burn easily. At that point Cain and Sheddin engaged the second acolyte while the rest of the group followed Grumel to the hyenas and the leader. We found the lesser hyenas easy prey, but the acolytes were much more formidable than their lesser brethren. Their armor made them much harder to hit and required much more damage to kill, meanwhile their already effective longbow attacks were made more so with the fire enchantments. They also were able to lay curses upon us doing ongoing necrotic damage. With our poor strategy of splitting up the group, the acolytes waylaid us and did massive damage before we could regroup. Reed and I finally managed to join up with Sheddin and Cain and killed the lesser acolyte, but the leader kept Grumel and Peren busy and managed to summon the barlugra demon that they served. By the time the demon joined the fight we had already been hurt badly and Reed and Peren were laid low. The rest of us with no chance to save them and survive fled to Chaylin’s camp, but noticed a drow elf with white hair approach the battlefield during our flight.
† Back at Chaylin’s camp we relayed our story and learned from them that there were 5 hunting groups that were responsible for filling the food pits with bodies for the demon to devour. With that revelation we realized that we had already dispatched the 5 groups and so there must only be the one acolyte remaining. The next day after resting at the camp, we were surprised when Reed and Peren rejoined us. They then relayed their story of being saved from death by the drow, only to awake in terrible agony and realized that were being branded on the back, lower part of the neck between the shoulder blades, and then fell back unconscious. When they came to fully they were bound and among other prisoners and discerned that the drow is a slave trader and had put his mark upon them with the branding. They had also been stripped of all their belongings. Fortunately though their bindings were of drow magic and when put into sunlight they dissolved. They then helped free the other prisoners and escaped back to the Church of Pelor. The monks there then supplied them with new gear and rations and they were able to make it back to Chaylin’s camp. I must learn more of this drow and his vile operation…
† We then spent another night at the camp and with the news that the remaining acolyte should now be alone, we went back to finish the job. We had much better fortune and the second time and were able to pummel and restrain the last acolyte, but not before it summoned the barlugra once more. With no other choice we engaged it, but surprisingly found it easier to hit than it’s gnoll followers. Without knowing that battle was at hand though we were able to surprise it and overwhelm and destroy the ugly thing before it could release much of it’s fury. We looted the area, finding some jewelry worn by the barlugra as well as Stanching Leather Armor +1 that the group granted to me, and also severed a paw from the demon as well as a single claw for myself as trophies. Looking through the pits we found some dogmen bodies still intact and loaded them into the cart used by the acolytes and, after hanging the flag, transported them back to Chaylin’s camp along with the captured prisoner.
† When we returned to Chaylin she rewarded us with Acrobat Boots, which we gave to Sheddin since he’s usually the one needing to pick himself up most often. She seemed pleased to have a living gnoll to play with and was also somewhat comforted that it was not just the ettin alone responsible for the deaths of so many of her soldiers. During that last encounter we got a closer look at the staff she carries as well and noticed that it is not only of fine craftsmanship but seems magically powerful as well.
<< END OF SESSION 5 >>