(Sorry about the delay in these postings. I hope I have most of it right, feel free to correct as necessary)
Journeying up the Volaga (Highreach) River, the party made slow but steady time through the uneven ground of the moors. After crossing into drier foothills that afternoon, they were brought up short as a boulder sailed out of some trees and crashed to the ground, just missing Martin and his horse. Ambush! The assailants broke cover and lumbered toward them. It was a pack of five shaggy ogres brandishing huge clubs and large rocks as missiles.
Such a foe was understandably confident, but they had underestimated their prey badly. The party tore into the brutes and made short work of them. Fyodor suggested tracking them back to their lair, as the folktales surrounding the beasts suggested they collected gold coins as shiny trinkets from their victims. Cromartie found the trail leading away from the river easily enough, and the party moved out.
Within a few hours, they espied movement on a hilltop ahead. Roger and Cromartie snuck ahead while the rest of the party waited in some trees. The movement turned out to be an ogre sentry. Another one of the creatures approached it and traded places with him. A changing of the guard, apparently. The pair of men watched the second ogre hunker down and sit still for a bit, then crept back to rejoin the group.
The party devised a plan: they would circle the hill and take out the sentry quickly, then track the other one back to whatever lair it came from. Roger and Cromartie returned to their hiding spot and prepared to shoot the beast after giving the others time to move into position.
After several minutes, the ogre stood up to relieve itself. Taking advantage of its breaking cover (and distraction), the pair fired. Unfortunately, the arrows flew wide and the sentry was now alerted to their presence. Nitely came to the rescue with a Silence spell targeted on the ogre, so that its attempts to raise the alarm proved futile.
The group charged in and found three more ogres outside a small cave behind the sentry hill. A bloody battle ensued, somewhat complicated by the silenced ogre charging into the fray and interfering with some spellcasting (no verbal components would work within 15 feet of him). In the end, the ogres were dead and the party largely unharmed. A search of the cave revealed a cache with thousands of gold and silver coins! The party decided to picket the horses here and rest for the night.
In the evening, the horses shrieked in terror. A huge spider-like creature was dragging one of the pack-mules away! Cromartie, who was on watch, waded in with the dead elf’s greatsword, but his arm was trapped in a crablike pincer. The rest of the party shot and hacked at the beast and it finally dropped. Pavel managed to heal the worst of the damage to Cromartie’s arm, but the mule was dead.
When dawn came, the group packed up and headed back toward the Volaga, intent on finishing their journey to Xitaqa.