The party made hasty preparations to leave Rifflian. After buying what silver weapons they could and distributing them among themselves, Martin and Roger hit upon the idea of creating a wolfsbane-based lycanthrope repellant. They paid an apothecary to take the herb, crush and boil it, then mix into a lard-like paste dubbed “Bane Butter.” The party then forded the Wufwolde and rode out across the moors.
Later that afternoon, the group came across a lone cairn of rocks on a hummock. Circling it carefully, Roger approached to investigate. As soon as he touched the cairn, several rocks tumbled aside and the desiccated corpse of a man in leather armor rose up to grab at him. Roger dodged the creature and backpedaled, shooting at it with an arrow. Cromartie also fired and the arrows stuck in the thing’s torso. The creature’s eyes burned red as it leapt clear of the rock pile.
Pavel and Fyodor closed on horseback with the creature. The warrior landed a terrific blow with his sword and Pavel invoked his deity to turn the foul thing. It shrieked and ran for its cairn, but Fyodor reached it before it had dug back into the rocks and cut the thing half with Trollcutter.
Pavel asked concernedly if anyone had been hurt by the creature. No one had and he breathed a sigh of relief. He told the others it was a form of wight and could sap your very life force with a touch.
The group carefully removed the now-dead thing and the rocks. Martin found two polished copper armbands on the wight and Roger discovered a rotted sack buried just below where the thing had lain. It tore when they pulled it out, spilling silver coins on the ground. There were too many to count conveniently, so they tucked them into a new bag and slung it on the mule. That night, they camped on the moors.
It was well after dark when Fyodor, awake on watch, heard sounds moving in the dark. He thrust a torch into the embers of the fire and, waking the others, threw it in the direction he’d heard the noises. Nothing could be seen in the light, but the party heard a guttural voice that spoke briefly in a language none of them knew and then fell silent. Just then a wolf howled from the opposite direction. Martin lit another torch and hurled it toward the sound, Fyodor ran toward the howl, hoping that perhaps one of the werewolves they sought had come to them. A moment later, two wolves came at the camp from the opposite side of the howling, followed almost immediately by four more charging Fyodor into the torchlight!
As the party battled the wolves, Roger and Martin saw some orcs stumble into the first torch’s light, fighting wolves themselves! One was taken down by a wolf but the rest fought on, eventually dropping one of the beasts.
As Fyodor hacked and slashed at the four beasts surrounding him, a larger wolf moved into the light. It seemed to ripple as it changed form into a bipedal “wolf-man” form. It held up some sort of trinket and growled mystic words at Fyodor. The warrior felt some sort of energy trying to bind his limbs, but he managed to shrug off the effects and keep fighting. Martin cast a Sleep spell in Fyodor’s direction, dropping the wolves, but leaving Fyodor standing. The werewolf shifted back into bestial form and leapt to the attack; the Traladaran fighter charged to meet him.
Pavel, Chromartie, and Roger dropped a couple of the wolves before they were able to harm the mounts, ignoring the orcs and their battle. Fyodor sorely wounded the werewolf, causing it to try to flee, but it foolishly turned its back on the warrior’s magic sword and Fyodor killed him with a parting stroke.
At the lycanthrope’s death, the normal wolves broke and ran, one of them being cut down by an orc as it fled. Fyodor looked across the moor at the orcs and brandished the fallen torch in one hand, his bloodied sword in the other, and screamed a defiant war cry. The noise awoke the magically slumbering wolves at his feet, but they fled into the darkness. The orcs beat a hasty retreat as well.
Fyodor looked at the dead werewolf. It had changed back into a man of early to middle years. He severed the thing’s head and sealed the stump with the torch. Whether this were one of the ones they sought, he wasn’t sure, but it was certainly worth taking the head along.
The next morning the party broke camp, and by early afternoon they’d reached the banks of the Shuttturga and began to move upstream. Within a couple of hours, they espied a rocky hill that fit the description they had been given. Moving cautiously around it, they spotted a likely entrance: a shadowy patch near the base that might be a cave mouth.
As the group moved past the hill, their horses grew nervous. The adventurers picketed the animals at a stand of scrub and trees a few hundred yards away. Fyodor, mindful of his oath to Loshad, turned his beast loose, but it didn’t wander far from the other animals.
The party decided to have Roger climb the slope and see what he could. The hill was steep, but not unmanageably so. Near the top, he saw that the hill was actually more like a bowl, with an enclosed canyon within. Moving along behind the ridgeline, Roger scouted the area below. He could just make out where a tunnel entered the area roughly in correlation to where they guessed the entrance to be from the outside, but there seemed to be no sign of movement. The canyon was largely in shadow as the day wore on, so details were few. He did spot a strange, beast-headed statue standing partway down from the ridge line on the opposite slope.
Roger tossed a rope back down to the others, who then ascended the hill. After checking the canyon from several angles, they came down to discuss their options. They decided to put a couple men on the ridge and the rest would attempt to lure the beasts out and deal with them as they exited the tunnel.
As they talked, a rustling in the brush gave them only a second’s notice before a huge wolf followed by three others burst out and charged them. Martin got off his Sleep spell, dropping the smaller trio, but the big one never slowed. Roger scrambled out of the line of its charge by hastily climbing up the hill a few yards, and Martin stepped behind the others. Cromartie and Fyodor met the beast head on. Pavel tried casting Light on the werewolf’s eyes to blind it, but the spell missed and managed only to illuminate its ears.
The fighting was short and bloody, but the beast was brought down. Like the other were, it changed into human form after it died. It was a middle-aged woman with long greying hair. Fyodor severed its head and Martin dispatched the sleeping wolves.
The party moved on with their plan. After Roger and Martin climbed onto the ridge with bow and oil flasks at the ready, Fyodor, Pavel, and Cromartie went around to the tunnel entrance and flung the glowing head of the female werewolf into the tunnel. Three more wolves came out of dens in canyon walls below. Roger shot at them as Martin hurled flaming oil down. One wolf fell, its hide stuck with arrows and smoldering. The other two tried to flee the flames. As they ran out of the tunnel, the rest of the party cut them down.
The party regrouped and explored the canyon. It seemed to consist of several dens, each their own small cave with an entrance off of the central canyon. The caves had matted bedding and crunched bones and stank of predator. One of the dens seemed larger and cleaner; it also had a battered chest in it. Another had a once-fine saddle with gold and silver tooling that had been badly chewed. The statue stood at the top of a winding ramplike path. It was obviously very old, and worn by the elements. It was about six feet tall, a human with a bestial head. The head was more like a jackal than a wolf, though. Its eyes were rubies.
The group decided to bring the horses into the canyon for the night and camp there. The mounts were nervous with the smell of wolf, but the characters picketed them to keep them from running off. The group rested and bound their wounds and the night passed without incident.
The next morning came with cool breezes blowing in clouds and a light drizzle. The group packed up and headed west, so as not to miss their rendezvous with the mysterious horse-man. By that evening the rain had not worsened, but nor had it slacked off. The group was still several miles from the ford and since they were not to meet with Loshad until the following night, they made camp once again on the moors.
The night passed without incident and the party awoke to a cool wind blowing in a drizzling rain. They broke camp and continued west toward Rifflian.