Having exposed the Blackstone elements amongst the Duer Defense Force, the party returned to Krieger Schaldhamer. However, it seems the real mastermind behind the plot to disturb the harvest was one step ahead of the party; Schaldhamer’s clerk, Damodar, had disappeared in the middle of the night along with many other duer along the border. It seemed that, now exposed, the Blackstone had chosen to flee, perhaps to marshal their forces elsewhere.
Soon after, the party was given a mission: travel to Highkirke to seek out important documents. There was a sacred church to the Twins in Highkirke, which was supposedly built on a sacred place; and somewhere beneath the church was supposedly an old archive of the church’s most sacred documents. Simon Keeper has come to believe that there is a document there that might hold answers to the Great Dying. He instructs the PCs to investigate and return with anything of interest.
Highkirke lies across the lake, in the area of old Lioncourt, along the Hy’dranois. The party had three reasonable options for approach: go directly up the Hy’dranois to Highkirke via Lionsmouth; put in at the more southerly Baentun and walk the road to Highkirke; or put in on an undeveloped stretch of beach and go the overland route. The party chose the third option, as it avoided having to travel to a potentially undead-infested city.
Their travels were eventful. First, they stumbled into the hunting grounds of some hungry shambling mounds; then they came across an abandoned camp that they later discovered may have been a gnoll encampment; and finally, they encountered a trio of small dragons being attacked by a corrupted tree (evil treant). They defeated the mounds; searched the encampment for clues (coming up with little other than the mysterious totem pole); and defeated the corrupted tree, saving two of the three dragons.
The small dragons revealed themselves as faerie dragons named Gillywing and Shimmer Shadow. They tell the party that things in the woods have become bad of late, especially since a tribe of gnolls, the Talon tribe, moved into nearby Highkirke. Which just happens to be where the party is going …