13th of Neth, 4718 AR
A courier arrives with a letter to the party. It is an invitation to the birthday of Quintessa Maray, Hannis Drelev’s mistress. She will celebrate her birthday on the 22nd of Neth. The party decides that the party would be a great time to make a move on Drelev. They plan to inform him on the party that he is no longer in charge of Fort Drelev. Until the birthday party they will make sure everyone except Drelev is on the same page.
They start by checking out the noticeboard, and they see that there are some problems in the vicinity of Fort Drelev. Going for as much goodwill as they can get, the party sets out to check out rumours of bog mummies in the east of the Hooktongue and a giant sabre-tooth tiger called Speartooth just north of Fort Drelev.
Weixi teleports the party to Tok-Nikrat, a bog strider village.
Tok-Nikrat, Hooktongue Slough
Ko-Kekt, the leader of the village and father of the bog strider the party recued in M’Botuu, turns out to be very knowledgeable about the Hooktongue Slough, being able to explain in great accuracy the locations of nearly every dangerous beast, treacherous quicksands and landmarks.
The closest place of interest is a slug lair, home to a type of slug of which Garuum requested a few vials of acid. The slug lair is a foul-smelling pile of rotting wood next to a small river. One slug is swimming through the river slowly while another one is feeding on a dead fallen tree. The party easily deals with the acid-spitting slugs, though Rachim narrowly avoids a blast of slug acid.
14th of Neth, 4718 AR
Bog of Bones, Hooktongue Slough
Responding to rumours about undead roaming around in an area Ko-Kekt referred to as the Bog of Bones, the group sets out the edge between the Narlmarches and the Hooktongue Slough. Against the forest’s edge three figures in black robes are murmuring prayers to some dark goddess. Henri deduces their goddess must be Urgathoa, deity of undeath, gluttony and disease. When they approach the trio of priests, it quickly becomes obvious these people are the undead the rumours mentioned. Identifying them as bog mummies, Henri asks them what their deal is in this swamp. They explain that they are what remains of their cult to the Pallid Princess and that they recently had a little infighting with their high priest. They drowned him in the swamp to get rid of him, but apparently this angered Urgathoa, as they were pulled under too and arose as bog mummies a few days later. Since then the priests have been trying to atone for their sins against their goddess, mostly by infecting some local hunters and wildlife with mummy rot. They are inbetween cults at the moment. Henri tells them he is the duke of the Northern Reaches and that they are quite tolerant to ‘exotic’ folk. The party decides to invite them, initially to Stagholm, but they’ll ask the deep gnomes of Horgrim whether the priests would be welcome there.
Pixie’s glade, Narlmarches
After a few miles, the terrain slopes up, turning into drier forest. Moving up past a small creek, the party reaches a small grove where a group of worgs is devouring the carcass of a deer. A branch rustles overhead and the worgs spring into action, turning towards the intruders. Henri tells them he was looking for them and specifically their pixie friends and wishes to speak with them. With a disappointed sigh, five pixies turn visible near the worgs. Henri tells them he has employment to offer the pixies as an army unit of the Northern Reaches. He convinces them they’ll be paid well and live an easy life when not on active duty. The pixies seem somewhat disinterested, but are ultimately convinced to agree by their worg friends, who would love a life of easy meat and warm shelter.
Swamp Scar, Hooktongue Slough
In the distance, the party can see a high mound of rotten vegetation, described to them by Ko-Kekt as the Swamp Scar, where Ngara is supposed to dwell. When they get near, a naga slithers out of a large nook in the rotting jumble of trees. Henri starts explaining to her that his party just destroyed M’Botuu because they were being a problem. He asks her: ‘Are you going to be a problem?". She meekly responds ’No, Lord.’. Satisfied, the party leaves Ngara be in her compost heap of a home.