Judah, Ongewasgone, Stellatus, and Leo rose early to the sound of rain on the roof of the loft. They went downstairs to find out if Sendaros had returned during the night. No such luck, but Vanlin the innkeeper mentioned that Trudi, the barmaid, had not shown up for work that morning. Trudi, Vanlin informed them, was the eldest child of a farmer named Byrn who live on the eastern edge of town. The group decided to investigate her absence to see if the two events were linked.
Outside, the rain was still coming down in sheets. Ongewasgone and Judah both saw that by the light of day (such as it was) that the strange obelisk in the town center was canted slightly to one side, as if it had settled unevenly. The stone seemed firm enough, and the mud was not so soft as to have made it cant over. As the two were shoving it to see if it would topple, another bolt of lightning struck the stone. The elf jumped back nimbly, but poor Judah was given a nasty shock. The strange symbols were traced again by the electricity, and Ongewasgone was able to commit part of the designs to memory.
Stellatus helped him carry Judah back into the Panther to see how badly he might be hurt. As it turned out, the warrior was only singed a bit and had the wind knocked out of him. In a few minutes, he felt well enough to head out to the farm.
The farmstead was a modest property with a single story house and a somewhat ramshackle barn painted an ugly ochre yellow. A lone peasant in a hood was pulling root vegetables from the kitchen garden was the only movement to be seen.
Meanwhile, Sendaros had awoken to find himself bound and gagged, apparently with a sack over his head. He was on a wooden floor, he could tell, and indoors. He could hear rain hitting a roof above him and the smell of livestock was strong around him. With a bit of effort, he managed to kneel and work the bag off his head to look around. He appeared to be in a hayloft with pigs and cows in the stables below.
The party hailed the farmer and asked after Trudi, demanding to see her. The farmer –Byrn– explained she had taken ill with fever and her mother was caring for her. Stellatus tried to convince the farmer that he was a churchman and could help, but Byrn refused to let them go inside.
Ongewasgone’s suspicious nature prompted him to try and signal Sendaros if he were in earshot and began whistling a Feypine folk tune loudly.
Sendaros heard the song, pulled himself to the wall and began kicking his heels against the boards. The thumping agitated the animals below and they began to complain restlessly.
Judah heard the noises and moved toward the barn. Byrn became fearful and –grabbing Stellatus by the cloak– whispered harshly “He’ll kill them all!” and pushed past trying to stop Judah.
Ongewasgone tackled the farmer and sent him sprawling in the mud. Byrn told them tearfully that his family was being held prisoner in the house and he had to get rid of the party. Needing to hear no more, Stellatus and Ongewasgone ran for the farmhouse.
Judah reached the barn and looked inside. After a moment of getting used to the gloom, he spied Sendaros’ gagged face peering over the edge of the loft. He ran up the ladder and quickly cut the elf’s bonds.
Ongewasgone reached the front door to find it barred. Stellatus ran to a side window and smashed the shutters with his axe. As he attempted to climb through, a knife whistled out of the darkness inside and skewered his hand, making him drop the axe. Stellatus could see an oily gleam to the blade dripping onto his hand. Poison! He felt woozy, but kept his feet. A hooded figure rushed him and stabbed with his sword, scoring his side.
Ongewasgone ran around to join his comrade. Taking a running leap, the nimble elf dove through the window past the two combatants, landing on the floor inside.The assailant slashed at the elf across his back, scoring a wound. Ongewasgone jumped up and struck back, knocking his foe down and back into the hallway outside the room.
Judah reached the front entrance and used his brawn to kick it down. Whatever barred it inside splintered and the door swung open just in time for Judah to see a man with a short sword come crashing into the hall in front of him.
Sendaros, lacking his equipment, approached cautiously around the opposite side of the house, preparing to enter by another window.
Judah rushed the prone man and brought his mace down on his chest. Ongewasgone struck again with his blade, too. The stranger coughed blood and passed out. He was obviously badly hurt. Seeking answers, the elf bound the man’s wounds, but not before binding his hands. Leo, who had been watching the road, joined the others when the fight was finished.
When the stranger awoke, he revealed that he was a bounty hunter and the party matched the description on a notice he carried. He had captured Sendaros unawares and had holed up at the farmhouse to pick the others off one by one. Ongewasgone cut the man’s throat and searched the body, finding a fair bit of coin, some alchemical grenades, and the bounty notice.
Stellatus’ head was clearing from the poison and he found the family tied up in the kitchen. He cut their bounds and reassured them. They were shaken but unharmed. Sendaros chastised his cousin for the impetuous slaying, saying that they could have learned more from the man. For instance, the notice said to collect the reward at “The Lion” but none of them knew where that might be.
In the end, the party gave Byrn one of the dead man’s gold pieces and told him to bury the man secretly. The farmer also would tell anyone asking that the party had arrived looking for their friend, not found him, and then headed south, though they intended to head northwest to report back to the Baron about the tower. Byrn sent them to Berd, a fisherman on the edge of town who would secretly ferry them across the Bogbeast for a small fee.
The party found Berd and his boat and successfully crossed the river. It was late morning, the rain still fell, and there were many miles of the Broken Moors between our heroes and the last known encampment of their employer.