Days after arriving back at Oleg’s Rest, the remaining heroes were contacted by a skilled swordsman from Loudwater who also bore one of the cities charters…
The human, bearing an elven curved blade and wistful (at times sad) look in his eyes, explained that he was sent by Hassan’s aunt Ellarian to help investigate a disappearance at Moonfall Abbey.
The Abbey was once a prominent orphanage dedicated to the god Illmater and run by Gellania Helbrester, a devout priestess of the order. The orphanage had burned down mysteriously a month earlier and was (much to Ellarian’s frustration) rumored to be haunted. While willing to let the local rabble enjoy their rumor mill, the sudden disappearance of a group of children camping near the site inspired urgency in Hassan’s aunt. The request to investigate the ruins did not fall on deaf ears and Hassan, along with Serrka and Khael returned west to investigate the remnants of the orphanage.
Having past the structure during a previous visit to Loudwater the companions pushed west towards the abbey. On the first night of the journey however, Khael’s keen senses detected the party was being watched from behind the forest wall. His attempt to stealth to the location of the hidden observer however failed and by the time the rogue reached the spot all that remained were some broken twigs and a scrap of torn cloth.
Unable to decipher anything from such limited clues, the companions broke camp in the morning and reached the abbey mid afternoon. A search of the grounds eventually unearthed a secret basement containing the corpse of Gellania, some moldy wolfsbane and a host of grizzly tools used for torture. Serrka’s examination of the body revealed that Gellania had not died from the blaze that consumed the orphanage, but rather from having her throat ripped out. Before Serrka could pronounce her findings though, a giant spider descended from the rafters and a swarm of baby spiders hatched form the nest of Gellania’s corpse. While the heroes managed to slay the giant spider, they struggled for some time to stop the spider swarm and eventually resorted to lighting the torture table on fire and crushing the vermin beneath its flaming bulk.
Leaving the terrors of the basement behind, the companions were startled to find a little girl hiding in the bushes outside. Serrka was able eventually able to coax the child into the open and through kindness and diplomacy was able to win the child’s trust. Named Jeva, the little girl professed to be a former resident of the orphanage who survived the terrible blaze that consume the abbey and had survived since living feral in the surrounding forest. The child seem staunchly opposed to any suggestion that Gellania was anything other then a wonderful, merciful and kind soul, dedicated to “fixing” the bad children of the orphanage. Jeva seemed to touch various bruises and burn marks on her body at mentioning Gellania’s charity. Hassan also noticed that the scrap of clothing he had covered at the camp site matched a torn piece of Jeva’s dress.
While a mix of sympathy and suspicion, the party was happy to discover that Jeva knew the location of the missing children’s campsite. An investigation of the campsite revealed signs of a struggle and claw prints recognizable as kobolds. Jeva explained the kobolds were common predators in that region of the forest and she could lead the party to their hideout. Without Oewyn’s tracking skill and urgent to find the lost children, the companions accepted the little girls aid and headed off into the forest.
Traveling the kobolds hideout (which turned out to be ruins of an ancient dwarf monastery) brought the heroes into conflict with both a harpy and a predatory plant called an assassin vine. While the heroes managed to survive the conflicts, suspicions about the authenticity of Jeva’s story, her unnaturally powerful vision, and creepy, some what superficial attitude began to sow seeds of fear and distrust amongst the party.