Seeing Mira Crowleaf’s signal for danger, the group raced through the forest to the caves where the villagers were hiding. They arrived to find several of the men being savaged by wolves, while others were under attack from hobgoblins. Brel and Regdar worked to distract the wolves while James Crowleaf and Caiphon fought off the hobgoblins. When the dust settled, James knew the villagers could no longer remain in the caves.
As he voiced this concern to his comrades, several of the villagers overheard him expressed their desire to return to Pakkin’s Folly. Crowleaf told them they were only inviting trouble, that Pakkin’s Folly was still unsafe. He pointed out that Yannit still remained in the town, as they had no way to kill the spawn. The four men argued with the villagers for some time, until Crowleaf realized the nearby Hugragag Shifter tribe might provide safe haven for the villagers.
Seeking further advice, Crowleaf went looking for Mord, a friend and fellow hunter. Mord was nowhere to be found, and it was quickly revealed he had gone off into the forest on his own. Frustrated and angry, James and his companions set out into the forest in search of the human.
They quickly found him, snagged in a brush pile, and under assault from stirges and bloodrot vines. After fighting them off, Mord said he was inspired by the acts of heroism the companions had displayed, and opted to set off on his own to not only find food, but also find things in the village that would help their quest.
“Wait,” James said, hesitating. “You’ve been back to Pakkin’s Folly?”
“Yes,” Mord replied. “I even found a book in the church that might help you guys fight these things. It looked like there was a ritual inside, so I hid it in an alley.”
James further scolded Mord, telling him his behavior was bound to get him killed, and ordered him to stay with the rest of the villagers. They returned to the caves and after some discussion, resolved to head into Pakkin’s Folly to get food and supplies to present the Hugrugag Tribe with as a show of good faith for providing save haven.
Without hesitation, Hendric Tallhart and his eldest son Beorn stepped forward. Two younger men, one barely 18 years old, also volunteered. Gorm and Rhaa Fadorr gave the group directions on where to find the goods under their store. Nethid gave step-by-step instructions on how to disable the traps designed to keep thieves out of her shop.
When they arrived in town, Caiphon suggested they make a quick stop to Mord’s hiding place to retrieve the ritual. As they slipped into the alley, five figures stepped out of the shadows – two bugbears and a tiefling. They attacked the group immediately. As one of the bugbears moved to strike Caiphon he hesitated, recognizing the Avenger.
The Bloodghost Syndicate was in Pakkin’s Folly.
Caiphon flashed the syndicate’s hand signal and the Bugbear lowered his mace.
“What are you doing here,” Caiphon asked, quite shocked.
“We were sent to kill people, said they’d be in this alley. I didn’t know you were one of them. What’s your angle on this? You working for the Vampire Lords, too?”
Caiphon’s reply came in the form of a swift axe blow to the bugbear’s head. After a brief skirmish, the assassins ran off down the alleyway, but not before Brel detained one of them.
Caiphon quickly learned that when the Vampire Lords took over Jakkra City, the Bloodghost Syndicate quickly offered fealty in exchange for their lives. Their first order of business, they were told, was to wipe out a group of humans in nearby Pakkin’s Folly that had bested both Yannit and Lord Graw. With one swift blow, Caiphon beheaded the gangster.