Our heroes find comfortable places at the long table on the first floor of the Weeping Willow, and Boris brings out flagons of wine…some of their dwindling stock. The inn is empty save for a traveling priestess of Asura, who has come to aid in the treating of the sickness. The rooms purchased at a reduced rate are bare but comfortable.
Around the table and over a platter of roasted (and disease free) venison, the group fills each other in on their discoveries. Rowan crossed the river and met Trago- one of the purebloods rescued earlier in the day. He thanked the party for their intervention and offered the hospitality of Snake Row in return. He also admitted to being afraid to leave Snake Row again, until relations return to normal, and wanted the group to check up on his cousin Garvil…the hound master at Bear Manor. Rowan was then directed to Melara, who used to work in the Manor for Baroness Anya before being turned out. Melara gives Rowan a brief summary of the recent history of Putoro and its importance to trade in the region. She also provides the name of the young boy of Deond and Anya, and heir to the barony- Marek.
Lucien and Osaiya had tracked east after leaving the chandlery, passing a boarded-up weaver’s and then coming to a great set of double doors set into the hill on the bank of the river. After some careful study, Lucien decides the doors haven’t been used in at least a couple of weeks. He also notes what appears to have been a flow of wax some time before they were last used, and their are wagon wheel impressions in the wax. The waxen lobe is covered with patches of dirt and fresh growth. As the two of them make arrangements for lodging, they observe the wax golem in the chandlery going about his business and tidying up.
Timbo and Vulash are the last to rejoin the group, having visited the local Temple of Herum. They came upon a priest, Radu, in the middle of a ritual parading around the temple with a censer whilst cutting his arms. He revealed that he had cured the first victims of tallow-throat, gardeners from the manor, but they had fallen ill again and died shortly thereafter. He has generally been successful in curing otherwise healthy folk of the disease, but cannot work fast enough to save the already weak. He said there were three stages of tallow-throat, the final one involving a horrific eruption of the swollen throat and ‘dark creatures’ issuing forth. He has lost most of his acolytes to these things, and is struggling to find precautions while still treating the sick. A pressing issue is that many of the sick will not seek aid, because they become cantankerous and asocial as the disease worsens. He also notes that the disease was contained to the manor until the baron expelled the purebloods.
A couple of locals make their way in, sheepishly confessing that they didn’t think the pureblood farmers were guilty of kidnapping and thanking the group for stopping Captain Groy. They begin to ask about the adventurers- who they are and where they came from… Osaiya politely talks to them for a while before turning the questioning around. The locals say that there have been rumors of shadows stalking the valley at night for many years, but they never attacked humans. Last month, people started coming down with a strange disease and then began disappearing. The baron made a speech warning the townsfolk of dangerous shadow creatures…