As they arrived at Barton’s Cove, the group met another companion on the road, Buferd T. Justice, cleric of Moradin and Bram’s former adventuring partner. Buferd had freshly arrived on Kaeyden from the void of time (the distant past). Bram described the situation to his old friend and inducted him into the service of Torag.
With the niceties out of the way, Buferd rejoined the party and they continued on their quest, entering the fishing village. While Bram and Buferd acquainted themselves with Kelvin the blacksmith of Barton’s Anvil and Zot traded words and goods with Roystwick, owner of Arcanum, Kaan had a chance meeting with Alvin Tucker, the town sage, who recognized Winter’s Fury and was able to offer the barbarian some insight into the legendary weapon he carries.
While spending a few days in town the group spoke to several villagers, learning that the druid Helkkar, who was supposedly responsible for the recent attacks, has maintained a friendly relationship with Barton’s Cove and its citizens for years. No one knew of any reason why he would be harming the village without provocation. Finally, after witnessing wolf invasions and unusually harsh weather by night for themselves the four decided that they should seek out the druid and get to the bottom of this.
They struck out in search of Helkkar’s grove in the northern wood. As they approached the forest’s edge the party was set upon by a pack of dire wolves. The animals were dispatched in short order and the companions continued. Camping in the wood was uneasy. Cold winds blow fiercely, shaking the autumn leaves and unseen wolves howl throughout the night. The following day the group would skirmish with a number of animated trees before coming to the druid’s glen where they met Strongroot, a local treant who was also seeking Helkkar. The anciant oak would stay planted at the grove in hopes that his friend would return while Kaan discovered a number of tracks leading north and west. Investigating the northern prints first, the party found a shallow cave three miles from the grove. Inside, a month-old corpse hung from the wall by shackles. The body was half-elf, same as Helkkar, and its throat had been cut. Bram and the others took the corpse down and headed back to the grove to present it to Strongroot for identification.
As they went, Zot noticed a larger-than-normal pair of butterfly wings dart behind a nearby tree. Kaan, assuming it to be a fey creature of some kind, called it out, assuring that no harm would come to it. The pixie, Flutter by name, did come forward and spoke with the adventurers. She told them that the body did appear to be Helkkar. However, in recent weeks she has seen the druid’s ghostly form moving about the forest by night. “He is angry.” She warned and recounted occasions when she witnessed him inciting creatures of the wood to violence, something the Helkkar she knew would never have done.
The party thanked Flutter for the information, left the corpse with Strongroot in Helkkar’s grove, and followed the other set of tracks west out of the forest. In the plains beyond, Kaan lost the trail, but several miles later they came to the shoreline of the ocean where a small vessel had been broken up and burned.
With the unsavory sea dog refuge of Driftwood only a short distance to the north, things were getting interesting…