Date: Late Cal and Early Dacal, 1333 Avard
The party boarded a ship traveling from Kashin to Rilan, but in their haste, forgot to bring the giants' map – a tapestry so large that most thought of it as a 'giant' rug. Luckily, Beth had made a near perfect copy in her notes, and this relieved Eingrim considerably.
The ship hit a log in the river its first day out, and had to lay over for repairs. After the delay, their sails were torn up by a freak wind, but Eingrim managed to repair the sails with magic. When they reached Lena after several days' delay, Eingrim replenished his medical supplies as best he could in the rough-and-tumble swamp town. Mara found a very pregnant warhorse who's owner had recently perished in the swamps near the town. On Eingrim's say-so, the crew of the ship took on the unusually tough warhorse.
On the way from Lena to Rilan, they found a ship partially sunk and in need of rescue. They took on the survivors, who told of a smart river troll that had holed their ship and then took many of the sheep and donkeys in the hold onto an island nearby. The troll's behavior indicated it had already survived other encounters with ships on the river, and it was a troubling thought that trolls could get smarter.
Eingrim used his physician's skills to perform surgery on Beth's ears, changing their half-elven pointedness into rounded human ears. She cut her hair and dyed it, as well, and hoped that the change would be enough to evade the warrant for her arrest in Kashin.
They pulled over and rode out the Freeze along the edge of the river. The days were lit only by Maroth's dim red light, and the nights were lit only by starlight. Although the ship was crowded with extra crew and passengers, Gruck's hunting and Luise's (Beth's) cooking managed to make it an enjoyable affair, despite the freezing temperatures at night.
They arrived in Rilan on Lul's Day, 1333. A holy day to celebrate the Merchant God Lul, books were blessed by the clergy at no charge. The party holed up in a place called the Blue Tyven (run entirely by dark elves), while Eingrim checked in at Lok Magius.
That night was a freezing rain, delaying their departure by a day, but allowing them to gather additional materials and examine the books they had purchased on Lul's Day. Gruck had gotten a primer on Common, Beth had found a book on herbalism, and Mara and Wellby had bought blank books they intended to fill with their own writings.
Two days after Lul's Day, they were ferried across the Galanus River west of Rilan, and set out on foot through the hilly forests. The freezing rain had melted, leaving only mud, so Gruck broke trail with his massive axe and found easier going, while Eingrim navigated with the aid of his familiar in the skies above.
Wellby had 'acquired' some sail cloth along their journey, and had made a fantastic goliath-sized pack for Gruck. When the temperature was too cold during the day, she hunkered in the pack she had made for him in her sleeping bag. At night, everyone was relatively warm in their two-man tents around decent fires. Gruck, ever the survivalist, ensured they had plenty of food.
After several days' travel, they were worn out and tired. Beth, tired of keeping up her visage of Luise, stepped out of her tent – and surprised Mara. Mara, who had not realized Luise was Beth the whole time, did not like the woman who was wanted for murder, and the stranger stepping out of the tent was not welcome, either. When she identified herself as Kata, Mara went on the offensive.
Gruck and Beth had not spoken since Kashin due to hard feelings between the two, yet Gruck stood in Mara's way, easing the tension. Eingrim helped to intervene and diffuse the tension, but Beth – Kata – stormed off alone to blow off some steam.
She returned some hours later, completely worn out at having to drag back two full grown bucks by herself – one killed with a crossbow quarrel, and the other killed by her eldritch blast.
The next day, closing in on the ruins of Drbth, they came across a deer sucked dry of bodily fluids. Gaunt and skeletal, no creatures larger than insects had attacked the dead body. Not long later, they found a small black bear, similarly drained of fluids and still intact.
Stirges were in the air, and the party warily moved closer and closer to the ruins – giants' ruins perfect for nests of stirges.
DM's Notes: I'd intended for us to jump straight to the Ruins of Drbth, but they enjoyed the journey immensely.
None to date.