Augustine was on his way to Galaron. He had encountered the Sheriff on the King’s Highway, who had advised him to catch up with a group also traveling westwards, as it is safer to travel in bigger groups. He was hurrying along the road when a group emerged from the forest. They turned out to be Gil, John, Braenn and Ragnar, who had returned from their ceremony at the oak. What a surprise!
They marched along the road, but rain set in. It got worse and worse until they were drenched in their overcoats and the cart trail that was the king’s highway was a morass of mud. They decided to seek shelter, and John found a suitable overhang in the forest. They made a fire to dry themselves, using John’s lamp oil as starter on the wet wood. Gil entertained them with songs of a famous elven bard, Garfunkel, and sang to them of Leavendale fair. John wished for the sound of silence and shut his helmet visor to at least dampen the sounds. Augustine took a nap.
They returned on the road and resumed their journey, until at some point Augustine and John noticed something strange. A cart trail was leading away from a trampled area. They followed the tracks and found a lone handcart. It turned out to be full of cabbage under a sheet to protect them. Exploring the area to find the carter John stumbled over a ledge and fell on his head. His helmet saved him from injury, but was badly bent as a result. It took a woman’s strength to twist it off of his head.
They followed another trail of in the mud to a farm. It consisted of a simple house, a barn, a field of grain with a scarecrow, a pumpkin patch and a vegetable garden. No sign of anyone. As they explored the house they found the farmer and his wife dead in their bed, ripped by mighty claws. A stacked bed hinted that two kids might be around somewhere. They found the broken body of the young daughter in the well, giving her location away by the smell.
A longer search of the premises netted a living hen they caught in the barn, and the dead body of the teenage son, which somebody had stuffed inside the scarecrow. His bones were also badly broken. And Braenn stumbled over another body in the pumpkin patch, probably the carter they had been looking for. He was ripped open and his blood was wetting the ground.
Further inquiries found nothing. They buried all the bodies, something Augustine as a former gravedigger was quite used to. Augustine dug out a pit trap in front of the front door, and Gil put some sharpened stakes in there and covered it. Gil fashioned himself a quite exquisite Javelin out of one of the fenceposts. Braenn cooked cabbage soup dinner, because Gil insisted to keep the hen for the eggs. And John fashioned himself a burning sack bola with a stone, a sack doused with oil and a bit of rope.
They went to sleep while Gil held watch, but he fell into a trance and had strange dream-spasms, which woke Augustine… that and the smell of digested cabbage soup. A sound from the shutters in the bedroom startled them. When they went to investigate the shutters in the kitchen were disturbed. They decided not to check outside, relying on Braenn’s ability to detect evil creatures. She sensed a big evil (announced by a foreboding, yet heavenly fanfare) moving around the house, and they were trying to deliberate how to defend themselves, when a sharp whoosh was heard and they could smell the thatch on the roof starting to burn quite quickly.
Out of the house they moved, which had become a trap for themselves, carefully avoiding their own pit however. Around the corner stormed a frightening sight to behold, a large mass of vines shaped like a big human, with a burning jack-o-lantern as head! Both clerics were too panicked to do anything, so Gil tried to insult the creature from the other side of the pit to make it charge him. Apparently elven taunts need improving, but John threw his fire missile, and caught in on fire indeed – only the creature did not seem to be harmed by fire at all!
A fight ensued. Gil tried to engage the creature to keep it away from Braenn, while John tried to maneuver it into the pit with a spear. Braenn got a hold of herself and tried to turn away the unholy creature, but Ildavir was not hearing her pleas. Gil got quite badly hurt, while Augustine failed to shake the panic. The creature tried to slam the well-armored John unsuccessfully, but also he was not making a big impression on it either.
Gil spellburned himself and cast chilling touch, attacking the creature with his hands of ethereal smoke after. This indeed found a weakness on the strange thing. Finally Augustine came around and paralyzed the creature after enchanting his own weaponry. John delivered the final blow. The shape of the creature began to broil and shudder, and they dispersed quickly, just in time to escape the head exploding, showering burning spores ten feet around it.
The farm house burned down, but they made themselves at home in the barn for the rest of the night, including the saved hen. Braenn had some atoning to do, so she prayed for more than an hour before seeking sleep. A sleep well-earned on everyone’s behalf in this place of blood and mayhem.
or how came the head in the soup..
When Gil, Braenn, Augustine and John (Ragnar disappeared in the night but left his flint and steel) woke up the next morning, they decided to burn the cursed pumpkins and to take the normal ones for food ration. After “killing” the bad pumpkins the group continued their journey to Leavendale, now with a handcart full of smelling cabbage, pumpkins, the hen Ophelia, some stakes and a good made wooden javelin from Gil.
After walking a long time a trail of smoke appeared on the horizon – it wasn’t not a group of adventurer burning “dangerous” pumpkins – but an inn surrounded by a large hedge. The roadhouse was filled with about fifteen guests, so the barman guided the fellowship to a table with only three persons. To their all surprise they recognized two of them. It were Tim and Mr Dieb. The third one introduced himself as Ereborn. After Gil treat drinks for all the guests they had a nice evening with drinking and talking. Only Braenn was dry because the barkeeper didn’t have her favorite herbal cocktail “the green one” and served instead a cup of tea. Ereborn told them that a strange wizard and his followers visited the inn some days ago. The code name of the wizard was Vernon but his followers called him with another name, perhaps it was Alfrond Ravenflight.
The next morning Mr Dieb woke up on the floor in his on puke with a hammering head. He was so hang over from the party last night that John had to put him on the handcart. They said goodby to Ereborn and continued their journey with Tim and Mr. Dieb as new companion.
A days march passed without anything special. When nightfall came the build a camp. Tim used his magic power to detected if the place was troll safe, but he didn’t find trolls. For supper they grilled the poor Ophelia and some pumpkins. Suddenly while eating a shower of arrows came out of the dark. A group of kobold with dogheads attacked the camp with their crossbows. Gil dried to put the kobold to sleep by a spell. The spell didn’t take effect but instead a loud buzzing of a bear ringed. All the kobold run away frightened by the buzzing except one who stood still like turned into stone. John caught him and they tried to talk with him, but the kobold didn’t speak any language they knew. So John let him escape, but Mr Dieb killed him with an arrow.
The next day they met some farmers on the fields eastward of Leavendale. After having a little argument because the purse of one farmer was suddenly lost and a spell from Tim to calm the farmer down, the farmer told them, that Old Gray in Leavendale perhaps knows something about the headless rider and that Ada, a woman on Bruilder farmstead saw the rider when Aennwyn disappeared. Mr Dieb payed the farmer with the farmer’s silver coins for help, kept the cooper, and they left before the farmer could realize what happened.
Before dawn the Fellowship of the Goose reached the Grendelstuir farmstead. There they interrogated Fol, Urgmer’s cousin, Biorn, Urgmer’s father, aunt Rowen and the Grandmother of Urgmer. They found out, that Urgmer was riding on his brown horse Old Bill to the Bruilders to see Aennwyn before the rider killed him and threw his head through the open window right in the soup pot .The rider was taller than normal men and wore a black cloak with a big collar. His horse was either brown or black but looked quit normal. The Grendelstuirs didn’t understand why the series of murders took place, because there was no special relationship to the Bruilders or the Hurnesons. The fellowship stayed the night at Grendelstuir farmstead until next morning.