The Dark Carnival

The Missing Man from Ostrich

May 27

Leave and arrive Ostrich late. We bed down outside of town to enter in the morning.

May 28

Windy, cold day for spring.
We meet the family. Parents and 2 younger siblings of the missing man Hans, family name Gruber.
The Thorp is called twin oaks where Hans moved about a year ago as a lumberjack. Farming and woodcutting are the works in Twin Oaks. Hans has enjoyed a quiet peaceful life in the very small community. He writes at least monthly. The last 2 times anyone has come from Twin Oaks, within 2 weeks of one another both in the last month, through this way there has been nothing. So they are concerned. The 2nd traveller said it seemed odd in town when he was there. People not quite as friendly as normal, like they quietly couldn’t wait until he was gone.
“We aren’t a rich family. We can give you a meager reward if something bad has truly happened. Especially if we can get him safe. What they can provide is travelling supplies.
Yanath “Very good.”
They also give us some basic info on T Oaks:
A small council runs the town. The head member is a woman named Vandra; man named Lobbur, a farmer like Vandra; Hedvynn, smithy; Bumor the tavern keeper.
Hans had mentioned nothing untoward about anyone in town. People tend to hang at the tavern in the evenings. Friendly community.
“If Hans had met with an accident or some such, someone would surely had sent word.”
The thorp is just innside the edge of the forest south of Friedl. A narrow cart track leads 3 miles into the forest to the thorp from the NW, from Friedl where all shipping leaves from and comes into the area. It then proceeds past the town to the lumbering sites.

Yanath and Barleycorn agree to hit Friedl first and glean what info they have on Twin Oaks recently.

June 1

Cut east across strecht of N/S hills then skirt forest north for Friedl. Great travelling weather, 60 with slight breeze and cloudy.
Crazy Wolf and Gerald and his wolf pack become each others new best friend.

June 2

Arrive early evening, Friedl.
The sheriff has heard of no issues in TO. No one has come to town from there for a couple weeks. Its a bit unusual but not totally unheard of this time of year. Things just getting started down there.
At the inns, Iggy and Barleycorn get some word: Barleycorn that about a month ago a small group stopped in Friedl and went into the mts from here. Some kind of adventurers who said they were on a holy quest to destroy some horrible creature living in the mts. Iggy that about 2 weeks ago couple men came into Friedl for supples, soldiers who said they were part of a small group of sellswords, were heading south after they left here supposedly. Struck this townsman as odd. Heard later some people saw the 5 of them moving south.

June 3

First thing in morning, Yanath, Iggy and Barley split up amongst the general stores to ask about what these soldiers bough. Yanath is the one who happens into the right place. The manager remembers them, bought standard travelling stuff. All definitely warrior types. Overheard nothing about their plans other than looking for work.
Not adding up for yanath. Merc work can take you anywhere, but you gain such work along more travelled roads, not out here. Yanath buys a few things. He has heard nothing from TO, when asked.
“Typically by planting season we’ll get orders from farmers for seed, equipment replacements, animals, etc. At least a couple of them every season looking for at least a few things” but this year nothing for at least a few weeks.

Into the wild.

We skirt the high country north of TO then come down toward the roads out to the lumber sites. We arrive to town in afternoon. The wolves and mounts are left at a creek where we all will meet tonight.
Iggy gets into a position to watch the town with a spyglass. The rest of us circle the town east and south to find the lumber trails.
Iggy: each of the 6 houses is 2 stories. Tavern. Smithy and stables are together. There is a large pond just outside of town. A ring of mobile stiles lines the town perimeter. About 3 acres of farmland cleared just south. Little undergrowth around town. Little activity. No one works the farms, nor does anyone go into or come from the lumber trails. Smithy is not operating. He takes note of the fields condition to relay to Barleycorn later, but he thinks they tilled maybe half, could have planted something, then just stopped.

The rest of us first come to the town graveyard NW of town. 6 total graves. 5 old and weather worn. 1 very new, dirt only couple days dug up for certain. No identification yet, just a marker.
We next reach the first log trail. Gerald is left to investigate this path, the others continue on. He goes to logging area and finds no one. Also seems to be no recent logging for at least several days. Like one day no one ever showed.
The rest come upon a man walking down the next trail, whistling going away from town. Yanath at the point lets him pass then follows with Dog, sending Barley and Crazy Wolf ahead. Dog follows Yanath. They find no other paths so finish circling the town looking for anything suspicious then back to the meeting spot.
The man walks to the logging site, same state as Gerald’s, and casually walks around looking at ground and out at the treeline like he’s looking for something. When he loops back to the path he starts toward town again. After he leaves Yanath investigates the perimeter closely. Yanath finds nothing unusual. He snakes further out and wider, methodically, but nothing. Dog picks up no scent that get him growling or the like. The site is nothing special either.
We catch up to the guy to make sure he goes all the way into town, which he does then into the tavern.
Yanath stops and sees Iggy. Yanath is going to get the crew back here to take turns watching the town overnight in shifts.

As dark closes in, everyone we did see in town earlier gets indoors and shut things up securely.
Yanath “All right men, on guard.” Things could be quite dangerous. He gets everyone up now.
Gerald volunteers to circle the town to recon. Yanath sends Crazy Wolf and Barley with him. To Barley “Check out the farming fields closely.” Nothing. Barley confirms they started the planting but absolutely nothing since nor maintenence on what they did do. He figures 2 weeks since.
No activity in town neither, at all. Not even lights from inside buildings.
Barley wants to help their crops, jokes about being there weeding in the morning when everyone wakes up. We half consider the crazy idea just to see how the town would react.
Yanath takes a walk to the log sight he was at before with Barley and Crazy Wolf. Lantern on at the sight as its still cloudy, no moonlight. Nothing. We shut the light down and just look out into woods in total quiet. Dog keeps guard behind us.
Soon enough, we hear noise in the forest! Like something fairly large. Maybe more than 1. We listen intently now and the noise stops suddenly just beyond our sight. Yanath readies to turn the lantern on. It starts loudly again, light goes on, and they come right for us!! Snorting away come 2 huge boars, like Dire huge.
We drop them after Barley takes a couple terrible hits and Yanath takes 1 crit.

We start cut them open and they are indeed standard dire boars. We carve off meat, all we can carry back, to eat while we are here. Then drag the bodies away from the clearing. Disguise the fight as best we can as well.
Back to Iggy.

June 4

Great day for outdoorsmen: 44 degrees, light wind, sky perfectly clear “Celestial Clarity” = plus 4 spot, search, listen, SM; Negates fear and confusion effects

We watch more as morning comes. Windows are opened, townsfolk appear but seem generally nervous. Always looking around and behind them as if expecting something. No work is begun whatsoever.

We walk into town via the trail.
We are hailed friendly enough by a man named Lobbur. Iggy says we are wilderness warriors passing through the area on our travels.
Yanath says we have a friend in town named Hans.
Iggy and Yanath notice that besides the townsfolk, 2 men are walking in town separately but both armored and armed like sellswords.
Gerald sees a field next to the town where obviously they were grazing livestock; none in sight now though.
Barleycorn notices that the only building that seems to have people going to and from is the tavern. Otherwise, people meander, get in small groups and talk, then go their separate ways.
Crazy Wolf realizes he has not seen one child in this town, at all.
Gerald mentions the livestock issue to Lobbur, and Barleycorn adds the garden.
Yanath adds they obviously are having some sort of trouble, we’d be glad to help.
“Oh no, we’re all fine here, now , thank you. We did have some problems recently, bandits came through. Luckily these mercs happened to be in town and were able to chase them off.” 4 mercs, he says. This was about 2 weeks ago. Town was afraid bandits would return, haven’t had a chance to get back to their daily live yet “We’re a very frightened people. Most things scare us. Now, if you’d like to have a meal before you head on your way” he points to the Plow Tavern and “I will fetch Hans for you.”
Yanath “Well, Barleycorn is an experienced farmer,he’d be happey to help you with the fields today, or tomorrow.”
“That would be wonderful, if you have time.”
Y “We have plenty of time, nothing but time, really. We’ll stay around here for a while to help.”
He says they gave the sellswords a small payment, but since they had no other jobs on the horizon they are being paid in shelter and food since. We say we can bring in our own food to start on a spit near the tavern, but we’ll check out the place anyway.
One of the sellswords is here and a few others. Bumor’s wife works here as well, cooks the food. He’s fine with us putting the boar on a spit. Barleycorn goes out to start the spit.
Stairs go up to second floor. By that is another door; a back door goes outside where he says to set up our spit.
Yanath goes to the merc “His next drink’s on me”. Introduce self and asks about the bandit affair. Guthwine says they weren’t tough, maybe a dozen of them. Then didn’t put up much of a fight vs real warriors once they engaged. They have seen tracks of them generally since, that’s why they are still around. Says came from north as we heard before.
Yanath has a strong suspicous he’s lying about something. He also says the bandits took the livestock before the mercs chased them away. Why they’ve left the crops is a mystery to him, he claims.
“They are a skittish lot, though.
Crazy Wolf has been hanging at the bar talking with Bumor as best he can. Wolf is sure he is not being magically driven.
Yanath “So, have you met Hans Gruber?”
“Who? The only people I talk to in this town are the bosses.” He is telling the truth, Yanath thinks.
Y “Well, we need to get this town working.”
The door opens, Lobbur enters with Hans. Crazy Wolf walks over with Yanath to greet him. We get our own table with Hans, who follows. He asks who we are. We tell them exactly why we’re here.
He’s been busy “with stuff”.
Wolf feels he is not being compulsed.
He insists they can’t log because there are horrible creatures in those woods.
Wolf “We’re cooking 2 of them in back.”
Something is wrong in his presentation here, a fool could see it.
Yanath says we’re going to help you all get started.
“Mighty kind, but i think we’re good though but you should go talk to the council. I’m pretty sure we’re all fine here, everything is fine.”
We here too much of “We’ll be fine”.
This is getting us no where.
Iggy sees the merc staring at us the entire time.
Wolf goes out to check on Barley, tells him his plan, then comes in and tells the innkeeper Barley needs some assistance with the pit. The wife goes outside to assist. Barley tries to get her to open up. She insists they are “all fine, all good”. He asks again, she kind of looks around, and repeats the same answer.
Barleycorn scans the area, sees nothing.
Hans has a house in the village here, where a group of the lumberjacks live.
Yanath “So I understand the livestock, and the logging, but why isn’t the blacksmith working?” Hans says he’s been very sick.
We hang for a while but no one shows up to help Barleycorn with the fields. At lunchtime one of the other mercs arrives, the other who was here leaves. Iggy goes to sit out front with a drink to see where he goes: He wanders about for a while, as is another one. A group of a few townsfolk gather together talking. One of the mercs walks up and gives them a stern look and motion, they then break up.
Gerald with wolves and Crazy Wolf goes into the woods to look for this supposed evidence of bandits. They do find evidence of livestock wandering the woods, but no bandits. We start to track down the livestock.
We find a cow first after another hour. We get it back to the grazing field. One of the farmers sees it and meets us “so, where did you find the cow?”
“In the woods.” He’s surprised it wasn’t eaten by the horrible things out there. This guy acts the same as everyone. He takes his leave quickly.
Soon after, a woman approaches with Lobber, its Vandra. She heard we brought one of the cows back and assures us it will be cared for. Lobbur personally will watch it. She wants us to come and have a talk.
Wolf “You should really talk to Yanath and Barleycorn at the inn”. She agrees. We head back into the woods for more livestock.
Vandra meets with the rest of us, right before Yanath was going to send Barleycorn to find her and Lobbur, now all sitting behind tavern at our spit.
More excuses concerning the fields et al. We say we’ll be ready to take them to logging sight and farming.
“That sounds fine.”
She does say the monstrous creatures showed up after the mercs arrived.

Crazy Wolf and Gerald find and return a couple pigs, goats, and several chickens. Lobbur does remain with them.

Yanath goes to meet with some loggers on the street, who give him a blankly surprised look about getting back to work the next day. Then agree (bullcrap) and disperse.
Well, they’re not going to show up.
We let the day go along, eat our boar meat and bed down outside where we cooked. The kitchen has its own stairway to their larger living area. Mercs stay in 2 rooms upstairs, 2 per room. In the evening, there was another rotation of the merc in the tavern. We still have not seen the 4th. Elreden and Norbert are the other 2.
At the boar feast, we meet a woman named Jezzor, a half elf, town carpenter, was in charge of the building of the town. She does mention ‘watch yourselves’. Yanath invites her to come hang out with us here where we will bed down “welcome any time”.
Yanath does see the man he saw out at the logging sight the night before. Another of the wandering sheep. Yanath takes note of where he goes when night falls.

Barley went to see blacksmith with Crazy Wolf. There are 6 horses stabled. Big burly Hedvynn answers. Barley introduces us.
“What are you doing here?”
We say we’re here to buy so he takes us in to his shop. CW checks his coinpurse at the front door just for show. We buy nails and arrowheads.
In conversation we tell him where we are staying. He gives us the “watch yourselves tonight”.
We leave.

We rest most of the evening in prep for staying up late. When night is falling, everying gets inside. The mercs to do a quick sweep of the town making sure everything is locked up tight and the 3 of them sit in the tavern. Tavernkeeper closes up business.
Mercs “We are heading up to our rooms, don’t bother us while we are sleeping.”
Bumor says he’ll leave the back door open for us in case we need to come inside.
He turns in, we all go outside and relax.

Almost an hour later, we hear some noise from around the corner of the building. It’s Jezzor! Being very sneaky, darkly garbed.
“You have to leave tonight. There are horrible things hunting the town.”
She insists the mercs have nothing to do with the hunting things, and are paranoid about it. The things are humanoid, mercs think it may be people from town becoming these things. She thinks worse than lycanthropes. We get on guard around our camp.

At the stiles, Dog’s ears perk up suddenly. A low growl alerts us. Crazy Wolf and Yanath turn in Dog and Barley’s direction. A squeeling from a pig! Like its being slaughtered!
We tell Jezzor to get into the tavern, back door is open. Barley stays with her.
The rest of us rush to the grazing field. On our way we see the livestock scattering. We find the dead pig, throat ripped out. There is not as much blood as they’re should be for having its throat ripped out.
Something drank it? Dog and Gerald’s wolf are put on the scent. That means its not aerial. It leaves town NW to the graveyard! The fresh grave is empty now.
Noooooooo!!!
Now we turn on lanterns and Yanath looks for actual tracks. He finds footprints, shoed, to and from the grave.
Yanath tracks further with Dog into the woods where it disappears. Checking the nearby trees, no evidence of climbing.
Back to town!! Run!!!

Back in the tavern, Barley feels an odd tug at his brain. A feint voice for a moment asking him to go outide, its a nice night, take a walk. He shakes it off.
We get back. Jezzra asks if we found anything.
“We didn’t see it, but have a bad feeling about what it is.” She says the grave is that of one killed in the first bandit raid. A farmer cut down in the raid.

small council runs the town:
head member is a woman named Vandra
man named Lobbur, a farmer like Vandra
Hedvynn, smithy
Bumor the tavern keeper

mercs:
Elreden
Norbert

XP for Boars: 2400 total

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