After a brief interrogation, Oesgir happily tells the party everything he knows about the elusive Stag Lord. “He’s not a man, but a monster! He has the head of a stag and a mean temper. He’s a deadeye with a bow, and I saw him crush a man’s hand to mush with his fist! He’s no one I’d want to be messing with.” More importantly, he reveals that “the Stag Lord’s fortress is on the Western shore of the Tuskwater, but I’ve only been there but twice m’self. Truth is there’s so many in his employ that it’s easy to lose track. ‘S why we use a passphrase of sorts. Last time I was there it was ’ By the bloody bones of St. Gilmorg, who wants to know , and no, I have no idea who ’St. Gilmorg’ is.”
Oesgir also reveals that the Stag Lord has a penchant for whisky, and in fact the cart in their camp, aside from being used to lure in travelers, is packed full of the stuff to be delivered to the fort.
That night the party slept restlessly, being continually awoken by a pair of forest creatures playing cruel (but ultimately harmless) pranks, which continued sporadically into the following several days.
It becomes obvious that Gar’s distended abdomen is beginning to affect his abilities as a scout and he reluctantly agrees to return to Oleg’s to inquire of the whereabouts of the local apothecary, of whom he has but passing knowledge. Cian escorts him back, with Etto and Oesgir captive and in tow.
The remaining adventurers decide to begin fulfilling their charter to explore, and spend three full days exploring the woods between Oleg’s and the Thorn River, in the hopes of finding the Moon Radishes that Svetlana asked them to procure. The first day of exploration saw the party’s first encounter with the local giants, specifically a Thawn, some sort of disgusting, mutant, hunchback giants. Quick work was made of it, the underbrush on the party’s side keeping it at bay. Just when it seemed it was going to escape the entangling weeds, Shaemes plugged it right in the eye with his shortbow, killing it instantly. Its only belongings were a tattered sack, made of some sort of (un-tanned) animal flesh and holding scraps of various body parts and a single gleaming gemstone. Although it escaped their immediate attention, upon re-examination it detected as magic.
During the third day of exploration, the party finally came upon a small vale in which the promised Moon Radishes were growing abundantly. Unfortunately they were guarded by four kobolds. Fortunately, those kobolds had clearly gorged themselves on said radishes and were unable to adequately protect themselves, and they soon met their (rather gruesome) demise.
The party decided to attempt to track the kobolds back to their lair, knowing that kobold trouble was one of the things they were tasked with. As they were leaving the forest to track the kobolds, the party was approached by the male faerie dragon Perlivash and the female grig Tyg-Titter-Tut, who apologized for their pranks and pledged their help to the adventurers, granted that they were truly there to “kick out the mean biggenses”. After one day of tracking to the North and East a brutal rainstorm washed any visible tracks away, so the party set their sights back towards Oleg’s and, hopefully, a warm bed.
About a day out from the trading post, the party set their eyes on an enormous elk. They decided they were up to the challenge of slaying this beast. Dmitri let loose an arrow that narrowly missed, but Shaemes was more fortunate and he feathered the beast once in the haunch before ducking behind the bigger target of Chibenhar. The now enraged male elk, in the heightened aggression of his mating season, charged Chi and skewered him, which by all accounting should have killed him instantly (multiple action points used). The sight of his kin lying bleeding on the ground, gored through the face hole, sent Dmitri into a rage and he immediately charged and NEARLY slew the beast in a single blow. Nearly. The elk managed to land two clean hits on Dmitri, whose defenses were compromised by his rage. With his intestines beginning to slowly plop out a newly-created hole in its flank, the Megaloceros was not long for this world, and a final chop of Dmitri’s blade ended it.
They limped the remainder of the day back into the trading post only to be greeted by a small camp of strangers pitching tents outside its palisades…