After defeating the goblin shaman, Malicus does his best to desecrate the demonic shrine while [[:dergar : Dergar]] and investigate the other tunnel. They find another room empty of everything but filthy, flea-infested straw.
After a short discussion, the party decides to try to find the half-folk infant’s family. They return to the site of the original ambush, find the tracks of the five goblins, and follow them back the way they came. After a restless night in the wood, they come upon a small farmstead. Approaching carefully, Malicus is swarmed by a half-folk family when they see he has brought back their baby, Conlinn.
Overwhelmed with joy, the family members laugh, cry, and hug each other and the party. Harlin, the father of the Underknoll family, and Corrine, the mother, set a feast – both in celebration for the return of their beloved baby whom they thought dead, and in appreciation for the three people who rescued him.
Roasted lamb, baked vegetables, preserved fruits, fruit wine, and an earthy root liquor were in ample supply. Throughout the day the family celebrated with the party, who were treated like the heroes the family considered them to be. As the sun set, the Underknolls insisted the heroes stay in their home for the night. Rearranging their bedroom furniture to fit the large humans and half-orc, the family sleeps in the living room as the party takes the bedroom.
Come morning, the Underknolls fix a hearty breakfast and pack food for the heroes. Harlin tells them that the monastery they seek, Vidalia. dedicated to Farralisyd the Seeker, is in the plains to the northeast, beyond the wood they were traveling through. If they head in that direction until they come to a stream, follow that to the river, then go up the river, they will come to the plains. From there, they will have to find the way to Vidalia.
They find the stream, and begin to follow it as Harlin instructed. After some time, they stop short when an arrow flies from the trees and embeds itself in the ground at Dergar’s feet. “Halt! Go no further, for you intrude upon the land of the Eraelyan tribe!” “We mean only to pass through. We must go to Vidalia on an urgent quest,” answers Dergar. “You will go west, then, until you come to the river. Then follow that to the plain. But you are not welcome here.”
Dergar was getting nowhere with the unseen Eraelyan, so Malicus spoke. “My friend here is searching for his lost tribe. His village seemed to trade places with an unknown land.” The Eraelyan, now come forward, flinched slightly when he heard this. "My tribe, too, lost people in the same way. I have heard of a friend who was attacked by reptilian creatures, only to have one of them turn back into a family member as well.
“We will allow you passage through our lands, then. Airylynn will guide you.” An elven woman stepped forward. “Keep up,” was all she said.
They traveled the rest of the day through difficult terrain, but were moving faster than if they stayed to the stream. Upon nightfall, Airylynn stopped. “We camp here,” she said, and climbed a tree.
During the first watch, Airylynn whispered a warning to Dergar, “Trouble comes, orc.” He woke up his friends, who prepared for the worst. Not a moment too soon, either – a pack of wolves rushed at them! They defended themselves as more wolves set upon them. The battle seemed nearly won when, out of the corner of her eye, Reyellen spotted a wolf that was the size of three of the others! It rushed her, and the dire wolf joined the fray.
As mighty as the animal was, it turned out not to be a match to the heroes. Dergar was wounded, but the dire wolf fell in the end. Patching their wounds, the party returned to their bedrolls, as Airylynn climbed the tree again.