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The Fall of Plaguestone (2/3)

After several days of downtime the Elven Ranger Noala Kesrir arrives in the town of Etran's Folley, dragging the pack of wolves the adventurers killed earlier on her cart. While helping Noala cremate the wolf pack at Orion's suggestion, she tells them of several blights in the nearby forest. Visiting the closest one, the adventurers discover the den of the caustic wolves and fight off two of it's mutated members. Noting the blight is surely connected to contaminated ground water, the party travels on towards a greater blight that Noala herself has not entered yet due to the prevalence of mutated beasts. Coming upon a hedge formed by primal magic, the adventurers are assaulted by mutated flora. After surviving the ordeal they investigate the thorny hedge, but soon decide to quickly burn it down.

Behind the burning bushes, the party is spotted by two orcs, each opening a cage to release the mutated experiments within. After dispatching with the orcs, several frost rats and a near-fossilized horse, they discover a dehydrated fire leopard in one of the cages. Asking Noala for help, they manage to quench it's thirst by freezing some water using Faakt's shield as an improvised bowl.

Progressing further into the compound, the adventurers come across a large room where several orcs are brewing alchemical potions. A fight erupts and despite the chaos of bombs being thrown across the room, the party manages to gain the upper hand and subdue an orc. Leaving him with Noala, the party soldiers on and finds the large cache of alchemical items in an adjecent storeroom. Exploring the caverns further, the party encounters the orc leader who doesn't hesitate, and flees to the other room in order to animate a Blood Ooze cultivated from the body of a local farmer. The the midst of combat, the orc leader escapes.

After searching through the orc's notes and finding the map to Spite's Cradle, the party returns to Noala's camp to find the ground scarred with the proof of alchemical detonations. Noala is severely wounded and the captured Orc is nowhere to be seen - they have stolen two of the horses and escaped! Somewhat irate, the party patches up Noala and returns to the Feedmill in order to rest and heal up.

Resolution

The party has cleared the orc's compound and found evidence of them once being in Vilree's employ. However, the orc leader known as the Sculptor escaped and might have fled to Spite's Cradle. The party prepares to venture forth and put a stop to the blights caused by the vengeful alchemist.

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