After months in this weird and unfamiliar landscape full of “rads” this and “etheric” that, Gabriel was really looking forward to the next phase of the quest for a return to Aldamere. Only a few unpleasant hours riding in “The Beast”, then finally a long trek on foot. Gabriel had spent many years walking forest paths and game-trails, and at last Ser Marcel’s men in the company of Mr. Dwight and Khiron were setting off on an honest-to-goodness hike. Quietly Gabriel also hoped to set Mr Dwight straight about his scouting prowess in the woods. Alas, this luck turned sour quickly.
Upon encountering “Prospector Pete” on the trail, the party paused to determine how best to deal with a monstrous lizard/bird creature that lay ahead—Justuss had always insisted they were called “Jesus Lizards” for no apparent reason. In any case, when the suggestion was made to bait the creature away as the party passed, Gabriel set off to hunt down a deer confident in hunter’s training. After many hours of finding little game-sign, he finally set sights on a deer, even if it was a little scrawny and perhaps ill, and let loose with his bow to bring it down.
Meanwhile, the party was gathering supplies to craft some sort of hobbling trap, when the creature let off into the forest, leaving the path clear. The company contacted Gabriel via one of Khiron’s contraptions, and informed him of the good news. It seemed, that the silent shot failed to pierce the throat of the creature which let out a terrible death-rattle which had caught the huge beast’s attention. He quickly realized that he was now the hunted. With some quick action, and a little aid of the fallen deer carcass which he had no time to do more than throw off in the other direction, the party was able to evade the monster. Putting the incident behind them, the company continued on the trek.
Some ways later the party encountered a strange object, a yellow ball sitting atop a pike in the ground, which seemed to repel animals and keep them away from the area. Realizing the day was growing dark, and signs of smoke across the valley, the Gabriel set off to find a suitable stealthy camp for the party to wait out the night. Again, his luck was sour and he was unable to locate anything suitable in the area, only to have Mr. Dwight note that he was standing on a half-buried hatch right beneath his feet.
Exploring within the company found the entrance way to a survival shelter built into the mountain. The wall had apparently collapsed, blocking further entrance so the party settled down their beds in the cave. In the middle of the night, Olis was attacked by something within the deep mounds of earth. With Mr. Dwight’s magics, the party discovered and engaged some kind of ‘mole-men’ with the power to move the earth at their will. The enemies proved to be skilled ambushers, filling the area with a rain of stone, dirt, and debris. Mr. Dwight was able to shield much of the party with his wards, but alas Gabriel had stepped closer to fire his shotgun and was by chance beyond the protection for another onslaught. Ser Marcel and Olis engaged several at close range, Khrion and Mr. Dwight took them at range, and Gabriel tried to keep from becoming a casualty.
In the aftermath, the party found a supply of “energy bars” by Master Clif, and a role of “Duct Tape” which pleased Mr. Dwight to no end. Taking refuge in the shelter proper, the party was able to recover and recoup before pressing on their journey. Gabriel had disquieting dreams of Saints sitting in judgement as the sound of Mr. Dwight’s laughter drifted through his mind.
Heading down into the forested valley, Gabriel set off to scout out a way around the large lake or find the signs of a boat. By the time the party caught up, Gabriel had been snared by a bear trap set by a local hunter. Mr. Dwight’s delighted scorn was as unpleasant as the day before had been long.
None-the-less, the party did learn from the huntsman some of the town and the “Lord Sticks” who apparently claimed domain over the Lake Tabor area and dwelled within the ancient “High Energy Physics” research area the company was seeking…