After several days of rest, I joined up with Dul the ranger and my faithful comrade Izil to explore the Dalewoods a bit further. We intentionally planned a wilderness journey, and consequently we had to pay more for our hirelings. Anya joined on as a full party member, but her two swordsmen demanded 2 gold pieces per day to accompany us. This fee is rapidly becoming untenable, and in the future we may have to curtail our adventuring if and when we cannot muster a large party.
In any case, we set off traveling in a roughly southeastern direction, slicing through the Dalewoods at an angle (judging, at least, by the crudely carved map in the Mug & Pot Inn. We traveled for most of a day, encountering no threat but stumbling across a queer area of burnt trees and grass, almost perfectly square. My priestly powers could find no trace of evil, but the place disturbed us nonetheless. We stopped to camp near dusk. The weather was foul, but we were able to find shelter in a burrow—only after we slaughtered the giant rats that occupied it.
Thus provisioned, we camped in relative comfort. During the night we heard a party of horsemen moving along the wayfarers’ road to the north, and only then did we realize how close we were to the wilderness road. Dul the ranger shadowed the travelers for a time, and was able to determine that they hailed from Enonia. We wisely decided to let the horsemen pass, and we heard them later that night as they returned from their mysterious errand. They were no doubt accomplished adventurers, able to navigate the Dalewoods in the dead of night and return unmolested.
The next day we explored the burnt wasteland in more detail. It was roughly 100 yards across, but we found no obvious clue to its origin. We decided to head due south, pushing deeper into the Dalewoods in search of a mysterious lake we’d heard of in rumors.
That day’s exploration was hampered again by snow and wet weather, and we camped overnight without kindling a fire. Two of our party were affected by odd dreams, but I myself was mercifully safe, owing perhaps to the blessing of Vanir which accompanies me at all times.
On day 3 of our wilderness journey, we stumbled—quite literally—across the Abandoned Mines that have figured into our recent explorations. We decided on the spot to delve into the stone tunnels in search of some as-yet-unlooked-for loot. This was not to be, but we did encounter and lay waste to 16 kobold skeletons—animated by some foul magic that could not stand against the might and fury of Vanir.
We found no treasure, but we survived three days in the unforgiving wilderness before returning to Enonia.