It did not take long for the group to get back to the camp along the trail. The sounds of the forest,
the hoots of owls, the rustle of leaves and snaps of twigs, and even the occasional far-off howl of a wolf
gradually gave way to the sounds of civilisation, albeit small. When they arrived they were greeted by a
warm sight, the wagon to one side of the trail in a small clearing with torches aloft in high stakes driven
into the ground. Around the wagon in a semi-circle were a number of small canvas tents being erected and a
fire burned brightly, roasting hares and fowl on an iron spit.
Zero scampered off to find a barrel of water to wash and a flask of wine to declare his own. The
others simply headed for the fire to warm themselves.
Within the relative safety of the camp, Rhasgar began his questioning of Khalin again. ‘The ruin
was filled with undead, you say?’ the dragonlord began.
‘Yes,’ replied the warlord. ‘Half a dozen or more. Men, mostly, but a pair of gnolls, as Kireth
called them, as well. They seem to have been brought together by some apparition. It was hard going, but we
overcame them, although Tradden took the brunt of their attack.’
Rhasgar nodded at the young fighter whose head was slowly being cleaned and bandaged by Beltak. ‘Perhaps
if he sported a shield…’ the dragonborn began.
‘Gnolls, you say?’ interrupted Rangrim, crumbs of bread spitting out from his mouth as he talked. ‘That’s
all we bloody need. Vicious bastards, they are. Let’s just hope these were remnants from a tribe long gone.’
‘Well the quicker we reach your Nentir Vale the better, then,’ said Khalin. ‘If we rest well, we
can set off early in the morning and try to make as much progress as possible.’
‘We found this,’ the dwarf added, with an unintentional sidelong glance at Kireth for approval before
pulling out the bone scroll case they had discovered within the ruins. Unfurling the map from within, he held
it under one of the torches for Rhasgar and Sorrow to see.
‘Look, here,’ he pointed at the middle of the map. ‘I think this is the ruined waystation we explored.
The trail runs west-east through this forest and to the east the arrow points to Kiris Dahn. We have two,
maybe three days of travel through the forest if the trail is fairly clear.’
‘There are more of these waystations on the trail, too,’ pointed out Sorrow. ‘Here and here, perhaps six
leagues or so apart.’
‘We will do well to treat them with caution, then,’ replied Rhasgar. ‘Who knows what they may hold.’