The mist seemed to swirl and dance, revelling in the opportunity to mislead any stranger lost in the swamp, the figures ahead were shifting uneasily as Anastasia barged her way to the front of the group, bellowing half-dwarfen challenges, The leader stepped forward, identifying himself and his band as a group formed with the intent of killing those infected with the cursed blood, after allaying their fears of Anastasia, borne as much for her ferocity in addressing them as from her yellowing pallor they begrudgingly allowed the adventurers to go on their way
Eventually large shapes solidified in the mist, as the party passed close to a village suffering from signs of an attack, flies buzzed gleefully around the innards of a down steed as a large shadow swept silently by, a ways beyond the village is when the owner of the shadow made itself known, what had once clearly been an owl was no longer entirely wholesome, its beak breaking apart into 4 segments to let loose an unearthly shriek as it begun to dive in assault, with every swoop the party tried to bring the owl onto the ground, but in the end, it was a combination of arrows, frost magic and a few lucky swipes of an axe that drove the Blight Owl off, and with a final pluck of his bow string, Lemore sealed the wretched creatures fate, sending it tumbling gracelessly to the ground.
Dosov village could be forgiven for not noticing the rapid exchange of a swamp boat for horses as our hero’s continued their ride onward, their pace was hard and steady until the lone figure of a knight greeted them at the crest of a hill, As his charger thundered down the hill, his thick armour and determined face did little to draw the parties eye from the razor sharp sword he held in position of parley, the crest of Wolverton sat proudly on his breast, and identifying himself as Ser Villja, his plight was made quickly apparent, he led a small warband on the hunt for a cure, and he was anguished to confirm that in essence made the party his quarry, thankfully, his honour held out and he was instead convinced to trust the group, though the 10 or so men-at-arms he held just beyond the ridge were harder to convince, eventually the knight agreed to escort the group back Sothmere in return for enough of the cure to help his own villagers.
The murky waters of the Sudiand River greeted them with much the same peril as it has during their previous crossing, fording the tumultuous waters with the heavy hempen rope in tow, the party had little time but to nod, albeit with immense triumph from the dwarf, at the trapper in Witchford as they continued up the path. Again, weapons were lowered in parley as a group of riders, this time bearing the insignia of Richta, Quick words were exchanged regarding the nature of their patrol, before the group continued upon their way, it was until Ederith fell from her horse, struck by a spear, that their betrayal was realized, the fighting was drawn out, with many blows being exchanged to break through the thick armour of the knights, who fought until the last, through bloodied and broken teeth he spat out his final confession, Ser Vilem had sent them to intercept and destroy those who would wish to cure the infected.
The sight of struggling villagers as the party neared Sothmere did little to lighten the hearts of the party, seeing great pyres with still living people tied to the posts, was cause for great alarm as Lemore and Anastasia spurred their steeds into a rumbling charge while proclaiming the arrival of the cure and for the cessation of dealing with the infected, Remi and Ederith with equal speed moved off to Stoyanka as she stood waiting, cauldron ready in the nearby field.