The Golden Stag
Life for the caravan turned fairly dull for a while, but one morning – about halfway through the trip – the caravanners woke to see a herd of deer in the forest around them. Among them was a magnificent golden stag. The hunters of the caravan immediately set off to try and bring it down. Berrian Amakiir, however, had more respect for the creatures of the forest, and also realised that such animals were generally considered to bring good luck to the surrounding villages. As a result, he headed off with the rest of the hunters with the intention of dissuading them or frightening off the stag in some way.
The hunters slowly began to return to the caravan in small groups. Berrian was last, and he reported that the stag had been driven away.
The Brutal Murder of Cultists in the Woods
Shortly thereafter, it became clear that the cultists had noticed the characters, and recognised them. At least, Heironymous Caine was sure that they had recognised him. They had to be dealt with.
That night, Caine feigned drinking heavily, making sure that the cultists had seen him. He went into the woods to relieve himself, and two cultist thugs followed him, intending to do him harm. Unfortunately for them, it was an ambush. The other members of the party got the drop on them and brutally murdered them, hiding their bodies in the woods so they wouldn’t be found.
As a precaution, Seraphina Tealeaf spiked the wheels of the cultists’ wagons to make sure they could follow the tracks if they moved out of sight.
The next morning, the cultist wagons noticed that two of their guards were missing, but didn’t say anything or mention it to anyone.
The Mushroom Incident
One morning after a few days of rain and lightning and strange whistling sounds on the wind, the caravan woke to find that the ground for miles around them was covered with weird mushrooms that seemed to cry out when they were crushed. The caravanners felt that it was a curse, or that they were dangerous. Berrian was able to determine that the mushrooms were not, in fact, poisonous – they seemed to be a variety of shrieker, which was a mushroom usually found in the Underdark. It was unclear what they were doing above ground, but the party suspected the usual mad wizards.
They rigged a method of clearing the shrooms using the harness of one of the horses. The caravan was able to get moving again, but Caine was overcome by the sense of grief and despair given off as the mushrooms were destroyed that he had to retire to one of the wagons. For days afterward he was unable to eat mushrooms of any kind.
Finally, the caravan reached Daggerford, where they were able to rest their horses and sleep in a real bed for a change. Following the Cultists, however, they saw a human giving the cultists cash. It was not clear what the cash was in exchange for, so the party arranged to follow him to his lodgings.
He identified himself as Azbara Jos, a traveller from Thay, escaping the reign of the lich king Szass Tam. He paid the cultists for passage to Waterdeep, but claimed not to know them, who they worked for, or where they were headed after they arrived at Waterdeep.
Breonna and Caine, sensing an opportunity, recruited him to spy on the cult, and assigned Breonna’s familiar Quoth (now not a mere raven) to invisibly keep an eye on him and act as a conduit for information. They paid him some cash and let him sleep.
As the caravan left Daggerford a couple of days later, a gnome named Jamna Gleamsilver joined the caravan. She seemed friendly enough. Seraphina started to develop something of a crush on her.