After gathering stone animals and finding the cockatrice’s empty nest, Ox, Brandt, Juke, and Shekki headed toward the mythical coast. Ran from a rainstorm to the Town of Hilot.
Saw armed men taking a young woman to be bound to standing stones. They directed us to the town.
The Wolfspear: Stronghouse inn run by Brogan. Annoying bard-boy Llore explained that the town’s Jarl, advised by the “seer” Sylle Ru, was sacrificing a random villager every 3 days to “the Hound.” There’s a box in the middle of town where the Jarl draws the next name, and that person gets taken out and tied to the menhir. Before that ritual, the Hound came into town every night, crashing down doors and killing, for a couple of months.
Morgan, Broegan’s daughter, was the night’s intended sacrifice. Juke and Ox weren’t going to let that happen, Juke out of goodness, Ox out of perversity. The others played along so as not to miss anything.
Sneaking over the town palisade in the continuing rain, we went to the stones and Juke loosed the maid. Howling out of the dark, the Hound attacked: A scary mastiff the size of a horse. Juke held forth the magic light ball while Ox sheltered Morgan. Shekki shot the thing twice rapidfire, slowing its charge enough for him and Brandt to dance out of the way. Brant whacked it hard on the neck with an axe. Fire came out of the wounds, then it vanished in smoke.
Nothan, the Captain of the Watch, consulted back in town, had had a similar experience. It will come back. Some guards reported that it flew, or possibly leapt, over the palisade. Cap implied that the Jarl is not that bright and called Sylle Ru a “weasel.” There’s also a local priest, deranged doomsayer Father Beacom of the Justice god. Much questioning about recent events finally revealed an intriguing coincidence: Lowlifes Kej, Stein, and Illham were the last disappearances outside the town — just before the Hound showed up.
Found Jenks, owner of the Three Rats bar and former employer of Kej. Well-paid for the information, Jenks related that the when last seen, back in summer, the three human rats were heading off to dig up the ancient Serpent Mound burial site. The mound lies north of town, through the woods, across the stream, in a clearing. The Hound appeared soon after.
Meanwhile, Sheckey told the Jarl how we messed up the sacrifice, and Sylle Ru told the Jarl to be annoyed about it. Fortunately Shekki did not have to lie when he said that he didn’t know where the rest of us could be found.
NEXT: Reunite with Shekki and perhaps any other party members who catch up to us on the road. Go explore the Snake Mound and try to put the Hound to rest.