After the demise of Jhonen the cheapskate, our heroes are left with the dilemma of where to go after their employer and his shipment of highly explosive coal have been destroyed. Edwyn has gotten the notion in his head that they should go wandering through a forest inhabited by vicious barbarians and rabid wolves, in search of some possibly non-existent ruins. The other three manage to convince him to look for more information in the village of Thoren, which they are very close too. Due to their poor sense of direction the group arrives in the village in the middle of the night, having turned half a days walk into a full one.
They go straight to the only open establishment in town, The Hog’s Trotters, a bar and inn. They also realize that Uther was the only one of them with any money. The Reverend decides that he would rather loiter outside of the bar and smoke some weed. Inside the Hog’s Trotters Edwyn attempts to use his dubious charm to coax information out of the bartender, and completely fails. Uther buys several drinks and is able to get the bartender to talk to him, by virtue of not being an eccentric wizard. He learns that his old mercenary band, The Company of the Lion, have taken up work in the nearby town of Aylesford. However the bartender is concerned because no word has come from Aylesford in some time. He offers Uther a reward if he and his companions go to check on the town.
At the same time, Ferruptus the cleric notices a villager drowning his sorrows in cheap ale. Ferruptus tries to console poor Glun, who tells the cleric of his brother and sister in law, Danek and Mathilde who have gone missing in Aylesford. Edwyn overhears this and offers the groups services in locating the missing couple, and Glun gratefully accepts with promises of a reward.
As the others are finding work and making deals, the Reverend is accosted by an old crone claiming to be a fortune teller. The crone offers to tell the Reverends future for a hit of his pipe. After some reluctance the Reverand gives her a puff of the good stuff.
Back in the bar, Edwyn makes a bet with Uther, that if he can talk the price of their rooms down to three coins, Uther will pay for them all. Edwyn once again tries to charm the bartender and manages to talk the price of a room down to four coins. Uther then buys a room for Uther and no one else. Edwyn uses his spell of invisibility to try to sneak into Uther’s room and when he is caught pretends to be a tavern wench. Uther throws him out but lets the other two sleep on the floor. Ferruptus relents on Edwyn and sneaks him into the room.
The next morning Edwyn and the Reverend take it upon themselves to make “discreet” inquiries about Glun, because caring about your family is highly suspicious. After the two of them roam through the town, harassing the villagers with questions, Glun tells the band of adventurers that he will not be rewarding them after all. The four of them head to Aylesford anyway.
Upon arriving in Aylesford, they discover that the town is full of corpses. Uther finds members of his mercenary company among the dead and then goes in search of Glun’s relatives alone. Ferruptus uses his powers to commune with the spirit of one of the dead guards, who tells him that a horrible monster picked off the townspeople one by one before it destroyed Aylesford. Uther discovers the bodies of Danek and Mathilde, who died in each others arms. He takes Mathildes prized bracelet to give to Glun. Meanwhile, Edwyn senses a powerful magical aura coming from the church at the center of the town. He and the Reverend leave Ferruptus to pray over the dead, and approach the church. They open the doors of the church to reveal a horrific creature, which lets out a blood curdling scream.
To be continued…