What’s in a name?
The party has a name! “The Sanguine Oriflamme”. This necessitated the commissioning of a banner and tabards. These will be made by an accomplished seamstress in Winterhaven. She will begin as soon as she can get worthy marterials from Fallcrest.
Alan Dale, one of the farmers that had fled with his family to Winterhaven, went home to assess the situation. Mounted, he rode around his property head swiveling as he expected monsters to charge him at any second. He was heartened to see that nothing appeared to have been burned and believed he had been spared the fate of many other farmsteads. But, as he searched he noticed the lack of his animals. He had left some horses, and goats. These should be somewhere near the property. Moving towards the north edge of his property he found the first of the goats. It was badly mutilated. He was quickly able to establish that the animal had been dragged here, to the mouth of the small cave which served as a hideout for his children, and a place to store seed potatoes. Not foolish enough to enter the cave, he tracked the blood trail back to it’s source. He found blood, fur, and strangely disturbed earth at the north edge of the main barn. As he was just about to dismount, a mad chittering emerged from the barn and hideous misshapen lizards charged him. His brain took over and before the scene completely registered he was leading his horse away at a dead run. Risking a glance back, he saw several of the creatures were the size of large dogs, and one closer in size to a bear. They ran with preternatural speed, but quickly gave up the chase. He returned to Winterhaven where he accosted Rond and demanded his assistance in clearing out the creatures, whatever they may be. The farmer has provided instructions on how to find the farm, the barn where the attack occurred, and that the cave entrance is obscured by the largest oak tree on the farmstead.
The party left at first light the next day. Accompanying Marla and her entourage on their journey to the keep as far as the Dale farm. Taking their leave of Marla, the party advanced on the farmstead. They found signs of disturbed earth, and the slaughtered animals Alan Dale told them to expect. After some exploration of the grounds, the party moved up to the cave. The cave’s entrance was narrow, and the party entered cautiously. Marc scouted first, and found a pitch black cave in which he both heard and sensed the movement of many creatures. Regrouping outside, the party decided to squeeze through the narrow opening together and take on the kruthiks that surely waited. Ryu let them through the narrow passage, pausing when he reached the cave on the otherside. Once everyone was filed into the passage behind Ryu, caustic spittle rained down upon them. This burning bile forced those who could make it into the cave, and Marc back outside. A Hive Lord, a massive bear-sized Kruthik burst from the cave floor before Ryu and unleashed a torrent of acid upon the conveniently lined-up party. A chaotic battle ensued, the party trying to get position inside the cave, the Hive Lord repeatedly burning and weakening them with his torrent of bile. Adult Kruthik joined the fight and the party quickly found themselves pressed against the fury of the incited beasts. The Party would get a kruthik pinned down only to be dismayed as it burrowed under ground and popped up behind them. The Hive Lord’s stubborn use of it’s acid spray quickly earned it the attention of the party. It took some time but eventually the beast was slain. The cleanup of the remaining Kruthik took a bit more time but eventually they were taken down as well. The party, exhausted, bleeding and full of nasty acid burns finally had a chance to rest. As they paused the ground at the back of the cave errupted in a dozen smaller Kruthiks, who quickly beat a hasty retreat through the many holes in the walls. Once they caught their breath the party searched around for items that may be of use. Amongst a pile of animal carcasses they found a hobgoblin’s skull and the remains of his pack. The pack contained a few bottles of alchemist fire, a small amount of gold and a note with an accompanying map.
Follow the route under the mountains. Meet up with the rest of the band. Take the supplies to the fortress. Tell Gargnak to prepare, additional troops are on the way.