After emerging from the laboratory victorious and with a new ally, the party returned to Belligar to rest and recover. Worried that the townsfolk might fear or attack the birdman, they arranged to sneak him into Wes’ shop. After a restful night, they woke the next morning to a buzz about town. Several people gathered around the town, pointing to a dark plume of smoke rising over the horizon to the west. After speaking with the local Wild Elves at the trade camp, the party discovered that the elves’ town of Rin’lar lay in the same direction, about a day’s travel.
The party agreed to check out the source of the fire, and headed west. As they approached the smoke, it became apparent that the fire came from Rin’lar. Unfortunately, by the time they arrived, the village had completely burned to the ground. One wild elf, a druid named Kayomie, had survived the fire and was tending to the bodies of the villagers. Although the druid did not trust the group, she begrudgingly joined the party.
They returned to Belligar with their new ally, and spent a few days tending to errands. Kayomie and the rest of the wild elves performed last rites for those who died during the fire. On the start of the third day, a young woman named Katrin approached the party with a proposition. Her father, , had left the day prior to handle some business in Crestwood. He left Katrin with the responsibility of arranging for a caravan of supplies to follow him. She already had the caravan drivers taken care of, and had hired a few guards. While the western road was relatively safe, Katrin wanted the extra security to protect the caravan.
The trip to Crestwood takes about 5 days, and began safely enough. By the start of the third day, the weather had turned dark and gray. About halfway through the day, while passing under the ruins of an ancient watchtower, the caravan came across Alvar Tuule’s ruined cart. While investigating the cart, the caravan came under attack by strange dark gnomes. After inspecting the road and interrogating a captured gnome, they discovered the businessman had been kidnapped and taken to the watchtower.