Continuing their investigation of the imbalance in the Valley of Two Generals, our heroes having learned that the wood carvers is probably behind the attempted murder by blood magic of the Hare, they decide to pursue the carver. Questioning of the villagers does not turn up much beyond that his wife died due to disease over the winter and that there is a merchant that often buys his shadow puppets who has not been through recently. A search of the wood carvers shop turns up nothing useful though some of the tools are obviously missing.
They follow his trail to one of the small villages on the edge of the valley where the carver often went to buy raw materials. They get sidetracked in chasing down the male villagers who have retreated to secret enclaves in the hills to avoid being conscripted by the ravenous Lion war machine, instead preferring to help their families by gathering wood and food from the forested hills. They confront the rogue villagers, after capturing one, and decide to let them be. While technically in violation of Imperial law, the collapse of the local villages will not help the Empire (or even the Lion clan) so they move it into the ‘problems to be solved’ later column.
Returning, tired and a little frustrated, to the village which seemed deserted, though they had talked to people only that morning . . . Our heroes split up to investigate, looking in the headman’s house, the inn and the fields. Then the people appeared, moving in groups in a jerky fashion, obviously not in control of their actions. The group in the inn finds it ignited around them with armed villagers trying to keep them in. The Crane tries to keep the others from killing the villagers as they are not in control of their actions.
The Hare brook free and spots pale smoke coming from the roof of another building, followed by the Boar, they climbed up and confronted the blood magician, who had a full stage of the town and puppets of the villagers. Dark magic flashes, blood is spilled, both to power blood magic and by blades, and the blood magician is slain. The villagers wake from their enspelled slumber and help to fight the flames.
This is reported back to the Lion along with intimations of the desperate plight of the villagers. The problem in the valley seems to be solved for now.
Notes: Yes, this happened some time back thus the short writeup and brief description, my memories of it all is a bit hazy now. The Children of Destiny campaign is currently on hiatus as I work on other projects.
Photo by markfountain42 and used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.