After a couple quiet days in Gold Hill, Chickie told Wolfbang that he had decided to stay a bit in Gold Hill. Following some conversations with Brau, he had come to understand that he was risking his lif to little purpose. While Wolfbang may be destined to do great things, he, Chickie, was replaceable. Not completely replaceable. Not replaceable to himself, and that was why he was choosing a new life, assisting Brau in the Divine Workshop. He was going to become an assistant blacksmith. Wolfbang protested- he did value Chickie’s contribution to the group’s efforts. But Chickie was sure: “This is where I need to be now.” The conversation was interrupted by a deputy’s announcement on behalf of the Head Constable, summoning the following individuals, should they be in the vicinity of the Gold /hill trading post or at their earliest convenience, to the office of the Head Constable for Gold Hill and the associated domain, one druid named Wolfgang, Gerilynn, Priestess of Raud, Vulpio. And that’s all.”
The constables were in a serious mood, following the lead of the Head Cobstable, who introduced the party to “Falcon, probably my best seargent, probably the one man who knows this area better than any other man.” Falcon had gone on patrol that morning with a group of eight men. Unlike the other seargents, Falcons liked to lead his patrols beyond the main road and well-traveled side paths, to seek out traces of hidden threats before those threats manifest themselves as something larger and more dangerous. That morning, he’d taken his men off the track completely, into the forest above Topher’s orchard. They were ambushed by beastmen, armed with swords and crossbows, armored for war. His lightly-armed scouts were outmatched, and those few who returned alive were lucky to do so. He needed a new group to return to the forest, to retrieve the bodies of his fallen men and to find out where the monsters were coming, why they had come. He had heard stories about some brave newcomers, about their success against evil and powerful foes. He wanted to ask them, as a group and individually, Wolfbang, Gerilynn, Vulpio, to lead a group of deputies on a scouting mission. After a little negotiation, all three agreed. By mid-morning, they had set off, in the company of seven deputies.
They followed the path past the Buseys homestead and reached Topher’s orchard. Topher offered them a taste of his cider and they lingered until early afternoon. Beyond Topher’s the track disappeared in the forest, and they wandered on the edge of the trees, not certain what they were seeking or if they actually wanted to find it. Vulpio stumbled upon the dead body of one of the monsters described by Falcon. It looked more muscular and powerful than the average man and had a green tint to its skin and features that looked not just ugly, but evil.
Gerilynn found heavy tracks that she reasoned were those of the monster’s comrades. These led deeper into the forest and higher into the rocky hills. As they climbed, the party glimpsed above the trees the top a ruined tower. They fell silent, listening to beautiful, unearthly singing that seemed to come from the top of the tower. Gerilynn urged caution, but few of the others heeded her. The laggards picked up their pace and two deputies sprinted ahead of her. She hastened to follow. As the group reached the tower, those who arrived first circled around it, searching for a way up. On one side they found several vines and began to climb. Gerilynn used her magic to hold Wolfgang and Vulpio in place and she did her best to persuade the deputies not to climb the vines. They didn’t even seem to hear her. All but two scaled the tower. They climbed with remarkable agility and soon reached the top. Despairing of what else to do, Gerilynn, with difficulty, followed them.
As she had expected, the source of the beautiful music was a vicious-looking creature, a woman with talons and wings of a vulture. The deputies stood around, mouths gaping, entranced by her singing.
Gerilynn attacked, calling on Raud to smite the foul creature with a hammer of righteousness. The bird-woman was struck by the spiritual hammer, and attacked Gerilynn, tearing the priestess with its talons as took to the air. Gerilynn realized she could not survive a fight alone with the creature and began to climb back down the vine. The bird-woman made another swipe at Gerilynn as it returned to its nest on the top of the tower, but did not otherwise hamper her retreat.
Back on the ground, Gerilynn freed Vulpio and Wolfgang from the transfixion spell she had placed on them. Free to move their limbs once more, they both rushed to climb the vines. Happily, they were, compared to the deputies, not very good climbers. Gerilynn climbed after them and pulled them down. After multiple falls onto the rocky ground, both men finally regained their senses. Giving up on the bird-woman’s still enraptured audience at the top of the tower, Gerilynn, Vulpio, and Wolfbang, plus the two strong-willed deputies who had not climbed the tower, returned to Gold Hill.
They gave a report to the Head Constable but did not claim any reward.