The next morning the party prepares itself. Weapons are sharpened, armour is checked and repaired and last minute supplies are gathered and just before dawn the they leave the warmth of the Salty Tusk and head east.
After 3 quarters of a mile they began to notice that there was a lack of wild life.
“It’s like everything has been hunted out” remarked Ada.
“Get ready for anything” instructs Mallory.
A little further on, a faint path is found leading to the north west and they enter the woods.
As they proceed, the forest becomes denser, more tangled and gloomier. The thick, twisted tree trunks, unnaturally misshapen libs, withering roots, clutching and grasping thorns and briars all seem to worn the party to turn back. Mallory and Renard push their way through and the growth suddenly ends as the party stepped out of a thicket into a ravine like area.
The walls rise rather steeply to either side to a height of about 100 or o feet. Dark streaked rock mingled with earn and clumps of trees grow here and there, both on the floor of the ravine and up the sloping walls of the canyon. The opening they stand in is about 200 yards wide and the ravine runs at east 400’ west to where it rises in a steep slope.
Here and there, at varying heights on all sides of the ravine they can see the back mouths of cave-like openings in the rock walls.
The sunlight is dim, the air dank, there is an oppressive feeling, as if something evil is watching and is waiting to pounce. There are bare, dead trees and upon one, a black crow purchases and gases hungrily at the party. A flock of ravens rise croaking from the ground, the beat of their wings and their cries magnified by the terrain to sound loud and horrible. Amongst the litter of rubble, boulders and dead wood scattered about on the ravine floor can be seen bits of gleaming ivory and white. Upon closer inspection, it is revealed that these are the bones and skulls of men, animals and other things.
“Well I believe this is it” dryly remarks Mallory.
Surveying all before him Azazel points to a cave. Let’s investigate that one first.
The party form up with the mercenaries in the van, Azazel in the middle and the acolytes in the rear.
As they approach the door they notice that it is barred by a stout door at the back of the entry to the cave. Skulls are lined along the walls and several are affixed to the oaken door. There is a sign, in common that reads “Come in – we’d like to have you for dinner!”.
Ada and Renard move forward and check the door and find a latch, a secret mechanism. They slide it back and the door is opened.
“Goar, Hunulf, Harti and Walt will stay outside the cave in case we need to retreat. Mallory you and Ada lead and myself, Odoin and the rest of the party will follow closely behind.”
“Agreed” replies Mallory and with that he quickly organizes the men.
Moving into the complex the narrow passage splits into three separate passages. Rather than split the party Azazel and Mallory agree it is better to stick together and they advance down the southern passage.
They ascend a set of stairs and continue to a T intersection. Scouting quickly to the east Mallory finds it is a dead end and the party starts to creep towards the west.
They round a small corner and then they are able to stare into a large room. There are many tables and benches being set up in the room which looks to be being prepared for a feast. Four large male humanoids and five females are working at setting the tables and cooking the feast. Around them, close to a dozen juveniles run and play.
One of the male hobgoblins hears something and his head spins and he stares directly at Mallory. Yelling a warning to the rest of his group he immediately advances on the party.