Lharvion 13, 1001 YK
Still in Moonwatch with just over a day until the wagons are supposed to start moving, the party gets bored. Eventually, the resident ne’er-do-well, Vaeris, decides to go looking for an alchemist from whom he can gather bug repellant. They will be travelling through bug infested, jungle swamps after all.
Meanwhile, Werem and Ebrin return to the cartographer to collect their prize. They are impressed, though this map seems more stylistic than the larger Khorvaire map that the man works upon. Was the price worth it? They can’t really decide. The cartographer warns them that the south road is washed out, in parts, from when “the swamps rose up”. The characters worry about their wagons and whether they will be plunging to their swampy deaths if the wagons take the wrong turn in the middle of the night.
Baelana joins Vaeris in the hunt for bug repellent, and eventually they come across The Crone’s Roost. Baelana is disgusted when she finds a jar of human eyes, and a bouquet of dried human hands. Miriam offers her tea to calm the nerves, which is politely refused.
Vaeris buys bug repellent, which is easily the worst smelling substance he has ever encountered. Four small boxes worth, enough for four weeks of travel for the party. Quickly they learn the repellent is very effective, and works on more than just bugs.
Miriam warns them of the drowned, undead that ravage the swampy lowlands that the road passes through. She suggest that they make use of red stone caerns, along the road, which repel the undead—leftover magic from the long-dead goblin empire.
After acquiring fresh fruit and some dried meat, they await the wagon’s will. Which comes suddenly, and they are off.
The map turns out to show those landmarks, and details, that the reader would notice if they were walking down the road. Werem seems impressed, though less so than the idea of a magical map.
The road seems smooth, and there are no undead, until the party is in the second week of travel. Then, they find themselves hunted at night by tireless ghouls which howl and hunger after them. Packs of these hideous, bloated beasts chase them from dusk until the first rays of sunlight at dawn. The wagons never stop, and so the party passes the red caerns—never able to take advantage of them. The wagons are faster than the loping, hungry undead.
When the road becomes narrow, and less smooth, the party worries and Baelana attempts to rig a ballista of sorts. She isn’t successful. When the road becomes bumpier, the wagons slow. The ghouls catch up, and climb aboard. The party fights for their life against what seems to be an endless hoard of the undead. Throughout the fight, the wagons become slower and slower and the road becomes more and more uneven.
During a respite between attacks, the party developes a plan. The wagons will continue regardless of the party’s desires, while the undead will keep attacking so long as there are living things aboard the wagons. If the chickens are released, and the party takes to the trees, then the wagons should continue unmolested. If all goes well, they’ll be able to meet them at the village in a few weeks time.
The party makes haste to enact their plan while there are no undead nearby. The chickens are released so that the party might live.