With Agadaroch’s mortal form reduced to ash and his corrupted spirit bound once again to the Abyss, the party returned with Makarka to the monastery. Makarka’s wounds weren’t dire—nothing that a monk couldn’t manage with a few days of rest. Makarka swore an oath to see the monastery returned to its former state and would see to the proper burial of its former inhabitants.
The treaties were a falsehood and the man who perpetuated that falsehood was still bound in a cell. Some further interrogation, even with Golganar’s imposing coercion, revealed few other details: Mata was approached by a dark figure a few days before an assassin attempted on the king’s life stating that with Mata’s assistance he would be installed as the new sovereign of Athkaria and allow his kingdom to be a temporary mustering ground for some sort of military campaign. Mata did everything in his power to undermine the king, including breaking off diplomatic relations with the kingdoms of Vene and Calinthia, two kingdoms he was instead supposed to be bolstering support from.
The party realized that Mata was King Tanrek’s only link to the truth of the matter and so decided to bound his arms and forced his march on the 10-day trek back to Castle Athkar. Along the way the party passed the Broken Shield encampment and the village of Yssa, both empty of any life beyond the occasional scavenging animal. At Culcheth they found the ferry still roped to the dock and paddled across the river.
The young ferryman was still there with the party’s horses, who gladly handed the reins back to them and stated he would be going upriver to a more settled area since it would likely be a long time before travelers would need to use the ferry again soon.
The party continued their trek southeast through the dark woods, emerging on the other side to a view of dark smoke drifting up from the horizon. An investigation further down the road found a farm gutted by fire and its occupants slain by blade and arrow. A quick scan of the area found about a crudely-shod hoof prints of about a dozen horses and a couple sets of hob-nailed boot prints, coming from the north and heading east along the road toward Paertk.
Leaving Acain in charge of Mata, the party rushed forth on horseback, reaching the burning town of Paertk, the carnage ensuing being obscured by thick smoke. The party dismounted their horses and split to approach the town from two directions. Within they found a number of mounted Uigan archers and warriors, running down villagers and setting homes to the torch. With them were a couple of unmounted orc warriors, wielding cruel double-ended double axes and a Uigan witch and warlock. The party engaged them directly, wielding blade and spell to quickly dispatch some of the riders and focus their efforts on the tougher orcs and spellcasters. As the tide of battle turned against the Uigan raiders, the witch and warlock attempted to escape into the countryside. Calling out in their gutteral language, the witch dropped a sack on the ground from which spilled a large stone that appeared to be some ancient petrified dragon egg. Given that a dragon hadn’t been seen or even talked about for thousands of years, this was more than an odd curiosity.
The party dispatched the witch and warlock in short order and gathered up what survivors remained in the town. The sun was now fully below the horizon and the party was weary from a long day of travel and battle. Castle Athkar was only a few short days’ ride away and they needed to rest.
But there was still the matter of the Uigan raiding party. They didn’t appear to be part of a larger force and it seemed strange to have a valuable with and warlock in a mere scouting party. And then there was the matter of that egg. . . .