The adventurers set up camp, like they have the past several nights. After meals have been eaten and talk has been had, drifting off to sleep is inevitable. The mayor's son did not sleep well this night, for dreams of darkness pierced his rest, much like the moonlight pierced his eyes when he would wake with a start.
The next day, the adventurers finally found the ancient grove. Excitement grew in the priest and the hunter, but as the adventurers entered this stand of eldritch trees, the mayor's son could not help but remember his dreams from the night previous.
A giant nest could be clearly seen at the top of a tall dead pine in the center of the grove. This had been the home of The Owl God, but the deity was gone. No recent trace could be found of The Great Owl. It was as if He abandoned this area, thereby abandoning our adventurers. As despair descended upon the group, and the sun descended in the sky, it began to furiously snow. Rather than set up camp there and then, the group trudged out of the ancient grove with their heads bent, partially to prevent snow from flying into their eyes, but mostly out of defeat. Due to this lack of judgement, the trio quickly became lost. This elicited panic in the adventurers, but also something more complex and perhaps more dangerous: a morbid triumph in being removed from the realm of the known. A sense of freedom from the trappings of their lives while being lost on a dark and snowy night.
What snapped the hunter back to his senses though was something just outside of eyesight. He had seen a shadow lurch from tree to tree, stalking the group. Who or what this dark and unwholesome lurker may be, he did not know. He tried to ignore the fear boiling in his mind, but it was becoming harder and harder to do so.
Just before the hunter cried out in terror, the mayor's son pointed out a light in the distance. Our three adventurers will never know any greater relief than seeing this light. As they got nearer to the light, the hunter noticed whatever had been following them lumbered away and got swallowed into the blizzard.
The light was coming from a single lamp outside of a modest cabin. None of the adventurers thought one lamp could provide such light, especially through the snow. Before they could further trouble their minds over the light, the door of the cabin swung open, and a stout hooded figure pulled them inside. The cabin was much larger on the inside than one would believe from looking at the exterior. The walls and shelves were adorned with old books, ancient relics and strange doodads of various shapes and sizes. A fire burned in the hearth. The hermit had the adventurers sit and talk with him. The adventurers told him all about their journey, and their plight regarding the evil in the mountains. The hermit revealed that it was he who sent them the message about the unknown evil, and he knew all about their journey thus far. He told them Nebulosa, The Owl God, no longer lived in the ancient grove that they explored. He also told them there was no longer any time to do anything other than secure the town. An attack was to happen soon. The hermit offered the adventurers lodging for the night, and showed them the way to get back to town in the morning.
With heavy hearts, the adventurers trudged back towards their home. At the very least at this point they knew where they were and where to go. However the thought of returning and preparing the town for an attack troubled them. Their home was simply not equipped for such an occurrence. Nothing, however, could be changed.
As the adventurers marched back home, the trolls causing the rumbling in the mountains readied a formidable war-party. They would attack the sleepy mountain town, as ordered of them by their newfound lord and master.
released February 5, 2017
Original illustration used for album art by Theodor Kittlesen