Dearest brother Thorin,
We have glimpsed the ruins of Arcarost and lived to tell the tale.
As you know, we left Woodsong to aid Welby’s adventuring band. Welby himself was badly injured by a kobold raid, so we were forced to leave him behind. Guiding us was the wolf Maugrim, who was determined to lead us back to his master, the ranger Landerr.
We travelled a full night and day before finally resting at the base of the mountain. As we set up camp, Fierna enthralled us all with tales of a mystical forest with trees that grow pudding. Nissa was taken by the stories and started planning her own journey there. During our rest, two wanderers with long cloaks passed us by. We exchanged pleasantries and they seemed like nice people. However they were deceiving us, brother! Miri followed them and discovered that they were in fact a pair of the dreaded Snake people.
One of the snake people circled back to spy upon us, but quick action from Miri and the rest of the group soon knocked him out. As we waited for the prisoner to awake for questioning, we were ambushed by his companion accompanied by three winged kobolds. Our superior skill prevailed, and we dispatched them all with hardly a scratch. Fierna and her strange raven proved especially deadly against the flying creatures.
Once the first prisoner awoke, Nissa and Miri used their enhanced interrogation techniques to extract information. The snake people confirmed the presence of a large camp at the base of Arcarost. They themselves have journeyed here from the East, driven forward by their high priest Xerax, whom we had heard about before. They believe that the volcano near Arcarost is a god, and that Xerax is his chosen one. The prisoners made claims of a large army that could crush any opposition from the Woodsong valley. Furthermore they had knowledge of the adventuring band, whom they had fought on at least three separate occasions.
We left both prisoners tied up and hidden as we journeyed forward to the encampment. However we were much closer than expected, and nearly stumbled upon a set of kobold guards. As we had arrived during the middle of the day, most of the camp was asleep. So we sent Miri forward with an invisibility spell to scout out the camp. She estimated that the camp had a total of between 300 and 500 individuals. Mostly made up of kobolds, but also some other snake people, troglodytes and lizard folk. She also found one larger tent and the adventurer Zora tied up.
In a daring rescue, Fierna went next into the camp, again hidden with the invisibility spell. She first scouted the main tent and found the creature Ssszoon there reading several books. One such book detailed a ritual to dispell a great warding spell. However it requires as a critical component, a key matching the description of the flame gem that Anzo was carrying. This is undoubtably the ritual that this Xerax intends to use to awaken the volcano. Fierna then stole some robes, made Zora invisible and managed to get back to us without incident.
Once back in safety, Zora could finally tell her tale of what transpired in Arcarost. She confirmed that that they had indeed made it to Arcarost, but found it far more dangerous than anything they had expected. She explained that while each individual enemy posed no real danger to the band, as they were mostly consisting of small elementals and tiny devils, their sheer numbers threatened to overwhelm them. They called the retreat as they were confronted by a strange elemental engulfed in purple flames. In their flight, Lander supposedly sacrificed himself to buy time for the others. Anzo disappeared and his current whereabouts are unknown, but he still had the staff with the flame gem last he was seen. Zora herself was captured by the lizard creatures on their way back to Woodsong. She had no idea of the fates of the rest of her band. We healed her up and journeyed back to Woodsong.
When we arrived back at Woodsong, we found it under attack. We were spurned forward by the sounds of distant battle and signal bells as we rushed into town. There we were confronted by a giant drake with dark red scales. The drake was strangely wearing a collar but it was viciously attacking the town and its people. I threw myself into the fray without hesitation and soon felt the brunt of the drake’s attacks. Its razor sharp teeth bit into my armor as if it was paper and its claws raked my sides. I must admit, brother, that the situation looked very dire. But I called upon the protection of Lugh, who closed my wounds and bolstered my defenses. Against the might of Lugh, the beast stood no chance and it was unable to land a single blow against my shield of faith. As the drake was weakened by my allies, I channeled all of the power that Lugh granted me into a single strike. The drake had pulled back to spit its vicious flame breath, but with this one strike, the light of Lugh overtook it and dropped it dead where it stood.
We quickly took up the situation in Woodsong and learned that three drakes in total had attacked. The Tower Guard managed to dispatch one and the city guard the other, but not without taking heavy casualties. The civilians had fled south toward the “Gate” Tower.
Now we have a new mystery to solve. It seems clear that this was no random attack. Especially without all of the strange events that have been occurring in the area as of late. Could this be connected to the curse of the Vault Keeper or the plans of Xerax? Or is there another player in this game that we have not met yet?
The danger has therefore not passed yet. I suggest that the clans remain on high alert and prepare for any eventuality. If it is possible, please ask Barin to send Woodsong a new shipment of Stoutrock Ale soon. I believe that it would do greatly to improve the mood of the populace after recent events.
Love to father and mother.