Press-ganged into a ragged battalion of the Imperial Army, the heroes are sent on a ‘training mission’ to recover two recruiters lost near the forest village of Drake’s Ford, only two days’ walk from Crossings.
Their journey was largely uneventful, with only a short stop at the Bell and Berry and a fortune-telling by a strange traveling tinker to break up the monotony of the march. (Though certain members of the unit did find the Bell’s chickens delectable.)
Upon arrival, though, things seemed to be…off. An investigation of a burned-out blacksmith’s shop revealed an embroidered handkerchief (KT) and a small wooden box, trapped with a needle, containing a cut piece of tin with the letters -AT on it. Upon opening the box, though, a swarm of cockroaches engulfed the heroes, forcing them to flee.
Meanwhile, a visit to the church’s records library turned perilous when twin rattlers emerged from a pile of scrolls to snap at the investigators. When Magnus attempted to stop the rattlers with an incantation he found, fire burst all around him, igniting the library. Though this killed one snake and frightened the other away, it also destroyed a huge source of information that the heroes had been using for their research. The only book they retrieved was an old manual distributed by priests of the New God: Demons That Afflict The Faithful.
They reunite in the tavern, battered but alive. The night seemed uneventful for those who stayed at the tavern, but for Magnus, Sparrow, and Beadyface, it was anything but. Each out for his own purposes, the three reunited upon seeing a strange loping figure bite the head off of a chicken. They confronted the beast and killed it, only to find that it was in fact an old man, withered and dressed in rags.
They covered up the sequelae of their violence, and returned to the tavern. The next day, they were told by the serving woman to look for one of the soldiers they were seeking on the south end of town, in the orchards. They found Farthingale there, but the portly soldier claimed to have lived in Drake’s Ford all his life.
It was then that the heroes realized that the night in Drake’s Ford had robbed them of crucial memories. They hurried back to town, investigated the creche, and were directed to the church, where a shocking interruption derailed their investigation.
Upon touching a box of wrought-iron holy symbols, Acacia was forcefully snapped into her true form, that of a changeling. Un hinged by this, she ran to the forest while Beadyface and Quinn carried on the investigation.
Discovering through gave robbery that the dead blacksmith was the serving girl’s husband, Quinn and Beadyface confronted the woman, accusing her of summoning a demon. She claimed that Market Day was soon and left them.
Suddenly, their memories wiped clean of the intervening time, the heroes awoke to find that the demonic celebration had begun, and some of their own had been participating in it. They hurried to confront Kestrel, who laughed and threw herself on Acacia’s blade.
Realizing what needed to be done, the heroes reunited the amulet and used Shavaat’s true name to cast out the demon, and sealed it away by inscribing the name permanently where none would forget it.
Upon returning to Crossings, they found that their military unit had been transferred to the control of a clockwork warrior, a mage of the Tower Arcane, and, most peculiar of all, a well-dressed dwarf with gentlemanly tastes…