While you were tied up in meetings with people from corporate HQ, the rest of us did as you asked and completed the delivery of the saddles.
I have to admit, I had some trepidation about being given charge of this mission. As I'm sure you remember, I didn't do so well the last time I was tasked with keeping track of Fennwick and Breer. With the added responsibility of also watching over Ysma, I felt a bit over my head as we headed out.
Things went fairly smoothly getting out there. With some basic directions from the locals before we left, I was able to prevent us from getting lost with relative ease. Due to poor trail conditions, the going was slow and we were on the road longer than expected. As we neared the hold, we were attacked by some type of beast. No, beast is the wrong word. It wasn't a beast, it was like some kind of hellhound, except it breathed cold instead of fire. In the dark and the fog it hid from us after we first spotted it. I went ahead since I could move faster than the others through the thick undergrowth and eventually the creature was flushed out of hiding. Ysma's fire was particularly helpful in routing the thing. I am fairly certain the creature was destroyed, or possibly banished. It did not leave a corpse, though I'm fairly certain a final arrow from my bow ended its life as it fled. Without any more trouble, we headed on to the settlement.
It was quite late when we finally arrived. The others went to see about getting us lodging at the Inn. I stayed to secure the wagon and the horses, which was more difficult than I had expected. The stable was boarded up, so I had to hobble the horses and secure the wagon out in the open. Fortunately, I didn't need more than a brief rest, and after about an hour I went out to keep watch on the horses and wagon.
After a few uneventful hours, a small child came wandering by. The posted guards ignored her completely, which seemed somewhat strange to me. It was quite chilly and damp, and the child was obviously cold. I asked her where her parents were and she pointed off in the direction of some fields saying her home was that way. I tried to take the child's hand and she immediately began climbing and clamoring to be held and carried. I kept trying to put her down but she was very difficult to handle. I decided to take her to the Inn where she would at least be able to get warm. Perhaps in the morning we could find someone who knew the child and could help. But as I brought her into the Inn she started screaming loudly and then began biting and clawing at me! I soon realized I was not going to be able to subdue the child with normal means. I transformed into a snake to better grab hold of her and keep her still. It was about that time that Fennwick and the others were awakened by all the racket. I admit, it was poor planning on my part. No one in the group has seen me in snake form before. For a few tense moments it seemed likely that my companions would see me, the snake, as the aggressor and come to the aid of the little girl. Who could blame them? It was my own lack of foresight that created the situation. But Fenwick, with some quick thinking, cast some kind of detect or turn undead and then it became obvious that we weren't dealing with a human girl.
It seems obvious looking back. I should have known something was wrong about the girl. I did know, but I didn't want to trust myself. I just wanted to help the child. I was too willing to take the situation at face value. I have much to learn about the way things work out in the world. But that is, after all, why I took this job. I just need to learn to make better decisions for the sake of the group, but I digress.
After defeating the "little girl" apparition, we finished resting up and prepared to make our delivery. Fennwick did some kind of religious or spiritual research and found out that the child's spirit was connected to remains which we might find in the area. If we could bury or destroy the remains, the spirit would cease to return, or something like that. Using the giant's divining tool, which we had brought along, Finney was able to find out where a large collection of human remains was. (Side note: I thought it was pointless to bring that metal thing with us the whole way. I thought it would be useless and just take up space, but I was wrong.)
It turns out the bones we were looking for were in the same place we were headed to make our delivery, an old hunting lodge up on a hill overlooking the town. Now we had to decide if we were just going to make our delivery or look into the situation with the bones. Fennwick and I wanted to investigate the bones, Breer wanted to deliver the saddles and leave. After explaining the situation to Ysma, she seemed eager to find out where the bones were as well.
So we made our delivery. We were met by an old dwarf who politely bade us to leave the crate in the entry way of the Large old lodge which we had come to find out was the residence of whomever had made the saddle purchase. (I don't remember the name. I know we had it written down somewhere. I have to get better with names and details like that.) After dropping off the saddles, we let ourselves out and began looking around the property to see if there were any other clues as to where or why there might be dead people in this lodge. The stable was filled with piles of horse bones where horses would have been, or perhaps were.
After a bit of discussion and deliberation it was decided that Breer and I would climb to the top floor and check things out up there, then perhaps come back and report what we found , if anything, to the others. As Breer and I headed up the wall to the third floor, Ysma had knocked on the door and was talking to the old butler again. As it was too late to deal with that, Breer and I headed into the third floor via a corner of the lodge that had been damaged and left open to the elements. Searching the rooms as we went, we didn't find much of interest on the third floor. We went down a set of stairs to the second floor where we came across a couple of skeletons, one sitting, one reclining on a bed as if placed there by someone. Could these have been the remains the device led us to?
As Breer opened another door, we came face to face with a man (perhaps the lord of the lodge?) who threatened us, as if to imply we would join his collection of skeletons. Combat at this point was unavoidable. After a few ranged attacks are exchanged, the lord grabed a glaive off the wall. Breer and I skirmished into a hallway to try to avoid the weapon's long reach. After a few moments of fighting I heard the butler's voice outside the room where we met the man. He's arguing with someone. It's Fennwick! The others made it into the house! I ran down the hall to let Fennwick know where we were. Ysma must not have been far behind at that point either.
Once all of us had converged we were able to dispatch the evil hunter. After he fell, I reached down to pull off his mask and see who it really was! It wasn't a mask. Whoops. So then we set about searching out the corpses, which we piled up and burned along with the entire lodge. I wasn't sure if we needed to burn the whole house or not, but Fennwick said the evil presence was very strong and it would be risky to leave anything behind. He's the expert in such matters, so I didn't argue.
Hopefully, the local people there can now lead normal lives, but I have my doubts. They seemed quite resigned to allow the evil to remain there before for Gods only know how long. I suppose we did what we could. All in all, I'd say we did well. Everyone performed quite admirably, in and out of combat. Neither Fennwick nor Breer caused any mischief or mayhem. They were both quite good about keeping the mayhem relegated to the field of battle. Ysma kept her habbit of wandering off to a minimum, and was as usual, invaluable in fighting. I would also point out that Fennwick really put duty first when dealing with the undead and abundant evil. Also Breer, though he didn't want to stay and deal with the lodge still performed his duties very well in helping us. And sometimes doing your work at the times when you least want to can be most difficult indeed.
That concludes my report. I think we're all looking forward to having you back with us from here on out. Your job as leader is harder than it looks!