In order to harvest the resources of the Vale, the party is first going to have to scout and clear out those locations. First is the forest clearing with the sacred herbs.
The herbs are located in a boggy marsh that’s infested with spiders. While clearing out numerous man-sized spiders, a gargantuan spider emerges from the bog’s depths!
No, really, it’s a really big spider.
Beren, throwing caution to the wind, steps forward and delivers a massive blow to the gargantuan spider. While the attack wounds the beast severely, the spider swallows the damage and mauls the fighter.
Bellanie rockets towards the beast’s flank and skewers the beast unleashing a massive blast of electricity killing the creature as it explodes in a massive discharge of magical energy.
While Beren collapses from the spider venom pumping through his veins, the remaining spider swarms are easily driven off. Banic is able to get Beren back on his feet and they return to the Fort worn but with the valuable herbs now being accessible.
The road through the Vale continues on schedule but Torlgrith informs the party (after a few days of rest) that there was an attack at the trail head. The long-awaited merchant caravan is also do the following day. There’s little rest in the vale!
The fort is approached by a wolf bearing an invitation for the fort’s leadership to meet an “Oakbrow” at a specific location. Torlgrith employs the party to act as official agents of the fort, only asking that no permanent agreements are made.
Oakbrow is apparently a druid of some power, who while wanting to preserve Tanglefoot Valley, is not so idealistic as to prevent a reasonable development for what Oakbrow acknowledges would be an important trade route. Oakbrow offers his knowledge of the valley’s resources in exchange for an agreement that only four resource locations would developed at one time.
Torlgrith agrees with Oakbrow’s request and the party selects four resources to develop (Adamantine, Cold Iron, Darkwood and Sacred Herbs) in the valley. With the selection made Torlgrith signs an official agreement with Oakbrow.
After handling the owl bears that had been attacking supply lines, Tolgrith suggests that the party investigate Mist Lake, who’s waters periodically turn poisonous. While the keep has enough fresh water to manage, if the vale is to ever be fully developed the lake will need to be cleansed.
Upon arriving at the lake, the party investigates for magical auras, eventually discovering a magical shield in a bone pile reclaimed by the lake shore. Banic recognizes the bones as dwarven, and surmises that this was the site of a historical battle fought between an expedition force from Highhelm and barbarous mountain men.
As the party prepare to make camp for the night, an ominous fog rolled across the lake and onto the shore. Out from the lake came the shadowy figures of a company of dwarven warriors. Upon the cliff face overlooking the shore, shadowy figures of hulking barbarians appeared from the fog..
The party attacked the barbarians wraiths, and while the wraiths incorporeal forms blunted their weapons, the party overwhelmed the shadowy figures despite the enervating attacks of the wraiths.
As the last barbarian wraith fell, a single dwarf stepped forward from their formation, produced a sword and stabbed into into the damp earth of the lake shore. With this, the dwarves vanished back into the lake, their spirits finally given rest. This act purified the poison waters of the lake, securing a permanent water source for the Bloodsworn Vale.
Having dealt with the King of Roses and his fey court, the party must now see to Fort Thorn’s supply lines and resources. Teams from the fort have run across wild owlbears, and refuse to journey deeper into the vale until the beasts are somehow contained.
Beren forms a plan. He will travel forward of the party, as to not scare off the owlbears, allowing the beasts to be tracked back to their den. Tárira will cover him from the nearby forest, while the remainder of the party remains a few minutes back, ready to respond to Beren’s aid.
Eventually, the owlbear den is discovered, with only a single beast in view. Roaring it’s anger, the beast attacks Beren and fighting quickly brings the party and additional owlbears from inside the cave and the surrounding forest into the combat. The beasts do not offer much of a threat, and our swiftly cut down.
Inside the cave, the party finds a clutch of owlbear cubs. The creatures,created from magic, are quite valuable as cubs as, with careful training, they can be domesticated. While Bellanie is content to simply have the cubs put down, a combination of avarice and misguided altruism on behalf of Alucaryn means the party quickly breaks down into squabbling.
After a threats, spells and hexes are exchanged, Alucaryn volunteers to simply strap the cubs to her person and carry them back to Fort Thorn herself. Exhausted from fighting monsters and each other, and unwilling to deal with the infrit’s known intransigence, the party trudges back to Fort Thorn, who’s residences are pleased to know the adults are dealt with, and less pleased to see the cubs that may attract what remaining adults that may still yet live.