|Art by Vladislav Erko|
Next, our heroes encounter bronze-furred squirrels who could turn acorns (or anything they thought of as food) to gold with a bite. Shade the Ranger spoke with animals while Erekose and Waylon gathered gold acorns. All this activity brought the forest's ruler and his wild hunt from beneath a hill:
The party was afraid they were outmatched by this guy and his cat-and-dog-men riders. They tried diplomancy, but Herne (as he called himself) only agreed not to attack his "cousin" Shade. The party concentrated their fire on him and took all their foes out surprisingly swiftly.
The entered the chapel and found it lined with sinner statues in mockery of saints and the personifications of sins leering from the altar:
They hoped one of the statues might be Ystyvan. Instead one winked and kissed Shade and her intelligence went up. After almost visiting all the statues, one reached out and touched Dagmar and turned her to stone!
The others had no way immediately to save her. They heard a voice calling from under the stones. Prying it open, they found a pit-like grave and released a little girl named Mabdalene:
She wanted to find her brother for revenge. Shade panicked and shot her and the party fought with her a bit, before she scuttled past them and escaped.
Looking desperately for a place of safety to rest, the group found monk cells inhabited by zombies. They cleared three rooms, but the undead fortitude of one zombie allowed him to comically old on to unlife after being reduced to zero on multiple attacks.
After a long rest they explored the rest of the chapel, finding the dead body of a Sylaire family member (presumably Mabdalene's brother) in a library, and a man in golden armor praying in another. After an exchange of pleasantries, he attacked.