The party is able to return to the city by nightfall and receives an audience with Valyrian Syr. Valyrian is able to point the party in the right direction by using some of the landmarks on the map to determine where the meeting place is. He warns of the dangers of the area and suggests the party make the appropriate arrangements to deal with several days in the wilderness. The party is able to requisition horses and receive writs from Valyrian that declare the party to be “friends of the church”, allowing them to carry weapons within the city.
After gathering all the supplies they believe they’ll need, the party sets out for the Dark Woods. They only have a few hours of daylight left upon reaching the edge of the forest but decide to venture in anyway. Aldon is placed in the lead with the map in hand to help guide him. When the last shreds of light begin disappearing from the forest, the party makes preparations to set up camp.
Aldon turns out to be a horrible woodsman and leads the party off course in the thick underbrush. It takes the group several hours to realize that they’ve become lost but Koil takes over navigation duties when Aldon’s poor sense of direction becomes known. Koil, with Aarissa coaching him over his shoulder, is able to lead the party toward their destination with only a few hiccups along the way.
Shortly before nightfall, the party locates a clearing that is home to a moderately sized temple. Judging by the map, the party is certain this temple is the meeting place. The group approaches the temple cautiously. Upon opening the large, jeweled doors to the temple, the party is met by several of the blue-robed cultists. A fight breaks out that leaves another half dozen cultists dead. The party continues onward to a large room with a defaced statue and altar that is guarded by two orcish mercenaries and a menacing looking priest. The battle that broke out was a bloody battle for both sides but the group came out on top even though Aldon and Koil were severely wounded during the fighting. The party took a few moments to gather themselves and while doing so began to notice that this temple likely belonged to a sect of Assytia worshipers. Upon further investigation of the temple’s ground floor, they found several bodies in blood-stained green robes. It appeared the cultists had slaughtered the previous occupants…
The party continued onward into the temple’s below-ground level. A small skirmish broke out between the party and a few more of the cultists but the party prevailed once again. They came across a strange green gem inlaid in the floor that was filled with a mist that followed their every move, almost as if it were alive. They decided to pay it little attention and moved on to a locked door. Hermi had considerable trouble opening the magically reinforced lock but was finally able to unlock the door.
When the group ventured into the room, they found themselves face to face with Martin Preese. He asked the party to stay their blades and told them that he was ready to surrender. He handed over the Crown of Carrikos and Koil was able to confirm that it appeared to be authentic. He led the party through the temple at their leisure and pointed out a trapped room that the group was unable to enter. Hermi was able to disable the traps long enough to retrieve the goods the previous occupants worked so hard to protect. Martin Preese also mentioned that he had captured what he assumed to be a member of their party since he arrived only hours before they did. He introduced the party to Guy, an experienced knight that traveled the land. The group decided to take him along since Martin was able to confirm that Guy was a talented warrior since he defeated several of his cultists single-handedly. With that, everyone made their way out of the temple and began the trip back to Arcanum with the Crown of Carrikos in tow.