The party continued on to Shadowdale, and along the way, Lucky offered to leave the group since his unknown past may prove to be a danger to the others. He was assured that he was still welcome, and as Daethin put it, “everyone has baggage”. The trip was not uneventful, however, as the heroes crossed paths with a massive brown bear tearing through the wood. Something was horribly wrong with the creature, which had four asymetrical eyes (one on one side, three of differing sizes on the other, one of which was even on a protruding eye-stalk), and a mouth that opened unnaturally far. As they cut the monster down, it bled thick black ooze instead of red blood, further indicating some kind of corruption.
They reached the small farming village, which seemed comfortable and even happy to see more adventurers. It was apparently a normal occurance to see such people, although Isis did get a double-take from at least one of the men in town. Shane, accompanied by Lukas, went to the temple of Chauntea to offer prayer and tithe, and informed them of the unnatural creature in the wood. They seemed surprised, and had not heard of such a thing yet. After this visit, the two went to the nicer festhouse in town and enjoyed an evening of luxury, which was a nice change from the rough life on the road.
The others gathered additional supplies in town and went to the Old Skull Inn, a regular hang-out, where they heard tell of strange happenings beneath the local lord’s tower, as well as rumors of a goat-woman in the wood who may be some sort of fey creature. A local bard also told them that from what he knows about fey, the tattoo on Lucky’s face was a mark of ownership, though he’s not sure who’s mark it is.
The next morning, the party set out for Elminster’s tower at the edge of town and followed the winding trail up the hill, which was littered with warning signs concerning the sage’s desire for privacy. They knocked on the door and were “greeted” (to use the term loosely) by Lhaeo, Elminster’s scribe, through a sliding panel on the door. He advised the party that his master was out, and did not know when he would return (“possibly never”). Isis and Raf tried to get additional information from the man, who seemed to be trying to be rid of them, but Lucky lost his patience and began casting a laughing spell at the scribe. Lhaeo promptly shut the panel and an alarm summoned metallic dogs to chase the party away.
The heroes did flee, and made it back to town unscathed. At that point, they decided to investigate the rumors of the goat woman who had been sighted in the woods north of town. They inquired with a nearby farmer, who claimed not to have time for such fanciful nonsense, but he did gruffly invite them for dinner at sundown. There seemed to be no other option but to seek out the woman themselves, and they set out into the woods.