After Ivan Ivanovitch camp had been thoroughly searched and its leader bound and gagged, the party began to discuss the "captain"’s fate. The discovery of a luxury leather pouch, embroidered with an “S” and containing 20 platinum pieces, in Ivanovitch’s tent, seemed to point at a bigger conspiracy. Questioning the captain, the group found out that, a few months ago, Ivan had been approached by a hooded female in Nivakta’s Crossing. She spoke with a northern, Issian accent, according to the bandit, and she made him an offer he could not refuse. Apparently the mysterious woman knew that the Restov Swordlords were planning on organizing expeditions into the Stolen Lands. She procured forged documents for Ivanovitch, which claimed that he had been a guard captain in New Stetven. The “captain” was to lead one of the expeditions in the Stolen Lands, and then turn against his lieges by creating as much havoc, chaos, and instability as he could muster.
Ivan Ivanovitch acknowledged his guilt, but pleaded with the fellowship to grant him a chance to redeem himself and show his worth. The group disagreed about his fate, and decided to take him into the northern Greenbelt, where they could judge his crimes according to the legal framework set out by the Charter. Eldoran took the survivors of Ivanovitch’s crew back to Nivakta’s Crossing, where they would answer for their crimes.
After a brief rest, the party set out to Oleg’s Trade Post. Around the evening they arrived at an abandoned fort, which seemed to mark the frontier between Rostland and the Stolen Lands. Searching the ruins, the group discovered the gruesome fate of its inhabitants. Apparently, some hundred years ago, the soldiers of the border fort had been attacked by a strange force, a kind of “wind” or “storm”, which led to the death of them all. Despite the ancient tragedy, the party decided to spend the night in one of the watchtowers of the fortress. From the top of the watchtower the vista of the Greenbelt seemed to be strangely colorful and vibrant, in comparison with the Rostland plains.
During Milon’s wake, the halfling encountered a strange creature or spirit of nature, a woman with goat legs and fierce eyes. She revealed herself as “Azkathe” and made fun of the adventuring troupe, who, according to her, did not know what they were getting into. She claimed that the party was heading into a battle they didn’t understand, and couldn’t see, and that, eventually, they would have to make a choice. Before she left Milon, she threw six red berries on the ground, as a “gift”.
These berries soon started to swell and grow, and they burst into pieces, summoning six revolting dog-like creatures who were standing on their hind lights. The little critters each wielded a dagger and viciously they sprung upon Milon and the sleeping party members, yelling “pugwampi pugwampi” – probably the only word they could utter. Ivan Ivanovitch was almost burned alive by one of the monsters, while Neega got one on her head. Although initially surprised, the fellowship was able to fend off the pugwampis, who began to plop back into the shape of berry goo after one of them was killed.
After the bizarre encounter, the party tried to catch some sleep, before continuing its journey to Oleg’s Trade Post. There was now only one day of travel ahead of them.