Light Where None Exists

Over the River and Through the Woods -- To Grandmother's House we go!

The group, having been plagued with terrible dreams for over a month, and losing sleep all the time because of it, were receiving treatment at the local temple when they heard of a woman who had lost her child. Apparantly it was the seventeenth child to go missing in over seven months. Gagaso, being a kind ranger, offered to search for these missing children. The woman told him where they were last seen — in a field just outside the city walls.
The forest rested just outside the walls as well, and Gagaso and the group began their search there. A few Search checks turned up footprints that were out of the norm. The children normally never strayed closer than fifteen paces to the trees, but there were several groups of footprints that lead directly into the forest. Further investigation revealed a game trail, recently trod upon, by children’s feet.
The group gathered their materials and went into the woods, following Gagaso’s lead. The tracks took them along a winding pathway, where, eventually, all forest sounds stopped. Everyone felt an uneasy chill settle over the world as they ventured further and further into the forest. The pathway grew more and more narrow, and, once, Kay could have sworn he heard a little girl scream in the distance.
It took them over a distance of seventeen miles, but the group eventually came out into a clearing next to a small lake, fed by a small creek off of the main river. The lake smelled of brimstone, and the group naturally gave it a wide berth. At the top of a hill on the opposite side of the lake, a small cottage sat, with smoke coming out of its chimneys.
The unnatural air grew ever more powerful as the group approached, and by the time they arrived at the cottage, everyone knew not to make a sound.
Gagaso checked the window, sneaking as well as his ranger skills could allow him to. Inside, he saw a group of eight children gathered around a table, with an elderly woman at the end, and a man clad in black jester clothing standing in a doorway. As the group watched, they saw a small, 10-year-old girl tied and naked on the table. She looked entirely alive, and her chest moved up and down, showing that she had life.
As the group watched, the children, now armed with forks and knives, began to cut bits and pieces off of the little girl! The girl showed no signs of surprise, fear, or pain, and just rested, almost as if she wasn’t about to bleed out. The group watched in horror as the children lined up and fed the quivering, still-dripping pieces of the little girl, one by one, to the old lady!
She licked her chops and devoured the small child, laughing daintily as she did so. Gagaso’s reaction was to motion to Kay, and then draw his bow. The two aimed carefully, one for the old woman, and one for the jester. They released the arrows as the woman went into a fit of cackling and the jester joined in. Kay released his arrow toward the jester, and it caught him in the windpipe. His eyes widened in surprise as the life left them. The woman took the arrow to the shoulder and cried out in pain. The children turned, eyes glowing a malicious yellow, and brandished their knives.
Gagaso broke the window and leapt into the room, attacking the old lady with another arrow. Jesis and Duadexa entered the house through the doorway. Jesis attempted to calm the children as Gagaso and Kay chased the old lady out of her own house.
The children reacted by attacking the cleric. Jesis, taken by surprise, was slashed across his torso with one of the children’s knives. Duadexa, reacting quickly, cast fascinate. Everyone in the room stopped for a moment, and it was just enough for Jesis to cast his version of the same spell. The children and Duadexa were now under Jesis’ control. The woman fled, and the group gathered the children and ferried them back into the town.
Several hours passed getting there, but Jesis had a good enough grip on the children’s minds that they did not fall out of his influence. The first thing the group did when they got back was bring the children to the same temple in which they had been receiving treatment.
The priests did not know what to do. The children were being controlled by some malevolent force, that much was obvious, but they did not know exactly what. They tried everything, from excorcism to healing, and nothing worked. It was Jesis who came up with the idea that they could use the spell Restoration.
The spell worked miracles, and the children were quickly restored to their normal, bright-eyed selves. Their minds, however, could not forget what they had done, and the children of the district are now much more silent and reserved than they used to be.

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