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Ants Marching...
After our heroes managed to clear the goblin bandit raiders from the abandoned farmhouse, they managed to rescue a pair of merchants - as well as secure a very large sum of coins, which was assumed to have been looted from the various caravans reported missing. Our intrepid heroes then decided that the best course of action would be to lead these refugees back to Penarduin before progressing much further, since it was the closest city on a major trade route. And so the party retraced their steps to the bridge where they had initially met the bandits, and travelled the short distance north to Penarduin.

Upon reaching Penarduin, our heroes advised the pair of merchants that they could perhaps find shelter and food at the Broken Mug Inn, where they had previously visited (and previously been insulted - by a large woman innkeep with a serious dislike for the vertically challenged). They handed each of the merchants a small - very, very small - sum of coins to help afford the merchants lodging arrangements, and the party decided its best course of action would be to continue to voyage north, along the Trade Road, to the city of Hawksburg, to inform the authorities that the trade routes had been cleared and the bandits dealt with. It was here then that Arimanio and Mark Robertsson decided to part ways with the group, deciding that the life of adventure just might not be all that it was cracked up to be. And so our party of predominately short statured adventurers continued along the road to set up camp, rather than brave the wrath (and price gouging) of the Broken Mug and it's prejudiced owner.

A few short hours of travel passed, and night began to fall. Our remaining 6 adventurers decided that the best course of action to set up camp several yards west of the road for the night, rather than travel by light of the moon. Camp was set, a watch order was posted, and the party set into a night of rest, recuperation, and prayer.

During the 3rd watch of the night, Chance was disturbed from his routine survey of the camp area by a sharp clicking sound heard nearby from the south. Being concerned with the unfamiliar sound, he decided to investigate the strange noise. Traveling a short distance into the darkness, he followed the sounds to their source. Using his infravision, he was able to make out a pair of vague heat registers in the distance. Chance, unsure of just what the objects were (they were large enough to be animals, but not anything he had ever seen before in his life) decided to try to drive, whatever they were, away from the camp with noise. He took his pair of axes and clashed them together fairly loudly, in hopes that it would frighten whatever it was. And the plan initially seemed to work. The odd heat registers split apart from each other and moved to opposite areas of the forest, and the clicking sound stopped. Satisfied with his success, Chance made his way back to the camp, and informed the rest of the party of his findings. The party then attempted to try to fall back to sleep.

About this time, Drathus heard a separate clicking sound rising from the west of the camp, rising him from his slumber. Drathus decided to investigate the sounds to the west, but didn't have to go far to see the cause. Standing in front of him was a huge black beetle, around 2 feet tall, with two large dimly glowing glands on its head. Drathus immediately attacked the beetle, and on contact with the creature the 2 glands exploded with light, illuminating the area. At this same time, the sounds from the south were heard again, but this time they were much, much closer. Chance turned around to see two of the largest ants he had ever seen, their black carapaces shining in the moonlight.

Shouting in alarm, Chance and Drathus attempted to raise the rest of the party from their rest to deal with the creatures that were now just outside the radius of their campfire.
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Tags: Recap