The Church of the Tender is putting out an urgent call for adventurers to investigate an attack upon one of the stags considered blessed by the faith. Any man or beast that would attack one of these sacred animals is likely to be a danger to others, and the Council has approved a small bounty for their capture.
Carefully navigating their way around the deer herd the party locate a blood trail and a set of footprints headed off into the flux. They follow this to a claw fiend nest and defeating the beasts they find that they have been munching on a deer- but fortunately not the white stag they are seeking. Following the footprints onwards Peter and Rodrigo note that it is strange that these day old prints would still be present in the flux…
Following the trail takes them to a woodland shrine to the Tender which appears to have been thoroughly desecrated by someone. They party start to put things back in order when a glowing spectral stag appears at the edge of the clearing, at this half the party take off in pursuit whilst the rest stay to finish the restoration of the shrine. Unfortunately splitting their forces leads the group into trouble as the advance party stumble right into a vicious pack of wolves that promptly sets upon them.
Gramps, Rodrigo and the Stone Wanderer hear the howling and arrive in time to battle the remaining wolves. They are eventually victorious and Rodrigo finds a pair of blood stains and drag marks which they theorise may belong to their missing comrades. They follow the tracks to find a camp in the forest where their 'Thyssian' friend is being held in a cage and Alfie is being spitroasted above the campfire. They charge in and free Alfie, running through the camp and out the other side. Meanwhile Peter awakes in a wolf den, his undead flesh not having been palatable enough for the large wolves he has been left as a chewtoy for the pups. To his horror he finds that that flesh from his hand has already been knawed off down to the bone, leaving a still entirely functional skeletal arm visible. Quietly shooing away the little ones he flux shapes his way out of the cave and slowly tunnels his way out of wolf territory. Out in the wilderness he bumps into [JamesG] who after being savagely beaten for an escape attempt woke up alone in the forest with his sword lying nearby. The party finally regoup around the enemy camp and manage to cut down all the inhabitants after a ferocious battle with their leader. Examining their bodies and questioning the lone survivor afterwards they learn that the leader was a priestess of the Tyrant King and that she had hunted down the sacred stag on behalf of an emissary of the God. The survivor is suspicious about this strangely feeble looking, scarred emissary and examining the priestess' body they do notice the mark of a magical glyph behind her ear.
Following the spectral stag out onto the road, the party stumble into the Founder's Rest tavern and take the opportunity to refresh themselves and hear some of the travellers gossip before deciding that they cannot afford to rest and heading back out into the night.
Passing (with some difficulty) through a spirit haunted forest the group find themselves beset by a number of animated scarecrows that are quickly revealed to be zombies covered in a layer of straw. During this fight Archie is cut down and before the party can fight their way back to him the dog succumbs to his wounds. Sadly the rest of the group dig him a grave and after removing his collar lay him to rest with what prayers they can muster. Finally the forest opens up before them and they find themselves entering a small hamlet. The villagers are terrified at their arrival fearing that they are more cultists come to snatch them away in the dark- the party soon realise that the scarecrows they fought were created from the missing forestfolk and horrified with this news the locals bid them travel up Yonder Hill where the murderers have made their camp.
Passing through the marshland at the base of the hill the party are able to avoid a battle with the ornery flux spirit that confronts them, instead promising that they will consign the bodies of the cultists to the scummy waters. Marching quickly uphill the party make short work of a group of guards and then rush over the brow of the hill to find that a mage has started his ritual to sacrifice the stag before the burned husk of a once mighty tree.
Despite his wounding magic and repeated invocations of the dragon Tuireann, the mage is cut down by the group's determined assault and the stag freed from its bindings. Against the odds the party cut down the remainder of the cultists, save for a single panicked figure who flees in terror into the darkness.
Having defeated the cultists the party split up, some pitching camp for the night whilst the rest busy themselves carrying the bodies down the hill and ditching them in the swamp as promised. Their oath fulfilled the swamp waters fall away from them and a croaky voice whispers that when the time comes to leave a path will be made for them.
Peter receieves the Stone Wanderer's assistance in preparing for sleep - a couple of metal 'staples' hammered into the altar stone to keep his skeleton from wandering off at night. When they awaken the next morning they find the White Stag resting one hoof on Peter's chest and the wayfinder discovers that his body is free of the aches and pains that normally assail him after sleeping.
They make to return to Acryn, a bridge of bodies forming up before them as they reach the edge of the bog. They stop off in Erinsdell to inform the villagers that they have been avenged but that a single cultist fled into the nearby wilderness. The surviving woodcutters grimly heft their axes and set out to search for the missing murderer.
When they hit the main road, near the Founder's Rest the White Stag bows its head low and then dashes off into the far undergrowth, presumably returning to guard its herd.
Back in Acryn they report in to the Tender church who are aghast to hear that the attack was perpetrated by a dragon cult. They congratulate the party on successfully saving the stag and defeating the cultists, granting a full payment and a promise of the Tender's blessings when needed. Peter avails himself of this immediately to seek help for his skeletal arm- the Church offers to attempt to cure his curse of undeath altogether, but faced with the possibility that the 'natural state' he might be restored to could be death, he sticks with a simple ceremony to heal his arm.
The Tender church take Alfie's collar and return it to his young mistress. Much wailing ensues.