A while back a small and dirty child miraculously managed to hitchhike for days or weeks to get to Adventurer's Rest. There he told of a small village over by the mountains - Grovendal. There was a terrible monster that was extorting the villagers, having them hand over any valuables they could gather, and at times even their own children when the monthly offerings were lacking.
This boy, Torrick, said his baby brother had been handed over as tribute a few weeks earlier, and he overheard his parents mentioning that they might need to sacrifice him as well, so he ran.
Alynora, Callie, Darragh, Justin & Latrodecta were sent out from the guild to investigate.
When we reached the small village we got a weird greeting in the form of dirty and suspicious looks from all the peasants milling about. The welcome-wagon consisted of a Stephan, who was very eager to greet us and fill us with wine of dubious quality (and probable dose'd-ness). They were all either lying or were very stupid indeed, as they denied everything about any monsters, offerings or child-sacrifices.
After overhearing a plan to have us sacrificed instead of the runaway boy, we diplomatically confronted the villagers and expertly convinced them to help us set up a trap for the... Strangely undescribable humanoids that were taking their offerings away from the designated location.
A quick fireball wiped them all out, and we began our assault on this mysterious group! Toward the mountains, we found a semi-ruined palace of the earth-and-dirt-y kind. We made our way through hordes of groping statues, massive constructs, stone-zombies and electrified floors, and finally found a very charming treasure chamber.
Behind a stone-blockade toward the back, we heard whispers of someone trying to comfort a baby. In spite of being rudely interrupted by a trio of earth myrmidons, we convinced the charming medusa-esque lady Sirize to surrender and explain the situation.
The palace belonged to Khan Kabril Ali al-Sara al-Zalazil - a Dhao ruler whose dominion stretched across the land before he was banished. He had turned Sirize into this monstrous form, and forced her to serve as a mouthpiece for coordinating the tribute-gathering from the nearby village.
Taking a final tour around the palace, we found what appeared to be a throne room. Among the rubble and wreckage of the ruined, but still clearly important and fancy, room were four paintings. Three hanging on the walls depicting various important-looking elementals: A man surrounded by storms wielding a thunderous mace, A man with a great maul towering over a landscape of mud, ash and dirt, and a gigantic, blue-skinned being with gills and a large sword behind their back.
On the floor was the fourth painting, broken and torn-up, depicting a woman engulfed in flame with a burning sword in front of a black steel tower.
Nothing was left moving in the palace, so naturally, we celebrated a job well done and began our trek back home to Brighthaven. We left the baby in Sirize's care, and led her to the safety of Madame Preelb's direbear and shoop.
Alynora, Callie, Darragh, Justin & Latrodecta
As the guild sent the usual follow-up committee to gather any additional information, thanks or applications by peons who were inspired by seeing proper heroes at work, they found that the village was completely empty.
There were definite signs of struggle, but not a single body or even drop of blood was found of the nearly 100 villagers who called Grovendal their home.
While we did suggest that a reasonable course of action was just to pack up and move away from any supernatural extortionists that were threatening their village... Something more sinister might possibly perhaps maybe-but-definitely-not-through-the-fault-of-any-honourable-adventurers-of-the-guild be afoot...