Koteth comes to the party with a plan; a journey north to the foot of the mountains. There, through a small cave, lies the Goldenwood Valley. According to “Lucky” Joe, master bowyer of Briare, The Goldenwood tree at the center of that valley would provide the perfect wood to craft a bow of unparalleled power and accuracy. The first stop would be the village of woodcutters at the entrance of the cave, to meet the mayor and get information about the valley (which apparently has some strange properties and a very dangerous guardian).
After five days of grey skies and rain, the heroes trudge up the steep, wooded slopes to the darkened village of Pieymond. Night had fallen early, here in the pine-crested bowl in the mountains, and the torrential rain was turning the slope into a river of mud. The party, exhausted as they were, pushed on, unwilling to spend another night in the damp. The crummy, rundown village itself is mostly in darkness by the time they reach it. In one of the houses, a baby cries. A light shines in a ramshackle inn. Rain pours constantly in solid sheets. Yet all is not what it seems. The houses are empty… but not quite.
Wraiths of the former inhabitants of the town swarm the heroes. Maddened with grief and fear, babbling insane cries for help, the swirling shadows reach for the bodies of the living, hoping to steal warmth and sanity. The combined light of Erathis and Bahamut, channelled by Jacen and Samuel, blaze in the torrential rain, shredding the spirits, casting them back, sending them to their rest. The remains of the mayor was found in his house. The corpse’s mouth and throat were stuffed with gold and silver coins, and all over his meticulous books, the words “MINE all mine ALL mine MINE MINE MINE mine mine” were scrawled.
An uneasy night of sleep in the creaking, leaking inn gives way to a sunny, golden fall morning. Birds chirp and twitter, wind makes the pine trees hiss. It feels almost… wrong, when juxtaposed with the night before. The heroes spend some time going though the town in the light of day, gathering the poor forgotten bodies of the townsfolk and burying them, then prepare their gear and make their way into the cave to the Goldenwood Valley.