As both parties returned to Eventide, the mood began to turn sour.
Rand and Strogar gave their report and supplies to Pavon, resulting in Rand storming out as Pavon did not award him a weapon made from the Mithral ingot and dumping the heartwood beam in front of the town hall before sulking off. Strogar, meanwhile, noticed the negative effect the Elvenspite signet ring was having on him whilst in the town and left to make a camp just outside the wall.
Orvo met up with Pavon late that evening and informed him of the Druidic situation. The human grove, while smaller, was more amenable to negotiation and mutual assistance in light of their equally precarious situation. The elven grove was far more organized but zealously militant, demanding fealty and adherence to strict draconian laws…and turning them down was tantamount to declaring war.
Their sullen moods were shaken to apprehension as guards reported heavily armed strangers approaching. Meeting the band at the gate, the leader introduced himself as Wickham, a knight from Cairlinien sent to Mountainsedge to investigate rumors of elves engaging in their Great Hunt and slaughtering human logging encampments. When Pavon asked him how he found their safehold, Wickham informed him that he ran into Orvo whilst destroying some undead and was offered safe passage. With Orvo backing his position, Wickham and his group of 4 soldiers were invited into town…provisionally.
The next day brought more chaos to the town. Upon seeing the heartwood beam, Jem and Sigur Greenleaf were visibilty shaken by the sight and left to head to the Chapel of Haelyn. Rand, noticing the issue, proceeded to shrug it off as Pavon's problem and left to set up another camp outside the gates, mirroring Strogar's actions. Strogar spent the day hunting, whilst Orvo talked to Wickham about his intentions, learning about the loss of over 20 of his soldiers due to undead and particularily powerful animals attacking the encampments.
As night began to turn into the evening, the town was drawn to an uncomfortable sight: Pavon and Pyrick, with Sigur and Jem behind him, were having a very loud and passionate disagreement about the deals made by Rand and Strogar with Lord Malec Elvenspite and how the elves would view the use of the heartwood as a most vile act and turn their attentions towards the town. When Orvo and Strogar crossed paths and got into each other's way, they began brawling on the front steps, leading to Orvo behind arrested after using his magic to burn Strogar.
As night fell, Rand took another walk in the woods, meeting up with his mysterious patron. After venting about the inequities of his treatment, the lady offered a novel solution: take the heartwood beam, and find a way to get it into Mossfall's hold and direct the elves to his settlement to weaken it. On the way back, he thought he noticed a small human child in a tree observing town, but when he blinked, a murder of crows flew out of the tree. At the same time, as Strogar was beginning to set up camp to sleep, he noticed an odd and disturbing site in the woods: a tall, thin individual was observing the camp, and when noticed, disappearing behind a tree and a large stag bounded away.
With all individuals coming back to the town, they convinced Olvin to double the guard and informed Pavon that Orvo was most likely followed, and the elves know their location. Rand took the opportunity to mention his new plan of dealing with the heartwood. With Pavon's blessing – and urging of quickness to avoid having the heartwood in his town – the three of them began to prep for traveling to Oakhearth, where Pavon would utilize a spy in Mossfall's keep to lure them to the heartwood.
As morning came, Rand slipped into Jem's shop and stole 4 bottles of wood filler to cover the sigils carved into the heartwood whilst Orvo and Strogar gathered supplies. They set off after breakfast, and made way to Oakhearth. They were given a letter by Pavon addressed to Lord Malec with his seal to deliver before returning to Eventide, but were given leave to use their own judgement on which came first.
As the journey began, tensions immediately began to fray. They worsened when a human druid approached the party 2 days into their journey inquiring as to the state of their offer to the town. With Strogar informing them that their requested weapons were being forged, the druid noticed the heartwood beam and offered them another solution: the druids would use the heartwood to craft arms and armor to battle the elves and use their reverence of it as additional protection against Elven aggression.
The situation worsened when Rand refused to hand over the heartwood to the human Druid, while Strogar and Orvo fought him to obtain it. Rand escaped into the woods, with Strogar in pursuit. As Rand eluded him, Strogar stalked back into the clearing, where he ran across a worsening situation: Orvo, standing alone in the clearing, was being surrounded by undead, including 2 skeletal bears!
As the dwarves engaged the bears, Rand crept back to observe the fight. Noticing how outnumbered and bloody Strogar was, engaged in the fight. The bears were destroyed, but Strogar was knocked unconscious and Orvo was in a fighting retreat.
As Rand engaged the Skeletal Champion, Orvo spotted a dreadful sight: an armored individual, almost 6 and a half feet tall, appeared in the clearing suddenly…and from what Orvo could tell, via teleportation magic. The individual used magic to control the undead in the field, and used potions of healing to bring Strogar and Rand conscious.
As Strogar awakened to see a rested Lord Malec Elvenspite standing over him with 8 undead soldiers his vanguard, he weakly informed him that he bore a message from Lord Pavon. As Rand looked on, he glanced at Orvo as they both noticed the same thing about the undead: they were wearing the same tunic as Wickham and his soldiers.
They were shaken from their contemplation by a loud and bellowing laugh, equally infectious as it was terrifying, coming from Lord Malec Elvenspite. Helping Strogar to his feet, a smiling Malec informed him that they all indeed needed to have a talk.