Upon reaching the town, the group rested and resupplied. Pine Rhim was a small community that mostly fished and did some logging, and were not entirely prepared for Bjorn’s religious devotions (also known as “a massive bender”). However, not everything was fine in the town. A few of the townsfolk had gone missing, including Aelith, a local merchant. One local believed that if the town worshipped a new god, they could be protected from whatever was causing the trouble. The party volunteered (or, possibly, Edris and Haepha volunteered) to track down the people who were disappearing.
Following some tracks from Aelith’s store through the forest, they found a cliff with a leering, monstrous face carved into it. There, they were attacked by a group of men in robes. However, as the battled was joined, not all of the robed figures turned out to be men. Two of them, were in fact, dead – and risen as ghouls. After a tough fight (which included some jumping from tree-tops to the cliff, and a few nasty bites from the ghouls), the heroes were victorious. They discovered that one of the men in robes was the worshipper of the new god, Moloch. Apparently a cult of this god of death and pestilence were abducting people in an attempt to trick the village into accepting their religion. They were also able to rescue one of the missing hunters – but Aelith was still missing.
Edris, Haepha, and Mith prepared to continue tracking the cultists who had led off the elder, while Bjorn would take the defeated cultist and the injured hunter back to town to warn the people of Pine Rhim. After delivering his news, Bjorn followed the trail of his fellow adventurers. However, he was set upon by a pair of Hobgoblins. Luckily, his sturdy pony was apparently battle-trained, as Bjorn managed to ride over them and kill them.
Meanwhile, the others had followed the trail until it reached the entrance to a pass into the mountains. The pass was blocked by a palisade, guarded by more hobgoblins. Apparently, the hobgoblins were in league with the cultists. Waiting until Bjorn caught up with them, the group assaulted the palisade.
What followed was a massive battle. While Edris landed shots on the defenders from a distance, Haepha charged the palisade, pulling down the hobgoblins who attempted to fend her off with spears. Mith used her ability to shift forms to get around the back side of the palisade and prevent the hobgoblins from sending for reinforcements, while Bjorn animated the bodies of the goblin dead to fight at his side. In the end, with the palisade on fire, the hobgoblin defense was broken. During the fight, however, Bjorn felt a chill pass over him as he cast a spell, and a sensation of being watched.
The party made their way up the pass into the mountains. After several switchbacks, they made their way to the top of the pass, and looked out across a small valley. At the far side of the valley, atop a wooded hill, they could make out a large, low building – a monastery of some sort. The party chose to camp for the night and treat their wounds, so that they could be fresh before dealing with what lay in the valley.