Our story begins with the eager Roxy and reserved Bell starting another morning at the Devil’s Due inn. Early in the morning, Jenna from the Three Leaf Apothecary comes to visit. While, picking up breakfast, she mentions that Mama Yuma has something she needs done and would like to speak to Roxy later. In Roxy’s mind this means any time between now and 5 min from now. After a few brief words to her father, she wrangles Bell out the door and is off.
At the apothecary Mama Yuma explains that she would like Bell and Roxy to escort Jenna on a supply run into the woods a day’s travel out of the city. Roxy is thrilled at the prospect of a real mission so far from the confines of the city and her father’s watchful eye. John is less thrilled about the idea of his daughter headed off into the unknown, feeling she is too headstrong and brash to be on her own. After getting assurances that they will turn if things seem bad he relents and gives his blessing. Surreptitiously, he asks Bell to keep an eye on her, just in case.
The next day the trio head off with a wagon and supplies provided by Mama Yuma. While making their way out of town they encounter a pair of bandits. Roxy fast talks them into believing that Bell is hardened killer and convinces them to back off. Bell, despite her good alignment, leaves them to die a slow death of starvation. Maybe she is a killer after all. They make it the woods with little other difficulty. Jenna begins to gather herbs, but her searching takes her further from the trail. The group hide the wagon and head into the woods.
As night falls, they set up camp. Bell notes a strange presence in the woods, but does little other the acknowledge it’s presence causing it to depart. A little while into the evening it returns and reveals itself as the druid Aria. Aria disables the party with an entangle spell. Once again Roxy steps in and tries to diffuse the situation. Wait, isn’t Bell the bard. Shouldn’t she be doing this? In either case, Aria explains that these woods are under her protection and that Jenna’s eager harvesting has upset the natural balance. In order to return the balance and earn the aid of Aria with their objective, the pair agree to help her resolve a problem.
In the last month, a strange presence has tainted a section of the forest. Most animals avoid the area, and those that do not slowly descend into a maddened frenzy. Due to her connection to nature, Aria is also affected and cannot venture closer in investigate. Aria’s task for the party is to deal with this corruption. Roxy seems to also have an attunement to this disturbance. Using this, the party finds a cave in the woods that appears to be the source. They bypass a simple trap and the entrance, but are soon forced to retreat after a small horde of large spiders descends on them. Beaten and injured, they return to Aria.
Roxy wants to bolt, but Bell refuses compelled by her honor to complete the mission she agreed to. They decide to reach out to John and Mama Yuma for aid. Jenna is left with Aria as insurance of their return and the pair rush back to Stockton. They push themselves to the very edge, but manage to stumble into town. John is concerned for his daughter’s state and puts her to bed immediately. As he is doing so he gets brief outline of what has transpired. The next day, when Roxy wakes up, her father is no where to be found. She quickly deduces that he went to the Three Leaf Apothecary. Sure enough, as she arrives she sees her father and Mama Yuma packing horses to head out to retrieve Jenna.
Roxy manages to convince them to take her by pointing out that neither of them know exactly where Jenna is or how to contact Aria. The trio make speed to retrieve the wayward apprentice. They arrive back in Aria’s grove to find Jenna unharmed. Mama Yuma pulls Aria aside and after a brief exchange returns to inform the party that Jenna is free to go. Roxy is insanely curious as to how she managed to convince the headstrong druid, but Mama just shrugs and says diplomacy. In a show of good faith, John and Mama Yuma go to investigate the cave. The dangers therein provide little threat to the pair of retired adventurers. Their investigation revels that someone had been living their recently. Stacks of strange notes are tucked into an alcove. Mama Yuma is unable to translate them, but takes them to contact an expert later. In the main chamber an iron circle is found embedded in the cave floor. Inside something hovers shrouded my a red miasma. Uncertain of the implications, the party heads back to town to have the notes reviewed by a professional.
Once in town, the group heads to Cogsprocket’s Clocks and Tinkers. The old gnome who owns the place knows them, but he is not who they are here to see. They want the old man’s employee Roark. Roark was a young prodigy, adept a figuring out complex things, from devices to languages. While not overtly larcenous, he wasn’t prone to questioning where his work came from. This made him a perfect contact for adventurers and other parties who required discreet assistance. Roark is brought onboard and meets up with the party later in the basement of the apothecary. A deal is struck and he takes the notes home. After an evening parsing though it, he can determine that it is some form of infernal summoning spell, but little else. Mama Yuma’s expertise also fails to revel more information. It is decided that a trip must be made to the capital to see if a hired caster could shed some light on this.
John arranges a trip for the group, consisting of Bell, Roark, and Roxy to the capital via riverboat. The party is supplied and funded and say their farewells for a long trip. The boat ride starts pleasant enough, but soon an alert is put out. A passenger had been robbed. The crew perform searches, but nothing turns up. Roark quickly locates 2 men who seem suspicious. They are keeping something hidden overboard. After engaging assistance from Raoxy and Bell, it is found out that Ray Danforth is on the boat. Mr. Danforth is a dealer in antiques and rare collectibles. He is also known to deal in exotic weapons. Considering the secrecy he is travelling in, there are suspicions of what has really been taken. Roark sneaks out at night and acquires the item that was stored overboard. A large box that seems impossible to open and thoroughly trapped. Now it is up to the party if they want to keep the box secret or confront Danforth.