The party charged headlong into battle against Lydia and her cult, but were quickly pushed back from their first strike. Lydia had set a trap for the adventurers, and had a trio of sure-firing assassins hiding on the roofs of the buildings who opened a hail of deadly crossbow bolts upon the party. Lydia herself was flanked by a pair of sorcerers, and they combined their power to greatly strengthen the leader of the cult.
Myca, the lupine companion of the Druid, Hans, was the first to succumb to the multiple injuries. Lydia’s fearsome dark magic tore through Ferindel’s flesh and armor, and nearly killed Thorneth in a single strike. Verathan and his warriors fought bravely, holding a few of the cultists down, but the fallen paladin was swarmed over and his warriors badly outmatched. Hans summoned a trio of vipers upon the sorcerers, and they quickly fell, but Lydia responded in kind by blinding Hans with a particularly ruthless spell. Caitranna engaged her in close combat with magically enhanced fists of stone, but Lydia’s savage whip-dagger laid her low in short order.
Things looked grim, but the party rallied as more and more of Lydia’s thralls fell to their blades and magic. Ferindel rushed to Thorneth’s aid and revived her, and Hans mustered his strength and hurled Lydia into the fire. Caitranna locked her in with a wall, if only for a few moments, but it gave the group the time they needed to regroup. It was enough, as when Lydia emerged from the wall of gloom they fell upon her with new vigor, with Ferindel landing the final blow.
Despite their victory, the cost had been high. All of the villagers but the children in the cages had been killed, and the land bore the taint of the evil committed there. The group did what they could to scourge the evil from the place, but there was no saving Oaken Hollow.
Verathan awoke, and swore to take the children somewhere safe. The two remaining of his outlaw gang promised to aid him, as they no longer had homes to go to. After ensuring the children’s safety, Verathan and his companions would travel the land aiding those in need. Shortly after that, a pillar of fire descended from the sky, and wreathed Verathan first in flame, but then gold and steel. His grace as a Paladin had been restored, as his actions had ensured his atonement.
Grimly, the party moved on, and continued north for several days until they reached the stone walls of Deepwatch.