There is nothing better in the D&D world than an NPC with a concsience.
Traven hired the party at a fairly reasonable (expensive) rate of 300 silver or 25 silver per rescued departed which we would be able to extricate from the camp. Now some people might consider it foolish to go into the mouths of danger and to throw yourself into the wilds but not us, no sir. We're willing to do it as long as we're well compensated!
After doing a significant re-supply and extending Travens credit a little bit with over 900 pounds of food and two donkeys, the party took off towards the camp to the north making fairly credible time. We decided to time our trip so that we could visit the camp during the day, when the forest 'things' would be less likely to harass us.
The first day of travel was terrible for poor Merrin, I mean who plans a path with hills that never go down? Everyone else seemed fairly oblivious to his suffering so he soldiered on, rarely even raising his short arms to complain! That berry spell at the end of the day was a good topper for the day however, and man that sleep was amazing.
Anyways, the party woke up on the second day right early and made its way to the edge of the old forest. Once there they settled in for a shorter days travel and a rescue attempt to follow. They were greeted by a bark creature named 'stump' who evidently had dealings with Morwen (Stump is one of the local forest druids). Stump proved to be very helpful, giving us a bit of a lay of the land and giving us some local history of the woods and what might be happening out here. We actually listened to him and then based on him mentioning that he could fly, we asked him to scout out the camp for us and let us know what to expect the next day.
He reported that there were sub humans watching the camp, likely planning to attack once they had a chance and in addition, he reported that only some 30 people of the 71 were left alive and that they had barricaded themselves in for defensive purposes. In return for his scouting help and help finding some of the historical sites in the area we agreed to help him with the skinner troops which were harassing his people in the forest. Stump seemed pleased with this arrangement and even showed us to avoid the north west, gave us an idea of the lay of the land including some major landmarks and places to avoid in the area.
<u>ONWARD TO THE CAMP</u>
Morwen scouts the camp in wolf form and rapidly find that it's only being watched by a single beast creature. We decide to approach the camp with a single person but we need to clear out that scout first. Morwen leads a strike force that includes everyone but Merrin around the camp and they sneak right up to the sorta human and blow him away with a vicious combination of Magic Missiles and Glaive shots to the brain. He doesn't even get a screech off before he dies. The strike force returns to our pack animals, guides and Merrin and we move to the next stage of the plan.
Merrin approaches the camp and lets them know that we were sent by Traven to get them out and //requests// to be let into the camp. He quickly informs them to pack up quickly, quietly and to make an immediate exit from the camp. He passes off an story that Traven had heard that there was trouble up here and sent them to rescue the departed and bring them to Port Townshen (I forget the name). They pack up quickly once they are all across into the woods, they force march for a few hours until they are back out of the deep forest having heroically saved 31 souls from a terrible fate.
The party sets up camp, starts to work with Threnna, the remaining leader of the departed and they get them ready to make a slow, steady and careful journey towards the lake. The departed appear to be in relatively good shape, scared but happy to be out of the camp and more than willing to work with these people who brought them out of the jaws of danger.