At the first dawn of the next day, the motley band gathered one by one at the meeting place arranged by Herr Hendrick. Loading the wagon full of Lord Aschaffenberg’s belongings and waiting briefly on the arrival of the lagging rat-catcher and his dog, the party began their journey north to Grunewald Lodge.
The cold morning air quickly warmed and the day soon became pleasantly sunny. Still, Herr Hendrick complained bitterly about the travel to Ubersreik, the lack of appropriate accommodations, the remoteness of the lodge from civilized lands, the deficiencies of rural folk, and whatever else seemed to cross his mind. But even Herr Hendrick grew quiet as the road led them into Reikwald Forest. The bright day was quickly swallowed up by the dimness of the dense tree canopy.
The forest grew ominous as the party spotted movement in the dense trees. Shapes – human or beast? – darted from tree to tree, pacing the wagon at range. Herr Hendrick frantically urged the coachman to speed up, as the safety of the lodge was close. But no sooner as the crumbling walls and closed gates of the destination were seen when the beasts attacked from the woods.
Creatures part beast and man spilled from the cover of the nearby forest as more closed from the rear. Roaring, braying, screaming with bloodlust, the beastmen ran full tilt towards the rushing wagon. But thundering blunderbusses and flaming magic broke the creatures courage and sent them back into the woods to regroup.
With the beastmen kept at bay, the gates of the lodge were opened to allow the wagon entry. The party was safe… for now.