Orem’s background has trained him to step up and deal with the population, so he does so in this case.
“My friend, I sense your loss. Is there something we can do to help you?”
The villagers – through their spokesman continue to threaten and bluster as Orem deftly negotiates. Eventually, with the arrival of an elder – a wizened crone, the villagers are placated with an offer by the assembled strangers to find their lost children. The crone claims that the visitors must fulfil a prophesy to remove the curse over the land in order to be able to return to their own lands.
Orem accepts – and the other newcomers find little alternative to go along with the quest.
Some questions uncover the situation. In brief, the season is the dark time, during which the villagers are accustomed to keeping their children under lock and key in a secure, windowless hut that is guarded every night. That morning, the guards were found asleep, and the children missing – about 60.
No footprints were found leading into the hut, heavy booted feet only leaving the hut. Both shifts of guards were found asleep together. We surmised that the on duty guards were put to sleep first, the hut entered, the children carried out. The change of guards were ambushed and put to sleep on their way to the hut, and carried there subsequently.
Some distance outside the village, tracks indicated that the children were put down to walk with their captors.
Further on, we found the signs of a fight which the Barbarian was involved in – he had picked up a doll there, and killed a zombie which was a young boy.
A little further along the trail, we encountered the ghost of a little girl. She was appeased with the return of her doll.