Meanwhile, Fulton watches his companions from a nearby hill, below him Dagaard kicks stones and waits. Seeing his companions enter the village, Fulton watches as they cautiously explore. He notes the occasional child flitting between buildings but the Half-elf and the Dunlending appear to be in no danger. He is never concerned when they pass briefly out of sight into or behind buildings, as they always reappear soon after; until they don’t.
Seconds stretch to minutes and these expand pause so worrying that he feels that they need to investigate. Calling to Dagaard the pair make their way down to the village edge doing their best to approach unobserved. Around them they hear the occasional snatch of childhood songs and the laughter of children. It soon becomes clear that their presence is known when Dagaard looks over to see a sweet-faced child peeking through a gap in the door way of one of the huts. She beckons them over and fearing some hideous monster to be revealed they make their way towards the hut. Inside another child, a boy, is playing with some stones in the dirt of the hovel.
“Come play with us,” they sing and beckon the two adventurers to follow them to the centre of the village where a lopsided pole stands. Fulton and Dagaard, wary of the centre of the village, move away towards the edge of the village looking for their friends. Very quickly, they are surrounded by a group of singing and dancing children and fall into golden slumber.
The adventurers awake cold, slightly damp where they fell asleep. It is dark and their memories of the recent past are hazy and difficult to recollect. All feel refreshed and freed of some of the concern and travails of the past. They are also very hungry suggesting it has been sometime since their last meal.
Soon reunited and feeling hungry the foursome debate satisfying the hunger they all feel. Perhaps it is the feeling of release from their troubles or that the children have not attacked them but they decide to build a fire on the beach and have a breakfast cook out. Their enjoyment soon attracts the children and when the adventurers next awake the sun is shining in a blue afternoon sky and they are hungry again.
Even though they have forgotten more cares and worries the companions have enough sense of self-preservation to remove themselves from the village before preparing food and discussing recent events. Dagaard offers to deal with the issue by using his war hammer but the others get the sense that these are not merely children and are something more than a weapon could defeat. So they turn their thoughts back to exploring the rest of the island for signs of life, although starting this will have to wait as night is drawing in.
The night passes without an incident apart from Dagaard reporting hearing a ghostly wolf howl during his watch. The explorers decide to attempt to scale the mountain at the centre of the island, reasoning that if they can make it above the tree line of the jungle they will be able to see any habitation and begin to make their way there. As they approach the edge of the jungle that covers the foot hills. The companions notice a flash from the top of the mountain. It does not repeat but they wonder at its significance.
The journey through the jungle is difficult. The vegetation is thick and finding a path is difficult. What is more, the party seem are inconvenienced by local poisonous wildlife. Denig is bitten by a spider whose venom cause him some discomfort for a few hours and Aerandir disturbs a viper which he beheads after being bitten on the leg.
Gaining the flanks of the mountain the wind mysteriously drops and the air stills. The heat of the sun seems to be intensified. The elevation gives the party a better a view of the island to the south. A river flows from a source somewhere in the jungle below and meets the coast as a marshy delta. They begin to trek round the flanks of the mountain looking for a way up as they feel the light they have seen at the top may be a significant part of the island’s protection.
The still air is unnerving and the heat is close as they pick their way through the rocky terrain. Sometime after midday they are alerted to shouts and hollers coming from the jungle below. Looking down they spy a dark-skinned man; wild, wiry hair held in check by a bandana; dressed in ragged trousers and wielding a crude spear making his way towards them.
His name is Alqatris Abayad, a ship-wrecked sailor, who, unsurprising, is very pleased to meet someone new on the island. He has been marooned many months and is naturally keen to take passage off the island. He tells the companions that when he arrived on the island he was cared for by the Dayr Astámo, an elf who tends the Maladh Alsalam in the north east of the island. He claims that he cannot remember the exact location but he assures the explorers that should they go that way Astámo will find them. He on the other hand has preferred to remain on the south side of the island near the shore where he could watch for ships. Here the only other humanoid he meets is an ornithologist called Nasik who he really doesn’t understand and who prefers to avoid.
He agrees to guide the party to the lighthouse where Nasik lives on the south coast. Travelling through the jungle below the mountain Aerandir angers a solenodon that scratches him badly and spits venomous saliva before Denig prays for the rat-sized beast to be calmed and it scuttles off into the undergrowth. Although, he is unaffected by the poison of the saliva, the wounds he received are severe enough to need the aid of Denig and his god.