When in doubt, I can always write about D&D games. Last night, the storied picked up exactly where it left off; they had defeated the twigblights, but they were still a long way out in the woods.
Showing that they are, in fact, catching on, the party conducted a thorough search of the darkwood grove and turned up quite a bit of loot left behind by previous victims of the twigblights. This new wealth secured, they set about retracing their steps back to the village of Myre, which Eileen again managed without incident (with her +11 on Survival checks, she only needs to roll a 4 to navigate, even in pretty bad circumstances).
Arriving back in Myre, they found their contact, Alian, who arranged for them to travel back down river with some “lumberjacks” who were floating logs downstream to the lumber yards of the city of Reicha. The lumbermen had a barge loaded with smaller wood that floated in the mass, and there were a couple of canoes on board that they used when they needed to move around the river to break up log jams or keep logs from floating away. The number of logs wasn’t the huge, river-clogging mass that you might see from clear-cutting with modern equipment, but there were still quite a few, and the barge had to stop periodically to keep the whole shipment together. This meant that travel back downstream was considerably slower than their original trip upstream.
(Note: I really know next-to-nothing about how a real log flow would work, but my players don't either, so... yeah.)
Well, one of the stops to break a log jam seemed to be taking forever, and the barge captain sent someone out in the second boat to see what was taking so long. The party decided to help, but the remaining boat wouldn’t hold them all, so they decided to go log-skipping to shore and move up along the bank to where the first boat was trying to clear the log jam. Hilarity ensued as, one by one, the party members failed their Balance checks to stay standing on the floating, bobbing, rolling logs. Everyone ended up swimming at some point, and a couple of rescues were even necessary for people who went under amid the bobbing logs (hooray for strong-swimming half-orcs).
When everyone was finally on shore, they traipsed upstream to where the boats had met at the log jam. There, they found the first boatman dead, apparently stabbed from behind with a rough wooden stake. Suddenly alert to danger, Eileen spotted some kind of creature hidden among the floating logs and took a shot at it with her sling. She missed, and it took off, crawling away among the floating logs, it’s passage only marked by the occasional disturbance among them.
Krag (the half-orc) broke up the log jam, and the party returned to the barge, now watchful for danger. There were no further incidents that day, but Eileen spotted the creature again during her watch that night. She woke Krag and the others, but the creature again fled before they could try to engage it.
The trip downstream continued the next day. One of the boatmen went out to clear another log jam, and Wellby (the halfling ranger) spotted the creature on shore, apparently up to no good. Wellby took a shot with his bow that landed solidly on target, and the thing again fled. Wellby and the others set off for the shore, hoping to track the creature down, and that’s where the night’s session ended…