Even though some patches of snow remained on the forest floor, the woods of Neverwinter were much more comfortable than the open hills and the chilling wind off the Sea of Swords. The caravan slowly winded through the large trees, both coniferous and deciduous though the later with most of their leaves absent or dead. The first day was uneventful, yet all watched the woods as they closed in upon the caravan and made it difficult to see more than a few wagons and riders at a time. Katra doubled the guard during the night and the dwarves whispered of flapping heard but nothing seen.
The following day was much the same until movement was noticed along the periphery of the caravan. Shortly after, three leaf cloaked figures stood before the caravan’s path. Carden and Aelith approached the trio and the central figure removed her hood to reveal a beautiful elf-like woman with silver hair and golden eyes. Her ears seemed more pronounced than elves commonly seen about the Sword Coast and she spoke gently but directly in asking the business and purpose of dwarves travelling the woods on the surface. After a brief conversation where Carden eludes to the underdark now being unsafe, she instructed Aelith and Carden to announce that she, Alarah, will visit the caravan master once they camp for the night. Then all three figures magically vanished.
That night, the group awaited in anticipation as darkness surrounded the camp. Bazain and Angmar were seated at a central fire waiting the visitors when the elf and a male companion magically appeared just beyond the fire near Aelith. The ranger escorted them to Bazain as the Wardens ensured they were close enough to hear and act as necessary. Alarah greets the caravan master and immediately asks the purpose and reason the dwarves of Gauntylgrym are using the forest trails in such force. Bazain diplomatically admits that the dwarves will honor the forest as they travel through it and offers the duo wine to discuss any needed requirements. Alarah turns the conversation to the revelation of fiends below the surface that Carden mentioned. Bazain eyes the rogue and motions that the human should explain himself since he was so forthright with the information. Carden glazes over the fact that demons have been encountered below the surface in great numbers and that it is more unsafe than ever to travel there. After an inquiry to what these demons look like, Dyan’ette hands Carden his sketchings and is closely scrutinized by the companion of Alarah. Her companion whispers inaudibly in her ear and she glares at Dyan’ette deep within the fold of his hood, before inspecting the sketches. She returns them and comments that there have been no reports or sightings of such demons on the surface or within the woods of Neverwinter. The discussion becomes awkward as blame likely rests on the denizens of the deep, with the drow being foremost in those mentioned. However, Alarah abruptly ends the conversation and acknowledges Bazain and his dwarves are free to travel the forest under the eye of the elves as long as they respect the forest. The caravan master consents and Alarah and her companion misty step into the night. Certain that Alarah’s companion recognized Dyan’ette’s dark elf heritage, the group remain alert and expect a restless night. Nevertheless, the night goes uneventful and though the feeling of watchful eyes is felt by most.
The day of 17 Uktar is spent crossing the hardened lava fields left by the eruption of Mount Hotenow a decade ago. After reinforcing the wagon wheels and preparing for the crossing, the caravan slowly edged across the jagged and brittle slate trail beneath the Mountains southwestern shadow. Watching carefully for any foul denizens, the caravan and its escorts gradually make it to the lava fields southern edge. The dwarves’ spirits seem to rise as they knew Gauntylgrym was within a day. Camp was made early along a ridge and Angmar informed the group that they would finish the journey on the morrow’s morn.