Jeryth and Azriel approached the clearing, and witnessed what appeared to be a human sacrifice in progress. Three humans wearing only bloody wolf pelts stood over an unconscious man on a stone slab. As the leader of the rite brought down his dagger, Jeryth intervened, and stabbed the nearest man through the heart. As Azriel joined the fight, the cult leader suddenly transformed into a huge, white werewolf!
Hearing the commotion, the rest of the party arrived to the fight and waded in. Reið traded blows with the werewolf, while Jeryth dispatched the female follower. Lightning, fire, and eldritch blasts rained down on the werewolf from the sky, and the creature was finally destroyed when Jeryth pierced him though the throat. Reið asked Jerry for assistance, and Jerry informed him that the group were “skindancers”, unnatural werewolves.
Laria revived the bound man on the slab, and he introduced himself as Jumper. Jumper claimed to have been captured by the skindancers while hunting, and asked the party to accompany him to the safety of his camp. When asked if he was a “shapechanger”, he confirmed that he was “Garou”, a natural born werewolf. Jerry was consulted on the term “Gaia”, used both by Jumper and the skindancer, and he identified it as the Earth goddess, worshipped by the Garou and other woodland dwellers. After some debate on whether to return to the road and the old man, the party resolved to follow Jumper to his camp, west through the woods.
After about 3 hours, the party reached Jumper’s camp, which turned out to be a clearing next to a small hill. Jumper introduced his packmates Carla and Gere, and Carla invited the party to rest and eat. Carla also provided some information on the pack. She stated that the cave in the hill was a holy place, called a caern, where they prayed to Gaia. This caern was named the Sept of the Five Winds, and she said that it was the mission of the pack to defend it with their lives.
Golgol, a huge man identified as the pack alpha, exited the caern and joined the conversation. He praised and thanked the group for rescuing Jumper, and for destroying the notorious skindancer Samuel Haight. He insisted that the group stay with the pack to regain their strength. Gere informed the party that they were not permitted to enter the cave, and became agitated when he could no longer detect Azriel by his scent, though Golgol dismissed his fears. Several one-on-one conversations occurred, and the party prepared to bed down for the day. After a long and trying night, everything seemed to have calmed down. And then mention was made of a missing spear . . . .