Oathday, 13 Lamashan 4707 AR, dusk
Just a few minutes after getting to the Lost Coast Road, the party heard a man shouting behind them. Turning, they saw a scruffy-looking farmer running toward them, shouting for help. They stopped and the man approached.
“Thank the gods! You gotta help us! Scarecrows! They’re coming to eat us all! It’s Mumble Scarecrow from the old nursery rhyme! We need the Sandpoint Heroes! It’s not goblins, it’s scarecrows! You gotta save us!” Everyone could smell the moonshine whiskey on his breath.
Charrone almost rode off immediately, but Declan took a moment to try to calm the man down and get the full story. He identified himself as Ben Grump, a farmer from about three miles away. The man took a few long pulls at a ceramic jug he had with him, then turned it upside-down. “Empty. Okay, for the past two weeks, people in the southern farms have been seeing walking scarecrows stalking through the night! It’s like the old scary children’s rhyme, you know?” Only Zandu seemed to know what he meant, and he recited,
Mumble Scarecrow, alone in the maize
Sleeping in the daytime, stitched-up he stays.
But when the moon she rises, up Mumble gets,
He shakes his hands at first, and moves his feet next!
And when your mamma’s snoring, and you’re fast alseep,
Mumble Scarecrow might find you good to eat!
“Well, anyway, at first we thought it was maybe kids playing a game, or maybe goblins having some kind of sick fun, but then livestock started disappearing, and then people did too! People said they heard screams in the night, then some folks just weren’t there no more! It started near the old Hambley place— that old farm is just outside Whisperwood, and all kinds of evil things live there. We didn’t want no soldiers marching around our farms, so we decided to take care of things ourselves. Two nights ago, about two dozen able-bodied men and women got us torches and pitchforks and hunting dogs, and Louey got out his old sword from when he was a soldier, and we went over to Hambley’s Farm. But when we got there, the walking scarecrows jumped us! They looked like scarecrows, but they had teeth and claws, and they started killing us! Some they ate right then, some they dragged off screaming into the cornfields! They even ate the dogs! Three of us ran off, and two of them scarecrows chased us. I was the only one to get away. I was hiding out in that barn, but I decided I needed to get help when I saw you folks riding by!”
When asked if he could lead the party to the farm, he declined, saying that he’d rather go to town where it’s safer. (No one mentioned the murderer that was stalking town.) The orderly that was driving the patient wagon agreed to take Mr. Grump to town, and the party got directions to the Hambley Farm. The wagon rode north, and the party south along the Lost Coast Road.
About an hour later, the party got to the trail that Grump said would lead to the Hambley Farm. It was still raining, and had gotten quite dark. As the party rode down the trail, Zandu heard the sound of fighting ahead. As they approached, they found an armored dwarf fighting four animated scarecrows, and rushed to the dwarf’s aid. While fighting, the dwarf identified himself as Durrok Wolfhammer, and with the support of the rest of the party, they quickly dispatched the scarecrows.
“They may look like scarecrows,” said Declan, “but these things are definitely ghouls.”
Durrok explained that he had been traveling from Janderhoff to Sandpoint because he’d heard that Sandpoint had been having trouble with goblins, and he was an expert goblin-hunter. He said that while passing through this area, he’d heard reports of walking scarecrows near the Hambley Farm, and came to investigate. The party said that they were on the same mission, and offered an alliance. The group then followed the trail, which led through a cornfield.
They passed a couple of scarecrows propped on poles, then they noticed a third, and that this one was moving. It tore itself off the pole, and attacked the party, but they defeated it easily. While fighting that one, three more came out of the darkness, and in the fight, Zandu got mauled pretty badly by one. After these were defeated, the party scouted through the trails that ran through the cornfields. They discovered about 18 ghouls dressed as scarecrows hanging on poles, a few normal scarecrows that were just stuffed with straw, and three normal humans dressed as scarecrows hanging on poles. (Charrone almost attacked one of the humans, but managed to hear it calling for help before she struck.) The humans (two men and a woman) all had advanced cases of ghoul fever. They all said that they had been attacked and bitten by walking scarecrows, had a burlap sack tied over their heads, and were hung from posts for days on end. The party asked the people to stick with them, and followed the main trail to the Hambley farmhouse.