The journey from the ruins of Narren and the Old Temple took about a week. The road generally followed the fast-flowing river that seemed to be originating from the volcano, and aside from a couple of encounters with aggressive wildlife everything seemed to be perfectly natural. Well, as natural as a fantasy world ever gets.
Hippogriffs attempted to swoop from the sky, and a brace of owlbears stumbled across their campsite one night, but these were relatively minor travails for such experienced adventurers. Their new hobgoblin allies kept pace at a distance, their numbers both a distraction for any watchers, and a disincentive for most aggressors to get close.
On the fourth day, they found themselves at a large village called Rastor. All seemed normal, but by now the group was expecting deeper currents to be running in everything. A small camp of orcs had been pitched within the village’s defensive perimeter of thorn bushes – but they proved to be regular visitors from a semi-nomadic tribe that had a presence about a day away. They were here to trade furs and meat to the villagers and this seemed to be a regular part of the village’s routine.
A chapel to the Sovereign Host lay near the centre of the village, along with the usual collection of craftsmen to be expected. The volcano still loomed in the distance – perhaps another week’s journey beyond the surrounding forests and plains. The hobgoblins were directed to strike camp to the south of the village, far enough away as to not cause alarm, and then the adventurers made enquiries about any links to the Temple.
The Temple’s existence seemed pretty well known, but not much seemed to be generally known about their creed. The only contact that people would talk about was the semi-regular trade between the village and the Temple of foodstuffs and general provisions. The ochre robes and general iconography of the cultists was well known enough to the people they asked that a good description could be drawn up.
Eventually the group learned that there was a road leading to the main entrance of the Temple on the Western side of the old volcano slopes. This was used most often by the cultists to transport their trade caravans. The orc tribesmen were also able to identify a second gate, on the Southern edge of the crater, near the waterfalls feeding the river the group had been following.
The group decided, after much debate, to tell the hobgoblin mercenaries to watch the Western Gate, while they would try and gain entrance in the South. Perhaps that approach would be less busy, allowing a stealthy investigation.