Everyone drifts off to sleep. It's a beautiful evening. Crisp air, but not too cold, and the moon is almost new.
Burik stirs a bit in the middle of the night. He starts to dream, but it's a foggy, incoherent dream. A distant green light appears to him in a vacuum of nothingness. As he tries to get closer, it almost looks like the light is coming into focus, but suddenly the darkness consumes it and sweeps across him. He wakes briefly, trying to make sense of it, but he's too exhausted. He puts it out of his mind and falls back to sleep.
In the wee hours of the morning, Percival suddenly wakes up. He thought he heard the snapping of a twig. He scans the camp and doesn't see much. Everyone is lying still. Burik lets out a fairly loud snore. Eventually, he decides it was nothing.
"HELP!" A shrill voice calls out. The sun is just peaking over the horizon and through the trees, washing the camp in golden light. The voice calls out again. "HELP! I've been robbed!" Everyone starts to get up and notices the gnome is running around the back of his wagon furiously. The cover of the wagon has been sliced down the middle and half of it has fallen to the side, revealing boxes and shelves of dry goods, potions, and other miscellaneous items. Some of the shelves are bare, and a broken box lies on the ground with dried beans spilling out of it. "Sons of bitches, this is the last time I-"
He's interrupted by another scream. This one is more visceral. "BRENIIIII?!" Breni, where are you!?" From across the camp, you can see Finfer flipping over his packs and running to the edge of the clearing, peering into the woods. "Oh, please...please no...THEY TOOK HER." He turns toward you all, red-faced and choking back tears. "Please, help me."
Lucina wakes up at the sound of screaming and sits up quickly. Her eyes widening at the sight of Finfer trying hard not to cry and begging them to help. Wide awake from the shock of hearing screams, she gets to her feet. "I'll help." She says quickly, before she starts looking for any tracks and hints of where the unknown assailants had run off to.
"I don't know! Whoever robbed his wagon, I'm guessing!" He's beginning to lose his composure. "PLEASE, just find her. I'm a simple man, I don't know what to do."
One of the other families comes over to try and console him, but it doesn't seem to be doing much good. The merchant is still complaining to himself, although much more quietly than he was a moment ago.
If you would like to help Finfer, please roll a nature check or an investigation check, your choice.
Lucina starts to scan the edges of the clearing closest to where Breni was sleeping. She notices a few short lines of exposed dirt, as if something had dug into the ground there briefly. Following those to the nearest trees, she sees a snapped twig. Her eyes dart back-and-forth as she searches further, processing as much visual information as she can. And there it is. A barely visible footprint in some leaves heading away from the camp.
Burik casts light on a handfu of stones, scattering them around Lucina to aid in her search. He then turns Finfer, gripping him tightly and forcing him to stop for a moment. "We will find her, we will bring her back, and they'll wish they'd never done it. This I swear to you." Burik gives him a moment to actually assimilate the words. "But now you need to pack up what you have left. When we return, we'll want to leave soon after. Stay together until we return, those with experience we may need your help." This last bit is said louder so that more would hear.
He then turns away, pulling a shield and warhammer from his pack, and taking a few minutes to don his armour. Afterwards he heads over to Lucina, "Found a trail we can follow?"
Lucina looks over the trail and a bit of a smile graces her features at the sight of a footprint. "I have a trail guys!" She said, looking at Burik, Percival and then towards Rigg. "It's not much for a start, but it's something. We know a general direction now."
"Nice work Lucina. Lead on, I'll help where I can." Burik will walk beside her, casting light on his shield to act as a torch to help find the tracks. (he'll dispel the light if he thinks he's getting close or if the others object to it)
You continue moving in the same direction through the woods. Lucina catches a few hints along the way, including a few broken twigs and very faint footprints. The ground is hard here, though, so there's not a full-blown trail of tracks to follow. The prints seem to be going in the same direction, so even when they fade, you're all confident you're heading the right way.
Other than the adrenaline pumping through your veins from this morning's panic, the forest is calm as morning comes into its own. Birds are singing, squirrels are bounding back-and-forth as you cross their paths, and a distant owl calls out its final message for the day. The forest floor becomes a bit thicker here, with scrubby plants and some ferns popping up more and more.