The logging camp was still. It appeared abandoned. The Heroes searched the area, and quickly discovered the grotesque scene of torn corpses and body parts. The bodies had suffered deep gashes, and huge bites that took off entire chunks and even limbs. Strangely, the bitten and torn parts were not taken or eaten by whatever creature slaughtered the loggers.
The Heroes continued searching the area, but only located the footprints of the dead loggers and their companions who were able to flee. They found no sign of an enemy anywhere in the camp. The loggers understandably left everything behind.
The druid located a journal from one of the tents. The only interesting entry was a few days ago that mentioned hearing strange calls and growls from further up into the mountains. Although possibly related to the massacre, the druid could not figure out why there were no tracks.
Suddenly, the druid was leaping. A creature materialized right underneath where he was standing, powerful, three-part jaws snapping. There were three strange eyes evenly spaced around the mouth, and three powerful, clawed limbs.
The druid noticed that there was no earth turned or tunneled, the creature seemed to be appearing from the ground without disturbing it. He had done something similar in the form of an earth elemental, gliding through the dirt and rock as if he was swimming.
The xorn smacked its strange lips, and uttered in a deep, grating voice like two boulders grinding together, “Give me your gems.”
Although the druid was in his favorite dire bear form again, the creature seemed to be reaching and snapping in the location where his gems would be if not melded into this body.
“Oh, no, you rock-cruncher! Ye ain’t munching on me sapphires!” cried the dwarf through his bear snout. His powerful swing knocked the xorn to the side, closer to the lion and the paladin. It was quickly overpowered before it could sink back into the ground.
“That would explain the lack of tracks,” pondered the half-elf from a safe distance. I don’t think it explains the strange calls and growls mentioned in the journal.
The druid spoke with Tracks. “We appreciate all of your assistance. You can take your leave now, as it is getting more dangerous. If you could make contact with the caravan that should have made a base camp to the east. Bring them up to speed, and let them know we are going higher into the mountains to investigate.” They grasped hands, the ranger letting them all know that they should come back to get more jam and honey when their task was completed.