The group returned to Kuiper’s Farm to meet up with the experienced ranger, who explained that he had been able to find the ogre’s path through the Hardlow Woods to the Great Rock Dale, where it continued on to the west. He agreed to accompany the group through the woods, where they were attacked by a group of dire wolf-riding goblins. The monsters were quickly defeated, and Kuiper left the group with directions to follow in order to continue backtracking the ogre’s trail so that he could try to find where the goblins came from.
As the party neared the western edge of the Hardlow Woods, they noticed an unusual glow at the edge of their vision. Investigating, they found a path which opened into a glade which was somehow lit in spite of the fact that the top of the grove was enclosed by the branches of the surrounding trees. In the center of the glade was a depression which turned out to consist of murky ground. Unfortunately, it turned out there was a reason some members of the group found the glade unsettling, as it was the Gleaming Glade of local legend, the site of a battle between an evil cult and forces led by a member of the Parlfray family, and inhabited by a number of undead, most notably a white wraith. After a pitched battle, the party defeated the wraith and its allies, and while sanctifying the site to ensure the dead would not rise again, the group discovered long-buried treasure, almost certainly the spoils of the battle with the cult.
After clearing the glade and resting, the party resumed following the ogre’s trail, following it into the Great Rock Dale, which proved to be essentially just a large, deep canyon. Despite reports of the dale being the primary source of evil creatures threatening the area, the group crossed the dale without incident, eventually losing the creature’s trail on the other side, in the area of the mines north of Milborne. Using the rumors heard from the locals, the party decided to explore the old Garlstone Mine first, due to it having been abandoned for many years. Descending into the darkness, the group discovered little but dead ends at first, before coming across a lone gnome hiding in the shadows. Introducing himself as Tinsley, he explained he was an adventurer, the lone survivor of an attack by a group of kidnappers, who he believed had their headquarters deeper in the caverns. He agreed to accompany the party deeper into the mine, explaining what he had heard of the mine’s history and pointing out some of the dangers therein. Eventually, the party found an old mineshaft out of which a group of armed figures looked to just be climbing.