The party individually receives notes from a pigeon, or in Ceri’s case a stranger in a bar, that details a job opportunity at the edge of town. The next morning, the party meets Terhin, a druid who urgently needs people to watch their dog while they travel to a neighboring island to deliver medicine.
The players agree and accompany Terhin through the woods to the north, where they find Terhin’s cottage and a riding dog named Buddy, a much bigger animal than the party initially expected. As Terhin leaves, Buddy becomes anxious and difficult to handle, but Josh is able to calm him down. Astratta and Esda have a nice night smoking on the roof, and the players take shifts keeping watch during the night.
In the night, a blood-curdling howl can be heard in the distance, and Buddy barks and darts away into the forest. The party gives chase, and Esda jumps from the roof, taking significant damage. Astratta, Ceri and Josh track buddy through the woods, and nearly catch up when blowdarts zip through the air, hitting Astratta and narrowly missing Ceri. Josh pushes forward and Ceri carries a now paralyzed Astratta onwards.
The group eventually encounters a party of three elves, pulling a cart with a large tarp over it. From underneath the tarp, Astratta hears noises that sound canine in nature. As Ceri argues with the apparent leader of the group, Esda catches up and motions to the more nervous elf in the bunch, who communicates that despite her nerves she is safe. The same elf is flustered when Astratta, still paralyzed, flirts with her. She heals Astratta of their paralysis, and the party sets off on their way. As they leave, Ceri informs the nervous elf that Astratta thinks she was cute, and she gives Ceri a note to pass to Astratta. While this is happening, Astratta pulls the tarp off to reveal an angry looking Worg in a cage on the cart. The party leaves the hunting group as its leader is clearly agitated.
By morning, the party tracks Buddy to the entrance of a small cave. The first cavern they enter is wide and has a large pool of murky, recently disturbed water, and what looks like the aftermath of a cave-in. The group splits up to explore. Josh climbs a short wall and finds a hidden passage, then pressures Astratta into crawling through. Astratta finds a locked wooden box, and conceals it from Josh, claiming there was nothing inside the passage. Josh and Ceri head through the elevated tunnel and fall through a ceiling. Esda and Astratta head to a clear torch-lit passage and find a combination lock that lowers a drawbridge down over a pit. After some thinking, the two figure out the combination of symbols and lower the bridge. Before moving forward, Astratta shows the box to Esda, who pries it open and takes the ring inside for themself.
All four players meet in a large open cavern, with makeshift living, dining and sleeping spaces torn apart. A large hole opens in one wall with a pile of rubble. Humanoid skeletons are strewn across the floor, but what catches the party’s attention is a young human boy around 13, playing cheerfully with the riding dog, Buddy. The group attempts to talk the boy, who introduces himself as Cieran into giving Buddy back, but he is convinced that the dog is his magical familiar, and shares his lifeforce. Cieran tells the party that he’s recently learned that he’s a sorcerer, and that his uncle Beaux was going to teach him more about how his magic worked. Josh makes some headway in convincing him to give up Buddy, but catches Astratta lying and becomes upset.
Cieran raises the three skeletons that had been laying on the ground, and they attack the party while he wriggles out of several attempts from Josh to subdue him nonviolently. Astratta tries to tackle him as well, and gets frustrated at their lack of success, swinging at Cieran and dealing a heavy blow with their spiked club. Now prone and scared, Cieran tries and fails to call off the skeletons, but the party and Buddy eventually dispatch them.
Esda stops on the way out of the cave to loot some of the cubbies in the cave, finding some money and items, along with a letter from Beaux addressed to someone named Marnie. The note talks about wanting to start over, and implies that Beaux had something powerful in his possession that he’d recently given up. Astratta reads the note, and tells Esda that the ring is cursed, and whoever possessed it will die within a week. Esda believes them, but keeps the ring with little regard for their own life.
Ceri casts lullaby, putting both Cieran and Buddy to sleep, and the party leaves the cave with them in tow. They drop Buddy off at Terhin’s cottage, and Astratta leaves Cieran asleep at a fountain in the middle of town. The party finishes their dog-sitting job without much incident, choosing to ignore a loud crash and a monstrous roar they all heard in the distance. At the end of the weekend, Terhin returns home and pays the party for taking good care of Buddy.