Katarina Pendragon once spotted the cabin while flying above the swamp on her broomstick. When she dipped lower to investigate, she lost sight of it and could not find it again. A troll named “Bog Standard” also knew of the cabin, and told Grampf Grat about it and its location.
Reaper Eye made its way to the cabin, where it was admonished by a superior officer. Reaper Eye telepathically contacted the party and told them to go to the cabin. With Grampf as their guide, the party arrived at the cabin and began to infiltrate it.
The cabin, and the entire clearing around it, was shrouded in a powerful illusion that hid it from view. This illusion was dispelled by Anastasirra.
The front door of the cabin was boarded, padlocked, and inscribed with a glyph of warding. Any being who interacted with the door was subject to a psychic assault. Grampf and Immeral were injured by the glyph before Grampf suggested looking for a back door.
The back door, the true entrance to the cabin, was hidden by the illusion until Anastasirra dispelled it. It was too small for Grampf to fit through, so he remained outside. The party noticed a message carved crudely into the door, reading:
The first room of the cabin was its kitchen, where a set of knives had been enchanted to attack intruders. Immeral caught and restrained the knives, but the commotion attracted knights of the Intelligence Collective, who were slain by Fionn Mac Tire.
The main room contained a stone furnace, long abandoned, and a pile of furniture barricading the main door. A second message was carved into the floor, this one reading:
WHATEVER YOU DO
DON’T THINK ABOUT WATER WOLVES
Hanging on the wall was a painting that manifested the worst fears of those who looked upon it; Fionn, Damakos, and Amalie were bewitched by the painting until Damakos burned it to ashes. Several knights and a rager, once a barbarian of the Borderlander tribes, attacked and cut down Fionn and Amalie. Immeral detected several illusions concealing a staircase and a pit of poisoned spikes, into which he pushed one knight. At Damakos’ behest, Grampf smashed through the cabin’s walls and pummeled the rager until Fionn could dispatch it. The party then barricaded the hallway and laid caltrops at the base of the stairs while they took a brief rest.
Amalie and Fionn surgically removed the rage orbs from the rager before waking him. Appearing to be free of the Collective, he introduced himself as “Roy”, a Borderlander of the southern tribes, and related his knowledge of the cabin. Suspicious of his free will, the party asked Grampf to escort him outside, to which he agreed.
The party then explored the study and bedroom on the ground floor, which were filled with bloodstained furniture, surgical instruments, a ruined diary, and an anemone-like structure growing out of the ground. The room showed signs of a violent struggle. Amalie inspected the anemone and touched one of its tendrils, which caused her pain but told her it was a flesh terminal erected by the Collective. After she painstakingly cut off a tendril, Damakos and Fionn destroyed the flesh terminal. Amalie then read aloud the diary and began to guess about the history of the cabin.
The party moved upstairs and encountered the Captain. The Captain told the party they were seeking to retrieve a ring from the Darkwater Witches, and offered an alliance. The party accepted, on the terms that they receive their share of treasure and the freedom of the children stolen by the hags. The Captain agreed and told the party to meet them at Darkwater once they had rested, then teleported away.
Based on the diary found in the cabin’s bedroom and the explanations given by the Captain, Amalie began to construct a possible history for the cabin. After a scholar working with Valakan became distrustful of him, they fled to the Southern Swamp and built the swamp cabin, possibly by controlling other beings. Amalie guessed that the scholar had transferred their soul into the ring before they were assimilated into the Collective, becoming the Captain.
Image source: “ArcaniA – Gothic 4” art.