With a fire in their bellies, the party set out with about 30 men to the Sacred Grove to clear out the pack of Swift Death that had taken up residence.
The journey took just over a day’s trek, and it was largely unremarkable with one small exception. While the ninja was on watch, the sleeping party was ambushed by 4 very large arachnids. A fierce battle ensued, and resulted in the sleeping form of the princess nearly succumbing to their fierce fangs. Only the brave efforts in combat and first aid by the rest of the party prevented her from death. She was, however, gravely wounded.
For some reason, the shaman decided to break from the tradition of letting the dying earn their final reward – and undertook the Ritual to drive out the spirits of blood. Both the ninja and the princess were largely restored, and the party was able to continue to the Grove.
Upon arriving, they scouted the outside of the Sacred Grove (which appeared very different than the surrounding terrain) and discovered the main entrances and exits used by the raptors. Setting up a blockade at one, and the entire contingent of men at the other, the ninja went into the grove itself to explore. However, his wounds must have taken the edge off of his considerable skill, and he betrayed his position to the dinosaurs. Fleeing back to the group, the dinosaurs fell upon their formation like water on stone.
While a few men were still lost to the ferocity of the raptor’s claws and fangs, the battle went almost entirely in the party’s favor. Facing no further immediate threat, they steeled themselves to enter, and face the queen, her princes, and the remaining raptors within the ring of dense foliage.