After the battle in the basement (and some debate) the survivors of the Black Bird made their way upstairs to the church proper. Essaying the situation outside through a hole in the shutters, they saw that the sky was covered with clouds, making it dim enough for the Skrael to fight, and that the town was on fire. They resolved to end a few skirmishes and free up some of the defenders to turn the tide of the battle, then to make their way to a nearby hilltop where it appeared the magical effect on the sky was centered.
Their first skirmish was nearby a barn which appeared to house Phororhacos and some of the town’s other main beast of burden, an exceptionally large and tractable breed of goat. When they reached it the barn roof erupted into flame, the result of an Earth-bound elemental of Fire. However deadly the beast seemed, it was backed up by only a small cadre of spearmen, and the entire enemy group was easily defeated. The adventurers decided to borrow the barn’s Phororhacos to reach the hilltop faster.
On the rocky trail leading to the blasted heath, the party was blocked by a pair of the brutish knuckleduster-wielding Skrael, who when intimidated sprung a trap too early. As the party attempted to scare the Skrael out of their way, a horde of juvenile Kruthik burrowed out of the ground surrounding them and attacked. However, the split second of warning was all that Quick Ben and Empty Mind needed to greatly thin the ravening hordes, and Vimak and Carambys were easily able to overpower their Skrael leaders.
The hilltop was revealed to contain a small force of exceptionally deadly Earth-bound elementals of Wind and Lightning, which blasted the survivors of the Black Bird without remorse at the direction of their Skrael summoner. However, the elementals were bound to totemic staves which made them easier to target and destroy, and once the summoner fell the battle was mostly over.
Upon their return, they were not quite lauded as heroes, but certainly had gone a great way towards improving the public attitude towards them. As such, the priestess announced that they would be able to visit with the local goddess…