Everyone settles in for the night with a hot meal in their belly and a nice dry bed. In the morning, Raun receives a message from a courier; his church needs him for urgent business. The paladin vouches for Kadebor to take his place, and wishes the party luck with their mission as he leaves, heading back to Brevoy.
Kadebor and Shash join the expedition as you set off across the fields to explore the area west of Oleg's. At first the horses seem disturbed by the presence of the black bear, but before long they are used to the animal's presence and scent. Five uneventful days pass by; Kadebor seems just as skilled as Sergei in getting along in the wild, helping the group find food and water as you go. At the end of the stint, you believe the area sufficiently mapped and explored, so you decide to continue westward into the northern Narlmarches.
That morning, shortly after breaking camp, it begins to rain. The thick canopy of leaves above you blocks the worst of the rain, but the weight of the water causes the rain to fall in fat, irregular drops on the hoods of your cloaks. Visibility is poor, as the rainclouds cloak the already ample shade of the forest in a bluish morning gloom.
The patter of rain drops, padding of hooves on wet dirt, and the creak of the wagon are interrupted by the sound of a distant mechanical snap! followed by a bizarre shrieking. The horses whicker nervously. As the shrieking continues, you decide to head towards it cautiously.
You come across a struggling beast, a bizarre amalgam of bear and owl. A body thick with muscle is covered in shaggy brown fur and white-tipped feathers. It has the claws and paws of a mighty grizzly bear, but its head and face is that of a great horned owl. The monster's foot is caught in a steel bear trap: dark blood can be seen crusted in the feathers where the steel teeth of the trap have bit into the creature's leg. Secured to the ground by a steel spike, the owlbear struggles against the trap, biting at it with its beak and fumbling with its claws to no avail. As you approach, the owlbear glares at you with enormous, fierce golden-orange eyes. It lets out another terrific shriek, like the scream of a hunting owl magnified a hundredfold.