With a low number of rations and mostly beer for drinking the prospects of the party making it back to civilization from the cave they crawled out of was not good. The first few orc patrols that chased them were manageable, but soon another adventuring party was again tailing them - no doubt after the stone. I can only imagine the bastard vampire tipped them off.
Without proper equipment, winning a combat against them was out of the question so the team had no choice but to flee - hightailing it deep into the woods in hopes of losing them. This bought some time but also led the team right into a pack of hungry wolves.
Very hungry wolves!
Again the lack of equipment was telling and ultimately Zubon became an unwilling sacrifice, trapped by the pack to be devoured while the rest of the team fled further into the forest. During the trek Thalen catches the numb skull disease and Cooper begins showing effects from frostbite which forces the team to move slower, which leads to another encounter with the same adventuring party from before. Again the team flees but this time Paeroka doesn't make it far enough before one of their mages turns her into a statue to forever decorate the side of that forgotten path.
She started a trend?
Opting to use the main road now for speed the party rushes North to the nearest settlement but again are caught by the adventuring party. Thalen takes an arrow to the back during the escape and while he does get away, his illness ultimately kills him in his weakened state during the next rest stop. Finally Cooper, Wolfy and Shintar make it to the small town of Tiefhusen, which seems to have been conquered by orcs.
These orcs are in the assimilation phase of their conquest here though, and are not hostile to the residents or the party - as long as they stay in line. Their presence also seems to deter the pursuers which is great, and gives time for the three survivors to breathe.