Date: early Trical, 1333 Avard
The Black Feather Troupe went straight to the Baron of Rilan, using their Writ of Passage. The baron and his senior leaders had been in the midst of preparing to combat winter wolves, but the addition of werewolves to the story – and the presence of an ogremai and perfidy the Lord of Red Walls – complicated things. Eingrim was a known physician among the city's elite, and if the troupe had any chance of restoring him, then the baron wanted them to take it. He crafted a Writ of Communion to visit the Baron-and-the-Bishop Dwarfendale and asked the troupe to visit him forth-with.
The team took only enough time to visit the Hidden Vow monastery and speak with the monks. After Toox turned on the guilt, two of the monks agreed to visit Fort Black Feather with grain and supplies for the animals there.
The trip from Rilan to Lok Giran was a long trip up many switch backs to the west flank of the mountain. Unfortunately, the road – barely wide enough for two wagons on a good day - was covered in ice and snow. The going was slow, the cold was brutal, and the mountain was unforgiving.
They took shelter in the middle of the road at one point, Chimes using her arcane powers to craft a 'tiny hut'. In the crafting of the hut from pure force energy, Hiko realized that Chimes had been crafting such huts on her own for some time; her mastery of force energy was a wonder.
When the hut's energy ran out, it was early evening, and the air was only getting colder, despite no clouds or snow. They could see for miles, but the temperature was going to kill them. Chimes found a bit of level ground at one of the switch-backs, and crafted another hut, there.
They waited out the night, keeping the animals calm, ensuring that Eingrim's body stayed wrapped tightly in a blanket (and not animated by undead powers), and studying magic and religion. Hiko and Chimes were the arcane powers of the group, while Toox and Roland were its religious arm.
In the morning, a dwarven patrol on hippotaun was cleaning up the road when the troupe was spotted. The Write of Communion earned them immediate escort to Lok Giran, where they were shuffled into the mountain by dwarven escorts. Toox had been there several years ago, when the whole of Rilan had evacuated into the fortress during the War of the Four Winds.
Most dwarven priests had forked beards, parted so that the symbol of Galgiran was easily visible on the amulets that they forged in his name. They were handed to a short dwarven warrior in full plate, who apparently spoke for the priests. He had a white beard and youthful eyes, and was short even among dwarves. Despite his lack of height, he was still built well enough to be a smith and a warrior.
The white-bearded dwarf had no idea who Eingrim was, but he could tell from their offerings at the forge that he meant something dear to them. He said the priests could start the ritual, but they would have to hurry. Galgiran demanded tasks of the living, before he could speak with or raise the dead.
The first task was to reach down the mouth of a smithbane and rip its dead heart out with their fingers. Only one heart was needed. Hiko did not know what a smithbane was, until he was told its human name – rust monster.
The troupe divulged themselves of all metal, save that Hiko kept one metal knife as bait. While talking with the white-bearded warrior, they learned just how many things were made of iron – steel, even mithril, belt buckles, pins, and more. Toox almost forgot her bracers, even. Magic rings made of iron could be dissolved by smithbanes, and so Hiko's ring came off.
The dwarves promised to care for Eingrim's body, casting a preservation prayer upon it. They also promised to care for their items. If Galgiran was willing, and their hearts were pure, then they would return with one less smithbane in the world. More, if the dwarves were lucky.
Past the foundry and deep into the mines, in a side mine walled off with a wooden door and wooden latches, they were left to wander. Their only light was Hiko's spells, and only he could see well in the dark.
They found a smithbane, and slew it quickly with wooden mauls and magic. And then an overgrown cave fisher decided to enjoy the smithbane. A fast and furious battle followed, taking place one hundred feet up and twenty feet below in the cavern. In the end, they were barely hurt or wounded, and the smithbane's heart was extracted intact, per the instructions of the white-haired dwarven warrior.
When they returned to Temple of Galgiran with the heart of a smithbane, it was place inside of a lead-lined box, and set aside. That, they were told, was the first of the three tasks. They would have to prepare themselves for the next task…
DM's Notes: They hit 6th level at the conclusion of this session. We talked and discussed some things. I've generally felt that leveling up every 3rd level was fine, but they wanted to slow down a bit and savor the levels as they got higher in level. I do believe it might be four or more sessions, before their next level.
Sualy had been casting Leomund's tiny hut in one action, rather than the one minute the spell requires, so we managed to craft a Chimes' tiny hut spell that was similar, one action, 1st level, and barely large enough for four people to crowd into, as that was the largest such hut she had made until that point.
None to date.