Location: Teras, north of it along the River Galanus
Date: Lan the 17th-18th, 1334 Avard
The Black Feather Troupe stayed the night at the Hospice of Strength in Teras. They put on a performance that was moving and powerful, and healed many of those who were there recovering from wounds or injuries or disease. The troupe earned a free night's stay, and were welcome to return.
An older man with a cane limped over to the troupe after their performance, and asked about their gryphon cub. Roland's ability to discern evil lit up, and the troupe wondered if, perhaps, he was one of those who was buying illicit goods from the Lord of Red Walls and his werewolves. The troupe prepared for trouble.
Chimes used her enchanted mastiff figurine for the first time, setting the magical dog to guard the door. The kenku then hid in an armoire to sleep. Toox slept under the bed. Roland slept in the bed in his armor. Hiko sat comfortably on a chair and meditated.
Roland dreamed that Xoriah was weighing his actions against his oath, while his horse Burst kept whispering his named. “Roland! Roland! Roland! WAKE UP!”
The paladin sat bolt upright in bed, wide awake. He disturbed Hiko's meditations, and whispered that his horse had woken him from sleep. Hiko's keen elven ears heard something from the stables, and he dispatched Missus Melbourne to investigate. In the stables, Burst had kicked a man through the stall door, where he lay unconscious.
Hiko relayed the information to Roland, who went to investigate. Roland lay his hands on the man, who jerked awake in fear and then pretend innocence. The stable hands came on investigate, but Roland waved them away, letting the man leave – followed by Missus Melbourne. The familiar tracked the man around back of the Hospice of Strength – to older man with a cane that had inquired of Cleo the gryphon cub.
In the morning, they ate a quick breakfast and headed for the docks. The man that Burst had kicked through a stall door followed them, fading into the crowd when cornered. He was at the docks, again, when they boarded the Golden Lance.
The Golden Lance was small, and the captain couldn't decide whether he talked like a pirate or country or spoke with a brogue, mixing the three in an atrocious mockery of them all.
Barely half a day upriver, the Golden Lance pulled off to the side and dropped its heavy-duty gang planks. The captain agreed to wait for two days, and then settled in.
There were signs of older camps along the shore, as well as places where heavy things like keels were drug up on the banks. They followed the trail not more than a third of a mile to a camp site in the stony woods. The camp sites were set up oddly, and there was no sign of any ruins.
Toox mounted on Burst to explore the camp site while the others held back. The giant horse plummeted down through a tarp over a hole while Toox leapt free. When Toox moved back to the edge of the hole, she expected to see a dead horse. Instead, she saw only the tarp, drifting down to the ground some 40 feet below.
Roland had used the power of Xoriah to send the spiritual animal back where it came from. He would resummon his companion, later. In the interim, they had ruins to explore.
Balteest the elk was tied to Clyde the mule, and Clyde was instructed to stay. The mule was obedient to a fault, and would not move from that spot, short of death.
Roland used an immovable rod to tie his hemp rope, and dropped it down into the ruins. From there, the rest of them clambered down into the earth.
The architecture was unfamiliar to them, although there were three statues in marble that showed craftsmanship of true masters of the stone. One of the statues was damaged, as though by vandals. A fourth statue had obviously been removed and hauled up out of the ruins.
The troupe explored the ruins relatively quickly, circling back through without trouble. Missus Melbourne preceded them in the form of a cat, but no traps were set off and no hidden passages formed. There were random spots where the previous explorers had dug like amateurs or peeled moss away from the walls with damaging tools.
There were random alcoves off of every main hall – alcoves of various sizes and depths and heights and widths, seemingly at random. The rooms, themselves, were all of uniform sizes, but all furniture or hints as to their functions were long since turned to dust. Some of the alcoves held fractions of parchment that turned to dust as they touched them, or bits of leather that flaked to nothing at their breath.
The noticed a pattern in the ruins, and explored for missing rooms, but could find nothing. In frustration, Hiko summoned two small earth elementals to do his bidding. Roland was able to speak with the elementals, who could understand Hiko's commands, but could only speak the ancient language of the elements. The elementals were able to find a hidden passage, and clear it out for the troupe.
Hiko rewarded the elementals with emerald shards, and returned them to their domains.
The entrance to the hidden passage contained a trapped sliding door with a corresponding spell shield. Roland was able to brute force the door back open, deactivating the shield. Hiko analyzed the spells, unsure of the trigger. He settled on 'souls', as the elementals had not triggered the sliding door, but Missus Melbourne – who did have a soul – had not triggered the sliding door. Missus Melbourne, though, was half of a familiar, but the answer did not settle well with Hiko.
They found more of the strange alcoves of varying sizes. One contained a large amethyst crystal that a mage hand was able to obtain. The crystal had once contained great magical energies, but no longer did. They found a whirling maelstrom of black energies that stayed in place at the end of its alcove, swirling but not advancing. In another, they found the bones of a dwarf – bones turned to mithril.
At the end of the hallway was a room with four more statues, and alcoves full of ancient weapons, dangerous items, magical inflictions, and more.
Roland stepped into the alcove with the mithril skeleton, intent on taking the skull. He found himself trapped. An energy field kept him in the room. Hiko found that teleportations were blocked. Chimes realized that the ruins were a prison.
Hiko groaned. He had memorized the wrong spells for such a problem. They opted to use one of Chimes' special huts, and rest, while Hiko changed his spell repertoire to deal with the problems at hand.
Roland had terrible dreams. He dreamed he was the dwarf with the mithril skeleton, and he did things – unspeakable things, horrible things he could never speak of to anyone else. The soul of the foul dwarf was still there, lodged within a decapitated body left to rot in a magical prison.
DM's Notes: We're trying to stick to four hours of active session, in order to save Sommer's sanity. The little people are finally getting old enough to not need quite so much watching, but it's a lot easier to keep an adult free for little people while we game. I tried to make a Taco Bell run in the middle of it, but 'their system was down'. So, we had McDonald's, instead.
None to date.