Written by Heather Thomas, all rights reserved.
After Elidor died, I wasn't sure where my path would take me. I inherited a small sum of money from his banker and decided to travel a bit. I found myself at the Half Orc Inn, in the company of Javol, a dwarf looking for brave souls to follow his friends to some rumored ruins near Firland. I signed on, and met Halite, a dwarf, elves Gwen and Este, and Tendaji, a very quiet man. The group seems to be well balanced; one of the elves and the man were both hunters, which made our journey to the ruins fairly easy. We reached the ruins after only 2 days' time, with relatively easy traveling conditions. I thought that the mission would be easy, but we were attacked by giant centipedes as soon as we reached the entrance to the ruins. Thankfully, they were relatively easy to kill. I was wounded on my left shin while trying to get closer, but saved by Halite. I learned quickly to fight first, inspect later. Luckily, she was able to heal me, but I am left with a scar to remind me of my ignorance.
After a short rest, we made our way (cautiously) into the ruins. Right away, we found the bodies - what was left of Javol's friends. He'd said we could keep anything useful, and so I found a pair of boots that fit me well. I found that they were enchanted, and let me move rather quickly - a skill that will come in handy, I am sure. Since the poor souls we were sent to find were already dead, we decided to explore the ruins before we made our way back to Javol to collect our payment. We found that the ruins were very old - so old that even the dwarf could not discern their age with her stone-cunning. Though the ruins were old, they were clearly uninhabited - or so we thought. There were two main corridors from the main room - one to the left, and one to the right. We chose the corridor to the left to explore first, and after discovering that it was rigged with traps, elected to explore the right corridor. I remember feeling air flowing on my face, and the sound of water, but the corridor was very dark. The dwarf and the female elf, Gwen, took the lead. Before long, we discovered webbing of some sort had obstructed the passageway. After tampering with it, there was an equally large spider blocking our way. A battle ensued, which we barely survived. I learned the value of fighting from a defend-able location, like a corner, and was finally able to use my acid splash to some significant effect. The acid melted through the webbing, which affected the spider's ability to move. I forget now who dealt the killing blow, but we were again victorious and I was able to collect some of the spider's venom for future study and use.
We found the spider's lair, and weapons, coin and other odds and ends on the ground beneath the web. We also found a victim - not quite dead, wrapped in the webbing. We rescued Klaris, who joined our party. In the aftermath, we found a map that one of the previous explorers to these ruins had drawn and were able to find the secret room, located off the main room. There was an altar back there, but we don't know to whom or what for. We also found a short-cut through the left corridor, and will be able to bypass some of the traps, but decided to wait to explore further. Tendaji found a necklace with a ruby pendant in an alcove, and keys. Hopefully we'll find out more tomorrow.
The necklace that Tendaji found turned out to be the key to keeping the traps from going off. With some clever maneuvering, we were able to get past the falling-rock traps, and were assaulted by the dead. Not the undead, but the truly dead. A band of skeletons greeted us with swords, powered by necromancy. I should have been able to help - but I was not. This was the first time I had been confronted with true necormantic magic, and I am ashamed to say that I was struck dumb. I was finally able to collect myself enough to get out of the way of the experienced fighters, and managed to avoid true injury, but my limited magics were next to useless and so I worked hard at staying out of the way. Thankfully, my companions were able to defeat the skeletons and we found ourselves rich with gold and gems and other treasures. I acquired a robe made of fine black wool, and picked up plenty of gold, silver and copper pieces. Later, as the keeper of record and most responsible person on this little adventure, I took it upon myself to be the keeper of keys and liberated the necklace from Tendaji while he was sleeping… just for sake-keeping. It may prove useful in the future and I would hate to see it lost.
After a good rest, we decided to return to Firland and find Javol. We packed the bones of his friends, and collected the gems Javol had asked for, and made our way back to what passed for civilization in these parts. We stayed at The Three Pheasants Inn the first night, glad to be back in a place with hot water and a clean bed. The next day, we inquired abut Javol and learned that he'd taken to checking in at the Silver Slyph Inn each day to wait for us. It was easy to find him, and we met up with Javol to turn over the bodies of his friends and collect our payment. We each received 10 pieces of gold - a tidy sum, but nothing compared to the treasure we found on our adventure. Tendaji told Javol that we hadn't collected any gems, but I know we did - I watched when they were gathered. But at a look from him, I wisely kept my mouth shut. For some reason, he didn't want to disclose them. Despite my desire to tell the truth, I trust Tendaji more than Javol and will keep this confidence.
That evening, I shared a room at the Silver Slyph with Halite and Gwen - I'd never been able to afford to stay in a place so nice before - and woke to a fight as bodies came crashing through our door. The fight took them out of our room again, and I followed to find Tendaji and Este fighting with short creatures - dwarves! They discovered Tendaji's deception and wanted an emerald that was in the bag we found at the ruins. After the fight was broken up, the locals decided to remove the gem (although Tendaji won the right to keep it, he wisely complied) and we were left with a mess to explain to the innkeeper. After paying for damages, we were kicked out and removed ourselves to another inn - the far less desirable Cranky Dwarf Tavern.
Our party split company for a day to tend to particulars. I needed to replace my inks and replenish my supplies - easy tasks with coin in my purse! All day as I ran my errands, I kept hearing snippets of conversation about a shipment of books headed out of town. As much as I tried to eavesdrop to find out more, it seemed my efforts were consistently thwarted. I finally was able to hear the name of a place where I might find out more - a tavern called the Sixth Breast, with a half-naked orc on the sign. I met back up with Halite and Tendaji, and we decided to go to the tavern.
Upon entering, I immediately regretted that decision. It was dark and dank, and smelled of orcs and alcohol. After a less-than-pleasant encounter with the orcs of other inhabitants of the room, that ended with me calling for quiet in Abyssal, Halite was able to find out what we were looking for - another adventure. As we left, I was followed by a man? in black robes that spoke with a draconic accent. He mentioned that I could find work at Star's End Monastery as a translator, and that they would pay well if I could translate Abyssal. We found the team that was heading to the monastery with 2 wagons; one with supplies and one with large chests. Hainth, the driver of one, is genial, but not very bright. Call, the driver the other, is quiet and very observant. He'll be one to watch out for, I bet. We took jobs as additional guards (paid 2 coppers per day, plus food; with 1 silver each for successful delivery upon arrival).
I want to know what's in the chests. Since we're heading to a monastery for a job translating, I assume it's books or scrolls, and I can't help but be curious. I work out a deal with Tendaji to avoid Call's notice. He sneaks into the wagon with the chests while we're on the way and slips it to me. When we stop for the night, and find that we're camped near a grove of trees covered in glowing fungi. Everyone gathers some, and since the glow is arcane, I can use them to enhance my magic.
After all the fuss with the Billibit mushrooms, I have a chance to look over it and find that it's a 15.5“ scroll in Draconic gold leaf. Tendaji translates it for me, but it's nothing relevant for now - something about 'the Horde' has been moved off Hammer Isle off the Racoran Coast. T puts that one back and I grab another. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to read that one because of the ogre attack. I discovered that the addition of the mushrooms to my Acid Splash created a huge light bomb (for lack of a better word), and nearly blinded half of our company. The ogre was affected as well, but I could have hurt someone!
We barely survived the ogre attack. We lost 2 mules and Call, and almost lost a wagon, but were able to repair it enough to keep going. Without Call's watchful eye, I was able to dig into the chests and read to my hearts' content. It was slow going, and not particularly useful information, but it was interesting reading and helped to pass the time spent on the road.
We arrive at the monastery. Our liaison is Amantha, who is ever pleased to see us. In a way, she reminds me of Elidor, with her long-suffering sighs and put-out expressions. It's comforting. I am put to work translating. The work is simple enough that I have the Unseen Servant do a lot of the work they ask me to so I can look at more interesting things. I found 2 Druidic books and spent some time working on those. I learned a new spell - Comprehend Languages, which means that almost nothing is outside of my reach if it's in text.
I spent some time working with Este to use the mushrooms we found on the way to the monastery to make living glow-stones. We were sent out to figure out what's going on around the monastery with the gryphons and kobolds. Turns out they're working with ogres! We were asked to go clear them out for the monastery. We discussed various approaches to the mission, but decided that it was too risky to pursue. We're not interested in a suicide mission, so we decline in favor of moving on. I did get a gryphon feather out of the adventure though!
I am enjoying being at the monastery. There are tons of books, and plenty to keep me occupied. I learned how to cast Find Familiar, and created Onwynn, a raven. I also learned how to cast Unseen Servant, which means that I won't have to worry with boring tasks like cleaning and patching anymore. Star's End is dedicated to the Goddess Samis, but I find that much of the knowledge stored here is going to waste; I'll have to see what I can do about it. Amantha keeps a close eye on me while I am translating. I found a couple of Druidic books that she seemed disturbed that I noticed. I feigned disinterest, but was able to work on them while she was distracted.
The others are around, staying out of trouble, mostly. Este was able to hunt and bring back game other than what's raised here. It's comfortable, but I don't know how long we'll be staying.
We've gone on from the Monastery. I liberated the Druidic texts when Amantha was otherwise occupied, and will bring them to Lok Magius when I get the chance. In the meantime, they're safely tucked away in my bag.
On the road, once we got away from Star's End, we could see up the mountain where they're rebuilding the fortress. I've never seen orcs and dwarves working together. It looks impressive and it's only just getting started. I'll have to make it a point to come back and see the fortress once it's completed. After a shirt rest, we discover a couple of fellow travelers - a human man and a tiefling, Isaac and Zydeco. They seem trustworthy, but we're cautious. Isaac is a bard, which may be useful to us. Zydeco has his own brand of magic, which will be interesting to explore in comparison with my own.
On one of the old maps, there's a notation for 'Sparks'. We're passing near there, so I persuade the group to explore it. We come to a group of spires protruding from the ground - chimneys of some sort? It's clear that they functional rather than purely decorative, but we can't tell what their purpose might be without further investigation. We enter what looks like a cave, but the floor is vented. Halite goes into the history of the mountain; it's volcanic, which leads to a lengthy discourse about lava and followers of Galgiran (anything history related always seems to be a lengthy discourse about the followers of Galgiran). As we explore the cave (warehouse?) it's littered with remains of campsites, but nothing recent. There's a body tucked away in an alcove wearing full plate armor. It would be shiny were it not for the dust coating it. Since it's not doing the skeleton any good, we take what might be useful. I claim a chainmaile shirt while others grab at weapons and other loot.
We explore further and find a door, sealed, with a crystal set into a cradle. the cradle was hidden, and one of our group accidentally revealed it. After some trial and error, we discovered that magic, channeled into the crystal, made it 'spark' - and powered the door, opening it. Was this where 'Spark' got its name? Perhaps. We ventured into the corridor behind the door and discover gnomish friezes on the walls - depicting the long history of the gnomes - even longer than Halite can recite. Much of the wooden structure has long ago decayed, but everything set into the stone of the mountain, including doors and locking mechanisms (powered by sparks), remained in tact. In one of the rooms off the main corridor, an office, perhaps, I find 4 scrolls that are still tightly rolled. Somehow, they're not destroyed, and I borrowed a map case from Issac and stored them inside to bring to safety. We ventured deeper into the gnomish cave system, and find quite a bit of gold, silver and other coin and treasure. Things were looking well for our party until we came across a room protected by a mechanical golem.
Did we almost die, yes, of course - who is ever prepared for a giant mechanical creature that never tires? But we prevailed; doing various bits of damage with weapons while Zydeco and I try magics. Acid had no effect, but I was able to slow it down with Ray of Frost long enough for some of the others to tear through its outer shell to reveal a spark that we correctly assumed was powering it. I was able to cast Mage Hand to remove the spark, which powered the golem down mid-strike. We stayed put for a while, to rest and recover. Halite was knocked out and most of the rest of us needed healing or hydration. Galadriel and I took some time to study the golem's mechanical bits, and collected a few odds for future use.
I kept the spark from the golem. I don't know what good it will do me, but at the very least, I can study it and perhaps figure out a way to recreate the spells or technology to use the spark to power things like the gnomes did. We rest up, and decide that it's a good idea for us to stick together. Este, for whatever reason keeps trying to wander off, so I cast Unseen Servant to herd him in while Halite plays babysitter so he doesn't get himself (or any of us) killed.
We continue our exploration and find many sleeping quarters. It seems like the gnomes had dormitories rather than private rooms, and whatever happened to them happened in such a way that they left most of their possessions behind. We found quite a bit of coin and Halite found a pair of brass goggles that give the wearer dark-vision. He can already see in the dark, so he passed them to me. Handy, being able to see in the dark.
We find what looks like the remains of a dining hall, and a kitchen in the back. Isaac found what must have been a refigerator - the spark powering it was 'cold' - not to the touch, but mystically. After examining it, we discover that the way the magic works causes the crystal to gather and build 'cold' energy, and then vent it. In the spark cradle, the cradle regulates the venting process to keep the crystal from building up too much energy. Outside the cradle, Isaac will have to vent the cold periodically intentionally, or who knows what might happen. Towards the back of the kitchen, past quite a lot of debris, is a door. We can't get to it immediately, so I used Mage Hand to place a spark in the cradle and open the door. When it opens, a bunch of mechanical spider-like creatures spill out into the room. Galadriel snatches the crystal from the cradle, closing the door and we kill the spider-things that managed to get through before too many of them got out. It was weird leaving them like that; we could hear the scratching of their claws on the door for quite some time.
We backtracked a bit and went down another corridor that led to a big room with crystal shards all over the floor. These were either broken, imperfect, or otherwise discarded sparks, I guess. The number of broken crystals raises some questions - do sparks 'run out' or burn out after a time? Are they prone to breakage or shattering, either in the creation process or in use? How many attempts were made to create the sparks and how many crystals shattered before they figured the process out? I collected some of the shards (almost ground to powder) in a pouch. Who knows what that might be good for.
One of the rooms we passed through had some sort of confusion enchantment on it. Luckily, we passed through with no lasting damage. We follow a hallway with sharp turns and find a locked door at the end. When we get it open, it's another room filled with the spider things. They're apparently attracted to movement, and we learn that they can shoot electric shocks at us. When they band together, they can create lightening. We quickly get the door shut, but realize that they're going to get through it eventually, now that they've been activated. This door is wooden - very, very thick wood, but wooden nonetheless, unlike the kitchen door which was metal - they will come through. So we backtrack around a corner and plan our attack.
We decide to go back to the mouth of the caves and retrieve the suit of armor. Shine it up and place it against the wall directly across from the door. We'll use magic to open the door, and animate the suit or armor with magic to draw their fire, while we stay safe around the corner. When they power up to shoot lightening, we'll destroy them. Working in small batches, we feel like we have a good chance. Este, Zydeco and Halite go for the armor while Galadriel and I went back to the golem to see if we can learn anything about how they 'see' or detect a foe. They're apparently drawn to movement, not necessarily biological material, so we think our plan has a shot - and it worked! It didn't even take that long before all of the spiders were disabled (can you 'kill' mechanical creatures?).
Once they're clear, we discover the gnomes workshop. This must be where they worked opn creating the sparks of various kinds. There are several in the room that are 'activated' - Galariel finds one that alleviates the need for food and drink as long as it is worn (it's a necklace), and I found one that is a storage container for spells. It will hold 3, but there are two already stored in it; See Invisibility and Detect Thoughts.
I don't know how to go about starting this entry; I have notes in my journal from the past week, but I remember none of it. My last clear memory is in the gnome workshop, but we've very clearly traveled on since then, and for some time and distance. I woke in confusion, alone in the dark, with a badly bruised arm and missing my staff, robes, goggles and spellbook, though I still had my backpack and belt pouches. Some distance away, I could hear Este flapping about in water, and Halite making noise, though considerably less than usual. After a bit of time coming to my sense, a fire flares - Halite is nearby, and I join her. The others start to make their way to Halite and the fire. Halite is missing his armor and has fresh scars that are healing. It's then that I know we're missing some time, because the scars aren't fresh. Onwynn, my familiar, is missing and not within linking distance (or is unresponsive), so I dismissed and recalled him; he was apparently unconscious and recalling brought him back to awareness. He couldn't tell me anything; whatever happened to me also happened to him, it seems.
After some discussion and attempts to find out lost gear in the dark, I cast Ray of Frost, augmented with the mushrooms for light. We find carnage. We're in what looks like a battlefield, covered in blood and viscera. There's also a fine white powder covering everything. It's shocking to see, because we don't smell the blood, and we should. There are no bodies, though we do find a severed hand. We gather what we can and convene around the fire to piece together what we can and recover from our ordeal.
We establish that we're missing 5 days. I have journal entries dating back that far, the last 3 are in the ink I created from the mushrooms (so it glows). Most of it is legible, but some is lost due to mud and blood seeping into the pages and ruining the ink. We left Spark headed to Takanal when we were found by a pseudo-dragon, apparently Este's, with a message from his family. He didn't tell us what the message was, but it spooked him. The dragon was apparently tracked by bandits, who had been hounding us for the last few days, culminating in this battle, apparently. They have about 15 or so in their party, and at least one of them has magic, because we only caught glimpses of them before their attacks. We barely survived this last encounter, but they were no more fortunate.
At daybreak, we recover the last of our missing items and make for Takanal to talk to the guard, and see if we can find out more about the powder at the Cathedral of Trees. On the road, we find a dead messenger dog at the base of a statue. The message is still inside the case; a promissory note from the Church of Lul giving the bearer 500 gold. We decide to bring that with us. Not too far from there, we find another dead messenger dog, again with his message case in tact. Halite opens it and finds ceremonial incense - very costly. Odd that someone should kill the dogs but leave the messages and goods on them.
We camp for the night and reach Takanal the next day. We stay at the Blue Tyven*, and Galadriel and I head for the temple. We find the priestess, Mother Tia, there and she offers to help research the powder we found at the battlefield. She connects this powder and our experience to other similar robberies in the area where the victims can't quite remember what happened and promises to do her best to help and find an antidote. I offer a gold piece for her troubles and am given a brick of healing peppermint leaves (32) for my apparent generosity. Galadriel offers a donation to the temple and drinks from the well, then we make for the local shop to replenish our supplies.
Once we reunite with the group, we decide that we should go to Rilan; we learn about Este's family and the message his dragon carried. Este is a noble and wanted back home, but his loyalties prevent him from returning there. Before we leave the next day, I return to the Cathedral of Trees with Halite to get an update and leave word where we'll be heading.
*Editor's note: the Blue Tyven is in Rilan; more likely it was the Seven Sisters.
While Halite and I were meeting with Mother Tia, the rest of our merry band decided to disguise Este as a girl to head for the docks. Normally this would have been a fine plan, except for what happened next… remember the hand we found in the clearing? Its owner came looking for the female elf who relived him of it during the fight - Galadriel. Somehow, the bandits were abel to come into the city without arousing the guard and found us. Este tried to create some confusion, and in a way, succeeded; he cast fog and in the melee, was captured along with Galadriel - both 'girls', apparently. Isaac spots Zydeco (who was at this point under cover with the bandits) and leaves the 'girls' in his care while Isaac went to locate me and Halite.
We meet up with the bandits again at the docks, and board the Yellow Leaf - a ship bound for Rilan. We pay 10 gold for passage and by late afternoon the second day of the voyage, the groups are in a holding pattern; our party above decks and the enemy party below, in the forward bow of the ship. Zydeco manages to slip above decks and reassure our party that he's on our side and that Este and Galadriel are relatively safe. The bandits don't know that they have Este; they were only looking for revenge on Galadriel for their leader's hand. We devise a plan to start culling the enemy party, using magic to send a couple of them overboard and 'suggesting' that others come above decks to be dealt with. As the ship drops anchor for the evening, a guard ship pulls alongside the Yellow Leaf and boards. We report the situation, keeping Este's identity a secret, and they take over dealing with the bad guys. We discover that there's something very dangerous in the hold below; whatever happens, the crates must NOT be broken in battle, making the standoff between the enemy party and the guards difficult. Eventually, being outnumbered and out-maneuvered, the enemies are apprehended and taken to the guard ship. We manage to get Galadriel and Este (still safely unknown, and also made invisible thanks to Isaac again) back in our party, and we settle for the night at the front of the ship, above decks. The next day, we're on our way, and arrive safely in Rilan. We take rooms at the Blue Tyven Inn (rooms are 10 silver per day and includes meals; we take a suite with 2 rooms and an ante-room with fireplace for 20 silver), and find a message waiting for Este : 'the Count of Autumn Stones is Dead.'
Galadriel and I spend some time freshening up before seeking out the temple and bookstore. We find the entrance to the Hidden Vow Monastery. It's aptly named; the entrance is covered in vines and difficult to see. 25 silver each gains us access to the public libraries. After a bit, I decided to turn over the Druidic texts that I lifted from Star's End Monastery to the monks at Hidden Vow. We stay for many hours; it's full dark by the time we leave the HIdden Vow Manastery thanks to Galadriel's desire to eat that finally sends us on our way.
We return to the Inn with the intention of getting food, but are met with a messenger - a child who calls me by name and a message that a package awaits me at the Silver Gauntlet - the storefront for the Lok Magius Academy. we go, and are met with frikkin' Dumbledore, who gives me a package - a rapier - Elidor's Blade, and a note from Elidor that is dated two months ago (20 Trilan). Galadriel takes advantage of the opportunity to purchase magical items by purchasing a small ring that will keep her warm, and both she and I purchase Heward's Handy Habsersacks. I take advantage of being back near Lok Magius to submits my glowing ink and the radiant damage addition to spells to the Lok Maguis Academy to be considered for Thumaturgist.
Halite and Este catch up to us at the Silver Gauntlet and fill us in on Este's situation. Este had gone to the Inn's common room and was promptly surrounded by the guard and escorted away. Zydeco and Isaac followed, covertly. Este was taken to the vetis (guard house/city hall-ish place). After some time, Halite and Zydeco are told that 'the Count' has been questioned and released, but that he's being kept safe in the rooms above until some further investigation can be made. They waited, and eventually saw the Captain and several sailors from the Yellow Leaf, who came over to them and reassures them that he's 'happy to help and can be called upon anytime in the future, should we need him'. Halite and Zydeco were confused until they learned that Este is the Baron of Grey Lakes, and is referred to as Lord Grey Lakes. His father is the Count of Autumn Stones, who has recently been assassinated by someone who looks exactly like Este. The Captain of the Yellow Leaf and sailors confirmed that Este had been with them for the past few days, on the river, which helped exonerate Este from suspicion of guilt. Halite, as a Priest of Galgiran, was granted access to Este, and accompanied by Zydeco, both of whom confirm that Este has been traveling with them for many weeks now. Baron Thaddeus Complin of Rilan came into the room and says that he will create letters with his seal for Este and everyone in our party to confirm that Este has been cleared of suspicion in the Count of Autumn Stones' death, and they're released. Este and Halite head for the Silver Gauntlet, because Este wants to buy things, and Zydeco heads back to the Blue Tyven to look for Isaac. Zydeco finds Isaac blackout drunk and missing half his money.
We'll all have to go back to the vetis to claim our letters from the Baron of Rilan, and travel out of the city. I asked that my letter of confirmation as Thaumaturgist from Lok Maguis be sent back to the Silver Gauntlet and also to the Alsavier Duchy, Este's home. Este sells the glowstones he and I created to the Silver Gauntlet, with prospects for enterprise if they sell well. We step out of the shop and Este is confronted by a guard with a message to return to the vetis for a message from Baron Kedic Carr, Lord of Firland. The guard is interrupted by a crossbow bolt. that barely missed Este's nose. Galariel and I create a fog and the group, including the guard pull inside the Silver Gauntlet. The Guard sends for others to search the area, but the would-be assassin is long gone. We make for the vetis. By now, it's close to midnight, and Baron Thaddeus Complin is waiting with the Lord Reeve (captain of the guard), a tall desert elf who carries a long bow the size of a man's wrist. The Baron of Firland is waiting for us with a message that our party is owed a favor for defeating Javol Bandylegs, and that Firland is willing to pay the reward. We need to get out of the city, so he is willing to arrange passage for our party out of Rilan; with the attempt on Este's life, we need to get to a location we can plan and figure out how to handle the issues with Este. The reason Este is reluctant to return home is related to his loyalty and morals; he can't go home to be confirmed as the Count of Autumn Stones because he'd have to report to the Duke with the potential to be the downfall of his family (because he wouldn't be able to continue hiding the traitor). Este is being hunted, so we need to deal with this problem.
Halite and Galadriel noticed my shiny new sword; it carries a deep-smith's mark; made by the Deep Dwarves, who live deep in the earth and carry the knowledge of the dwarves. Halite and Galadriel will train me to use it, but in the meantime, realize that maybe a trip to see the Deep Dwarves might be a good way to slip the assassins and find out more about the rapier. I send Onwynn and Galadriel sends Poppy to find Zydeco and Isaac at the Inn. Isaac is a handful; Zydeco wrangles him to the vetis and the party is reunited. We decide to fly by roc-hawk to the mountain caldera where the Deep Dwarves are rumored to be. We end up delayed for a day to wait for Edyear'd to return and for Lord Firland to arrange for the hawk. Meanwhile, we remain in the vetis under the Lord Reeve's protection. We've very comfortable; treated like royalty. In the meantime, we decide that, since the caldera where the Deep Dwarves are rumoured to be is some 50 miles wide and we don't have a good idea how where or how to find them, that instead we should to travel to the Rakanus Mountains, to the Mt. Lavanor, the Rakanus Stronghold (Halite's Clan), which will take 1 day in flight and have some hope of contacting the Deep Dwarves through them. The Rakanus Stronghold is the clerical seat for the land and holds temples or altars for all of the gods. Isaac is a bard; he could be using his talents for both his own good and the good of the party; emphasis on developing his bardic skills henceforth.
The roc-hawk arrives, controlled by orcs, and everyone is fascinated/terrified. Halite and Zydeco have to be blindfolded and 'suggested' or 'appealed to' magically by Isaac to board. Halite is told that it's a test of faith and so starts singing (loudly) to Galgiran; Zydeco is told that is cooperation is essential to keeping everyone in our group safe from suffering as he had. Edyear'd flies carefully behind the hawk until he can get close to Este again. He carries a message, but Este fumbles it. I send Onwynn to catch it mid-air and keep it secure until we land. We arrive safely at Mt. Lavanor and find nothing to announce that we've arrived anywhere - nothing ostentatious to proclaim the dwarven stronghold. We find dwarves working with orcs and enter doors that look like living rocks to find ourselves inside the mountain.
Rakore is located on Galeth, a moon-world that circles a gas giant. The next two days will be freeze days; no sunrise.
Our party spent about 9 hours in flight. We escaped Este's would-be killers and arrived in the mountains, which Halite recognized as 'home'. I've never had the opportunity to study a dwarf in the Dwarven Hills, so this should be interesting! The entire structure - Halite's family, the temple, the forge - are all dedicated to Galgiran. Legend says that in the depths of the forge you will find a tuft of Galgiran's beard, and that anything crafted on the anvil there is enchanted. I've heard that it is a goal of most clerics to eventually have something crafted on it. I shall have to remember to ask Halite about it at some point. It is interesting to note that all of the known deities have space dedicated to them in this hall. There are statues everywhere; of every known depiction of every known god. As we follow Halite through the halls, I've made mental notes to record in my journal on our way towards accommodations. There are no signs or storefronts here; only naked cave walls. There are hippotauns around; the dwarves use them as cavalry mounts. Halite knows where we are going, obviously; he doesn't stop for directions or hesitate to lead us directly to what appears to be a hostel. It is built directly into the stone. Food costs coin while rooms do not. Meals are 2 coppers and Dwarven brew is delicious and cheap and plentiful! Once we acquire rooms and stash our gear, the doors blend seamlessly into the walls as if by magic. I can't detect the means they use, and have real difficulty locating my room again, so I stay with Halite as much as possible. As we go to the canteen, there are creatures of every kind - tall desert elves, High Elves, Silian Elves, trows, orcs and humans - creatures of every color and size. There are no tieflings (other than Xydeco), but other, more rare races are seen. Takada Goliath (*noted; not sure what this means in my notes*). Isaac heads to the bar in the tavern with the intention of performing to make back some of the money he lost previously. The bar manager agrees and offers a 50/50 split. Zydeco swaggers around the bar looking intimidating. Galadriel and I leave him to it and go to look for Zinos. We find a chapel with an altar with a dragon's mouth for offerings. Galadriel is happy and content while I sit back with my notebook and record what I've seen. Afterwards, we go back to the canteen for a meal. Isaac performs and gains 25 silver. Este is in the tavern as well, at the bar drinking the Dwarves 'strongest brew'. He ends up intoxicated. Halite reports to the vicar for a briefing; gives an account of our adventures on Mt. Thralash with the mechanical spiders. The vicar tells Halite that they've been getting loose and attacking pilgrims. We saw a war-forged - the vicar accepts the report and encourages Halite to read over the records and update if needed. This hall is dedicated to the trade of priests. (*Xynos & Rahne are mentioned in the margin of my notes; not sure why*) In the tavern, Isaac does a comedy routine; Este (intoxicated) thinks that he is invisible. He is stealthy and hiding pretty well. Xydeco is still exploring. He manages to work his way up into the airy section; filled with nobles and high society. A dwarf wearing plain clothes named Quartz approached Xydeco; he is some sort of security person; he noted Xydeco's dagger (which is hidden) and warns Xydeco to keep it close or hide it and keep it safe. Xydeco continues to explore. Este is making a spectacle of himself; he has lost his clothing and is 'hiding'. Those who manage to see him aren't sure what they'd looking at; Este attempts to go back to his room but gets lost. After eating, Galadriel and Nalani explore, looking for a chapel dedicated to Agincoth. They find an empty sanctuary with dwarven inscriptions & craftsmanship as tribute. The mages know that Agincoth isn't dead; she faked her death and gave her 'knowlegde' to the church of Lul. A dwarven king with a dwarven priest who re-established the lokmages academy. It's only been 15 years since the war of the undead (global necormancy war led by a necromancer powerful enough to raise a god in his service). Este finds a bed to crash in. He thinks it's his own room and climbs into the bed. Xydeco is being tracked as he explore by people in blue livery (guards). He is slowly surrounded and starts playing dice to wait; there are 6 of them. They ask if he has been to Firland in the last couple of months. Xydeco says no; they want him to go with them. Xydeco is grabbed. The guard holding Xydeco gets knocked out(?); Xydeco doesn't know what happened; he is let go of. A guy dressed all in black tells Xydeco to follow him; X cuts the guard's pouch away and follows his rescuer. There is an explosion of light, and a man starts yelling. Galadriel and Nalani run into a guy calling for the Guard; he thinks that he accidentally summoned a demon wiht 5 eyes and 8 arms (this description doesn't fit any known categories). Some guards follow the guy, and Nalani and Galadriel follow. We come to an intersection and there is mass confusion, and no demon. The distraction works; the guy in black attacks Xydeco. Xydeco is stronger; the guys tried to bargain, but Xydeco kills him and removes his effects. The assasin's pouch contains ducats - official Rakoran currency - 300 gold, and a wanted poster signed by the vicar of Samis for 25000 silver for Xydeco. Xydeco goes back to his room and does some basic first aid to remedy the injuries he received in the fight. Xydeco tears up the wanted poster. There is silver blood (dries black) at the scene, and along the trail where Xydeco dripped. Isaac is still in the tavern, working the crowd. He tells some jokes, has some drinks, gathers gossip. He hears that there's a demon loose in the caves. Nalani and Galadriel have no luck finding the demon, and they go back to their rooms. Halite is still with the vicar going over reports. They hear about the demon and are called to secure the temples; to check and lock/secure the temples on this level. Halite complies with orders, then goes back to the room. The search for the demon continues; Halite meets up with Galadriel and Nalani when he sees Xydeco's blood. Halite puts 2-and 2 together and clears up that it's not demon blood; it's tiefling blood. Apparently there is a tiefling with red skin and white hair that is a wanted criminal. Halite does not clarify that our tiefling has black skin; or that the blood is Xydeco's; allows them to think that it is the wanted tiefling's blood. There is a guy in the bar bragging to Isaac that he just got paid (he's the guy that was disguised as the priest to provide a distraction to the guards so the assasin could get to Xydeco). Isaac saw Xydeco headed back to his room and follows; Xydeco wasn't looking great. Halite, Nalani, Galadriel and the guard follow the blood trail; Halite sends the guard away when he realizes that it is leading towards our rooms. Once the guard leaves, H, N and G head to Xydeco's room. They get the story from Xydeco; Xydeco says he has no idea why they are after him (bluff successful). Xydeco saw the man who claimed to have seen the demon; Isaac knows who he is. After healing Xydeco, Halite goes with Isaac to the bar. Xydeco switches rooms with Halite to be less easy to find. Halite confronts the impostor priest in the bar and takes him to the guard. While Halite and Isaac are in the guard station, a body is brought in; it is the assasin that Xydeco killed. The guards ask Halite to examine the body. Another human hunter-priest comes in who can speak the celestial tongue to try and speak to the soul of the body. The body responds and the guards all tense (this act being reminiscent of the raising of the undead) and says that a red-skinned tiefling killed him. The body says that the tiefling's name is Xydeco. One of the guards knows something more; he knows that Xydeco is here - perhaps he is in on the assassination attempt? The hunter-priest conjures a spectral wolf. It takes off and Halite, Isaac and the guard follow. Nalani and Galadriel are still with Xydeco in Halite's room. The wold is sniffing, looking for and finding the blood trail. Este is still retired in a room; he is accosted by an orc and screams… Galadriel goes to check on Este, but the scream cuts off; not before Galadriel pinpoints the direction it came from. She goes to the door and knocks - no answer. Uses witchbolt to try and force the lock; blows the door open and finds a huge, beefy orc sharpening a butcher knife with Este tied up, covered in oil and naked. Galadriel fights the orc, but is grabbed by the neck and pulled into the room and the door slammed behind her. In the tavern, the spectral wolf has followed the blood trail. Isaac misreads the crowd; cant figure out why the crowd is agitated. The wolf leads Halite and Isaac and the guard back towards the rooms but the blood trail dissipates. The hunter priest wants to go door to door; tries some but most are locked. The guard passes by the room Galadriel is in fighting with the orc, but he is silent and had he by the throat and so the hunter priest passes by. He checks Halite's room; Nalani opens the door, is questioned by the guard and they move on (Xydeco is in hiding). Halite recognizes the scorch marks on the orc's door as belonging to Galadriel and calls the guard; they force the door open and it pops back closed; the orc complains, but the guards force the door open and finds Galadriel unconscious and Este trussed up, covered in butter with an apple in his mouth. The orc is acting nonchalant, but is arrested for kidnapping and attempted murder. Este is recognized and Halite confirms that Este is Lord Grey Lakes. Galadriel is very badly hurt; Halite heals her and vouches for G and E's identity. Este is also healed but feels weird; smells like wine and butter and the best Dwarven brew…Isaac finds much inspiration for his tales! The guard continue looking for the tiefling and find none; Halite redirects the hunter priest and guard to search elsewhere. Este goes to bathe and Nalani is assigned to babysit him. Xydeco comes out of hiding and Halite questions him; is conflicted about what to do. Halite didn't see any wanted posters; believes Xydeco's story and is on his side since the intel from the guards is wonky. Isaac goes back to the tavern and works the crowd; hears about a very large reward for a red-skinned tiefling. One of the guard has a flyer with a picture of a tiefling in his pocket and Isaac can barely see the corner of it…
Este has been dreaming…the details come back to him about what transpired the previous evening until he can recall every detail with perfect clarity. He ended up sleeping in the same room with Isaac and Xydeco, with Halite sleeping in front of the door to prevent Este from escaping in the middle of the night. Nalani and Galadriel shared a room. Nalani dreams of eyes made of light; a woman repeating a phrase over and over again 'elbis rever era slleps lla'. She doesn't understand the language, or the words; even when written down. Using 'comprehend languages' spell creates a blinding white visual feedback that prevents translation, although the words glow with arcane power. This is a problem for another time, unfortunately. In the morning, Este is whittling and trying to teach his dragon to play fetch. Xydeco has a new scar on his neck which shows up grey on his black skin. Isaac goes back to the tavern to gather more information. He meets and attache to one of the priests who is a representative of all the gods and is quite nervous; there is a dwarven paladin Inquisitor of Galgiran asking questions. She is a scary woman in full armor made up of coins and runes, carrying a large hammer. Paladins always wear the symbol of their god on their vambraces; they're militant. People die when Paladins come around. A tomanth approaches Isaac with a description of our party based on old descriptions (which include Tendaji and Klaris). His name is Lissik, and offers Issac a bribe - apparently we're wanted in Firland by his friends. The Silver Slyph has something for them/us. The paladin wants to talk with us. Isaac persuades the barkeep to let us use the salt room to meet with the paladin. He leaves her there, leaves the room and casts invisibility on himself then leaves to get the rest of the party. He knocks, and Halite answers the door; Isaac tells everyone in the room what's going on, and Issac, Halite and Este go to talk with the paladin. In the girl's room, Nalani is hyper-focused on her dream. Galadriel bolts awake when Halite knocks on the door, and Nalani goes with Halite, Issac and Este to talk to the paladin. The Paladin's name is Estella Bandylegs; she was adpoted by the badylegs dwarves. Her father is someone known by reputation to Halite. She confirms Halite's story with truth coals and is told that in addition to the 500 gold reward we have yet to collect, we are owed a favor by the Barron. Tomanths enter the room; we prep for attack and Halite uses compel the one closest to him to explain what's going on. They're offering service and blades to serve Lord Grey Lakes (Este). Este gives them each a glowstone. Este knights a tomanth to be the leader of their land; Sir Alarack. Nalani & Isaac go back to the rooms.
The necromancy wards go off all over the caves. Halite shoves the tomanths to the back of the room with Este and shuts the door. Nalani definitely feels 'something'. She, Xydeco, Galadriel and Issac head down to the tavern to see what's going on. There is a fight against shadow things. 3 are destroyed; there is one invisible foe who flees when Halite shows a religious symbol. (*session ends mid-combat*)
*game begins mid-battle* The main enemy is 6'4” and practically invincible. He is accompanied by an unknown number of invisible foes, and several reanimated corpses. The party engages. Xydeco begins. Nalani casts acid splash at an invisible target using 'see invisibility'. The acid does no damage; just kind of splashes on and around a 'blank' space, but rolled off like water. Isaac becomes invisible and moves closer to the big target with Xydeco. Halite conjures a spiritual weapon, attacks and misses. Fighting alongside us, the paladin is killed. Xydeco is injured, and Isaac casts healing word on him to help. Nalani casts acid splash at the invisible target again, and it does half damage. The main target is full of rage and anger; he feels betrayed. Apparently Este's dragon Edyeard is the target, but Este sends him to fly away. Isaac heals Xydeco again, and Halite moved, forcing the big guy back. Nalani uses Elidor's Blade and takes out one of the reanimated dead near the big guy in a flame of green and purple radiance. This is a long and hard bettle; there are backup forces in the form of a spectral army coming into the tavern.
Halite uses suggestion to talk to the big guy. He's looking for The Traitor, bard Herod N'timeh, who caused the War of the Four Winds and organized several invasions and almost destroyed Rakore. In communication, Halite tells him that we are in search/pursuit of him also. Este's father gave the Traitor sanctuary; Este's dragon knows where the Traitor is.
Date: 28 Davor
The crowd is in shock. They're a powderkeg ready to turn on Este. There are a LOT of questions that need to be answered. Halite picks up the paladin's hammer. The big undead guy isn't fitting into any of the known norms of what Nalani is familiar with as a necromancer - which she still has not disclosed to the party. Este has disappeared; he's gone after Edyeard. The big guy - Rex - is taken into custody (or goes with the guard). Nalani and Halite go confer wit the dwarf cleric supervisors; Xydeco goes back to his room; Isaac stays in the tavern to help get the crowd under control. The tomanths aren't with Este. The clerics, monks and priests are re-setting the wards; we need to know why. They were already tripped when the undead came through (they weren't immune). Nalani realizes just how many wards are in place (and types); resolves to keep her particular profession and practice a secret.
A horde of undead insects/shells came in before the undead soldiers to trip the wards, which are designed to detect mass, intellect, etc. Halite suggests an additional type of alarm to alert that the wards have been tripped, and Nalani has some suggestions for improvements as well. All of the warriors who fought in this battle are healed and ready to fight if necessary. The Bishop recognizes the paladin's hammer and asks about her. Halite explains what happened and is granted authorization of use the hammer (Fire Heart); are also told to find her ring to locate Este. Bishop gives Halite a clay token with Galgiran on one side and the Bishop on the other with instructions to break it if they need help - the 'Eye of Galgiran' will open and they will come.
Halite and Nalani go back to the tavern to look for the paladin's ring. It's gone; the party reconvenes in our room and relate their sides of the story. Isaac recounts the death toll; 50 people killed in this attack. We rest; Xydeco gives up the ring of tracking he took off the paladin's body and Nalani studies her spell book and journal; the phrase from her dream continues to haunt her withough translation or resolution, 'elbis rever era slleps lla'. The party, save Nalani, sleeps. Edyeard returns; Este is still out looking for him. Edyeard communicates with Nalani and tells her that he outran the undead; he hoped Este was in the room; and asks for a treat which Nalani provides. Nalani talks more with Edyeard, and finds out that the Traitor is on Hammer Isle, per Edyeard. Then she sends Onwynn to scout for Este with a message in the scroll case. When Onwynn returns, he's projecting 'alarm' and sends Nalani a confusing message. 'Este' has kidnapped 'Este'. Nalani rouses the party and we decide to bring Edyeard to talk to the Bishop. We tell him what we know, and are told that there was once a mercenary group known as The Marksmen & Doom Rex - an ogre title; our big guy is apparently this Rex. We drop Edyeard off at the room with Xydeco, and Isaac, Nalani, Halite & Galadriel go to talk with Rex.
We go to the roost; where the rock-hawks nest (tended by orcs; main doors of the caves). We are alone save for 2 sleeping hawks and their tending orcs. The temperature has dropped dramatically; it is bone-chillingly cold. It's the beginning of Freeze - 2 days of dark begin tonight. Everyone, including Onwynn, is affected by the dark. He reports seeing something impossible - a sailing ship in mid-air…aaaannnd we're kidnapped.
Onwynn is right; somehow, a large pirate-looking sailing ship is flying. A fair-skinned, human man with dark, long hair wearing with lots of rings and jewelry greets us from the ship, and after a tense negotiation, tells us that we must go with them & Rex to Hammer Island. We decline, and are trapped when they drop a net down on us & start hauling us up. Galadriel blasts a hole in it with a lightning bolt. Nalani hits the ground and lands on her feet and manages to fire a crossbow bolt, but misses the guy she was aiming at. Galadriel, Isaac and Halite fall out of the net and suffer fall damage.
*end of game*
(3-16-17 - leveled up to 5; game play notes are brief)
(note: somehow, Este is back in the picture. My notes don't cover that)
We fought the undead, using help summoned via Halite's broken token from the Bishop. An army of priests and clerics arrived to help us fight off the undead. As we were fighting, the flying ship took off in one direction, and a kidnapped Este in the other on the back of a rockhawk. Xydeco and Edyeard also came out to the roost; Xydeco has the ring of tracking (from the paladin; Halite had evidently given it back to him at some point). The ring alerted Xydeco that Este was moving away from our location and he came to find us.
We need to decide what our plan will be!
(4-21-17) *in-game time: 1-2AM* Nalani & Galadriel attempt to talk to and hire the orcs and a rockhawk so we can follow Este. There are clerics tending to the orcs who have been injured in the battle but their healing spells aren't working. The arrows they were hit with are enchanted. When the clerics break the arrows in once of the orcs, there is a blast of energy/magic, and both Nalani and Galadriel talke some damage. The orc dies. The other orc is still alive, arrows in tact. The arrows are designed to take their target to death's door and keep them there. Galadriel has seen this kind of magic before and after advising the clerics, the remaining orc is saved.
We talk to the Cleric Commander and he charges the orc sargeant to follow Este and help us. He prepares the rockhawk and we prepare for flight. Xydeco and Halite are still afraid of the bird, but take seats in the front with the orc handler. We get strapped on and take flight. Galadriel casts prestidigitation to help Isaac and Nalani keep warm since the air is frigid in flight.
Este awakes mid-flight and discovers that he is tied up, freezing, and in the air aboard a rockhawk. He works on getting himself freed from his bonds. Nalani uses the time in flight to study the hawk and check her mental maps against what little she can see as they fly over. Xydeco feels a tug in the ring; the orcs flying their rockhawk are looking for the one that Este's kidnapper stole; Xydeco guides them in the right direction with gestures. Halite casts 'tongues' so he can talk to and understand the rockhawk we are flying on. When the spell hits, we can hear it yelling for the other hawk, whose name is Fledges with Morning Wind. (I think there was a minor skirmish; our hawk ended up with a lightening burn on the wing, but my notes don't mention it at this point). Apparently, Morning Wind hears our hawk and descends into a steep dive. Our hawk follows. The birds are flying closer to the ground; it's clear that the elf flying the lead hawk knows the terrain.
We discover our rockhawk's name - Soars with Stars. We land because Morning Wind flew along a river and pulled ahead of us and we lost it. We dismount, and heal Stars from the lightening burn on her wing. We take flight again with Xydeco and Halite in the back this time. We head out in the direction we last saw Morning Wind flying in.
By this time, it's about 4AM. Isaac and Halite combine their powers to help Stars from Morning Wind. We finally reach them and Isaac and Nalani coordinate and attack on both the bird and rider. Mid-flight, Este jumps from Morning Wind into Stars' saddle. We figure out how the rider was controlling Morning Wind, and free her. Stars moves to attack the rider on Morning Wind and the elf injures Stars and escapes. We land both birds and search for the elf. There is no sign of him, so we gather to interrogate Este. The consensus is that Este will provide answers, or else.
(in-game date: Trivor 1)
It's nearing dawn; we crowd Este, but our interrogation is interrupted by a distant scream. We send Onwynn, Poppy & Edyeard to investigate. Galadriel pins Este and we negin our interrogation. Este reveals that his brother killed his father, and that Este is now Baron of Grey Lakes, inheriting the title Count of Autumn Stones.
Onwynn sends back images to Nalani and reports seeing 'fog'. Poppy lets Galadriel knows that she sees webbing at ground level. Edyeard tells Este that he sees lobsters. We aren't getting any further questioning Este, so we decide to head out to see what the fuss is about.
(missing scene - during which we discover the ruins that the animals told us about and guided us to. There is a great wall surrounding a structure with a single opening in it. The entire structure inside the wall is covered in webbing up to about 8-10'. The webbing is thick and there seem to be tunnels, but that's about all we can see.)
We decide to stay put inside the tree line and try to get warm, eat and wait for the sun to rise, which will be the first in 2 days. About an hour after dawn, we approach the ruins from the south side. The forest is quiet - there are lots of small animals, squirrels and things, around. Isaac notices that there are spiders - big spiders, which Nalani is ambivalent about. This is an old growth forest. The path we took through the forest is clear; from our resting place we can see the stone walls of the compound. It's overgrown, and is about 10' tall, and encompasses about 2 acres. The webbing comes to the top of the stone wall, and in some places, stretches from the top of the wall to the ground outside the structure. There is a wooden gate, slightly rotten, with the opening of a tunnel inside it that covers the entire entrance. The walls surrounding the compound are rough, and climbable. There used to be a lot of farmholds in the area; populated - people would set out on their own in this area years ago, but things are pretty deserted now. Issac climbs the wall and reports vegetation and foliage inside the compound; all covered in thick webbing. There are 2 buildings; the webbing comes up 7 or 8 feet over all of the structures. The tops and taller buildings are clear of the webbing. Xydeco creates a map of what he can see with Isaac's input. We send the animals on recon. Poppy can see and smell clearly; reports death; decaying bodies (human and animal), and sees something crawling through the tunnels.
We decide to enter the gate and tunnel. Este steps in first; the webbing is sticky, which slows his progress greatly, so we retreat. We decide to try to burn away the webbing; Xydeco spills oil all over and Isaac tosses a lamp inside. The webbing melts in place but doesn't burn. There is something coming towards us. With the webbing, we suspect overly large spiders and decide to call the birds in hopes that they will eat the spider. Este lets out a whistle that temporarily damages everyone's hearing. The birds arrive, and we ask Morning Wind to dig a trench for us. She does, and we take a defensible position outside the wall. Morning Wind steps over the wall, and we discover that it's not spiders; it's a carrion crawler (think 4' tall, 12' long maggot with poisonous tentacles coming out of its face). They normally inhabit sewers. The birds report seeing a larger one, but different; it has 4 legs, is bigger than a horse and claws. Carrion crawlers and the larval stage of chuul; there is at least one chuul somewhere in the compound, but we don't really hear or see it. We start in; the birds destroyed a lot of the webbing, so we have some space to move around. Este leads that party into the compound, in the space beyond the tunnel where the birds broke the webbing up. Halite points out that the webbing is silk, and quite valuable. Most of us start collecting bits of silk as we go. Our hearing is still compromised thanks to Este's whistle earlier, but we hear occasional hissing from beyond where we can see. Este stays close to the wall inside the compound and the party follows. Nalani releases Ray of Light, and draws Elidor's Blade. The webbing collects like spun sugar or cotton candy on the blade. There is a carrion crawler about half in the tunnel, half in the clearing. It doesn't see us. We contemplate whether or not this is a trap of some sort, but attack and kill the crawler. Galadriel and Nalani collect samples of teeth (which are transparent and can be sued to make small bucklers??), 2 poison sacks (one each for G and N), and skin.
(in-game time & date: 8-9AM, Trivor 1)
We are inside the compound. There is a fortune in silk webbing just lying around. Nalani and Galadriel have collected some of it, as well as samples from the recently deceased carrion crawler at their feet. The venom sacs collected will expire eventually, so they are marked with the date, though Galadriel figures out a way to extend the life of the venom sacs.
There is another carrion crawler headed our way. We wait until it reaches us, but engage first. Galadriel shoots an arrow at it. It is barely damaged and sprints forward towards us. It grabs Halite and Galadriel in its tentacles and Isaac casts animal friendship on it. Halite is paralyzed but still manages to conjure a spiritual weapon and knock it unconscious. Xydeco kills it and Nalani cuts Halite free of the tentacles and we wait to give him and Galadriel time to recover. Nalani, Galadriel and Este take additional samples, and Nalani journals about her findings. Once everyone is sufficiently rested, we move towards the building.
Inside the first building, the smaller of the two main structures inside the compound, and closest to the wall and the gate, we find bones covered in the same webbing we found outside. Among the bones are those of a hill giant. Xydeco collects 2 large teeth, and we move on to a smaller building and find more of the same. We move to the larger of the two main buildings. There is an open double door attached to the barn that is connected to the tunnels. It has a raised and open section on the roof, like a stable or barn. Galadriel and Este climb to the roof. They drop a lit torch inside and find that the interior of the building seems to be covered in a webbed cocoon of sorts. The fire creates a hole in the web, but it starts to heal itself. Through the hole, they see something moving about, and are able to see stalls (like a stable or barn). There are 5 carrion crawlers inside the barn; the webbing is being spun by two crawlers that are apparently on the ceiling of the cocoon, closing it up again.
Halite attempts to climb to the roof, but falls and ends up tangled in webbing in front of the open door to the barn. Nalani gets Halite free and they clear the debris from the other door, and as Xydeco is attacked, we manage to close and bolt the doors with Este's enchanted spear. In the process, Nalani's hands are shredded.
(next game: fix Nalani's hands; everyone needs to rest and healing. we need a better solution for the doors - possibly the roof? Kill the crawlers from above?)
We scramble to the roof, being careful of Nalani's hands. There is a general feeling of unease separate from the carawlers in the barn. We ahve the feeling like we are being watched. Este casts detect magic and discovers that someone is scrying on us. The feeling is getting stronger, but we disregard it for now since there's nothing we can do about it. Halite heals Nalani's hands. From the roof of the barn, we see a third rockhawk approach. Nalani casts 'message' at the rider: 'Who are you bringing; what is your purpose here?'. There's no answer, but they alight on the wall and a cloaked and hooded figure dressed in black descends. The person is holding up a silver necklace. Este's magic is still active, lighting up several people in our party and their accessories, including the newcomer in different colors and intensities. The newcomer has a shield; a Knight approaches and announces that Galadriel has been summoned to LockMages. Izabella, the knight, is assigned to protect Lord Grey Lakes until his trial.
Este is surprised he is unaware of an impending trial. After brief introductions, and a quick explanation of our current situation, Izabella agrees to lend her sword and skills to help us. Galadriel mounts the rockhawk and leaves the party while we prepare to try to deal with the crawlers inside the barn. They are pounding on the doors; we know they won't hold for long. We flank the roof, and Nalani uses acid splash to burn through the protective webbing inside the barn. We see a crawler move to repair the web, and the party attacks. Izabella severs a few tentacles, Este deals damage, Halite conjures his spiritual weapon. Este sends a hail of thorns and Issac aids Izabella with bardic inspiration. Nalani uses acid splash to widen and lengthen the hole in the webbing, and Izabella hits the crawler again. Several of the crawlers are bloody at this point; Este finally kills one with a bow.
We realize that the elf that kidnapped Este is bound in webbing inside the barn. Nalani calls down to him but only receives a muffled response; we suspect he is paralyzed as well. There's another animal inside the barn; an elk. There is a storm approaching. One of the crawlers is feeding on the body of the one Este killed; Xydeco sneak attacks it, Halite strikes with his hammer. Isaac throws a flask of oil and a torch onto it. The oil flask doesn't break, so it doesn't catch fire. Este uses his bow and fires the killing shot for this crawler as well. There is a sound like nails on a chalkboard from within one of the other buildings. Nalani uses Mage Hand to lift the spear that is holding the door shut. Xydeco and Halite move to cover the doors. One crawler comes out and Halite attacks. The webbing seems to be vibrating; something is coming and it's making a high-pitched tone. Xydeco attacks the crawler as an adult chuul comes into view. Issac tried to befriend it and Xydeco attacks, but does no damage. Izabella casts Cloud of Daggers, but dark somehow. The chuul approaches and attacks Xydeco. Nalani throws 'seeds that entangle and enemy's feet'. Vines grow to entangle and enclose the chuul, which restricts its movement. Izabella is distracted by the sound; Este attacks but is ineffective. Halite helps Xydeco, and while they are distracted, Nalani uses Inflict Wounds to destroy one of the chuul's claws. She's never used a necromatic spell before; she managed to stealth it. All the others see is a flash of green and purple light and the chuul's claw disintegrating. Only Este sees what actually happened, but Nalani shushes him to keep her secret. The fact that Nalani was able to do so much damage with a single spell is impressive. Este and Nalani attack the chuul again, and Xydeco severs the damaged claw. Isaac gives Este a magical boost, but the chuul grabs Xydeco, goes through the Cloud of Daggers and into the barn.
We descend from the roof of the barn to the ground, some more gracefully than others. Nalani injures her knee in the process. Xydeco breaks free of the chuul, but it almost trapped by the 2 remaining crawlers in the barn. He escapes and comes outside. The chuul and crawlers move to the farthest corner of the barn. Halite rushes in and snips a cocoon from the ceiling to re-fuel. Este is the only one who sees her; he and Izabella attack the crawlers. One of them explodes, leaving one remaining crawler and the chuul to deal with.
Nalani fires a crossbow bolt, but does minimal damage. Xydeco needs healing, so he is moved closer to Halite. Issac creates a Molotov cocktail and moves into position to attack. The chuul moves closer to us and grabs Halite in its claw while the the carrion crawler moves closer, grabs Issac and bites him. Nalani, hidden, touches the chuul from behind and casts Inflict Wounds, which kills it. Izabella attacks the crawler but deals no damage. Este attacks and misses the crawler, but hits one of the cocoons and splits it open, revealing a person inside. Halite attacks by setting the crawler on fire. Zydeco attacks and finally kills it. Isaac disassembles the Molotov cocktail and corks it for later. Nalani ignites Elidor's Blade and kills the elk. Isaac casts 'detect magic' and sees Izabella's sword as well as many other items belonging to various members of the party light up. There is no glow around the cocooned elf. Halite frees the elf from the cocoon but binds him and checks to see if he's a magical creation; he looks *exactly* like Este. A doppelganger would light up, but there's no glow. The Este look-alike is hurt, so Halite heals him so he doesn't die, though he is still affected by the carrion crawler poison.
(*next game: interview the bound elf; take a short rest. The storm is coming; we should call the orcs to us to shelter in the barn*)
Halite, Xydeco & Izabella take charge with questioning the elf, who is revealed to be Este's brother. Nalani, Issac and Este are dealing with the trapped mosse. The free it, but it is paralyzed by crawler venom. We leave it and join the others in listening to the elf.
(*conflict here; in previous session, we freed the elk that was trapped; in this session, it's a moose and it is still trapped/paralyzed*)
The elf is talking about a rose yellow and white gold enchanted amulet. His name is Relth, and he recognizes Issac. He says the amulet has the potential to plunge the country into civil war. We decide that the roof might be the safer place to be, considering the potential for other beasties, and make to go up there. Halite tosses Relth up to the roof. He senses that there is more space under the building. He and Xydeco clear the floor and find a doorway with a bolted hatch. It's rusted closed and Halite uses his hammer to bust it open. There is a curved staircase down. The party decide to explore below. They find old farming implements at the head of the doorway. Much of the room is filled with hay. It's very old; decayed but still flammable. There are several casks and kegs and bottles of stuff all over the room. Xydeco conjures light; it looks like a flame and Halite freaks out a bit since we're standing in a tinderbox. After being reassured that we're safe, we explore and find a lot of decayed food and things - corn, grain, jerky and slabs of meat. The kegs slosh, so we know they're full; there are wax-wrapped bars of pemmican. Everyone pockets a few. Este gets Izabella to pop the cork on a cask and finds water; the second is full of ammonia; a third, alcohol. There are herbs all along the walls and plenty of spell components. Nalani finds rare silver spell-booster leaves, which can substitute for any missing plant component spell ingredient. Este finds a chest filled with oiled leather cloaks, which are waterproof. Este casts detect magic and notices that Relth used to have a glow and now he does not. The chuul queen must have taken the object (amulet).
(*conflicts: Relth was tossed onto roof; now is with the party in the basement; Relth did not have a glow previously and now is said to be missing a previously noted glow; we have not met the chuul queen; only an adult and we killed it; its body is above us in the main level of the barn*)
Isaac has started drinking from one of the alcohol casks and is intoxicated. The sortm finally rolls in. We hear carrion crawlers and a chuul move in above us. The crawlers can't detect us, but the chuul knight can and does. He hits the floor and manages to break it, falling into the basement nearly on top of Nalani. The chuul grabs her in its claw and is paralyzed. Halite conjures her spiritual weapon and tries to help Nalani. Issac blinds the chuul with a spell. Both of the crawlers move ito the basement and hug the ceiling. One of them uses a tentacle to reach for Nalani's goggles. Este casts 'Hunter's Mark'. Izabella and Xydeco attack one of the crawlers and do some damage.The chuul starts to pull itself up out of the basement wiht Nalani in its grasp; Halite grabs onto Nalani and is pulled away as well. Halite starts singing to Galgiran. His voice fades as the chuul knight moves into the barn and out into the tunnels. The crawlers move to attack Xydeco, Izabella, Este and Isaac, with Relth still bound. Isaac is hit and paralyzed, but manages to vomit into the injured carrion crawler's eyes. He casts 'animal friendship' on the other crawler.