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    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 21, 2013
    Posts: 350
    From: Minnesota

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    Tue Feb 03, 2015 11:48 am  
    A Lendore Island Campaign

    First of, thank you to Len Lakofka for all of the information and modules he has provided. Also, thanks to everyone else that has added ideas to this island for me to mine for this campaign. I will try and do it justice.

    Backdrop: The adventure group is leaving the area of the Pelisso Swamp after having adventured in the Forbidden City (see previous posts). They think they are heading to Restenford to meet Pelltar, a friend of their captain, for aid and hopefully spellbook supplies. They think it will be a layover before heading back towards the Wild Coast/Pomarj area. They thought wrong. The adventure starts are they are leaving the basecamp in the swamp. They plan to overload a magical folding boat (overly kind DM).

    The group consists of:

    Ledego (NPC) - male 1/2 elf mage - Captain of the ill fated Nir Nen
    Peylae (NPC) - female 1/2 elf mage - First mate and daughter to Ledego
    Ship Crew (NPCs, Comus, Larrig, Ersan, Varze, Ment, Nedwyn & Tiz)

    Ide Otneaux (NPC) - female 1/2 orc fighter, Pomarj, lv 4

    Breymeer - male human ranger (Viking type), lv 4
    Cirdan Saralonde - male elf mage, of noble blood from Celene, lv 4
    Ewan McDermott - male human druid (Celtic type), lv 3.
    Grimlock - male 1/2 elf fighter/mage/thief, Celene/Wild Coast, lv 3,2,4
    Kuba Cyvlorandau - male human fighter, Dullstrand, lv 3
    Southar - male human ranger, Gnarley Forest, lv 3
    Speck - male Halfling thief, Kuba's sidekick, lv 3
    Tarstar - male human thief (former pirate), Lordship Isles, lv 5
    Tathar Surion - male elf priest of Sehanine Moonbow, Lendore Isles, lv 3
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 21, 2013
    Posts: 350
    From: Minnesota

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    Fri Feb 06, 2015 8:01 pm  

    The next few days pass slowly and with much discomfort. Ledego remains in his tent under the care of Peylae. The Nir Nen crew assist with your needs. The party donates some money and gems at Hashoven’s request to Osprem.

    As the effects of the medication wears off and the group regains their strength, the group begins to fall into routines.
    Ide Otneaux and Southar remain in bed for most of the days, slowly recovering from their near death experiences.
    Ewan and the Nir Nen crew remain to assist with the wounded as they recover; closely watching Kuba and Ide to make sure the curse has been driven from their bodies. Keeping himself busy helps him with the pain of losing his traveling companion, Siohbon.
    The elves, Cirdan Saralonde, Grimlock, Aratheas and Tathar, spend much time in Ledego’s tent. Grimlock and Peylae taking many walks to gather jungle plants and herbs to foster the healing packs Berry Hairycheeks started.
    Kuba cleans his weapons and armor and practices his combat skills.
    Speck is nearly always at Kuba’s side tinkering with this or that, practicing his fighting or talking walks around the compound to chat up whoever will listen.
    Breymeer cleans his gear and spends time taking walks in the jungle where he finds peace and quiet.
    Grom, whenever possible, spends time conversing with Hashoven about religion and the region around the Pelisso Swamp and Xaro Mountains.
    Tathar remains quiet and spends long hours in what appears to be a trance or meditation. He spends some time examining his cobra styled staff and asks Hashoven if he knows anything about it.
    Tarstar spends time fixing his gear, dancing at odd times and looking out across the water, dreaming of his days on the open sea.

    During one of the evenings together, Cirdan Saralonde gathers the party together and asks each member to place the recovered items of interest into a pile so that he can attempt to detect any magical fields around them.

    The group complies and Cirdan reports:
    The brass ring recovered from the yuan-ti has a weak protection aura (Cirdan),
    The yuan-ti dagger has a weak enchantment (Cirdan),
    The language elixir is magical (Cirdan),
    The platinum snake necklace from the yuan-ti does NOT radiate magic (Cirdan),
    The statuette of the yuan-ti god does NOT radiate magic (Ide),
    The golden shield radiates a strong enchantment (Southar),
    The rope recovered in the yuan-ti temple radiates some type of alteration magic (Southar),
    The potion given to Southar by Peylae is magic,
    The bone knife recovered by Tathar near the wildman compound has mild enchantment,
    The yuan-ti cobra staff has moderate enchantment (Tathar).
    The platinum necklace and the statuette, although not magic, have obvious value.

    You spend the first week of Reaping recovering. Southar and Ide Otneaux continue to increase in strength and appear back to normal.

    Horan has not been seen since arrival at the basecamp. Hashoven comes and goes checking on your recovery. Once he senses your recovery is near complete, he delivers you a message, “Horan has become too busy to bid you farewell. He assumes you will soon depart from our company. He thanks you for your service and assistance. He advises you seek me out with and questions or concerns. You are all free to leave as you wish.” Hashoven returns to the camp after delivering the message.

    Ledego begins to speak of setting sail down the river and back out to sea. He has been working with his magical boat and claims to have command of its magic. He claims the boat can comfortably haul 15 passengers. There are 22 of you remaining; Ledego, Paylae and 7 crew members and 13 adventurers.

    Ledego calls a meeting and offers the group the following options, “I intend to leave shortly for the Spindrift Isles to our east. I have an associate there that I believe will take me in. He lives in the small town of Restenford. I am willing to take any of you with me. I can take up to six people comfortably. Any more than that and we shall suffer the burden of overcrowding but I am willing to pack the ship like rats if need be. No offense is meant to you dear Grimlock.”

    He allows a few laughs at Grimlock’s expense and continues, “You are all free men and women. Chose as you wish. If you wish not to come with me, the Suel ship material and receive supplies to and from the mainland on a regular basis. It may be possible to get passage on one of these ships. Finally, if you want to stay with the Suel, I wish health and safety for you. I shall leave at daybreak the day after tomorrow. Be at the docks if you wish to travel with me and my crew.”

    The day prior to Ledego’s departure is spent in thought. The group meets for conference after the serving of the evening meal. Tathar spends the whole day in trance.

    Cirdan Saralonde speaks of the plunder. If we split, we should discuss what to do about the statuette and the platinum necklace. Maybe the Suel would be interested in buying or bartering for them.

    Grom, normally quiet, speaks boldly, “I intend to gain passage upon the Suel ships. I intend to get to Dullstrand and head overland to my home in the Glorioles Mountains. My patron, Brightmantle, has served many of you well. I only ask that I am provided enough for room, board and passage on my way home.”

    Breymeer speaks next, “I am very concerned about the wild men and how they fared. If we stay, I would like to head back and check on them. But, I have had enough of cities and buildings. I will travel with Ledego if the group is leaving the swamp.

    Ewan McDermott stands with Breymeer, “I am fond of the wild men. I will stay if you need company Breymeer. I have an axe to grind with the Bugbears. If we do not stay, travelling east gets me closer to home. I am a large man on a small ship though. Maybe passage on another boat would be better for me.”

    “Tarstar will also travel with Ledego,” is his vote.

    Cirdan Saralonde hands Grimlock the magical language elixir, “Here, maybe this will help you communicate next time. Do not use all of it, we should try and have more made if we can find and alchemist. I shall travel with Ledego.”

    Southar makes his opinion known, “I would like to get back home myself. I would like we should be back to Highport in time so I may hunt down those how enslaved most of us. I will do what it takes to get back there. I will travel with Ledego for now.”

    Kuba says "Wherever our paths may lead and whatever dangers we face I feel confident with you my companions. But next time let’s loot the place a little more. Oil and water don't mix, but blood and gold go hand in hand."

    Speck looks a little surprised at Kuba's poetic statement. "Well said, but I prefer my blood mixing with itself; inside my skin.”

    “I have no family and you are my only friends. You have brought me back from the grasp of death. I will stand by you for as long as you stand by me. Count me in. Restenford sounds comfortable to me.” Ide is in.

    Grimlock also votes to leave with Ledego.

    Aratheas bids farewell, “I shall travel with Grom. I also seek to return to my homeland.”

    Reaping 9th, 577. The day breaks hot with no wind. It is very uncomfortable.

    Ledego rises early. He and Peylae visit while the group eats breakfast. Some type of egg with bread and the standard fruits; mangos, bananas, etc.
    Ledego informs the group he has chosen against attempting to sail across the Oljatt Sea directly to Restenford with an overstock of occupants. He does not trust the small vessel in the event the seas turn against you.
    He has revised his plan. The group travelling with him will take passage to the port of Duxchan in the Lordship of the Isles. Here, the group will load onto the small magical craft and sail along the shorelines of the chain of islands as it leads to the Spindrift Sound and the Spindrift chain of islands. Your destiny is the southernmost island. The northern islands are inhabited solely by elves and all uninvited guests are dealt with unkindly. The southern island contains a motley mix; mostly human with a few demi-humans. The humans are mainly of Suel blood worshipping Suel deities.

    Ledego plans to bypass Loreltarma for reasons unspoken and travel directly to Restenford.

    In the small fishing port of Restenford, Ledego has an acquaintance named Pelltar. Ledego warns you that Pelltar is very imperious and highly independent. It is wise to show him respect in his home. Also, the island’s inhabitants are very independent and there is a very loose rule of law. There is no strong central government leaving the local barons in charge. Be careful. Most people are of good nature but much of the land can become lawless quickly. Finally, Ledego admits he had originally fled the islands for fear of a growing humanoid threat. The hobgoblins and others were gaining in strength and he feared a local invasions, at minimum, if left unchecked.

    “I have met with Horan to discuss this arrangement. He has agreed to the terms. With your consent, noble Saralonde has given me the platinum necklace and the statuette. I have traded them to Horan for this.” Ledego holds out a velvet bag. Opening it, he spills numerous sapphires, emeralds and topaz. He hands one of each stone to each party member. The sapphires are the largest (approx. values; 500 gp), the emeralds are next (100 gp) and then the topaz (50gp).

    “Horan has taken his fees for passage. You will be fed up to the point of disembarkment. I have also taken some of the value for procurement of supplies for our trip on the ‘Ungolhing’. It means ‘spider’s gift’. Since the magical boat was recovered from the spider, I thought we could honor its gift.”

    The group packs what is left of its equipment and heads down to the docks while the wild Suel tribesman begin to take down the tent that has been home for the last week.

    Upon the shore, near the docks, you are greatly surprised to see Neras, who guided you through the jungle. He had been thought lost to the storm. Neras approaches Breymeer while holding something wrapped in cloth in his hands. He nods to Breymeer respectfully and unwraps the cloth revealing an arrow with an obsidian tip. Breymeer is nods back as a show of respect and takes the arrow, placing it in his quiver.

    Hashoven is on the docks wearing his usual blue robes. There is a multitude of canoes being loaded with cargo. The crates are manufactured similar to the warehouse crates you saw in the ruined city. Hashoven is blessing each boat as it is loaded. A small fleet of nearly two dozen large canoes is finally assembled and ready for travel. The group is split between two boats; the Nir Nen crew in one canoe and the adventurers in the other. Both will be travelling side by side.

    “Do not forget the blessings of Osphrem! Give your offerings to the sea when you see it and surely Osphrem will watch over you!”

    “Speaking of offerings,” says Ide Otneaux, “Grom, please take my emerald and Ewan my topaz in the name of Brightmantle and the blessed nature of the Ffolk.” She hands them the respective gems.

    “I am just glad to be taking a large ship to Duxchan,” comments the oversized Ewan, pocketing the gem.

    Grom thanks her with a heartfelt handshake and a smile.

    Two extremely hot, calm days later, the group clears the waterway through the swamp and arrives at the sea. The smells of the swamp give way to the salty sea air. The openness of the sea is refreshing. A large single masted cog is anchored a bit off shore. Its sail is a solid scarlet color.
    The remainder of the second day is spent loading the craft with all of the crates from the canoes. It quickly becomes evident each character is expected to assist with the unloading. This task is made easier by the small crane engineered about midship on the starboard side.

    Thus ends Reaping the 11th, 577.

    With horrors of the slave ship still on the minds of some of the party members, and the overwhelming heat, the group sleeps on the deck.

    Reaping 12th arrives hotter and more miserable. The only salvation is a mild breeze that picks up to a nearly 20 mph by mid-day. The cog, The Crimson Wave, makes excellent time. Travelling west along the Hepmonaland coast, you leave the Pelisso Swamp behind you by nightfall, turning north towards the Lordship of the Isles.

    The day is otherwise uneventful.

    Reaping 13th brings the same hot weather and clear skies. The wind dies down as the day progresses to the chagrin of the captain.

    Reaping 14th boasts clear skies and very little wind. The grimness of no wind is offset by the “Land Ho” called out from the crow’s nest as the sun rises upon the horizon. Landmasses appear ahead on both the port and starboard with a channel between them. Both islands covered in tropical growth excepting the peak of the central volcano that is a mainstay of this archipelago. On the left, the Duchy of Ansaba, home to the capital of Duxchan. On the right, the Duchy of Ganode. Both islands populated by the Suel. By mid-day, The Crimson Wave is docked at Duxchan. Here, some cargo is offloaded and other supplies taken aboard. No one is allowed to disembark other than Ledego and company.

    Ledego, fearing a watchful eye, leads the group to a seaside tavern, the Brass Anchor. It is here that Ewan McDermott informs the group he will seek passage upon a different ship and rejoin the group at Restenford. If he should miss them there, he plans to sail back to east to him homeland.

    Ledego buys everyone dinner and refreshments. He informs the group he plans to sneak out to the docks after midnight and launch his magical boat. The Lordship had a history of piracy before undertaking more legitimate, duties and tax based income.

    At the end of the meal, Grom and Aratheas bit farewell and seek their own passages to Dullstrand and then inland to their homes.

    Nearing bar close, the group departs; staying close to the docks and warfs. Taking several turns and alleys in order to shed light on anyone tailing the group, Ledego leads the group to an isolated dock with very little activity. Once convinced all was well, Ledego walks out and drops his box into the sea. Looking around one last time, he speaks the magic words triggering the change. To your amazement, the box begins to unfold rapidly into a sailing vessel. The boat has a deck, single rowing seats, five sets of oars, a steering oar, an anchor, a deck cabin, and a mast with a square sail. It is 24 feet long, 6 feet deep and 8 feet wide. The group assembles about the deck, finding it very crowded. A boat meant for no more than 15 now holds nearly two dozen.

    Once Ledego is confident the boat will hold everyone, he sets watches and waits for morning to purchase supplies.

    Reaping the 15th brings the same heat wave. Today there is a slight relief of cloud cover. The cloud cover brings a light rain for the duration of the morning. Ledego sets out with his crew, minus Peylae, to purchase supplies. As those remaining behind guard the ship, they cannot help but notice Grimlock continues to take any given opportunity to chat up Peylae. Prior to leaving, Ledego asks if there is anything anyone wants purchased for them. Ledego assures you armor and weapons may be purchased in Restenford.

    Ledego and crew return within a few hours and the ship is loaded with several crates of food and other miscellaneous supplies. Several extra crates are placed aboard ship. “I intend to continue on after landing at Restenford,” explains Ledego. “I do not know if I can get some of these supplies there.”

    Ledego clears the deck as best as possible. Ledego and crew remain on the deck with the company of Tarstar considering his sailing background.

    Tarstar cannot stop dancing to be back on the waves and working upon a ship. Ledego allows Cirdan Saralonde, Grimlock and Tathar into the cabin. Tathar finds a quiet spot and goes into a trance. There is very little room in the cabin to move about.

    Ledego has the rest of the prior slaves, Ide Otneaux, Southar and Breymeer take watches for danger above deck; taking pains to stay out of the way.

    Kuba and Speck head below deck to sleep. As the crew tires, Ledego substitutes others being careful not to thin his crew too far.

    With clearing skies and little wind, the crew begins to row out to sea.
    Very little progress is made this day. The ship skirts the northern shore of Ganode.

    Reaping the 16th brings more heat and a steady rain with no wind. A second day is spent rowing with everyone, except Speck, taking their turn. The ship continues to pass the northern shore of Ganode.

    While travelling, Ledego recites a bit of history for the Lordship of the Isles.

    The night of the Reaping 16, 577 is spent anchored between a few small islands on the north side of the mainland of Ganode.

    The ship’s log for Reaping the 17th records no wind and continued rain. Miraculously, the Ungolhing crosses a small channel and arrives at the County of Mirim. A small island with the port of Tos-Ile located on the southwestern shore. Here Ledego takes on fresh food and water. The crew remains aboard ship but Ledego sees to it tavern rooms are acquired and everyone sleeps in a bed after a fine meal and a bath. The tiredness of the slaveship seems to have returned. After the meal and bath, none are able to stay awake in order to explore the small port city. All are back aboard ship soon after sunrise.

    Departing Tos-Ile on the morning of the 18th of Reaping, the Ungolhing heads to the southern shores and wraps around Mirim next finding the Dutchy of Diren.

    As the ship moves away from land, Ide Otneaux is joined by Cirdan Saralonde and Tathar Surion at the front of the ship. Both of the elves drop a handful of gold coins into the water and Ide Otneaux drops her sapphire. “To Osprem! May we have a sailor’s wind, calm seas and reprieve from this rain.”

    In an unusual moment, Tathar speaks further, “If we do not honor the gods that heal us, they will stop blessing us with life.”

    The island of Diren boasts the original Oeridian capital of Sulward on its northern shore.

    The Ungolhing nears the eastern edge of Diren by the end of the day. Not wanting to face the expanse of sea between Diren and the next island, the County of Jehlum, in the darkness, Ledego weighs anchor in the relative safety of a large inlet on the southeastern tip of Diren.

    The sun rises on the 19th of Reaping. Ide Otneaux and the two elves cannot help but wonder as the rain breaks with the exception of an occasional brief shower. The heat wave continues but a slight breeze picks up allowing the sail to be hoisted. The ship clears Diren by late morning and faces the widest expanse of ocean it has yet been tested against. Adding to this, not long afternoon, a warship bearing the Lordship of the Isles banner comes into view from the north, traveling south. It begins to bear down upon your little craft.
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 21, 2013
    Posts: 350
    From: Minnesota

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    Fri Feb 06, 2015 8:23 pm  

    In a private moment, Cirdan asks Ledego why he is planning on moving past Restenford when that is where his friend is. Ledego answers, “There is much trouble to be found upon the island. Pelltar finds them yet safe and wishes to remain there. But he is Suel man. I will be staying for a short time only. I have similar needs as yourself and Pelltar has facilities that will help me. We shall see what arises when we get there. You must not mention my name on the island. Some questionable authorities in Loreltarma have an arrest warrant for me.”

    Cirdan responds with a smile, "I am liking you more and more, my friend. Let us see where this next adventure takes us."

    He answers, "You have my trust as well noble Saralonde."

    “It is no use attempting to flee from this vessel.” Ledego looks towards the eastern horizon. “It is much faster than us and we are only about half way across the archipelago. There is no point in needlessly causing ourselves to look like pirates.”

    Weapons are made ready but Ledego advises against the wearing of heavy armor, “We do not want to appear hostile. Besides, in the event you find yourself overboard, you will sink like a stone.” Southar, who has kept his shield covered with cloth, keeps his shield leaned against his leg.

    The ship sails within hailing distance. A small craft disembarks from the warship and rows over to the Ungolhing. A crew of a dozen sailors man the craft. Two of them climb the rails and stand upon the Ungolhing’s deck. Ledego shows them the hold and the cabin. They examine his paperwork showing what supplies he took on at Duxchan and Tos-Ile.

    Ledego pays a few gold coins for an ‘inspection fee’ and the men climb back into their rowboat and head back to the warship. It sails off; heading over the western horizon along the southern shores of Diren.

    By the end of the day (19th), Ledego has navigated the ship around the southern shores of Jehlum; again finding shelter near shore for the night. During the voyage, especially at port during the evenings, Ledego has been and continues to brief everyone about Restenford and its environs. His descriptions include many of the local’s names and businesses in town.

    Reaping 20, 577 finds a steady breeze and scattered clouds with occasional showers. The intense heat has subsided; finally dropping out of the 100+ range and settling in the mid 90s.

    This day finds the ship moving past Jehlum and arriving at the County of Luda. It is the second to last island of the chain and only slightly bigger than Mirim.

    In the early afternoon, the ship passes an open bay on the southern shores of Luda. It prepares to wrap around the eastern peninsula that makes this bay a safe harbor from the eastern winds.

    With an enormous splash, the good luck that has blessed the Ungolhing expires. A sea creature, having stalked the boat successfully, has risen from the depths. In a surprise attack, a long neck darts out of the water from the port (left) side of the ship. The creature’s head resembles that of a snake. Its mouth displays numerous sharp teeth.

    The creature skillfully grabs Ledego in its maw, lifting him off of the deck and plunging him into the depths. Blood quickly stains the aqua water.
    The neck, roughly 25 feet in length, is quickly followed by its body. The body displays a significantly wider girth. It has four fins and is followed by a slender tail. In total, the creature is nearly 50 feet in length. Its mass is quickly realized as the creature slams into port side of the ship near the aft. The several thousand pound impact causes the ship’s rear to lurch starboard (right). This disrupts everyone on board but does not appear to cause any structural damage to the Ungohling.

    On the deck at the time of the attack are:

    Breymeer was bow guard. He is able to maintain his footing, bracing himself with the railing.

    Comus, the crewmaster, Tarstar, Larrig, Varze and Kuba were attempting to sleep along the sides of the rowing station. They all stays aboard but are jostled awake rudely.

    Grimlock is the port side guard; standing next to the cabin at deck level. He is throw into the railing but remains on board (2, 21/23).

    Southar is the starboard side guard; also standing next to the cabin at deck level. He is thrown violently onto the deck (2, 39/41). His shield skids across the deck and lies in front of the cabin door.

    Cirdan Saralonde is atop the cabin on the bridge. He is thrown to the deck violently.

    Below deck are:

    Ment, Nedwyn, Tiz, Ide Otenaux and Speck. All are jostled awake but unharmed.

    In the cabin are:

    Peylae, Ersan and Tathar. They, too, are awakened rudely.

    Grimlock pulls some canvas out of his pack and covers himself with it, lying flat on the deck in front of the cabin. Within a few moments, he has blended himself into the railing, appearing to be no more than cargo or equipment.

    From the bridge, Cirdan Saralonde yells, “Everyone off the deck! It might come back for more!” Heeding his own advice, he gets off the bridge and meets Peylae as she is exiting the cabin. With as much respect and sincerity he can muster on short notice, he breaks the news of Ledego’s demise.

    The sea boils red for a moment where the sea creature dove back under water. There is solid evidence that Ledego will not be coming back. Peylae attempts to hold out hope but when he hasn’t surfaced within a few minutes, she attempts to compose herself, “I am now captain of the ship! Comus, you are my first mate! Larrig, you are crewmaster!”

    Cirdan Saralonde stands in the doorway of the cabin.

    The ship remains intact. After the impact, the sail refills with air and the ship continues on. Peylae continues to bark orders, adding, “Ledego would not approve of all of us dying because we stopped to mourn over him. We shall mourn later.”

    The dark shape appears again behind the ship, closing fast. Its speed in the water is impressive. The shape continues to grow in size indicating it is rising quickly from the depths.

    The massive creature bursts forth from the surface of the water on the starboard side of the ship. Again, the ship is jarred by the force of the ancient beast.

    Kuba, string drawn on his bow, arrows the creature as it breaks the surface (3, 54/57). As the ship is tossed, Kuba is flung backwards. Tripping on the center rowing seats, Kuba slides across the deck and over the rail splashing into the waves alongside the boat. As the boat is moving forward, Kuba is quickly passing by, nearing Grimock’s location as he goes.

    Breymeer, still at the front of the ship, remains standing as the creature surfaces. His bow string sings as he speeds two arrows towards the beast. Both arrows strike the creature in the neck (6, 48/57) (3, 45/57).

    Southar, on the starboard side, near the cabin, also keeps his feet and sends two arrows towards the sea creature in rapid succession. Both his arrows find their mark (7, 37/57) (4, 33/57).

    Comus is shouting orders, “Protect the mast and sail!” as so forth.

    Larrig draws a dagger and moves towards the mast.

    Varze keeps his balance and is about to follow orders when a spray of water falls upon his shoulder drawing his attention to the creature bearing down on him. The ancient beast drops its head down upon him, consuming his entire body down to his knees. Varze, trapped in the creature’s maw, is lifted off the deck.

    While the creature is pulling Varze from the deck, Tarstar draws forth his cutlass and penetrates the creature’s neck to the hilt (3, 30/57).

    The gruesome image of Varze death is suddenly blackened as Grimlock rolls from under his burlap sack, some type of scroll in hand. He reads from it rapidly bringing forth the blackness that encompasses the creature’s head.
    Peylae can only shout, “Kill that beast before it takes us all!”

    Cirdan Saralonde remains in the threshold of the cabin doorway.

    Tathar and Erson remain in the cabin and Speck and the rest of the crew remain in the hold with Ide Otneaux.

    The beast, appearing to be injured and bleeding, drops below the water and begins a decent away from the ship; heading west. Kuba continues to float to the rear of the ship. He will be out of reach past the end of the ship within moments.

    Grimlock hears Kuba’s calls for help as he is drifting past Grimlock’s location. Acting decisively, Grimlock quickly removes a coil of rope from his pack and drops a loose end down upon Kuba. Kuba grabs on but by the time the rope goes taut, he is dragging in the wake of the boat, about 15 feet to the rear, like a piece of chum.

    Cirdan Saralonde moves portside along the edge of the cabin and grabs onto the rope with Grimlock. They begin to drag him in.

    Tathar steps out of the cabin and braces himself in the doorway. He has a rope tied around his waist. He appears to have tied himself off to something in the cabin. Tathar had his bow in one hand while he strings an arrow with the other.

    Breymeer, seeing the rescue well in hand, remains at the bow, watching the waves.

    Southar, on the starboard side, removes his magic rope from this pack. The rope feels very lightweight in his hand and is slender for a rope; only having the thickness of a thin wand. Southar begins to swing the rope as if to throw it towards Kuba. Someone, as if the rope sensed Southar’s intent, it begins to slither, like a snake, out of Southar’s hand, down upon the deck and over the siderail. It continues to uncoil itself, now swimming like a snake towards Kuba behind the boat. It gets to within about 10 feet when Cirdan and Grimlock begin trolling Kuba in.

    As Kuba is slowly dragged towards the ship, Southar’s rope reaches Kuba and ties itself around his waist. Southar is on the opposite side of the side but the rope climbs the back of the ship as Kuba is brought up the port side. In this way, Southar’s rope stays tied to Kuba while climbing the backside of the cabin, rolls across the bridge and lands on the ship deck, all while staying taut and tied to Kuba.

    Grimlock and Cirdan get Kuba to the side of the boat. With the aid of the two ropes, Cirdan and Kuba are able to reach each other’s hands. The strength between them is more than adequate to pluck Kuba from the grasp of the sea and deposit him back aboard ship. Kuba’s relief and thankfulness is expressed.

    The sea creature, having felt the sting of many arrows and Tarstar’s cutlass, does not return. Nor does any sign of Ledego or Varze.
    Tathar unties himself and re-enters the cabin. He sits and goes into a deep meditation.

    Ment takes Varze’s spot on the deck and Peylae takes over her role as Captain of the Ungolhing. Peylae takes her place on the bridge and Cirdan Saralonde rejoins her. “My father respected you a great deal Noble Saralonde,” she comments to Cirdan as they correct the direction of the ship and continue to sail into the eastern horizon.

    Those on the deck remain vigilant for other dangers.

    A gentle rain begins to fall as the skies weep for Ledego. The steady breeze blows throughout the day and much progress is made by nightfall.

    The evening of Reaping 20th finds the ship anchored off the northwestern tip of Temil, the final island in the chain. During the afternoon, the ship passed by the southern shoreline of this island; not much more than 60 miles of land. The jungle growth hiding much of the upward sloping inlands.
    At an evening meeting, Peylae announces an early start the following morning. “With luck, we will have a good wind. We will have to start at first hint of dawn and go until after sunset if we are going to have any hope of sighting Lendore Island by the end of tomorrow. If we do not reach the island in one day, we will be adrift overnight at the mercy of the sea.
    Tathar, the moon faced elf, speaks. To hear his voice startles everyone and grabs their attention, “Peylae, if you trust in Sehanine Moonbow, please listen to me for she has revealed to me our safe passage. In a few nights time, Luna, the great moon, will be full. We followers of Sehanine call this the ‘lunar hallowing’. From now until this evening, with Sehanine’s guidance, I will perform the Ceremony of Recovery to find and guide Ledego’s lost soul to its home.”

    This brings tears to Peylae’s eyes and she seems greatly relieved as Tathar continues, “As Luna sets, it will bring up a wind for us to sail by the following day. But the wind shall lead a storm. We must reach landfall by the evening of the 26th.”

    Peylae appears to believe the elvish mystic. She orders the ship to remain at anchor until Reaping the 25th. The days are passed cleaning the ship and gear. The crew tells many stories of Varze and all lament the loss of Ledego. Peylae continues to talk of Restenford but it is obvious she knows far less than Ledego did. She does her best to recite much of the details he has already informed you of. All survivors with injuries received from the encounter with the sea creature heal normally.

    Reaping the 21st arrives with rains and cooler temperatures. The wind is mild. Tathar Surion takes a position on the bridge, sits and begins to meditate. He continues on in this position for the next four days.
    Reaping the 22nd is more of the same.
    Reaping the 23rd the rains stop and the wind remains calm.
    Reaping the 24th brings clear skies, calm winds and beautiful temperatures.
    Reaping the 25th brings absolute calm with clear skies and temps in the 90s. It is obvious the crew and party members nervously await the outcome of Tathar’s prediction.

    Luna rises full in the evening, dominating the sky. Tathar sits upon the bridge in meditation, now with his eyes open. His pupils have dilated to the shape of crescent moon; the ‘moonbow’. Throughout the night Tathar meditates. As Luna passes the midnight sky, Tathar closes his eyes. Upon opening them, his pupils have returned to normal. He stands, stretches and begins to dance under the bright night sky. He continues to dance until dawn without speaking or acknowledging others around him.
    Tarstar, thinking he has finally found someone with his own interests, dances as well down upon the ship’s deck.

    When Tathar finds Ledego, he is overjoyed. He becons Tathar to tell Peylae the following information. Ledego asks that him tell her alone. He thanks Tathar for rescuing his soul and for his receiving of Sehanine's blessings.
    Ledego is a grandchild of a man called Delcartis, one of the founders of Kroten on Lendore Isle. The current Duke of Kroten had an arrest warrant signed for Ledego and any of his kin. The Duke bought his title and is set on destroying any that may have an honest claim to the title. The title is recognized in both the Great Kingdom and Loreltarma. The Duke is also an offspring of one of Kroten's founders so he would have an honest claim to the title. Ledego believes if arrested, he and Peylae would be put to death in Loreltarma. Pelltar is a trusted friend beyond question.

    Reaping 26, 577. As Luna sets and the first shades of color paint the eastern sky, Tathar speaks to Peylae, for she has not slept all night, remaining on the deck watching Tathar and the sky. Tathar tells her Ledego has been guided home and he was accepted by the elves. Peylae is overjoyed.

    Peylae orders the ship ready to sail, guiding it into the sea, pointing east. Before the sun appears, a breeze picks up. It gathers strength until a moderate breeze blows the ship eastward. The wind comes from the northwest, blowing the ship to the southeast. The wind is in violation as generally the prevailing winds blow from east to west.

    The ship occupants remain busy throughout the day attempting to keep up with the steady pace of the ship. The skies area clear and the temperature in the 90s.

    At midday, dolphins appear around the ship; dancing and jumping from the water. The dolphins remain with the ship the remainder of the day.
    By evening, small islands begin to appear off the port side. Peylae estimates the ship is passing the area of Loreltarma.

    As the sun sets and Luna rises again in her majesty, Peylae moves the ship in closer to shore. In the greyness of Luna’s light, the ship follows the shoreline eastward until a large island, several miles in diameter rises out of the darkness on the starboard side. Peylae finally gives the cry, “Anchor away!” announcing the ship in near the small town of Farmin. Peylae sets guards strangely. “In the wee hours, we shall continue into Restenford.”
    The crew gets some well needed rest.

    Tathar has his private council with Peylae in the cabins quarters at her request. She thanks Tathar immensely and promises to aid him and gift to Sehanine once they are ashore and safely settle in. Tathar informs her of Ledego’s final comments. Peylae was unaware of the arrest warrant and asks you not to share the information with anyone. She wants to have council with Pelltar.

    The ship occupants get very little rest. As Tathar has prophesied, dark clouds begin to boil on the horizon to the east. It appears a storm is brewing. Having sucked in the west wind all day, the rising clouds promises to feed it back with a vengeance.

    Peylae orders the ship back under way. Staying close to the shoreline, Peylae guides the ship further east, using the wind as it yet blows into the coming storm.

    For several tense hours, Peylae guides the ship eastward. The geography of the island protects this area to some degree as the land juts south into the sea, to the east of Restenford, forming a peninsula lined with hills and mountains.

    As if guided by Osprem’s will and Sehanine’s promise, the ship rocks and bobs its way along the shoreline until it reaches a small town nestled in on the banks of a river. “There is Restenford on the banks of the Restin River!” The town is near dark as people have shuttered their windows ahead of the approaching storm.

    Peylae has the ship dock at the first large dock it comes to. The dock is on the northern side of the river. It is the first of three large docks. The docks are positioned in front of three stone warehouse looking buildings (#23, 24, 25). The warehouses are roughly 75 to 100 feet from the river. Additionally, a fourth stone (#26) building lies down the path to the east about 125 feet from the easternmost warehouse.

    As you are tying the ship to the dock, Peylae gives orders, “Comus, you and the crew guard the ship. Ide Otneaux and Tarstar, please remain behind also in case of trouble. If anything happens to us ashore, and weather permits, set sail back towards Farmin and we will meet you there as soon as we can. Set one guard and get some rest as you can.”
    As she is finishing up her commands, dogs begin barking to your northwest. A man in studded leather armor comes out of stone building to the east of the warehouses. He carries a hooded lantern in his left hand and a broadsword in his right hand. The deep barking is coming from two very large and vicious looking dogs at his heel.

    Peylae moves to the shore to meet him. She remains on the dock with Grimlock and Cirdan Saralonde following her. He hails her, “What business do you have hear at this hour? Your ship is not familiar to me. Who are you?”

    She answers matter-of-factly with a calm steady voice, “I am Peylae, Captain of the Ungohling, and this is my crew and companions. We seek shelter from the storm and an audience with Pelltar for I am known to him, although he is not expecting me.”

    “He be taking no company tonight Captain. This storm has everyone battened down tight for the night. Pray, let me guide you to an inn. The Tavern of the West Wind is just over here.” He points to the northwest (#20). “In fact, it is straight away from Pelltar’s house (#21). You can seek him should the sun rise again tomorrow.”

    “You are kind, sir. We accept your offer.” With that, the crew finishes securing the ship and secures the sail and items on the deck; fearing the incoming wind. Comus and Larrig take positions in the cabin and the rest of the crew enter the hold with Ide Otneaux and Tarstar.

    Peylae has the rest of the ship occupants accompany her. They pour onto the dock like rats from a sinking ship; overjoyed to have their feet on solid land. The looming clouds bear down upon the town. Lightning strokes lighting the sky and the thunderous responses getting closes and louder with each passing moment. The wind has switched; blowing from the east and gaining strength. Small leaves and whatnot begin to blow around.
    “Captain Peylae, I am Welcar. I watch over the docks and warehouses here,” he points to the three docks and warehouses. Sensing the group means him no harm, he sheaths his broadsword and orders the dogs back to the house. They comply. His sword, surprisingly, looks to be of very good make and well taken care of.

    Welcar guides you to the Tavern of the West Wind. It is a two story structure. The bottom floor is stonework while the upstairs is wooden framed. There are numerous windows in the stone blockwork as well as a front door near the center of the wall facing the street.

    “The owners and their families have their private residence upstairs. They are Zelmar and Harkie. The only way up is the exterior stairs around back. Do not bother them as they have an innkeeper on staff,” warns Welcar.
    After much knocking and making of noise on the front door, a tired voice answers from inside. After a quick exchange with Welcar, the door is unlocked and opened. A tire looking elderly man stands in the common room. After short introductions and some exchange of gold and silver from Peylae, rooms are made available to you. Afterwards, Welcar returns to his residence.

    Peylae takes the largest room for her and her crew commanders. The second room is offered to those of elvish decent. The other four rooms are split up among the rest of the group.

    The innkeeper warns they serve no food here, only booze (hence the open rooms). The innkeeper warns that rowdy behavior will not be tolerated before retiring back to bed and locking his bedroom door.

    At the stroke of midnight, Reaping 27th, the storm reaches town with battering winds and heavy rains.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:21 pm  

    It appears Pelltar was notified of your arrival after all. At the first signs of sunrise, the entire group is summoned downstairs to the common room.

    Standing in the common room are four men and a dwarf. One man and the dwarf stand ahead of the other men. The men, having formed a semi-circle behind the lead man, stand silent. An aura of confidence surrounds them. A step behind and to the right of the lead man is the dwarf.

    The lead man, obviously Pelltar, is dressed in dark green. His bloodlines are hard to guess; possibly Oeridian. He has a long sleeved loose fitting shirt and trousers. Over that, he has a dark green full length vest trimmed in a lighter shade of green. The vest is pulled together at the waist with a wide brown belt. A dagger sheath adorns his right side and a think wood wand is tucked into the belt on is left. He has soft leather brown boots. He carries a wooden staff with a thick knot at the top. From the knot protrudes a small, naturally formed, wooden spike. His hair and eyes are brown, showing no grey. The lines on his face reveal more about his age than anything else. You guess him to be in his 60s.

    To Pelltar’s left is a bronze skinned man similar to Comus, the crewchief. This man must also be of Flan decent. He also wears a similar color of green. His clothing consists of a short sleeve robe than ends at his knees. He has a bone necklace formed of some type of vertebras. He has numerous bracelets of various metals around each wrist and gold bands on his left bicep. He also has a belt with a dagger sheath in addition to several scroll tubes and component pouches. He is balding; keeping what remains of his grey hair shaved very short. He has a short trimmed grey goatee/mustache. Oddly, he is barefooted.

    Behind Pelltar is Suel man wearing a brown hooded robe. He is young, maybe in his late 20s. He has the symbol of Wee Jas upon a necklace. The necklace hangs exposed upon his chest. It is very similar to the one Horan the Wizard wore. His robe is tied at the waist. As most Suel, he is pale. It appears he has purple eyes. He wears brown leather boots and a staff.

    To Pelltar’s right is a second Suel man. He is also pale of skin with near platinum blonde hair and ice blue eyes. He has a long, pointed platinum beard but no mustache. He wears a very formal looking grey/gold robe over white pantaloons. His robe has many adornments upon it. Over that, he wears a red velvet cloak with broad supported shoulders and a brown hood. He wears some type of soft leather, fur lined shoe with several straps. The wooden staff he carries is topped by two crescent moons, each facing the other and slightly overlapping to form a complete circle. Atop the moons is a large star.

    The dwarf is thinner than any other previously encountered; standing under four feet tall and weighting roughly 160 pounds. He appears young for a dwarf but his brown eyes speak of many hard years. He leans forward upon a bastard sword, hilt in the air and tip resting on the ground. The weapon is very clean and well oiled. He wears leather armor with a breastplate. His black mustache lays upon a thick black beard. His head is bald. Runes and whatnot decorate his armor, breastplate and weapon.

    Pelltar introduces himself, “I am Pelltar. I understand that you have arrived by craft just ahead of the storm and are seeking me. By what means do you know me?”

    Paylea steps forward and get down upon one knee; bowing her head, “Dear Pelltar, I am Peylae, daughter of Ledego Starchaser.” At Ledego’s name you see recognition in Pelltar’s eyes but he betrays no more as his poker face returns. “My father, crew and friends have sailed here from the Pelisso Swamp seeking your assistance for we have lost our previous ship, the Nir Nen. And now, it grieves me to inform you that we have lost our captain. Captain Ledego Starchaser, friend of Pelltar the Mage, has been taken by a deep diving sea creature and freed to Arvanaith by Tathar Surion.” Pelltar looks to the Tathar Surion as he must recognize him as a Priest of Sehanine.

    Pelltar’s gaze remains on Tathar Surion for an extended period of time as if studying him. Heeding Ledego’s warning about this man’s personality, all in the group remain patient and respectful. Finally, Pelltar speaks, “I am indeed the Pelltar you seek. Ledego is known to me and it saddens me to hear of his loss. May Arvanaith bring him peace. Please, rise Peylae.”

    At his command, Peylae rises.

    Pelltar continues, “This is Abracus (blond Suel), Fliban (brown robed Suel) and Gristla (Flan). They are my pupils. And the dwarf here, this is Dalic Steelcoat. There are many threats on this island. Dalic is kind enough to make sure none of them disturbs our studies . . . ever.” The tone in Pelltar’s voice is clear, skullduggery will not be tolerated by Pelltar. “Peylae, bring the elves and come and visit me for supper this evening. I have many questions. As for the rest of you, enjoy Restenford but obey the rules. I will have no one under my care causing a ruckus or drawing attention to themselves. I will inform Baron Grellus and Baroness Fairwind of your presence in town so they may inform the town guard. You will be allowed to remain armed but do not bring forth your weapons unless defending the town from humanoid raids or similar. The drawing of weapons against anyone in town will be dealt with harshly either by the authorities or myself.”

    With that, he turns and he and the other mages walk out of the tavern. The dwarf remains stationary watching until Pelltar has left the building. In a flash, the dwarf adeptly spins the bastard sword, sheathing it in the blink of an eye. He turns and walks out of the tavern without saying a word.

    Meanwhile, Ewan McDermott spend much of his time around Duxchan seeking out and aiding homeless animals within the city. He also spent time aiding he poor and homeless. After several weeks, he was finally able to secure a ride on a Lorship of the Isles ship heading to Restenford. It was named the ‘Island Bobber’. It appears that ships to do often make Restenford a port of call. The Island Bobber appears to be a relatively local merchant that makes this route every so often to help keep Restendford supplied as requested. Ewan arrives in Restenford just prior to the group heading out on the next adventure.

    On Goodmonth the 13th, 577, after two weeks in Restenford, the group assembles at the Tavern of the West Wind to discuss future plans. Each character was located throughout the week and advised to meet here at sunset this day. Since it was at Pelltar’s request, you felt obligated to make the appearance.

    During the prior two weeks, Breymeer has spent much time in the woods; occasionally being spotted with a gorgeous red headed female. They appeared to have spent much time scouting the surrounding lands together. She did not appear at the tavern with him tonight.

    Cirdan Saralonde spent most of his free time at Pelltar’s residence.

    Ewan McDermott arrived by ship just a few days prior to the meeting.

    Grimlock also spent most of his time at Pelltar’s house. Any free time he had he spent with Peylae.

    Ide Otneaux spent her time in equipment preparation and training. She purchased a new set of studded leather armor and sharpened up her great axe.

    Kuba and Speck cleaned equipment and purveyed the local bars. During the daytime, they practiced swordplay, etc. Speck snuck out and plied his trade a few times just to keep his skills sharp.

    Southar spent the two weeks resting and taking walks in the nearby apple and cherry orchards. Southar longed for home and mentally healed from his near death experience. As the days wore on, Southar cleaned up his armor and weapons and did a little shopping for supplies. At least that is what Southar thought he was doing. In reality, his skin has dried significantly and is hardening, like a callus. His tongue is beginning to fork and his eyes have narrowed; the corneas have turned yellow. He finds himself eating meat raw and swallowing big chunks with ease. To catch a small rodent and eat it whole would please him greatly. To cover his changes from himself and the others, he purchased a great helm; keeping the visor down. He also purchased leather gloves. If asked, he claims the new additions to his armor are to protect himself as he does not want to be hit in the neck again or be poisoned by a snake bite. In addition, Southar has discovered his shield appears to have saved him from the poison on the dagger; at least to some degree. Also, he woke up one morning, having dreamed of hiding in the woods from a mysterious creature. His shield was upon his chest, he noticed that the shield, his clothing and skin had all blended into his surroundings like a chameleon. With practice, he discovers by remaining motionless for at least one minute, the chameleon powers render him nearly imperceptible. The longer he hides, the harder he is to see. He cannot get the power to work more than once per day. His shield has become very ‘precious’ to him. He is fond of it.

    Tarstar remained aboard the ship and visited the taverns. He became friends with what remains of Peylae’s crew on the Ungohling.

    Tathar spent his first week with the fletcher and the second week with the bowyer. Any free time was spent by himself in meditation.

    Now, two weeks after arrival, you stand in the Tavern of the West Wind awaiting Pelltar. As the last rays of sunlight dip below the horizon, Pelltar enters the tavern.

    Pelltar arrives with his henchmen, Dalic Steelcoat. The dwarf has a scowl on his face but Pelltar appears friendly. “Dear Peylae and friends of Ledego Starchaser,” Pelltar begins, “I have summons you here tonight at the request of Baroness Fairwind. It is not often we have such a capable group of explorers as you come into Restenford. We would be remiss if we did not at least offer to you the opportunity to assist us in a persistent problem. In speaking to many of you, I have discovered our little town has something to offer many of you if only you had greater purchasing power. I think what Baroness Fairwind has in mind will be beneficial to all involved. Therefore, at the Baroness’s request, Baron Grellus has requested your immediate attendance to a supper at his castle.”

    The door to the tavern’s common room opens and a man in his 40s of average build enters the room. He has brown hair and eyes. He wears chain mail armor and has a long sword in a scabbard at his side. He wears the badge of Captain of the Guard.

    Following him in are two other men. The first has reddish-brown hair. He is in his 30s and slightly smaller of stature than the captain although he appears to be physically stronger. He wears chain mail armor and is equipped with a long sword and a crossbow. The second man is of average build with brown hair. He wears chain mail armor and has a broad sword and a crossbow.

    The captain speaks, “I am Gelpas. Please accompany me to the castle as requested by Baron Grellus.”
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    Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:32 pm  

    The walk to the castle is a short one. Sitting upon a low rise, the castle rises well above the Tavern of the West Wind; being only 500 feet or so to the northwest.

    The area around Restenford is generally hilly. The town itself lies at a lower elevation for the area. The Xerbal Mountains climb to the north. Before them is the hill named Bald Hill for its lack of cover at the top. Two multi-peaked hills rise to the west and northwest. Behind the southerly hill can be seen the much higher Bone Hill; climbing nearly 1400 feet in height.
    The group passes by a small wooden structure advertising the sale of preserved foods. Just west, past the corner where the party turns north for the final uphill climb to the castle, is the local carpenter’s shop. It is also a small framed building.

    As the group approaches the castle, each can’t miss the most striking feature of the castle. A single tower rises from the SW corner. The three level tower has an open walkway at the third floor. The tower roof crests over 40 feet in height; higher than any other structure within the castle grounds.

    The outer walls of the castle are 20 feet high and embrasured. The front gate is in the lowered position (like a drawbridge) and the portcullis is raised.

    Captain Gelpas leads the group through the threshold and into the courtyard. Several trees, consisting of cherry and other flowing varieties, adorn the courtyard, one on each side of the gate and several near the entrance to the castle itself, one on the south side of the doorway and four on the north. They are well manicured. A paths lead both left and right to ladders at the southwest and southeast corners. The ladders lead to the walkways on the inside of the castle wall embrasurements.

    There is a small stable to the immediate left. The smell of hay and horse fills the air.

    A wider path leads north into the courtyard. It has large gardens on both sides. To the left is vegetables and to the right is a beautiful and fragrant flower garden. The path leads to the guardhouse in the northwest corner and the castle building itself in the northeast corner. The castle building is canted 90 degrees to the path. The main entrance is to the west of the building on the southwest corner.

    A butler meets you at the door and the captain greets him warmly, “Good evening Gevies.”

    “Good evening Captain Gelpas. Our supper guests I presume?” Gevies opens the door. “Baron Grellus requests an audience in the Throne Room.”

    You enter the castle into a small meeting hall. It is adorned with a table and a few chairs along with a mirror. The family crest is displayed upon a tapestry hanging on the southern wall.

    Pelltar speaks to Gevies, “Is everyone here?” Gevies nods in the affirmative before Pelltar continues, “I will take my place then. Dalic, please accompany the party inside when directed.”

    Dalic gives a near imperceptible nod and then eyes the group making no attempt at niceties.

    Pelltar and the guards enter the throne room. Within a few minutes, Gevies’ opens the door and leads you into the room. Directly after walking through the door is a nearly 30 foot long, high arched hallway. It is lined on each side by alternating decretive banners and shields on the outer wall and portraits on the inner wall. The portraits appear to be male figures of the Grellus bloodline.

    At the end of the hall is a small throne room, twenty feet deep by fifteen feet wide. The ceiling remains a high arch. A broad dais of three short steps is against the eastern wall. On the top step are two chairs. Occupying the first chair, to the group’s left, is Baron Grellus, a man in his 40s of large build (over 6 feet and 200 lbs). He has brown hair and a brown beard. His eyes are blue. He wears chain mail underneath a royal robe. The second chair contains Baroness Fairwind. She has long brown hair and brown eyes. She is also in her 40s and is tall and slim (5-8 and 110 lbs). She wears a royal gown. Over the gown, she has a golden necklace with some type of pyramid shaped object attached to it. The bottom 2/3 of the pyramid are yellow gold while the top 1/3 is white gold.
    On the second step are two more chairs set farther out than the baron and baroness. The chair on the group’s right is a young lady. She is obviously the baronette. She is in her late teens, of similar build as her mother with the same long brown hair and brown eyes. Like her mother, she is dressed in a royal gown. To the group’s left, sits Pelltar.

    On the third step are two more chairs, again set farther out than the baronette and Pelltar. To the party’s left is an older man, possibly in his 50s or 60s. He appears to be strong and in good health. He is dressed in a simple rust red tunic over brown leggings. To the party’s right is an obvious religious man. He wears chain mail armor and has a light robe over his armor with a symbol depicting a winged human silhouette. He appears to be the abbot from the nearby Abbey of Phaulkon (the second largest stone structure in town).

    The group enters and forms to lines in front of the dais. Cirdan Saralonde gives a bow. Other members of the party give their own form of royal acknowledgement. Once the captain sees everyone has given respect to the throne, he and the guards move to the hallway entrance and stand guard behind the party.

    Baron Grellus, appearing somewhat annoyed, welcomes the group, “Welcome to Restenford. It is a pleasure to have your company.” His words do not carry any warmth. “Baroness Fairwind, having the needs of our town in mind and with my blessing, has a task that is suited for a group such as yourself.”

    Baron Grellus looks to the Baroness and she takes up where he left off, “Our town has always faced threats from humanoid invaders. We have always met those challenges and overcome them. Our town has never fallen. We employ many talented scouts and guards but we do not have the resources to send out strike forces against known enemy compounds. Abbot Qualton,” she nods towards the man in front of the baronette, “has grown concerned about increasing rumors of hauntings near the ruins on Bone Hill. In addition, Pelltar has studied what history exists for the ruin and has concerns a necromancer may be establishing a stronghold in the castle. To top it all off, travelers are reporting sighting large orcs upon Bone Hill. A necromancer with orc henchmen, I will not stand for that sort of abomination taking root so close by. It would endanger our moral little town. ”

    “Captain Gelpas,” Fairwind continues, “please fetch Yalta.”

    The captain walks down the hallway to the outer hall. He returns leading a man in chain mail armor walking with a staff. The man displays a necklace and with a golden triangle shaped symbol. It is the same as the one the baroness wears.

    The man identified as Yalta walks into the throne room and bows deeply, “At your service Baron Grellus and Baroness Fairwind. May Restenford be peaceful and the days of your rule be many numbered.”
    Baroness Fairwind addresses Yalta, “Priest of Jascar, Abbot Qualton has been a most wonderful moral guide and protector for Restenford and he and his clerics deserve the thanks of all.” With than, Abbot Qualton looks back and the baroness and gives a thankful nod. As Baroness Fairwind continues to speak, it appears Abbot Qualton steals a brief glance at the baronette before returning his gaze towards the occupied hall, “The protections and healing powers of Phaulkon have never been withheld. But at times like this, we must turn our attention to the strength of Jascar.” Yalta bows.

    Baroness Fairwind now addresses the invited guests, “Dear visitors, you have nothing yet invested in our town and have no obligation to assist us in our problems. Understanding that, I ask you to undertake a quest in the name of the Baron. We have long been plagued by orcs and other humanoids. Having a threat established so close to town is unacceptable and action must be taken. I ask that you travel to Bone Hill and investigate the rumors we have heard. If you encounter orcs, you shall order them to leave in the name of Baron Grellus. If they refuse, remove them by force. If they prove to be too large of a force, return at once and we shall send runners to nearby communities for aid. Should you find a necromancer has indeed established a lair within the ruin, eliminate any living dead creatures you encounter and either kill or capture the necromancer.”

    Baroness Fairwind outlines the contract, “Should you accept this offer, you will each be paid 100 gp for the abandonment of the orc camp or the sundering of said camp should they refuse to leave. In the event there is a necromancer, your group shall be paid 5gp for each undead put to rest. The necromancer shall net your group 500gp dead or alive. Your bounties shall not be subject to tax. In addition to the bounties, you may keep any treasure you find with the understanding it is subject to 15% tax for the Barony of Restenford and our liege in Loreltarma. Please be warned, any tax evasion will be considered treason and be punishable by death.”

    Baron Grellus speaks again, “Priest Yalta, should the party accept, take Carlton, Weber, Fraunk and Villie as men at arms along with one of the Restenford Rangers. Lead them to Bone Hill and set up a basecamp. Ensure the colors of the barony are flown at the basecamp. From there, you shall keep a tally of their bounty and receipts for taxation.”

    Baron Grellus asks the group, “Accept or decline, each of you speak your answer, how say you?”
    Adept Greytalker

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    Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:37 pm  

    Dalic Steelcoat looks to Pelltar who tips his head in approval.

    As Dalic and Pelltar are exchanging glances, Tathar is the first to voice his thoughts. In fact, Tathar Surion speaks in a bold voice which catches those that know him by surprise. "Undead creatures are an abomination to Sehanine! I will go myself, if I must, but if I know my companions, I will not be alone!"

    “Aye.” And with that, it appears Dalic has volunteered.

    Cirdan Saralonde gives a low bow, "Tathar Surion, priest of Sehanine, after how you have served this party, and Ledego, I could not dream of letting you go alone."

    Kuba addresses the Baron, "My lord. Thank you for all your hospitality. The peace found here in Restenford has been much enjoyed. I accept these terms and will do what I can to rid your Barony of this threat."

    Speck listens to Kuba's words and nods. "I have found security with my large friend here. Where he goes I go." Not wanting to forget his manners, Speck adds, "Oh, and thank you my lord and my lady."

    Breymeer accepts readily.

    Grimlock, using as much grace and etiquette as he can muster, points out, “My exalted Baron, the undead are of the most vile creations, having more strengths than weaknesses. As much as I am excited about the challenge of this foe, I dare say I am completely ill equipped to dispatch them by any means other than normal steel. In your great wisdom, surely you already know the durability of the undead and have acquired the necessary empowered arsenal in which to dispatch them. All I ask is that my companions and I be granted access, as payment or simply to use, this arsenal so we can service these vial creatures in your honor. They would most assuredly be returned upon completion of this quest if desired. The matter of the orcs is of a routine task for us.”

    Grimlock’s request is not well received. The Baron's face flashes anger and remains flush. He controls his tone and answers coldly, "My arsenal is of no concern of yours." He continues to regain control and more politely offers, "I am certain the Abbot or the Priest of Jascar would be able to secure some holy water for the group."

    Both the abbot and the priest answer in the affirmative.

    The rest of the party accept the Baron’s offer.

    The Baroness now speaks, “Yalta and I calculate you can make the journey to Bone Hill within one day if you don’t tarry. You shall embark on this mission at first light tomorrow. Meet in the castle courtyard. Take the south road around the Pebble Hills and through Kelman Pass. You should be able to reach the Dead Forest just after nightfall. At your discretion, you may either continue on that evening or await morning. The castle guard will await your return at the edge of the Dead Forest until noon the following day. For their safety, if you have not returned by then, they will begin the march back home; camping at Kelman Pass that second evening.”

    The Baron closes the evening, “You are now invited to dine. Alas, the Baroness and I have business to attend to and will be unable to join. Our daughter, Andrella, shall be your host.”

    Andrella escorts the group to the dining hall where she takes a seat at the head of the mahogany table and each of you takes ranks along the long excepting Cirdan Saralonde. He is given the table end opposite Andrella. The table is set with silver. The Captain of the Guard remains at the door. He keeps a keen eye on the Baron’s possessions; most especially the daughter. None of the other dignitaries join the meal and Andrella keeps the conversation light, not speaking of anything other than the weather and how pleasant the town is. If anything, she gives away a few ideas she has to improve some of the civic items in town when she becomes baroness; each of them hinting at a more orderly and structured approach to things.
    Doing as instructed, you return and prepare, packing gear, etc. On the way back to the tavern, you pay a visit to the preserved food shop, purchasing a week of food. At the tavern, you may fill your waterskin with wine or water.

    The day of departure is Goodmonth 14, 577. The wind is mild and the temps are in the 70s.

    The group rolls out before sunrise and meets at the castle courtyard. Large torches burn marking the front gate as well as the interior walls. Within, the four castle guards are mounting their war horses. Each horse protected by leather armor and wearing a saddle blanket with the Baron’s crest. The castle guards are as follows:
    1. Carlton, a human male wearing chain mail. He carries a broadsword and has a very well made longbow. He appears stronger than most men.
    2. Weber, a human male wearing chain mail. He has a broadsword and a longbow.
    3. Fraunk, a human male wearing chain mail. He has a long sword and a longbow. He also appears strong but not so much as Carlton.
    4. Villie, an elven male wearing leather armor. He carries a long sword and long bow.

    Brett, a stablehand, is mounted atop a cart attached to a draft horse. On the cart appears to be a tent, foodstuffs and couple of chests. A true government operation.

    The abbot stands next to the cart. He removes the lid on one of the chests. It contains vials of holy water, one for each of you. He hands them out, “I will not be accompanying you on this quest but may Phaulkon bless your journey and may his water destroy the living dead.” <Add a vial of holy water to each of your possessions.>

    Yalta is present. He wears his chain mail armor and carries a shield and staff. At his hip is a warhammer.

    Dalic Steelcoat arrived prior to the group. He is dressed in his leather armor with a breastplate. He has his sword and shield. He holds the lead rope of a pony.

    Breymeer appears to be peering around as it looking for someone or something. Not appearing to find what he desired, he looks glum.

    The Baron and Baroness bid you well wishes and fare the well.

    The mass of men, horses and a cart moves out of the castle and over the stone bridge nearest the lake. Along the way, the common folk, fisherman and farmer alike, appear in the street and wave you on.

    Passing the abbey, Abbot Qualton drops off and he waves goodbye and godspeed.

    Leaving town, you cannot help but smell the fish merchant (#27) before passing the final two shacks.

    The group pauses at the guardpost and wooden palisade that surrounds the south and west edges of town. The guardpost appears unmanned. As the party walks through the palisade, a female voice greets you, “I am Belina of the Restenford Rangers. I shall be your guide.” She is an extremely attractive red headed Suel woman. She wears studded leather armor and carries a shield, scimitar, sickle, small axe and a short bow.

    At the sight of Belina, Breymeer’s glum face glows with happiness, “Belina!” he can’t help but exclaim. He quickly blushes but continues to smile at her. Belina in return appears happy in his company.

    The south road first travels north around Kelman Woods and the Pebble Hills section of the Kelman Hills. The hills are quite rocky and boulders are common. Grasses grow in clumps as do the bushes. Large sections of the hills are sandy or rocky with no plant growth whatsoever. There are a few small corpses of trees. Kelman Woods consists of evergreens, oaks and laurels.

    The sun is still behind the eastern mountains as the group passes the edge of Kelman woods. Quickly the woods surrenders to the more barren hills.
    Belina scouts ahead of the group out of sight with Breymeer. He refused to let her go alone drawing suspicion from the castle guards.

    Southar, usually wanting to travel with Breymeer, instead takes rear guard, dropping behind the group.

    The castle guards lead the caravan, one of them unfurling a banner and raising it upon a standard.

    Following the guard is the stable boy and the cart. Walking next to the cart is Yalta.

    Behind the cart is Dalic riding his pony.

    The rest of the group ambles behind with Southar by himself in the rear.

    The road follows the Restin River until it splits in the eastern and western branch. From here, the road parallels the western branch. Yalta occasionally gives out information in regards to the area geography or politics. According to Yalta, on the north side of the river is the road to Kroten, home of Duke of Kroten. He is the next closest nobleman other than the mayor of Farmin outside of Loreltarma.

    The first leg of the day’s journey is uneventful. The group takes a lunch at the base of the Kelman Hills, just east of Kelman Pass. Here the group is able to look upon the river and Dweomer Forrest beyond.

    The Dweomer Forest consists of oak, beech, elm and ash with a few laurel leaf trees on the southern border facing you. Yalta informs you there is a church within the forest dedicated to Norebo, the Suel god of chance. He informs you they are peaceful but it is best for good moral folk to avoid such uncertainties. He adds, “But in time of great need, they could be an ally.”

    The group takes the southerly turn after noon, passing through Kelman Pass. The hills and depressions to the north are all grass covered with some bushes and rock outcroppings popping up every so often (about every 50 to 300 feet). Small stands of trees dot the hills. Several larger stands of trees do exist on the hills; the largest being Reddy Forest. This forest is similar to others. One notes there is a stand of walnut trees near the base of Low Point Hill.

    Evening is setting in by the time the group comes upon the small woods south of Low Point. Clouds have set in and them temperate has dropped into the 60s. The wind has picked up to a steady breeze that carries a light mist.

    The clouds have darkened the sky but within the trees, it appears much darker. “Just beyond this corpse of trees is a clearing before reaching the Dead Forest. We can camp there for the night. The clearing is nearly a mile wide and should provide us with adequate warning should something strike. It is then only another mile into the Dead Forest where the trail heads uphill to the old ruins. From there, you are on your own.”

    The small woods, only about two miles square, appears much bigger as darkness sets in. Yalta takes a lantern from the gear and lights it. He hands it to the stable boy who mounts it upon the cart.

    A lone wolf howls from the vicinity of Spring Glade. By the sounds, it is some mile or more away.

    “There is a small spring fed lake up there,” informs Yalta. “See those really tall trees? The lake lies at their base.” He points to the valley between Tri-Top and the next hill north where the trees reach a height of nearly 100 feet on the eastern side of the lake. Although you cannot see the lake, the trees are a given landmark.

    The castle guards prepare to head into the woods.
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    Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:39 pm  

    <Dalic and Grimlock had a private conversation>

    Dalic to Grimlock - Dalic approaches Grimlock privately and offers, "Grimlock, of tha Ungohling! I share your concern of tha living dead. From me preparin's I bring another vial of tha magix water. It sha' be yours, Grimlock Ungohling, should ye offer this humble Dwarf one favor for the morn shou' he need it. I be sent to aid you and yours but hab' tasks assigned to me from me master and may wan' some help. Take it and remember tha gif' kindly should ye find me in need."

    Grimlock to Dalic - I would accept provided u do not challenge my honor with any request that would be dishonorable to my companions or put them in unnecessary peril.

    Dalic to Grimlock - I would not do such a distasteful thin'. I have been given a task to retrieve a book for tha great Pelltar. I may indeed call upon ya shou' tha task prove more difficult than I expect. I warn ye an' ye may inform the others: do not open or read tha book. It be bound with black leather an' be dangerous. <confidently hands the vial to Grimlock>

    Grimlock to Dalic - Fair enough.

    Breymeer and Belina enter the forest first and continue their scouting. The rest of the caravan follows suit. The forest is dark and foreboding. The wind is less and the trees are protection from the drizzle but the closeness feels stuffy.

    The energy level of the group is waning after the all day march. It takes nearly two hours to get through the forest. The feeling of relief is shared amongst the group as the trees give way to the clearing between this little forest and the Dead Forest. The wind and the misty drizzle return immediately upon leaving the woods. Because of the rain, camp is set at the edge of the trees.

    Dalic volunteers to take first watch, ‘I be guessin' the best vision at night be mine. I will take tha first hour's watch whil' tha clouds darken tha camp most.” His voice is as kind as you have heard it, if not thoughtful.

    Tathar also volunteers but Dalic cuts him off with a very stern voice, cold and near a whisper, “It is done! I watch first, or note further disagreements to mem'ry.”

    Tathar, not feeling the need to push the testy dwarf, agrees to take second watch. Tathar instead sets about meditating.

    Ide Otneaux bids for third watch and Villie bids for fourth. As such, the remaining watches are filled and everyone begins to make camp.

    The soldiers set up a tent and a fire is built. The horses are relieved of their loads and allowed to graze. A spike is driven and each horse tied on a long rope.

    Dalic ties his pony to the cart and begins his watch by foraging for food around the perimeter of the camp. Finding nothing overly appealing, he sets himself near the trail watching the surrounding forest. Once his watch is complete, he rolls his blanket out under the wagon and goes to sleep as Tathar collects some rocks and climbs a tree overlooking the camp and trail.

    The occasional wolf howl is all that is encountered during the night. Each time, the cry comes from the east in the Srping Glade or Tri-Top area. Each time, it sounds far off.

    The morning of Goodmonth 15th arrives. It is still in the 60s but promises to climb back into the mid 70s. The moderate breeze has blown the clouds and rain away.

    As the group has a breakfast of preserved foods, plans are made. Yalta advises it is only about two miles to the trail that leads to the old ruin. Since camp is already formed, this will be the basecamp. The Restenford Ranger, Belina, and the baron’s soldiers will be remaining at camp along with Peylae. In addition, Peylae requests Ide Otneaux to remain behind for extra muscle in the event of problems. Peylae’s crew remained at the ship although Tarstar ventured with her here.

    Yalta addresses the adventurers, “I share your dislike for the undead, Tathar Surion. I will accompany you to the ruin in Ide Otneaux’s stead. In this manner, I can vouch for your accomplishments. Should there be walking dead and a necromancer, I shall be giving them no quarter.” Yalta taps his hammer at his side. It is a beautiful item, obviously made for combat with mountainous landscapes etched into it. “If the orcs refuse to leave in peace, they shall receive Jascar’s fury as well.”

    Once gear is packed and prepared, the group sets out. It is yet early morning, near 0800 hrs.

    It is a short and uneventful trek across the one mile wide clearing. The Dead Forest rests at the foot of Bone Hill and climbs the southern end of it for several miles. The forest is as the others you have passed through except there appears to be none of the normal forest critters. Here, the occasional buzz of a wasp or slithering of a snake is the norm.

    Bone Hill itself rises over 1400 feet. On top, on this clear day, the remains of a ruined castle can be seen, especially by the keen eyed elves. The hill is rocky with several large boulders scattered about every 1/8 to ¼ mile or so. Many of these boulders reach diameters of 10 feet or greater. The top of the hill near the keep appears to be relatively flat. Once clear of the forest, the hill appears to have wild grasses and shrubs. Near the top, the vegetation stops.

    Breymeer spots the old trail that once lead to the keep. It wanders up the hill through the forest. The trail is now unkept and difficult to see. The forest itself has very little signs of animal trails or paths other than the old trail Breymeer is attempting to follow. The forest has some underbrush and bushes but movement looks to be relatively easy albeit uphill. Visibility is limited in the forest to between 50 and 300 feet depending on ground cover and tree density.
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    Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:56 pm  

    The group moves slow but steady up the hill. Ewan McDermott struggles and the large man pants slightly during the continual uphill climb. Ewan, upon seeing a small slithering snake, whispers to it in what appears to be a hushed hissing sound. The snake studies him and moves on. <Ewan is able to speak with a snake momentarily. Your kind have not passed here to its knowledge. Very rarely it has seen very tall two legged dogs similar to your kind nearer to the road. Good food is scarce (ie mice, etc). It does not know anything about the top of the hill.>

    Breymeer takes advantage of the slow moving group to take extra time to study what the forest may tell him. He keeps generally to the trail so as not to lose it. It appears the trail is not often used. Breymeer keeps about 100 feet ahead of the group often moving with stealth among the trees and brush.

    Yalta attempts to follow Breymeer’s guidance. If Yalta appears to be veering off too far, Breymeer appears long enough to correct his course.

    Yalta walks with his staff and shield.

    Just behind Yalta walks Kuba, carrying his sword and shield, and Speck with his short sword.

    Ewan walks next. He appears very happy to be out of doors.

    The elves are next with the full blooded elves just ahead of the half-elven Grimlock. Tathar, with his bow, Cirdan, empty handed, and Grimlock, crossbow, all walk generally together. Dalic, the dwarf, walks to the left of them, seeming to stay somewhat near Grimlock.

    Tarstar walks behind the elves and dwarf. Being more fleet of foot than Ewan buys Tarstar amble opportunities to give a little dance here and there.

    Southar brings up the rear. His shield hung nearby at his side and his bow in hand. He moves behind the group in similar fashion as Breymeer; only occasionally appearing to confirm the rear is secure.

    Breymeer, his attention focused on the forest floor for a moment too long, looks up to see he has mistakenly identified a large bolder. Just 150 feet in front of him is a mammoth sized wasp nest, roughly 15 feet around. It is strung between several trees giving it the initial deception of sprouting from the ground behind the trees. He only now identifies it correctly as a giant wasp, all of three feet long, walks out of the hive and begins to fly in Breymeer's direction at a fast rate of closure. The high pitch of the whirring wings reaches the remainder of the group behind Breymeer catching them by surprise. Southar is yet too far back to be cognizant of the danger facing the group.

    Breymeer, very quick on his reaction to the wasp, stops and raises his arm to the group in attempts to prevent their attack. Unfortunately, several members of the group are also reacted very quickly and the sound of bowstrings being released fills the air.

    Grimlock’s crossbow snaps forward sending its bolt into the wasp’s thorax (7, 12/19).

    Tathar, having his bow in hand, fires two arrows at the wasp with blinding speed. The first strikes the wasp at the same time as the crossbow quarrel (4, 8/19). The second flies clear and sails out into the woods.

    The wasp flies up to Breymeer, somewhat clumsy now, for a wasp, as it has a bolt and an arrow sticking out of it, and lands on him. It attempts to bite his head and neck but Breymeer, with his right arm, was able to hold its head back far enough to avoid injury. The wasp attempts to jab Breymeer in the guts with its stinger. Breymeer, no stranger to woodland creatures, was able to parry the blow with his bow.

    Speck stows his sword and goes for his bow. By the time Speck has his bow out, the wasp is upon Breymeer. Speck holds for a clear shot. Speck, with arrow nocked, holds his fire, watching the nest.

    Breymeer attempts to keep the stinger away with his bow while groping for his axe with his free hand. Finding it, he hacks the creature in its belly (3, 5/19).

    Dalic moves up to the front of the group, next to Yalta, and prepares for a defense.

    Grimlock the sniper, takes a slow, careful bead with his crossbow. He inhales deeply and lets it out slowly. The moment he runs out of air, he pulls the trigger. The bolt flies true, striking the creature in the head just six inches above Breymeer’s head (7, -2/19). The wasp flips backwards onto the ground and quivers on its back then stops moving altogether.

    “Bralm what do you hinder us so?” exclaims Yalta. “Jascar has a higher purpose here. We mean your wasps no harm. Please call them off.” He raises his shield in defense and grips his hammer. <The characters that were at the Suel basecamp in the Pelisso Swamp remember a pretty female priest named Noli that gave you the healing medication to clear you of flukes, etc. She wore robes with bees on them. Bralm is the Suel deity of insects and industriousness, etc. Revered by laborers, etc.>

    Ewan McDermott pleads with the group, “Back away and move around this nest. Get far enough away and they will not harm us.”

    The remainder of the group, alert and prepared, wait to see what happens next.

    Breymeer turns to the group as if to say something. There is blood on his abdomen where the wasp has stung him deeply (2 damage sting, 15 damage poison, 6 hrs paralysis 17, 30/47). Breymeer is unable to speak and goes limp as a boned fish. He falls to the ground unmoving. Breymeer feels the sting from the wasp just before it is shot dead off of him. He turns to tell the group not to attack the animals when the poison kicks in, shooting pain through his body. At the same time, Breymeer realizes he has lost control of his limbs and he falls to the ground paralyzed.

    The wasp nest breaks into a frenzy. Several wasps begin pouring out of it and flying around then nest. It appears there is at least four that came out with others to follow.

    Grimlock throws some powder into the air ahead of himself while speaking to himself, a long column of mist gathers ahead of the group. It continues to grow dense. Thickening from transparent, to translucent until finally blocking all vision through it. The column begins directly ahead of the front rank and extends nearly to Breymeer.

    Grimlock instructs, “Use the fog for cover. The wasps should avoid it.”

    Dalic charges forward into the fog, “Fall back! I will retrieve Breymeer!” Dalic disappears from view as soon as he enters the thickening fog.

    Cirdan Saralonde and Tathar Surion both move forward into the fog and quickly fade from sight.

    The wasps continue to fly frantically in the area of their nests. Some of them are aloft and some are simply moving about the exterior of the nest. There now appears to be over a half dozen wasps outside of the nest. The ones flying appear to be moving in arcs farther and farther away from the nest. They have moved about 25 feet from the nest so far.

    The group splits.

    Grimlock moves to his left and takes cover behind a low bushy tree.

    Ewan, Tarstar and Yalta begin to flank the hive to the right. Ewan’s intent is to take a wide berth and hopefully avoid any more encounters with the wasps.

    Kuba and Speck join Cirdan and Tathar in the fog. The human and halfling find the elves who report Dalic is going for Breymeer.

    The wasps are staying on the far side of the fog; towards their nest. They are not attacking Grimlock, anyone in the fog or the flanking group.

    Dalic moves out to Breymeer and hoists him onto his shoulder. As Dalic plods towards the safety of the fog, a wasp comes diving out of the air striking Breymeer. It bites Breymeer in the right arm (5, 25/47) and buries its stinger into his right side (6, 19/47 plus minor bleed, poison 13, 6/47 plus paralysis for 4 hrs). Dalic carries Breymeer into the edge of the fog at which time the wasp departs. Here, Dalic sheaths his sword, re-grips Breymeer and begins making his way back towards the group at the edge of the fog. <Breymeer’s bow and axe were left behind.>

    Ewan McDermott, now puffing as he moves to the right flank, calls one more time to the group, “They should not follow us far from the nest. Breymeer has been recovered! Fall back and move around the flank.” Yalta and Tarstar are with him.

    Kuba, Speck, Cirdan and Tathar are yet standing in the fog near each other on the end farthest away from the nest. The whir of wings is in the air but it appears to be on the far edge of the fog, towards the nest.

    Dalic, it is assumed, has Breymeer and is in the fog somewhere as well.

    Grimlock remains near the scrubby low tree.

    Those not in the fog can see the wasps are still frenzied but are mainly staying by the hive with a few venturing out as far as the end of the fogbank near where Breymeer once laid. Breymeer has been recovered. Dalic appears to have darted out and retrieved him at some point during the confusion.

    The elves, Kuba and Speck hear Dalic’s approach as he is grunting his way along. In the heavy fog, Dalic passes by closely but unseen.

    Cirdan, Tathar, Kuba and Speck, guarding against any possible attack, break out of the fog behind Dalic. Grimlock also breaks cover, heading for Ewan’s location.

    There is a collective disbelief for a moment at it appears Breymeer’s body, being face down and slumped in the center as if being carried in the wounded soldier “Fireman’s carry” position, floats about three feet above the ground. Only, there is no body below Breymeer carrying him.
    Breymeer floats his way towards Ewan McDermott who has stopped moving. Tarstar and Yalta wait with Ewan.

    Grimlock, Cirdan, Tathar, Kuba and Speck all overtake Breymeer as they reach Ewan.

    Breymeer is lowered to the ground and placed on his back. Grimlock begins searching for injuries, finding two large punctures to his abdomen. One injury looks as if it only just stopped bleeding. Grimlock breaks out some bandages and herbs; using them to bandage Breymeer’s wounds.
    Breymeer is alive, stable and breathing. He is, however, limp as a boned fish and completely unresponsive.

    The wasps have begun to retreat back to their nest and dart to and fro near it. No further attacks look immanent.
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    Tue Mar 10, 2015 5:45 pm  

    Tathar kneels next to Grimlock and lays hands upon Breymeer, praying for some healing (+8, 14/47). His injuries close some but he remains unresponsive.

    Cirdan Saralonde thanks Tathar Surion and then, speaking to the open air for he cannot yet see Dalic, thanks Dalic as well.

    Grimlock, after assessing the wounds, predicts, “He will need a day to recover. He is at greater risk with us at this point. We should return him to base camp. We can head back out after we drop him back at base camp. At the very least, we can scout the region until he is well enough to get back to his bill in an alchemist shop again.”

    Footsteps approach and Dalic, still unseen, voices his opinion in his stern thick dwarven accent, "It be not far back to camp. Someone ta drag him back whilst tha rest ta outpost nearer tha ruin. I be recon tha p'rimeter whilin' not be seen. Nae mor'in threes ta 'company the fallen ta camp. Return ta outpost fer'n regroupin' as soon be realistic. We needn't take tha ruin this day if'n it be dark soon at regroup. Hab' we a sneakin' archer ta 'company yer Dwarf on recon? It be daft me goin' alone from tha outpost."

    Speck, appearing to understand him, volunteers to scout with Dalic and translates for the group, “I think he said he wants a few of the group to drag Breymeer back to basecamp while the rest of us move up and set up an outpost near the ruin. From there, the dwarf wants a sneaky archer to accompany him on a recon. Once we are all back together, we can head into the ruin; today or tomorrow.”

    Cirdan Saralonde’s opinion is to head back to base camp and rest today; heading back to the ruin early tomorrow.

    Yalta puts forth his opinion, “I will not waiver. One man is not the party and he yet lives anyway. Sending him back to the basecamp will lesson our burden. We are only two hours out from basecamp. Send someone back who can track our progress and catch up again. We can hold at the edge of the Dead Wood for this hill is cleared upon the top. Dalic’s recon idea is sound, especially since he cannot be seen. I have no doubt the little halfling can sneak along with him in near invisibility himself. The Baron’s men are only waiting until tomorrow and then they are leaving. I would like to sack this ruin and accompany them back with the necromancer’s head as a trophy for Jascar! The Baron did not hire a bunch of bold warriors who waiver in the face of danger, pray tell. Who is with me?” The priest of Jascar appears to have a bit of a fanatical look about him at the moment.

    Tarstar chooses to continue to the ruin.

    Grimlock as well.

    Tathar offers, “I am as quiet as any other elf, and as handy with a bow. I will not turn back now, with the filth of undead possibly so near. I will accompany Dalic.”

    “You have my sword!” responds Dalic to Yalta.

    Cirdan addresses Kuba and Southar, “I am freakishly strong for an elf. I will help carry Breymeer back to camp if Southar, or some other with the skill, will lead the way there and back.”

    Southar consents to lead the rescue element.

    Ewan will continue on with the scout group as long as it promises to take a more cautious demeanor towards animals. The wasp attack, in his mind, could have been handled a little better but Ewan is very thankful the group retreated when it could.

    So it is that Kuba and Cirdan take turns bearing the burden of Breymeer as Southar scouts the return to basecamp. Their return trip is uneventful; arriving back at basecamp just before the passing of the noon sun. They brief Peylae of the injuries and the setback. Peylae reports it has been all quiet at camp. The away team returns to woods to relocate the scout team. The return trip in uneventful as well as Southar correctly finds the forest trail and the wasp nest, safely guiding around it. The away team rejoins the group in the early afternoon, approximately 1400 hrs.

    The remaining members of the group circle widely around the wasp nest attempting to return to the old forest path. The group is unable to reacquire the path but does find the forest edge within about one half hour. The group sees they are near the northern tip of the Dead Woods, having strayed a little too far north. The ruins are due west of the group.

    The scout team, Dalic, Grimlock, Speck and Tathar move quietly away from the woodline and sneak among the boulders, scrubs and bushes as they ascend the hill. The half-elf, halfling and elf are near silent as they move stealthily among the grass, shrubs and rocks. Dalic finds it easy to see why elves are so hard to defeat in their woodland homes. They move like assassins. Dalic, although unseen, sounds like thundering cattle to the elves and halfling although in reality, he is moving near silent to the his dwarven ears. Near the top, Dalic moves off by himself to scout the ruins.
    He returns safely to the scout team and they return to the group, arriving in the mid-afternoon, near 1530 hrs.

    The away team reports all is quiet and well at the basecamp.

    The scout team reports the hill continues to be rocky with occasional boulders and rock outcroppings appearing at roughly one-eighth to one-quarter mile intervals. Many of the boulders and outcroppings are large enough to hide a mounted knight. The hill itself is covered with wild grasses and shrubs growing from its base to nearly 1200 feet. Above the 1200 foot mark, there is no vegetation. The keep is at about 1400 foot elevation. The hill levels off around the ruin and the flat area is devoid of boulders, shrubs, etc. The flat, clear area extends a little more than one-half mile around the ruined keep.

    Further, Dalic reports the keep itself has several areas of outer wall that have collapsed or been compromised. There is one weak point or hole per side. The keep appears to have one large tower on the outer wall in the northeast corner. The keep is built along the western side of the keep with the open courtyard on the eastern side. There are several rotting siege engines near the keep. A burned tower is outside the northern wall, a battering ram near the hole on the eastern wall and a catapult sits about 400 feet south of the southern wall; directly south of the hole in the southern wall. The only activity Dalic noticed on his quick perusal was a lone bugbear hidden in the rubble of the damaged north wall. It was actively watching the northern slope.

    Yalta reminds the group that undead may not react the same to your weapons as the living, “One must bash skeleton’s bones and cut zombies to pieces. If we find something more sinister than that, may Jascar help us.”

    Kuba begins rummaging for a study cugal. Speck, seeing this as a good idea, follows suit. Each of them finds a sturdy enough club in short order.

    Southar proposes, “We need to take out the ssscout. We could sssend a group to capture the bugbear for information. An invisible mage armed with a sssleep ssspell ssshould work. We could sssend a couple of rougesss for protection in case sssomething happensss. Sssounds like a good idea?” Southar has a discernable lisp.

    Ewan McDermott suggests the group sneak up among the grasses, bushes and rocks until they get as close as they can without fear of being seen. From there, the mage and rogues can be sent forth.

    Dalic proposes his idea, "I ken sneak up on yon scout and dismiss 'im outrigh'. I be 'frai tho, I yud lose mine edge of invisibility. I'd be needin' cover for the return to group after dispatchin' said ssscout." His lisp at the end clearly mocking Southar. "Tha buggybear be near to an entry we may well use immediately. Tha simple way dis simple dwarf sees it be take tha ruin hard or pick it off sneaky-like. We hab a sniper here. Mayin we be take that buggybear out from afar an' I leadin point wher'n I yet can't be seen. Them walls be holdin' a buggyboo or two or'n maybe a army a'dead thins. Aren't be knowin' 'till I gets inside. I be yet corrected by tha spittin Southar. A sssleep ssspell mayin' yet be a good'n. I, for me, say tak'er 'ard. Yet Pelltar be far mad iff'n ya all be dead walkin' home."

    Yalta offers his services, “By the power and blessings of Jascar, I can take a few of you with me unseen. No more than three. Everything will seems distorted but you must have trust. You will be able to move and remain unseen. When we get to the castle, you will be able to walk right through the castle wall as if it didn’t exit. Just do not tarry there, for if my power fades and you are within the wall, you will be lost to us . . . maybe forever. Who wishes to go with me?”

    Grimlock, Kuba, Cirdan and Tathar all volunteer.

    Tarstar says he will, “Dance his way through the shadows.”

    Speck will join Tarstar.

    Grimlock, seeing too many volunteers going with Yalta, bows out and joins the Tarstar and Speck.

    Ewan, not being fit enough for a half mile sprint, will remain hidden until it is clear the group has reached the castle. He will then attempt the crossing.

    Southar, having some skill at sneaking himself, is torn between joining Tarstar or staying back and protecting Ewan. He finally decides to stay back with Ewan. The cover available on the approach to the castle is minimal and he fears he may draw attention to the group as they sneak forward.

    The group has a quick meal and refreshes itself. Several members collect up a few wooden cudgels and Tathar grabs a makeshift staff before moving away from the edge of the Dead Woods and sneaking its way up the hill; hiding among boulders, scrub and grass.

    From the woodline, it appears to be about four miles to the keep, all uphill. The group moves at the speed of the Dalic and Speck’s short legs making Ewan very happy. The group reaches the base of the hill quickly and begins its climb. A little over an hour and a half, the group is half way up the hill and still finding good cover. After a little less than 3 hours, the group reaches the edge of cover and rests; now just over half mile from the keep. Their slow speed and stealth appears to have gotten them here unnoticed. There appears to be about 3 hours of sunlight remaining in the day.

    The castle walls are crenulated, as well as the main tower upper level. The castle walls likely have a walkway behind the upper wall. The walls appear to be about ten feet thick.

    The large tower in the NE corner has open windows on the third floor facing each compass point.

    The smaller tower in the center of the east wall has a window facing east.

    The castle itself is partially hidden by the outer walls. The main floor has a sharp sloped and tiled roof that covers the main hall (on the west end). The east end of the castle raises into a second and third level. The entire structure is made of stone other than the roofs. The second floor is the width of the first floor (110 feet) but only 60 feet deep. The second floor has three windows facing east, one north. Dalic remembers seeing one west and one south as well. The third story rises out of the center of the east end of the castle and is square shaped; 40 feet per side. The third floor has one window per compass point and a flat roof.

    There is a siege tower, lying on its side, outside the northern wall west of the hole there. There is a battering ram lying with the ruined portcullis at the front gate and there is a catapult about 400 feet south of the castle, directly south of the hole in the wall there. Finally, there is a hole in the northwest wall of the large tower at ground level and Dalic said there was a hole in the wall on the west side of the castle opening into what looked like the main hall.

    The group is prepared to move out. Dalic first. He plans to sneak up on the bugbear in the rubble and take him out. Once Dalic has enough time to get into position in the hole on the northern wall, Yalta and company will charge under Jascar’s protection. Leaving at the same time as Jascar, Tarstar, Grimlock and Speck will begin their slower sneak towards the castle. Remaning behind is Southar and Ewan until the sound of battle is clear or it is obvious all have arrived at the castle.
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    Tue Mar 10, 2015 5:54 pm  

    By mid-afternoon, Breymeer begins to regain use of his muscles. The paralysis is replaced with intense pain. He has two punctures and a bite still evident on his body but it is the wasp’s poison that causes his pain. Gritting his teeth, he begins to stir and finds he can regain his feet, albeit unsteadily. The presence of pretty ladies steels his resolve and he tries to put the misery behind him. Peylae breaks out some food and wine and Belina and Ide Otneaux see that he eats and drinks some. Within a half hour, Breymeer has regained his balance and determines to set back out after the group despite his injuries. Belina offers to accompany him to the hill. They set out by late afternoon, reaching the wasp nest by 1700 hours. Breymeer recovers his lost axe and longbow without another encounter with the wasps. Breymeer tracks the party around the nest and through the woods. He quickly realizes the did not re-discover the forest trail; instead forging ahead blindly. About 45 minutes after circling the wasp nest, Breymeer and Belina reach the edge of the Dead Woods, near the northern point. The ruin is visible to the west, sitting atop the hill. Belina bids Breymeer farewell and he continues on without her, still tracking the party. Breymeer estimates he still has over three hours to find them. He begins to work his way up the hill. He can tell the party snuck their way up the hill; hiding behind bush, scrub and rock. He continues to climb the hill, making as quick time as he can without risking losing the trail.
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    Tue Mar 10, 2015 5:59 pm  

    Speck requests a slight modification to the plan, “I think the sneakers should start right away as their journey will take the longest. Then Dalic. The runners should leave about ten minutes after Dalic.”

    Dalic just wants to make sure he has enough time to get there and deal with the scout before he can spot the others.

    The group acquiesces to Specks suggestion.

    The sneaks break cover and begin to slither and low crawl their way forward. Grimlock has covered himself with some type of makeshift gown. It is cut strips of neutral colored canvas rubbed into the dirt giving himself a near matching color as his surroundings (think guile suit).

    Grimlock quickly takes the lead and heads out at his own pace while Tarstar stays near Speck.

    Dalic gives them a few minutes before he departs.

    After about fifteen minutes, Yalta commands Tathar, Cirdan and Kuba to each touch him and hold on. Yalta advises he will be the last to arrive and he will cancel the spell upon arrival. He advises each of you to make sure you get through the wall immediately or else do not try and enter the wall. You cannot be in the wall when he ends the spell or you will be lost forever. Yalta begins his spell. He mutters a quiet prayer and near instantly, the group fades from sight and no sounds of them remains.

    Just as the two elves and two humans fade from view, a familiar whistle is heard from behind the group. Southar instantly recognizes it as Breymeer.

    Sure enough, Breymeer slips up next to the group. He carries his wounds and is in obvious pain but he has made the trek back to re-join the group.

    Ewan McDermott, seeing Breymeer in pain, lays his hands upon him and eases some of his pain (+4, 18/47).

    The four of them separate from the world into a strange misty grey realm in which the outside world is still completely visible; only reduced to shades of grey and shimmering as if looking across a hot grey dessert. Vision is reduced to that of a football field.

    Yalta, having faced himself in the direction of the keep, begins to run at a jog and the others follow suit. The four of them retain the ability to see each other even after they have faded into this misty state. Tathar quickly passes by everyone else, his uncanny dexterity adding to his running ability. Cirdan Saralonde is next, nearly keeping pace, Kuba Cyvlorandau is considerably slower than the elves but he remains ahead of Yalta.

    Tathar is the first to see they have strayed a bit too far to the west as the siege tower comes into view. Tathar corrects and the others follow as they move towards the castle wall. They can see there are a few bugbears gathering in ambush.

    Dalic arrives on the outer side of the rubble pile. The bugbear that had been there is gone but several others are present. A large bugbear in splint mail armor, armed with a morning star, is directing four other bugbears into ambush positions just inside the wall among the rubble. The four bugbears are wearing scale mail armor and carry maces.

    The remains of the siege tower are fallen and rotting, with many sections burnt away. The ground around the tower shows some signs of being scorched long ago. There is some darkening of the castle wall just south of the siege tower as well. The charred remains of three large humanoids can be seen amid the ruin.

    Breymeer shares his plan with Southar and Ewan, “I am going to head for that hole in the northeast tower. Once the group reaches the castle, they will be creating a diversion. I want to get up in the tower and find a good lookout. From there I can use my bow and maybe see where my help is most needed. I welcome any company.”

    Southar and Ewan agree to accompany him with Ewan adding, “You are still injured. Let me help you further. We will be in danger crossing that clearing.” Ewan cures Breymeer a second time (+5, 23/47).
    Southar adds, “Grave danger?”

    Breymeer finishes, “Is there any other kind?” Breymeer refocuses on the castle’s north wall, looking for any activity at all that would hint the battle had begun.

    Less than ten minutes after Breymeer arrived, Dalic’s thick dwarven voice can be heard across the clearing. Dalic curses a string of taunts at the bugbears that would make Tarstar the sailor blush. His thick dwarven accent evident as he berates the “five bugaboos” with endless dwarven threats and profanity.

    Dalic begins a string of taunts that would make Tarstar the sailor blush. His thick dwarven accent evident as he berates the “five bugaboos” with endless dwarven threats and profanity.

    The bugbear become obviously angry and begin looking out across the rubble trying to see the offender.

    The shaman makes some guttural vocalizations. Dalic suddenly goes deaf.
    As Dalic is regaining his bearings from the sudden loss of hearling, he sees the bugbear’s attention drawn to their left (west of the rubble pile). They are looking at something inside the castle wall. Whatever it is, they sneer and raise their weapons.

    Seeing the bugbears peering over the pile of rubble, Yalta assumes Dalic has made his appearance. Yalta cancels his spell. A world of sudden colors invades the misty dull grey landscape, pushing it from your minds. With a suddenness, color, sounds and the feel of the ground below your feet returns. The four of you are standing in a 20 foot wide side courtyard to the keep. Five bugbear are just east of you among the rubble. The rubble pile begins near the corner of the keep where this narrow courtyard opens to the large courtyard in front (east) of the keep. Immediately you hear Yalta calls out to the bugbears, “I am Yalta, Priest of Jascar, in the name of Grellus, Baron of Restenford, you are hereby evicted from this keep. Leave now or face the wrath of Restenford!”

    The bugbear just sneer and raise their weapons.

    Grimlock hears Dalic’s distinct dwarven accent when Grimlock is still about 200 feet from the castle tower. Dalic curses a string of taunts at the bugbears that would make Tarstar the sailor blush. His thick dwarven accent evident as he berates the “five bugaboos” with endless dwarven threats and profanity. About fifteen seconds later, Grimlock clearly hears Yalta’s voice, “I am Yalta, Priest of Jascar, in the name of Grellus, Baron of Restenford, you are hereby evicted from this keep. Leave now or face the wrath of Restenford!”

    Tarstar and Speck hears Dalic’s distinct dwarven accent when they are still about 1600 feet from the castle tower. Dalic curses a string of taunts at the bugbears that would make Tarstar the sailor blush. His thick dwarven accent evident as he berates the “five bugaboos” with endless dwarven threats and profanity.

    The bugbear shaman croaks out a foul order to Yalta, “Pheel da wrath da Hruggek!” Yalta turns white as a sheet with fear and flees down the narrow courtyard towards the western wall where he cowers in the corner whimpering to himself and hiding his head.

    Cirdan Saralonde attemps to counter, "Please, as a friend, let me help you! You have no need of weapons against us! Come, let us talk."

    The shaman commands his men, “Kill ‘em ‘n eat da elves!”

    Tathar takes offense to the shaman and fires two quick arrow as Kuba charges forward to meet the bugbears in melee.

    The arrows strike the bugbear shaman, gracing his neck (7, 20/27) and left arm (2, 18/27).

    Kuba, in a flash of steel, meets three bugbears in the narrow courtyard, stopping two of them from advancing. His bastard sword leave a nasty slash across the lead bear’s chest (9, 13/22).

    The lead bugbear, reeling in pain, misses Kuba but the second one smashes Kuba’s right knee with a wicked blow from its mace (10, 26/36; critical hit, knockdown, ½ move). The blow crumples Kuba as his knee gives out and Kuba collapses to the ground. Kuba frantically flails with his sword and shield to parry incoming blows. He is able to deflect a final blow as a third bugbear runs past him towards the elves.

    Grimlock stands and sprints. He reaches the outer wall and Dalic moves into position outside the rubble of the north wall.

    Speck and Tathar rise and begin to move towards the wall.

    Breymeer, Southar and Ewan move out towards the keep.
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    Tue Mar 10, 2015 6:07 pm  

    In a flash, Tarstar nocks and fires his third arrow. The arrow buries into the shaman’s right thigh as he cries out in pain (8, 10/27).

    The shaman yanks the arrow out of his thigh, lays his hands upon the wound and begins to pray to Hruggek. His prayer is cut short as his head rolls off the top of his shoulders and lands at the feet of a now materializing dwarf (16, -6/27). Dalic’s sword is coated in blood and the dwarf bears a sinister grin.

    Cirdan Saralonde removes a small leather loop from a pouch. He walks to the edge of the wall and begins an incantation. Within seconds, he is beginning to rise up off the ground reaching the height of 10 feet. He is nearly level with the walkway.

    A bugbear continues to charge past Kuba, heading towards Tathar. Tathar greats him with a quick arrow from his bow. The arrow deflects off the armor on its left leg. The massive creature brings its mace down upon the lithe elf. Tathar moves gracefully just enough to avoid the blow.

    The three bugbears on Kuba attempt to overbear him. Two of them pounce upon him while the third covers them.

    Near the east gate, a second squad of bugbear are watching the fight unfold. One, appearing to be a second shaman, orders two of the bugbears forward to join the fray. They charge forward with their maces held high crying out tribal war cries. The remaining three continue to guard the gate.

    The two bugbears charge the battle and direct their attacks at Dalic as he appears from nowhere, slaying the shaman. The lead bugbear bashes Dalic in the left arm (5, 27/32) but the second bugbear steps on the shaman’s morning star and loses his balance for a moment causing his swing to fly wide. The second bugbear regains his balance before Dalic recovers from the initial blow.

    Southar and Breymeer begin to sprint toward the sounds of battle. Southar’s feet tear at the ground as he increases his speed faster and faster. Breymeer cannot match his pace; pain from the wasp injuries wracking his body. Through the pain, Breymeer runs on only to watch Southar continue to distance himself. Southar reaches astonishing speed; nearly doubling Breymeer’s run. Ewan quickly falls back but maintains a steady jog (like a lineman running for the endzone after a fumble recovery).
    Tarstar and Speck continue their journey forward.

    Grimlock begins his ascent of the outer castle wall.

    The bugbear facing Tathar attempts to crush him with its mace. By the time the blow falls, the nimble elf has begun a series of back hand springs ending in a back flip. Tathar, already half way to Yalta, runs to his side to encourage him out of his fear induced catatonic state. The bugbear can only stare awe-struck.

    Cirdan Saralonde pulls a rope from his possessions, keeping it in hand. While doing so, he spots a collection of bones on the rubble pile assemble into a full skeleton. It animates and begins to move silently towards Dalic. It approaches him from the rear. Cirdan shouts a warning to Dalic and then announces to all his allies, “I have a rope should you need to escape up the wall.”

    Kuba manages to fend off the overbearing weight of the two bugbears as they attempt to pin him to the ground. Kuba slashes a bugbear across the face (8, 6/22) adding to its misery from the slice on its chest. The blow causes the bugbear to step back giving Kuba a chance to stab at the second bugbear on him. That blow missed but the second bugbear also released him. Kuba springs to his feet, spinning a tight circle, he uses the momentum like an uncoiling spring. His sword flashes through the neck of the uninjured bugbear cleaving its head off (26, -4/22). The heavy seven foot frame crumples onto the courtyard. The final bugbear facing Kuba also fails to deliver a telling blow.

    Kuba is rushes a second time. This time he fails to keep his feet and goes over backwards. In doing so, he brings his sword up to the belly of the bugbear on his left. The sword pierces the creature to the hilt (26, -9/17). The dead weight of the creature drives Kuba to the ground. Making matters worse, the second bugbear also pounces on top of Kuba. Kuba is lying supine with two bugbears on him; one dead and one alive.

    Meanwhile, Dalic’s grunting and cursing continues. He puffs out his chest. His eyes go bloodshot as he lets out a roaring dwarven battle cry. Suddenly, the underweight dwarf, who stood less than four feet tall before, now stands nearly six feet tall. His mass has grown as well. He is man sized with a dwarf’s thick chest. The first bugbear swings clumsily at the sudden beast in front of it, now looking the pesky dwarf nearly eye to eye. The second bugbear slams his mace into Dalic’s head. Dalic is able to turn enough to only get a glancing blow across the cheek (9, 18/32). The dwarf spits his own blood upon the ground and grins to the bugbear. Dalic appears to almost enjoy the painful exchanges as he begins to taunt then anew.

    Tathar, calling upon the power of Sehanine, attemps to sooth Yalta’s fears, assuring him the bugbear shaman has died. Yalta, shaking and white with fear, will not even look up. He is near catatonic.

    A bugbear charges Tathar and takes a wood splitters swing at him as he is aiding Yalta. Tathar quickly side steps the blow and the mace bounces off the hard packed courtyard. The head of the mace breaks off the weapon and the bugbear throws it to the ground in disgust, “I gut elf now!”
    Cirdan reaches out to the walkway on top of the wall and pulls himself over to and then onto the walkway.

    The bugbear on Kuba, using the weight of the other creature, easily pins him. Kuba is unable to break the pin and now lies supine and unable to defend himself. The bugbear grins a sharp toothed sadistic smile.

    Dalic, hearing Cirdan’s warning and sensing himself getting surrounded, charges the rear bugbear using his bastard sword as a makeshift lance. Dalic, spit and curses flying, thrusts his weapon clean through the bugbear’s chest and spine (26, -4/22). The creatures attack falls limp. The bugbear Dalic moved past hits him in the right leg with a glancing blow that knocks Dalic’s foot out from under him (4, 14/32). Dalic falls to his knees as the skeleton moves up behind him with an old rusty mace. The skeleton hits Dalic on the left arm with a weak blow (1, 13/32).

    Grimlock summits the wall and quietly drops over the outer battlement and
    onto the narrow walkway. He can hear some bugbears grunting nearby on the inside of the wall. One sounds as it if is nearly below him, just off to Grimlock’s left. The others are even farther away, sounding as if they are on the south side of the gate.

    The other party members continue their advance on the keep hoping they will not be too late.

    As the bugbear attacks Tathar and Yalta, Cirdan Saralonde had pulled himself over to the wall, rights himself and conjures up two mystical bolts that he sends flying into the back of the bugbear (2, 16/18) and (3, 13/18).
    Tathar orders the same bugbear to, “Die!” It drops to the ground in a cataleptic state, stiff as a board.

    Cirdan turns his attention to the skeleton facing Dalic. Cirdan puts to glowing missiles into it (4, 3/7) and (5, -2/7) as the same time Dalic, from his knees and roaring like a lion, hits the skeleton at the pelvis, with his sword, sending chunks of bone flying through the air. The skeleton comes apart and what remains falls to the ground lifeless once again.

    Dalic turns his attention towards the bugbear. Laughing maniacally, Dalic attempts to slash the bugbear but the blade bounces off its armor. The bugbear facing Dalic swings errantly.

    Kuba struggles to gain his freedom but is held fast by the bugbear. The bugbear gives Kuba a massive head butt (2, 24/36, knocked out).

    Grimlock sneaks along the top of the castle wall, slowly moving behind the southern bugbears stationed there.

    The bugbear shaman at the front gate orders one of his two remaining companions to charge Dalic. It complies and crosses the courtyard at a run. It closes the distance on Dalic and joins the melee there.

    The bugbear shaman continues speaking. He appears to be yelling something in bugbear. Grimlock peaks over the side and sees the bugbears orders are directed to the north.

    Southar continues to close the distance, now only about 30 seconds from reaching the wall.

    Breymeer and the others continue forward as well but they are yet minutes away.

    Cirdan Saralonde takes his rope and walks to the crenellations at the outer side of the wall. He ties off the rope to a merlon, allowing enough rope to reach the ground to the courtyard side of the wall. While doing so, Cirdan happens to catch sight of the basecamp at the bottom of the hill roughly five miles away. With his elf vision he can see the camp remains in place as evening sets in. The baron’s banners clearly mark the camp. The sounds of battle return him to the task at hand. Turning, he holds the rope coils intent on dropping them to those who want to get atop the wall. From his peripheral vision, Cirdan Saralonde catches movement from the hole in the northeast corner tower. Out of the base of the tower walks a mix of human and bugbears. They are stiff and clumsy. They walk with hands out, unarmed. They bring with them the smell of death and visions of the grave. The bodies are in poor shape being in various conditions of rot. The dead saunter forth.

    Tathar pumps two quick arrows into the heart of the board stiff bugbear. The body goes limp as death overcomes it. “Gut me, will ya? I think not!”
    The surviving bugbear on Kuba pushes the dead one off of him. He rises, throwing Kuba’s limp body upon his shoulder as he does so. The bugbear turns to leave the courtyard.

    Dalic’s problems increase at the incoming bugbear attempts to trample upon him. Dalic takes a desperate swing at the incoming bugbear but misses in his haste to roll to his right to avoid being knocked prone. The remaining bugbear pounces down upon Dalic. Dalic brings his sword up slashing a large gash in the bugbear’s side (15, 5/20). The bugbear survives. Roaring in pain and anger, it drives Dalic onto his back. Laughing now, the bugbear that tried to overrun Dalic pounces onto the pile. Next to the struggling and cursing dwarf lay the headless body of the shaman and an old pile of broken bones that moments ago was an animated skeleton.

    Grimlock sneaks to the very edge of the curtain wall. He positions himself behind the remaining bugbear shaman, readies his long sword and prepares to make the leap.

    Southar is closing fast upon the northeast corner of the keep, near the tower. He has about 900 feet to go when he sees a little more than half dozen stiff and awkward looking large man sized figures exit the tower and begin moving along the wall to the west. With his feet pounding the ground like a drum solo, he will be upon them just after the reach the rubble and the hole in the north wall near Cirdan.

    Breymeer, Tathar, Speck and Ewan continue as best they can.

    Tathar puts his hand on Yalta’s shoulder and again prays to Sehanine, “Yalta, they are mortal. We are defeating them. Rise and be free of this horror upon you.”

    Yalta blinks a few times and looks up at Tathar and then around at the battlefield, “I have shamed Jascar. I must regain honor. Bless the elves!” He rises, secures his staff to his back, tighten the shield straps, grips his hammer, and prepares to charge into the fray.

    Cirdan conjures up two more magical arrows and sends them into the bugbear fleeing with Kuba on its back (2, 3/22 and 4, -1/22). It drops face first onto the ground and ceases to move. Kuba’s body crashes hard to the ground and remains limp among the dead and shattered bodies of three bugbears he helped bring down (2, 22/36).

    Dalic snickers wildly, "Feeble beasts! Taste tha blade tha' devours ye! HrrrrRRAAAAAA!!!" Dalic bellows his deafening roar again. Pulling his sword from the first bugbear directly above him, the beast succumbs to the wound dealt by the sneering dwarf entirely (damage adjustment from previous round, forgot to add enlarged damage adjustement 6, -1/20), the limp body rolling from between the dwarf and the still living bugbear. Dalic, thrust neatly to his knees a midst the tussle and facing the remaining foe's attempt to grapple, slashes deeply into the beast's chest, felling it instantly. Dalic releases a triumphant battle cry, "Tha right han' a' vengeance! Aye, death incarnae! Many die ta-night!" then stands and moves into position to attack Kuba's would-be kidnapper.

    The would-be kidnapper drops dead as Dalic rises from the pile. Dalic continues to Kuba and kneels next to him finding Kuba still alive. Kuba has a lump on his forehead and a badly injured right knee but the injuries do not appear life threatening. He simply appears to have been knocked unconscious.

    At the gate, Grimlock moves silently up to a squat position. He leaps forward off the wall and drops downward upon the back of the bugbear shaman. Holding his long sword point down, he drives the blade into the bugbear where its shoulder meets its neck. The sword continues into the bugbear until the hilt impacts the shoulder (39, -18/21). Grimlock releases his blade and hits the ground feet first. He tucks into a summersault to release the energy of the fall. He springs to his feet unharmed but without his sword.

    The sole remaining bugbear flees towards the keep reaching the large double doors. The door cracks open at his arrival and he slips inside. While doing so, Grimlock can see it is a man sized bugbear that opened the door. The door shuts behind them.

    The zombie apocalypse reaches the rubble of the curtain wall. They bring with them the smell of decay. They trudge forward, slow and jerky, seeking the living.
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    Mon Mar 30, 2015 12:55 pm  

    Dalic scoops up Kuba and moves to the wall below Cirdan. Standing a few feet from the base of the wall with Kuba, Dalic calls up to Cirdan, "Drop tha' rope and pull up tha' fallen Kuba, I be securin' it"

    Cirdan drops down the free end of the rope saying, "We need to burn the bodies before we proceed. We don't want them being reanimated and having to fight them again.” Checking to make sure it is secure, Dalic nods to Cirdan indicating he heard Cirdan’s request about the enemy dead and confirming Kuba is ready to be lifted.

    Tathar and Yalta move east from the back wall along the narrow courtyard. They reach Dalic and Kuba. Tathar tells Cirdan, “Bring him up, I will see about healing him atop the wall.”

    Dalic faces out from the narrower section near the keep, eyeing the rubble ahead for the approaching dead. Calling over his shoulder, Dalic's voice is low and grizzly, "We take tha' dead here wher'n it narrows. I may ne'er look it, but Dalic hab tak'n a hit or three. Yalter, I petition your aid.”

    Yalta answers, “You shall have it! You appear to be in dire need of it. In Jascar’s name, I will help you hold them back!”

    Grimlock recovers his sword from the shaman’s body and returns to the base of the wall. He also removed a dagger, coin pouch and seized the bugbears morningstar.

    Southar has closed the distance at an amazing rate. Now, only 200 feet away and closing fast, he has his shield and sword ready.

    Breymeer, Speck, Tarstar and Ewan continue to close the distance as fast as their feet will carry them. Tarstar is staying at Speck’s pace.

    The walking dead have reached the rubble of the northern wall. Three of them lumber across and begin their sorrowful march towards those in the narrow courtyard.

    Tathar helps to lift Kuba up the wall while Cirdan pulls on the rope. The dead weight of Kuba makes the process a little difficult. It is everything Cirdan Saralonde can do, even with Tathar pushing from below, to get Kuba up the wall. Only do to the elf’s uncommon strength did he manage to get Kuba’s body atop the wall. Cirdan goes immediately to untie Kuba so that he can get the rope back down to Tathar Surion. Tathar awaits it.

    Yalta lays his hands upon Dalic and prays to Jascar for healing power (+7, 20/32).

    Dalic, feeling the refreshing energy, steps forward to meet the undead horde. As the first of the zombies reaches Dalic he begins hacking away at it. His first blow separates the left leg from the torso (10, 6/16). As the zombies falls, it lands a blow upon Dalic’s breastplate. The breastplate protects Dalic from harm. Dalic responds by cutting of the offending arm (10, -6/16). The zombie returns to the dead.

    Southar arrives upon the field of battle. He reaches the last zombie as it begins to climb over the rubble pile. Not slowing down, Souther puts his shoulder into his shield and drives his weight into the back of the zombie sending him hurtling over the rubble and landing flat on the ground (2, 11/13). Southar steps up to the top of the rubble and surveys the battlefield through his great helm.

    Grimlock jogs across the courtyard along the wall to the smaller tower in the eastern wall. He has the dead bugbear shaman’s morningstar in hand. He begins to inspect a door at the base of the tower. The door appears to be relatively solid despite its age.

    The runners continue to close on the keep. Breymeer is the nearest, being only about one minute away (5 combat rounds).

    The zombies continue to close on Dalic, Yalta and Tathar.

    Cirdan lowers the rope to Tathar. Tathar quickly scales up the wall and climbs atop the curtain wall.

    Cirdan begins a vigilant watch for movement around the keep and the grounds.

    Dalic confidently states, "I be countin' no more than we ken handle. There be no time ta flee. Attack now lest we lay deader than these walkin' dead". He slashes at the incoming zombie, opening its abdomen exposing extremely smelly entrails (15, 1/16). The zombie, mindless to the injury, attempts to pummel the over-grown dwarf, but misses.

    Yalta moves up to Dalic’s side, his warhammer in his right hand and shield strapped to his left arm. Yalta hammers the next approaching zombie on the top of the head breaking bone (3, 12/15) with a blow that would have put most men to their knees. The zombie is only phased. Having been spun slightly to its right from the blow, it turns its fury on Dalic. It gives Dalic a five-finger death punch to the abdomen, catching him off guard (10, 10/32; wound ½ move, stunned one round). Dalic can feel cold chill of death in its touch.

    Yalta’s swing exposed his right side as one moved in to his right flank. It batters his extended right arm with a chopping blow (7, 11/18).

    Southar leaps off the rubble to engage the zombie he knocked down before it can rise. He steps on a loose stone and nearly tumbles. His awkward blow misses completely.

    The zombie lunges forward from its knees but fails to deliver a damaging blow.

    Grimlock moves across the courtyard coming up behind the zombie attacking Southar. He stops short and examines the battle before him.

    Ever closer the runners come.

    Grimlock stows the morningstar and draws his long sword. He moves up to the rear flank of the zombie fighting with Southar and hacks the left leg off of it (6, 5/13) as Southar hacks off the right (6, -1/13). Southar blasts the torso with his shield sending it skidding to a stop in the courtyard (4, -5/13). It perishes.

    With more volume and feeling than anyone has ever heard out of Tathar, he yells at the undead with his moon-shaped holy symbol thrust out before him. "YOU ARE AN ABOMINATION TO SEHANINE! I COMMAND YOU TO FLEE!" The entire horde turns, hissing, and begins to withdraw from the battle towards the hole in the north wall.

    Cirdan finishes up tying up a slip knot at the end of the rope.

    Dalic holds the line and grunts through the pain in his abdomen, "Yalta, up tha wall! Ya don't wan' ta be here for what happens next!" His veins boil and eyes have changed entirely to crimson. Dalic lets out a blood curdling cry penultimate to the full realization of his rage, "ALL THA' REMAINS BE DUST 'NEATH THA STEEL OF DALGURRRR!" Dalic infuses his proper name into his cry, donning his bastard sword with the name now and hereafter. Thunderous cries fill the hilltop as Dalgur Steelcoat attacks with all his might the two zombies within his reach. Dalic cuts through the left thigh of the one he previously struck, felling it (18, -17/16). His second blow cuts through the right arm of the zombie in front of Yalta as it turns to leave. The blow severs the arm and cleaves deep into the ribs. The second zombie also succumbs to the blow (15, -12/16).

    Yalta, seeing the injury to Dalic’s abdomen, lays hands upon him a second time, praying again for Jascar’s healing energy (+5, 15/32), “Your body can take a lot of punishment dear dwarf.” The discomfort of Dalic’s wound eases and his full movement returns. Yalta then moves towards the wall, motioning for the rope.

    From the top of the keep roof a voice reaches your ear. It carries on the air like driving sleet, piercing and cold, “You have sealed you death coming here! Relax," said the necromancer, "I are programmed to receive. You can check-out any time you like, but you can never leave!"

    The figure of a man stands on the roof of the keep. He wears crimson red robes with brown leather belt. A brown leather strap rises from his belt over his right shoulder. A brown hood covers hides his face in shadow. He holds a wicked staff; the dark wooden shaft ending in a spiked circle of blackened metal.

    The necromancer’s icy voice continues, “Restenford shall pay for this intrusion!” as he throws a small chunk of black substance in the direction of the north wall verbalizing arcane magics. The bat guano and sulfur glob arcs downward towards the narrow north courtyard. As it does so, it begins to glow and then catch fire appearing like a small shooting star. About five feet above the wall it suddenly expands, engulfing the north courtyard, the wall and the outer area near the fallen siege tower in an inferno of heat and flame. The flaming hell last for but a brief moment before consuming itself; wisps of smoke dance into the air.

    The party members survive the carnage. Kuba, unable to defend himself from the heat, takes the brunt of the flame (21, 1/36). Grimlock, running for the shelter of the north wall of the keep itself, dives to the ground and covers himself from the heat. Tathar attempts to defend himself from the heat but is burned badly and he lies prone on the walkway (21, -2/19). Five of Tathar’s arrows had the feathers burn off them and the shaft badly damaged. Cirdan reacts quicker and is able to avoid the worst of the blast (11, 12/23). Luckily, Cirdan’s backpack containing his possessions survives the flame. Yalta dives to the ground just before the fireball expanded. He covers himself with his shield as he goes fetal (11, 0/18). Yalta remains fetal under his shield after the blast; he is unmoving. His hammer ruined as its handle continues to burn on the ground next to him. Dalic, oblivious to the flames, charges forward after the zombies, emerging from the flames burned but undaunted (11, 9{4}/32).

    Dalic, his breathing heavy and jagged, stalks the zombie horde with rage emanating from behind his teeth. His face is streak with soot and his hair and beard are singed. He appears numb to anything but his prey and attacks the nearest abomination with exacting berserk destruction rarely seen except by those who have fallen victim to it. He reaches the ranks of retreating zombies and cuts one in half just above the waist (16, -1/15).

    Southar runs up on the rubble pile and swings his long sword at a retreating zombie catching it in the neck (5, 9/14). Its head flops to the side and bounces up and down off its left shoulder as it continues to flee.

    Cirdan rises from the wall, pulls a spider out of a pouch, and eats it. He takes off his boots; kicking them off the wall. Cirdan throws Tathar upon his shoulder and climbs down the exterior side of the curtain wall. His hands and feet sticking to the wall like he has suction cups. Once upon the ground, he slips his boots back on and begins to run across the open field towards the approaching party members yelling to Ewan and he runs, “Ewan, we need your healing powers!”

    The necromancer hisses an evil laugh, “Fools! You shall all die before this day ends!”
    Adept Greytalker

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    Tue Mar 31, 2015 8:18 pm  

    Grimlock, seeing the Jascarian priest unmoving, runs into the line of fire and drags him back to the north keep exterior wall. Out of the line of sight of the necromancer, Grimlock applies first aid to Yalta. Yalta regains consciousness (+1, 1/18, house rule, made rolls to regain immediate fighting abilities (system shock and save vs death)).

    “Grimlock, Jascar has smiled upon us. We shall yet defeat this evil corruptor of the dead.”

    Yalta rises, weak at first. He gains his feet, burning with fury and smelling of burned hair, he shouts with his fist in the air, “Death to the necromancer!”

    On the north side of the curtain wall, just north of Grimlock’s location in the courtyard, Cirdan attempts to keep Tathar alive. He works frantically to stabilize Tathar.

    The necromancer issues an order from the top of the keep. His voice falls upon the courtyard like a cold fog settling upon a swamp, “Rise! Rise my minions! Bring death to the living!” The zombies immediately stop and turn with renewed hatred.

    Southar doesn’t stop to ponder the change of events. His next blow finishes severing the head from his previous target (9, 0/14).

    Dalic, oblivious to all but the prey he stalks, follows the zombies over the rubble. His movements are sharp and precise. He unleashes hell upon the remaining zombies. He runs down the nearest zombie and his first blow severs the zombie just below the rib cage (11, 3/14) and the second blow takes off its head (19, -16/14).

    The final zombie climbs up the rubble pile and clubs at Southar with its forearm. Southar easily blocks the blow with his golden shield.

    Those fighting in the keep do not yet see what frightens Breymeer. Now less than 300 feet from the NE corner of the keep, Breymeer hears the necromancers call to his minions. Those outside the curtain wall see bones collect and form into figures at the eastern gate. One skeletal man and three skeletal canines come into being just outside the gate from the area of the battering ram and portcullis.

    Worse than that, out in the field to the south of the keep, a very large skeleton rises from the ruins of the catapult. This skeleton is a giant; nearly 3 times the height of a normal man. It carries a beam of wood from the catapult as a club. It takes long strides as it closes towards the keep. It is only a long minute before it arrives at the castle outer wall. <That is to say, 5 or 6 combat rounds>

    Finally, in Dalic’s blurred rage, he barely acknowledges three human sized skeletons rising from across the courtyard in the rubble pile that resulted from the hole in the southern wall. Southar, although within sight of them, currently has his back to them.

    The necromancer begins to laugh and it echoes down the hill like rolling thunder.

    Yalta prays for healing and feels somewhat restored. His burns lesson (+7, 8/18).

    Grimlock moves to the west and begins to climb the inner keep wall.

    Cirdan carries Tathar to the hole in the wall and climbs the rubble pile, entering the courtyard and heading for Yalta, “Sehanine delivered you from the fear of the shaman’s spell. Let Jascar return the favor. Bring Sehanine’s priest back!”

    Dalic and Southar melee with the last zombie. Southar slashes its left leg (4, 9/13).

    Dalic, hearing the necromancer’s taunt, shouts back with equal fervor, "You send toys and throw hot air. What cowardous bring ye next? Has tha great necrophilic 'master' of tha keep misplaced his stones tha' he ken nae face his death like a true master? Face me now if ye hab' en true power, coward!" With that, Dalic lays his blade to the final zombie splitting its head in two. He laughs maniacally up at the wizard, unmoved by the outcome of his onslaught as he calls into the air, finalizing his challenge, "Face me and me alone an' ye may yet prove ye'r not but a feeble apprentice. Tha blade of dalgur thirst fer ye blood if ya wish ta disprove yer a talentless frock."

    The necromancer dismisses the dwarf as an annoying fly, “I will enjoy having you serve me in death!” Three missiles appear in front of the necromancer. He points to the dwarf and all three fly unerringly into Dalic’s chest (5, 4{-1}/32 and 3, 1{-4}/32 and 2, -1{-6}/32). The dwarf flops forward onto the rubble pile amid the carnage of zombie parts.

    Southar and Cirdan see the next wave coming across the courtyard. Four skeletons and three skeletal canines have reached the middle of the courtyard; rising from the rubble in the southern wall and the eastern gate.

    Breymeer is now a little over 100 feet from the NE tower. Having recovered it from near the wasp nest, Breymeer has unslung his bow from his shoulder and is eyeing a place of cover to engage the necromancer. Seeing a straight shot at the necromancer, he angles for the north side of the tower.

    Tarstar, Speck and Ewan continue to move forward towards the battle.

    Grimlock begins climbing up the curtain wall where the keep and the curtain wall meet.

    Cirdan carries Tathar out of sight against the north keep wall. Yalta heals Tathar (+3, 1/19).

    Southar moves slightly east and puts his back to the curtain wall. He readies his shield and long sword for the onslaught of skeletal dread.

    The necromancer removes rose petals and lets them fall into the breeze while addressing Southar, “Oh great warrior. What an amazing run you had. Sleep now and recover your strength.”

    Southar, suddenly realizing how tired he has become, eyes the incoming skeletons. Realizing the wizard is trying to put a spell on him, Southar calls upon his inner will and fights to stay awake. The feeling passes as Southar overcomes the narcolepsy.

    Breymeer reaches the northeastern tower. Pulling an arrow from his quiver, he sneaks along the outer wall of the tower until the necromancer comes into view. Breymeer takes aim and lets the arrow loose. It streaks flawlessly through the air towards the necromancer’s heart. The arrow tip cuts through his robes but fails to pierce the skin.

    The necromancer wails with cruel laughter as he throws down the arrow, “Welcome to the fight archer. Dare stick your neck out again, I shall return your favor!”

    Kuba begins to feel again. Still unmoving, Kuba’s head begins to throb. Kuba realizes he is not dead yet.

    Dalic’s damaged body lays still on the rubble pile.

    The runners continue to run. Tarstar gives a few quick dance steps to encourage Speck along.

    Grimlock continues to shimmy up the wall.

    Yalta moves forward to attempt to assist Southar and sees Dalic down on the rubble pile. Yalta runs up on top of the rubble pile and digs for his holy symbol.

    <Tathar dreams of a dark night sky, separated by the rays of a full moon. The beam reaches down and shines upon his face. He hears a voice telling him, “I am not ready for you yet. You have much more to do for me here.”> Tathar returns to consciousness and the vision passes. He is extremely weak and lethargic. He grasps his moon shaped holy symbol and prays to Sehanine for healing energy (+7, 8/19). His burns subside substantially but he remains very weak from his near death experience.

    Cirdan Saralonde removes his footwear and pulls a spider from a small jar removed from his clothing. He jabs it into a small amount of bitumen pulled from another fold in his clothing. He eats the combination and vocalizes the incantation.

    Southar, waiting for the attack at the wall, unleashes upon the first canine skeletons to reach him. He bashes the first one with his shield (7, -3/4) and cuts the next down with his long sword (5, -3/2). The mass of moving bones slams into Southar but he is able to maintain his position and protect his back against the wall. He dodges a sword thrust and parries a second. The remaining canine bites him but only gets a mouthful of studded leather armor. Scampering over the bones of the fallen, the final two skeletons move in on Southar but they too fail to deliver a damaging blow.

    The necromancer conjures up three more glowing arrows and sends them streaking towards Breymeer. All three find their mark (5, 13/47 and 3, 10/47 and 3, 7/47).

    Breymeer fires his bow again. This time, he pulls the obsidian arrow from his quiver. He draws the string back and lets the arrow fly. It initially appears to drift slightly off but it maintains it course. Despite the long range, the arrow finds its mark, sticking him in the right thigh (11, 7/18). The necromancer screams in shock and pain. His second arrow flies wide, bouncing off the clay tile roof and skidding out westward.

    Grimlock reaches the top of the curtain wall and moves south along the west side of the keep. He begins to climb up the west wall.

    Cirdan moves with spider-like agility up the side of the wall, his hands and feet sticking to the stone and mortar as he goes. He reaches the soffit where the second floor roofline begins to slant towards the flat top of the third level; intersecting the third floor wall about 7 feet below the feet of the necromancer. From there, he begins to move south along the east wall of the keep; trying to stay out of the line of sight of the necromancer.

    Tathar displays his holy symbol to the skeletons fighting Southar, “By Sehanine, I command you to leave!” All but the one on Southar’s right flank turn and flee. Southar hacks at them as they rout, turning one into a pile of bones.

    Southar bashes a second skeleton with his shield sending bones flying in multiple directions (8, 0/8). He chops ineffectively with his sword at the sole remaining skeleton.

    Yalta bends down and prays over Dalic. Finding him barely alive. He heals him (+7, -1/32) but Dalic remains unconscious even though some of his injuries look improved.

    Kuba begins to see light. Is this the end? The pain that shoots through his body tells him otherwise. The world is about to welcome Kuba back.

    Breymeer draws back his bowstring and fires another sheaf arrow. The necromancer casts another spells and vanishes from sight. Breymeer’s arrow flies straight and true and hits something where the necromancer just stood. However, as with the first arrow, it stops suddenly, seemly in mid-air, and drops to the ground.

    Grimlock jumps off the wall, landing into a roll and regaining his feet. He quickly passes the opening in the western wall and ascends up the rubble pile. Climbing back onto the curtain wall, he prepares to ascend the western wall of the keep to the clay tiled.

    Cirdan Saralonde also moves south along the eastern wall, opposite Grimlock.

    Tathar takes a moment to meditate and assess the situation. Tathar prays for and receives healing (+6, 14/19).

    Kuba opens his eyes. The sun approaches the horizon and he hears the sounds of battle nearby. His last memory is of the courtyard and a bugbear upon him. Now he rests upon the wall and is burned and badly wounded. He finds he is able to move and control his body and appendages. All is not lost.

    Dalic continues to lay motionless upon the rubble pile. Yalta continues to pray for him but has done all he can.

    Southar blocks a thrust from the last skeleton and brings his sword down upon its shoulder cutting down through the shoulder and into the ribs before severing the pelvic bone. The skeleton comes apart and drops into a pile.

    Breymeer, hugging the wall, moves up to assist. He peeks out here and there watching for the return of the necromancer.

    Over the rubble in the southern wall a depressing sight comes into view. The skeletal giant has nearly reached the southern wall. He rises above the rubble, nearly 3 times the height of a man broken wooden beam in hand. Surely he will be within the keep courtyard in mere moments.

    The other skeleton and the skeletal canine continue to flee from Sehanine’s priest.

    Speck and Tarstar are closing, only a little over a minutes away (7 combat rounds).

    Ewan is huffing and puffing his way across the field.

    <The necromancer moves down through the trapdoor into the observatory and locked and barred the trapdoor above him.>
    Adept Greytalker

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    Tue Mar 31, 2015 9:47 pm  

    Cirdan reaches the third floor and pauses to listen. He watches carefully for any sign of movement. He can hear sounds from the third story window positioned in the center of the east wall.

    Breymeer moves a few more feet and sets up behind Dalic and Yalta. Not seeing any more close foes, Breymeer draws back an arrow and fires at the approaching skeletal giant. The arrow deflects off of its left femur, taking a small chunk of bone with it (2, 20/22).

    Southar prepares to meet this newest challenge.

    The fleeing skeletons split. The canine exits out the east gate and the other returns to the rubble in the southern wall and un-animates.
    Yalta asks, “Is anyone able to help poor Dalic? I am unable to further assist him.”

    Tathar comes over to help Dalic.

    <The necromancer goes through the trap door in the floor into his bedroom.>

    Tathar arrives to help Dalic, having heard Yalta’s pleas. Yalta lays his hands upon Dalic and Sehanine blesses the dwarf (+5 4/32). The dwarf opens his eyes.

    Yalta presents his holy symbol towards the giant and shuns it, “Retreat you foul spawn!”

    The giant, having moved over the rubble wall without problem and entering the courtyard moving towards Southar, does an about face and the southern courtyard and begins to retreat.

    Cirdan holds his position, being attentive to his surroundings. He hears a ruckus from the 2nd floor center window now.

    Grimlock crosses the southern edge of the tiled roofline. His sure footedness allows him to navigate the unsure footing of the roofline. He moves at a fast walk and reaches the stonework of the 3rd floor.

    Breymeer sends two more rounds downrange. The first sails through the ribcage without striking bone. The second strikes it in the spine at the neck (2, 18/22). It leaves a mark before deflecting off the thick bone.

    Southar moves up to the corner of the keep and prepares to keep the giant from the rest of the group.

    Kuba holds on the wall.

    The runners keep running.

    <The necromancer begins to pack items for retreat.>

    Cirdan Saralonde climbs over the battlements on the rooftop. He is joined
    shortly thereafter by Grimlock. The rooftop is 40x40 feet. There is a trapdoor in the floor in the SE corner. There is some blood droplets that lead from the north wall across the rooftop to the trap door. The blood trail ends there. Cirdan makes a quick look but sees no concealed or secret doors.

    Dalic appears slightly confused for a moment and then addresses Tathar, "A brother on tha field of battle ye be. I am in yer debt. Me mind be blank... Is tha battle won?" Looking up he sees the giant skeleton. "Aha!" Dalic’s hand finds his sword. He charges into battle not waiting to hear Tathar's response.

    Dalic passes Southar in the courtyard and Southar gives chase with Dalic. Breymeer gives chase as well but hangs back slightly with his bow at the ready.

    Dalic and Southar run down the giant about 25 feet from the southern wall. Dalic lays into it with his bastard sword. He takes a knocks the fibula bone across the yard (9, 9/22).

    Southar slashes the tibia of the opposite leg (6, 3/22).

    The skeleton’s legs fail it and it crashes to the ground. Southar and Dalic pounce upon it and bash the giant into shattered bone.

    Breymeer attempts to organize the others, “We need to regroup and mend wounds!”

    Gassed, Ewan slows from a job exhausted. He continues to plod along as fast as he can walk.

    Tarstar and Speck are closing, they are only about 120 feet from the curtain wall (4 combat rounds).

    <The necromancer gathers his treasure from the hidden compartment in the wall and puts on a travelling cloak.>

    Round 23 - Rooftop
    Cirdan checks the trap door, finding it secured somehow. It is easy to see the door should open downward.

    Grimlock offers an idea, “We should get everyone on the roof and hang out for the night. We can drop a rope for the others. If we choose to go after him, this will be the best entrance as he is unlikely to expect us to enter here.”

    <The necromancer casts wizard lock on the bedroom hallway door>

    Round 23 Courtyard
    As the battle ends and the giant skeleton falls, Dalic begins to search the bodies of the fallen enemy.

    The giant skeleton has no treasure, just a broken beam from the catapult.

    The shaman that Grimlock killed has nothing of value other than his armor. He does not even have a weapon with him. From there, Dalic moves across the courtyard to the bodies of the rest of the fallen enemy.

    Cirdan answers, "He is injured and has used much magic during this battle. You know as well as I he will regain his magic strength if he rests and studies tonight. I say we pursue and try to end him now."

    Cirdan tries the trap door but it is locked. He intends to try and break it. okay with you or do you have a different approach.

    Round 24 rooftop
    Grimlock answers Cirdan, “Do not smash it as the noise will alert all. Let me assist you in pulling and hopefully the latch will pull free with little noise.”

    Grimlock and Cirdan both take hold, using Grimlock’s sword as a pry bar. With great effort, the two work together. A sharp crack is heard as the lock fairs. The duo re-grip on the door as a small crack forms when the pry. A second tug results in the popping sound of a wooden bar snapping in half. Finally, the hinges fail as the door is pulled upward against its designed motion. The noises echo slightly in the room below.

    Below, lit dimly by the fading evening light through the windows on all four sides of the room, is a 40x40 foot room. There is a crude instrument on a tripod. It is a tube, narrower on one end than the other. A large drawing table sits in the middle of the room. It has several parchments on it. A dart board adorns the southern wall. It has four darts in the board.
    Directly below the ladder is a vertical ladder fastened to the wall. There is blood on the ladder. The blood trail leads across the room to the NE corner where there is another trap door in the floor.

    Other than the four windows and the trap door, there are no other exits from the room.

    <Necromancer moves into his workshop through the secret door (north center of wall, through the standing wardrobe cabinet>

    Round 24 Courtyard
    Dalic moves from the body of the shaman Grimlock killed towards the main battle area along the northeast and north side of the keep.

    Breymeer retrieves one of the bugbears maces in order to have a bludgeoning weapon.

    Kuba carefully climbs down from the wall and retrieves his sword.

    Round 25 Rooftop
    Grimlock says, “Cirdan, let us clear the lower room and secure the second trap door with the table weight. Then, we can advise the others. This looks like a possible treasure trove for you and I. Let’s tell the group to hold and prep for entry to the door the bugbear entered. Signal the group with hand gestures from the roof. We can tell them to hold for five minutes and then make entry.”

    Cirdan takes a rope from Grimlock and heads for the roof.

    Grimlock searches the room.

    <Necromancer retrieves his spellbook>

    Round 25 Courtyard
    Dalic claims the spoils from the 3 bugbears and the shaman he slew. He collects coin purses from each of the four dead. Dalic does not appear to be trying to be greedy. He simply believes it is his just reward for wading into the battle.

    Meanwhile, the rest of the party collects the coin purses from the remaining five bugbear. Added up, it total 52 pieces of gold. Judging from the size of the coin pouches, Dalic collected two or three times that amount; mostly from the shaman.

    Nothing is found among the skeletons and it takes a strong stomach to attempt to search the zombies. They appear to have nothing of value as well.

    Round 26 Rooftop
    Grimlock searches the room. He finds star charts and astrological maps of the heavens. On the ceiling are strange runes and marks appearing to show the movements of celestial bodies. The dart board and darts appears normal. The strange tubular item is a telescope.

    Cirdan Saralonde ties off Grimlock’s rope and drops it down to the courtyard.

    <Necromancer collects the four toxic poisons>

    Round 26 Courtyard

    Tarstar and Speck come jogging into the courtyard, sweaty and winded.

    Kuba checks himself over and sheaths his sword. He discovers he is burned over much of his body but, more importantly, he finds his right knee is damaged and he cannot move effectively. He is no faster than Speck for the time being. Kuba is in much pain and misery but he is able to continue.

    While the searching of the bodies continues in the courtyard, Cirdan’s voice is heard from the rooftop, “Send up a warrior, we are going after the necromancer while he is weak and injured. He has fled into the keep.”

    Southar goes to the rope and tells the group, “I am unhurt. I will go with Cirdan.” He goes to the rope and begins to climb. It will take him 90 seconds to complete the climb (rnd 34).

    Cirdan instructs further, “Enter the keep as soon as you can and prevent the necromancer’s escape.”

    Round 27 – 28 Rooftop
    Cirdan returns to the observatory and assists Grimlock in the search.

    Grimlock is working on the lock of the trapdoor, triggering it open. He finds the door still stuck shut. Believing it to be barred, he prepares a spell.

    Grimlock commands the trapdoor to open. The sound of a bar sliding is heard. The door drops down and swings on its hinges. Through the portal, Cirdan and Grimlock can see a bedroom. It is about 40 feet north/south and 30 feet east/west. There is one window facing east about 15 feet south of the north wall. The trapdoor opens in the very NE corner. Opposite the room is a door on the west wall on the far south end of the room (kitty-corner from the trapdoor). Within the room has a large bed against the east wall just south of the window. A portrait of the necromancer hangs over the bed. A padded chair is in the SE corner. A footlocker is at the foot of the bed. A standing enclosed armoire is against the center of the north wall. A four-drawer chest is against the center of the west wall.

    A blood trail leads from the trapdoor to the bed. There is blood on the bed. The trail continues to the footlocker and then ends at the standing armoire.

    <Necromancer casts Magic Mouth on the secret door “Intruder!” repeated 10 times loudly (rnd 27). Necromancer removes the obsidian arrow and throws it on the table causing him to give a muffled cry of pain. He bandages his leg (28).

    Round 27 – 28 Courtyard
    Dalic finishes checking the last of the bugbear bodies and the rest of the party finishes collecting their items, checking the bugbears are deciding the zombies aren’t worth the look. Dalic approaches Yalta and Tathar. He presents them with a bag of gold each and states, “Let not this superficial totem refle’ on ye poorly. I be endebted to ye both far beyond the spoils ab’ war. Hab’ we en plan fer the keep?”

    Tathar takes this time to rest himself. He is slowly recovering strength.

    Tathar will say to Dalic (quietly) "Dalic, we have all fought hard, and the spoils of our battle should be shared evenly by all. I feel the battle is not over. This may just be a lull in the action. There are still enemies about. Let us finish this necromancer, then divvy the loot!" He will give him a wry smile and point to the door.

    Dalic's reaction is a bit frustrated, clearly hesitant to relinquish any gold that he once deemed as 'his'. Moreover, having not thought through the division of loot from anyone's perspective other than his, his embarrassment presents quickly as anger, albeit stifled. The growing sense of battle ahead eases some of his pain as he gives a cold, controlled responses through gritted teeth, "treasure be a mighty reward fer a warrior such as I, but ta hab' brethren in steel and spill't blood I shall take in kind. If ye split tha bounty thi'n ways, Dalic follows". He then awkwardly begins to retrieve the treasure and stops short, realizing he has no clue what to do with it.

    Tathar responds "Hold it, keep it safe. We'll all settle up after the necromancer pays for his crimes. Know this, friend Dalic...In my travels with this party, which has been brief, if you find interesting equipment, weapons, or armor, it seems possession is 9/10's of the law." Let him know he can handle those things as he sees fit, as far as I'm concerned.
    Dalic voices his opinion to the courtyard occupants, "We know not what lay en here', keep. Say I, we take en a captive an' turn some troops ta our favor. Havin' seen the demise before 'em I be wonderin' if tha rest fear more than they wish ta fight. *chuckles* But if they really wan' ta divorce tha air en their lungs, I be more than happy to oblige!"

    Ewan is still some distance out in the field. He continues to plod forward.

    Rooftop Rnd 29
    A ladder is attached to the wall from floor to trapdoor. As Grimlock climbs down the ladder, both he and Cirdan hear a muffled cry of pain from behind the north wall.

    Grimlock hurries to the standing wardrobe and opens it. There are four robes and three cloaks hanging there. It is otherwise empty. The blood trail stops there although there is some blood on the clothing and one of the cloaks appears ripped.

    Grimlock checks the trunk and the bed while Cirdan descends the ladder and checks the wardrobe, “I imagine there must be a hidden door here somewhere.”

    Cirdan cannot seem to find the door although he is certain there must be one.

    Meanwhile, Grimlock opens the lid on the trunk. It appears to contain clothing. The bed is made and nothing is located underneath it.

    <The necromancer drinks 1/3 of the potion of extra healing (+5, 16/18)>

    Courtyard Rnd 29
    A muffled cry of pain drifts down to those in the courtyard.

    Southar, being partially up the rope, thinks it came from the 2nd floor. From the area of the northern most window on the east side.

    Dalic vocalizes to the troupe upon hearing Cirdan's call, "I be yet healing, and may be yet in need of a healer. I be willin' ta face tha keep after I catch me breath an' ease me wounds". Dalic then leans into Yalta and states, "Me mind fell to black in battle. Where be this necromancer?"
    Yalta replies, “"Grimlock and Cirdan Saralonde have apparently chased him from the keep rooftop. He must have entered some portal atop the keep."
    Dalic, hearing the cry of pain from above, continues, "I yet feel my wounds. I shall instead follow Southar up. We may yet find something to mend me wounds up top. I fear I may be carried out if'n I be entering tha keep where ta the bugbear likely lay waitin'". Up he climbs.

    Yalta looks upon Kuba, Tathar, and Breymeer, “Tarstar and Speck, although winded, are not nearly as injured as we. Do we dare enter the keep as we stand or shall we await Ewan McDermott? I fear for our fellow companions as precious minutes will pass before Ewan arrives. I fear for us if we do not hesitate.”

    Rnd 30 Rooftop
    Grimlock tosses the clothing out of the footlocker but finds nothing else of interest.

    Grimlock approaches Cirdan in the wardrobe armoire. Cirdan is obviously frustrated, “I know there is a door here. There has to be.”

    Grimlock suggests, “Go to the window and see how close Southar is climbing up the wall and I will see what I can find in the armoire.”

    Grimlock enters the armoire but has no more luck than Cirdan.

    Cirdan reports Southar is half way up the wall.

    <The necromancer ends his invisibility and casts Monster Summoning I; four kobolds appear armed with javelins and short swords>

    Rnd 30 Courtyard
    Tarstar readies his cutlass and watches attentively for any dangers, “I will cover you until Ewan arrives or we enter.”

    Southar and Dalic continue up the rope. Southar is about half way up.
    Cirdan’s face appears in the 2nd floor center window for a moment. He appears to be checking the progress of the climbers.
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    Sat Apr 11, 2015 9:37 am  

    Rnd 31 Rooftop

    Grimlock advises Cirdan to get ready for trouble.

    Grimlock commands the back of the armoire to open knowing there must be a door there. Upon his utterance, there is a click and the back of the armoire swings slightly into the next room.

    Grimlock and Cirdan leap into the room attempting to surprise the occupants.

    The room is obviously a workshop. There is a large table in the center of the room with beakers, flasks, and general lab equipment. A series of shelves on the north and south walls hold nearly four dozen bottles and flasks.

    Flanking the table are four scaly rust brown skinned creatures. They have glowing red eyes and small white horns. The have dull orange tunics on. They have non-prehensile rat-like tails. They smell of wet dogs and they yip as the duo comes through the wall. There are two on each flank of the table.

    The necromancer is just a little over 20 feet to your left, standing next to an open door on the southern wall, in the westerly part of the room.

    The room is 30 feet north/south and 40 feet east/west. Grimlock and Cirdan have entered the room on the southern wall just east of center.

    All five of them appear surprised. The necromancer is pointing in the duo’s direction and making hacking motions. He appears to be encouraging the three foot tall scaly creatures to attack.

    Rnd 31 Courtyard

    Southar and Dalic continue to climb.

    Upon seeing his friend in such a horrible condition, Speck is rather shaken. He has never seen him in such a vulnerable state. "Are you going to be ok?" He asks. He feels anger welling inside. "I will do whatever it takes to make whoever did this pay." He also says, "Hang in there, Ewan will be here shortly."

    Speck finishes by saying, "I am willing to go help rid the world of this necromancer if that is what the group decides to do. I am also concerned for my friend here. I'd hate to leave him unattended.”

    The courtyard crew continues to hold position as Ewan closes the gap. He remains about six minutes away. Ewan is so exhausted, he is down to a walk. He does not stop though.

    Rnd 32 Rooftop

    Cirdan Saralonde has a very quick reaction and he throws the yuan-ti dagger at the necromancer, striking him in the guts. (7, 9/18; missed poison save – Dead).

    The necromancer dives out the doorway as Grimlock pulls a bit of spider web from his belongings and utters a spell. The western 1/3 of the room is encased in thick, sticky spider webs. They spill out the door into what is beyond. The webs catch one of the small scaly creatures like a fly but the other one on the west side of the table is able to jump clear.

    Cirdan levitates off the ground until he is near the ceiling and out of the reach of the small scaly critters.

    They throw javelins at Grimlock and Cirdan but all three javelins miss and bounce of the stone wall behind the duo. They draw short swords to close for melee.

    Rnd 32 Courtyard

    The sound of a melee suddenly fills the air. It appears to be coming from the second story. The sound seems to be coming from the window on the eastern wall, farthest to the north (There is three windows on the second story facing east).

    Southar and Dalic are scaling the rope just north of the middle window and 15 feet south of the window where the battle appears to be starting.

    Southar is a few feet above the window and 15 feet to the south.

    Dalic is just below the level of the 2nd story and also 15 feet to the south.

    Speck begins climbing the rope to join the fray. He is faster than the other two at climbing despite his small size.

    Rnd 33 Rooftop

    Cirdan fans out his fingers from his vantage point near the ceiling, pointing them towards the doorway. A burst of flames shoots forth from his spread fingers. The magical webs immediately burst into flames. Flame and smoke choke the western portion of the room and begins to boil across, filling the room with a moderate amount of smoke.

    <Necromancer is burned but his spellbook survives the flames. One vial of poison cracks and breaks in the heat and the remains of the potion of extra healing poor out onto the floor>

    The scaly creature caught in the webs is yelps in fear and pain as it is burned to death (3, -1/2).

    The three remaining minions charge Grimlock. Waiting for them, Grimlock smashes the first one with his shield (4, -1/3), killing it. He slices through the other two with one stroke, cutting them both in half (22 dam on a critical hit). They yelp as they are hit. The minions failed to strike a blow.

    As each of the scaly creatures perish, they disappear into a puff of smoke that blends into the smoke filled air.

    <The flash brings one of the bugbears up the stairs where she discovers the dead and burning corpse of the necromancer. She turns to flee back downstairs>

    Rnd 33 Courtyard

    Southar reaches the roof and pulls himself over the battlements. He finds nothing on the roof save a destroyed trap door in the NE corner of the roof.

    Speck catches up to Dalic and climbs over the top of him and continues to scurry up the rope very nimble-like.

    Dalic continues to ascend, slow but sure.

    There is a flash of light from a sudden flash of flame in the 2nd story window where the melee continues. Yelping, like that of a whipped dog, accompany the flash of light.

    The sound of swordplay and metal upon metal impacts is heard along with additional yelping.

    Smoke begins to billow lightly out of the window.

    Rnd 34 Rooftop

    Southar enters down through the roof trapdoor. Climbing down, he follows the blood trail to the trapdoor in the floor of the 3rd level observatory leading to the 2nd floor. The trapdoor hangs open. The blood trail continues down into the 2nd level. In the observatory is a crude tube on a tripod. There are parchments on a center table and strange runes on the ceiling. The runes appears astrological in design.

    Cirdan and Grimlock walk carefully among the smoldering ruins of the western half of the room. The air is relatively thick with smoke and each breaths into his clothing to keep from coughing. Grimlock, voice muffled by his mouth covering, gives an opinion to Cirdan, “We could have waiting a little to light the web. If he’s caught he’s caught. I was hoping not to light his robe, studies and knowledge ablaze. I did enjoy the effect though.”

    They reach the doorway and find the body of the necromancer. He is laying in a hallway on his side with a dagger sticking out of his belly. His cloak has burned. His inner clothing is still intact. His staff has fallen to the floor next to his. A broken vial lays ahead of his in the hallway as if he dropped it.

    The hallway runs south to a set of stairs. A smaller statured bugbear is just disappearing down the stairs. It appears to be grunting out something in its language.

    Cirdan removes his dagger from the body.

    Rnd 34 Courtyard.

    A bit thicker smoke continues out the 2nd story window. The flame appears to have all but disappeared. There is no more sounds of combat carried on the smoky breeze. In fact, the room has fallen deathly silent.

    Tathar starts his way up the rope. He also appears to be a fast climber on account of his nimble elven dexterity.

    Speck continues up the rope eyeing the 3rd story window (arrival rnd 36).

    Dalic, tugging and grunting, also appears to be eyeing the 3rd story window (arrival rnd 39).

    Yalta looks to Tarstar, Breymeer, and Kuba, “Tarstar, are you going up the rope? The rest of us are in poor shape to be climbing the rope. I fear we may have lost a few companions in that short melee. I think we cannot afford to congregate here any further awaiting Ewan. Gentlemen, will you follow me into the keep? I must make an attempt before I wait here further.”

    Rnd 35 Grimlock & Cirdan

    Grimlock grabs the necromancer’s limp body and drags it back into the room. Cirdan grabs the staff from the floor and follows Grimlock into the workroom. They shut the door. Once shut they find no way to lock or bar it.

    A quick search of the body reveals, in addition to numerous spell components and a slightly singed spellbook, are a sheathed dagger and three vials. A fourth vial is broken. He has a pouch containing platinum pieces (about four dozen) and nearly a dozen small gems (50gp or less type).

    Grimlock shouts towards the window, “The necro is dead. You can come up or come through the ground level doors. The leader is dead!”

    Rnd 35 Southar & Dalic

    Dalic bends on the rope as much as possible to get near the center second story window. He reaches out and is able to grasp a bar. He pulls himself over and takes ahold of the bars with both hands, stepping onto the window sill and releasing the rope. With a red faced grunt, he pulls at the bars, trying to spread them apart. They submit to the overgrown dwarf and bend apart creating a hole big enough for him to enter the 2 ft side by 4 ft high window.

    Inside, Dalic sees Southar climb down a ladder built into the wall below a trapdoor in the ceiling leading to the 3rd level.

    This room appears to be a bedroom. It is about 40 feet north/south and 30 feet east/west. There is one window facing east about 15 feet south of the north wall. Dalic is entering the room through that window. The trapdoor opens in the very NE corner. Opposite the room is a door on the west wall on the far south end of the room (kitty-corner from the trapdoor). Within the room has a large bed against the east wall just south of the window. A portrait of the necromancer hangs over the bed. A padded chair is in the SE corner. A footlocker is at the foot of the bed. A four-drawer chest is against the center of the west wall. It lays open with clothing strewn about the floor near it. A standing enclosed armoire is against the center of the north wall. The front doors of the armoire stand open displaying some cloaks and robes. The back wall of the armoire is also open, leading to another room. Smoke sifts into this room through the open ports.
    A blood trail leads from the trapdoor to the bed. There is blood on the bed. The trail continues to the footlocker and then ends at the standing armoire.

    The sound of a door shutting in the room behind the armoire is heard followed a few seconds later by Grimlock shouting, “The necro is dead. You can come up or come through the ground level doors. The leader is dead!”

    Rnd 35 Couryard

    Breymeer counts himself in and puts and arrow to his bowstring. He joins Yalta at the front door, “I would like to wait for Ewan but we have not time to spare.”

    Tarstar stands nearby as if undecided.

    Kuba says, "I am in no condition to get involved with any battle right now. I may be able to defend myself but not actively engage any opponent. I will wait for the portly friar." Kuba puts his back to a wall where the rope meets the ground and watches the holes in the north and south curtain wall in addition to the eastern gate.

    Kuba nervously awaits Ewan who is yet five minutes out.

    Speck is just below the third story window (30 feet up).

    Tathar is nearly to the floor of the 2nd story (12 feet up).

    Grimlock’s voice carries down from the smoking window, “The necro is dead. You can come up or come through the ground level doors. The leader is dead!”
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    Mon Apr 20, 2015 7:07 pm  

    Kuba and Speck both volunteer to join the group heading around the keep.

    Grimlock, looking at the setting sun, advises, “I can easily jog back to base camp by dark but who is interested in clearing this place out now and then holding up here safely. He can hold up in the necromancer’s study. It appears there is only the one door in to the study and one door into the bedroom. The windows are barred,” Grimlock looks at Dalic, “with the exception of the window in the bedroom. It could be easily guarded for the night.”

    Dalic, ignoring the half-elven know-it-all, proudly checks his equipment. He grips his sword, double checks his beltpouches and daggers sheathed on his belt, adjusts his armor and backpack, and finally straightens out his cape. The cape is really just a robe that he hacked down to his size and cut the sleeves short. On top of that, a blood sack with a head sized object rests at his side, tied to his belt.

    Dalic walks over to Ewan, gives a little belch and as politely as he can muster, asks, “If ye be no stre’ch’in thin, mebee ye cud less’n me wooonds a bit.”

    Ewan abliges him (+7, 25/32). The smell of Dalic’s belching doesn’t seem to phase the overly large sweaty man who just ran ½ mile in the evening sun. Dalic looks greatly refreshed, suffering only from a few cuts, bruises and scratches.

    Dalic, feeling spry now, proposes the group investigate the two towers on the way around the keep. Dalic wants to enter the small tower and climb on top of the curtain wall. He wants to enter the large tower as a sneaky type enters the main floor of the tower. They could search it together for anything of interest. The rest of the group would remain close by for support in case of traps or ambush.

    Grimlock proposes the group split up to try and finish searching by nightfall then shore up in the study for the night, “But be quick we must.”

    Kuba maybe feeling a bit exasperated by Dalic's words and actions chimes in, "Maybe iffen ye take yer big head an smash a hole in yon tower walls we be gettin this done even more quick like."

    Cirdan adds, "Brave Dalic, I am fond of your Dwarven exuberance for battle, but I feel the towers can wait until morning. Let us clear the keep and rest for the night. I will be of little or no use in a fight. I can tell that my ability to use magic is depleted, and I still need healing from the fireball. Others need rest also. This book you are looking for will be here tomorrow."

    Cirdan then turns to Breymeer and present him with his obsidian arrow.

    Tathar, ignoring Cirdan’s noble deed for the moment, questions Dalic as well, “I would like to know more about this book. My people have charged me with searching out ancient magics. I am also interested in knowing why none of us were told of this book prior to embarking on this quest."

    Speck, showing the uncanny upbeat halfling spirit, nearly volunteers to join Dalic, “I will search and loot whatever is here. When night falls though, I would like to be together as a group inside somewhere safe.”

    Cirdan shows concern, “Since not everyone can climb the rope to the second floor study, we must find a way to get there from within the keep. That is, if we can even open the door when we get there. I propose we clear the keep as a group, quickly, then camp in a safe room and explore the rest of the keep tomorrow before heading back to basecamp.”

    Grimlock agrees with Cirdan, “We need to clear the inside keep building before we hold up for the night. If this book does exist here, we may lose it if one of the bugaboos, having lost their leader, flees the keep and takes it with. It would make little sense for the outer wall towers to hold the book.” Grimlock begins to prepare his gear and ready himself, “Dalic, after you.”

    With the eyes not on Dalic, he turns to Kuba, "Me head or yours maybe do the trick. I prefer the latter." Dalic sneers with a smirk, almost jovial at the presence of even verbal conflict.

    Next he turns to Cirdan, "I may be near but a brute ta ye comrads who be fightin' along each side for a time, but aye, I know there be more'n a few ways in ta a ruined hold an' a tower may be yet a risk ta leave unchecked. Where in ye think them undead rose from?"

    Tathar gets his attention next, "I have now been with arm with ye most an' is more'n can I says once we started. I hold no secrets, only my tongue ta those I yet not know. Knowin' ye now an' havin' spoke ta some early on 'bout tha book," looking to Grimlock, "I hab' ta them I spoke said yet it need not be private knowins. I know little for I ask little o' me employer. Dalic had said all he know. It be black and leather and dangerous. Nae open nor read it. Bring it ta Dalic.”

    Each address is said loud enough for everyone to hear. Once done, Dalic appears to realizing he has sounded more apologetic than his usual tough demeanor. He adds as a near apology for his apology: "And... ta... any who infer Dalic be untrusted agin: There be a sword wit' which ta meet." Dalic pokes his sword unconvincingly into the ground at his feet, still adjusting to his normal height.

    It appears obvious the dwarf is struggling socially with the group. It doesn’t take a sage to realize this dwarf is used to being alone and fighting alone; relying on his own brute force over a silver tongue.

    After his belabored speech, and clearly uncomfortable with the amount of public speaking, Dalic nods to a thought in his mind, "Tha towers may be a point ta breech but say we attack tha west an' Dalic will lead tha charge. A compromise ta battle be no compromise at all!" He smiles almost gleefully.
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    Mon Apr 20, 2015 7:30 pm  

    Cirdan Saralonde also petitions Ewan McDermott for some relief from his burns. His request is granted (+3, 15/23). Ewan warns he is getting low on strength.

    The party sets out for the western wall. They walk out through the hole in the northern wall. After crossing the rubble, the group moves close to the curtain wall to the western side of the keep. They pause at the large hole in the western keep wall.

    Southar and Breymeer immediately inform the group of evidence they see. There is much evidence of a mass exodus from the hole. Nearly two dozen creatures fled according to Southar and Breymeer’s interpretation. The tracks appear to be the size and weight appropriate to female and young bugbear.

    Just in case there is a male contingent of bugbear left, Dalic removes the necromancer’s head from the bag and rolls it into hall. “Break’n dems fight’n spirit,” Dalic grins.

    The party walks cautiously into the throne room. The room was once a grand hall. Six pillars line each side of the hall holding aloft the 25 foot peaked ceiling. The back wall was destroyed in the previous siege. When the wall caved in, it destroyed the throne. The room was decorated by frescoes of men and elves fighting together against bugbears. Now, these paintings have been defaced and partially destroyed.

    A quick survey of the room reveals nothing unusual. The room appears to have been plundered long ago.

    There are two doors leading from the room. One in the north wall that has been nailed shut and one in the south wall. The door in the southern wall appears to be locked and possibly barred from the other side.

    Tathar makes a sweep of the room perimeter checking behind paintings and along the walls.

    Dalic sweeps the other way checking behind pillars and in the shadows.

    Grimlock looks at the lock on the south door and then tries to jimmy it open. The door fails to open and the lock remains in place.

    Meanwhile, Dalic had reached the north door on his sweep and reports all clear. He takes his sword to the door and starts to pry the nails out of the door. After working on the door for nearly 10 minutes, Dalic sheaths his sword and draws his dagger. He walks over to the necromancer’s head and picks it up; holding it by the hair out in front of him with the face pointing forward. “Fear lantern” he calls it with a smile upon his face. He returns to the door and motions his his knife hand for the rest of the party to fall in behind him. He chuckles to himself and mumbles again, “Fear lantern.”
    Since Grimlock was unable to open the southern door, the group falls behind Dalic and he pulls open the door.

    The room behind the door (room “S”) contains a large table. The table is marred and partially rotten. The chairs are also badly marked and damaged. The room is otherwise empty. The only other exit is a door on the north end of the east wall.

    The party moves into the next room (“R”) and discovers it is the old kitchen; 20x20 in size. Doors are mounted in the southern wall and the eastern wall. After clearing the kitchen, the party investigates the door and reveals the door to the east enters the pantry (“Q”) and the door to the south enters a hallway running to the east then turning south.

    After standard precautions, Dalic, still holding the severed head out, opens the pantry door. Behind the door is a 20x20 room that appears to have once served as a pantry. There is some reserved food here, otherwise most of the food appears to be getting rotten. Even the preserved food appears to be badly cured meat of unknown origin. It appears pretty obvious this is the bugbear’s doing. A quick survey of the room reveals nothing unusual.

    The hallway turns south at the pantry door. There are two doors mounted on the eastern wall at a distance of 30 feet and 60 feet. The hall turns east after the southern door.

    The first door to the east in the hallway is opened after normal precautions. The door leads to a 30x30 room (“O”) with a door in the north wall. This room appears to be a bedroom of some kind. There is a pile of old grubby furs that appear to serve as a bed. There are several candles in the SE corner of the room. They appear to represent a small prayer area.
    Tossing the bedding, the party finds a small iron chest. It has a lock and appears to be locked.

    Grimlock advises to take the chest with and he will look it over after a good nights rest.

    Speck, on the other hand, volunteers to pick the lock on the chest.

    While he is doing so, Tathar begins to examine the door in the room.
    Dalic takes one of the furs from the beds, folds it and stows it. He then moves out into the hallway and south. He takes a position where the corridor turns east. He has the head and his dagger ready.

    Speck examines the lock and the chest carefully. He then takes out a few picks and works on the lock. Within moments, there is an audible click and Speck smiles with satisfaction. Speck opens the top revealing 10 small blocks of insense and a small leather pouch. Speck pours the pouch into his hand revealing seven small cut quartz gems (10 gp variety). Speck puts the gems back in the pouch, shuts the lid and stows the chest in his pack.

    Tathar reports nothing unusual about the door. Dalic opens it revealing a 20x30 room (“P”). This room appears to be a second shaman’s bedroom. It, too, has a bed of old furs and a small crude desk. The desk appears to have been made into an altar. Candles, similar to the previous room, adorn the top of the desk. Under the desk is a small wooden chest. This room has no other exits.

    Repeating the process on the chest, Speck begins to examine it. After a visual examination, Speck seems reluctant to touch it. “This one seems different. I do not see any mechanical traps but something is amiss. I do not trust to open this one.”

    Cirdan asks, “Is it actually locked? Could we throw a couple of furs over it and open it from behind?”

    Speck does not believe it to be locked. That is part of what worried him. He thought he detected evidence of a magical trap. He saw nothing mechanical.

    Grimlock, not having a rope of his own anymore, suggests dropping a loop of rope around it and then backing out of the room. Once clear, pull the rope to jostle it a bit and see if anything happens. If it doesn’t go kaboom or have a gas cloud pour out of it, we can stow it for later.

    Tathar pokes through the furs of the bed and then sits upon the floor in meditation.

    Breymeer and Kuba, looking down the hall to make sure Dalic is out of earshot, have a conversation the rest of the party can hear. Dalic, at the south end of the hall, is just rounding the corner in the hallway heading e/b toward the end of the hallway.

    Breymeer starts it with, “Certain actions are getting to me. If he does one more outright evil act or disrespecting action, I am either leaving or challenging him.”

    Kuba, appearing uneasy with Dalic himself, “If there is a book of the dead somewhere in this keep, that is very dangerous. I don’t think we should be brining the head of the one who used it anywhere near it,” motioning down the hall towards the ‘fear lantern’. “Maybe its power will bring him back in an even more dangerous form.”

    Yalta chimes in, “I am not sure where Pelltar found this fella. A might dangerous with the sword, I will give ‘em that. He is every bit savage as he is brave. Foolhardy even. I have never met such a dwarf. The only two I know, however, are the bar owners in Restenford. A couple dwarves own Falco’s Tavern. When we return, I will speak to Pelltar about ending his service to the group. First, we have to last the night.”

    Tathar volunteered his rope to use. Grimlock ties his loop and places it around the chest. Everyone vacates the room.

    Grimlock set the rope so that a tug would pull suddenly on the bottom of the chest, hopefully tipping it backwards. What really happened, no one will know. As soon as the rope is tugged, a large explosion rocks the north bedroom.

    Post explosion inspection of the room reveals the table has been blown apart. The chest is completely gone. The furs from the bed are messed a bit. Gold pieces have been scattered about the room. Scraps of leather are located. Some of them have some type of writing on them. It appears a few scrolls or letters or similar were blown apart and are completely unreadable now.

    Dalic, feeling as if the party is turning against him, walks down the hallway to the south. These lesser beings have the gall to question his battle tactics. They would all be dead if not for Dalic. But for now, he needs them to help find the book of Pelltar’s quest. He will have to play along to keep them in the fold.

    Suddenly, a voice comes to him, “Dalgur Steelcoat!” The voice calls his name. It appears to be coming from the severed head Dalic holds before him. He turns the head slowly and to Dalic’s surprise, the eyes are open and focused and the mouth moves, “Dalgur Steelcoat! You must return my head to my master. You shall receive his blessings!” Dalic can’t help but like the sound of someone appreciating him. After all the alienation, this is welcome news. The fact that he is being addressed by the severed head of a necromancer is lost on Dalic’s wisdom at the moment.

    The head seems to pull Dalic eastward down the hall to the door to room “J”. When he arrives there, to his amazement, the door opens into the hallway. Opening the door is the bugbear that had fled the courtyard from Grimlock earlier in the evening. The bugbear appears completely subdued and has a “thousand yard stare”; not focusing on Dalic at all. It merely allows Dalic to pass and then shuts the door, setting the security bar back in place.

    This 20x30 room used to be a guard post. All the furniture has been removed. It now sits empty. Dalic sheaths his dagger to free his hand. He unbars the door on the eastern wall and enters room “I”.

    This 20x20 room is the keep’s entrance hall. The furniture here is damaged but appears to have been of fine quality in its day. A large bar sits in place on the northern double doors. The possessed looking bugbear unbars the doors and opens them.

    The sun has set a while ago and darkness has crept over the eastern courtyard. Luna, the larger of the visible moons, is new, hiding her silvery light, and Celene, the smaller bluish moon, is waxing; only a quarter of its size. The courtyard remains dark and dreary. A coolness has mixed into the air brining some forming fog in the courtyard.

    The head guides Dulgar Steelcoat directly across the courtyard towards the large northeastern tower that he petitioned to enter just before nightfall. The mindless bugbear follows in stride. The dead in the courtyard, being touched by the fog, begin to stir ever so slightly.

    During Tathar’s meditation, he is troubled by the everpresent evil in this place. He concentrates harder until the silvery light of the moon enters his mind. Luna, the larger silvery moon, is new this night and Celene, the smaller bluish moon is only just waxing to a quarter. He locks onto this image and focuses his thoughts. Sehanine Moonbow’s voice comes to him warning of some vile evil but a sudden explosion shatters his concentration.
    As others pick up the scattered gold, Tathar returns to his thoughts. Tathar prays for guidance and receives a series of visions:
    1. Behind a heavy wooden door reinforced with metal bands lay a dark decending stairway.
    2. A large bookshelf, with dozens of books on it, against a wall in a dark, damp bedroom.
    3. A second dark stairwell down behind a larger than man-sized stone statue of a bearded man.
    4. A set of ironshod double doors mounted in the wall of a small dark natural cavern area.
    In Tathar’s vision, the ironshod doors open. A sense of evil so complete strikes him as he is roused by his companion’s departure of the shaman’s bedrooms.

    Kuba becomes suspicious Speck is stealing from the group, his paranoia grows.

    Speck, in turn, begins to feel Kuba distancing himself and starts to grow sad. The though of the loss of Kuba's friendship strikes the Halfling hard.

    Tarstar has a compulsion forming. He feels the need to get rid of Dalic. If given the opportunity, Tarstar's compulsion will overwhelm him and force him to backstab Dalic.

    Tathar is compelled to find out where his visions were leading him.

    Dalic completes his move across the courtyard as the bodies of the dead continue to stir. The fog appears to rise up directly from the ground, seemingly drawing the warmth from his very body.

    The mindless bugbear, upon reaching the northeast tower, opens the door and enters. The tower has a roughly 20 foot radius. A set of stone stairs are built into both the north and south walls. The north stairs goes up and the south goes down. The inside of the tower, including the ceiling above Dalic, is very old and rotten. It threatens to collapse. The floor is strewn with a few boards that have fallen. It is otherwise uninteresting.
    “Down, Dulgar Steelcoat. Take me down.”

    Dalic does as commanded by the head. He walks down the stairway into the basement of the castle. His dark vision showing the basement level of the tower has the same footprint, a 20 foot radius circle. Here, another stone stairwell leads further into the earth from this otherwise unnotable chamber.

    “Down further, Dulgar Steelcoat.”

    Dalic continues his descent. The air becomes damp and clammy. The walls glisten and are moist to the touch. The air is stagnant and foul.

    At the bottom of the stairs, the corridor turns south and proceeds only 30 feet before coming to an old wooden door. “Press on Dulgar Steelcoat, we are getting closer,” is the sinister hiss in Dalic’s mind.

    Cirdan, Grimlock and Speck go about picking up coins while the others keep guard.

    Tathar, having been disturbed by the explosion, goes back to meditating.

    “Let’s put some pep in our step, gentlemen. Night has set in and we have a couple areas yet to check. Grab all the valuables quick and let’s finish this search and get back to the necromancer’s study,” encourages Grimlock.
    The group quickly checks the last door on the east wall at the southern end of the hallway. It leads into a 30x30 room that was obviously a barracks for the bugbears. Numerous furs lumps are scattered on the floor. It is in general disarray. It appears the room was vacated very quickly. A sweep through the room reveals nothing of interest.

    Continuing down the hallway as it turns to the east, the group quickly discovers Dalic is gone. The hallway ends with a single door mounted on the southern wall (leads to room “J”). The bar on this side of the door is not in place.

    Trying the door, one discovers it will not open easily. It appears stuck or barred from the other side.

    Tarstar mindlessly mutters, more to himself, “That dwarf will kill us all. He must be watched.”

    Breymeer offers to go after Dalic, “I will split off and track Dalic down. Anyone wish to accompany?”

    Tarstar, wringing his hands, joyfully accepts.

    Southar, steps forwards with a simple, “Yessss.”

    Cirdan points out the obvious, “We need to get through this door first.” Cirdan puts his shoulder to it but the door does not give.

    A few others through their shoulder into the door without success.

    Grimlock steps forward and places his hand on the door. With a command, a bar is heard sliding on the other side and the door relents. Grimlock pulls the door open towards him.

    The room behind the door is a 20x30 room (room “J”). There is a set of double doors on the west wall and a single door on the east wall. The door on the eastern wall has been unbarred and remains ajar. The room used to be a guard post. All the furniture has been removed.

    Inspecting behind the eastern door reveals 20x20 room is the keep’s entrance hall (room “I”). The furniture here is damaged but appears to have been of fine quality in its day. A large bar lays upon the foor, having been removed from its place on the northern double doors. The double doors are also ajar.

    Outside in the courtyard, the sun has set a while ago and darkness has crept over the eastern courtyard. Luna, the larger of the visible moons, is new, hiding her silvery light, and Celene, the smaller bluish moon, is waxing; only a quarter of its size, giving little light to the night. The courtyard remains dark and dreary. A coolness has mixed into the air brining some forming fog in the courtyard. It appears to be climbing from the very ground, rising now to a layer several inches thick.

    Southar looks out into the darkness, “Sseeemss he went to the tower after all. He sssshould be eassy to find.” Southar walks out into the night, golden shield and sword at the ready.

    Southar has a sudden compulsion to head to the NE tower himself. He seems to have less concern for finding Dalic as he does for finding out what energy guides him to the tower.

    Dalic opens the old wooden door and enters a generally triangle shaped cavern. He is immediately struck by very cold air; well below freezing. His breath easily visible. Under the power of possession, he ignores the change of temperature.

    Each side of the cavern is nearly 40 feet long. The point of the triangle faces south. Dalic enters the room from a small alcove in the northwest corner. A couple skeletons and a zombie hiss at him as he approaches but fall back to the power of the necromancer’s head.

    Dalic continues south through a short ten foot wide natural passage; the power of the head pulling him. He passes a side cavern on the western side. It also contains walking dead that hiss at him but do not molest him.

    Dalic is pulled farther south into a much larger natural chamber. It is roughly 60x60 in size. An additional chamber opens to the northeast.
    The head, still hanging by its hair, turns like a needle on a compass. It points to the southwest corner of the room, “Dalgur Steelcoat, the door.”

    Dalic moves across the room, splitting another skeleton and two more zombies as he walks.

    Dalic finds the door in the southwestern part of the chamber. It is an iron-reinforced wooded door. The iron has hints of frost upon it. “Bust it down Dalgur Steelcoat!”

    Grimlock becomes concerned, “I think we should head up to the second floor and lock ourselves in for the night. If Dalic decides to pull out whatever is stuck up his ars and join us later, then that will be his choice. For now, I don’t feel like chasing this fool through this keep at night. He will either make it back or we will find what’s left of him tomorrow.”
    Ewan, feeling an uneasiness coming over him, decides Grimlock’s idea be best.

    Yalta, holding a torch he lit once the group entered the unlit first level, feels Grimlock speaks with wisdom as well.

    Breymeer, also holding a torch, agrees with Grimlock, “Dalic has been gone a while now. There is no need to further split the party.” Breymeer steps out to check on Southar saying, “What is your intentions Southar? Are you okay? What causes your lisp?”

    Southar, nearly half way across the courtyard already and moving at a jog, calls back over his shoulder, “Dalic isss the key.”

    Tarstar, taking Breymeer’s torch, runs out into the courtyard to catch up to Southar, “We shall all dance in our graves tonight me mates.” Tarstar has his cutlass out. Both Southar and Tarstar quickly cross the courtyard and enter the door leading into the northeastern tower.

    Breymeer sees movement in the dark. A skeleton moves slowly towards the keep entrance from the hole in the southern wall. A second skeleton, that of a canine, re-enters the courtyard from the eastern gate.

    In addition, the skeleton of the slain giant begins to stir and reform slowly.

    Other sounds in the courtyard seem to indicate the other skeletons are also reforming. The lumps of bugbear bodies slowly stir. Limp, lopt off during combat, move slowly in the growing fog. The severed head of the bugbear shaman forms an evil grin as it eyes begin to refocus, looking across the dark courtyard towards the open keep door. The light from his torch reflecting off its red eyes.

    Breymeer physically shakes with fear. He returns to the entrance hall and shuts the door, barring it. He is white as a ghost, “The living dead have returned this night.” Breymeer lights another torch from Yalta’s flame.
    Meanwhile, Tathar moves to the double doors on the western side of the room (“J”) and puts his ear to the door. Not hearing anything, he tries to open them. To his surprise, they open easily.

    Behind the doors is a 20x30 room with a stairway up in the center of the north wall and a small alcove at the west end of the north wall. The door is barred from this side and likely leads to the throne room. Another door is mounted on the southernmost area of the west wall.

    Tathar can’t help but stare at the western door. The door is reinforced with metal bands.

    Dalic prepares to shoulder the door open when he notices a black, shapeless mass drifting under the door and forming in front of him. It has no true substance but displays what appears to be the upper body of a humanoid with arms and a head. Two evil glowing red eyes float in the darkness of its head.

    The image turn towards the door and imitates keying the lock. An audible click is heard. The apparition looks over his shoulder and waves Dalic forward. It disappears under the door in the same fashion it appeared.

    Dalic, trying the door again, finds it easy to open. He moves into the long natural passageway on the other side of the door.

    Dalic is relieved the temperature returns to normal sub-terrain ranges as he steps into the hall. His beard had already frosted over and his hands stung with cold.

    The creature walks ahead of him, no longer looking over its shoulder to Dalic as if it knows he will follow. The bugbear mindlessly follows Dalic down the hall. The head continues to give Dalic a steady pull forward.
    Dalic moves down the southwestern passageway nearly 40 feet. While doing so, a strange sense of hope tingles across his body. It is a strange feeling to the grim hearted Dalic. As quickly as it came over him, it vanishes and Dalic puts it in the back of his mind, “It be da cold tis all,” he tells himself.

    The passageway turns westerly and the structural integrity of the tunnel deteriorates. The walls and ceiling have begun to crumble but appear to yet hold in place. The deteriorated area of the passage is only about sixty feet long. As the hall continues, its condition improves but the dampness remains.

    After a little over one hundred feet since turning westerly, the hall suddenly turns north and travels thirty feet before angling northwest and ending at an identical, well made, iron-reinforced wooden door.

    The black mass flows below the door and disappears. “Dulgar Steelcoat, you shall be rewarded. Continue through the door.” Dalic, feeling an empowerment in the appreciation, opens the door and moves through the portal.

    Grimlock reiterates, “I could care less about Dalic and the role he plays. If he had our safety in mind, he would not have left us behind. I say we fight out way back and not deeper in. Turn what you can but I would prefer to hold up in the necromancer’s study just the same. The skeletons have proven weak less the giant. The giant cannot get into the keep as he is too large for the hallways.”

    Speck shows his worry, saying to Kuba, “We better stay close and stay with the group for safety.”

    Kuba sneers back, “I got my own troubles and can well watch out for myself. You better keep your sneaky little thieving carcass away from me.”
    The elves, Cirdan and Tathar, both agree the group needs to get upstairs in the keep and lock the doors for the night.

    Faintly heard, carried lightly on the cooling night air, the sound of a horn reaches the keep. Blown from near the base of the hill, its shrill call raises concern. The call is quickly followed by the howling of worgs. It can mean only one thing, the basecamp is under siege.

    The next thing heard is the scratching of the skeletal fingers upon the outer door. The dead rise in the fog shrouded courtyard.

    Looking around the group, times are desperate:

    Yalta is in near hysterics.

    Breymeer, back pressed against the outer door, looks shook as well.

    Ewan speaks, “Southar, that bastard, has led Tarstar off to his death!”

    Speck and Kuba, are abnormally squabbling.

    Strangely, the three elf-blooded, Grimlock, Tathar and Cirdan, remain calm and rational.

    Southar and Tarstar reach the northeast tower, open the door and enter. The tower has a roughly 20 foot radius. A set of stone stairs are built into both the north and south walls. The north stairs goes up and the south goes down. The inside of the tower, including the ceiling above them, is very old and rotten. It threatens to collapse. The floor is strewn with a few boards that have fallen. It is otherwise uninteresting.

    They walk down the stairway into the basement of the castle. The light of the torch shows the basement level of the tower has the same footprint, a 20 foot radius circle. Here, another stone stairwell leads further into the earth from this otherwise un-notable chamber.

    Seeing no other option, the duo continues their descent. The air becomes damp and clammy. The walls glisten and are moist to the touch. The air is stagnant and foul.

    At the bottom of the stairs, the corridor turns south and proceeds only 30 feet before coming to an old wooden door.

    Behind the door, Dalic finds a small chamber that is really more of a four way intersection canted in the NW/SE/SE/NE direction. Dalic enters from the southeast. To the northeast lies a short passageway to a larger chamber. It is blocked by a closed portcullis. The winch for the portcullis is mounted between the NE and NW passages. To the northwest is a passageway that bends to the west. The main path leads to the southwest side and ends in a set of ironshod double doors. The doors are stained a dark color. Flies cover the doors, buzzing and crawling over each other.
    “Dulgar Steelcoat, enter the doors and claim this keep.” The blackness disappears under the double doors. Dalic grasps the doors and pushes them open. Behind the doors is a large natural chamber roughly 40 feet deep (NE to SE) and 60 feet wide (NW to SW). The door is mounted in the center of the northeastern wall.

    Near the center of the room, drawing all of Dalic’s attention, is an altar of black polished stone. The blackness of the altar meets the natural stone and veins into it like a tumor. The room is warm and lit by two braziers that bracket the altar.

    “Place my head upon the altar Dalgur Steelcoat!” Dalic can refuse no such order. Dalic gently places the head upon the altar, facing toward himself and the mindless bugbear. The braziers seem to brighten and then flare up higher.

    “I shall rise this night! You shall be blessed for your service. Dalgur Steelcoat, slit this bugbear’s throat and spill its blood upon the altar. Do this, Dalgur Steelcoat, and you shall be Baron of Bone Hill Keep. This title shall be yours and all in the keep will serve you in their living death. I, Telvar, shall surrender this title to you and instead serve you as chief advisor. Slay this beast as a sacrifice to he who calls for your service.”
    Dalic, lusting for the power and title offered to him, cannot help but ponder who this altar is to and who calls upon his service.

    “Do it now Dalgur Steelcoat! Become legendary! Fear nothing! DO IT NOW!” The bugbear has approached the altar and leaned forward and lifted its head, exposing its neck. Dalic finds his knife in his hand, stepping towards the creature. The brazier’s flames leap towards the ceiling.
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    Thu Apr 23, 2015 7:17 pm  

    Dalic feels his free will return to him and in an instant begins to focus his mind sensing the danger about him with his warrior’s instinct.

    “Fer wut cen a mere lowly creature such as this do in a sacrifiss tha’ a true warrior’s spilt blood cannot ten fold? Great talkin’ head ye tempt me an’ Dalic be wantin to make beg power ever strong. Let me fetch a true warrior with many souls felled by their hand ta make ye richer in powr still!”

    Dalic turns as he speaks, surveying the room. It is a natural chamber nearly void of content. The altar and braziers sit near the middle of the room, the prominent feature to those entering from the double doors. To the north of the altar lay several old and decomposed bodies. They were once dressed in rich white robes now stained dark in front. The bodies appear to have been a woman and children. On the south side of the altar are several other decomposed bodies of adult humans. They are also dressed in robes with similar stains. The presence of ropes with each body hints that they had been bound at the time of their sacrifice. Directly in front of the altar, now at Dalic’s feet, lay the body of a man in plate mail armor. The armor is rusted beyond repair. A shield lay next to the body with the crest matching that of some of the murals in the throne room. A rusted dagger lay near the body’s right hand. A sword remains sheathed on its belt. The sheath has rotten away some revealing the blade of the sword. It is miraculously free of rust.

    Dalic’s mind attempts to piece together the evidence. One can only assume the baron, whose body is free of any bonds, killed his family and servants before sacrificing himself before the altar.

    Dalic makes his decision. As his belt pouch turns away from the view of the head, Dalic palms one of his holy water vials in his free hand. Dalic turns back to the bugbear and places the dagger at the creature’s throat and his free hand at its chin to stabilize its head. Popping the cork of the holy water vial with his thumb, Dalic falsely draws the dagger across the bugbear’s exposed throat, dumping the holy water upon the head and altar as he does so.

    As the holy water hits necromancer’s head and altar, a sound rises up like that of a hot frying pan doused in cold water. The holy water eats into the head and altar like an acid, small wisps of smoke rising from the contact points.

    The head screams like a tortured soul and the braziers, for just a moment, darken to hot coals as dark smoke billows forth.

    Dalic, grabs the bugbear by the head and attempts to snap his neck but an unholy energy fills the bugbear as his eyes become focused. The bugbear, being muscled and nearly twice the height of Dalic, merely stands breaking Dalic’s hold on its head.

    Nearby, the apparition appears to have miscalculated Dalic’s actions. It realizes Dalic’s deceit. Its red eyes flare with hatred.

    Grimlock ensures Breymeer barred the outer doors. Grimlock bars the door from the guard post “J” to the north hall and then proceeds into the waiting room “K”.

    The waiting room contains six chairs scattered along the walls. The chairs are in a state of disrepair but stable enough to hold weight.

    Noting the door to the throne room is barred, Grimlock heads upstairs, “Follow me.”

    The remaining party members move up the stairs behind Grimlock. At the top of the stairs, Grimlock turns and open the door on the east side of the stairwell. Breymeer covers the northern hall, handing his torch to Kuba.

    Grimlock and Kuba enter the room finding it to be a 40x40 room with a barred window near the center of the eastern wall. Judging from straw bedmats on the floor, this room served as a bedroom for the bugbear children. The room is otherwise empty.

    As the trio clears the room, a muffled shriek echoes through the keep, rising from the very stones of the structure. A sudden wave of dread washes over the party. Upon its passing, the previous compulsions that pulled at the adventurer’s will vanish. A sense of relief fills Breymeer, Kuba no longer eyes Speck with suspicion, the foreshadowing of Kuba’s death leaves Speck’s mind, Yalta’s confidence returns and Ewan’s fear of the undead also passes.

    Just before Southar opens the old wooden door, a muffled shriek echos through the cavern, coming from the southwest. A sudden wave of dread washes over the duo. Upon its passing, the previous compulsions that pulled at their wills vanish. Tarstar no longer feels compelled to hunt down Dalic. Southar, appears more at peace but wills to continue on. Southar opens the old wooden door and enters a generally triangle shaped cavern. He is immediately struck by very cold air; well below freezing. His breath easily visible.

    Immediately two skeletons and a zombie begin moving towards Southar from the center of the room. Southar warns Tarstar and prepares for combat.

    Dalic makes a play for the sword in the rotten sheath hoping it holds some sort of special property.

    Dalic moves to his right and pulls at the brazier, searing his hands as he does so (2, 23/32). He guides the base of the flames towards the bugbear. The hot coals spill out in front of the altar as the bugbear reaches out to grab Dalic. The bugbear burns his feet on the hot coals (1, 16/17) and misses his grapple attempt on Dalic.

    The coals continue to burn on the ground in front of the altar. The body there, acting as a dam, piled up a portion of the coals against it. The body begins to smoulder. The upright brazier also has returned to flame. The smoke previously belched out is dissipating in the large chamber.

    The black spirit creature sweeps in towards Dalic and reaches for him. It fails to make contact with Dalic as he jumps to the area just to the left of the body. Here the avalanche of coals stopped against the right side of the body giving Dalic a small area of floor to reach for the sword. He rips it from the rotten scabbard. The old leather easily gives way to his strength.

    The weapon is made of steel and has a ruby set into the grip just below the crossguard. The central groove running down the blade glows lightly with a red light. The pommel is engraved with some written words, “The bloodletter”. Dalic did not read the words, instead the name just comes to his mind as he grasp the grip of the blade.

    The phantam moves in to strike Dalic. It narrowly misses and Dalic makes it pay. Dalic’s new long sword cuts through the creature’s head with a trail of crimson light following the swing. Black smoke boils off the contact with the sword and the creature recoils from the blow (7, 23/30).

    The bugbear grabs at Dalic. It is able to grab Dalic’s sword arm and muscle it back painfully (2, 21(2 temp)/32). It maintains its hold and moves to wrestle the sword from Dalic’s grip.

    As the bugbear moves for positioning on Dalic, he drives the blade of the sword into the bugbears left leg (12, 4/17). The bugbear loses its grip on the Dalic’s arm. Dalic pulls the sword from its leg and drives it through the creature’s chest (10, -6/17). It collapses upon the floor, its blood spills before the altar.

    The standing brazier flares brightly and the flame from the brazier on the floor leaps and dances as the life force leaves the bugbear.

    The necromancer’s head burst into flame. A deep and sinister laugh echoes in the chamber as the head is consumed by the fire.

    In the distraction, the phantam reaches out and makes contact with Dalic’s left leg. The icy cold touch from the grave burns (3, 18(20)/32) and drains on his will (-1 wisdom) and his life force (3, 15(16)/29(32)).

    Dalic recovers slightly from the twisted arm (+1, 16(17)/29(32)).

    Grimlock moves up the hall to check the next door, giving orders as he goes, “Let’s check the remaining rooms upstairs.” He attempts to open the door to the necromancer’s bedroom (V) but it does not budge. “Everyone try a door we haven’t on this floor. Note whether they can be barred or locked as well if there is a window in the room. Quick, let’s get to it!

    Breymeer, cover the stairs.”

    Cirdan asks Grimlock, “Will you be able to open the door to the necromancer’s study? I would like to get to the roof and see if we can see our comrades; maybe lower a rope if need be.”

    Kuba appears confused for a moment, "What happened?" Kuba appears to be shaking off some type of enchantment, "I was ready to throw little Speck out the window and let the walking dead have their way with him. I'm sorry my little friend."

    Ewan opens the door on the western hallway, to the north. It opens to a 20x20 room (X). It is contains books, boxes, spare furniture, etc.

    Yalta opens the western hall door to the south. It opens to a short hallway, twenty feet long, and then opens into a 20x20 room (T) with a window facing south. The window is barred. This room appears to be empty other than a chair by the window. It appears to be a watchpost.

    Grimlock walks to the north end of the hallway where a door enters the workroom (W). Grimlock tries the north door but finds it still somehow stuck shut. He instead opens the door on the west side. It opens into an empty 40x20 room (Y). It contains a window on the western wall. This window is barred. A chair in front of the window hints at its use as a watchpost.

    A chill comes over Grimlock as he peers into the large watchroom. He catches sight of his breath as the air temperature around him seems to suddenly dip. Now alert to some danger, he shouts a quick warning to the group as he backs away from the north end of the corridor.

    As Grimlock backs away, an image materializes through the door and enters the hallway. It can be none other than the necromancer. The image is semitransparent. His head has been returned to the body. He carries an evil sneer on his face. A cold, whispery voice escapes it, “Now you shall join me, vile elves!”

    In a flash, it is upon Grimlock, clawing at him with cruel clawed hands, as the rest of the group begin to react to his shouts of warning.

    Southar slashes at the first skeleton to reach him. His blow is parried by the skeleton.

    Tarstar moves up alongside Southar and pokes at it as well but the blow just passes through the empty ribcage.

    Southar is able to block both the skeleton’s blows with his shield but the zombie gives him a gut punch (2, 39/41).

    Dalic rips off his make-shift cape with one hand while retrieving his holy water with the other. He dumps the holy water onto the cape and tries to ensnare the undead menace with it. Dalic is unable to snare the creature but the contact with the blanket burns more black smoke from the creature (2, 21/30). Its eyes continue to burn with hatred.

    Just as Dalic is recovering completely from his twisted arm (+1, 17/29), he feels the icy grip of death again as the creature strikes him a second time (3, 14/29) and his life force and will are drained further (5, 9/24 and wis -4).

    Grimlock drops quickly rolling sideways away from the phantom necromancer, escaping its grasp. Grimlock rolls through the open door into the room he was examining (Y) shouting orders, “Turn him if you can! Holy water and magic should harm him in death! Retreat into a room where we have more room to fight!”

    Cirdan Saralonde draws his yuan-ti dagger and pulls forth a scroll from his possessions.

    Tathar steps forward, fearing no undead, his moon imaged holy symbol out before him, “Back! Sehanine shall be your bane in death!”

    Yalta, trying to rebuild his confidence, steps around the corner displaying his snow-capped mountain peak symbol. Standing behind Tathar, Yalta commands the creature, “Back to your grave, this hilltop has been reclaimed in the name of Jascar!”

    The phantom sneers a whispery threat, “Hill gods and moon queens shall not save you! This night you all shall die!” It turns and enters the room (Y) after Grimlock, “Starting with the web thrower!” It paws at Grimlock with its deathly cold hands. Grimlock again tumbles out of the way. The whispering dead predicts, “You shall all serve me!”

    Breymeer and Ewan, standing near the top of the stairs, were unable to see the phantom but did hear its cold, dead voice.

    Kuba and Speck, stuck behind Yalta, Cirdan and Tathar, stood by in disbelief.

    Tarstar expertly begins removing bones from opposing skeleton’s rib cage (2, 4/6) while Southar bashes the other skeleton to pieces with his golden shield (6, 0/6). He follows the shield bash with a slashing strike across the zombie with his long sword (9, 3/12) hacking off its left leg. It falls to the floor but keeps up its assault.

    The undead are unable to land an effective blow.

    Reinforcements to the undead horde arrive in the form of four skeletons and a zombie. One of the skeletons wears a robe enscribed with runes.

    Dalic withdraws the cape, letting it rest on his shoulder, draped haphazardly over his free arm and front. He takes a violent swing at the creature cutting directly through its rib cage. As before, a smokey blackness boils off the creature (11, 10/30).

    Dalic suddenly hears pounding and scratching on the exterior side of the double doors. At the same time, the undead menace withdraws under the door into the winch room (BF).

    Grimlock continues to escape and evade the vile apparition.

    “To and fro you tumble and roll. Tired you’ll be when I steal your soul.” The necromancer points to the Grimlock and three missiles appear in the air and streak unerringly into his body (2, 23/25 and 4, 19/25 and 4, 15/25) wracking him with pain.

    Grimlock shouts, “Your journey back to death will be because you are a fool to think I am a threat to you. My companions behind you are!”

    As Grimlock dances with the foul spirit, Cirdan Saralonde sneaks up the hall with his scroll in hand. Once he sees the ghastly creature, Cirdan quickly reads off the scroll. Two missiles of his own appear and fly forward striking it (5, 29/34 and 2, 27/34). It screeches in unholy profanity.

    Yalta, with a war cry, charges forward past Cirdan, "In Jascar’s name, I will smite you!" Yalta enters the room to strike the undead menace with his staff and shield but catches his foot on the door jamb and falls flat on his face; stunned for the moment.

    Tathar takes his snake staff in hand along with a vial of holy water.

    Breymeer arms himself with axe and sword. He continues to watch for surprise attacks as he moves to the corner, prepared to confront the undead devil if the others fail.

    Tarstar picks away at the skeleton’s spine with his cutlass. He sends another rib flying (2, 2/6).

    Southar smashes a second skeleton to bits with his shield (10, -4/6) and cuts down the wounded zombie with his long sword (3, 0/12).

    The zombies and skeletons continue to press the attack without success.

    The rotten robed zombie however, pauses and points at Southar. Two missiles appear in the air and streak at him, striking him in the chest (5, 36/51 and 5, 31/41).

    Dalic switches weapons, drawing his bastard sword and replacing in the sheath the bloodletter. He retrieves his dagger from the ground where he dove for the bloodletter earlier, and returns it to its sheath. He searches the bodies for anything useful. Dalic finds 12 gp in a pouch on the bugbear and 11 pp, 22 gp, 17 ep and 44 sp on the body of the man in who had “Bloodletter”.

    Dalic adjusts his holy cape to fit again as close to a cloak as possible, tucking the front edges into his belt so it wraps forward. He has thoroughly convinced himself that it provides the most protection.

    Dalic rolls the dead bugbear onto the coals left by the fallen brazier and prepares for incoming combatants. The body begins to smoulder and burn in the heat.

    The door gives way to the undead behind it. Five skeletons enter the room and move to attack Dalic. One of the skeletons is dressed in old rotten mage robes. The ghostly undead creature that battled him earlier is not to be seen.

    Grimlock tumbles away to the northern part of the room and retrieves his holy water gift.

    Kuba, again showing concern for his little comrade, advises Speck to hold his position as there is little they can do against such a vile creation.

    Breymeer also holds his ground.

    Ewan, however, pushes his body through the mass and moves up to attack. He has a wooden cudgel in his hand, “The power of nature is greater than the unnatural.”

    Yalta gathers up his staff and shield and begins to rise but the undead necromancer lashes out at him. Before the necromancer can execute the Jascarian priest, Tathar douses it with holy water (5, 22/34).

    Cirdan also splashes his holy water on the necromancer but only catches him with part of the vial (2, 20/34).

    The necromancer cries out as if in pain, “Vile elves!”

    Tarstar finally picks the spine apart on the skeleton facing him (2, 0/6). It crumples to the ground.

    Southar bashes an incoming skeleton with his shield but fails to destroy it (4, 2/6) as he chops at another zombie (6, 6/12).

    A zombie moves in on Tarstar and gut punches him (4, 27/31).

    The other skeleton and two zombies fail to land a blow.

    Dalic, wanting to drive back the horde and slay the robe wearing skeleton, finds himself having to hack his way through. “Hard way, eh?” he spouts as he hacks the skeleton in front of him to bone shards (6, 0/6). He moves into the mass of animated bones. The two on his flanks miss outright and is breastplate deflects the third blow.

    Dalic now stands before the robed skeleton, aiming to drive him back. The robed skeleton waves his hand in front itself, spilling fine dust like material as it does so. Dalic’s vision narrows until it is overcome with an inky blackness. The last thing Dalic feels is his body striking the floor.

    Tarstar pierces the zombie before him with his cutlass (2, 10/12). In return, the skeleton before him stabs its sword into Tarstar’s chest (10, 17/31 wound ½ move, -2 hit armor, damaged). The zombie next to the skeleton slams its fist into the pommel of the sword driving it deeper into Tarstar’s chest (8, 9/31 wound ¼ move -4 hit (total)).

    Southar cuts the zombie facing him across the leg (4, 2/12) but fails to hit the skeleton with his shield.

    Grimlock throws his holy water at the aberration but misses it completely.
    Cirdan Saralone and Tathar Surion retreat down the hallway with Cirdan petitioning the others, “If you are going to stay here, fall back into the room and make a point of defense. Also, give us your holy water.”

    The spectre reaches down towards Yalta as he rises. Yalta swings wildly with his staff but misses. It mutters something in speech unknown and grasps onto Yalta. An electric shock discharges between them and the smell of ozone drifts from Yalta (13, -5/18 from the shock and 4, -9/18 from the death grasp and 5, -14/18 life draining and -3 wisdom drain). Yalta drops to the ground, convusing and pale.

    "Now you shall serve me, priest of Jascar," whispers the death spirit.

    Ewan McDermott charges into the room in a huff. He swings his oaken cudgel at the form now hovering over the dying Yalta. Ewan, despite his intent, fails to hit it.

    Tarstar takes a desperation poke at the skeleton. His cutlass damages its right femur bone (2, 4/6). The skeleton collapses, pulling its sword from Tarstar’s chest. Tarstar doubles over in pain. The zombie bashes Tarstar in the back of his head (4, 5/31). Tarstar struggles but stays conscious.

    Southar hacks another zombie down (4, -2/12) and bashes the robed zombie with his shield as it moves in to strike Tarstar (5, 13/18). The zombie strives forward, through the shield bash, and delivers and uppercut to the bent over Tarstar (8, -3/31). His head jerks back and blackness envelops his mind. He falls motionless to the icy cold floor and it begins to pull the heat from his fading body.

    Grimlock, with a growing concern showing on his face, splashes a second vial of holy water at the necromancer. The vial splashes on the dead spirit and it cries out agony (6, 14/34). It turns to face Grimlock, “You are next to die!”

    Ewan’s club, a handcrafted oaken cudgel blessed by the living forces of nature, strikes the ghost of the necromancer in the mid section (7, 7/34). The large man’s swing displays he has strength in his mass.

    The necromancer moves across the room with blinking speed and strikes Grimlock across his right arm. Grimlock feels the cold of death as it touches him (6, 9/25 from strike, 3, 6/22 from energy drain and -1 wisdom).

    Tathar, having dug in his pack, realizes he has one more flask of holy water. He charges to the room and finds the necromancer upon Grimlock. Tathar splashes the water on the necromancer and it burns through it (5, 2/34).

    Cirdan chastises the others, “If you are too struck with fear to fight, give me your holy water and I will do battle for you.”

    Breymeer, realizing he has the holy gift, comments, “I will do as you advise Cirdan. I will secure the room for your retreat if needed. But I shall retain my holy water.”

    Realizing they also have holy water, Kuba and Speck remove their vials and await the necromancer’s attack.

    Cirdan secures no holy water.

    Southar strikes to avenge Tarstar. His blow cuts the leg off the robed zombie (6, 7/18). He attampts to shield bash the zombie but it falls to the ground before the shield strikes it.

    Southar easily dodges the remaining zombie.

    Breymeer can’t hold back the offense he feels, “We thought we were moving to a more tactical spot. You think we are COWARDS?! That is disappointing to hear!” Looking disappointed that the plan of attack wasn’t followed, Breymeer charges forward with his holy water.

    Kuba and Speck follow suit with Speck in the front, holy water at the ready. Kuba shouts over his shoulder, “You have a halfling’s aim, my friend, toss mine after yours and I will guard you.”

    Tathar, with his snake staff in hand, holds his ground.

    Cirdan follows the charge up the hallway.

    Inside the room, the apparition moves back towards the open window while in melee with Ewan McDermott and his oaken cudgel. The phantom speaks, “Yalta, rise and slay the elves and their friends. The Lord of the Flies demands sacrifice! I will return and instruct you further.”

    Ewan McDermott swings at the spirit with his club, “Back to the grave with you!” Ewan fails to strike a blow.

    The necromancer touches Ewan on the chest, “You first!” Ewan nearly loses his breath from the dead cold touch (7, 3/10 touch, 2, 1/8 and -4 wisdom energy drain).

    Grimlock reads from the scroll in his hand as Breymeer and company enter the room full of fury and war cries. The phantom moves to exit the window as Grimlock, having finished reading the scroll, steps forward and touches the necromancer, “Two can play your game. Go to hell foul spirit!” A bluish electrical charge leaps from Grimlock’s hands and pulses through the necromancer. The spectre’s non-corporal form fades and dispatches like smoke in the wind. Its voice also trails off, “NNNNOOooooooooooooo.”

    Southar slashes a leg off the standing zombie (6, 4/12) and it drops to the ground. It crawls forward trying to bash Southar but he is too nimble and dodges the blows.

    The robed corpse conjures up two more missiles and fires them into Southar’s chest (5, 26/41 and 5, 21/41). Southar, in turn, bashes it with his shield (5, 8/18).

    Kuba and Breymeer stay attentive and keep guard.

    Cirdan moves to Breymeer and put a hand on his shoulder, “Breymeer, my friend, I have seen you fight. I know that you are no coward. The same goes for you Kuba. And you, Speck, have courage far greater than your size. Breymeer, you were there when fear gripped me in the jungle and I fled, blindly, from the yuan-ti temple. I was worried that the necromancer had put some spell on you or that you were dumbfounded to see him alive again. Please accept my apologies.”

    Cirdan continues, “Grimlock, it looks like we both have been afforded the opportunity to kill this foul creature. Let us hope it does not happen again.”

    Grimlock attends to Ewan, applying first aid to his wounds (+3, 4/8).
    Ewan, relaxes a bit and starts to catch his breath. Grimlock, also looking in sad shape, asks Ewan if he can ease his suffering a bit. Ewan returns the favor (+8, 14/22) and Grimlock looks greatly relieved.

    “I could feel the cold dampness of the grave pulling on my will,” comments Grimlock as he joins Tathar and Speck at Yalta’s body. Tathar is kneeling next to Yalta looking for life. They find Yalta deceased and pale with a look of fear frozen on his face.

    Yalta begins to look through the priests possessions, “He may have something useful against undead.” It appears Yalta has his armor, a shield, a staff, his holy symbol and a few miscellaneous pieces of gear.

    Speck looks worried, “I hope the necromancer’s last command didn’t work.”

    Grimlock suggests, “I am afraid, like the necromancer, he will rise and we will be back in the same fight we just finished! Use holy water on him, if it burns he is beyond our help and we must slay the evil that remains!”

    Tathar seems to have gotten his second wind. Looking to make sure Grimlock and Ewan McDermott are both relatively healthy, Tathar stands up from checking on Yalta and says, “I think we should burn the bodies of Yalta and the necromancer. I will get some wood from the storage room.”
    Tathar continues, “Sehanine, The Heroine of Death, has shown me the way. Our path to defeating this evil lays through a door downstairs and into the catacombs beneath this keep. I believe our friends may already be there, and be in peril. I am going there once we have burned the bodies. Will anyone accompany me?”

    Cirdan answers, “I will accompany you to get wood and into the catacombs.”

    Southar moves up to the robed corpse and slashes it with his long sword cutting it through the neck (12, -4/18). It is drops to the ground unmoving.
    He bashes the remaning zombie on the ground with his shield crushing its head (4, 0/12). It also ceases to move.

    Southar is victorious. He bends down to check on the fallen Tarstar. He finds his body lifeless. It is beginning to freeze to the cold stone floor.

    Southar feels a pulling on his very being. It pulls him into the next chamber and towards a wooden door in the southwestern corner.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Wed Apr 29, 2015 7:46 pm  

    Breymeer volunteers to enter the catacombs once the bodies are burned. He double checks his belongings to make sure he still has the cudgel he picked up in the woods.

    Speck dumps some holy water on Yalta’s face and it burns it like acid.

    The party does not take the time to strip Yalta’s armor or clothing, fearing a spectral form of Yalta will be attacking at any moment. The only items recovered from Yalta are the medium shield and staff he was using in combat when he fell and a pouch of gold coins (48gp).

    Grimlock still is apprehensive about going down into the catacombs while the group is in such a weak state, “I find it wiser to hold up for the night. We are a fraction of our strength and are down three companions. I vote we hold up when we are done with the burning.” Grimlock is finding himself in the minority.

    Being still unable to enter the necromancer’s workshop, and wanting to retrieve his body, the group hacks down the door into the workshop. The bodies of the necromancer and Yalta are placed on the table and hay and broken furniture are used as kindling. The broken furniture is aplenty thanks to Dalic’s rampage through the necromancer’s bedroom and additional furniture found in the storage room (X).

    Soon, the funeral pyre is burning strong and the bodies go up in flames. With it goes any chance of Yalta returning from the dead.

    Cirdan Saralonde remains in the storage room sifting through books, wizard supplies and papers stored there in boxes.

    Cirdan finds there are numerous books on different subjects of science and magic. General study and knowledge type materials. There boxes also contain papers, scrolls and scroll cases but none have writing on them. They seem to be stock supplies. Finally, there are some common spell components similar to the ones I mentioned to you before.

    Southar spends no further time on Tarstar. The room is extremely cold for some reason (-15 degrees). Southar finds himself becoming sluggish in the cold temps. He picks up the torch that was dropped during the battle and continues on.

    Southar walks forward, pulled by some force on his will. He crosses the first chamber and heads south into a larger chamber, passing two side chambers as he goes. He walks directly to the solid iron reinforced door on the southwestern wall; ignoring the door on the eastern wall. The southwestern door opens and he proceeds through the door. Southar is relieved to be greeted by normal subterranean temperatures.

    Southar follows the passageway to the southwest and then due west. The passageway is in poor shape for nearly 100 feet but then improves again before turning north. He moves about 30 feet to another solid, iron reinforced door.

    Southar opens the door and enters a roughly cross shaped chamber. The north end of the chamber turns east out of sight. The east is blocked by a portcullis and the west passageway ends in a iron shod double doors.

    Southar turns, as if by instinct, and opens the double doors. He enters a large chamber (BG). In the center of the chamber is a jet black altar. A brazier on the left side burns brightly. The brazier on the right side has spilt over in front of the altar. There, a body of a bugbear burns and smolders. Directly in front of the doors, Southar finds Dalic lying on the floor. He body is heavily damaged, lying supine. Next to him is a pile of old bones. Surrounding Dalic are undead creatures consisting of three zombies and three skeletons. They appear to be binding his limbs with some chain under the direction of a corpse wearing a mages robes.

    A voice comes to Southar’s mind, “Spill the blood of this dwarf upon the altar and you shall be master of this keep, controller of all those who reside here for eternity. Serve me and I shall give you power! The choice is yours.”

    Southar feels his will return. He can see Dalic is still breathing but unmoving and unresponsive.

    The robed zombie looks to Southar as if waiting an answer.

    Ewan heals himself (+4, 8/10) and agrees to join the adventure into the catacombs, “Lead on, I am with you Tathar. These abominations must be put back into the soil.”

    Kuba picks up Yalta’s staff to use for a bashing weapon, “We may be in a weakened state but we remain strongest as a group. I don’t wish to go marching around this haunt of the dead during the dark hours when they are roused, but if it is the group’s decision to go, I am with you.”

    Speck agrees with his large companion saying, “You know where I stand on these decisions . . . next to the big buy.”

    Grimlock goes to the roof and collects his rope. He is very happy to see the undead from the courtyard have not attempted to climb it. The courtyard is full of movement. It appears all of the defeated undead, skeletons and zombies alike, have re-risen and wander aimlessly. In addition, the bugbears have risen as well and wander about like zombies. Down at the base of the hill, Grimlock can see the fire from the basecamp. The baron’s banners still stand but there are numerous bodies lying on the ground, including those of very large wolves. There is movement and it appears the baron’s crew has prevailed but at what cost is unknown. Taking another look at the undead in the courtyard, Grimlock realizes there is little he can do from here. He returns to the group and reports about the basecamp.

    The group moves to the main floor of the keep and stands in the waiting room (K) before the heavy wooden door that leads to what Tathar reports is a stairwell down.

    Southar, dropping his torch on the floor, pulls a vial from his possessions that he had been holding onto for a long time. He quaffs the entire contents. Adrenaline courses through his body. Southar feels a rush of strength in his body. He pulls a second vial from his pack; the holy water given to him for this adventure.

    The robed corpse appears to have comprehended Southar’s intent to strike. It spreads forth fine sand as it attempts to ensnare Southar in a sleep spell.

    Southar, completely unfazed by the spell, splashes the robed corpse with holy water. It splashes him on the neck and runs down his chest burning his skins as it covers his torso (8, 8/16).

    Southar, golden shield upon his arm, draws his long sword and wades into the mass of death, hacking and bashing with a strength not known to man.

    Southar first strikes the robed corpse with his long sword (12, -4/16) taking its head clean off. With his shield, he bashes the zombie to his left. Southar’s strength is amazing. The zombie is crushed by the shield and flung to the side into the wall (12, 0/12). It slides down onto the floor in a dead pile of rot.

    The skeletons move in to stop the insane attack. Two of them fail to land a blow but the third cuts deeply across Southar’s abdomen causing a wound (4, 17/41, minor bleed).

    Southar continues his onslaught into the undead. He fails to strike one down with his long sword but bashes another into bits with his golden shield (12, -6/6).

    The skeletons again fail to strike Southar as does the zombie that moves up to replace the destroyed skeleton.

    Southar, with his newfound strength, splits a skeleton down the middle with a chop from his long sword (10, -4/6). It collapses into a pile of bones. He fails to hit with his shield.

    A skeleton grazes Southar’s left leg with its sword (1, 16/41). The others fail to strike a blow.

    Southar slashes a zombie in half across the chest (13, -1/12) felling it. He smashes the remaining skeleton with his shield sending pieces of it all over the burning bugbear and altar (11, -5/6).

    Only two zombies remain on Southar. The first bashes its fists against Southar’s shield as he changes battle tactics; moving to defense with his shield. The second zombie, however, hammers a blow against Southar’s leg right leg (10, 6/41).

    Southar, knows time is of the essence. He slashes one of the zombies down with a stroke of his long sword, splitting its head (14, -2/12).

    Mindlessly, the remaining zombie continues to bash upon Southar’s shield.

    He cuts it down with a final blow from his long sword, cutting through the abdomen and into the left leg (15, -3/12). It drops, once again dead.

    Southar has defeated his foes. He know stands alone in the room over an injured and unresponsive Dalic.

    In a private moment between them, Cirdan Saralone gives Grimlock one of the vials recovered from the dead necromancer. They both try a sip, each from their own vial. They both immediately spit it out. It is foul and the better part of wisdom tells them to not consume and more.

    A foul smell reaches Dalic’s nose. A smell so absolutely disgusting, it pulls Dalic from his darkness. Looking around he becomes aware he is still in the large altar room. In fact, he is lying near where he fell. There is a smoldering fire in front of the altar. Atop the coals are three corpses and numerous bits of bones from the skeletons. The already rancid, decaying corpses now bubble and boil with the heat. The second brazier has been kicked over and its coals added to the pyre. The bodies are not burning well but it is evident they are not returning to life either.

    Dalic finds himself bound; his arms together and his legs together. Part of his make-shift cape is in his mouth, stuffed there as a gag. He realizes he has not been plundered. His bastard sword lays nearby. The hilt of a second sword sticks out of his scabbard.

    Peering around the room, he sees a familiar figure. Southar, the great helmed fighter is busy throwing the last of the zombies on top of the pyre. Surprisingly, he is tossing the large corpse as if it were a bag of dried leaves. Southar is freshly bandages in the mid section and he walks with a little bit of a limp with his right leg.

    Southar notes that Dalic is stirring, the foul air caused him to recoil upon waking.

    The two wounded warriors study each other with an air of caution. Both appears to have been through much today. Both are physically shattered and mentally drained.

    They stare at each other in some type of psychological battle, each trying to calculate what the other is planning to do. Tension builds while trustworthiness is evaluated. Is he friend or is he foe? As the pressure in the room mounts, the coals from the braziers begin to burn a little hotter. The hellish glow from the coals lighting the area around the altar in an eerie reddish glow.

    Grimlock petitions Ewan for healing. Ewan replies, “I feel my strength is waning my friend. I must save what little I have left for an emergency. I will be there for you if you shall fall.”

    Cirdan voices his judgment of the door, “We were able to bash our way into the necromancer’s workroom. I see no reason we can not defeat this door as well.”

    With that Cirdan and Kuba begin taking down the door.

    Breymeer thoughtfully removes a torch from his backpack and unwraps the top of it. Immediately the room is filled with a holy white light. “Sorry, just remembered I had this.” He then helps with the dismantling of the door.

    Tathar volunteers to lead the party into the catacombs. He has Sehanine’s moon shaped symbol in one hand and his cobra snake staff in the other. Breymeer, armed with broad sword and club, volunteers to take the front with Tathar. Kuba, not one to relinquish the front row, speaks up for the second row. Speck, as always, stays at Kuba’s side. Cirdan Saralonde and Grimlock take the third row and Ewan takes the rear spot. Ewan takes possession of the magic torch in order for Breymeer to have both hands free.

    After ten or fifteen minutes, the door relents and the group enters the next room prepared to meet the living dead.

    The room is generally 30x30 with a hallway that angles back and bends around to a stairwell leading downward. The room appears to have once been a barracks and weapons room. The remains of six beds are here along with six footlockers. A weapons rack is mounted on the angled southwestern wall. It holds 12 spears and 8 short bows. The foot lockers are opened and long ago plundered. The weapons are very old and suffer from rot; they are useless.

    As the party makes its way down the stairs, the room reveals itself. It is roughly triangle shaped with 40 foot sides. There are two wooden doors exiting the room, one on the east edge of the north wall and the other on the south edge of the east wall.

    There is no furniture in the room but several corpses can be seen on the floor.

    An old blood trail leads from the center of the stairwell to the base of the stairs.

    At the base of the stairs is what remains of chain mail armor; completely destroyed and torn apart. A blood stain encircles the armor. A small leather pouch lies among the armor. Also, a rusty short sword and rusty steel shield are nearby.

    A dwarven sized set of plate mail lays face down at the center of the room. Bones can be seen mixed in with the rusted plate armor. Next to it lies a backpack, an unrusted steel medium shield and an intact warhammer.

    The remains of two other sets of armor are between the one at the base of the stairs and the one in the middle of the room. One had been wearing chain mail, a battle axe near it, and the other leather armor with a couple of weapons in scabbards nearby; one dagger and one short sword.

    As Tathar and Breymeer near the bottom of the stairs, they see several forms that move away from the light as it illuminates the room. They are shaped as dwarves. Death has been unkind to them. Their teeth have turned to sharp fangs and their fingers have grown claws for fingernails. Their tongues, nearly three times their normal length, stick out and lick the air as the creatures hiss at the invading light. Two of the foul undead move to the northeast corner and two move to the southeast corner.

    Dalic sits still but spits the cape from his mouth, "Southar! What hab' ye
    done ta me! An' how be we here..." Dalic looks around confused, "Ye were nae yet ta arrive when I fell in tha courtyard battle! Unbind me now!" Dalic shouts the last with a gleam in his eye.

    Southar continues to examine Dalic for signs of possession. He finishes clearing the gag Dalic spit partially out. “I still do not know why you went off by yourself. I fear to unbind you until I get good reason that you are not possessed. Many in the group have been overcome by compulsions.”

    Tathar lifts his holy symbol to the undead vermin, “Sehanine has power over you. Step back foul spawn.” The undead continue to press themselves into the corner, hissing and scorning the symbol of Sehanine Moonbow. Tathar moves forward to make room at the base of the stairs, stepping to the pouch upon the floor.

    Breymeer moves forward to the ones in the right corner, giving room to those behind him on the stairs to move forward.

    Grimlock, Kuba and Cirdan move among the bodies looking for anything of value. Cirdan heads for the backpack while Grimlock eyes the armor and weapons. Kuba moves toward the war hammer with his shield and sword at the ready.

    Speck stays concealed at the very edge of the stairwell wall, watching.

    Ewan remains at the top of the stairs.

    From the corner behind the stairwell wall charges out three more of the ghoulish creatures. Two recoil from the sight of the moon symbol but the third lunges forward towards Tathar, clawed hangs grasping and teeth gnashing.

    Dalic replies to Southar, “There be holy water gib me by da priests in me pack. Pour a drop on me iffn ye be coward.”

    Southar removes the vial of holy water, recognizing to be similar to the one he received. He pours the contents onto Dalic. Other than soaking the dwarf, there is no adverse effect.

    Southar, showing very little trust yet, breaks the shackles from Dalics hands and feet.

    Dalic responds, “Why did you bring me ‘ere?”

    Southar informs Dalic, “I did not bring you here. You came here upon your own bearing the necromancer’s head. I followed you across the courtyard and into the northwest tower. From there, I followed you into the catacombss. I fought off a horde of zombiess and ssskeletons to reach you. Tarstar, the ssailor, was felled. I had to leave his body. I located you here, in this altar room, sshackled and unresponsive. I ssslayed the walking dead that opposed you. That iss what I know.”

    “Then I owe ye a debt Southar the Mighty. I be yet troubled by me not bein’ where I remember bein’. But let us find our comrades and be rid of this hell hole.” Dalic checks his equipment and discards his makeshift, and wet, cape.

    Dalic grips his bastard sword and then notices another pommel sticking out of his scabbard. He slowly draws the long sword partially from the scabbard. He examines the hilt and base of the blade finding a ruby set into the handle. The groove of the blade glows slightly with a dull red light. “I know not where ou’ this come but I shoul’ be glad ta have it.”

    Dalic returns it to his scabbard fully and arms himself with his bastard sword.

    Dalic looks to Southar and nods towards the double door that exits the room.

    Grimlock moves in to strike down the one upon Tathar.

    Tathar clubs at the same creature with his staff. Grimlock’s sword strikes Tathar’s staff during the melee and Grimlock nearly loses the grip on his weapon; Tathar is unaffected. Grimlock is somehow able to retain control of his sword.

    Tathar’s blow strikes the ghoulish fiend in the abdomen causing it to double over; oblivious to the pain, the force of the blow alone causes the result (3, 20/23, stunned).

    Cirdan slashes at the creature with his daggers. He fails to pierce its skin with either blow. In addition, the silver dagger he held in one of his hands slips his grip and sails through the air and impacts the stairwell wall with a ‘clang’. It then bounces off the wall and lands at the feet of the two ghouls still cowering in the corner.

    Ewan, seeing the battle beginning, moves to the base of the stairs with the light.

    In the southeast corner, Breymeer engages the two cowering ghouls in melee. While moving into them, he stows his hammer with his off hand and draws forth his axe. He slashes the first one across the right thigh severing the leg (9, 3/12) and then drives his axe down into his left shoulder (7, -4/12). It crumples to the ground; finished.

    The remaining ghoul facing Breymeer slashes him across the chest with its clawed right hand (2, 19/47, saved vs paralysis). It also attempts to bite him in the throat and claws at his neck but Breymeer is able to fend off the other two blows.

    The remaining walking dead suddenly charge forward, nearly surrounding the group.

    The two that were along the west wall move against Kuba and Cirdan. The first fails to strike and the second is cut down by a swift stroke from Kuba’s bastard sword (19, -8/11) before it lands a blow.

    The two from the northeastern wall move against Grimlock. The first is unable to strike the nimble half elf. The second moves slightly past Grimlock and engages Ewan as Ewan nears the bottom of the stairs. The undead creature has never seen such a wonderful meal. Ewan is able to dodge two of the blows but catches a claw across his lower left leg (1, 7/8, saved vs paralysis).

    Speck remains on the stairwell.

    Southar opens the double doors. Thing seems not to have changed in the portcullis room. Dalic and Southar move in tandem south to the wooden door on the southern wall.

    Southar opens the door and a wispy, phantom like creature is on him immediately, clawing at his face. Wishing to pull the life from Southar’s body. Southar, having cat like reflexes, jumps back and avoids the clawing hand.

    The creature does not appear to be material, it floats upon the air. It has a vaguely human shaped upper torso. Its eyes burn with a red hatred for life. A shadowy crown sits upon its head. Below the torso, the creature fades off into nothingness.

    It moves through the doorway into the portcullis room and engages the human and dwarf warriors in a battle for their very souls.

    Dalic recognizes it as the creature he fought and drove off in the altar room.

    Breymeer continues to hack away in the corner like a mad butcher, striking the ghoul across the torso with his broad sword (3, 0/3). It drops to the ground motionless.

    Grimlock, now with enemy on three fronts, turns his back towards Cirdan and Tathar. Grimlock strikes at his new foe from the northeastern corner. He is unable to strike a blow.

    Tathar brings his staff down upon the head of the bent over ghoul (2, 18/23). The strike damages the creature but fails to bring it down.

    Cirdan draws another dagger to continue fighting with two weapons. Cirdan attack the one Tathar just skulled as it rights itself. He buries the Yuan-ti dagger deep into the creature’s chest (5, 13/23).

    The ghoul on Kuba is unable to strike a blow on the skilled fighter.

    The one facing Cirdan and Tathar reacts angrily to being hit in the head. Ignoring the puncture wound given to it by Cirdan, the ghoul lashes out at Tathar. One claw misses but the other punctures his armor upon his chest leaving a deep nasty scratch upon his chest (6, 12/24, avoided minor bleed , saved vs paralysis). Tathar is able to dodge the follow-up bite attempt.

    Kuba cuts the second ghoul down with swift strokes.

    Grimlock’s opponent claws and his armor and shield. Grimlock is able to deflect the blows. The ghoul’s bite catches him in the shoulder but the leather of his armor stops keeps him from damage.

    Ewan is not as lucky. Even though he was unable to strike the creature, he was able to avoid the clawing grasp of the monster but it was able to bite him on the neck (5, 2/8, paralysis). Ewan collapses with the ghoul atop him. The ghoul continues to chew on Ewan’s neck, tearing and chewing at his flesh.

    Speck has faded into the shadows of the stairwell and remains now unseen.

    Dalic steps behind Southar and changes weapons. He brandishes the ruby sword and returns his bastard sword to his scabbard saying, "Southar, there maybe purpose in this here sword! bide his focus an' I shall dissolve this apparition!"

    Southar slices through the creature with his sword with no apparent effect.

    The creature attempts to claw the life from Southar but he deflects the blow with his shield.

    The dwarf neatly steps forward and runs his long sword into the phantom (8, 22/30) and black smoke boils off of its shadowy form.

    A sudden and very foul smell of carrion reaches those at the bottom of the stairs. It appears to be coming from the ghoul between Cirdan, Tathar and Kuba. Cirdan, Kuba and Grimlock all began to choke and gag, trying to get a clean breath. <Cirdan, Kuba and Grimlock all have -2 to hit from the smell; Tathar escapes the effect. There is nothing else adverse from it.>

    Speck leaps from the darkness of the stairwell and drives his short sword down on the ghoul devouring Ewan. His sword does not pierce the skin as it is deflected to the side. He gags slightly at the overpowering smell but controls himself <Speck is unaffected>.

    Tathar does a side cartwheel up a couple of stairs to break away from the melee and the horrible smell. The ghoul claws and snaps at him as he vacates but is unable to strike the nimble elf.

    Kuba moves in behind the one facing Tathar and slashes it mightily across the back (12, 1/23) while Cirdan, simultaneously trying to keep from vomiting, hacks away at it with his daggers but is unable to strike a blow.

    The creature spins on Cirdan ducking under his daggers, it bites him on the left leg (4, 14/18, missed save vs paralysis (5)). Cirdan collapses.

    Grimlock battles with the ghoul facing him. Grimlock hacks a large chunk from its left thigh (8, 6/14). The creature lowers itself to one knee.

    Angered the ghoul moves against Grimlock viciously. It rakes one claw down his right thigh (1, 13/22, saved) while biting his left thigh (2, 11/22, saved). Grimlock was able to parry the other claw attack. Grimlock smashes his shield down upon the foul spawn’s good leg (4, 2/14).

    Breymeer, moving past Grimlock’s position on his way to save Ewan, splits the head of the ghoul on Grimlock (6, -5/14) dropping it dead before him.

    Breymeer continues on driving his sword into the ghoul devouring Ewan’s neck (4, 4/8) but not before it has chewed further on Ewan’s neck (6, -4/8).

    The wraith continues to attempt to murder Southar. It continues to be frustrated by Southar’s cat like reflexes and his golden shield.

    Southar also cannot seems to cause harm to the undead menace.

    Dalic continues to thrust at the wisp but fails to harm it this time.

    The wraith continues to paw at Southar but he nimbly side steps it. In turn, he bashes the creature to the side with his shield (4,18/30).

    Dalic pops up again and slashes it slightly (4, 14/30).

    With each impact, the blackess rolls off of it.

    Breymeer continues to hack away at the ghoul devouring Ewan’s neck. He runs his swords through its back and hacks off the right arm with his hand axe. The ghoul falls motionless on Ewan who also lays motionless (7, -11/8, dead).

    Tathar asks for healing from Sehanine (+7, 19/24). The injury on his chest is removed.

    Grimlock carves into the ghoul facing him with his sword (6, -5/23) felling it. He gives it final smash with his shield for good measure. It ceases to struggle and gives way to final death.

    A quiet falls across the room again as the final undead are put back to rest. Ewan and Cirdan remain motionless on the ground. Cirdan’s injuries do not seem too dire but Ewan McDermott has a gaping hole in his throat. Blood seeps out from the injury. It is obvious the injury is not survivable.

    Southar continues to try and shield punch the wisping death while Dalic jabs his long sword at it. The wraith avoids the blows.

    The wraith catches Dalic by the arm during the melee, the damp coldness of the grave further draining him of energy (2, 7/24, plus energy drain 1, 6/23 and -4 wisdom). Its eye’s burn bright red with grim joy. Dalic, showing his unkillable spirit, fights on.

    Southar and Dalic both strike at the wraith as it grasps Dalic’s arm. Southar strikes it with his shield (7, 7/30). The evil joy in its eyes turn to horror after Southar’s shield smashes into its incorporal body. As it releases Dalic and turns to flee, Dalic strikes it down with a mighty blow from the long sword (10, -3/30). The wraith’s body boils with blackness from the blow. Its eyes fade and blink out as the body gives way and dissipates into nothingness. The wraith is no more.
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    Fri May 15, 2015 9:18 pm  

    Grimlock hurries to Cirdan’s side and applies bandages and aid to him (+3, 17/26), “Damn these vial undead! Another one has fallen but it looks like Cirdan Saralonde yet lives. He is just limp as a boned fish.” Grimlock finishes his work and asks, ”Does anyone one yet have the ability to ease my wounds?”

    Tathar retrieves Cirdan’s dagger and returns it to its sheath.

    The party examines the previous adventurer’s bodies. Tathar looks at the leather pouch and backpack. Grimlock examines the intact shield and the armor. Kuba looks over the war hammer.

    The examination reveals:
    1. The armor is all junk except the dwaven sized plate mail. It is rusty and in deteriorating shape but appears to be of very high quality and may be repairable. The metal beginning to rust but is not rotted.
    2. One shield was junk but the other is in fine shape and untarnished. Grimlock has gathered that up.
    3. Kuba picks up the war hammer. It is flawless and untarnished.
    4. The battle axe and short sword are tarnished but very usable and sturdy yet.
    5. The pouch contains gold and electrum (30 gp, 13 ep).
    6. The backpack contains gold, electrum and a decrative bone scroll case inlaid with silver that is sealed on each end with screw on silver caps. The screw threads appear waxed (77 gp, 70 ep, unknown value of case).

    All surviving metal items appear dwarven made of master workmanship.
    The battle axe and short sword remain unclaimed. Grimlock holds the shield, Kuba the hammer and Tathar the coins and bone case.

    As the group is examining the items, the room and their general condition, Cirdan recovers from what had ailed him and he rejoins the group.

    Breymeer comments, “If we're gonna clear out this God forsaken place lets get on with it. Who's able to continue on? We can cover up Ewan for now and we'll get him the burial he deserves on our way out.”

    Dalic stands a bit wobbly from his encounter with the black mist creature. He looks to Southar for instructions. His eyes appear weary and posture is broken. Dalic stows the long sword and draws his bastard sword. “We should return to where the sailor fell and recover his body. Then, I must explore further.”

    Southar questions his judgement, “I don't believe we are not healthy enough to check out any side chambers.”

    The duo makes their way back east through the crumbling passageway. They pass through the door and re-enter the frozen four chamber area (BL to BO). They move past the unexplored door to their east, already shivering from the cold. They also bypass the two un-entered chambers (BM and BO). They make it north to the doorway that leads to the northeast tower (in chamber BL). Here, Tarstar’s body remains frozen to the floor with numerous skeleton and zombie bodies scattered around it. Most, but not all, appear to have fallen to Southar’s long sword.

    Breymeer stows his hand axe and picks up the battle axe. He test swings it a few times. It is a finely balance weapon but he finds himself a little clumsy with the large off hand weapon. Seeing its potential, he secures the battle axe and arms himself with his hand axe again.

    Speck gathers up the short sword.

    Cirdan packs away the plate mail armor in a large sack and ties it to his pack, “I will hold this for the party. If no one claims it, I will sell it for what I can get and add the value to the party coffers.”

    Grimlock straps the dwarven shield upon his arm and secures his old shield to his pack.

    Kuba tucks the dwarven war hammer into his pack as well.

    Tathar with Grimlock overseeing him, opens the bone case and finds a document written in dwarvish. “We will have to save this for later unless someone can read the dwarven language.” With no apparent way to translate at the moment, Tathar re-seals the tube.

    Cirdan checks behind the stairs to see if there were a secret area underneath. Cirdan finds it to be solid wall with no cavity under the stairwell.

    Tathar secures the coins found in the room and then checks Ewan’s possession; finding just standard gear. He gathers items that could prove useful.

    Tathar moves to the north door near him, “Speck, will you check the east door for sounds beyond?” Tathar puts his ear to the door. Speck follows suit on the east door. Nothing is heard beyond by either sharp-eared adventurer.

    Tathar and Breymeer look to continue. Cirdan and Grimlock wish to hole up and rest. Kuba and Speck remain neutral, finding wisdom in holding up but willing to continue on if necessary.

    Tathar offers, “I may be able to hide myself from these foul walking dead. If so, I could try and scout ahead a short distance and see if it is logical to continue.”

    Dalic looks upon the fallen Tarstar, “Gosh, what a place to fall.” Dalic seems unable to reason a good way to get him back out of the dungeon.

    Southar grabs ahold of the body and Dalic follows suit. Between Dalic’s strength and Southar’s enhanced strength, the duo easily pries the sailor’s frozen body from the floor. The effort put into recovering the body is not enough to warm either of them. The room temperature is somehow well below zero. Much longer in this four chamber freezer and frostbite will soon threaten.

    Southar scoops up the body and prepares to head through the door and into the tower; fully planning to ascend to ground level.

    Dalic looks to Southar with dwarven stubbornness, “Ye can find yer own way out. There be a task yet ta be done.” Frost has already built up on his beard. With that, Dalic walks south out of the room (leaves BL and enters BN).

    Southar leaves the deep freeze through the wooden door and travels the short passageway to the tower. He begins the ascent to the ground level. As Southar continues past the basement level to the ground level, he detects movement in his torchlight. Several zombies and skeletons roam around the interior of the tower. Detecting his light, they move towards him intent on his death.

    Dalic moves from room to room finding nothing of value. They are simple bare chambers. All of the previous undead he encountered appear to have been slain by Southar and Tarstar by the door leading to the tower (BL) or in the altar room counter-attack that brought Dalic down.

    The only remaining chamber this side of the portcullis is the single door in the largest chamber in the deep freeze (BN). The wooden door is mounted on the eastern wall in a shallow alcove.

    Dalic can feel his body start to shiver. The draining of Dalic’s will by the wraith has confused his reasoning. Dalic fears no danger of freezing to death. Only his stubborn dwarven blood keeps him seeking the tome Pelltar requested. As if in a trance, with hypothermia threatening, Dalic tries to comprehend what to do next.

    “You are brave Tathar,” comments Breymeer, “I’ll be here, ready to come running to your aid should you need it.”

    Kuba adds, “Even though we are weary and beat, knowing a little more of what may lay ahead will be helpful.”

    Tathar prays to Sehanine for protection while Speck works the lock on the northern door. Having defeated the lock, the party prepares for combat while the door is opened and Tathar steps through into a dark hallway, “Be back in five minutes.” The door is quickly shut behind him.

    The party prepares for the worst while waiting impatiently for Tathar’s return.

    Tathar waits a few seconds for his elven dark vision to adjust to the lightless hall. He stands at a 90 degree turn in the hall as it wraps itself around the room he just vacated.

    The hall has two doors along the east/west branch. Peeking around the corner, he can see one door along the north/south branch before the hall again turns and heads east. Each of the doors stands partially open. The hinges causing the doors to open into the rooms. Outside each door is stationed two skeletons; each bracketing the doorway. They look towards the appearance of light as the door was opened but appear to pay no more attention after the door is closed.

    Tathar starts on the west end and works his way east. He walks to the open portal. The skeletal guards pay him no notice. The westernmost door opens into an old 30x30 foot cell (AB). It is cold stone and empty. Moving east, Tathar notes the second room is also an old cell, albeit much larger being 30x50 feet (AC).

    Tathar moves south down the hall to the third door, located on the eastern wall. It, too, is ajar into the room with skeletal guards. The room is an old guardroom of significant size (AD). The room in now basically empty other than a few pieces of old broken and rotted furniture. It is 40x50 feet with an additional door on the north wall near the eastern side of the room. That door is ajar into the room and appears guarded on the exterior side by two skeletons.

    Fearing the possibility of a trap, Tathar moves east along the hallway. The hallway circles the guardroom. The hallway turns back north and enters a large storage room (AE). The room is 50x30 feet with a door on the northern wall, set in the easternmost part of the wall. This door is closed. Along the western wall is stacked old furniture. Most of it is in some state of disrepair but does not seem completely rotten. Some of it may well indeed be salvageable. The door to the north end of the guardroom (AD) is on Tathar’s left. Two skeletons stand guard outside the guardroom door and the door on the northern wall.

    Dalic tries the door. It appears to be locked. Oblivious to the dangerous cold, Dalic puts his shoulder into the door. His blind dwarven stubbornness giving way to simple mindless action. He comprehends not his action but just his need. The focus of his mind has become a book. He is oblivious to anything else.

    Dalic shoulders the door again and again. His falling body temperature sapping his strength and mind. Unable to direct himself out of the cold, he puts his final efforts into his task.

    Dalic, having been nearly claimed by death before, is surprised to see a light growing in his mind. Instead of falling into a dark frozen death, Dalic is filled with a soft, warm, white light. It is then Dalic realizes he has opened the door. Or the door has opened for him.

    Dalic finds himself standing in a natural chamber filled with an intense white light. His duergar eyes burn with pain. The temperature in the room has increased dramatically; even greater than normal for subterranean environments. The walls are bare and dry. The air is fresh and smells slightly of orange blossoms.

    Dalic crosses the room without thought. His body is greatly refreshed but his mind is near blank. He continues forward nearly dream-like. He moves to the northeast corner of the room and opens the wooden door he finds there.

    The room Dalic enters is another natural chamber, just larger than 30x30 feet. There is a large roll-top desk with six drawers in the center of the room facing east. It contains ten pigeon-holes and ample writing equipment and ink. On the top of the desk is a black leatherbound book. Along the western wall there is a large bed with down pillows. On the north wall, a large easy chair sits next to a rack of 100 books. There is a skeleton chained to the east wall.

    Dalic walks across the room with comfort and ease. He takes a seat at the desk. He looks forward across the desk at the skeleton chained to the wall. He is still bathed in light, soft and warm. The bottom right drawer of the desk opens and a pitcher, platter and mug float upward as if carried by an unseen force. The platter is laid before Dalic. Next to it are placed the pitcher and mug. Appearing on the platter suddenly is perfectly prepared lamb. The pitcher fills with fine wine and it tips to fill the mug. Dalic begins to eat and drink. The taste is beyond compare. Dalic continues to dine, bathed in light and warmed by the room and food. Dalic looses all sense of time. Dalic looses all cares for the world.

    While Dalic dines in comfort and pleasure, despite the overly bright light, a voice comes to him mind, "Dalgur Steelcoat, I presume. Great fighter of the gray dwarfs, do you believe in destiny? I know you have been badly treated by the Keeper. Are you strong enough yet to answer or shall I let you refresh and rest first?"

    Tathar returns to the group and reports his findings. He takes a piece of Ewan’s clothing and, using Ewan’s blood, draws a map on the clothing of what he explored. Each of the doors has two armed skeletons standing guard for a total of ten skeletons. The party gathers around Tathar to examine the map and listen to his recon report. Kuba and Breymeer remain armed and weary of danger.

    Tathar proposes, “We can do one of three things,” he demonstrates on the map as he speaks. “First, we can open the north door having one person can show themselves and comeback into the room quickly. If the first four skeletons bite on the trap and come in after that person, Speck can shut the door behind them and everyone can hack them up. We can do the same for the next two, then the last four, and have a lop-sided battle if it all goes to plan. Second, we can all go in and attempt to hack them all as they come at us. Or third, we can hole up here for the night and rest, pray, and study, if Speck can re-lock the door.”

    Tathar looks to the group for responses, “Or, if someone has another suggestion?”

    Southar calculates his only option at this point is to return to basecamp to regroup. If nothing else, he can inform the others as to what has transpired.

    Southar makes a break across the rubble strewn floor of the tower; heading from the stairwell toward the hole in the outer wall. Several skeletons and walking dead, wretched in their smell, move in to put Southar in his grave. Holding Tarstar in his sword arm, Southar moves through the crowd bashing with his golden shield as he moves. Using his inhuman strength, he is able to keep himself from being dragged down and slain; bashing one skeleton to pieces in the process. He makes the outer wall and accelerates to a jog, heading back across the field he traversed just hours before.

    Dalic answers the voice in his head in between mouthfuls of lamb and wine, “Weary I may be but answer I can. No other Dalgur exists with such destiny as I. Fer I be tha one ta rise above tha weak and seek a powr that makes a'me a great renown'd an' fear'd warrior. Destiny, aye! But what ab it fer ye knowin'?”

    “A great warrior you have set out to be. Without question you are a warrior to be feared. Your strength of will is greater than that of the stoutest dwarves, shallow or deep. As for destiny, I know some things. Your destiny tore you from your clan. Your destiny gave you a warrior’s training; one that you excel at. Your destiny brought you to Pelltar, the wise and fair mage of Restenford. Pelltar sent you on a quest. That quest required you find a book. My book. In sending you on this quest, Pelltar had to know, if successful, you would likely have to defeat the powerful keep masters and their minions. This is where it appears our destinies have come together. Although, we did not seek this keep for the same reasons. For, you see, altruistically, I came here to put an end the evil you witnessed. The dark and vile altar growing like a wart from the stone of the keep’s foundation. Where I failed, you succeeded. Yet, you did not do such a deed for the betterment of others. You completed this task as a loyal hireling. However, your quest for my book is not without meaning in your destiny. Think on this Dulgar Steelcoat, what is a finer destiny? To be feared as a great and terrible ruler, such as the vile necromancer of this cursed keep or to be loved, respected and honored, such as Pelltar of Restenford?”

    Dalic thinks back to the option the black figure gave him at the altar. Was it oppositional defiance or altruism that made him attack the wraith? Was it loyalty to Pelltar or greed toward his reward, if he should finish the quest, that pushed him forward. The dwarf pondered these things cynically. The idea that he, a duergar, would be something other than purely self interested was almost laughable and the suggested motives listed before that promote such an idea came first as a sarcastic muse over anything else. Beyond all this, his history tells a bloody tale of bodies and blackness: his blackouts in battle, his bloodlust.

    Dalic's kin had spoken of the immortality of a conquerer. Dalic had kept this close to his heart and strived for it ever since leaving the Beard Biter's ownership. How could he be anything other than what he'd been trying to be lately? But yet, when tempted with the Barony of Bone Keep, he fought back against the evil. Dalic heard his voice before he knew it was his own, "I wan' ta be as he. Pelltar fer me warren me first compatriot. Fer that first time I needed not fight solely fer mine own: fer he did as well. A conquerer be immortal I be tol'... but I never seen nor felt I'd no a conquerer longer than I will be for thanks ta Pelltar. Iffen it be true... I see he be more immortal in me mind than any conquerer of tell. I wish ta be as he."

    Dalic trails off almost as if not speaking to the voice at all but to himself. His eyes are distant and glazened with what someone may confuse with moisture. Dalic, of course, would relate it merely to the painful light on his underdark-eyes. Dalic spits a fatty bit of lamb from his cheek and clears is pallet with another swig of wine.

    The voice in his head responds, “It pleases me to hear these words. Dulgar Steelcoat, may your wisdom continue to grow with your warrior’s prowess. Let us move forward together. Once you have finished your meal, you are free to take the book before you and return it to Pelltar. This will complete your quest for Pelltar. If you wish to complete our mutual destiny, you must convince Pelltar to assist you in setting me free. The choice will be yours alone. Good luck young dwarf.”

    As Southar flees across the courtyard, a large bat-like creature deflects off his helmet. Just after that, Southar feels a stabbing in the back of his neck (2, 26/52, saved vs paralysis).

    Southar drops Tarstar’s body and grasps fruitlessly at the bat-like creature on his back. The creature has taken a death grip of Southar’s armor and has stuck a large straw like appendage into Southar’s neck. It begins to draw blood like an oversized mosquito (1, 25/52).

    Finally, as the bat draws more blood from Southar’s neck (4, 21/52), he gets ahold of the devilish dart and crushes it in his superhuman grasp (8, 0/8). It pops like an overfilled balloon.

    As Southar bends down to pick up Tarstar, he spooks a second creature from the body. The bloated, wretched bat flutters clumsily away into the dark night air.

    Southar checks quickly for other threats. Finding none, he continues into the night trudging towards the basecamp and safety he optimistically hopes to find there.

    Dalic nods respectfully. He finishes his meal, stands and grabs the book. Being absolutely cautious not to let the book open, Dalic secures the book in his pack and begins backtracking back to the tower. He moves quickly through the deep freeze rooms. He walks through the wooden door and down the hallway to the tower’s lower level. He climbs the stairs and passes through the basement level. Arriving at the ground floor, Dalic discovers several undead milling about the ruined level. Two skeletons and three zombies roam aimlessly. Outside, visible through the large hole in the tower wall, Dalic can see there is very little movement in the moonlit clearing.

    Dalic makes a break for the hole in the wall. The zombies are too slow to react, but one of the skeletons makes an intercept. Dalic bursts through the room as fast as his dwarven legs will carry him. As he reaches the hole in the wall, the skeleton meets him and takes a chop at Dalic catching him across the buttocks as he disappears through the hole and into the night (3, 10/30).

    The undead to not follow Dalic into the night and he finds himself suddenly safe. There are a few undead roaming near the rubble in the eastern curtain wall. They begin to amble towards him but Dalic is able to wrap around the tower and begin to dash across the half mile clearing around the keep. Dalic does not see Southar but the standing undead at the curtain leads Dalic to believe Southar has also made off into the night or otherwise avoided melee with them.

    Dalic commits to his decision and begins a steady jog across the courtyard, the object of his exploration, a leatherbound book, secured and in his possession. A sense of satisfaction comes over Dalic. It is, somehow, shadowed by a strange feeling that Dalic is not used to. He finds himself concerned for the other members of the group. He secretly hopes they have managed to escape the keep themselves.

    The group’s confidence to continue further into the sub-level of the keep fades. Speck gives a sigh of relief and re-locks the door. Happy to not have to face any more undead for the moment, Kuba sheath’s his sword and arms himself with the dwarven war hammer he picked up. Patting the hammer on its head, Kuba comments, “With skeletons on the other side of the door . . .”

    Breymeer seconds Grimlock’s idea of backtracking to the necromancer’s bedroom and defending the position there.

    Dalic and Southar move through the night continuing downhill. Individually they move ever forward. Once they traverse the clearing, they move carefully from boulder to boulder and bush to bush. Slowly and carefully they pick their way down the hill. Southar eventually returns to his normal strength making the burden of Tarstar’s body even more evident.

    Both of them move down hill along a similar path although they never encountered each other. Reaching the dead forest, each of them navigated to the north of the forest knowing at some point they would reach the base of the hill and the road that bisected the clearing. Under no circumstance should they be able to cross the road and enter unsecured lands.

    On top of it, the fire from the basecamp was often visible along the downhill route.

    Both Southar and Dalic arrive at basecamp within a half an hour of each other. What they find shocks them.

    Kuba looks to Tathar, “We cannot just leave Ewan or the powers in this evil place may have him up and walking again as our enemy. I don’t think we can take him either as he is more dead weight than we can carry. Is there a way to bless the corpse so it is immune to evil resurrecting magics?”

    Tathar responds, “Based on my experience, no. I believe the only certain way to save him from that fate is to cremate his body. I believe we should do the same to these poor dwarves as well. It is not too far to where we burned the others.”

    “Bind his body and take it with us. Bind it tight. Hands too. We do not want him waking up from the dead,” agrees Grimlock.

    And so it is done without interruption. Ewan’s body is bound tightly and with great struggle Kuba, Breymeer, Grimlock and Cirdan carry the fallen druid back to the necromancer’s bed chamber. Speck and Tathar provide cover for the move back upstairs.

    Once upstairs, the fire is maintained and Ewan is heaved upon the pyre.
    Repeating the trip, the group brings each dwaven ghoul’s body up to the pyre and burn them as well.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Mon May 18, 2015 12:19 pm  

    The basecamp has been attacked savagely. Two of the king’s human guard are dead; Fraunk and Carlton. Weber, also human, and Villie the elf are both wounded but remain standing and functional.

    Ide Otneaux is also badly wounded but remains vertical. She has a serious and grim look.

    Belina, of the Baron’s rangers, suffers from several injuries. She remains gritty and attempts a resilient attitude.

    Finally, Peylae lay badly wounded; possibly mortally so. She is unconscious and unresponsive. Her chest is wrapped with a blood soaked cloth. Her chest had been pierced by a halberd polearm. She clings lightly to life.

    Around the camp, six furry man-shaped creatures with dog heads, gnolls by common name, are scattered around the camp. Four large worgs joined them in death and litter the area.

    Belina, still scouting the camp’s perimeter despite her injuries, became aware of Southar and Dalics separate approach. Well before they arrived at camp, she became aware it was friend and not foe that moved towards camp. Both Southar and Dalic are met with great rejoicing.

    Tales are shared and it is quickly realized that the rest of the group is unaccounted for and nothing is known about them since Southar chased Dalic into the dungeon.

    Tarstar’s body is laid down with the fallen Baron’s men.

    Southar volunteers to take over scouting duties for Belina to give her some rest. Belina is happy for the rest. She reveals her intent to backtrack the gnolls in the morning so as to report any possible danger to the barony.
    Dalic speaks up, “Tha keep was kept by a dark spirit an' a necromancer. Both be dead. Few undead still walk tha grounds. I must meet wit' Pelltar but first be concern fer them elser tha' went wit. Southar an' I be weak as well as ye appear so. Tha' spirit hab drained me o-me wits. I feel it in me will and reason. I pray ye all and ye Southar, what ken be done?"

    Weber answers, “With the death of Yalta, Carlton and Fraunk, I fear I am now in charge, although Villie and I and the stable boy are all that is left as Belina will be travelling on her own. My order would be to immediately return to Restenford as the first sign of sunrise to report to Baron Grellus. But, if what you say is true Dalic, then we shall wait until the noon sun. That should be ample time for the remaining group to clear the keep and return to camp. If they yet live anyhow. If by noon they have not appeared, then we shall travel together to Restenford.”

    Weber continues, “I have no authority over either of you although you are under contract with Baron Grellus. You may do as you please but at noon tomorrow, we must head for Restenford.”

    Tathar asks Sehanine for her healing powers for himself and Cirdan Saralonde. Each are blessed (Tathar +2, 21/24, Cirdan +6, 23/26).
    Tathar finds he can not get to the roof as the trapdoor between the necromancer’s bedroom and the observatory has been shut and has magically secured itself again.

    Tathar makes certain the windows are shuttered and locked and then begins to meditate.

    Meanwhile, Cirdan verifies the door to the bedroom is closed and secure. The door to the workshop, from the hallway, was destroyed. The secret door in the wardrobe has relocked itself as well.

    The group is locked into the necromancer’s bedroom hoping to be secure throughout the night. The bodies of the slain burn next door.

    Kuba and Speck begin to rest and Kuba tends to his wounds. Kuba is beat up pretty badly but suffers no serious injuries. Speck is uninjured.

    Breymeer peers out cracks in the window. The dead roam the courtyard but do not appear to have breeched the front door. Breymeer sits and attempts to rest. He is also hurt pretty bad but suffers no serious injuries.

    Grimlock and Cirdan study the necromancer’s and their own spellbooks by torchlight. Cirdan is only lightly injured but Grimlock is more seriously hurt. However, Grimlock suffers no serious wounds.

    Tathar meditates. He is also relatively healthy.

    The night begins to slowly pass and the group begins to have some hope.
    As they study, Cirdan asks Grimlock, He will ask Grimlock, "If we get out of here alive and back to Restenford, I propose we spend some time in a quiet room and swap spells. What say you?" With a wry smile on his face, he continues, "Maybe, by then, you will understand that I am one elf that doesn't think only of himself."

    <Enter two new characters>

    P'innr Bhut moved from Safeton to Hardby in search of better employment prospects. He had been working as a mercenary to help protect Safeton from ravaging pirates. P’innr Bhut, although not the most lawful character, was never one to steal another person’s money. Pirating was not an option to P’innr Bhut. Instead he made his money protecting the shoreline from the various humanoid tribes and raiding pirates.

    In his move to Hardby, P’innr Bhut had a fortunate turn of events. He was soon to cross paths with the Norbelos family. His dual axe abilities were enough for P’innr Bhut to be hired on as a personal security guard for Aikari Norbelos, a young promising mage with a possible future in the Hardby leadership.

    And so the odd duo began their adventure together. Norbelos was sent on to Restenford for further arcane training under the tutelage of Pelltar; Bhut was to travel with her as a paid guard. P’innr Bhut’s faithfulness was not questioned. The family treated him well and the money could not be made easier elsewhere. Besides, the blue haired beauty Norbelos was pleasing to be around.

    Hugging the eastern coast of the Wooly Bay, they traveled south by ship from Hardby to the Sea of Gearnat. Travelling though Scant in the Dragonshead Peninsula, the made a stop in Irongate. From Irongate, they travelled to south past the Tilvanot Peninsula and into the Densac Gulf. Passing through the Tilva Straight, they made stops at Duxchan and Sulward before finally travelling to Loreltarma on Lendore Island. They ferried into the mainland and travelled overland. It was on their route from Lake Farmin to Restendford that they their fate would be changed forever.

    <DM Note to Players: No one sleeps very well. This means no one gets any hit points back for rest and the spellcasters do not get much back for spellpoints. There may be other mild things I do to the characters but nothing drastic. Just keep in mind, they area going to be tired and sore.

    So, no undead attack during the night and as we restart, you have not idea what time it is, what the status of anyone else not in the room is, etc etc. I will give you some details as we restart plus respond to anything special you might have your character do. Spell points will be added on right away as all spell casting characters said they were going to study and meditate already.>

    After Southar replaced Belina, Dalic checks and rearranges his equipment in preparation for the night’s defense.

    Dalic receives permission to get Fraunk’s scabbard from his long sword to use. Dalic leaves the sword with the fallen warrior. He shows Weber the long sword he found and asks if Weber knows anything about it. He does not.

    Dalic stows some equipment in his pack saddle. He remains armed with his whip and bastard sword. The other sword he secures to his pack saddle and mounts his pony. “I will stand as mounted guard.” He rides to the south end of the camp and stands guard there.

    The night passes without incident and the day breaks over the camp.

    The night passes dreadfully slow; full of anxiousness and fear. The noises surrounding the castle and the continuous fear of further attack from the undead causes all to have mixed sleep. The elves, not needing sleep like the other races, faired only slightly better than their comrades. The group spends much of its time in study, meditation or weapons and armor cleaning as fits each character.

    Finally, the morning sun begins to crest over the horizon. Happy to have survived the night, the group eats a cold meal of rations and begins to plan their day.

    “Might be time to move out to the basement again,” Tathar exclaims, trying to be positive.

    Breymeer seconds his motion, “Tathar had a good plan of luring em out....lets giver er!”

    Cirdan Saralonde, pulls the shutter back from the courtyard window slightly. He looks out and comments, “There are still some of the dead bugbears gathered by the front door. The skeletons seem to have gone into hiding.”

    Goodmonth 16
    -Morning: 77'F, Wind: 13 MPH, clear skies
    -Daytime: 74'F, Wind: 15 MPH, few clouds
    -Night: 69'F, Wind: 16 MPH, clear skies

    Cirdan reports a clear, sunny day with a fair temperature (nearly 80 degrees F). A steady wind has come up, averaging 10-15 mph.
    Speck shows optimism, “Daylight brings hope. I think we are strong enough to smash and hack our way through the enemy.”

    Grimlock reports he will be unable to magically open one of the bedroom doors, “We shall have to bash it down. It can always be repaired later should we return.”

    The hallway door is soon battered apart and the group makes its way back down into the ghoul room where Ewan was lost.

    Breymeer volunteers, as usual, for daring duty, “I will be the first in line to bash the undead according to Tathar’s plan. Who is going to be the bait?”

    Kuba has remained quiet on the way into the lower level. As the plan is being formulated, Kuba gives a slight counter point while still showing his fatigue from wounds and lack of good rest, “Fight our way through we will to the last but what assurance do we have that these creatures will not rise up to fight again? And where is that reckless dwarf? Where is the book of the dead? Our purpose is to rid this cursed place of the necromancer and all of his work.”

    Daybreak brings a steady breeze (10-15 mph) with clear skies. The temps are warm, being just below 80 degrees F.

    Peylae’s condition worsened overnight (1, -6/16). She yet lives but has not regained consciousness. In fact, she appears to be slowly slipping away.

    Southar takes his leave from guard duty and rests on the ground near the wagon.

    The group does its best to rest and recover. Belina, having slept after Southar took watch, rises and eats. She puts fresh bandages on her injuries, checks and cleans her gear and then sets out to backtrack the gnolls, “I will meet you back at Restenford in a few days. Do not fret about me. I will be fine. And do not follow, I shall be able to escape and evade as necessary. I do not want any of you to put yourselves in any danger. Head back to town as you have planned come the others or not. Fare they well.” With than, she crosses the clearing and heads off towards the Tri-Top Hills to your east.

    The day passes slowly until the sound of approaching horse steps to the south raises the alarm. Looking south, one can see a pair of horses with riders approaching at a walk.

    Aikari, travelling under the assumed name of Aikari Bestir, located a horse trader and purchased riding horses and gear for both her and P’innr Bhut when they disembarked from the ferry that shuttled them from Loreltarma to the main land.

    After several uneventful days of travel and passing through the lake town of Farmin, Aikari and P’innr Bhut walk abreast along the eastern side of a large forested area. The forest itself was deathly quiet as it produced none of the normal animal sounds.

    As the morning passes, being a clear day with a moderate wind and temperatures approaching 80 degrees F, Aikari and P’innr ride into the forest as the trail bisects a northern section of forests that trust itself across the road. The land rises to triple hill tops to the east. This makes the duo unwilling to ride around the forest.

    Fortune smiles upon the duo and the area able to travel through the forest without encounter. Unfortunately, as the clear the woods, they see an encampment ahead of them. There appears to have been some type of battle. The local baren’s banners still flutter giving you hope. As you continue to approach, the camp begins to stir.

    You can see a wagon and associated horses. There are nearly half dozen human sized creatures moving about. They appear to be either human or other friendly races such as elves. In fact, one appears to be a dwarf.

    After the group began its decent, Grimlock held back and tested the strength of the trapdoor in the ceiling. Finding he was unable to break it open on his own, he followed the other adventurers into the dungeon.

    Tathar replies to Kuba, “I believe the necromancer’s work was because of the book. It is an evil thing and does exist, Sehanine has shown it to me. It is down here, somewhere, as are our comrades.”

    Grimlock decends the stairs, apparently having been slightly behind the group, as Tathar continues, “I will go through the door and look, then drop back if the skeletons are still there. The night seems to give life to the dead. Let us hope they rest during the day.”

    Kuba readies his shield and the newly acquired dwarven war hammer.

    Speck picks the lock on the north door. He struggles with it for some time before he finally succeeds. Speck backs up and tucks in behind Kuba with his dwarven short sword in hand.

    Tathar prepares to open the door. Breymeer steps in behind Tathar. Grimlock readies himself at the base of the stairs.
    Cirdan stands at the ready.

    Tathar opens the door and finds the situation identical as the previous night. However, without the protections of Sehanine hiding him from the undead, they sense him immediately and begin to move forward towards Tathar.

    Eight skeletons move in to attack. Two from the west, two directly across the hall from Tathar, and four from the southern hall. The carry a mix of short swords or spears.

    The horses approach to within 1000 feet of the camp. There, one of the horses halts and the other rides forward carefully. The rider, obviously larger framed than his companion, has weapons stowed upon himself. The weapons are not in hand but quickly within grasp.

    The horse comes to within 100 yards of camp and a man’s voice calls out, “Hail. Is there a leader among you to parlay?”

    The horse rider appears to be a human male. He wears leather armor and a metal open faced helm. He carries twin battle axes and has a series of three knives sheathed along his belt.

    In camp, a boy has ducked down in a supply wagon. Behind the wagon a man-sized warrior has risen. He wears studded leather armor and a great helm. He carries a rutilent shield.

    A male dwarf sits upon a pony. The dwarf has very hard eyes. He has multiple sword scabbards and the look of a grizzled veteran of many fights. He wears leather armor and has a unique looking breastplate.

    A half orc female, looking the worse for wear, moves to the center of camp. She is leather armored and has a gigantic axe stowed on her back. The half orc had been tending to a female half-elf. The half elf is obviously near death.

    Two of the baron’s guards stand and eye the horse rider. One of them human, the other an elf. Both male. They are dressed as soldiers.

    At the edge of camp are three dead humans. Two wear the garb of the baron’s men. The third must have been an additional member of the group.

    A pile of dead gnolls and wargs are evidence of what caused the injuries to the group. Every one of those encamped here have some type of injury. Some much worse than others.

    The horse rider repeats himself, “Hail I say. Will you not suffer a conversation?”

    Dalic glances to Weber and he swallows hard, taking the hint. Weber addresses the rider, “Aye. We are from Restenford. We are here upon Baron Grellus’s command. This road is under his authority and I am duty bound to uphold his law. I am Weber of the Baron’s guard and I have command here. Who are you and your riding companion and what brings you to the road to Restenford.”

    The horse rider waves to his companion. The second horse rider approaches. You find she is an attractive female with blue hair. Both riders are human.

    The female greets the group, “I am Akari of Hardby. For those that do not know it, it is a port city in the Wooly bay within the Gearnat Sea on the Selintan River. I offer you peace and any aid as I can. My riding companion is P’innr Bhut.”

    Tathar grasps his holy symbol and falls back into the room. Speck, remembering it was his duty to shut the door behind them, moves to hold the door open for Tathar and awaits his signal to shut it again. The skeletons begin to spill into the room.

    Speck makes himself small, even for a halfling and secrets himself between the door and the east wall.

    The skeletons pour into the room and are met with force by Breymeer and Kuba.

    The first skeleton moves up to Kuba and pierces his left upper arm with its spear (6, 6/36) causing him much pain.

    The second skeleton through the door wields a short sword and slashes wildly at Breymeer. The stabbing blow comes in low and cuts deeply into Breymeer’s right ankle (8, 11/47, critical, knockdown).

    The rest of the skeletons push forward and keep pouring into the room.

    Kuba returns the blow upon the skeleton head crushing it down upon its neck (6, 0/6). It crumples into a pile of bones.

    Breymeer wails in pain as the skeleton’s short sword is retracted from his ankle. Breymeer nearly drops to his knees but is able to keep his feet. The injury causes a nasty wound. Breymeer grits his teeth, favors his left leg and swings at the skeleton with his broad sword and his cudgel. He hits with both, first cutting the ribs away along the right side and smashing the spine apart with a blow from the club. The skeleton also becomes a pile of bones.

    As Tathar presents his holy symbol, Cirdan Saralonde orders forth three magical missiles he conjured. All three strike down the skeleton in the doorway.

    Tathar orders, upon the power of Sehanine, the remaining skeletons to flee. They immediately do so; moving down the hall to the south.

    Weber returns a reponse, “You are welcome to take rest here if you wish. It is yet a long day’s ride to Restenford. We will be leaving at midday. You may join our return to town if you wish.”

    Ide Otneaux moves back over to Peylae and keeps her eye on the newcomers. She sits between Peylea and the horse riders. Peylae’s status continues to worsen.

    Noting Peylae's condition, Dalic turns to Weber, "We may need ta bring Peylae back yet before Midday. I volunteer ta ride wit a small comp'ny back ta Restenford. Can ye spare a hand-er-two?"

    Weber looks concerned, “I fear there is no answer that I can council in good heart. If we all stay, I fear Peylae will indeed perish. If we part company and the gnolls send a larger force we will surely be lost. If your company can leave behind the warrior,” he points at Southar, ”I will return with the dwarf and carry Peylae in the cart.”

    Ide quickly responds, “I have learned to trust in the strength of will of the dwaven race. I intend to accompany you back.”

    Weber looks to the horse riders, “If you be of good heart, I beg of you to stay with the camp and return with them when the time arrises. By the look of your sword arm P’innr, your presence here would be a great asset. Should you stay, I will inform Baron Grellus of your honorable deed.”
    Breymeer hobbles over to the stairwell and sits down painfully, “I regret to inform the group, I’ve about had it and without rest of healing, will likely be unable to continue.”

    Grimlock joins him, packing his wound and wrapping it tight (+2, 13/47). In addition, Tathar approaches and places his hands on Breymeer’s injured ankle, “By Sehanine, you shall be able to continue my friend.” Breymeer’s ankle improves greatly even though Breymeer can still feel a slight sting from the wound (+5, 18/47).

    Next, Tathar places his hands on Kuba’s injured arm, “May the blessings of Sehanine be on you as well my brave friend.” Kuba’s injury heals over completely (+7, 13/36).

    Cirdan walks cautiously out the door and looks down the hallway to the south. He verifies the skeletons all go that way. He reports all of them went east along the hallway.

    Cirdan quickly formulates a plan, “The doors appear to open into the rooms. I have a plan to bypass the skeletons without further combat. Based on Tathar's recon there should be a total of ten skeletons in this area, this number now down to seven. We were attacked by eight. That means two remained at the door in area AE. If the other five fled to that area too, then there are five turned and two unturned in that area."

    Cirdan pauses to make sure everyone is following his idea, "The plan is this: If room AD is still empty, we proceed to that room and close the doors. Spec will see if he can lock/unlock both doors. If so we will have both doors unlocked, but shut. Spec will hide behind the south door, with it open. Tathar will proceed out of the south door of AD and down the hall to AE where he will remove his turning and lure all the skeletons back down the hall to room AD via the south door. Spec will close them in at that end. The others will proceed out the north door when the skeletons follow Tathar, and leave the door open. When Tathar gets to the door he will turn around and keep them at bay with Sehanine’s power, making them huddle in the corner by the other door that hopefully Spec has locked. Tathar will then shut the north door on AD and we barricade it with old furniture. Looks good on paper. If it goes wrong, we can always do it the ‘other way.’"

    Cirdan thinks to himself, "The DM shouldin give me lots of XP for thinking of that plan...if it works."

    Southar agrees immediately, “I will ssstay. Battle sssoundsss good.”

    P’innr looks upon the group, “I will stay as well. Good luck on the journey.”

    Weber has the stable boy hitch up the horse to the wagon and the group sets off, leaving behind necessary provisions for the day’s travel back. The entire camp was packed up and sent along with the wagon. Dalic, Ide Otneaux, Peylae, Weber and the stable boy ride north along the road and disappear as they enter the small wooded section north of camp.

    Aikari and P’innr take rest a bit apart from the others and engage in small talk with the group.

    The warrior called Southar keeps to himself stating, “I will patrol the edge of the Dead Woodsss along the trail for ssignss of our friendsss.”

    Villie, the remaining guard, is of elvish decent. He speaks, “Webers departure places me in charge. We shall wait until the noon day’s sun and then depart. It is now mid-morning. We will only be a few hours behind Weber and company. It remains possible that we may yet catch up to them by nightfall.”
    Adept Greytalker

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    Sat May 30, 2015 9:22 am  

    Cirdan Saralonde’s plan works well enough. Both doors to the room are ajar into the room so Speck takes position behind the southern door. Tathar goes up the eastern hall while the others gather in the room (AD). Seeing Tathat with his holy symbol not in hand, the skeletons, now numbering nine, prepare arms and move at him. Tathar retreats back down the hall and enters the room with the remaining party members. Speck shuts the door and exits. He struggles mightily to lock the door. The mechanism is in poor condition. He remains at the door and continues to manipulate the mechanism. The other party members move through the north door and shut it. Because the door opens into the room, Grimlock quickly works the mechanism and locks the door sealing the skeletons within.

    When Speck does not join the group in room AE, they return to the southern door via the hallway and find him working diligently at the locking mechanism. After twenty more minutes, Speck is finally able to loosen up the lock components enough to secure the lock.

    The party regroups at room AE. The room is 30 feet wide and 50 feet deep. Other than the door in the southern wall that was just locked to contain the skeletons, there is one more door in the north wall. The door opens away from the group.

    The room the group is standing in is being used for furniture storage. There are a number of pieces piled up along the western wall. Some of them look repairable while others less so.

    Dalic rides immediately behind the wagon, weapons stowed to keep control of his animal. Dalic is tired but soldiers on.

    Ide Otneaux, although more rested, is more injured than Dalic. She rides in the wagon with Peylae, resting when not tending to the half-elf. To see one of orc blood tending so caringly for one of elven decent is a testament to the close bond some of those in the group have formed.

    Weber rides with the stable boy at the head of the cart. The journey is going well so far.

    Aikari and P’innr talk with Villie to pass the time. They learn the barony consists of the town of Restenford and the general area surrounding it. Baron Grellus appears to be a fair man and does not overly burden the populace with heavy taxes. He is well liked but somewhat removed from the common folk. His wife, Fairwind, and daughter, Andrella, are much more likely to be seen out in public. Villie does not mind his service to the baron and appears to be faithful in his duties.

    Meanwhile, Southar continues his careful recon of the woodline.

    “I can recon with you Tathar,” volunteers Grimlock.

    Breymeer adds, “I will guard your back with sword and axe, Tathar. I’ve got a fight or two left in me. Let’s proceed.”

    Speck checks the door and finds it is locked, “I can get this,” he assures.
    Kuba does not appear as well healed as Breymeer, “I will continue on as long as I can remain on my feet.”

    Tathar faces the party, with a grave expression. "If I go alone, I can pass by most undead creatures invisibly, with Sehanine's grace and blessing. If everyone goes, we go into what lies beyond blindly and will have to fight what ever is there with no forewarning. Let me go alone. I will return in a few minutes and we will be better prepared."

    The clip clopping of the horse and pony steps echo slightly off the trees as the group gets near the northern edge of the small woods.

    Without a sound or warning, a figure suddenly stands in the road ahead of the trail. He is dressed in a light weight full length silvery/white robe over chain mail armor. He carries a silver shield upon his back along with a long bow. A long sword is sheathed in a silver scabbard at his right side. He has his hands on his hips. His long brown hair is held off his face by a thin silver headband before it drops over his shoulders. His features and size give away his elven heritage.

    Raising his right hand, palm forward, he speaks, “Man of Restenford, I am Illianaro. I seek information in regards to an elf that has travelled this way. I believe he has been in your company but I do not see him among you.” The elf’s voice is stern but pleasant. “Please, share with me any knowledge you may have of his whereabouts or condition. The elf I seek is Tathar Surion.”

    “You should also be aware, I am not travelling alone,” the elf advises; more as statement of defense than a warning of impending attack.

    Speck works the lock for an extended period of time, “These locks are old, very old.” After nearing a half of hour and some ribbing from his companions, Speck frees the mechanism and the lock opens.

    Speck backs off near Kuba while Grimlock and Breymeer prepare to face anything than may come through the door. Cirdan Saralonde fades back and prepares to defend the group with spellcraft.

    Tathar requests Sehanine’s blessing; specifically requesting to be hidden from from the eyes of the dead.

    Tathar opens the door. The quick peek past the door before Tathar shuts it behind him reveals a 20 foot by 30 foot room. It appears to be an old reading room containing a desk and bookcase.

    The door shuts behind Tathar enclosing him in darkness. He remains motionless until his eyes adjust to the darkness as his elven vision clears.
    The room is twenty feet deep and thirty feet wide. On the western wall, in the northern section, there is a wooden door. An old tapestry, now in taters hangs on the northern wall. It depicts the view from the tower overlooking the Dead Forest and the road from Restenford to Farmin. In the southwestern corner is an unlit brazier. In the northeastern corner is a padded chair. The chair is rotting and the desk is in poor condition as well. There appears to be no threats in the room.

    Tathar moves quickly around the room giving everything a once over. Pulling the tapestry out reveals only stone wall behind. The brazier is long gone cold. It is loose from the floor and does not have any mechanisms attached to it. The desk has gone unused for ages. It is empty. The padded chair is old, torn and worthless.

    Finding no matching bookshelf, Tathar tries the door on the western wall. It is unlocked. He opens it slowly. It opens with some creaking to a large room (40x40). The room once had excellent furnishings. They have unfortunately long since rotted away. A heavy dampness hangs in the air. A large canopy bed is centered on the southern wall. The canopy has collapsed down upon the bed. The bedding is rotted and damp. The bed frame is still somewhat intact. There is a book shelf containing nearly four dozen books up against the western wall pushed up against the northern corner. A desk and chair are in the southwestern corner. An armoire is centered on the eastern wall but it has collapsed upon itself and consists now of rotting clothing and chunks of broken and rotted wood. The room appears to be void of danger yet a cold dampness hangs in the air.

    Tathar, moves into the room cautiously. He discovers the bed is rotted and clear underneath. The armoire is nothing but a pile of rotting wood and clothing. The desk and chair are bare wood and in poor condition. The bookshelf is intact and matches the one in his vision from Sehanine. The books are damp and moldy.

    Not wanting to push his luck, Tathar begins to head back to the group.

    Dalic rides up to the elf at a challenging speed but does not arm himself. He says quickly, dodging the elf’s inquiry, "We travel back ta tha city wit pressin' business. Block not our way lest ye can lend aid ta our injured. These woods be dangerous an' we must continue wit no delay." Dalic accents his statement by grabbing the hilt of his bastard sword although he does not draw it. Dalic motions Ide Otneaux to approach.

    As Ide steps down from the wagon and begins to approach unarmed, the elf holds up his hand as if holding off others who remain unseen. “Yes dwarf, these are dangerous times. We mean you, nor your orc companion, harm for it appears you are also friends of the baron. Answer my question and we will aid your companions. Answer not, and you are free to pass lest the elves be accused of holding up the baron’s soldier on pressing business.”
    Ide whispers to Dalic, “Peylea may not make it back to Restenford. The elves may be her only hope.”

    Tathar, finding no other doors in the bedroom, returns to the others and opens the door. He then turns and moves back to the bedroom.

    Breymeer, Grimlock, Kuba and Speck follow Tathar through the den and into the bedroom. As they pass through the den they take note of its contents. The room is twenty feet deep and thirty feet wide. On the western wall, in the northern section, there is a wooden door. An old tapestry, now in taters hangs on the northern wall. It depicts the view from the tower overlooking the Dead Forest and the road from Restenford to Farmin. In the southwestern corner is an unlit brazier. In the northeastern corner is a padded chair. The chair is rotting and the desk is in poor condition as well. There appears to be no threats in the room.
    Passing through the door from the den into the bedroom, the party sees they have entered a large (40x40) room. The room once had excellent furnishings that have unfortunately long since rotted away. A large canopy bed is centered on the southern wall. The canopy has collapsed down upon the bed. The bedding is rotted and damp. The bed frame is still somewhat intact. There is a book shelf containing nearly four dozen books up against the western wall pushed up against the northern corner. A desk and chair are in the southwestern corner. An armoire is centered on the eastern wall but it has collapsed upon itself and consists now of rotting clothing and chunks of broken and rotted wood. The room appears to be void of danger yet a cold dampness hangs in the air.

    Once inside the bedroom, they find Tathar facing a bookshelf on the western wall. Tathar speaks without taking his eyes off the bookshelf, “There is a secret passage behind this bookshelf. Somewhere in this keep there is a stone statue of a bearded man, and below him, a natural cavern. In that cavern, there is a set of iron-shod double doors. That is where we will find the book. I sense it is evil, complete and true. I know not what we will encounter there, perhaps our fate. Sehanine has compelled me, I must go. I do not ask you risk your own lives.”
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    Fri Jun 12, 2015 12:05 pm  

    Dalic speaks reluctantly, unsure if he can trust the elves, "I hab' fought along side one called Tathar. I hope he yet lives and ye mean him no ill will. He too be under command 'der Baron an' be 'spected ta return ta Restenford this day. We know not where Tathar be this hour but for our injured comrade, pray you, help us an' we will ta 'company ye ta Restenford where Tathar may be found shou' he make tha journey."

    The elf motions to the woodline and says something in elvish, “Glaew nestedrin.” A second elf, dressed more plainly in common elvish woodland colors of browns and greens, walks out of the woodline towards the wagon. Ide Otneaux retreats to intercept the elf there.

    The elf produces a jar of some type of paste. It applies liberal amounts of it. “Edhellen-sereg,” the woodland dressed elf answers the silver adorned elf. It then turns to Ide Otneaux and speaks in common, “She will soon stabilize.” He places a small amount on a bit of cloth, “Feed this to her when she returns to consciousness.”

    The elf leader addresses Dalic again in common, “Journey to Restenford we intend not but wish you speed. Where is the last you have seen this moon-eyed Tathar?”

    Cirdan assures Tathar, “I will see this through.”

    Grimlock is less enthusiastic, “I will go if others go but the wisdom of continuing is questionable.”

    The bookshelf is discovered to be mounted on a swivel. The right side of the bookcase is hinged to the wall and the hole assembly opens into the room and up towards the north wall. The bookshelf sags on its hinges from the years of exposure to the damp air. It must be dragged across the floor. Moving the bookshelf reveals a bare stone wall.

    The group begins to check the wall for anything unusual. After about twenty minutes, a hairline cut in the stone is discovered. It is door shaped, nearly five feet high and two feet wide. Additionally poking, touching and examining the wall for another fifteen minutes reveals the opening mechanism. Tathar finds a small area within the door, near the top center, that when pressure is applied, a slight click is heard.

    Cirdan Saralonde offers, "The night was accursed. Perhaps we can find rest during the day. If we rest, maybe we can recover our strength and be better prepared for what lies ahead.”

    Dalic glances at the road ahead, longing to be done with the hell hole behind him. He is torn though by a nagging and unfamiliar sensation. For some reason he feels concern for Tathar and the strange elves. He looks to Ide and the apparently mute Weber, giving Weber a now seemingly commonplace grimace toward his lack of leadership. Dalic speaks to the elf while still looking toward Ide, "Let us wait 'till we see Peylae's improvement. I may then offer ta 'company ye back ta our camp. Your arrival there may be taken wit hostility otherwise". To Ide, "I think it be unwise to split tha party further from here. Shoul' Peylae be healed an' able ta return, we shoul' all ta basecamp.”

    The silver adorned elf curtly replies, “We wish Peylae speed in healing but your company we do not request nor require. Those at your basecamp, given the look of your group, will not present much of a threat to us. Farewell.” With that, the two elves leave the road and re-enter the forest.
    Weber, finding his tongue, comments to Dalic, “The boy and I return to Restenford regardless of your choice. We will continue on with Peylae. Even with elvish medicine, she will likely be in dire need of bedrest.”

    Ide remarks, “Return to the basecamp if you wish Dalic, once north of the forest, we should be relatively free from dangers. I intent to see Peylae back to town as long as she draws breath.”

    Cirdan Saralonde, moving the bookshelf back away from the northern wall, begins to remove books and examine them. They appear damp, moldy and in extremely poor condition.

    Tathar pushes the secret door into the next room and begins to look around through the opening while Kuba speaks, "I am tired and worn and rest would be sweet, but I feel it is in all our best interest to stay together. If you feel so compelled to go on right now you will have my company. If you choose to rest a while you will have my company."

    Speck as usual nods in agreement with Kuba.

    Breymeer agrees with Kuba, “I cannot deny, I'm still sucking hind tit and rest would do me good before I attempt much of a battle.”

    Grimlock pessimistically counters, “I think it very clear there will be no good rest in this tomb!”

    As Tathar pushes the door inward, it move in on a slide and then articulates to the right and slides out of the way on hinges. The mechanisms are old and worn but still functioning.

    Without speaking, Tathar walks into the space beyond the secret door.

    Tathar slips past the secret door and stands in a nearly forty foot by forty foot room. The northwestern corner cuts and angle and is taken up by a staircase that goes down into the darkness. A stone statue of an enormous bearded man with long hair stands in the center of the southern wall. The statue stands over eight feet tall and is depicted wielding a two handed sword held menacingly out in front of it. Below the statue is a simple stone altar.

    Upon the walls are various weapons and shields hund in decoration. The center is open and clear of obstacles. It appears to be some type of weapons training or similar type room.

    Leaving Grimlock and Breymeer in the bedroom together, Kuba and Speck enter the secret room.

    Kuba and Speck enter the secret room and stand in a nearly forty foot by forty foot room. Kuba struggles to see in what little light Breymeer’s torch gives off through the open secret door. The northwestern corner cuts and angle and is taken up by a staircase that goes down into the darkness. A stone statue of an enormous bearded man with long hair stands in the center of the southern wall. The statue stands over eight feet tall and is depicted wielding a two handed sword held menacingly out in front of it. Below the statue is a simple stone altar.

    Upon the walls are various weapons and shields hung in decoration. The center is open and clear of obstacles. It appears to be some type of weapons training or similar type room.

    Tathar is walking the perimeter of the wall visually examining the weapons, “They all look to be in poor condition.” As Tathar passes the stairwell, he gives it a once over. Seeing a closed door at the base of the stairs, he continues his sweep of the wall.

    Dalic curses under his breath and stubbornly turns his pony in line with the caravan toward Restenford, "Luck be wit ye Tathar, I fear ye may need it." Unreasonably focusing his frustrations, he bores a proverbial hole in the back of Weber's head with his cold eyes and continues on.

    Ide Otneaux re-joins Peylae in the wagon and Weber orders the boy to get moving. The horse and wagon, followed by the dwarf on his pony, continue towards Restenford. Soon they break from the small woods and are relieved to have relatively open sight again.

    Grimlock and Breymeer head for the secret room. Grimlock mutters, “I think I will have to follow the rest of the fellas. Brey, you best come with me I thinks.”

    Breymeer grunts, “I plan to continue following and take on whatever comes.”

    Grimlock and Breymeer enter the secret room and stand in a nearly forty foot by forty foot room. Breymeer’s torch easily lights up the room. The northwestern corner cuts and angle and is taken up by a staircase that goes down into the darkness. A stone statue of an enormous bearded man with long hair stands in the center of the southern wall. The statue stands over eight feet tall and is depicted wielding a two handed sword held menacingly out in front of it. Below the statue is a simple stone altar.
    Upon the walls are various weapons and shields hung in decoration. The center is open and clear of obstacles. It appears to be some type of weapons training or similar type room.

    Grimlock and Breymeer join Kuba and Speck as Tathar decends the stairs for a short time. Tathar returns after several minutes and reports, “There is a door at the bottom.”

    Cirdan inquires, “Tathar, was the door locked?”

    Tathar replies, “It was not. Also, there was no sound coming from behind the door that my ears could detect.”

    Cirdan makes a recommendation, “I feel, since you have been leading this aspect of the campaign, that you continue. If you will look through the door with your elf eyes and holy symbol, we will wait up here. If there are foul beings beyond the door and you cannot turn them, retreat up here where we will have more room to do battle with them. That way, we will not all be blocked up in the stairway or have to spill into a room that we are not familiar with.”

    Grimlock appears to be listening as he does a quick check of the altar. He appears to be looking for secret compartments or similar. He finds none.
    “I am ready to whoop **** as needed if an evil threat is found and opportunity presents itself,” Breymeer says with confidence. “I yet have my holy water should anyone need it.”

    Kuba and Speck appear ready.

    Tathar, without a spoken word, heads down the stairwell.

    Finding an open hallway beyond, Tathar calls the others down. Doing a quick recon, Tathar reports the hallway leads to an open natural cavern containing a very narrow passageway to the east and a door to the south. Otherwise, there is a door just east of the stairwell next to the party.
    Grimlock votes, “Hallway. I bet one of these lead to the surface tower that feral dwarf ran off to.” Grimlock then turns to Breymeer, “Brey, I could use your holy water.”

    Breymeer hands the holy water to Grimlock.

    Tathar commands, “Stay put a minute.” Tathar, with holy symbol out, walks to the iron bound door to the east of the staircase, “This door is not the one from my vision.” The party’s attention drawn to it reveals it is actually barred and locked from this side of the door.

    In Breymeer’s magically torchlight, it is easy to see the walls of the dungeon are damp. The light reflects off the wet walls. The cavern beyond appears similar if not more so. A rat, normal in size, squeaks at the party and scurries down the hallway and into the natural chamber beyond. The squeak echoes slightly ahead of the rat.

    The hallway appears to have been worked from the natural stone. It is cut from the rock nearly ten feet wide and over eight feet high, nearing ten feet high. The walls are damp here but not saturated as the chamber appears to be.

    The chamber beyond does not appear to be worked rock. Instead, it appears to be of natural design.

    Tathar inspects the natural cavern. Finding no danger, he waves the party forward.

    The natural cavern has virtually no ornamentation. The glistening walls reflect the light from Breymeer’s torch doubling its intensity. It takes a few minutes for your eyes to adjust to the now well lit area. The ceiling is nearly twelve feet high. The passageway to the east is a small crawlway; only 2 ½ feet in diameter. The door mounted on the south wall, near the SE corner, is made of wood and shows no locks. The room is approximately fifty feet by forty feet.

    Tathar walks to the door in the eastern portion of the southern wall. He puts his ear to the door for a moment.

    Meanwhile, Cirdan looks to Breymeer, “Will you look for signs of recent passage by creatures in the cavern? And also in the crawlway?”

    Breymeer begins to examine the room.

    Grimlock pipes up, “I saw we open the barred door to the northeast of the stairs. If nothing lies within, we can return and bar it once more.” No one else appears to want to go as Grimlock states at the moment.

    Breymeer finishes his search as Tathar turns his attention from the door, “Only normal rats have travelled here recently and they have travelled to and fro down the crawlway as well.”

    Tathar reports hearing nothing from behind the door.

    Cirdan gets on all fours and crawls down the eight foot length of the crawlway. He stops short of the room and lets his elf eyes adjust. It is a roughly thirty foot by twenty foot room (BC). Other than a few normal rats that scurry about from various rat holes in the wall, there is very little else special about the room. Cirdan looks in far enough to clear the ceiling and the side walls. He then returns to the group and reports his discovery.

    While Cirdan is tunneling, Tathar cracks open the southern door. He opens the door into the darkness and looks beyond. Allowing his eyes to adjust, he sees a passageway leading south from the doorway. It travels about thirty feet before blossoming into a large chamber (BD). Part of the southern wall appears to have collapsed in one location.
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    Fri Jun 12, 2015 12:19 pm  

    Grimlock departs from the party while they are investigating the large chamber and its side paths and door. Grimlock arrives at the door, now using his elvish dark vision to investigate. The door swings inward towards him. It has an old rusty but sturdy iron bar across it. The bar is held in place with a lock. Grimlock tries the lock but cannot get the mechanism to open on his initial attempt.

    While working the lock, Grimlock hears Kuba cry out in pain and sounds of an erupting battle from the chamber area he had vacated minutes prior.

    Tathar moves forward down the passageway with his holy symbol held out in front of him. Breymeer falls in step just behind Tathar. Speck and Kuba step into the passageway and pause as Cirdan Saralonde covers the group from the doorway. Kuba holds the door open should there be a need for a hasty retreat.

    The roughly forty by forty room illuminates greatly as Breymeer’s torchlight reflects off of the glistening walls.

    A passageway leaves the main room to the northwest. In opens into a smaller twenty by twenty natural chamber. In the center of the chamber is a statue of a beautiful human woman. She has large wings and holds and arrow in each hand above her head. Upon her head is a simple brass helm adorned with a bluish gemstone.

    A second passageway leads to the west. It travels about twenty feet before opening into a small chamber. Access to that chamber is denied by a iron portcullis blocking the passageway just prior to the chamber.

    Between the two passageways, on the western wall is a ogre-sized statue of a large man. It is crudely hewn from soft rock.

    The center of the southern wall of the chamber has collapsed partially. In addition, there is some rubble on either side of the passage that leads to the female statue. The room’s integrity appears secure to the group’s untrained eyes.

    Cirdan questions, “Where is Grimlock?” noticing he is gone.

    Kuba answers, “He went back to examine the barred door by the stairway.”

    At that moment, several things happen together.

    First, the crude stone statue of the man animates and begins to lumber towards Tathar and Breymeer. Breymeer is caught flat footed and does not initially react; he just stares in disbelief.

    Second, an unseen ooze gathers itself up above those near the chamber door. It forms itself into a gelatinous club and strikes Kuba upon the right shoulder. He immediately feels the burn as the ooze’s acids eat into his skin (10, 3/36). The ooze remains attached to the ceiling, swinging its club-like appendage.

    Tathar grabs Breymeer and pull him up the hallway in the face of the animated stone foe.

    Breymeer shakes off his surprise and retreats alongside Tathar.

    Seeing the retreat heading his way, Cirdan grabs the back of Kuba and Speck’s collars and pulls them backwards through the door. They give way willingly. Kuba hold the door open long enough for Tathar to run up the hallway and tumble into the chamber.

    While tumbling into the chamber, Tathar is struck by the ooze creature upon his back. Protected by his armor, the blow fails to damage Tathar. Breymeer slides through the door just behind Tathar. Kuba then tries to shut the door on the ooze but it is able to slip in.

    The ooze, once inside the door, moves up the wall to the ceiling. It pulls itself back up into a gelatinous club, still clinging to the ceiling above the group gathered at the door.

    Behind the door, the animated stone statue’s footsteps comes to a stop.

    Grimlock comes running in from the northwestern passage with his sword out and shield at the ready.

    Cirdan Saralonde yells, “Spread out!” and moves to backwards to the north. While doing so, the gelatinous club strikes him, burning into the skin of his right shoulder (6, 17/26).

    Grimlock backs away to the western side of the cavern. He removes an oil skin from his pack.

    Tathar back-peddles towards the west, firing and arrow in the morphing blob as he does. The arrow penetrates into the jelly and stops within its form (8, 12/20).

    Breymeer carves into the creature with both of his swords (10, 2/20) and Kuba additionally lands a blow upon it (6, -4/20).

    Speck retreats north with Cirdan Saralonde as the creature falls to the floor writhing.

    “Get back!” yells Grimlock as he lights an oil flask.

    Kuba takes one more hack at the wiggling gelatinous mound and then retreats. Tathar notches another arrow and draws back his bow, waiting to fire if needed.

    Breymeer backs off and Speck remains clear.

    Grimlock tosses the flaming oil onto the jelly. The oil burns off leaving the jelly behind. It has, however, stopped moving altogether.

    “Are you still sure this is a good idea?” questions Cirdan to Tathar.

    Tathar nods in understanding, "I now feel that Sehanine would approve of me returning for this book after resting and healing. I feel strong enough to go on, but all of you, being excellent friends and companions, have suffered much. I believe you would go to your deaths to help me, and I must honor the fact that I am not risking my life only. I propose we retreat to the courtyard, follow the path of the other group into the tower to learn of their fate, then return to basecamp to learn of theirs. After a day of rest, and prayer, I will heal all who ask, then may we return to this place and find the book."

    The decision to back out is universally applauded by the remaining survivors. The group retreats back up to the basement level and moves carefully to the ghoul room where Ewan McDermott perished. From there, they move back up to the first level of the keep. During the retreat, the full effect of the jellies touch is realized. Tathar’s chain mail armor deteriorates and falls apart on his back where it was contacted by the jelly (now base AC 7 for the armor). Both of Breymeer’s swords and Kuba’s sword also show rapid signs of corrosion and they quickly become worthless and are discarded.

    Cirdan Saralonde and Grimlock pause long enough to go up to the wizard’s chambers and the storage room to gather as much of the magical paraphernalia that they can carry. The others follow suit.

    While on the second and third floor, they realize by looking out a window upon the courtyard, that the front door is still guarded by undead bugbear. Grimlock leads the group across the roof using the route he had taken when he originally ascended to attack the necromancer. Once on the back side of the keep, the group crawls down to the outside of the outer wall.

    Moving clockwise around the keep, the group closes in on the tower only to find it contains more zombies and skeletons. Fearing the fate of the others has been sealed, the group turns and moves out across the expanse of open ground surrounding the keep.

    Soon, the group is travelling downhill and heading for the basecamp.

    The group arrives at basecamp just as the noonday sun crests in the sky.

    It is at basecamp where they find the biggest surprise of the day.

    As the motley crew returns to basecamp, Villie, the elven soldier of the barony, is only one of the baron’s men who remains at basecamp. Southar joins him; walking over from the Dead Woods where he stood watch.

    The motley crew consists of Tathar, the elven priest of Sehanine, Grimlock, the half-elven wanderer from the Wild Coast, Breymeer, the northman, Cirdan Saralonde the Celene noble, Kuba from Dullstrand and his halfling companion Speck.

    Villie is accompanied by a human female and what appears to be her sellsword, a human man equipped with two battle axes. They are known by the names of Aikari Bestir and P’innr Bhut.

    Taking counsel with those four at basecamp are nearly two dozen elves. The leader is dressed in a light weight full length silvery/white robe over chain mail armor. He carries a silver shield upon his back along with a long bow. A long sword is sheathed in a silver scabbard at his right side. He has his hands on his hips. His long brown hair is held off his face by a thin silver headband before it drops over his shoulders. Tathar immediately recognizes him as a fellow priest of Sehanine.

    The elves accompanying the priest are dressed in the common garb of forest elves; colored in greens and browns. They are armed with bows and swords as well as light armor under their cloaks and robes.

    There are dead wargs and gnolls nearby as well as two of the baron’s men and the body of Tarstar.

    Villie does his best to bring everyone up to speed. During the night, the gnolls and wargs attacked killing Carlton and Fraunk. Belina, Ide Otneaux and Peylae were all wounded. Peylae was brought low and remained unconscious and near death throughout the night. Belina has gone off back-tracking the gnolls. She said she would return to Restenford on her own.

    Dalic and Southar were the first of the keep explorers to return to camp. They brought with them the body of Tarstar. Dalic and Southar reported locating an evil altar in the castle dungeon. There they sacked several evil undead creatures before returning to basecamp.

    Aikari Bestir and P’innr Bhut arrived on horseback about that time. They agreed to remain at basecamp while Dalic, Ide Otneaux, Weber and the stable boy returned to Restenford with Peylae as her condition continued to worsen. Aikari Bestir and P’innr Bhut intend to travel to Restenford and will be doing so in the company of those remaining.

    Finally, the group of elves have only just arrived late this morning. They seek Tathar Surion.

    Interupting at this point is the Sehanine priest speaking in elvish. He gives Tathar and obvious greeting and then hails him to a private conversation. Once complete, he orders the elvish troop together and they move off in the direction of the dead woods.

    The group prepares to return to Restenford. What remains of the camp is packed up and the group begins their march. The baron’s men and Tarstar are brought back for proper burial.

    Even in their exhausted state, their hearts are lifted as the first signs of Restenford appear.

    The group has returned to Restenford. All but five yet live; two of the baron’s men died fighting the gnolls and wargs, Tarstar died fighting zombies and skeletons, Yalta died fighting the necromancer’s undead spirit and Ewan McDermott died fighting the ghouls.

    At Restenford, the news of the group’s arrival travels quickly. As does the report of the others that arrived earlier. Dalic, Ide Otneaux, Weber and the stable boy arrived safely. Peylae survived the trip but remains in dire condition. The elvish medicine from the Sehanine priest was the only thing that kept her from certain death.

    Tathar's private conversation - The Sehanine priest tells Tathar that he will be moving on the keep with the other elves. Sehanine guides him to complete what Tathar did not. The priest, obviously of greater power than Tathar, chastises Tathar for cowering in his task and not trusting in Sehanine’s guidance. The priest instructs Tathar to return to Restenford and recover. While doing so, assist with Sehanine’s actions there. He will recognize them when they arrive. Until then, Tathar should atone for his weakness of spirit.
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    Sat Jun 13, 2015 3:04 pm  

    And so it is Pelltar gathers his flock. Peylae is quickly put to bed in the Tavern of the West Wind. Ide Otneaux stays at her bedside. Southar as well, suffering from multiple painful wounds, take rest in a private room. He locks the door and refuses admittance.

    The rest of the group is gathered at Pelltar’s request in the common room. Pelltar secures the building for his own use and ensures everyone’s glass is full. Pelltar has food delivered for a modest feast taking into account each character’s taste. Breymeer walks with a limp from a right ankle wound but other than that, everyone’s injuries are superficial. Some, such as Dalic and Kuba, are weakened by the numerous superficial wounds. And Grimlock and Dalic both seem to be of reduced strength of will. The touch of those beyond the grave took its toll on them.

    Despite it all, t is in the common room of the inn, after all have satiated themselves, that Pelltar questions the group at length. Revelations are made as to what happened after the group was split.

    Essentially, the group made entry into the keep when an evil compulsion befell most everyone excluding the elves it appears.

    Dalic, possessed by the dead necromancer’s head, delved below the tower. Southar and Tarstar, obsessed with capturing and destroying Dalic, gave chase.

    The rest of the group continued into the keep and re-encountered an evil spirit force of the necromancer. They were able to defeat this evil spirit but not before it killed Yalta.

    Meanwhile, Dalic, guided by the severed head, made his way to a room in the deep recesses of the keep’s dungeon. Behind a set of double doors, Dalic discovered an evil altar to an unknown deity, devil or demon. It is here Dalic’s will returned and instead of making a sacrifice upon the altar as compelled, he fought back only to be besieged by a horde of undead creatures including the spirit of the deceased keep’s previous lord. Dalic fought wave after wave, driving off the undead spirit and piling up the bodies until he was overrun.

    Dalic’s fate would have soon followed if Southar, now free of his compulsion to destroy Dalic, hadn’t charged into the fray and utterly destroyed the undead horde. This task was aided by the fact that he had consumed some type of strength potion. Unfortunately, Tarstar was slain by skeletons and zombies on the way to capture Dalic. Dalic and Southar were able to hunt down the undead overlord and utterly slay it.

    From there, they split. Southar fought his way back out of the tower and headed for the basecamp.

    Dalic fought on seeking a lost tome for Pelltar. Securing it, he returned to the surface, fought his way out of the tower and headed for basecamp.

    On the upper levels, the previous compulsions left the group as well after Dalic had resisted the altar’s call. Now free of their fear, etc., the party attempted an assault into the dungeon. They encountered a ghoulish horde and lost Ewan McDermott in the battle. After regrouping, the party tricked their way past a dozen skeletal guards, located a secret entrance to the dungeon and proceeded down. There, they encountered several natural chambers and some type of animated statue that charged at them. A jelly/ooze type creature surprise attacked them. They were able to fight a withdrawl, killing the jelly. At that point, they decided to retreat, inspect the tower and head to the basecamp. Finding the tower and courtyard crawling with undead, they returned to the basecamp and then to Restenford.

    Pelltar advises the altar was unknown previously and it is most concerning that the necromancer had set up such a vile place this close to Restenford. Evil is a foot.

    After much concern from the group, Tathar being most vocal, Pelltar assures the group the book was not evil. In fact, it was brought in there by a most good mage of much power many centuries ago. The demise of the mage was suspected as he never returned and the fate of the book was unknown. Dalic was able to locate the mage and return the book.

    Pelltar advises it was the altar and vile evilness of the keep that caused the party so much harm, not the book.

    Pelltar appears pleased that you had helped guide Aikari and P’innr to Restenford. “Aikari is an aquantance of mine,” he says businesslike.

    “You have a night’s rest before Baron Grellus requests your presence before the Throne. Be there for the mid day’s meal. Goodnight.” With tha, Pelltar closes the celebrations and the group heads off to rest. Cirdan, Grimlock, Akari and P’innr are welcomed to Pelltar’s residence. Kuba and Speck grab a room at the inn. Dalic takes a room at the inn. Breymeer goes out to the perimeter of town watching for the return of Belina and Tathar disappears into the night to give prayer to Sehanine.
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    Sat Jun 13, 2015 7:36 pm  

    The night’s rest and fresh bandaging helps the mind far more than the body. Wounds begin to heal and every moment away from the accursed keep lightens the load on the mind.

    At the morning’s meal, couriers arrive and request the party bring all gathered treasure and such items with them to the castle for accounting and tasation. It is then the party shall receive its reward.

    Come noon, Pelltar arrives with Gelpas of the captain of the baron’s guard. With Gelpas is several of the baron’s men, including Villie and Weber.

    The group is escorted to the baron’s keep minus Peylae and Ide Otneaux. Peylae is yet direly wounded and bedridden. Ide remains by her side. Since neither entered the keep, their presence is excused. Strangely, Pelltar requests the presence of Aikari and P’innr.

    The group gathers in the throne room after passing through the high arched hallway lined on each side by alternating male portraits of Grellus’s family.

    Under the high arch, Baron Grellus sits upon his throne at the top of the three step dais. His large frame is tense. The baroness’s sits upon her chair, pale and melancholy. The baronette’s chair is empty. Pelltar takes his position to the side of the baronette’s chair.

    The third row chairs are also empty.

    A young attractive elf woman plays a nine string guitar like instrument sofly in the room. She sings quietly with a fine elvish voice. The mood in the room is somber.

    Once assembled, Pelltar speaks, “Baron Grellus, I again present those who survived the raid on the keep. No longer with us are Yalta, Tarstar, Ewan McDermott and your guards, Carlton and Fraunk.” The party bows in respect. “I also present an acquaintance Aikari of Hardby and her travelling companion P’innr Bhut. They shall be staying in town upon my welcome. I shall speak well for both of them.”

    With that, business begins.

    When the treasure is laid out before the baron, his daughter Andrella, steps into the throne room for the accounting.

    “Per terms of our agreement,” begins Grellus, “fifteen percent of the treasure shall be due for taxation.” Andrella totals the monies and removes the taxes due.

    Once this is complete, the baron takes accounting of all the creatures slain. Andrella calculates the bounty and adds to it 100gp per adventurer as given by contract. Finally, 500gp is added to that total for the defeat of the necromancer. The monies due the party are paid.

    As for the weapons recovered, only one does the barony request. Fairwind, the baroness, requests Yalta’s staff be given over. Kuba graciously surrenders the staff. The rest of the items are awarded to the possessors.

    “I thank you for your service to the barony. The keep, I understand, hid many entrenched evils. Restenford is undoutably safer from your honorable and determined route of the vile creatures.”

    Baron Grellus stands suddenly. “Weber and Villie reported to me a company of elves has now moved on the keep. It has been brought to my attention the leader of the elvish company was a priest of Sehanine.” Baron Grellus looks directly at Tathar, “Why are armed elves moving about in my barony without my leave or knowledge? What intent and purpose brings them here? Tathar, your presence here is suspect. You shall be on notice Tathar, I expect answers for this encroachment. Why are the elves of the northern isles here?”

    Before Tathar can answer, if even Tathar could answer, Baroness Fairwind interjects, “Tathar, you and your company have served us well. Baron Grellus has right to rule and question, but please, be at ease. Time shall answer our questions. Go and rest now. Heal your wounds. Sharpen your weapons, replace your gear and mend your armor. Our town has many services for your needs. Go, enjoy our taverns and inns. Falco and his assistant Gap may have some tales to tell over those dwarvish weapons you found.”

    “Weber and Villie have spoken on your behalf,” Grellus reveals, “You are free to go. I had a meal prepared in thankfulness for your actions. Enjoy. Lady Fairwind and I have much to do. Andrella shall join you in our stead.”

    All bow as Grellus and Fairwind rise and exit out the back of the throne room.

    The elvish bard finishes playing and all retire to the dining room. There, the bard strikes up a happier tune and sings Lendore tales of elves and men.
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    Sat Jul 18, 2015 10:15 am  

    This is essentially the end of L1 Secret of Bone Hill. This post will continue as the party ventures into L2 The Assassin's Knot.
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    Sun Jul 26, 2015 9:30 pm  

    L2 The Assassin's Knot


    Peylae & her ship crew (NPCs)

    Akari Bestir, h/f, unknown class/level, Hardby (new to party)
    Breymeer - h/m, lv 5 ranger, northlander (Viking type)
    Cirdan Saralonde - e/m, lv 5 mage, semi -exiled Celene of noble blood
    Dalic Steelcoat - d/m, lv 4 berserker, wandering mercenary
    Grimlock - 1/2e/m, lv 4,3,5 fighter, mage, rogue, Celene/Wild Coast drifter
    Ide Otneaux - 1/2 orc/f, lv 4 fighter, Pomarj
    Kuba Cylvorandau - h/m, lv 3 fighter, Dullstrand
    Morwen Alcerin - e/f, bard?, Lendore Islands (she is new to party)
    P'innr Bhut - h/m, fighter, Wild Coast, mercenary (new to party)
    Southar - yuan-ti/m, lv 5 ranger, Gnarley Forest (previously human)
    Speck - Halfling male, lv 5 rogue, Kuba's sidekick
    Tathar - e/m, lv 5 priest of Sehanine, Lendore Isles

    The player's enjoy not knowing all the details about each other so until it become more common knowledge, some information is withheld here.
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    Sun Jul 26, 2015 9:49 pm  

    The party members spend the day running errands.

    That night, Cirdan Saralonde calls a dinner meeting. Since he is offering to pay for the meal, those beckoned do not refuse his call. The invitation goes out to the original group members, Tathar Surion, Grimlock, Breymeer, Kuba Cylvorandau, Southar, Speck, Dalic, Ide Otneaux and Peylae. Ide Otneaux and Paylae do not attend. The meeting is set for the Inn of the Dying Minotaur. Its proprietor is Gellcuff.

    A large minotaur head is mounted above the bar. The common room is relatively empty other than the party members as the slowly arrive for supper.

    A few common folks are milling about. The bard from the luncheon at the keep is also at a table by herself eating.

    During the meal, Cirdan offers to cast spells on any items the group wants identified further. Cirdan believes he can find out what types of magic some items may possess. The process has a price if requested. Further, Cirdan reports he has sold the rusty plate mail armor recovered from the ghoul room. The proceeds are split between the survivors of that encounter. Cirdan, Tathar, Grimlock, Breymeer, Kuba and Speck each receive 48gp.

    Once the proceeds are passed out, Southar stands, still donning his great helm and with his golden shield (covered with canvas) at hand. Southar faces the group with his back to anyone else that may be in the bar. He only drank and not yet eaten food. He tips his great helm back revealing his face for just a flash. The group’s suspicions are immediately confirmed. Southar’s skin has scaled over and his eyes have changed to those of a snake. His forked tongue darts out occasionally tasting the air. “I have been transsssformed. Do not fear me. I am yet SSSSSSouthar but I have become ssssssso much more. For my ssssafety, I will be moving out of town. Find me on the eassst ssssside of town at the edge of the Kelman Woodssss. I remain loyal to you all.” With that, Southar stands, nods a thank you to Cirdan Saralonde and walks for the door.

    Cirdan stares towards Southar in disbelief for a few moments. Without taking his eyes off of the departing Southar, Cirdan says, “If you wish to have your items looked into, contact me before mid-day tomorrow. The costs to identify items may vary to some degree but never less than 100gp per attempt.”

    Southar pauses in the door as Aikari and P’innr enter the Dying Minotaur in search of a meal. They step to the side of the helmed warrior and take a seat nearby as a serving wench heads there way.

    Dalic rise and intercepts Southar before his departure, "Southar tha mighty. Ye hab' saved me more thin once in tha past few days, an' Dalic be seein ye skill wit tha long sword. I recovered this'n enchanted blade from tha keep. It be nam’d Bloodletter."

    Dalic draws the Bloodletter from its scabbard and raises it into view, "I know not what secrets it holds, but I know it ta be better in ye hands than mine. Cirdan Ungolhing may reveal tha sword's nature as Dalic has had no luck. Hold onto it fer me. Use it as ye will. This be in gratitude fer ye loyalty in tha keep.”

    Re-sheathing the sword, Dalic presents the sword and scabbard to Southar. Dalic appears wholly unmoved by the revelation of Southar's transformation. He nods encouragingly to Southar with his most respectful grimace.

    Southar bows to Dalic, “I thank you. I ssshall ssserve you all well with it.”

    The dwarf then addresses the group. Clearing his throat, his distaste for public speaking returning, contorts his face back to his standard stoic expression and continues, "We are ta celebrate! The keep is fell by my account an' ye have made me ta see a truth in yer comradery: a friend and companion be tha' best kind o' ally in battle. Even so, tha number here be yet small compared ta our first meeting; for that there be no joy... But yet, I hope ye can find fer me tha loyalty I hold fer ye. If ye'll have me, I woul' like ta see tha world with ye. Even if tha' means tha world can then see me..."

    Dalic trails off at this natural end to his request. His brow furrows and lip curls slightly at the nakedness of his statement; obviously uncomfortable showing affection. The dwarf, although sincere beyond question, struggles with his emotions and then returns to his stoic grimace.

    Cirdan calls to the barmaid loudly while nodding towards Dalic, “Bring him a beer and bring me the bill! Dalic, I find it an odd day that an elf buys a dwarf a beer, but that is this day! I confess, I am still put off by your rash actions in the keep, with locking us in while you ran on alone, even though I now understand that you were under a spell. Still, I would be glad to see the world and adventure with you, even if we are cut from two entirely different cloths.”

    Tathar approaches Dalic with a bone tube. The tube is inlaid with silver and has silver caps on each end that screw into place. Tathar hands Dalic the tube, “What can you make of it?”

    Dalic walks to the table and the party gathers around. Southar returns from the doorway. The sound level in the bar quiets as patron pretend not to be listening in. Even the elvish bard eyes the group.

    Dalic gives a look around the bar with a scowl on his face. The patrons look away but the elvish bard only smiles back at him. Giving him the courtesy he requests with his scowl, the elvish bard focuses back on her food and drink. She begins to sing just loud enough to help cover Dalic’s voice.

    Dalic unscrews one end of the tube and pulls out a parchment. Wetting his lips, he looks around one last time, “It be dwarf writin’.”

    Dalic presses the paper flat onto the table and reads,

    “Dearest Dukkor Graniteborn,
    It is with great sadness that I write you.
    As you are aware, we lost contact with the mine and your cousin, Khorliss Foesmiter, was sent to investigate the cause. Being a great warrior, wielder of Zalco, bane to the drow, Khorliss Foesmiter was certain to resolve the problem. It was certainly hoped that the operation was only held up because of discovery by one of the local human populations.
    Khorliss Foesmiter, it saddens me to inform you, has not reported back nor have any members of his expedition. They seem to have vanished. We fear something foul has occurred in the mine.
    In order to protect its secrecy and prevent further loss of dwarven lives, it has been determined the mine shall be sealed and records destroyed.
    Dukkor Graniteborn, you must travel to the mine with a small contingent of trusted dwarves. Seal the mine and conceal its entrance. Falco and Gap shall accompany your group. They have been instructed to stay behind in Restenford and report on anything suspicious that may be mine related.
    Furthermore, once the mine is sealed, you and your companions shall investigate the old ruins on Bone Hill to see if they are worth acquiring. The old keep would make a tactical staging area in the event the mine seal fails and evil ventures forth.
    Speak of your purpose to no other.
    May Moradin bless your journey.”

    Cirdan is the first to comment, “Falco and Gap are the two dwarves that run Falco’s Tavern according to Baroness Fairwind. She just mentioned it this afternoon while we were at the castle.”

    Kuba chimes in, “Indeed, that is where she said we may find some information about the dwarven arms we found.”

    Cirdan continues, “I am in need of supplies that Pelltar tells me may be available in Farmin. If any wish to accompany me, I would be grateful. Those that stay behind can see what Falco can tell us about the scroll.”

    Breymeer accepts, “I will travel with you to Farmin.”

    Kuba, still showing many injuries, joins the ranks, “I wish to go to Farmin as well unless Breymeer can get me a new sword. If I go, I must visit the Abby first in search of healing for I am in much pain yet. Otherwise, Speck and I can speak with Falco.”

    As the talk of the road trip continues, the female elven bard stand up out of her chair letting her cloak drop from her shoulders. She is wearing a silver evening gown with a sash around her waist and a plain brooch shaped like a moon on her right shoulder. As she approaches the group, it is obvious her appearance affects the men and elves. She glides across the floor and directs herself towards Cirdan Saralonde with grace and dexterity uncommon even among the elves. Her face radiates a beauty that sets her apart. With a twinkle in her eye, and an innocent smile, she curtsies to Cirdan and speaks with a crisp, clear diction that is common among nobles, “Noble elf, if you are indeed going to Farmin, please consider allowing me to join your party for the journey. I have shopping I would like to do there but do not feel safe making the trip alone. I can offer you my song and music along the way as payment for your protection.”

    “I am going, yes my lady,” answers back Cirdan leaning hard on his noble upbringing to now allow his voice to crack being the center of her attention, “but I cannot give you leave to go by myself. The other party members have as much to say as I.”

    Cirdan returns a slight bow, “I am Cirdan Saralonde of Celene. What is your name and where is it that you are from?”

    “My name is Morwen Alcerin and I am from the northernmost of the Spindrift Isles,” she responds. Tathar takes note.

    P’innr Bhut stands from his table, having been listening in. In fact, now that Morwen Alcerin has stopped singing, the whole bar is watching again. P’innr Bhut asks something of Aikari and receives an affirmative nod from her. He bows to her and turns, walking towards the group, “My Lady, Aikari Bestir, has given me leave. She is not in need of my services now that we have reached Restenford. I do not need any supplies but would like to accompany your group to Farmin. I see you have experienced the dangers on the road. I have experience in swinging a steel axe or two. I do not ask for payment other than a fair share of anything I might help recover.”

    And so it is the group makes their plans. Some will head off towards Farmin about mid-morning while others remain in Restendford to rest and heal up.

    The party begins to break up with Southar being the first to leave.
    Cirdan bids farewell. He drops some coins on the bar to pay for the entire meal and then exits the bar following Southar out into the night.
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    Sun Jul 26, 2015 10:00 pm  

    Outside the bar, Cirdan poses the following questions to Southar, "Southar, as your friend, I want to help you. Please tell me what is happening to you. We can find a way to reverse this. Is it your shield? Please let us know what to do for you."

    Southar responds with a directness in his voice, “I am in no need of help. I seek no reversssal. I am truly well. Thank you and goodnight.”
    With that Southar walks off towards the eastern edge of town, “I will be in the eastern woodssss. Jusst call for me.”

    The group finishes up their meal and entertainment. Dalic packs the scroll and case away for later discussion. P’innr Bhut and Morwen Alcerin are invited to travel with the group going to Farmin. Everyone agrees to meet for a late breakfast to plan the trip to Farmin and the venture into Falco’s Tavern.

    Everyone turns in for the night except Tathar who continues his nightly ritual of praying under the moonlight. Elves have very little need for sleep. Oddly, their sleep more resembles a meditation and even with that, they only need half the rest of a human.

    The evening brings a growing wind and by morning a storm has rolled becoming a deluge by breakfast.

    It is now the 19th day of Goomonth in the Common Year 577.

    The party meets for breakfast where preparations for the trip to Farmin are put off until the storm breaks. Pelltar and Aikari, along with two of Pelltar’s assistants, Abracus and Fliban, surprise all by joining the meeting at nearly 9 AM. Pelltar looks very grim and the others have serious and stoic looks on their faces. Pelltar takes a visual accounting of all those present. Those that are not yet in attendance are gather up with runners; Dalic from the armorer, Ide Otneaux from the Tavern of the West Wind, Breymeer from the fletcher, and Speck is gathered up from the under the south bridge where he appears to have been nibbling apples and gazing northward towards Falco’s Tavern.

    Missing from the group is Southar, last seen leaving Restenford by way of the south gate last evening, Peylae, who Ide Otneaux reports is now conscious but bedridden, and Tathar, whom no one can speak for.

    Once Pelltar is satisfied all that are available are present, he speaks slowly and directly, “My friends, do not act rashly, stay your weapons and please heed my wisdom. I speak to you today on orders of Baroness Fairwind. Baron Grellus is dead and Tathar has been arrested! For now, you are all being held for questioning!”

    Confusion immediately grips the group as Pelltar calls loudly, “Captain!”
    Captain Gelpas, of the Baron’s guard, enters the inn ahead of a collection of armed men. Captain Gelpas has his long sword out but not in a striking pose. He wears his chain mail armor.

    Behind him is a half-elf. The half-elf is dressed in chain mail armor and holds a trident in his hand.

    The third through the door is a man wearing chain mail armor and holding a loaded light crossbow. He points it partially down in a low ready position. At his hip is a broadsword.

    A priest of Phaulkon is next. He wears chain mail armor and has a small hammer in his left hand and a mace in his right.

    The priest is accompanied by a second man wearing the garb of a Phaulkon priest. This man is more intimidating as he is stronger looking than the others. He holds a flail in his hand.

    Finally, three of the Phaulkon acolytes stand just inside the threshold. Each wears studded leather armor. They wield maces.

    Captain Gelpas speaks a loud, stern order to the group, “You are all under arrest! Lay your arms on the table or floor next to you and you will not be harmed.”

    Marcus, the trident wielding half-elf, repeats the captains order in elvish.
    Even though the baron’s guards are no match for the group, all slowly comply with the order in light of the numerous priest of Phaulkon present; not to mention four wizards.

    Seeing the group’s concern, Captain Gelpas tries to relieve the tension in the air, “You will only be held long enough to be questioned. You accounting of last evening and your whereabouts are needed.”

    The weapons are gathered up and respectfully placed, under guard, in the corner of the room away from the group.

    Pelltar speaks to the point, “Baron Grellus was murdered last night in his room. A bloody circle was marked in the floor near the body with an elvish warning not to cross Sehanine. Tathar was arrested just an hour ago in the leather goods shop near the baron’s castle. Baron Grellus was suspicious of Tathar already in regards to the movement of the Sehanine priests in the area and the occupation of the necromancer’s keep. Several witnesses spoken how Tathar is awake and outdoors during the dark hours. Tathar could not hide his discord towards the baron in regards to the tone the baron took with him in the throne room.”

    While Pelltar speaks, the sounds of alarm are being raised throughout Restenford. The militia is being called out and all able bodied citizens are arming themselves. Guard posts are being manned while the city gates are shut. The castle gates are closed and the castle is sealed off.

    The interrogations begin within the Inn of the Dying Minotaur. Qualton, the Abbot and priest to Phaulkon, enters the inn and studies the group for several long minutes. One by one, each party member is brought into an empty sleeping chamber and questioned by Pelltar, Qualton and Captain Gelpas.

    Once the questioning is done, all are gathered back together in the common room under the blank staring eyes of the minotaur head mounted above the bar as the rain continues to pour down outside, whipped about by the wind.

    Now deep into the afternoon, Captain Gelpas dismisses the men excepting Pelltar, Qualton and the priest wielding the flail. The group’s weapons are returned to them.

    Pelltar speaks, “I am no stranger to the Sehanine elves. I assure you they have not moved against the barony. Elves do not seek war without diplomacy first. Tathar, I believe, is a victim of circumstance.”

    Pelltar continues, “I have much to do and it will be greatly hampered by instability in the region. I have assured Baroness Fairwind of your innocence but I was only able to buy one week’s time to clear your companion of all suspicions. Tathar’s trial commences on the 25th which is when Luna next graces the night’s sky in her full beauty.”

    Pelltar looks to Captain Gelpas who nods back to him in return. Pelltar continues, “Farmin is darkly called Garrotten for it does not enjoy a good reputation. Dark rumors suggest that Garrotten is the headquarters for assassins who operate right under the nose of the town’s mayor, Lady Arrness. There is no proof the guild’s existence, of course, but it may be a good starting point to clear your companion’s good name and settle the tensions between the barony and the elves. I fear it is no coincidence this murder comes on the heels of the sacking of the necromancer’s keep. Surely there must be something afoot. You must uncover who was behind the plot to kill the Baron and bring them to justice.”

    “I, for my part,” concludes Pelltar, ”along with Abbot Qualton, will travel to the necromancer’s keep to parlay with the Sehanine priest who entered there. We will find out what we can and report back to Baroness Fairwind. After that, I have need to travel to Irongate along with Aikari. I will return as soon as I may. Baroness Fairwind is fair and kind. Give her your trust and bring to her evidence against the real killer. She will free your friend.”

    Abbot Qualton introduces the priest with the flail, “This is Krelar.” Krelar nods towards the party. “Krelar will accompany your party to Farmin as the Baroness Fairwind’s witness to your actions. Krelar is under the authority of the Phaulkon church. As such, you shall be held accountable to me for any ill that befalls him. Should death find him, you shall bring his body back as evidence and not burn it suspiciously as you did Yalta’s.”

    Captain Gelpas adds, “If you should flee from the area it will be considered a guilty verdict upon you all. Arrest warrants will be sent to all corners of the islands and Tathar shall be hanged.”

    “Rest up for today has an ill omen for travelling. Phaulkon appears angry and his breath is against you.” advises Qualton, “But be off soon for time is against you as it is a very long day’s travel to Farmin; often times two days.”

    <As for Tathar> Tathar spent the night praying in the open air north of town. Once the storm began getting closer, he returned to town. Tathar noted a figure moving west near the Inn of the Dying Mintaur. It continued across the southern bridge. Tathar assumed it was someone else trying to get to shelter before the storm’s arrival and paid it no further attention. Besides, the figure was heading towards two of the town’s guard posts. Tathar returned to the inn for rest. Early in the morning, he rose, paid a visit to the fletcher and then the leather worker. While at the leather worker’s establishment, he was surrounded by the baron’s guards led by Captain Gelpas. Tathar was arrested and shackled. He was led into the castle where he has told he was being held on suspicious of murdering Baron Grellus. Tathar was blindfolded and gagged. From his previous visits to the castle, Tathar could tell he was led into the entrance and then to the east through a door and down a hall some twenty some feet. He was turned to the south and entered a room. He was led down a flight of stairs to the south and then brought down a short hall to the east. Passing through a door, he was moved up another short hallway and through a final cell door on the eastern wall. The blindfold was removed and he was ungagged. He was left shackled.
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    Sun Jul 26, 2015 10:25 pm  

    Cirdan Saralonde petitions, “Honorable Pelltar, I am indeed and elf and admit freely I am a travelling companion of Tathar Surion, Priest of Sehanine. But I am innocent of all charges or conspiracies. I, like yourself Pelltar, only wish for solace so that I can complete my studies. I chose to stay in Restenford. As such, I can be a voice for our group should Baroness Fairwind need information or question our actions.”

    Kuba speaks up as well, “I nearly was slain and still suffer from numerous wounds received on a mission for the very Baron I have been accused of helping to harm. I am not fit for this journey and will not risk my death as such. I will be staying in Restenford until well.”

    “And I will be staying to take care of him,” pipes Speck.

    Captain Gelpas acquiesces, “There is wisdom in your words Cirdan Saralonde. As well as yours Kuba. I do like the idea of having your presence should questions arise. You may stay but you shall keep the Baron’s Guard aware if you change locations.”

    “Very well,” Pelltar adds, “Cirdan will be expected to maintain a room at one of the local establishments. And the same goes for Kuba and Speck.”

    Ide Otneaux requests, “Cirdan, would you please watch after Peylae. There is a room to rent in the Tavern of the West Wind. It is quiet there and you will be close to maintain care. I will travel with the group to Farmin. Should there be trouble on the road again, I would like to add my axe to the fight.”

    P’innr Bhut clarifies his position, “Captain Gelpas, I am P’innr Bhut. I was previously in the employment of Lady Aikari Bestir. I have no previous association to Tathar Surion other than arriving in town in his company. As a sellsword, and currently looking for work, I voluntarily join this expedition for better or ill.”

    Captain Gelpas accepts, “P’innr Bhut, your offer is welcome. It will be convenient to have several accounts of what occurs be told.”

    “Gather your supplies today. You will have to be off at first light if you wish to make the journey in one sun,” advises Pelltar.

    The conference is convened and the group separates to gather individual supplies, make plans, sharpen weapons, repair equipment and rest.

    At daybreak the group convenes at the southern city gate. The guard post is manned by the militia. Regular patrols walk the perimeter. The Baroness remains secure within the castle. There is an air of suspicion and paranoia among the people of Restenford.

    Yesterday’s rain has tapered off to a wind driven mist. Although the temperature remains warm enough (high 60s), the dampness of the air is chilling.

    Captain Gelpas waits impatiently in the guard shack while the party slowly arrives. Krelar waits with Captain Gelpas. Krelar is armored in chain mail and carries his flail. He wears a medium shield upon his left arm. A shadowed image of a winged human adorns it.

    First to arrive is Breymeer, the northern barbarian. He has found healing and resupplied his equipment. He was unable to replace his broadsword but was able to substitute a mace that he bought off the Abby while he was there seeking healing.

    Dalic, the battle hardened dwarf, is the next to arrive. He canters up on his pony. He has purchased and donned the dwarven plate mail that was recovered in the keep. It is now polished and repaired. He wears a helm upon his head and a new earthen tones cloak.

    P’innr Bhut, from the Wild Coast and wielder of two axes, rides up on his horse, dismounts and nods to the group.

    Morwen Alcerin, the elven bard, arrives on horseback. She has put away her dressy gowns. She carries a Baliset. It is a nine-stringed guitar-style instrument measuring one foot wide by three feet long and eight inches deep. It is made from a single piece of maple, hollowed out to the thinness of a normal guitar. It is inlayed with gold and silver leaves. A cloak is draped tightly around her.

    Ide Otneaux and Grimlock arrive. Grimlock, the half-elven drifter from the Wild Coast region, apologizes, “I am sorry we are late. We wanted to make sure Peylae was going to be okay. Cirdan will be spending much time in study. Comus and the rest of the crew have assured me they would maintain regular checks on their captain. Comus has been able to rent out the boat to fisherman to make enough money to pay for the docking fee and food and beverages for the crew.”

    Ide Otneaux, the half-orc mountain of a woman, leans into her great axe and looks to P’innr Bhut, the fellow axe wielder. She smiles towards him and nods. It is a relief to have her travelling with as Ide Otneaux stands among the tallest in the party and easily outweighs all.

    Many of the group still wear bandages on their injuries received in the keep. Ide Otneaux, Dalic and Grimlock appear to be the worse for wear. None appear to be suffering any ill effects other than discomfort.

    “Baron Grellus was a fair man. If Sehanine’s elves have not killed him, then the answer must be found. If the keep was sacked and the gnolls defeated, there must be another element. Belina has not yet returned from tracking the gnolls. She may have some answers should we see her again. There are many loose ends. I pray for your innocence, for I wish not to war with the elves.” Captain Grellus has the serious look of a military man prepared to die for his cause. “Be off. Send word if you can.”

    Breymeer looks concerned in regards to the news of Belina.

    The gate is opened and the adventurers step forward leaving the wooden palisade behind them. The salty sea air is whipped about as the wind refuses to calm. The road quickly turns from its southern destination to the north in order to pass the Kelman Woods and Kelman Hills.
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    Mon Aug 10, 2015 9:25 pm  

    Morwen adjusts herself in her saddle. Black pants protrude below her cloak along with a bastard sword scabbard. Judging by her bulk, she wears armor. A shield is slung alongside her horse and a bow and quiver upon her back.

    Dalic rides up ahead of her while addressing the party, "Time we hab' not, a quick pace may'n give us Farmin 'fore nightfall. By tha look-a thins we migh' near save half-a day 'long the coast. Less likely for ta be ambushed as well. And more, shoul' Dalic see tha undead forest ne'er again, t'be too soon. Iff'n ye be n'agreement an' t'be advisable by'n are escort, let us ta tha coast!" Dalic slips into his thick accent again, feeling more confident to be back at Restenford and among new friends. Having some exposure to him, it appears he would rather follow the coast as opposed to taking the road.

    Grimlock does him one better, “Hell, I wanted to take the boat to Farmin. Looks like the water is a straight shot and half the time. Comus tells me the weather is too bad. He mumbled something about poor fishing and eating sea biscuits as a result. I didn’t push him.”

    “You will make better time by road,” advises Captain Gelpas. “But the choice is yours.”

    P’innr rides up next to Dalic, “I am fine by the road. I can help with lead lookout.”

    Dalic simply scowls.

    Krelar adjusts the flail on his belt and wiggles his shield into a more comfortable position, “Kelman woods and hills hold a band of gnolls with wolf support. I know not there numbers but no doubt you have given them a set-back.”

    Captain Gelpas adds, “Our rangers had noted increased activity in the Kelman Hills of late. That is until you put a thorn in their side. If you should go by way of the coast, please advise me of anything of note when you return.”

    Breymeer expresses, “Taking two days and cutting along the shore appeals to me. I have been longing for the wilderness. I volunteer to track for dangers. I think it would be much safer than on the road. Certainly, I will happily lead the way.”

    Morwen voices her request to travel by road.

    Breymeer, not one to distress a pretty woman, human or otherwise, adds, “But if the vote is by road, so be it.”

    The group discusses further the pros and cons of travel. The final decision is made. Those who certainly wish to travel by road are outnumbered by those who wish to travel more discretely. Breymeer, Grimlock and Dalic being the most ardent supporters. P’innr Bhut was fine with the decision. Krelar and Morwen appeared to be the least happy with the decision. Ide Otneaux just comments, “Can slay the remaining gnolls on the road or in the woods just the same.”

    So it is, the group leaves Restenford following the road for the first mile until it twists to the north. Here, the group quickly covers the half-mile opening and enters Kelman Woods near its northeastern terminus. To the west and north the collection of hills, Kelman Hills, rises and falls. Pebble Hills nearest and Tri-Top to the east. Between them runs Spring Valley which holds the small woodland of Spring Glade. Spring Glade the group had travelled past on the road to Bone Hill. Farther to the northwest the remains of the Kelman Hills continues. There, the road to Farmin turns back south travelling through Kelman Pass.

    The hills are quite rocky with scattered boulders common. Grasses grow in clumps, as do bushes. Large sections of the hills are sandy or rocky with no plant growth whatsoever. The few small corpses of trees are normal forest.

    The wood along the coast consist of a mix of evergreens, oaks and laurels. This mixes into the normal forest blend inland from the coast about one half mile. The undergrowth consists of much moss and ferns. There are game trails that move to and fro in the forest. There is enough room to maneuver the horses and pony. They are not ridden through the forest; instead the riders lead them through. The going is slow but the trees do offer shelter from the mist and wind. Breymeer takes his time to check for tracks and trails. The forest is only a few miles thick here and then the coast opens back up to more open of a plain.

    Breymeer reports normal game, somewhat less frequent in sign than he would anticipate, along with numerous wolf tracks, some of them very large. There are also humanoid tracks. Breymeer judges they are from gnolls, both full grown and smaller. The tracks are a little older, at least before the rain.

    The group continues through the forest with Breymeer, bow in hand, is in the lead a short distance ahead, sneaking quietly along as he goes. He has some talent at this for a human. A stone throw behind Breymeer, P’innr walks just ahead of Dalic, who leads his pony. Next, Morwen leads her horse just ahead of Krelar leading his horse. Grimlock and Ide Otneaux bring up the rear.

    Near the center of the eastern woods, still just off the coastline, a sudden rush of leaves and soft pounding on the ground alerts the group to an animal running away. A juvenile sized gnoll, hardly bigger than an elf, rides a large wolf away from the group. It appeared to have spotted you before being noticed. It now rides away swiftly to the northwest. It is nearly 150 feet away. It appears have a horn bouncing upon a lanyard hanging from his neck.

    P’innr Bhut points at the escaping gnoll, “Kill it before it can call for reinforcements!”

    Front ahead of P’innr, a bow string sings and an arrow takes flight from Breymeer’s bow. The arrow flies over the shoulder of the bounding gnoll as the string sings a second time. Breymeer’s aim is true and the arrow pierces the back of the gnolls head crumpling him upon the ground.

    The now unburdened wolf begins to zig and zag between trees as it continues its flight.

    Breymeer picks the obsidian arrow from his quiver and puts it to string. He fires a bit off and strikes the wolf in the hind quarter. It yelps as the arrow buries itself deep into the muscle. Breymeer strings an additional arrow and sends that down range. It strikes the wolf in the guts as it hobbles out of view behind some vegetation roughly 200 feet away. It appears badly wounded.

    Morwen recommends, “We should check that body.”

    Dalic spurs his pony into a perimeter check, looking for any other stray scouts. He moves warily in a clockwise circle around the group.

    Breymeer strings another arrow and begins heading off after the wounded warg. Ide Otneaux moves forward on Breymeer’s right flank. She has her spear out prepared to set it against a charge. P’innr Bhut is also moving up but heading towards the dead gnoll and not the warg. P’innr wields both his axes menacingly. The body of the dead gnoll is about 50 feet closer to the group.

    Morwen mounts her horse and watches the events unfold. Grimlock takes up a rear guard position; he melds into the cover the forest provides. Krelar quickly ties his horse to a branch and takes up front guard with Morwen between. Krelar takes his flail in hand, letting the weighted chain fall into place.

    The wind covers many sounds and the tension in the air grows as the Breymeer moves closer and closer to the scrub the warg dove into.

    P’innr Bhut reaches the body of the gnoll. It is a maturing juvenile male. It is very dead. Other than the horn, it has a dagger sheathed on a crude leather belt. The dagger is solid but not well taken care of as indicated by its rusty appearance. Although serviceable, it appears to have little value. The horn is simply made being a hollowed out ox horn.

    As P’innr is examining the gnoll, Breymeer closes on the warg’s last known location. Ide Otneaux is on his left by about 30 feet. Breymeer effortlessly picks up on the light blood trail leading into the scrub.

    A howling sound fills the air and carries on the wind. It is a pain filled howl given as a desperate warning. The cry gives away the warg’s location. It is only about 15 feet ahead of Breymeer, 65 feet from P'innr and roughly 40 feet from Ide.

    Grimlock shimmies up a tree hoping for a better view. The field of vision improves for the short distance but is blocked by foliage much farther out than a few hundred feet at best.

    Morwen also keeps a weather eye for danger.

    P’innr remains vigilant while slowly back pedaling towards the group as Breymeer sends an arrow into the scrub towards the wolf. It hits a branch and deflects wide. The warg makes a headlong charge towards Breymeer with his teeth bared. Breymeer strings another arrow and puts the shaft through the creature’s throat. It piles up dead at his feet. Ide Otneaux begins a tactical retreat as well.

    Krelar remounts; securing his flail as he does so.

    The wind in the forest hides any hint of other sounds whether they be there or not. The collective remains nervous of other threats but no immediately appear.

    Dalic, having spun his pony around to face the warg's cries calls out, "Kill it! Take wha' ye wish but quickin'! They be on us soon iffen we don' move. DEIFIR!" Seeing Breymeer has slain the warg, Dalic breaks perimeter and moves to forward company to lead a quick march onward.

    P’innr agrees, “We should continue moving.”

    Morwen waits quietly while Grimlock remains on watch up a tree, “I am ready to move out.”

    Dalic reaches his marching position and begins to fidget impatiently as the rest of the party collects. He eyes the woods continuously.

    Breymeer recovers his obsidian tipped arrow along with three others, two from the warg and one from the gnoll. Two of his arrows are lost. Breymeer takes the horn from the dead gnoll as he eyes the woods repeatedly.

    Breymeer hurries back to his lead position. Ide Otneaux returns to the group and Grimlock vacates his tree post. Once all are ready, the group resumes its march towards Farmin.

    The trip through the wood remains stressful as all are on high alert. In the end, it is all for naught. No other dangers reveal themselves to the group. Within hours, the trees thin and finally open to rolling grassland dotted with a smattering of small woods and low rising hills. The sea remains active and rolling as the wind continues to howl. The air remains wet with a light rain. It isn’t long before most would trade the dangers of the woods for the shelter it brought.

    Having been through much worse, the group steels its nerves and continues heading in a southerly direction. The large hills around Farmin become the guide.

    The group has set off for Lake Farmin. Those remaining behind in Restenford find themselves engaged in their own activities.

    Southar remains outside the city walls presumably in the eastern forest.

    Kuba and Speck rest in the Tavern of the West Wind. Speck nurses his good friend.

    Peylae also rests in the Tavern of the West Wind. Her crew checks on her regularly and Comus keeps a close eye on her. Cirdan also checks in to see she is doing well.

    Cirdan spends most of his time in laborious studies.

    Tathar is presumed to be held captive by the barony.

    It is raining and miserable outside. The party keeps to itself for the most part as the morning passes without incident.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Mon Aug 10, 2015 9:32 pm  

    Dalic pauses his pony and sneers at the wind, "We know too little ta be so visible as-a biggin group. There be few dangers, I'd ta think, in tha light-a day ta 'vestigate. When we get nearer tha town Dalic will split off for some time fer me appearance be ta'vantage. Let us meet at dusk ta discuss our finds. I be takin' no more than one other wit. We ta' pose fer now as lowmen, drom, vlog, errr... gritty. Bhut, warrior of P'in or Ide, karak of Otneaux woul' do well fer this type. Thoughts friends-a mine?" <Translation: "We know too little to remain so conspicuous in this big of a group. It doesn't seem that it would be dangerous to investigate a bit in the light of day. When we get nearer to the town, I wish to split off from the group to see what I can find, looking as I do should provide some opportunities. We should meet back up before dark to discuss what we have found. I wish to take one other party member with, but no more than one. Together, we should pose as lowlifes, despicable, gritty travelers. P'innr Bhut, the warrior or the mountainous Ide Otneaux fit the description I intend. What are your thoughts friends?">

    As the group contemplates Dalic’s idea, they examine the route to Lake Farmin. The group stands now at the east end of the southern terminus of Kelman Woods. Towards the west is Lookout Forest sitting snugly against the northeastern slope of a large hill named Lookout Peak. On the far side of Lookout Peak, the road from Restenford runs south into Lake Farmin. On the far west side of the road is Gesex Hill which is forested on the northern slope and plain by Gesex Forest. South of the two hills are patches of forest. One smaller hill sits to the northwest of Lake Farmin. Finally, to the west rises the Farmin Mountains being much larger and more rugged than the surrounding foothills. The Farmin River comes from the mountains and spills into Farmin Lake before exiting that and entering the sea. A wooded are named Rogan Forest warms the feet of the mountain to the southwest of town. The open areas between Kelman Woods and town are a mix of low rolling grasslands spotted with small corpse of trees; none amounting to more than 20 acres in size excepting the clusters around the southern Lookout Peak and Gesex Hill and the small clusters that surround town. The rolling hills of the grasslands support the occasional small wet area where cattails and reeds have found enough moisture to take hold.
    The town of Lake Farmin sits on the east side of the lake. It has two small hills, one north and one east, that border the town. The eastern hill boasts a small keep atop it.

    Ide Otneaux’s voice breaks the silence, “Dirt on my face don’t bother me. A lowlife is how my kind are treated. I will go with you half-cracked dwarf.”

    P’innr Bhut steps forward with Ide Otneaux, “Would love to lend the axes to the cause if they are needed. Have been craving battle.”

    Dalic looks pleased, “"I be glad ta take both but ode ye draw much 'tension. Let the Bhut warrior come with." Ide steps back without any sign of indignation as Dalic continues, "We shoul' look fer a tavern or tha Inn if need'n an' talk ta tha riff and the raff. Bhut an' Dalic will split off now fer that an' meet up wit ye rest before sunset. Where will we meet?”

    Grimlock is the first to answer, “Tavern is a must. I think I'll just head on in by myself and see what the towns looks like.”

    Breymeer informs the group, “I am going to head to Lookout Peak and camp there for the night and look around. I will come into town tomorrow.”

    Ide Otneaux volunteers herself to Breymeer, “I will go with the northerner. I may just stay back at his camp and wait to see what happens as you filter into town. I can find you at the tavern if needed. Dalic is right, I will stick out.”

    P’innr and Dalic ride forward as fast as Dalic’s pony will carry the bouncing and cursing dwarf. One wonders what the pony may have done to deserve such an accursed rider.

    Morwen spurs her horse forward as well, “I will ride with them as well. I would like to get to town before nightfall and see if I can play at the inn.”

    Breymeer and Ide Otneaux veer off and head for Lookout Peak.

    Krelar looks at Grimlock, “I guess I will walk with you until I can meet up with the others at the tavern.” Grimlock accepts the company excepting that Grimlock wishes to make the final entrance to town alone.

    The day passes without incident as Dalic, P’innr and Morwen ride around the edge of Lookout Peak. The plains between the hill and the seashore an easy 1500 feet below the peak. Near the small unnamed hill to the northeast of Lake Farmin, the group splits again after eating supper; Morwen heads west to the trail and Dalic and P’innr continue south to enter town from the east.

    Grimlock and Krelar plod their way along, following the tracks left by the horseriders before them. The sun moves to the west and the shadow of the 1500+ foot peak of Lookout Peak creeps across their path.

    Breymeer and Ide make for the perimeter of Lookout Forest and make their way slowly up the hill to Lookout Peak. It rises over 1500 feet above them.

    Morwen rides into town on the road from Restenford, having caught it a few miles north of town. She rides south past a general store (#13) and a theatre (#4) before passing the baker (#14) and a leather worker (#15). The Mayor’s castle (#1) looms large on a hilltop to the east as Morwen rides up in front of the inn (#2). Directly across the street from the inn is the Wheelwright (#40).

    The main inn building is a single story structure with wooden upper works and a stone foundation. In front of the building is a large bright green sign that reads, “House of Abraham: Food, Lodging and Ale.” In the center of the sign is a picture of a smiling man holding out a large tankard of ale.
    The grounds around the inn contain an old red barn, a corral for horses, a small tool shed and a vegetable garden. A number of trees and bushes grow in the area; especially a large apple tree covering a small privy behind the inn. The entire property is contained within a wooden fence standing about four feet high.

    Having spurned her horse to a good speed the final distance of the trip, Morwen has reached town nearly an hour before nightfall. A stable boy, seeing her paused out front of the inn, dutifully comes out into the street from the area of the barn/corral. He is a young teen, about the size of Morwen with short brown hair. He carries a large knife upon his belt.
    “Fixing to stay? Your horse looks a bit sweaty. Be happy to see to it while you are inside m’lady.” The boy is voice is kind but a twinkle in his eye gives him the look of a trouble maker. However, evidence of horse manure and hay on his clothing are evidence he is indeed the inn stable boy. “Ma’name’s Falpir m’lady.”

    Dalic and P’innr Bhut watch the sun set as they turn west around the circumference of a small hill east of town. The falling sun shines upon the mayor’s castle atop a hill on the eastern perimeter of town. The duo rides towards the landmark as the mountain shadows overtake the town.
    The sun has bit farewell for the night as the duo bends south to the river in order to avoid approaching the castle hill at nightfall.

    They follow the river to the stone bridge at the south end of Lake Farmin. The bridge has a high arch of fifteen feet to allow boats to pass underneath. It is also brightly lit by a lantern at the highest peak of the bridge. The lantern does not boast a flame. Instead, a holy bright light, similar to Breymeer’s torch, illuminates the bridge.

    Turning north, they ride into town and come upon the guardhouse (#50) at the southern edge of Lake Farmin proper.

    The guardhouse is 20x25 and made of stone. It has five barred windows. The front and rear doors are both heavy oak and are iron reinforced. The rear window faces the stone bridge from which you approach. The sound of voices is easily heard from the guard shack and it is evident the three occupants are sharing some spirits.

    Hearing the horse’s clip-clop approach, one of the men steps out of the shack and hails you from the front door. He wears chain mail armor. “Who passes this way? Approach and identify yourselves.” The two other men have stood. They each wear chain mail as well.

    Grimlock and Krelar continue to walk along to the south using the hilltops and mountains as their compass. The sun sets completely behind the mountain and darkness soon settles upon the land.

    Breymeer and Ide Otneaux move up in elevation as the skirt the perimeter of the woodline, keeping just inside the trees to conceal their ascent as much as possible. They summit before nightfall and watch the other party members pop in and out of view as they travel south along the east side of the hill. Before long, they disappear from view altogether.

    The hilltop gives a commanding view of the Restenford road and the lower Gesex Hill to the west. Breymeer and Ide eat a cold meal and avoid a fire so as not to draw attention to themselves. Before sunset, they move a couple miles south and about half way down the hill to gain shelter from the trees there. The wind and rain were too miserable on the top of the hill.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Thu Sep 17, 2015 8:44 pm  
    Lake Farmin

    Breymeer and Ide Otneaux enter the small forested area on the southeastern hill slope. Breymeer stops Ide and examines the ground before them in the failing light. In the muddied soil before him are numerous tracks. Breymeer’s educated guess would be about two dozen heavy man sized figures and a large ogre or a small giant. The tracks were made before the rain so are at least a day old. Ide, seeing Breymeer’s concern, takes her great axe to hand and looks around cautiously.

    The boy leaves the gate open on the fence that encircles the property. It is made of wooden slats and stands about four feet high. "Good evening Falpir. I am Morwen. Do you know if there are rooms available?"
    Falpir is quick to answer, “Yes indeed. Abraham is inside. He will help you.” Morwin flips him a silver piece as she dismounts her horse, "Take good care of Rosebud. If you do, there will be twice that for you when I leave." She flashes him a happy smile whiles she remove her saddle bags, backpack and Baliset.

    Falpir guides the horse through the gate and down a wide gravel path. He motions Morwen to follow him. He passes the corral and he heads towards the barn. At the back of the inn, Falpir points to the rear door, “I will stable your horse in the barn. That door should still be unlocked. Go on in and follow your ear to the common room.”

    Morwen enters and is met by the muffled sound of friendly banter coming from down the hall. She stands in a five foot wide hallway with two doors on the right hand side (south). The hallway is fifteen feet long and opens to a tee. The north branch leads to three more doors. The east branch leads to four doors. From the east branch, the sound of the bar can be heard through the only door on the northern wall. Judging from the placement of barred windows, the hallway doors mainly lead to private rooms.

    Dalic nods to P’innr indicating he wishes P’innr to respond. P’innr, already guiding his horse forward, approaches the guard shack and announces himself in a non-hostile manner, “I am P’innr Bhut and this is my companion Dalic. We seek shelter and supplies and possibly some, er, entertainment.”
    The guard replies as the other two guards within the shack sit back down and quit paying attention, “We have most supplies you would need. Everything is closed now though. I suggest you take your rest at the town inn. It is straight north of here.” He points to the north. Up ahead, lights shine through the windows of a large building on the west side of the road. “The House of Abraham is its name. Abraham be the keeper.” The guard looks to the sky and shows some disgust for getting wet. “As for entertainment, we may be limited in that fashion. There will be some card games and whatnot at the inn but nothing in the way of . . . ladies. We do have a theatre. It is north of the inn. Pretty good shows if I may say so.” With that, the guard re-enters the guard shack leaving the pair of adventurers in the street to go as they please.

    Lightning begins to flash in the distance and the soft roll of thunder soon follows.

    Breymeer advises Ide of his findings. He suggests they move slightly uphill to overlook the trail should the creatures return. Ide concurs. They move upward finding a small rocky ledge among the trees. Here they set camp and prepare to weather out the storm. The wind and rain continue deep into the night as Breymeer takes first watch seeing as Ide retains many of the injuries she sustained fighting the gnolls.

    The night passes without incident.

    “Where do you want to go? It might not be a bad idea to look around the town under the cover of the storm, as nobody else will want to be outside,” points out P’innr.

    Dalic nods affirmatively and starts to wander north out of the view of the guard shack. The lightning is both bane and boon as each strike illuminates the night for P’innr but at the same time messes with Dalic’s darkvision. In this way, they ride slowly up the street examining as they go. The sound of their mounts footsteps blending somewhat with the sounds of the storm.
    They follow the road north for the first block finding a baitshop (#47) and a weaponsmith (#46) on the east side of the road and an herb and spice shop (#48) on the west.

    The bait shop, 20 ft x 25 ft, is rather a non-descript wooden framed building. A few open top barrels are out front smelling of fish. They are empty.

    The weaponsmith building, 30 ft x 25 ft, has an open hearth and anvil in the northwest corner facing the roadway. The building is made of stonework for a base and around the hearth and the rest of it is framed in wood.

    The herb and spice shop, 35 ft x 30 ft, is a stone building with a half dozen barred windows about six feet off the ground. The front door is made of heavy wood with iron borders and hinges. The door is carved in the shape of a dragon with an open mouth. A sign next to the door reads, “Hestal the Alchemist, by appointment only!”

    From the t-intersection one block north of the guard shack, they can make out the docks to the west along the lake, the inn two blocks to the north, the castle to the northeast and what looks to be a low walled church and grounds one block to the northwest. There are numerous other businesses, shacks and cottages dotting the town as well.

    Morwen enters the common room of the bar.

    The room is 25 ft square. Near the center of the room are four tables with four chairs each. The west of the tables stands a bar with six stools. The south wall holds four booths with tall partitions that go to the ceiling. Each booth can hold four persons comfortably. In the southwest corner is a large round table with eight chairs around it. There is a door behind the bar on the north wall, a door on the south wall between the round table and the booths and a pair of swinging doors on the north wall. The exterior door is on the east wall.

    The room is lit by four large candle chandeliers hanging in the center of the room. Candles also burn in the four booths and by the round table in the southwest corner.

    Next to the swinging door is a board painted with the following:

    House of Abraham

    Ale 17cp
    Beer 8cp
    Mead 8 sp
    Wine 9 – 16 sp

    Meals: noon – 2 pm, 7 pm to 10 pm 2-20 sp

    Rooms 12 sp +6 sp per extra guest

    Closed Midnight to Sunrise

    For the moment Morwen enters, a quick silence descends on the bar as the patrons look her over. Her attractiveness holds the attention of many of the men as they look and then continue to peak often.

    A man and woman occupy the booth against the east wall. They are sharing a bottle of wine.

    Three older teenage males are in the third booth from the east wall.

    Another man and woman are having dinner at the southwest table.

    At the northeast table, what appears to be castle soldiers are drinking with what initially appeared to be a dwarf. Closer inspection reveals the person is actually a human midget. His long brown hair and beard giving him the dwarven appearance. His weight, however, gives him away as he tips the scales at under 100 pounds.

    At the bar are four men looking to be local peasants, farmers or shopkeepers.

    Finally, at the round table near Morwen are three men playing cards. One is hardly larger than an elf although he appears human. He has a small moustache, trim beard and medium length black hair. The man next to his is slightly larger although not by much. He has black hair and a trimmed black beard. A belt of six darts crosses his chest from shoulder to hip. The final man is of average build. He has brown hair and a mustache.

    Morwen asks the card players where the barkeep is. The man closest to her, the one hardly larger than an elf with medium length black hair, speaks without looking away from his card adversaries, “He and Glami when to get another keg of ale. He will be right back.” While speaking, he leans forward and drops a few coins in the pile revealing a gold medallion hanging from a gold chain. He also has a gold ring upon his finger. It is on his non-marriage hand. His accent gives away he is not a native from the Spindrift Isles.

    A teenage boy pops his long blond haired head up from under the bar, “Abraham will be right back, Miss.” It appears he had been cleaning behind the bar as he holds a rag in one hand. There is a knife sheathed to his belt.

    At that moment, the door in the center of the north wall opens. A very attractive late teenage girl holds the door open for two men and a boy bringing in a fresh keg of ale. She is blond a little over five feet tall and boasts a slim but attractive figure. Her beauty being equal to that of Morwen, the men of the bar are very happy at her return. It is quickly obvious she is a flirt.

    The first man through the door is in his early 40s and of average build. He has greying brown hair and a large waxed moustache. He wears a decorated red leather vest over an apron and trousers. He has iron bands upon his wrists. He has two daggers upon his belt.

    The second man, in his mid 30s, is a little thinner than the first. He has long stringy black hair and a full beard. His right arm has a long ugly scar on the inside of his forearm and it is obvious he does not have full use of it. In fact, a pre-teen boy with long black hair helps balance the keg. The boy has a knife upon his belt.

    Using the distraction to her advantage, Morwen moves to the bar and awaits the attention of the barkeeper.

    “What can we help you with traveler? I am Abraham d’Farmin, innkeeper,” politely asks the man in his 40s.

    Morwen engages Abraham in dialogue and attempts to win him over. After negotiating for a few minutes, Abraham agrees to have her play for the remainder of the evening for her room but requests she pay for her food and drink. “A looker like you ought not be paying for drinks for long I am sure,” he assures her. “In fact, first one is on me. Glami, poor the young lady some wine.” A wink at Glami tells him to get the elf blooded woman the best he has. The man with the scar on his arm dutifully retrieves a glass and fills it with wine. Setting it before Morwen he gives a polite smile.
    Abraham finds a key for Morwen and hands it to her, “Here is your room key. Go out the door behind you,” he motions to the door Morwen entered from, “take a left and it is the last door on your right. Tomorrow you may have reasonable meals and the room if the crowd is in favor of your playing. You are expected to be here to play during both meal times as a minimum. If you wish to play after that for tips, you are more than welcome.” He motions to the sign showing the meal times of noon to 2PM and 7PM to 10PM. “We close at midnight. I will get you a stool and you can have the northeast corner by the exterior door to play from.”

    The older boy, named James, moves between the bar helping Glami and bussing tables.

    The younger boy, Balmar, cleans a stool for Morwen. The then returns to bussing tables and helping Rillis, the pretty barmaid.

    Rillis brings Morwen some bread, butter and cheese with some local fruits.

    After Morwen eats, Balmar moves her stool to the northeast corner while Morwen excuses herself to her room to stow her gear. The room has two double beds along the west well. A small table with four chairs occupies the area in front of the window near the southeast corner. To the east of the door on the north wall is a dresser with an iron candlestick and four drawers. Paraphernalia to light the candle rests upon the desktop. The single window is barred band has shutters on the inside. A large carpet covers the floor leaving only a few inches of bare floor around its perimeter. Under each bed, concealed by the ruffled bedding, is a chest for storing personal belongings.

    Morwen closes the window shutters and locks it in place with the simple metal latch. She changes into her gown and hide her things as best she can. She keeps her money on her as well as her thief’s tools. Carrying her baliset, she proceeds to the common room. She seats herself on the stool and begins to play. Her new outfit draws much attention and she has the bars acceptance within a few songs.

    The thought of shelter from the storm, a warm meal and, of course, beer & ale tugs at Dalic, “Let’s drop by tha inn ‘n get a drink. Wel likely fin’ more ta see an know in there.”

    P’innr agrees and they head to the inn. They pass by a few cottages and shops including a boatbuilder, ropemaker, bowyer, horse trader and a wheelwright. They take note of a statue positioned at the fork in the road leading to the castle. The statue is of a heavily muscled, bearded, bear chested man, facing those who approach the castle. It has its hands on its hips as it watches the approach of those to the castle.

    The local patrons give the duo a once over as they enter the bar and then go back to their own business.

    Three older teenage males are in the third booth from the east wall.

    At the northeast table, what appears to be castle soldiers are drinking with what initially appeared to be a dwarf. Closer inspection reveals the person is actually a human midget. His long brown hair and beard giving him the dwarven appearance. His weight, however, gives him away as he tips the scales at under 100 pounds.

    At the bar are three men looking to be local peasants, farmers or shopkeepers.

    Finally, at the round table are three men playing cards. One is hardly larger than an elf although he appears human. He has a small moustache, trim beard and medium length black hair. The man next to his is slightly large although not by much. He has black hair and a trimmed black beard. A belt of six darts crosses his chest from shoulder to hip. The final man is of average build. He has brown hair and a mustache.

    A teenage boy is cleaning behind the bar with a rag he holds in his hand. There is a knife sheathed to his belt. Next to the boy is a man, in his mid 30s. He is of average build; slightly thinner then most. He has long stringy black hair and a full beard. His right arm has a long ugly scar on the inside of his forearm and it is obvious he does not have full use of it. He appears to be the bartender.

    Another man stands near him behind the bar. He is in his early 40s and of average build. He has greying brown hair and a large waxed moustache. He wears a decorated red leather vest over an apron and trousers. He has iron bands upon his wrists. He has two daggers upon his belt.

    A pre-teen boy with long black hair moves about the room bussing tables. The boy has a knife upon his belt.

    Finally, P’innr and Dalic recognize Morwen looking gorgeous in a gown playing her baliset in the northeastern corner of the room. She sits upon a stool.

    The man with the red vest calls out to P’innr and Dalic, “Kind gentleman, please find a spot to rest your bones and dry yourself. You have made it just before kitchen close.” The man motions to his sign depicting kitchen hours. It must be approaching 10 PM.

    Moments later, the door in the center of the north wall opens. A very attractive late teenage girl enters the room. She is blond a little over five feet tall and boasts a slim but attractive figure. Her beauty being equal to that of Morwen. It is quickly obvious she is a flirt. With a wink and an inviting smile she addresses P’innr and Dalic, “What would you brave men like? Glami will pour you drinks while I cook up your request.”

    Morwen, The couples at the first booth and table two leave along with one of the patrons who was sitting at the bar. They each throw a couple copper pieces in a dry mug for you as they leave.

    Dalic speaks to the serving girl in a normal toned voice. The castle soldiers and the youths in the booth being close enough to hear. In addition,
    Morwen is able to make out the conversation.

    "I be Dalic tha Steely, Steelcoat by nam', an' this be me lord, the great Warrior of Bhut, collosus on tha field o' battle an' master in tha ways o' tha heart." Dalic is playing wingman and servant in this presumed cover. "I will have a drink should me lord allow it. An' if ye be knowin', we seek ta meet wit a man of pow'r. Not a political kin' a-sorts... Iffen ye might guide Dalic ta tha sort, I shoul' let ye an' me lord be ta muse yer musings."
    P’innr, bearing scars of battle and lacking a bit in the nuances of flirtation (Charisma score of 7), dismisses the idle chat but does pick up on Dalic’s intentions (Intelligence score of 14), “Thank you Dalic. We shall sit along the south wall in the booth.” P’innr points to the far southwest booth by the door on the south wall. “No food for me, but water and a pitcher of ale if the dwarf so wishes.” Dalic nods in the affirmative and hands serving girl 5 silver pieces.

    “Thank you,” she replies, “I am Rillis. I am afraid I am not much in the know for men of power.” She speaks as she directs them to their booth, “Mayor Arness and those of the castle are the town’s leaders. Other than the Mayor, the other important people are hear appear to be my boss, Abraham, as he has the only inn, the Church of Osprem is well respected and Balmorrow, the owner of the theater, seems to be looked up to by many. He is a fine entertainer.”

    Rillis seats Dalic and P’innr with a curtsey and moves off to get the water and pitcher of ale.
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    Fri Sep 18, 2015 9:01 pm  
    Bar fight

    “Short one,” P’innr looks at Dalic, “Go check on the horses and make sure the equipment is properly stowed or I will chop off your beard.”

    Dalic, seeing P’innr is on board with the ploy, answers, “’es, sir. Let me git yer drink first.” Dalic saunters over to the bar. Leaning in intimidatingly, he pries Glami as he grabs his ale and his master’s water pitcher and glass, “Pray ye, we be looking fer work. Me lord an' me don' shy from messy business. Where can we hap' ta go in lookin' such work?”

    Seeing Dalic’s pose, the castle soldiers begin to pay close attention to him but remain seated.

    Glami answers Dalic trying to keep a poker face to cover his slight nervousness near the dwarf, “There is little need for messy business in town. However, we are raided on occasion by orcs from the mountains. Perhaps you would like to seek employment from the mayor as a town soldier? If so, you should call upon the mayor at the castle.”

    “Aye!” retorts Dalic. He gulps down his ale and wipes the froth from his beard. Dalic delivers his master’s water pitcher and mug before exiting the room into the stormy night to secure the animals and gear.

    Abraham approaches P’innr as Dalic exits, “If you have want of a dry bed, I will have my stable boy see to your animals and your servant can bring your gear inside.”

    Morwen keeps a watchful eye and an elf’s ear to the crowd as she continues to play.

    After ten or fifteen minutes, a very wet dwarf re-enters the inn and drops the gear before the booth at which P’innr is seated. With a hidden wink to P’innr, Dalic slaps the water pitcher over in P’innr’s lap, “Enjoy your drink, sire? Threaten me beard agin an’ ye will taste tha Blade of Dalgur!" Dalic lets the guttural sound of "Dalgur" ring out awkwardly loud, brazenly showing his insubordinate tone.

    P’innr kicks the squat dwarf in the chest and comes out of the booth in a huff. Soon Dalic and P’innr are rolling on the ground punching, biting and scratching like the dust up in “A Boy Named Sue”.

    The teenagers in the booth next to the fight dive under the table for cover.

    The three gamblers begin cleaning their coins off the table hurried like.

    The patrons at the bar flee toward the back door between the booths and the round table.

    The soldiers stand at their table. One, wearing studded leather armor, places his hand on the hilt of his sword but leaves it in its scabbard. The other, also bearing a scabbard on his belt, watches with less alarm. He wears chain mail armor. The midget flees for the front door.

    Rillis and the serving boys move towards the bar seeking shelter behind it.

    Glami watches the two combatants roll on the floor as Abraham, looking very perturbed, shouts at them from behind the bar, “Knock it off you two heathens! You act like a couple of brainless orcs! Stop fighting or I shall be forced to ask the soldiers to arrest you.”

    Dalic gives P’innr another signal and the fight stops. They both stand looking angrily at each other; blood upon their nose and lips. Dalic turns and walks out the front door picking up his gear as he passes by it.

    Once outside, Dalic sees the midget heading for the castle as quickly as his legs can carry him. The stable boy is surprised to see Dalic back for his pony so soon. The stable boy, currently working on P’innr’s horse, had not had time to strip the pony so Dalic simply grabs the nag and heads out into the stormy night. The patrons who had been seated at the bar now exit the inn and scatter towards their residences.

    The thundering storm hides the pounding pony hoofs as Dalic bursts out of the inn yard and across the street. He charges through the wheelwright’s yard as he runs down the midget. Dalic guides his pony into him, knocking him to the ground underneath a large tree at the base of the hill, north of the road to the castle. The statue at the fork in the road just to the south. Dalic pulls hard on the reigns stopping the pony, spinning it back towards the midget as he does so. No one appears to have witnessed the pursuit.

    “Don’t hurt me! I’ve done nothing. Why do you run me down?” The little man is obviously worried.

    The gamblers stand at their round table watching. The teenage boys have crawled to the rear door and flee into the hall beyond towards the rear door. Abraham, Glami, Rillis and the bus boys all watch from behind the bar. Morwen sits in the corner, her instrument in her lap, watching.

    P’innr brushes himself off and watches Dalic exit into the night. Slowly, P’innr walks over to Abraham and apologizes for the mess.

    Next, P’innr walks over to the soldiers. They stay on the defensive but do not draw arms. P’innr inquires, “Is there any line of work that pays in this town? Any unusual activity?”

    The man in chain mail answers, “There is honest work for honest pay. The good folks around here earn their keep. But that does not include bar fights, disorderly servants and the like. If you seek employment of the mayor, you must call upon her at the castle during daylight hours. If you seek to disrupt the peace of this village then you should move on your way before you end up chained to the castle walls.”

    "Halt! Trust a fire ta cause tha rats ta scurry! Ye will come wit me iffen ye prefer ta keep yer skin married ta yer flesh!"

    The man stares up at Dalic from his seated position on the ground. The man shows no signs of non-compliance.

    Dalic dismounts and retrieves his rope. Binding the midget's hands, Dalic fastens the other end of the rope to his saddle. While doing so Dalic, in his dark fashion, relays the following, "Those ab' tha underclass such is yerself nae flee t'ward tha king's guard at tha seein' of stranger's a-fightin'. Ye will tell me of tha assassin's here an' their ties ta tha castle. They hab laid blame ta a comrade of mine fer tha killin' of a royal, an' by tha blades on me belt, beard on me chin, there will be answers or death!" Dalic emphasizes the last bit with a smirk and menacing tilt of the head forward, casting grotesque shadows accentuating the battle worn creases on the Dwarf's face. He strokes the butt of his knife sheathed on his right hip threateningly.
    “You’re insane! I know nothing!” The midget appears very frightened now.

    P’innr Bhut gives his assurance to the soldiers that there will be no more brawls with Dalic. P’innr offers to buy them a each a drink and they readily accept. Seeing the trouble subsiding, Glami pours two ales and Rillis delivers them requesting 3 sp and 4 cp from P’innr as payment.

    P’innr pays some coins to Rillis and then walks out into the stormy night after the errant dwarf.

    “A truth and a lie from tha wee one I see.” Dalic continues his posturing as he pats the little man for weapons. The man has no weapons on him but does have a coin purse on his belt.

    Dalic mounts his pony and threatens to have it charge off with the wee man dragging behind, “Insane? Maybe. But no’en knows nothing’. What be the castle ye run fer? Or shall we away?” Dalic again gestures to take off like a rocket.

    “I work odd jobs at the castles. I only was going for help when the fight broke out. As for assassins, stay your horse for I can help you. But you must let me live.”

    Dalic catches the light from the inn’s interior flash as the outer door is opened and closed. P’innr Bhut has stepped into the street.

    “Well that’s more like it!” Dalic’s demeanor changes abruptly bewildering the midget. “Pardon me brash reaction ta yer runnin’. See ye, we hab’ very little time ta clear tha name ab’ a comrade. Help from ye be met wit great thanks.”

    Dalic unties the small man, “Pray ye, what of these assassins?” As he speaks, Dalic motions to P’innr to join him. P’innr does not see the dwarf right away but he is soon walking in Dalic’s direction. Dalic’s posturing and stance are not as kind as his voice. He remains confident and aggressive.

    P’innr, having walked out into the rain, quickly finds pony tracks leading east across the Wheelwright’s yard and under a tree. Following them, P’innr passes to the north of the large statue watching over the road to the castle. Under the tree, P’innr finds Dalic and the midget. P’innr quickly deduces that Dalic ran down the midget, apparently tied him up to gain favor for the dwarf is now untying the midget and the midget is spilling the beans.

    “I am Oscar,” declares the midget eyeing Dalic’s human companion. “I work odd jobs at the castle to pay my way. It ain’t much but I get by. The castle’s got nothing to do with killing. If you can spare a few coins, and a promise to keep me alive, I can arrange a meeting for you. That person may be able to help you find the assassin.”

    Dalic orders Oscar, "Gip me a name an' ye shall have yer fee. Fer tha meet I be far too generous ta offer, but a silver fer tha name an' meet, an' you an' I shall share a drink fer new found acquaintance!" Dalic's stance softens. "P'innr approaches; he be a trusted partner a-mine an' kind enough lest ye cross 'im. His axes hab felled mor' than trees: I'd say mor' like men tha size a-trees." Dalic chuckles at his own wordsmith. He retrieves a silver piece and holds it out, maintaining a good grip on it as too show it is not Oscar's just yet. "Tha name? No harm will fall ye at me hand er that ab me partner."

    Bhut nods in agreement and adds in an icy voice, “Ya double cross us, you might not have to worry about others harming you.”

    Oscar swallows hard and looks around, “You hold the cards dwarf. The silver and drinks will certainly loosen my lips. May we return to the inn? I feel that you will not kill me there. Here I am not so sure. Buy me that drink and hand me that silver and I will set a meeting for tomorrow night for it will take me a little time to contact the man. I give you this for now. His name is Philmar.”

    "Well met," Dalic motions almost hospitably to Oscar to lead the way. He looks to P'innr and indicates, "Philmar..." nodding to P'innr as a prompt to investigate the name independently.

    Bhut agrees and they head back to the inn. Bhut nudges Oscar to the front, hinting at the very serious threat of force should Oscar decide to run.

    As Oscar is being shuffled forward, Dalic repositions one of his throwing knives into his sleeve with the hilt to his wrist. P’innr Bhut is allowed by Dalic to see the movement although Oscar does not.

    Returning to the inn is uneventful and Dalic returns the blade to its proper place just before entering the establishment. No one is seen in the street. The storm still keeping all sheltered inside.

    As Oscar reaches for the door, in a voice loud enough for Oscar to hear, Dalic adds to P'innr, "Have tha snipers position outsi' tha inn, an' get word ta tha battle mage ta remain invisible inside fer now". Dalic smirks at his false boasting.

    Oscar looks slightly over his shoulder in a concerning way seemingly studying Dalic and P’innr. As Oscar pushes the door open he whispers, “Remember not to kill me.”

    Five, maybe ten, minutes after P’innr Bhut walked out of the inn, he, Dalic and the midget enter together. The midget is in the lead with a warm smiles trying to hide his somewhat pale face, “Ale dear Rillis. The dwarf wants to the little man an ale.”

    Oscar nods politely to the soldiers he was drinking with prior. They are still enjoying the drinks P’innr Bhut bought them.

    Morwen continues to play and sing in the corner.

    The gamblers have all cleared out.

    Oscar sits in the booth farthest from the soldiers and closest to the empty round table the gamblers sat at previously (near the SW corner of the room).
    Oscar begins making small talk with the dwarf and human warriors as the ales are delivered.
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    Fri Sep 25, 2015 8:01 pm  
    The end of the day Goodmonth 20th

    Dalic and Bhut speak with Oscar at the table for some time having several ales. The midget appears to be cautious enough not to get too tipsy. Dalic regales Oscar with tales from the fighting pits while both he and Bhut keep an eye on the room. No one comes or goes and the soldiers appear to only keep loose tabs on Oscar and his new friends.

    Dalic tries to keep his cover as servant to P'innr in his interactions with him as necessary. During the conversation, Dalic asks Oscar where they should meet him once the meet is arranged or how they will receive word from him.
    Oscar suggests the meeting be on the docks at daybreak.

    Bhut asks Oscar details about Philmar. Oscar looks around, “Philmar was one of the men playing cards. He had the belt of darts across his chest.” Dalic and Bhut remember him. He is only about five and a half feet tall and thin. He has trimmed black hair and nearly thirty years of age.

    Dalic toasts Oscar for his assistance and makes him an offer of employment consisting of: Pay is 4 to 5 silver per week for field service and 2 to 3 silver per week for more domestic tasks not to exceed 20 silver per month and always at least 10 silver per month even for sedentary work. Bonus as necessary upwards of an additional 2 to 3 silver for a specific task as negotiated prior to completion. Signing bonus is an advance of 1 week base pay i.e. 2 silver up front to be adjusted at the end of the first week depending on services rendered. Hireling is responsible for his own food lodging and supplies as reasonable. So, in other words, 10-20 silver per month (2-5 silver per week) + bonuses of 2-3 silver per task if pre-planned. Signing bonus of 2 silver up front, remaining silver for the week if applicable paid at week's end. Tasks include anything Dalic says if he wants to be paid.

    Oscar, not wanting to burn the bridge, initially declines the offer but asks to keep the offer on the table for now.

    Dalic hints to Bhut at the beauty of the muse playing for inn intending that he may want to touch base with her under the guise of hitting on her.

    Grimlock and Krelar finally approach town. The town of Lake Farmin sits on the eastern shore of the lake, also called Lake Farmin. Hills dot the area and the area east of town has much for scattered tree cover. In addition, the Mayor’s castle sits upon a hilltop at the east edge of the development. There is no wall around town.

    As Bhut stands to approach Morwen, Dalic motions for Bhut to lean in and whispers, “Tha philly's tail needs tending yes?" Dalic hesitates long enough to clarify P'innr understands. Philmar had left the room while Dalic and Bhut were out with Oscar. He was gone when they returned. Morwen later reported the card players left the room to the back hall. She was unsure if he left the building or not.

    Bhut walks over to Morwen, slowly takes her hand and kisses it. He tells her she has been playing for so long that perhaps she would like to take a break and join us at the table. He offers to buy her a drink and food.

    Morwen, using her best etiquette responds, "Thank you kind sir, but I am under contract by the inn keeper to continue playing. Perhaps after?"

    While Bhut and Morwen are speaking, Dalic begins feigning drunkenness with slurred speech, "Ma lil fren . . . t'will it be tha' we meet a' tha docks. Break-a day . . . Now shoul' ye excuse me . . ."

    Dalic gets up, turns, looking to see if he recognizes anyone having arrived without his notice. Dalicl steps out front to peruse the street briefly before retiring.

    Bhut and Morwen speak later when she is done playing music. The soldiers have left the building and Abraham begins the process of closing. Bhut brings Morwen up to speed and requests she pass on a meeting to the other party members she may come across. They are to meet in the stables before daybreak and then head down to the docks.

    Morwen only promises, "I will keep an eye out for others in the party, and let them know what you have told me, but I am nervous to get involved with your affair. I wish to help your friend Tathar because he is my countryman, but I prefer music to violence. I will do what I can because I appreciate your protection on the road down, and would like it again on the return."

    With that, P’innr Bhut follows Dalic out the rear door of the inn’s common room to their room. Abraham gave them room number three which is located right next to the building’s rear exterior door.

    The room has two double beds along the west well. A small table with four chairs occupies the area in front of the window near the southeast corner. To the east of the door on the north wall is a dresser with an iron candlestick and four drawers. Paraphernalia to light the candle rests upon the desktop. The single window is barred band has shutters on the inside. A large carpet covers the floor leaving only a few inches of bare floor around its perimeter. Under each bed, concealed by the ruffled bedding, is a chest for storing personal belongings.

    Morwen as well retires to her room.

    Grimlock and Krelar arrive in town at a very late hour. The duo can make our very little of town in the stormy darkness. The Mayor’s castle (#1) looms large on a hilltop to the east as Grimlock and Krelar walk up in front of the inn (#2). Directly across the street from the inn is the Wheelwright (#40).

    The main inn building is a single story structure with wooden upper works and a stone foundation. In front of the building is a large bright green sign that reads, “House of Abraham: Food, Lodging and Ale.” In the center of the sign is a picture of a smiling man holding out a large tankard of ale.
    The grounds around the inn contain an old red barn, a corral for horses, a small tool shed and a vegetable garden. A number of trees and bushes grow in the area; especially a large apple tree covering a small privy behind the inn. The entire property is contained within a wooden fence standing about four feet high.

    They find the inn dark and the building is locked. They move to the rear of the building and find shelter in the stable for the evening. The barn is made of wood and has a slanted roof. There is a large pair of doors at the front of the barn but no other exits.

    In the stable, they find Falpir, the young teenage stable boy. He is just under five feet tall and under 100 pounds. He has short brown hair and carries a dagger upon his belt. He is sleepy eyed but tries to remain polite.

    Having discovered Grimlock and Krelar have just arrived to town and missed the inn hours of operation, he allows the duo to stay in the hay storage room at the left rear of the barn. Falpir and two other young employees of the barn sleep in the room at the rear right. They are all young teens or pre-teens.

    Grimlock and Krelar settle themselves in and await morning.

    After some significant wrestling with the furniture, Dalic rolls the carpet up revealing the same hardwood floor that was in the common room. Dalic lays the carpet against the door. The carpet appears to be an attempt to soften the sound of the floor. As in the common room, the basement or crawlspace below the main level echoes slightly under heavy foot.

    Not wanting to oversleep, Dalic comments, "Ta make sure tha we be up in time we should take turns sleeping. You can first an I wake ye up half way an ye wake me up fer tha meet." As he speaks, Dalic checks the floor for anything unusual but notes nothing.

    The night passes without event.
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    Mon Oct 19, 2015 7:51 pm  
    The docks

    The morning sun rises behind overcast skies. The wind continues to howl at nearly twenty miles per hour leaving the sea choppy. Even the lake remains restless. A gentle rain falls making the 70 degree F temperature seem a little cool.

    Breymeer and Ide Otneaux stroll into town on the road from the north as day breaks. The towns folk are only just starting to rise and prepare for the day. The shops are not yet open. Breymeer and Ide pass the general store (#13) and turn west towards the lake. They pass the theatre (#4), the leatherworker (#15), the blacksmith (#12) and several homes and cottages before turning south towards the docks. They pass the tailor (#20), the armorer (#19) and a winery (#18) before reaching the statue of Osprem just outside of the church (#3) dedicated to the same deity. Two food sellers (#22, #23) and more cottages make up the distance from the church to the docks. Several boathouses (#25) and a statue of Xerbo (#51) are located just ashore of the docks.

    Breymeer and Ide stroll around the docks and chat with the local fisherman and dock workers. The mood is glum as the weather is not fit for sailing. While doing so, they happen to see Dalic, Bhut, Grimlock and Krelar.

    Dalic and P’innr Bhut stroll behind the inn to the stable before the rising sun. There they find Grimlock and Krelar sleeping. Once re-united, Dalic briefs the two on the meeting to take place on the docks at daybreak and requests they remain watchful of the meeting in case of trouble. Grimlock and Krelar agree to help. Morwen makes an appearance to announce no one else has arrived at the inn. She is surprised to see Grimlock and Krelar. Seeing Dalic and Bhut now have the assistance they requested, Morwen goes back into the inn.

    As two groups, they make their way to the docks, Dalic and Bhut pass the horse trader (#41) as they turn west towards the lake. They pass several cottages before reaching the church of Osprem (#3) and the statue of Osprem (#52) located just outside of the church. They go past two food sellers (#22, #23) in addition to more cottages before reaching the docks. There is a boathouses (#25) and a statue Xerbo (#51) near the docks. A nice looking cottage stands out among the others (#24).

    Grimlock and Krelar walk the perimeter of town to the south before bending to the west. Beyond the horse trader (#41), they pass a ropemarker (#42) a bowyer (#43) and a boat builder (#45). On the next block they see a weaponsmith (#46), a bait shop (#47) and a herb and spice store (#48). They turn west at the guard shack (#50) and pass multiple buildings; most notably the netmaker (#31) and the moneychanger (#29). At the docks, they see a boathouse (#25) and a statue of Xerbo (#51) nearby. A nice looking cottage stands out among the others (#24).

    The docks are busy for such poor weather. No boats are going out but many fisherman and dock hands are moving about already doing chores, checking equipment, storing gear and whatnot.

    In the crowd of people near the docks, Breymeer and Ide are milling about and making small talk. Grimlock and Krelar are back a distance, near the corner by the moneychanger, trying to figure out how to blend in. At the end of the central large dock stands an odd couple. A short, thin man with a hooded cloak draped around him stands next to a midget with a full beard. He is also cloaked although he has not hood. The midget wears leather armor and both cloaks show the hint of scabbards underneath. Into this setting walks Dalic and Bhut.

    Dalic and P’innr Bhut walk out among the busy dock workers and speak to Oscar and his companion. To Oscar, Dalic says with a smirk, “Aye, Dalic can see twas a good thin’ I didn’t skin ya.”

    Dalic then addresses Oscar’s companion, “We presume ye know why we be here?”

    Using the wind to keep his conversation unheard beyond the foursome, the man presumed to be Philmar answers, “Oscar says you’ve a companion that was pinned for a murder. Y’all think the assassins have done the blaming and seek them out to clear your friend’s name. Sound about right?”

    Grimlock continues to observe the docks. Breymeer and Ide Otneaux roam through the crowd speaking to many different people. Dalic and Bhut meet the midget and other man on the end of the dock and speak to them. The workers seem to be going about their business as usual.

    Dalic replies, “Indeed, what know ye?”

    "You come looking for trouble if you’re here with a bone to pick. I have set a meeting with a man for you. He calls himself ‘Captain’. He runs these here docks," offers Philmar. Looking around you can’t help but wonder how many dock workers are watching. “But I should warn ya, you look to be biting off more than you can chew.”

    Philmar looks sternly at Dalic and Bhut, “Follow me if you wish for this meeting. But if you are smart, leave town now and leave your concerns behind you. You cannot save your friend here. You can only bring harm upon yourself.”

    With that, he turns and begins to walk off the dock.

    Oscar looks concerned, “You should go, there is only trouble to be found here.” He follows Philmar towards shore as Philmar looks back to see if you are following him to the meeting.

    Dalic defiantly follows almost offended by the thought that he would be frightened off by these words. Bhut follows as well, cautiously.

    As Philmar and Oscar turn to continue walking off the dock, Dalic scans for Grimlock, finding him still near the moneychanger’s house. Seeing Grimlock watching them, Dalic ever so slightly exposes the blade of his sword from the scabbard. Grimlock catches the near imperceptible movement with his elvish eyes and attention to details. Knowing Dalic, this is undoubtable a warning of potential danger.

    Grimlock scans the crowd but can see Breymeer and Ide Otneaux have not yet picked up on the fact that Dalic and Bhut are moving off the docks.
    In addition, a few of the dock workers appear to be less involved in their tasks and have begun watching the foursome exit the dock onto shore. They are passing on slight hand gestures, nods and whispers as the group exits the dock. Philmar turns and begin making his way towards the boathouse away from Grimlock and Krelar. Dalic, Bhut and Oscar follow Philmar. Breymeer and Ide Otneaux are closer to the foursome as the northman and the half orc are mingling among the longshoremen near the southern docks.

    Among the workers, at least a half dozen are slowly making their way towards the boathouse. They move indirectly as if not to draw specific attention to themselves or their destination. They do not carry weapons other than small knives, picks or club like items that they have been using in their trade.

    The boathouse is a 35 ft x 25 ft wooden structure that is 20 ft tall. It has a small door opening to the street on the south and east sides. There is a much larger sliding door on the west side of the building facing a dry dock.

    Krelar assists Grimlock as Grimlock removes some old drab colored burlap from his backpack. They are of earthly tones. Grimlock ties them about his body in some type of odd court jester outfit attempting to cover his armor and weapons as much as he can. The final result is an odd arrangement making him look the part of the fool.

    Krelar walks off the street between some between the moneychanger’s building and the cottage north of it. He walks towards the small corpse of trees that grows behind the buildings. Grimlock begins to jog inbound for the dock area. It is a distance of nearly 180 feet from the moneychanger’s building to the boathouse.

    Breymeer and Ide Otneaux are still engaged in their information gathering and haven’t completely grasped the situation. They have, however, noticed that Dalic and Bhut are coming ashore. They are roughly 50 feet south of Dalic and Bhut and about 60 feet from the boathouse.

    Bhut walks on in silence, keeping his head on a swivel while alertly scanning his surroundings.

    Dalic catches Bhut’s eye while purposefully adjusting his gear; making it a point to visibly adjust the plates on his armor and shift his scabbard a bit to make sure it is within comfortable quick draw position. He makes it a point to tough each weapon on his person, adjusting his knives, whip and the hilt of his sword.

    The longshoremen that are moving towards the boathouse gather at the statue of Xerbo (#51) that dominates the grassy area between the main street and the loop that passes by the docks. They are about 45 feet from the boathouse.

    When the group is only about ten feet from the southern door of the boathouse, Dalic stops Philmar and abruptly squares off with him. Dalic takes a menacing posture but not quite a fighting stance, stating, “I must warn ye. The Barony of Restenford hab’ me this’n task assign’d. I hold e’ery authority an’ ability ta do what it take ta bring tha guilty ta light: even iffen tha means a stick in a cloak become a casualty.” He pauses to gauge the reaction from Philmar and those around him.

    Philmar appears taken off guard and he is caught flat footed. Oscar steps back and slightly behind Philmar, Oscar’s hand is on the hilt of his sword, eyes darting to a path to run if necessary. Philmar instinctively grasps the hilt of his broadsword but does not draw it. A look of fear flashes his eyes before he regains his composure, “Dwarf, you are fearless I see. But the Barony of Restenford is a good neighbor and wrongfully seeks perpetrators in Lake Farmin. I am but a simple hunter and dog trainer. The Captain can answer your questions and set you at ease.” Philmar’s forehead begins to bead slightly with sweat in the windy warm morning air.

    At the appearance of trouble, the dock workers at the statue tense and begin to move to aid Philmar but then hold when the standoff does not come to blows. The workers nearby to Dalic pause to see what the commotion is about while those farther away still pay no attention.

    Breymeer and Ide Otneaux are now fully aware of Dalic and Bhut’s position and the tension that surrounds them.

    Dalic speaks next, “What shoul’ we expect in tha boat house here?” Dalic demands compliance in the form of complete transparency prior to the meeting.

    “You called for a meeting and I have set a meeting. The meeting is in the boathouse. The Captain does not like to be left waiting.” Philmar releases his sword and gives a disgusted look to Oscar for his apparent cowardice. Oscar looks sheepish and releases his blade.

    Philmar and Oscar turn and walk to the boathouse. Philmar knocks on the door with three quick raps. The door opens slightly. The room beyond is dark and reveals nothing. Oscar gives a final plea, “It is not too late, leave town and tell the Baron all is well in Lake Farmin.” Philmar looks to Dalic, “Well? Are you coming in?”

    The ‘fool’ dressed Grimlock is 30 feet south of the southern dock loop and 150 feet from the boathouse. He continues to jog in.
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 21, 2013
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    Mon Oct 19, 2015 8:15 pm  
    Dust up at the boathouse

    Dalic nods to Bhut and enters the boathouse confidently.

    Bhut stops at the door and turns to face the piers. He takes up a guard position; listening for trouble inside the boathouse while watching the docks closely.

    Grimlock continues to jog towards boathouse, now roughly 120 feet away.

    Ide and Breymeer continue to monitor but hold their position.

    The dock workers at the statue look restless and begin to amble towards the boathouse. Bhut’s actions have appeared to flummox them.

    Dalic enters the boathouse behind Philmar and Oscar. The darkness blinds him for a moment as he waits for his dark vision to take over. Before it has a chance, the sound of a hooded lantern being unshuttered catches Dalic’s ear. The room quickly illuminates.

    Dalic does a quick once around the room, his eyes taking in more than most.

    The building is a shell, one open room under the peaked roof. The building is 25 ft north/south and 35 ft east/west. In the center of the room is an open top fishing boat under construction. It is some twenty feet long, nearly complete and surrounded by low scaffolding. There are several boxes, crates and barrels on the east side of the building.

    To the east of the door, nearly ten feet away, is a wooden desk and wooden chair. The hooded lantern rests upon the desk. A man sits upon the chair. He is tall, about six feet and large framed although not overly muscled. He looks to be about 170 pounds. He is human and approximately 30 year of age. He has long black hair worn in a ponytail. His leather armor is partially covered by a purple trimmed black cape. His belt holds a broad sword. He eyes Dalic menacingly.

    Behind the man in the chair are three apparent dock workers. Each holds a simple hardwood club in his hand. They eye Dalic confidently.

    Close to Dalic, Philmar and Oscar turn and eye him for his next move. At the door, is what appears to be a dock worker. He shuts the door behind Dalic, latching it closed. The dock worker has a cudgel tucked into his belt. He looks slightly nervous being this close to the armed dwarf.

    Finally, near the boat rests two dogs. They jump to their feet and begin snarling fiercely at Dalic’s entrance. They are obviously guard dogs, over one hundred pounds each. The gnash their teeth and bristle their hackles.
    “The bravery of the dwarven kind is not lost on you I see,” says the man behind the desk coolly. “Philmar tells me you wrongfully think Lake Farmin is behind someone’s death and your friend has been wrongfully accused. Why is it you attempt to lay blame where none is to be found?”

    Bhut turns to face the docks. The dock workers by the statue begin to move towards him. They have an ill look about them. Each holds his makeshift weapon although they do not out rightly threaten Bhut with them. They are now just over 30 feet from the boathouse door. The boathouse door closes and a latch is heard sliding into place.

    Breymeer and Ide Otneaux hold a quick discussion. It results in Breymeer holding his ground, 60 feet from the boathouse, and Ide Otneaux moving slowly towards the boathouse. She is now just over 50 feet away.

    Meanwhile, Grimlock continues to jog into the dock yard and heads for the lakeside of the boathouse. He is now 90 feet from the boathouse.

    Dalic begins to drift away from the door, moving slightly into the room and towards the desk. While doing so, Dalic gives a grim look towards the annoying dogs. They continue to bark at him but do not advance. Philmar motions to then moving his hand in a downward motion while commanding them down. They listen but appear ready to pounce upon command.

    Dalic gazes unflinchingly to the clear leader of the group. He draws no weapon and speaks with a confidence only such and welcome and entrance can provide, riding the mythos built by the man's racial comments, "Ye misjudge my presence, though it be by design. It be true there be a faction tha' comes ta do tha same as ye say. I, Dalic Steelcoat, unchallenged wielder ab tha Bloodletter, heir ta tha Blade of Dalgur, and mercenary of tha Highport fightin pits, come for a purpose unique an well 'sguised. While we both know tha truth in Restenford, I come ta tha throne ab tha victor ta join en tha ranks"

    Dalic pauses, his confidence in doing so and continuing mark his statements as unrivaled truth. He offers the following as evidence for such, "Check me nature for ye all ken see I be no white knight. Some ab yer underlings even now quiver at me presence.” He eyes the supposed dock worker, capitalizing on the fearful gaze the worker has assumed since his arrival, "Me might an', let's say, less than 'heroic' nature are e'er present on me skin. Tha humor ab it all be I hab gained entry alone without these white knights an it be ye an me ta talk wit out a goodly interrupt." He pauses for a response.

    The man behind the desk answers, “I am Basmar. You may only call me ‘Captain Basmar’. The docks you have come to are under my control. You have made it this far by my leave alone.” He meets Dalic’s confident stare with cool eyes. “You presume much Dalic Steelcoat, blade wielder and pit fighter.”

    Basmar’s tone softens a bit, “You have the fearlessness of a pit fighter. I have no doubt you wield a blade well. What I do question is your travels to Lake Farmin and your intent here. But, if what you say is true, exit this meeting with your pride and your skin. Tell your ‘goodly’ friends that there is nothing in Lake Farmin to be unearthed. Return to Restenford and assure the Baron that no ill is found here. Do this convincingly and you may return here to speak to me about getting a job on my,” he pauses for effect, “docks.”

    Bhut holds his position at the door. He keeps his back to the wall and prepares to arm himself with his axes. He shows no fear.
    The nefarious dock workers continue to slowly move in on Bhut. They begin to fan out on him in a semi-circle creating room for fighting. As they near fifteen feet from Bhut he places his hands on his weapons. Sensing Bhut’s intent to defend himself, the longshoremen stop their advance and complete their circling of him. They taunt him psychologically, flexing muscles, spitting on the ground, rapping weapons on hands, etc.

    Behind them, Ide Otneaux continues to walk up on them; now 45 feet away.

    Breymeer fears Bhut is about to be ambushed. Breymeer moves to the statue of Xerbo and takes a sniper’s position. Breymeer allows the bow to slip off his shoulder but keeps it close to his body to try and avoid attention. He stands ready.

    Grimlock continues to jog into the scene; he is 60 feet away.

    Dalic laughs aloud. He turns to the door, stopping short while still chuckling to himself. He turns back for an afterthought, "I be talkin' ta tha wrong man! Ye know not ab what ye speak... I guess ye be not tha man ye try ta look." Dalic laughs again pausing defiantly with his back turned to him and now facing the door apparently to leave, "...Captain..." Dalic adds the last with sarcastic emphasis a lets out another guffaw as he moves towards the door.

    “I know not what man you sought but you will find not what you seek here,” replies Captain Basmar with finality. “I expect sunset will find you on the road to Restenford.”

    Dalic unbars the door himself and flings it open, turning back to face the Captain as the light from the morning bay pours around him through the doorway. Hands on his hips, Dalic speaks clearly and loudly so that those on the exterior of the building can hear, “Ye make several mistakes at that.”
    Dalic, without turning away from the boathouse, calls out defiantly and nearly maniacally, “Lads, Take tha boathouse!”

    Dalic side steps the door opposite Bhut and places his back to the wall tactically. He has the odd smile of delight that comes across the dwarf’s face when blood is about to be shed.

    Surrounding Dalic and Bhut are the six longshoremen armed with makeshift weapons. They did not appear to anticipate Dalic exiting the building but are not caught flat footed. They continue to be show threatening and hostile demeanor.

    Breymeer remains behind the statue. Grimlock is passing him by on the lakeside and Ide Otneaux continues to move up on the group of hostile longshoremen.

    The other dock workers are milling about at the various docks working in the wind and the rain like dutiful employees.

    Dalic draws two throwing daggers and slips back into the boathouse before they have a chance to shut the door on him. He keeps his back to the interior wall.

    The sounds of barking comes from the boathouse giving away the presence of at least two dogs followed quickly by a yelp of pain. Immediately thereafter, the boathouse door slams shut.

    Bhut holds his ground keeping the grim longshoremen at bay for now.
    Breymeer holds his ground at the statue and Ide Otneaux moves up another ten feet.

    Grimlock removes his crossbow, loads it and begins a tactics side step towards the statue next to Breymeer. Grimlock keeps the crossbow aims towards the nefarious longshoremen.

    After moving, Dalic lets fly with his daggers. The canines are his target and he strikes one in the chest (5, 6/11) burying one dagger as the dagger flies past the second animal harmlessly.

    The dogs charge Dalic. The wounded one trips with the dagger in its chest (2, 4/11). The second dog latches onto Dalic’s left leg tearing at it viciously (8, 14/30).

    Captain Basmar moves to the door on the east side of the building shouting, “Kill him!”

    Oscar slams the door shut but does not yet get it latched. Philmar draws his sword and moves in to do battle with Dalic.

    Two men with crossbows rise slightly up from the boat that is under construction. They take aim on Dalic.

    Breymeer yells out a warning while nocking an arrow, “You longshoremen, lower you weapons and you’ll live! Those that comply will not get shot. We will fire on any that look to fight.”

    The longshoremen continue to move in on Bhut.

    Bhut throws a knife hitting the second longshoremen from the wall on the west side. The blade grazes his thigh (2, 3/5). Bhut next draws forth both of his axes and prepares to charge into the ranks on the west side.

    Grimlock releases the bolt from his crossbow. The bolt strikes the same longshoreman in the side of its abdomen, penetrating his abdomen to the fletching, dropping him to the ground (4, -1/5).

    Breymeer, seeing his warning was not heeded, fires two sheaf arrows at the longshoremen moving in on Bhut’s back side. The first one he strikes in groin, severing the femoral artery and dropping the man to the ground (5, 0/5). Life fades from him as blood pools around him. The second arrow sticks a longshoreman in the head killing him instantly (9, -4/5).

    Ide Otneaux pulls her axe and wades into the fray. She strikes down one of the longshoreman, removing his leg from his body with her two handed great axe (11, -6/5).

    The final two longshoremen engage Bhut and Ide in combat. The one facing Ide has a club in one hand and a small knife in the other. The one facing Bhut has a club as well. Neither one is able to strike a blow.

    The other dock workers begin to scatter and run, those on the north end run along the lake to the north. Those on the south run generally south, some by road, some along the lake. The raise a hue and cry and the run.

    Dalic’s body begins to grow and stretch as he enlarges himself to the size of a muscle rippled human.

    The dog with a dagger in its chest recovers and bites at Dalic. The thigh plate of his new armor deflects the blow without harm. The second dog continues to gnaw into his leg, tearing at the muscle and wounding the leg (6, 8/30).

    Dalic slams his sword down on the dog biting into his leg, cutting it across the back (6, 8/14) breaking its hold on his torn leg.

    As he does so, the two crossbowmen let fly with their bolts. The first bolt sticks in the wall behind him but the second one pierces his armor and buries itself into Dalic’s abdomen tearing a second wound (8, 0/30). The light at the corner of Dalic’s eye begins to fade and the ground comes up to meet him. Before unconsciousness grips him, Dalic sees the smiling face of Philmar moving in over him holding the dogs as bay; for now.

    Oscar closes the latch upon the door locking the others out.

    As Ide Otneaux move at her next target, he swiftly knifes her in the lower abdomen (2, 19/35) and slams his club across her right thigh nearly buckling her over (4, 15/35, wound).

    Ide repays the kindness with a massive stroke of her two handed axe. The blow lands upon his right shoulder and the head of the axe buries into his chest cavity (20, -10/10). She wrestles the axe free after the man’s lifeless body collapses to the earth.

    The dockman facing Bhut swings his club ineffectively and loses his grip while doing so. His club flies from his hands. Bhut is unable to capitalize as the man dodges both of Bhut’s axe swings.

    Grimlock moves up on the dockman and runs his blade through him (10, -5/5). Death claims the man as he slides off Grimlock’s blade, joining his fellows upon the bloodstained soil.

    Breymeer has also moved up, “Hack open that door Ide!”

    The battle outside has ended. There does not appear to be sounds of battle inside but there is activity and voices.

    “It was an ambush!” declares Ide as she moved to bash in the door, the pain in her thigh causing her a slight limp. Bhut joins her and together the shoulder the boathouse door open as the latch gives way.

    The building is a shell, one open room under the peaked roof. The building is 25 ft north/south and 35 ft east/west. The ceiling rises over 20 feet high. In the center of the room is an open top fishing boat under construction. It is some twenty feet long, nearly complete and surrounded by low scaffolding. There are several boxes, crates and barrels on the east side of the building. To the east of the door, nearly ten feet away, is a wooden desk and wooden chair. The hooded lantern rests upon the desk.
    Inside the door, Dalic’s body is crumpled upon the dirt floor. He has a crossbow bolt buried deep into his abdomen and his left leg is torn up from a vicious bite. Dalic is unmoving and blood puddles upon the floor from his injuries.

    Above Dalic are two large attack dogs. They snarl at Bhut and Ide. Both of the dogs are wounded. One in the chest and the other across the back.

    A man stands over Dalic, slightly to his left (west). He is about 5’ tall and a little over 100 pounds. He is about 30 years old with trimmed black hair. He wears leather armor and has a broad sword in hand. Six darts are worn across his chest. He is Philmar to those that have met him previously.

    A dock worker watches from behind Philmar. He has a simple club in his hand and wears no armor.

    Oscar, the midget, stands to the right of the door (east). He has a full beard, brown in color, along with long brown hair. He also has leather armor and has a short sword in his hand and a sling tucked into his belt.
    Finally, two men stand in a boat that is being built in the center of the room. They are armed with loaded light crossbows.

    Breymeer sees several men on the east side of the building. It appears they have either exited the building’s east door or else have come up from the north side of the boathouse. The lead man is tall, about six feet and large framed although not overly muscled. He looks to be about 170 pounds. He is human and approximately 30 year of age. He has long black hair worn in a ponytail. His leather armor is partially covered by a purple trimmed black cape. He has a broad sword in hand.

    Behind the man are three dock workers. Each holds a simple hardwood club in his hand.

    The four men see the carnage before the boathouse and make eye contact with Breymeer.

    The man with the broadsword moves east across the street; heading for the northwest corner of the house located there. He is shouting for someone in the house, “The boathouse is under attack!

    The three longshoremen move to the southeastern corner of the building and take up a partially covered position there. Only one man can be seen peering around the corner of the building.

    Breymeer shouts to someone or something to the east side of the building in a loud commanding voice, “We are not attacking you. We only defend ourselves and want no more lives lost. Call your men off.” Breymeer meanwhile stows his melee weapons and brings forth his bow again; keeping it at a low ready.

    A man’s voice calls back from the east side of the building, “Surrender now bandits! Surrender now for your attack on Lake Farmin!”

    Ide Otneaux and Bhut remain in a standoff with those in the boathouse. Ide eyes Dalic for signs of life, “The dwarf is dying!”

    Bhut enters the boathouse while making a thundering yell of anger. He immediately takes fire from the crossbowmen. One round deflects off his leather armor and the second round deflects off of his metal helmet. Undaunted and continuing to yell, Bhut moves to engage Philmar with his axes. The two guard dogs bite at Bhut as he runs through. One sinks his teeth into Bhut’s side (6, 22/28). Finally, as Bhut reaches Philmar, Philmar slashes Bhut across his left thigh with his broadsword (7, 15/28). Bhut get his retribution. Bhut’s first axe blow is parried but the second axe finds flesh in Philmar’s groin (10, 1/11). The blow knocks Philmar’s feet out from under him and he drops to the ground in great pain. Philmar, injured badly, does remain in the fight.

    Oscar the midget moves up behind Bhut and stabs him badly in the back as Bhut is driving Philmar to the ground. The midget’s short sword sinks deep into Bhut’s lower back (10, 5/28).

    Ide Otneaux, entering the door, swings her axe at the midget striking him on the left thigh (7, 2/9); nearly buckling the small man. Oscar remains standing.

    Lastly, the dock worker next to Philmar fails to strike an effective blow with his club.

    The dock workers continue to flee. Shouts of alarm are being passed on down the streets as cottage dwellers and shop owners look to see what raised the hue and cry. Word of the fight on the docks is quickly spreading.

    Breymeer, The caped man takes cover behind the northwest corner of the house yelling again, “Beshkar, we are under attack!” The other longshoremen remain behind the cover offered by the southeastern corner of the boathouse.

    <Beshkar casts shield upon herself inside the front door of the boathouse guardhouse.>

    Outside the boathouse, Breymeer makes his way swiftly back to the cover of the statue while yelling toward the caped man, “We are not bandits and will not attack if you do the same. Give us a chance to talk with you.” Breymeer watches for impending attacks and keeps his bow ready for trouble.

    Grimlock runs around the southeastern corner of the boathouse towards the eastern door. He passes three longshoremen pressed up against the eastern wall. They are flat footed and unable to react immediately to the half elf’s sudden appearance.

    At the same time, the front door to the house straight east of the boathouse opens. A human shaped figure in a loose fitting, cream colored robe stands partially concealed behind the door. It has a pattern of cloth wrapped around her head completely disguising its face. It says nothing while observing the action outside.

    The caped man retorts, “Stop your attack! Beshkar, capture them. Slay the thieves if necessary!”

    Meanwhile, inside the boathouse, the melee ensues.

    Bhut, battered and beaten, continues his onslaught and gains the upper hand. First, Bhut drops one axe and pulls a knife. While the knife he cuts the throat of the dog biting him (8, 0/14, critical hit). It drops dead.
    Philmar slashes at Bhut but fails to cut through Bhut’s leather armor. Next, Bhut, with his remaining axe, lops off Philmar’s sword arm (4, -3/11). Philmar has a momentary lost look on his face as he watches his arm drop to the ground. Philmar’s dead body soon follows.

    The dockman next to Philmar takes advantage of Bhut’s flank and strikes him across his axe arm with a blow from the club (3, 2/28). Bhut continues to defy death and remains in the fight.

    Oscar begins shouting, “Let me live! I’ll talk!”

    As one of the crossbowman leaps from the boat onto the north side scaffolding, the other places a quarrel into Oscar’s back (2, 0/9). Oscar tips forward, dead.

    Ide Otneaux severs the spine of the final attack dog as it makes a fatal lunge for her (10, -6/11).

    Only the club wielding dockman and his two crossbow firing companions remain in the boathouse.

    Bhut pokes a maggot hole in the dock man’s belly. The dock man drops his club and doubles over. Hitting the ground, he struggles a bit and then dies on the boathouse floor.

    The first crossbowman jumps down from the scaffolding and crashes through the north door into the street. The second crossbowman fires upon Ide Otneaux and then heads for the north door in retreat. The bolt grazes Ide’s right foot (3, 10/35). She curses him in return then directs her attention to Bhut, “What now Axeman?”

    Out in the street, Breymeer holds his fire and continues to exchange words with the caped man, “Stand down and call your warriors off and we will not attack. We’re not assassins and will come with you peacefully.” Breymeer eyes both the caped man and the robed figured for a reaction.
    Before Breymeer gets a response and before the three longshoremen can react, Grimlock draws forth a small strand of spider web, utters some incantations and makes odd motions in the air pointing between the eastern house and the boathouse. A sudden appearance of webs occurs. They stick to the sides of the house and the boathouse; clinging between the two in a mass of overlapping, sticky strands. It becomes very difficult to see through. The robed figure in the doorway of the house disappears. The three longshoremen are trapped in the sticky mess.

    Somewhere to the southeast a horn blows three quick blasts. The sound cuts the heavy, rain soaked air. The horn blasts appears to have come from the area of the southern guard shack.

    Not more than a half hour after the group leaves the stables in the morning, Morwen hears a ruckus spreads through the town. A hue and cry is raised from the area of the docks followed by three loud trumpet blasts from the area of the southeastern guard shack.

    Breymeer approaches those trapped in the webs as P’innr Bhut and Ide Otneaux limp out of the boathouse. Both of them have numerous injuries and look the worse for wear. Ide Onteaux drags Dalic behind her. Once out in the light of day, she begins to look after him, “Can someone help me? Dalic is fading fast!”

    “I hear your alarm calling for more guards,” Breymeer speaks into the mass of webbing. “We are not assassins. Will you order your guards to stand down?” He continues to hold his bow in a defensive position.

    A woman walks out of the house (#27) to the south of the boathouse and straight east of the statue. It is a freshly painted wooden home (18’ x 20’) with six windows and two normal doors. It has a small flower garden out front. The woman is dressed in a sea green top over bluish bottoms. Although not threatening, she looks very upset, “Why have you brought death to the docks. Xerbo protects those who make their lives upon the sea. Why do you bring death to them?”

    Morwen scrambles to her room and grabs her gear preparing to move out to the docks. The inn is not particularly busy at this hour. In fact, the crew has not yet begun work. If any of the other guests are concerned about the alarm, they have chosen to stay in their rooms. The inn is quiet and vacant as Morwen makes her way out.

    Morwen makes her way out the back door of the inn as Abraham walks out of the barn. He is moving at a steady pace. Morwen can hear sounds of the barn doors being secured from the inside. Abraham appears unarmed. He stops walking and confronts Morwen, “Falpin tells me we had guests in the barn last night; guests you spoke to this morning. And now the town alarm declares we are under threat? What more do you know lady musician? What has brought you and your companions to town?”

    Grimlock pulls out his aid supplies and runs to aid Dalic. For now, Grimlock leaves the bolt in Dalic’s chest not wanting to cause further harm pulling it out. Grimlock wraps the leg injury and packs the chest wound with cloth.
    Looking around at the situation, Grimlock proposes, “Dalic needs serious medical help.” Grimlock looks at P’innr Bhut, “What did one shepherd say to the other shepherd?” P’innr Bhut looks at him questioningly. “Let’s get the flock out of here!” answers Grimlock.

    Being ignored, the woman in blue and green garb walks to the statue of Xerbo and begins to pray.

    Morwen replies, "Good innkeeper, I came to town alone. The men I spoke to this morning I was paid to pass a message to from the two men that started the fight in your inn last night. The man named Buht, I believe, thought that my position as musician would allow me to see who comes and goes at your inn and if I saw men that met the description of the ones I talked to this morning I was to tell them to meet their party at the docks. He gave me a gold coin for this act, so I did not see any harm. People meeting at the docks to catch a ship is not uncommon, I thought nothing of it. Now that the alarm has been sounded, I intend to investigate, help if I can and ensure my good name stays that way. I would hate to think that my naivety has gotten me tied to ill-doers, as you now think."
    “Lady Morwen, I am not naïve enough to fully believe you. If you know something please share it. If you chose to remain coy, may no harm find those who wish no harm upon this town. You may find shelter here.”
    With that, Abraham enters his inn.

    Grimlock continues to work on Dalic but appears to have stabilized him for the time being. Dalic is weak and very near death.

    Bhut agrees with Grimlock that they need to leave, “Maybe we can use one of the doors to the boathouse as a makeshift stretcher to put Dalic on.”

    Ide Otneaux walks to the south door of the boathouse and hacks it from its hinges. She sets it down next to the dwarf, “Done.”

    Breymeer suggests, “We'll never get out alive if we flee, the entire city and guards are aware of our presence.”

    Breymeer directs a question to Grimlock, “Can the caped guard can be freed so I can speak with him?”

    “It is unlikely he was caught in the webbing. The north face of the house is untouched. He is likely free,” replies Grimlock.

    Breymeer walks over to near the statue and addresses the praying lady, “You there, I am a ranger from a far northern land, I'm here in hopes if helping those in need and ridding the city of assassins. Where may we find help for my dying friend?”

    “Through me, Xerbo can save your friend. But why? You killed the dock workers; worshippers of Xerbo. What did they do that brought your wrath upon them?”

    In parting words to Abraham, Morwen vocalizes, "Master Abraham, you are wise. I tell you I do not know what is afoot here, or what these people are really about, but I do know that I am unsure who I can trust. I will see what is going on at the docks, and help where I can. Later, I may come back to you and seek your counsel and reveal more of what I DO know."

    Morwen departs as Abraham enters the inn. She exits the inn yard and turns towards the sound of the ruckus; heading west southwest. Morwen generally follows the road passing by an abandoned cottage in poor repair (#39). Outside the building, a beggar looks curiously to the west as Morwen passes by.

    Grimlock stands from helping Dalic and begins looking over the dead. He walks into the boathouse and rummages through Oscar and Philmar’s belongings.

    Bhut and Ide keeps an eye out for trouble.

    Breymeer continues to speak to the lady but he is too far off to be heard by his companions.

    Shortly thereafter, around the curve near the moneychanger’s cottage (#29), the dockworkers have been rallied. They now form a small skirmish line consisting of nearly a dozen longshoremen.

    They are led by three men.

    The first is a man of average height and a good build. He has a sea blue tunic with a dragon turtle image on the front. It is worn over high quality chain mail armor. He has a footman’s mace in his left hand and a war hammer in his right hand. He appears confident, fit and determined.

    The second wears chain mail armor. He has a long sword in his scabbard and a long bow in hand. A full quiver rests upon his shoulder. A shield is slung over his back.

    The third man, slightly smaller than the second, is dressed in chain mail. He also wears a long sword and has a long bow in hand. He has a shield strapped as well.

    Both of the men wielding bows wear a grey tunic with the emblem of the Lake Farmin city watch/militia. The emblem varies slightly from that worn by the castle soldiers that patronized the inn last night.

    The three men lead the skirmish line forward at walking speed towards the docks.

    Breymeer looks around but does not see the caped man. Breymeer addresses the lady, “I do not know why the dock workers were attacking my friends. Or why, when I told them I wished for no killing, they continued to attack and I’m sorry lives were lost during the confusion and misunderstanding. I do know the city guards are coming and if you are able to help them understand we’re not here to cause harm, it will avoid more killing; which is what we want. We can help rid the city of an evil element if it exists.”

    She replies, “I shall defer judgement of you to Quenex, my companion and fellow representative of Xerbo. Here he comes now.”
    Adept Greytalker

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    Thu Oct 22, 2015 10:52 am  
    Taken captive

    As Morwen passes by the run down shack (#39), a man comes out of the wooded area just south of the fresh food stall (#23). He is about 180 feet from Morwen. He is jogging west northwest towards Morwen; heading for the street. He is tall, about six feet and large framed although not overly muscled. He looks to be about 170 pounds. He is human and approximately 30 year of age. He has long black hair worn in a ponytail. His leather armor is partially covered by a purple trimmed black cape. He holds a broad sword in his hand. He yells towards Morwen as he closes, “Spread the alarm, the docks are under attack by bandits!”
    The sounds of battle have ended but there is some shouting or loud voices still exchanging words. Morwen has not made out what has been said.

    Bhut walks over and reclaims his throwing knife from the dead longshoreman outside of the boathouse. He wipes the blade clean and stows it while suggesting, “I recommend either finding a place to hide or retreating into the woods. We are outnumbered and have multiple casualties.”

    Grimlock walks out of the boathouse. He has streaked some soot from the hooded lantern on his face. He speaks some quick arcane language and then addresses the woman by the statue, “Kind woman, please come to me and assist me.”

    To the group’s surprise, the woman’s face lightens in expression, “What may I help you with?” She begins to walk towards Grimlock. As she walks, she signals to the approaching mob to lower their weapons. They cautiously approach but have relaxed slightly.

    Breymeer stows his weapons completely, “I will not flee. I plan to talk with the guards.” Breymeer turns and faces the approaching guards with open palms.

    The man in the blue tunic over his chain mail shouts as they approach, “I am Quenex, Priest of Xerbo. Stop your assault! Why have you attacked the dock workers?”

    Morwen continues towards the docks nodding towards the man with the broadsword as he passes by her. Morwen says nothing. The man continues eastward on the road, seemingly heading for the castle on the hill. Morwen passes into the wooded area south of the fresh food stalls (#23). Coming to the southwest corner of the wooded area, she peers out for an elevated position. Morwen is just west of a cottage (#26). Looking past the house, Morwen can see the dockyard. A boathouse (#25) is on the north end of the dockyard, the view of the south end of the boathouse is blocked by the cottage in front of her. A statue graces the center of the dockyard; it is a statue of the deity Xerbo. In the dockyard, a scene plays out . . .

    Grimlock calls out from the south portal of the boathouse, “Dear woman, my companions require aid. Please aid them.” Grimlock starts to walk south towards the approaching woman and skirmish line as it spreads out, closing in on the dockyard.

    The woman, wearing the sea green top and blue bottoms, continues to walk from the statue to the boathouse while replying to Grimlock, “Xerbo’s grace is not for to be taken for granted by those who dwell upon the land. Xerbo shall not interfere with their fate.”

    Breymeer, standing near the statue, unarmed with open palms, looks to see if anyone near the boathouse is going to answer the armored man named Quenex. Looking somewhat perplexed, Breymeer faces the skirmish line and answers, “I would also like to know why this chaos erupted and I'm glad you’re here. Let us get to the bottom of this with no more killing.”

    The rallied dock workers have armed themselves with simple dock tools and made a skirmish line at the south fork of the dockyard roads. The two men with bows in hand have separated across the front of the skirmish line. Quenex, wearing chain mail and a blue tunic, remains on the road.

    To the party’s surprise, Krelar walks out of the wooded area to the east of the fresh painted cottage from which the female priest exited. Krelar passes to the south of the cottage just ahead of the skirmish line. He announces loudly so both the party and the incoming dock workers and guards can hear, “I am Krelar. I am a representative of Phaulkon’s Abbey in Restenford. I am here on the authority of Abbot Qualton. I travelled here with this group to observe their investigation into the slaying of Grellus, Baron of Restenford.” A hush falls upon the dock workers and guards as Krelar continues, “I ask for a halt in this killing. Please give this group a chance to explain themselves and justify their actions.” Seeing the injured party members near the boathouse, Krelar finishes with, “Lastly, I ask for the safety to heal the injured dwarf and other travelers.”

    Morwen sneaks over and climbs a tree high enough to see out while providing decent concealment. She remains near the southwest corner of the wooded area.

    Breymeer continues the conversation, “I issued a warning and the shoremen paid it no heed. I only defended my friends from an unfair attack.”

    Grimlock slips off towards the south side of the boathouse.

    The skirmish line continues to move up behind its leaders as the priest leading the skirmish line calls out, “The mayor shall decide on this matter. By Xerbo’s command, you shall not resist.” The priest holds forth a small, straight piece of iron while making motions towards the boathouse.

    The priest of Xerbo continues, “Krelar, as a man of Phaulkon, I give you some latitude. Go aid the injured dwarf. And you,” he points to Breymeer, “keep your weapons stowed and come with us to the castle. The combatants shall be bound and detained. If you aid us, no harm will come to them by our hands.”

    Krelar moves up to Dalic and prays for his health to improve (+8, 3/30). His injuries improve markedly although he still shows two wounds.
    As the dwarf stirs and returns to consciousness, the others around him fail to react. Grimlock has stopped walking mid stride while Ide and Bhut stand nearby motionless.

    The skirmish line reaches the statue and begins to encompass Breymeer while continuing on to the boathouse.

    The cleric says a quick prayer in front of the statue of his deity and then speaks to Breymeer, “Ranger. Unstring you bow and tie your weapons down and you may keep them. You may walk freely as a token of peace.”

    Breymeer does as instructed. The tying of his weapons does not prevent their use; it only delays the amount of time it takes him to get them out. In this way, a surprise attack on the mayor would be less likely.

    Breymeer is guided back to the boathouse where several things occur.
    First, Grimlock, Dalic Steelcoat, P’innr Bhut and Ide Otneaux have their weapons seized.

    While they do so, Dalic weakly petitions them, stammering, “We have found tha assassins. They reside here an' be responsible fer Restenford. Me blood be proof. I confronted Basmar with our investigatin' an' wahr ambushed fer it. He knows ab tha murder but nae who died an' likely not tha killer. He defends tha killer none-the-less." Dalic spits his own blood on the ground. Realizing it appears to be only his word to back the story, he issues reasoning as proof. Dalic addresses the dock workers and their leaders, "An before ill intent be laid ta me an' me party, be askin' yerselves: Why would a Dwarf enter a boathouse alone, surrounded by strangers, if it were he tha' meant ta bring harm. We sought information, an' find blood and steel as proof instead." Confident this will quell suspicion, he concludes his revelation and lays his head back down upon the door he rests upon. Dalic, having returned to consciousness, is severely week and unable to rise upon his own strength.

    Several dock workers enter the dock house to secure ropes. While inside, the dock workers locate one of the longshoremen hiding in the boat. The longshoreman is detained and bound. One of the dock workers from the skirmish line drags the longshoremen out from the boathouse and calls out to the cleric, “Captain Quenex, this man was hiding in the boathouse. He attempted to hide a crossbow. His quarrels match the one in the dwarf.

    Krelar prays again over Dalic. Taking the quarrel in his hand, he pulls it free of Dalic’s body. Dalic passes out. Krelar heals him immediately (+2, 5/30). Dalic returns to consciousness but remains in poor condition. Krelar hands the quarrel to the cleric as evidence.

    While Krelar is helping the dwarf, Grimlock, Bhut and Ide are all bound securely.

    The longshoremen take some time to cut out those caught in the magically conjured webs. Those longshoremen are detained and bound as well. Captain Basmar is not located in the webs.

    Next, the cleric addresses the woman in the cottage east of the boathouse to which the webs have attached, “Beshkar, are you well?”
    Beshkar shouts back out of the building that she is well.

    “When you are able, please join us at the castle so that your testimony of today’s events is not missed,” requests the cleric. She answers in the affirmative.

    Quenex walks into the boathouse and looks around. After some time he returns to the exterior and looks over the dead there.

    “Captain Quenex, none of the dead are local fisherman. They are all hired hands of Captain Basmar.” The revelation of the dock worker is not lost on the party.

    Captain Quenex prays outloud, “Thank you Xerbo for protecting those who depend on your waters for life. Xerbo keeps the water rough today my fellow sailors. Assist me in bringing all involved to the castle. Rally those in town to assist.”

    Golfig, one of the town guards from the south gate, agrees, “We will raise some of the militia to secure town while you bring the detainees to the castle.”

    Tesh, another of the town guards, remains at the scene with a couple of the dock workers/sailors. Some runners are sent around town.

    Bess, the female Xerbo priest, remains at the dock yard.

    Beshkar exits the eastern cottage through a back door and joins the group going to the castle. “Tie that elf’s tongue.” She points to Grimlock, “He is the one who conjured these webs.” Soon, Grimlock is gagged as well.

    Captain Basmar has appeared to have escaped.

    The group begins its march towards the castle.

    Grimlock, Bhut and Ide have their legs tied together with a short rope and their hands are tied behind their backs with further rope tying their arms to their sides.

    Krelar and Breymeer are unsecured but Breymeer’s weapons have been tied down.

    Dalic rests upon the door turned stretcher while two men carry him.

    The four longshoremen that were captured are bound similar to the party members and are marched along as well. They look around nervously but have not spoken.

    From the conversation overheard, it becomes clear that most of the dock workers are actually local fisherman working on the docks because the weather was too poor to be out fishing. The dock workers that attacked the group appear to be hirelings of Basmar’s.

    The march begins by heading north past the boathouse upon the road to the castle.

    Morwen climbs down inconspicuously from her tree. She heads back towards where she met the fleeing man, now assuming he was Captain Basmar. She pauses at the eastern edge of the wooded area.

    The posse moves north along the road and turns e/b as the road turns near the food stands (#22, #23).

    Dalic’s body had been the size of a large muscled man upon his retrieval from the boathouse. During the march, his body has returned to its normal thin dwarf size albeit still heavily muscled. Captain Quenex eyes the change in the dwarf’s appearance curiously but says nothing about it.

    Dalic, defeated, allows his head to lay back on the door with a thud. He speaks to those that can hear him while looking straight up into the air, "Basmar will alert the assassins ta our investigation. In our weakened state, bound an' disarmed, we will all die before to long . . ." His voice trails off as he attempts to sit up. Finding himself unable, he groans and speaks louder, "They will come an' kill us all! Fer all that be known they hide in tha woods an' tha castle waitin'..." Dalic trails off unable to pair any physicality to his words.

    The march continues on in general silence. Around them, occasional townfolk move about passing on information and preparing defenses against whatever threat may have set off the alarm.

    After the food stands, the road forks with the north fork passing west of the Church of Osprem (#3). The eastern fork passes south of the church and continues on towards the inn and the castle.

    Nearing the Osprem Church, the characters get a good view of the church. The compound is surrounded by a wall with the exception of a statue of Osprem (#52) located to the west of the walled compound on the west side of the north road.

    The church is a twenty foot structure with a sharply slanted roof. A small bell tower is located at the southeast corner. The seven foot high stone walls of the church join directly to the wall around the church grounds. To each side of the main building stands three poplar trees, while the church building itself is unadorned except for its windows and doors. Along each side of the building, six feet above ground level, is a series of eight foot high, two foot wide stained glass windows. There are three such windows on each side, but none in the front or rear of the church building. The front doors are made of wood and carved with ships, whales, barracuda and ocean waves.

    A rectory is located very near the church and just off its southeast corner. It is a two story structure of stone. It is about sixteen feet tall and has a flat roof. Its windows are barred.

    The grounds can be entered through the church building itself or through the side entrance in the stone wall. This entrance is through an iron grillwork gate south of the main building land located on the western wall.

    A small wooden barn stands in the southeast corner of the yard. Its slanted roof rises about nine feet above the ground. In the southwest corner of the church grounds is a mausoleum, about eight feet high.

    Two men stand in the street in front of the main entrance of the church. The first wears chain mail armor and carries a shield and mace. The shield is bronzed and filigreed with images of ships, dolphins and barracuda. The man is of normal size and build.
    The second man stands more hunched over, the left side of his face scarred and damaged from some previous injury. He has leather armor and a broadsword.

    Several other men, all armored in studded leather to chain mail, are securing the iron gate from the interior and guarding the main entrance of the church.

    Captain Quenex calls out to the two men in the street, “Curate Basil, please inform High Priest Harper that the disturbance has been contained. These detainees are being brought before Mayor Arrness. If your staff does not mind helping, we will need a burial detail organized.”

    The man in chain mail nods respectfully. Turning, he walks into the church past the guards. The deformed man in leather armor continues to watch the group pass as it continues on its way to the castle.

    The group makes their way along the dirt road travelling east past the church. Passing between two small wooded groves, the posse passes a rundown shack (#39) on the north side of the path. It is a larger building, being 30 feet by 25 feet. The building is wood framed but in poor repair. Many of the boards are warped and others have fallen away leaving holes in the side of the structure. Some of the shudders are hanging by one hinge or gone altogether.

    There is a man sitting in front of the house watching the commotion. He does not seem all that worried about the alarms possibly believing his living conditions have little room for depreciation.

    Breymeer excuses himself from the group and, under a very watchful eye, walks over to the begger. Quenex calls out to Breymeer, “That is just Priska, he is an idiot. Just a simple man.”

    Breymeer reaches into a pouch and hands Priska a few coins as a genuine act of kindness. The fool takes the coins gently looking questionably at the bearded ranger from the far north lands. Priska whispers a quiet, “Y’are kind. Thankyasir.”

    Dalic tries to remain alert fighting the pain of his wounds and the fatigue of flirting with death. He rolls as best he can to see what Breymeer is up to. Catching a glimpse of the exchange, Dalic limply rolls back to supine and grunts in misery.

    Ide Otneaux appears to be measuring up the captives with a warrior’s eye. There is no doubt the half-orc will do whatever it takes to come out of this alive.

    Bhut continues on with the group silently.

    Grimlock, gagged, says nothing but he seems to be calculating while he walks.

    The group continues on past the ropemaker (#42) recognizing the man in the yard as one of the card players from the previous evening at the inn. He stands near his doorway with a short sword in hand while a woman and a couple children look out from the house windows.

    Passing the four way intersection, Captain Quenex keeps the group heading east and then follows the road as it turns north on the east side of the horse trader’s residence and business (#41).

    The ground begins to rise to the relatively sharp hill that holds the castle. The hill is roughly four hundred feet across at the base and boasts nearly 75 feet in height. A smattering of small groves of trees decorate the circumference of the hill.

    Two town streets come together near the southwestern terminus of the hill. At the fork, a statue rises into the air. The statue is of a heavily muscled, bearded, bear chested man, facing those who approach the castle. It has its hands on its hips as it watches the approach of those to the castle. Having some experience now with the Suel deities, the group guesses this is a statue of Kord, the god of war.

    As the posse nears the statue, all secure their weapons and approach empty handed. Passing the statue brings the characters close enough to read the inscription etched into the statue’s base, “Bring not might of arms to the door of the fortress lest I strike you down.”

    The posse obviously shows much respect to Kord or fears the words are no idle threat. The weapons remain secured after passing the fork and continues the ascent towards the castle.

    Bremeer notices Ide’s continuous limping and Bhut’s injuries as well. Breymeer requests the group pause. “I have injured companions and request we stop to aid them.”

    Pausing, Breymeer checks Ide’s bandaging, finding it adequate although the wound on her thigh remains. Meanwhile Krelar prays over Bhut’s injuries healing them to a moderate degree (+1, 3/28 and +7, 10/28). Bhut remains injured but has no agonizing wounds.

    Once the rest is complete, the final ascent from Kord’s statue to the front castle gate is completed. The group moves up the hill reaching the castle’s outer curtain wall.

    All the castle walls and towers are made of a rough, gray stone. The outer curtain wall is twenty feet high and conceals the main building. The wall towers are fifteen feet in diameter and thirty feet high. The large interior tower is forty-fife feet tall.

    The gatehouse is thirty feet high. It has three forward facing arrow slits. The portcullis is down, and the two huge iron-reinforced doors behind it are closed.

    Morwen waits for the group to leave before exiting the corpse of trees. She moves over to the road and finds the group’s travel has ruined any chance of her discovering Basmar’s tracks. She looks around quickly to see if she could find if Basmar had left the dirt path. Although the ground is wet, Morwen is unable to find any more evidence of Basmar’s travel.

    Giving up the search, Morwen returns to the inn and finds the front door locked and the gates shut.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Thu Oct 22, 2015 11:17 am  
    Into the Mayor's Keep; Morwen finds and ally?

    The keep is not oriented to the compass well. The road to the keep leads generally northeast up the hill. The main gate therefore faces southwest.
    As the party nears the outer portcullis, a brass bell begins to peel. The bell is struck with a slow steady pace. Seeing the detained adventurers concern, he soothes their worries, “The bell announces our arrival and number.” Indeed, the bell falls silent after being struck one time for each person standing before the gate.

    Captain Quenex calls out to the gatekeeper, “I am Quenex, Captain of the fishing squadron. I have with me the detained survivors of a bloodletting at the dockyard. We request an audience with Mayor Arrness to judge this dispute.”

    The sound of a mechanical winch accompanies the raising of the outer portcullis. The sound of the winch mechanism comes from the left or westernmost tower.

    Captain Quenex has his fellow fisherman push open the outer wooden gate and the group enters the entranceway, stopping at the second wooden gate. Fifteen feet above the party is a small trap door ‘murder hole’. The outer portcullis closes.

    The group is left in nervous anticipation while a runner is sent and guards are mustered. P’innr Bhut looks to Krelar and thanks him for helping ease his injuries.

    Eventually, the sound of a second winch, this one on the second floor of the easternmost tower, brings up a second portcullis hidden behind the second wooden gate. Once the sound ceases, Captain Quenex and company push open the second gate and all move forward into the castle courtyard. The sound of barking dogs now greets those entering the courtyard. Two dogs are yapping from the dog kennel attached to the barn. They are not chained nor are they detained in the kennel.

    The outer curtain wall has merlons and a four foot high parapet. Each outer tower has a simple wooden doors at the catwalk level to allow access. A similar door allows entry to each tower from the ground level. Pathways lead throughout the courtyard to each interior building and exterior tower. A single guard is making his rounds from tower to tower by walking along the catwalk.

    Immediately to the groups right (east) is a small barn. It is made of wood and stands nearly twelve feet tall with a slightly slanted roof. It has a front door and a side door but no windows. A small shed (3 ft x 5 ft x 4 ft) is attached at the northeast corner. The shed serves as a guard dog shelter.

    Looking to the western courtyard, one sees an obvious guard barracks. The guardhouse is a two story structure made of gray stone. IT has no first floor windows but on each side of the second story are barred windows. The roof is flat. The front and side doors are made of iron. Both doors are closed.

    Finally, the keep takes up most of the northern courtyard. It is made of gray stone and reaches twenty five feet high. The second floor windows are not high enough to overlook the twenty foot high outer curtain wall. The roof of the keep is flat and featureless. The balcony on the northeast end of the keep is thirteen feet from the ground and merlonated.

    The front door of the keep is made of decorated wood. A lion’s head is carved in relief into the door. In the lion’s mouth is an ornate door knocker.
    The windows of the keep are all four feet wide and five feet high. Each has iron bars across them.

    The keep tower rises out of the northwest corner. It is circular and reaches forty-five feet in height. It has a flat roof.

    A collection of guards stands between the detainees and the inner keep. The lead is a man, a Sergeant of the Guard, is in his late 30s, five feet nine inches tall, 160 pounds, with black hair and eyes and a full beard. He wears chain mail armor and has a shield in hand. A mace is secured to his belt. The rest of the men generally have chain mail armor and have long swords. Some have shields. There are six men standing behind the lead guard.
    The Sergeant of the Guard calls back to the keep, “Captain of the Guard! The prisoners are ready.”

    <Armax stands near the barracks remaining quiet. She has cast invisibility on herself.>

    Morwen knocks on the front door of the inn. After a short pause, Glami, the barkeep, comes cautiously to the door. He has a dagger in his hand. He looks out the nearby window and, seeing Morwen alone, opens the door, “I know not if your services will be needed for the lunch hour but you may enter and go to your room if you wish.”

    Morwen asks Glami, “Is Abraham here? I would like to speak with him. Do you know where I may find him?”

    “The town is under alarm, what of importance do you have that he should be disturbed?” asks Glami coolly in return.

    The iron reinforced wooden keep door opens and three men step out.
    The first man is 5’8”, 145 pounds, roughly 40 years old with brown hair, brown eyes and a clean shaven face. He has leather armor and a dark polished wooded shield bound with iron. He has a broadsword in a scabbard on his belt and several throwing knives on his belt. He steps out and to the right.

    The second man is larger and stronger. He is 6’1”, 200 pounds, in his late 30s with black hair and eyes. He has a moustache. He is also dressed in leather armor. A broad silver ring is upon his right pointer finger. A short sword is sheathed on his belt. He steps out and to the left.

    The last man out is a large man. Although appearing mostly human, his half-orc heritage cannot be hidden. He is weathered and appears to be approaching 50 years old although he remains fit. He is 6’2”, 210 pounds with long black hair worn loose. He has dark black eyes. He has a full beard. He wears chain mail armor and carries a decorated shield and a battle axe. Upon his right ring finger is a gold ring. His shield is decorated with a lions’ head. His axe is plated with gold and the axe blade is embossed in a gold lions’ head. The man’s face bears some scarring of a life of fighting.

    The half-orc Captain of the Guard calls out is a deep but intelligent voice, “Bring them in for judgement.” He turns and re-enters the keep.
    The group is led across the thirty foot wide courtyard between the barn and the barracks to the front door. The dogs continue a vicious bark but do not advance upon the detainees.

    The lions’ head on the wooden doors calls out at the arrival of the group, “What are you doing here? Guards! Guards! Guards! Guards!” The voice continues calling out for nearly fifteen seconds.

    The guards ignore the alarm and the detainees are led into the keep’s entrance chamber. The hall has three doors other than the one entered, one on each wall. In the southeast corner of the room is a rusty suit of plate mail armor holding a halberd. Along the north wall are three chairs. On the south wall, between the armor and the doors, a 2’ x 3’ mirror hangs above a small table. On the table are two silver candlesticks and a brass bell. A half-orc stands guard in the room. He wears chain mail and has a shield secured on his back with a javelin. A long sword is worn upon his belt. He stands at the door to the left (northwest wall).

    The longshoremen are forced to sit in the chamber and left under guard. The adventurers are led through the door past the half orc guard into a hallway beyond. The hall is about fifteen feet long with a door on the end wall and a second door next to it on the right (north) wall.

    Dalic appears to have succumb to the pain and feinted sometime since entering the keep. He is breathing and stable but unresponsive.

    The hallway is lit by torch sconces mounted on each end of the hall.

    The party is led through the north door into an audience hall. The hall is fifteen foot square. On the east wall is a stone dais of three steps. Atop the highest step is a large, highly decorated wooden chair. Two smaller chairs sit on the next step down from the larger chair. The dais itself is six feet wide and five feet deep, with the chairs standing along the back wall. The north and south walls are hung with tapestries of woodland scenes.
    Upon the head chair sits Mayor Arrness. She appears to be in her 40s. She is of athletic build being 5’4” and 120 pounds. She has long brown hair and blue eyes. She wears a long sleeve white blouse and maroon pantaloons. A maroon cloak is draped around her shoulders. Upon her head is a golden crown with three large rubies mounted upon it.

    On the mayor’s left is seated the half-orc Captain of the Guard.

    On the mayor’s right is seated a man in his late 30s. He is 5’10” and 155 pounds. His hair is brown and worn short. His eyes are brown. He has gold bracers upon his arms. A black cloak is worn over a simple tan short sleeve shirt and brown pantaloons. A longsword rides a scabbard on his belt.
    Quenex enters first, bows, and takes a speaker’s position in front of the dais. Two castle guards (chain mail, shield, long sword) enter with the detainees and take a position on each side of them before the dais. The two guards that exited the keep with the Captain of the Guard enter last and take up a position at the door.

    Two dock workers set the stretcher holding Dalic on the floor and exit the room. The two door guards shut the door as they leave.

    Grimlock, P’innr Bhut, Ide Otneaux, Breymeer and Krelar stand in a line before the dais.

    “Kneel before Lady Arness, The Lord Mayor and Protector of the Lake.” The voice of the Captain of the Guard booms through the chamber.

    Morwen puts her hand on the hilt of her sword and gives Glami a cold, direct gaze while replying, "The alarm has been cancelled by a captain of the guard. The party guilty of the disturbance is being taken to the mayor, and if I do not talk to Abraham innocent people may die of which you may be one!"

    "I meant you no threat. I will locate Abraham for you momentarily," replies Glami resecuring the exterior door.

    With that he walks swiftly across the room and through the door to the right of the bar announcing, "Abraham, the elf maiden who entertained here last night is demanding your company."

    Morwen is left standing in the vacant room.

    All kneel with a few exceptions. Dalic remains unconscious on the backboard. Grimlock kneels and then stands back up. Ide grimaces as she kneels causing pain to shoot through her leg from the thigh wound. Bhut does not lower himself, hesitating while he looks to the others for signs of danger or the need for defense.

    Breymeer, already kneeling, looks about the group. Seeing no one respond, Breymeer addresses the Mayor, “Lady Arness the Lord Mayor and Protector of the Lake, I request that my injured friends be allowed the aid they need. We mean no disrespect but we’re here to help rid your city of assassins and evil doers and am as intrigued as you to get an explanation as to why we were attacked by dock workers. By my word, we mean no harm to the Lord Mayor or other innocent townfolk. We simply ask for reasonable treatment.”
    Krelar adds, “I accompanied this group from Restenford as an observer. Although I did not participate in the conflict, I did witness the ambush upon the docks and will speak as a neutral party on this matter. May my word be truthful and a reflection of the honor of the Abby of Phaulkon in Restenford.”
    “Perhaps you misunderstood my order,” begins the Captain of the Guard as he stands from his chair, staring at Grimlock and Bhut, “You shall kneel and remain kneeling before the Lord Mayor. You are brought here accused of fighting and civil disobedience. You shall kneel and in turn state your claim of righteousness. Several persons lay slain and those responsible shall be punished. If you refuse to kneel, you shall be thrown in the dungeon until you submit or are found responsible for wrongdoings and given the appropriate punishment.”

    The Captain of the Guard turns his attention to Breymeer, “The Lord Mayor, the Mayor’s Counsel and I have been informed that your group and Captain Basmar’s dock workers got into a fight and now several dock workers lay dead at your hands. This is your time to speak in your defense. No aid can now be given to the slain. No aid shall be given to you until this is resolved. Speak, each of you in turn, to your reason for slaying those men at the docks.”

    To Krelar, the Captain of the Guard states, “Your word shall be judged as so.”

    The Captain of the Guard pauses, staring at Bhut and Grimlock, waiting for them to kneel and those present to speak in their defense.

    Bhut submits to the request and silently kneels, giving the Captain of the Guard a hateful look while doing so. This leave just Grimlock standing for the moment.

    The Captain of the Guard returns an icy glare at Bhut as Breymeer makes his statement, “When I saw dock hands greatly outnumbering and attacking a lone adversary I asked them to cease their attack. They did not and I could not allow further unfair slaughter and did what I believe was just. The same I am sure you would expect from any of your pure hearted citiens of this great city. Seek witnesses to this unfortunate battle and you will find this is true.”

    Grimlock follows up with some muffled complaint. The gag is removed from his face. Grimlock bows acknowledgement to the Mayor and then sets down upon one knee, “Thank you your Mayorship for removal of the gag as well as the opportunity to be heard. We were indeed sent here to root out a diabolical nest of assassins. I was observing the boathouse from a distance before the unprovoked attack on my companions occurred. I was disguised as a common fool as I made my way the boathouse. I am witness to many brawls, battles, and bluffs, and what I saw was unmistakable in my experience. A pending attack was coming by a group of men who appeared to be dockworker but were far from the usually good hearted fellows who are hard at work as I speak. These men were clever in their tactics and had surrounded two of my companions and outnumbered them almost threefold. They would have succeeded in murdering my companions had they not underestimated our numbers in disguise. They made a deadly mistake when they attacked my friends as I defended them as I would defend any righteous and lawful person. I do not dispute my action in this bloodletting. I only did so in defense of my companion’s lives, and in doing so, we have prevented evil yet to come in your noble city. Thank you for lending your ears your Mayorship.” Grimlock bows his head in conclusion.
    Ide Otneaux appears surprised as Grimlock’s etiquette as she answers, “The elf speaks true as does the ranger. I was with the ranger when our companions, P’innr Bhut and Dalic Steelcoat, were assaulted unsolicited by the renegade longshoremen. The longshoremen ignored orders to cease and in doing so, sealed their fate.”

    Krelar speaks last, “Their word is as I observed. It is true or may Phaulkon strike me down.”

    The Captain of the Guard inquires, “Any other statements?”

    Abraham enters the bar from the north door from which Glami had exited. He has a long sword and scabbard upon his belt. The hilt of the blade hints of its quality. Glami enters the room on his heels.

    “Dear Morwen, I am a busy man. Please accompany me to the stable. You can speak while we walk. Glami, prepare the bar for the day,” Abraham orders.

    Abraham does not wait for Morwen or Glami to answer. He moves to the front, un-secures it and exits into the street. Morwen follows, speaking while they walk, “Master Abraham, I know you distrust me and do not believe all that I told you in our conversation a little bit ago. I will now tell you all I know, in complete honesty, with the hope of regaining your trust and, more importantly your help. For, truly, I do not care if you trust me, if you are willing to help my cause, but your trust would be a nice bonus."

    Abraham pauses at the gate for the path that leads to the back of the inn and the barn. He looks over at Glami who has also stepped out into the street. Abraham shoots Glami a displeased look sending Glami into the inn. “Go on,” he mutters while entering the inn yard.

    "Several weeks ago, I set out from my home on the northern isle to travel and see the world, making a living with my music. Three days ago, in Restenford, I ran into a childhood friend from the northern isle, quite by mistake. He is a devout priest of Sehanine. Two days ago the Duke of Restenford was assassinated while he slept and my friend is now in prison, suspected of the murder. My journey has been sidetracked in hopes of freeing my friend. The group of adventurers that have descended on Farmin are here to try and find the real assassin and free my friend, their adventure partner. I traveled with them from Restenford, hoping to aid in some way."

    Abraham stops on the path back to the barn and appears to be in thought, trying to work through all the events of the last day as Morwen continues, "That is the true story of how I came to be here and why there was a ruckus at the docks this morning. My companions believe they have found the guilty party, or at least a man who knows who the guilty party is. At this moment they are being brought to the castle to go before the Mayor."

    "While at the docks I heard them tell the captain of the guard that a Captain Basmar was the man who knew who the assassin was. I met, who I believe to be this man fleeing the scene of the fight, on my way to the docks. Do you know this man?”

    Abraham looks around and guides Morwen to the barn taking shelter between the barn and the large tree on the southeast corner, near the front double door. Abraham looks deep into Morwen’s eyes trying to read her truthfulness as he begins speaking slowly, “Captain Basmar is less of a captain and more of a smuggler but I did not suspect him of associating with assassins. It is not uncommon for him to be in the inn drinking or playing cards. He fancies himself important. His house is at the edge of the dock yard. It is the nicest house down there. But if he fled the docks, I doubt he would head back down there now; although he might at some time attempt a return.”

    Abraham thinks for a minute and then knocks on the barn door. Falpir opens the door cautiously. Abraham tells him, “Go find Balmorrow and Martin and ask them to come to the inn as soon as they can. Tell them it is of great importance.” Falpir runs off quickly, exiting the inn yard and turning north and running down the street.

    Hearing the names of two people unknown to her, Morwen asks, “Who, in a position of authority, can I trust? Who is not protecting the assassin?”

    Abraham looks quickly around the barn, finding only his staff, the serving boys, James and Balmar, and the bar wench, Rillis. Abraham orders them, “Stay here in the barn for now. I will come and get you when all is safe.”

    Abraham has the barn re-secured as he and Morwen exit the building. Abraham asks Morwen in a quiet but very serious tone, “Morwen, do you know how to use that blade? I think I know two people we can ask about the guild. They are very likely in my very inn right now. Are you with me?”

    Bhut gives his story, "Myself and the short one,” Bhut points at Dalic, ”were arranged to have a private meeting in the boathouse, but when we started heading that direction from the docks we immediately sensed tension and danger. When Dalic entered the boathouse we were attacked, and were forced to defend ourselves."

    Dalic stirs at the sounds of his name. His eyes open slightly and he moans in pain. He quickly slips back into unconsciousness.

    Mayor Arrness speaks to the group in an authoritative but calm and even voice, “I have received your statements. I will continue to look into this event. The other detainees shall be brought in next for their statements.”

    Mayor Arrness addresses the guards near the door, looking at the taller man with the wooden shield, “Sangster, take this group to the holding cell and secure them there until the investigation is complete and their fate is determined. Then take Gellius, Falbore, Armax and your choice of men at arms. Search Basmar’s house and the boathouse. You have my authority to take any other actions you deem necessary to complete this investigation. Bring back your report and any evidence you may find to either support the given claims or dispute them.”

    The man named Sangster nods and then bows as the Mayor continues, “Krelar, man of Phaulkon, you may stay to witness the questioning of the other detainees. Also, Breymeer, ranger, you appear to have wisdom and intelligence. If you trust me, I invite you to stay as witness for your party. How say you?”

    Morwen responds without hesitation, “I am well skilled with this sword and am as solid a markswoman, as any elf, with my bow. I will trust you, because I believe I can, and I need to, for my friend's sake. Lead on!"

    Abraham walks to the rear door of the inn. He unlocks the door and enters with Morwen behind him. As soon as the door is entered, they both see wetness on the floor as if someone had come in from the rain recently. Man sized foot tracks lead down the hall. Abraham attempts to be quiet moving down the hall. The sound of the human completely covers the stealth of the elf behind him.

    Abraham moves through the initial hall and follow the fading tracks east down the southern hall. The amount of moisture in the footprints continues to fade as the duo continues down the hall. It fades completely before they reach their destination. Abraham stops at the second to last door on the right (to room #6) nearly across the hall from the door that enters the inn’s bar area (room #8).

    “This room belongs to Oscar and Philmar,” whispers Abraham. “I believe they may be involved in nefarious activities. They may be able to answer some questions.”

    Standing outside the room, Morwen can hear the very light muffled sounds from inside the room. She cannot quite make out what the source of the sound is. Abraham appears to not hear them as he is preparing to knock on the door.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Thu Oct 22, 2015 11:35 am  
    Morwen's capture, investigation ends. Back to Restenford.

    Breymeer chooses to remain in the hall to witness the following proceedings with Krelar.

    Sangster orders the group to rise and assemble in line for the movement to the holding cell. Two of the dock workers are summoned to carry Dalic’s stretcher.

    Mayor Arrness tells Krelar, “Should the group you travel with be found guilty of a crime, you shall received grith for the duration of your stay in Lake Farmin.” She then pauses while one group of detainees is led out and the next is brought in.

    Krelar and Breymeer stay out of the way and remain quiet. The weapons taken from the group are left in the corner of the audience hall near the dais.
    The Captain of the Guard rises from his chair and joins the group heading for the holding cell. He takes the lead followed by the dock workers carrying Dalic. Bhut, Grimlock and Ide follow next, still bound although Grimlock is no longer gagged. The two castle guards walk next in order and in the rear are Sangster and the other guard that stood near the door in the audience hall.

    The group exits the audience hall (#18) and enters the hall (#15). It then goes through the door on the right. They enter a kitchen (#16). A cook is present. She is a human female but otherwise non-descript. On the north wall of the kitchen is a hearth complete with fireplace tools, large pots and kettles. The north and east walls hold shelves of supplies. By the west wall, under the window, is a large working table. The table is littered with utensils and nearly two dozen jars of spices, herbs and other ingredients. Next to the table is a large kitchen knife rack holding various blades, including a meat cleaver.

    From a small open topped cask on the floor the captain removes a torch and lights it off the small fire in the hearth. Several other torches remain in the cask.

    The group crosses the kitchen to the door on the eastern wall to the back entry (#17). The room contains a staircase going down along the west wall. There are two large barrels with spigots in the northeast corner of the entryway. A door on the southeast corner appears to be an exterior door.
    The group continues downstairs. While doing so, the Captain of the Guard mutters a word. It was spoken too quietly to be heard by anyone in the group.

    The stairs lead down to a hallway. The hallway dead ends on the left. A doorway is on the northeast corner. Going right, the hall travels southwest to a dead end with a door on the south wall.

    The group is led south and the captain unlocks the door with a key ring he carries. The hallway continues southeast, passing two doors as it zigs around two 90 degree turns. After the second turn, the hall continues straight to a door while passing another door on the right hand side.

    The captain stops at the closer door on the right and unlocks it. Moving through, the group finds the hall has become a tunnel, only four feet wide and seven feet tall. The tunnel turns immediately right and goes twenty feet down to a left turn. The tunnel moves southwest to an alcove. A door on the right side is at the midway point of the tunnel. Across from the door, a second tunnel continues to the southeast.

    The captain takes the left tunnel and leads the group to another door. An additional tunnel extends southwest from the door. It ends after thirty feet. There is a door on either side of the tunnel at the far end.

    The captain knocks upon the door (to #37), “Gress, this is Ascue. We are entering with a group for you to watch over in the holding cell.”

    The lock clicks open from the interior and the door opens revealing a small ten foot square room with a door on the far side (#37). The room contains a rough table and chair of large proportions. A candle, a huge mug, and a plate sit upon the table. A pallet lies in the northeast corner. A large spiked club leans up against the table.

    Standing in front of the door is a large ogre, “Da room’s clear, Captain Ascue.”

    The ogre named Gress walks across the room and unlocks the door with a key ring he has in a pouch on his belt.

    Gress opens the door revealing a short hall beyond. A door is on the far wall and one on the west wall immediately to the right of the door the ogre just opened. He unlocks the close door and steps further down the hall allowing Captain Ascue in.

    The captain opens the door and the party is guided by into the room (#38). It is nearly fifteen feet deep by ten feet wide. There is a rough cot, an upside down pail and a three-legged stool. Grimlock, Ide and Bhut are all untied before the group is locked in the room.

    “Gress, if any of them cause any trouble, you may use force to subdue them. They are not prisoners as of yet but you may defend yourself and the castle as needed. They shall be here for the next couple of days,” are the parting words of Captain Ascue.

    The sounds of the guards departing is heard before Gress relocks the door to the cell and the door to the guardroom. It is not long before things become quiet. It is very dark.

    Morwen draws her sword and tell Abraham, "It may be better to enter unannounced then to let them prepare for visitors, especially if you think they could cause trouble. Get them at knife point before they can draw weapons. People tend to talk more freely when they are fearing death." She will give him a girlish smile and a shrug before saying, "Sorry."
    Abraham seems to consider this for a moment. After a long pause, he removes his long sword and his key to the room, “Ready?”

    With a nod from Morwen, he unlocks the door and opens it as fast as he can. He rushes into the room with his sword ready. As he does so, he snags a tripwire with his foot and, through a series of pulleys, it tips a bucket above the door. The bucket tips spilling whitewash all over Abraham.

    The room is furnished similar to Morwen’s. It has two double beds along the wall west wall. A table with two iron candlesticks and four chairs occupies the center of the room. Near the door is a dresser with an iron candlestick and four drawers. The single window is barred and has closed shutters on the inside. A large carpet covers the floor. The room is dark due to the closed shutters.

    The man Morwen saw fleeing from the docks is on his knees going through the two chests he has removed from underneath the beds. He appears to have been caught off guard by the sudden entrance. He still wears a broadsword and leather armor. His purple chased black cape drapes around him.

    Morwen nimbly steps around a stunned Abraham and puts a blade to the back of the kneeling man’s neck, “If you flinch, I will run you through.”
    The surprised man surrenders cautiously while Abraham frantically wipes the whitewash from his face. Seeing Morwen has the man covered, Abraham cuts some strips of cloth from the clothing the man has removed from the chests saying,“Do not move Captain Basmar. The elf’s blade is sharp.”r
    Abraham ties the surrendering Basmar’s hands behind his back and removes his belt containing the sword and dagger.

    The spilled over chests contains clothing. Strangely, there is a makeup case in both chests and the one with dwarf sized clothing has a few items of dwarven styled clothing and fake beards.

    Abraham explains the room is rented by two men, Philmar, a dog trainer, and Oscar, a midget. He describes them and Morwen remembers them from the bar the previous evening. “Where they are now, I know not,” declares Abraham. “I suspected these two of more than they claimed to be. This makeup and disguises are very telling.”

    A quick perusal of the room reveals nothing more. The chest of drawers is empty.

    After a brief discussion, Morwen and Abraham agree to take Basmar to the castle and turn him over to the mayor.

    Basmar does not speak on the short walk to the castle. Passing the statue of Kord, Abraham warns Morwen to put her weapon away. Etched into the base of the statue are the words, “Bring not might of arms to the door of the fortress lest I strike you down.” Abraham suggests the warning be heeded.
    Ascending the path to the castle gate, Morwen hears three chimes announcing their arrival. The castle entry is bracketed by two guard towers with a connecting chamber above the gates. Between the gates, the entrance is protected by dual gates and portcullises. Passing through the entryway exposes one to a murder hole in the ceiling.

    Castle guards, wearing chain mail and wielding long swords and shields, question Morwen and Abraham. Finding they have Basmar prisoner, they allow the trio into the first gate. Under the murder hole and before the second gate, the trio is made to wait for nearly twenty minutes.
    Finally, a contingent of guards guides Morwen and company across the small courtyard, past the barn and guard barracks, and to the keep door. While passing the barn, two dogs bark viciously from a dog kennel on the northeast corner of the barn.

    The front door is made of wood reinforced with iron. Carved in relief into the door is the face of a lion holding a door knocker in its mouth. As the group approaches the door, the lion calls out, “What are you doing here? Guard, guard, guard . . .” The guards ignore it and knock on the door. A bar is heard to be removed from the opposite side and the door is unlocked.
    The group enters and meets a half orc guard standing in the entrance hall (#14). A suit of rusty plate mail armor stands in the southeast corner. It holds a halberd. Along the north wall are three chairs. On the south wall, between the armor and the door, a 2’ x 3’ mirror hangs above a small table. On the table are two candlesticks and a brass bell. Three doors exit the room other than the exterior door.

    Sitting in the chairs are three longshoremen. A fourth sits upon the floor. All are bound securely.

    The half orc guard takes the bell in hand and rings it. The door on the north wall opens after a short pause revealing another guard. The half orc advises of the new prisoner’s arrival. The guard on the far side of the door acknowledges and shuts the door again.

    While Morwen and Abraham wait, their weapons are tied into their scabbards and any bows are unstrung.

    After a short time, Morwen, Abraham, Basmar and the other four longshoremen are led through the north door into a hallway (#15). The hall is lit by a torch at each end. A door is on the far side of the hall and a second door is next to it on the west wall. The group is led through the door on the west wall and into a reception room (#18).

    On the east wall is a stone dais of three steps. Atop the highest step is a large, highly decorated wooden chair. Two smaller chairs sit on the next step down from the larger chair. The dais itself is six feet wide and five feet deep, with the chairs standing along the back wall. The north and south walls are hung with tapestries of woodland scenes.

    Upon the head chair sits Mayor Arrness. She appears to be in her 40s. She is of athletic build being 5’4” and 120 pounds. She has long brown hair and blue eyes. She wears a long sleeve white blouse and maroon pantaloons. A maroon cloak is draped around her shoulders. Upon her head is a golden crown with three large rubies mounted upon it.

    On the mayor’s left is seated the half-orc Captain of the Guard.

    On the mayor’s right is seated a man in his late 30s. He is 5’10” and 155 pounds. His hair is brown and worn short. His eyes are brown. He has gold bracers upon his arms. A black cloak is worn over a simple tan short sleeve shirt and brown pantaloons. A longsword rides a scabbard on his belt.
    Breymeer and Krelar stand on the north side of the room. They are not guarded and have their weapons although the weapons are tied into their respective scabbards and Breymeer’s bow has been unstrung. The rest of the party is not present.

    Breymeer and Krelar are left in the room as the Captain of the Guard and other guards lead the rest of the group out of the room and off to a holding cell.

    Lady Arrness addresses Breymeer and Krelar, engaging them in conversation. She questions them on the state of Restenford in the wake of the Baron’s murder. She also inquiries about the fall of Bone Hill keep and its impact on the security of the immediate area. The conversation is inquisitive but kind.

    Eventually, the Captain of the Guard and his cohorts return with the four longshoremen. Surprisingly, the man with the purple trimmed black cape is among the group. In addition, Morwen and Abraham, the inn owner, enter the audience hall.

    Captain Ascue (The Captain of the Guard), addresses Lady Arrness, “The elf maiden and Abraham located Basmar ransacking Oscar and Philmar’s room. Oscar and Philmar were slain in the battle at the boathouse. It appears they were associates of Basmar’s organization.”

    The mayor takes a moment to speak to all four longshoremen and Basmar; explaining they will have a chance to give statements and present their defense.

    The mayor, the captain and the mayor’s advisor question the four men discovering they were Basmar’s hired muscle. All four of them were in the boathouse during the incident. The three that fled though the east door, getting caught in the web, were consistent in their statements. They declare Basmar was the head of the organization and ordered the attack. Basmar glares at the three as they tell their tale.

    The fourth, who had wielded a crossbow against the party, stated the party had assaulted the boathouse in a botched robbery attempt.

    Captain Basmar continued with the robbery description saying the party had tricked him into a meeting stating the party was interested in purchasing items and having them shipped to Restenford.

    After the statements are gathered, Mayor Arrness orders Breymeer to the holding cell. Morwen, Krelar and Abraham are accompanied to the gates of the keep and released. Basmar and the other longshoremen are held in a second holding cell. All detainees would be held until the investigation was over.

    Soldiers from the keep are dispatched to the inn, the boathouse and Basmar’s home.

    The investigation continues for two more days. During the down time, Abraham has Morwen continue to play at the inn and Krelar rents a room.

    Also during this time, the news of Baron Grellus murder becomes widespread. The news of the investigation and arrest of Basmar and detention of some of the party members spreads rapidly. Because of this, Morwen and Krelar remain at the inn where Abraham offers them protection. In addition, Mayor Arrness has given Krelar grith until he returns to Restenford.

    At the end of the investigation, Morwen, Krelar and Abraham are welcomed back to the keep. Hanging over the front gate of the keep are two bodies strung by ropes from the merlons. Both bodies are hooded but appear to be human males.

    The detainees are released to the audience hall where they are reunited with Morwen, Krelar and Abraham. The detainees are briefed on the capture of Basmar and the searching of Basmar’s home and the boathouse. Oscar and Philmar’s room was also searched.

    Mayor Arrness gives the final disposition of the investigation. Evidence of disguises were located in Oscar and Philmar’s room. The boathouse and Basmar’s home reportedly contained evidence implicating all three as killers for hire. The party is acquitted of any crime. The three longshoremen are found guilty of civil disruption and sentenced to imprisonment. Basmar and the fourth longshoremen were sentenced to death by hanging. The sentence was unceremoniously carried out at dawn this very day.

    Mayor Arrness apologizes for the detention of the party members and thanks them for rooting out a den of evil from within her community.

    “You shall be rewarded! I shall have our castle priests mend your wounded with Kord’s blessing. You certainly are worthy warriors,” begins the Lady Arrness. “I shall supply each of you a horse and gear as a gift. Visit our local horse trader and pick out your animal and appropriate saddle and gear. I shall pay for it from the town coffers as a thank you from our community. If you already have a horse, or if you prefer coin instead, I offer you each one hundred golden coins.”

    Lady Arrness calls for several priests and coins from the treasury. Soon, several priests-in-training arrive. They call upon Kord, asking that the warriors be rewarded for their actions in battle. To the relief of the wounded, all the party members are healed. Dalic regained strength while in the holding cell. The two days of inactivity brought back most of his strength.

    A large pouch containing gold is placed in front of each character. Each bag contains 100 gp. “Either use it to purchase your horse or keep the gold. Either way, Lake Farmin thanks you,” states Mayor Arrness.

    “You are welcome to stay in town as long as you wish but I do have a request of you, Krelar, Priest of Phaulkon. I wish you to return to Restenford and bring them this message.” At Lady Arrness’s command, a sealed scroll tube with a Lion’s head seal in the wax is brought forward and handed to Krelar. “Please inform Baroness Fairwind that I will soon be sending an advisor to meet with her in regards to the uncovering of the organization suspected of Baron Grellus’ murder. I also request you carry with you our condolences.” A medium sized chest with a sturdy lock is brought forward.

    Abraham requests permission to speak, which is granted, “Mayor Arrness, Protector of the Lake, I thank you greatly for the gift. I already have a horse and am blessed to have a thriving business in your town. For this reason, I will dontate to the Xerbo, Osprem and Kord to help bury the dead and train the new priests. In addition, tonight I will host a banquet at the inn in honor of this courageous party. All are welcome.”

    “Thank you Abraham d’Farmin. Your inn has long been a staple of our town. May you live long and prosper.” With that, the mayor releases all from the hall.

    Abraham requests the party to the inn for the evening banquet. He departs back to the inn.

    The horse trader is near the base of the hill supporting the castle. Here, those requesting horses are given their choice of horse and gear. Those not wanting saddles have 25 gp left from their bag of coins.

    When the moment presents itself, Dalic addresses the group, expressing his concern, "It does not seem Basmar was responsible fer tha assassination. In tha boathouse he thought tha baron ta still be alive an' tha' we were vestigatin' tha death ab another... It appears there be more afoot but nae much ta be done yet here. Let us take news ta Restenford ab tha events ta free our comrade. I feel yer, an' even mine, obligations ta tha throne may be closin'. What say ye?"

    Passing by the horse trader (#41), Breymeer and Grimlock each pick out a horse. Breymeer studies the horses for some time, mingling among them. It appears he may even be speaking to them. They seem calm in his presence. The horse trader, a solid framed man with a keen eye, is patient and waits for Breymeer to make his selection. Both Grimlock and Breymeer get fine animals. The trader appears to know the critters well.
    Breymeer side treks to the most northeastern establishment at the edge of town. Located there is a 20’ x 20’ building that functions as a general store (#13), with a slightly smaller framed house behind. The house has two barred windows and one iron reinforced door. The store has four barred windows along the street side of the building. The main door is iron reinforced and has hardware for a lock.

    The store operates as Lydia’s General Store. The small building has a wide variety of items; more or less anything basic an adventurer would need. Breymeer picks out a standard issue broadsword (12 gp 5 sp).

    The party spends the rest of the day preparing for the return to Restenford. There is a mix of reactions as they travel through town. Some, especially dock workers, fishermen and similar, celebrate the party’s accomplishments. Others, more suspicious of outsiders, simply pass by. And, finally, some, like the half orc armorer, just scowl. It appears he always scowls.

    As evening approaches, the banquet gets underway. Tellish, Lady Arrness’s advisory, represents the castle in attendance. A second significant attendee is Balmorrow, a 40+ year old human male, 5’10”, 175 lbs, with short cut brown hair and brown eyes. Balmorrow owns the Theater of the Mystic Celebration. He invites the party to attend the play at the theatre before leaving the following day. Balmorrow shows interest in Morwen. It is hard to tell if it is a physical attraction or a mutual interest in music.

    Balmorrow entertains the party with some songs on his lute with golden strings. It becomes quickly obvious he is a town favorite.

    At the banquet, when the adventurers have a quiet moment together, Morwen tells the group of her departure, "Gentlemen, and Lady,” looking at Ide, “Tathar Surion is a childhood friend of mine. I did not tell you this, because of the accusations leveled at him, I felt I may have been suspect too, as I also worship Sehanine Moonbow. I was fortunate and surprised to cross paths with him when I did, and happy to have played a part in securing his freedom. Thank you, all, for your dedication to him as your friend and companion. Believe me when I say, you are all fortunate to have him as a friend. Please tell him of my part and let him know to please look me up here in Farmin if he has time. I will be staying here for a short while, until the music of the wind carries me to some other place."

    Grimlock, once released from the dungeon holding cell, wandered town searching for anything of interest. He located a spice and herb shop (#48) just north of the southeast guardhouse.

    The shop is a 35’ x 30’ stone building. It has six small barred windows six feet off the ground. The door is made of heavy wood with iron borders and hinges. The door is carved in the shape of a dragon with an open mouth. Next to the door is a sign saying, “Hestal the Alchemist, by appointment only!”

    Answering the door is Hestal’s wife, Relba, answers Grimlock’s knock on the door. She denies Grimlock access claiming Hestal was far too busy to meet with him. After a bit of persuasion, and a five gold pieces bribe, Relba claims there is an opening in Hestal’s schedule. Relba advises Grimlock to return in two hours.

    Upon Grimlock’s return, Relba allows him into the store. Grimlock enters a small 5’ x 7’ meeting room. A door on the far wall leads further into the building. Sitting in a padded chair is Hestal. He appears in his 50s and is very to the point. Almost to the extent of being rude. Hestal does not make small talk or appear to care about Grimlock’s motivations. Hestal does not appear at all altruistic; simply business minded.

    Through a very short discussion, Grimlock agrees to purchase a potion of healing from Hestal. He pays the money up front. Grimlock is told to pick up the potion from Relba two days later.

    The banquet is quite a success. Many of the town folks stop by including many of the shop owners. The significant number of attendees are dock workers and fisherman; along with their families. Members of the Church of Osprem and the two Xerbo priests also make an appearance.

    The evening finishes up and everyone retires for the evening.

    The next day dawns with more rain but much less wind. Local fisherman grimace as they go back out on the lake fighting gentle waves and a light rain.

    The party members continue to make final preparations for travelling back to Restenford.

    Just after 7 PM, the group makes their way over to the Theater of the Mystic Celebration. The theater building itself is of good stone construction. The windows are heavily barred and have shutters. Near the door is a sign that gives the theater’s hours (7-10PM Weekdays, Closed Saturday and Sunday. Shows at 8PM, No admittance after the show begins). To the side of the theater is a house where the troupe lives. It is also of stone construction and has barred windows.

    Inside the theater is a lobby that contains a “cage” booth where tickets are sold by one of the young stage hands. It contains a strongbox for the exchange of monies. In addition, there are a few benches, a door to the auditorium and a door to the backstage area. The auditorium has two rows of five benches, each seating four, for a maximum seating capacity of 40. The stage is elevated about one foot above the floor and has a large curtain that can be drawn between acts.

    Balmorrow, the party finds, is a very talented storyteller and playwright. The play is very entertaining. It is very obvious to the characters there is someone or something adding magic touches to the special effects.
    After the play, Balmorrow meets with the party in his office. The office and backstage area includes two small dressing rooms, a prop room and a wardrobe room. The party only enters the office and not the dressing rooms, prop room or wardrobe.

    In his office is golden stringed lute hangs on the wall behind him. Balmorrow is handsome and very charismatic. He holds the group’s attention and delivers valuable information.

    Balmorrow warns the group, “I, along with several of my friends, have long known an evil had grown roots in Lake Farmin. Until the murder of Baron Grellus, no one had been murdered within Lake Farmin or Restenford. The town actually began to grow, both in name and financial strength. Ship travel begin to increase. But, deep down, we suspected the better fortunes had darker roots.

    We were able to identify a few members of the guild but could gain no further information. The deaths of Philmar and Oscar eliminated the two suspects we had developed. The hanging of ‘Captain’ Basmar caught me by surprise. Not that he was a decent man, just that I did not suspect he was associated with a guild of killers.

    I fear there is more layers than even your group has uncovered. I do not ask you to stay in Lake Farmin for I do not know if any further investigation is warranted here. Simply know that you have friends in Abraham and myself. You may seek shelter or information with me and Abraham’s inn will remain open to you at all times. Thank you for all you have done and suffered in the name of Restenford and Lake Farmin.”

    Balmorrow finishes with final words of caution, “It has been requested I pass on words of warning to your group for your return to Restenford. A friend has many associates in the wilder areas around the barony. This friend tells me orcs have begun to move in numbers. They have been coming down from the Farmin Mountains in some numbers. Several score have been spotted moving in small, quick groups. They have yet to threaten Lake Farmin or nearby farms but their presence is unnerving. My friend bids you be careful and thanks you for all you have done.”

    The group returns to the inn for the evening, enjoys a few drinks, a song or two from Morwen and then retires for an early start back to Restenford.

    The morning brings wind and more rain. A pouring rain pulls the cheer out of the party. The sky is still dark as the group rides out town on the north road leading back to Restenford.

    The return ride is uneventful nearly to an uneasiness. The wind stays between 10-15 mph. It stays cloudy. The rain continues although the intensity lessons as the day goes on.

    Darkness falls as the group rides into Restenford on the evening of Goodmonth 25, 577. It has been six days since they had set off for Lake Farmin. The day ends with the group finding rooms at the Tavern of the West Wind.

    The 26th of Goodmonth arrives with the same wind blowing away the rain clouds. The day is warm (86 degrees) and shows promise of being a nice day.

    In the away team’s absence, the other party members have been laying low and recovering. Southar, having not been seen, is assumed to still be resting in the woods outside of town. Cirdan has mainly been keeping to himself; checking in on Peylae occasionally. Peylae has recovered completely with the week of rest. Kuba and Speck have also been resting. Speck is well and Kuba has recovered much but still has some pain and minor injuries although no wounds.

    Tathar has remained imprisoned since the departure of the away team. Representatives from Lake Farmin have not yet arrived to testify to Tathar’s innocence.

    Pelltar has not returned from the ruins on Bone Hill. The Abbot of Phaulkon returned nearly three days prior but has not been observed outside of the Abby since.

    The people of Restenford remain nervous and suspicious.

    Dalic invites the party members to a private gathering at the Tavern of the West Wind. Even Southar attends, wearing his great helm to cover his altered form. With the promise of a better than average bar tab, the owners graciously allow the use of the common room without interruption. There are no other patrons in the establishment as the group has rented all six of the sleeping rooms. Only the serving staff remain and as Pelltar has trusted them in the past, so now does the party.

    Dalic cuts directly to the point. He is concerned about Pelltar’s delay in returning from Bone Hill. Dalic suggests a possible excursion back to the hill to assistance can be rendered. He ponders what role each member of the party wishes to play in the ongoing goings on between Lake Farmin and Restenford. There is the matter of the dwarvish scroll located in Bone Hill.
    He reads the scroll aloud to the group to refresh their memory:

    Dearest Dukkor Graniteborn,
    It is with great sadness that I write you.
    As you are aware, we lost contact with the mine and your cousin, Khorliss Foesmiter, was sent to investigate the cause. Being a great warrior, wielder of Zalco, bane to the drow, Khorliss Foesmiter was certain to resolve the problem. It was certainly hoped that the operation was only held up because of discovery by one of the local human populations.
    Khorliss Foesmiter, it saddens me to inform you, has not reported back nor have any members of his expedition. They seem to have vanished. We fear something foul has occurred in the mine.
    In order to protect its secrecy and prevent further loss of dwarven lives, it has been determined the mine shall be sealed and records destroyed.
    Dukkor Graniteborn, you must travel to the mine with a small contingent of trusted dwarves. Seal the mine and conceal its entrance. Falco and Gap shall accompany your group. They have been instructed to stay behind in Restenford and report on anything suspicious that may be mine related.
    Furthermore, once the mine is sealed, you and your companions shall investigate the old ruins on Bone Hill to see if they are worth acquiring. The old keep would make a tactical staging area in the event the mine seal fails and evil ventures forth.
    Speak of your purpose to no other.
    May Moradin bless your journey.

    Dalic asks Speck if he has uncovered any news of Falco or Gap at Falco’s Tavern.

    Speck has kept a vigilant watch on the inn but reports nothing suspicious about the establishment or the comings and goings of its workers or patrons as far as he can tell.

    Finally, Dalic expresses the shared interest in freeing Tathar from the castle dungeon.

    Cirdan Saralonde reports that Pelltar’s students are not alarmed at the duration of his expedition to the ruins on Bone Hill. He is a friend to the Sehanine elves and is likely not in grave danger there.
    As for the tensions between Restenford and Lake Farmin, the party agrees to rest and assess the situations. A few of the party members remain injured. Grimlock and Dalic still feel the cold pull of the grave on their will from the encounters with the undead at Bone Hill. The mages request time to study and strengthen their abilities and many members require practice to improve their proficiencies and training in new skills.

    Before the discussion turns to Tathar, he enters the Tavern of the West Wind. Speaking very little about the circumstances, Tathar only reports that Krelar, having gone to the Abby of Phaulkon, delivered Mayor Arrness’ scroll and the chest to Lady Fairwind. On the Lake Famin mayor’s word, Lady Fairwind released Tathar.

    After his brief reappearance, Tathar disappears for several days into the area orchards for meditation and prayer returning only during the daylight for sleep.

    The last two days of Goodmonth pass with warm temperatures, slight wind increasing that increases at the end of the month. The wind brings light rain.
    The month of Harvester arrives with more wind and gentle rain.

    The people of Restenford continue to adjust to the death of Baron Grellus. Baroness Fairwind takes on her leadership role with a sober attitude. Lady Fairwind calls up the militia and orders weekly training. All able bodied men are told to carry weapons throughout the day. The exterior gates are guarded continuously. Work begins on extending the wooden palisade on the north side of the Restin River, beginning on the northwest section.

    The Restenford Rangers increase patrols to assist the local farmers in safely harvesting their crops. Strangely, Belina has still not returned from tracking the gnolls and has not been heard from by man or beast.

    Baroness Fairwind, and her daughter Andrella, have not set foot outside of their castle since the slaying of Grellus. They did entertain a visit from Krelar, received his message and condolence from Lake Farmin which, in turn, led to the release of Tathar.

    The second day of Harvester begins with darkening clouds. The light rain rears an ugly head around noon bringing with it a horrible rain and heavy winds (35-40 mph).

    Birthing from the storm, a weak tornado, or more accurately, a waterspout, comes ashore in Restenford. There was very little overall damage to structures and no fatalities but the storm rattles the already shaken nerves of the village. Rumors of a curse being laid upon the village from the ruins on Bone Hill become the talk of the taverns. Suspicions eyes fall upon the group; not for their acts but for the ill will that has followed them into the village over the last six weeks. The fear of the unknown is prevalent.

    Pelltar makes his appearance in Restenford in the first fedw days of Harvester somewhat easing the nerves of the townspeople. Trusting the party that raided Bone Hill, he advises of current status at the ruined keep. The Sehanine elves have their hands full battling orc raids and a reoccurring undead menace. The orc raids are small hit and run attacks likely used to test the elves defenses. The elves are holding control of the keep and appear to have established themselves securely enough. Pelltar and the Abbot assisted in clearing the keep and attempting to deconstruct the altar; finding it no easy task. He speaks no more about the keep saying only that he must travel away in search of some information.

    Pelltar, in his gratitude, continues to allow the group’s mages use of his library as long as they pay for the supplies.

    Harvester passes with poor weather but little else. Shortly after Pelltar addressed the group, he and Akari set sail upon the Waverunner, as it passes from Lake Farmin to Restenford and back to Loreltarma. He only comments he heads toward the dwarven lands of the Iron Hills to the port of Irongate. He leaves Gristla in charge of his residence.

    Akari continues to give P’innr Bhut release from services until her return. She does not expect to need his protection in the company of Pelltar.
    The characters spend the month recovering, training, studying, repairing weapons and armor and other similar activities.

    The celebration of Brewfest will be arriving at the end of the month. It is the seven day festival separating late summer from autumn. It is a celebration of the harvest and often involves the brewing of ales. The dwarves of Falco’s Tavern promise the unveiling of a new brew to help ease the town’s ongoing worries.

    <This ends this part of L2 The Assassins Knot>[/b]
    Adept Greytalker

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    Tue Dec 08, 2015 8:23 pm  
    L3: Deep Dwarven Delve

    Player Characters

    Breymeer - h/m, 5th lv ranger (northern barbarian; homebrew land)
    Cirdan Saralonde - e/m, 5th lv mage (Celene noble)
    Dalic Steelcoat - duergar/m, 4th lv berserker fighter (mercenary)
    Grimlock - 1/2e/m, 4th lv fighter, 3rd lv mage, 4th lv rogue (Wild Coast)
    Kuba Cyvlorandua - h/m, 4th lv fighter (Dullstrand)
    P'innr Bhut - h/m, 3rd lv fighter (Hardby sellsword)
    Southar - yuan-ti (cursed racial change)/m, 5th lv ranger (Gnarley ranger)
    Speck - Halfling/m, 4th lv rogue (sidekick to Kuba)
    Tathar Surion - e/m, 4th lv priest of Sehanine (Spindrift Isles)

    Morwen - e/f, temporarily dropping out of play

    Non-Player Characgters

    Ide Otneuax - 1/2o/f, 4th lv fighter (Highport)
    Peylae - 1/2e/f, 3rd lv mage, 4th lv rogue (Lendore)
    Bofor Barrelmace - d/m, 6th lv dwarven priest (Fortubo favored)
    Adept Greytalker

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    Tue Dec 08, 2015 8:36 pm  
    The new offer

    The first three weeks of the month of Harvester are spent training, studying and healing. The party enjoys the short rest from the hectic pace they had been keeping.

    Tellish, the advisory to Mayor Arrness, comes and goes from Restenford castle in the first week of Harvester. His entourage spends only one evening at the castle before returning to Lake Farmin. The visit does not do anything to lessen the marshal law atmosphere in Restenford.

    Breymeer, after learning from Ide Otneaux how to properly swing his dwarven battle axe, begins to grumble about going out looking for Belina. The idea begins to gain traction with the group and Peylae begins to ponder joining Breymeer in order to recon the gnolls and determine if their lair is a threat to town. Most of the rest of the group remains busy with their studies, etc.

    Breymeer agrees to wait until more of the group is prepared to venture forth instead of setting off on his own. He is obviously anxious to look for her.
    His mind is set at ease when, on the 19th of Harvester, Belina arrives back at the curtain wall gate. The news quickly passes through town as the locals hail her as she passes on her way to the castle. The news reaches Breymeer at the Tavern of the West Wind.

    Breymeer is unable to gain on her before she enters the keep. He waits patiently for her outside the keep walls. Hours later, as she exits the castle, he escorts her to the Dying Minotaur and buys her ale and dinner.

    The following day, Harvester 20, 577, Belina and Breymeer meet the rest of the party at the West Wind for discussion.

    Belina tells her tale.

    She tailed the gnolls between the Tri-Tops. In the vale between the hill peaks she discovered their lair. A small enclave of stone huts. Nearly a dozen huts surrounded one larger central hut. In the central hut resided the leader, a half man half ogre beast. It stood nearly the height of an ogre but bore a man’s features, including intelligence. She watched the lair for several days while she tended to her injuries.

    The gnolls were doing surveillance on the party camped along the road at the base of Bone Hill. They reported back to the half ogre once the party returned to Restenford. At that time, the half ogre left camp, putting up security posts with what few gnoll men and grown juveniles remained. The camp had a few wolves left that came and went making Belina’s observations more challenging.

    Belina tailed the ogre in a wide sweeping arc north of Lake Farmin through the Farmin Mountains. For two weeks the ogre travelled from orc enclave to orc enclave rallying orc soldiers. The orcs gathered together in groups up to twenty strong and began marching back towards Restenford.

    The ogre eventually came to the river valley cut by the Farmin River as it meanders through the mountains towards the lake at Lake Farmin. The ogre followed the river south for a few days until the mountains became foothills and the relented to a small plain. In the small plain, the river turned east back towards Lake Farmin. On the south side of the river, an unimproved road crossed the plain east to west from Lake Farmin to the capital of Loreltarma. The ogre fearlessly crossed the plain and entered foothills on the south side of the road. The foothills turns to low mountains before lowering again as they meet the sea.

    It was in the foothills that the ogre climbed a shallow trail to a discreetly hidden ledge. Belina did not dare follow the ogre underground as he entered the cave. Belina waited on the ogre for two days as the first week of Harvester came to a close. When the ogre exited, it led a small company of orcs armed for war. They began to backtrack towards Restenford via the Farmin Mountains. Belina followed them until she discovered their destination was the northeast side of the mountains where a basecamp for raids against the keep on Bone Hill was located.

    Belina returned to Restenford to report to the Baroness.

    Belina finishes her report by advising the party, “Baroness Fairwind graciously requested I ask each of you to accompany me to the castle tomorrow.” The pull of adventure is to strong to be delined. Dalic grins with the thought of slaying orcs by the score.

    On Harvester 21st, Belina leads the adventurers back to the keep. The keep remains on alert and even in Belina’s company, the adventurers are questions and the invitation verified.

    Baroness Fairwind greets the group in her small audience hall. She sits now on the head chair. She puts on a brave face but even the unobservant can read the stress and lost sleep her face reveals. Her daughter’s chair is empty as is Pelltar’s. Abbot Qualton is present and Krelar stands nearby as his security detail.

    Gelpas, the Captain of the Guard, along with several of his best men stand before the Baroness for security.

    The Baroness greets the group, “Brave adventurers. Our relationship has had many peaks and valleys in your short stay here. Our misunderstandings are unfortunate but understand this barony is mine to oversee . . . and to protect. It is in this duty that I have requested your presence here today.”

    She pauses and looks to Qualton who simply nods to her in return.

    She continues, “I have asked Belina to brief you on her findings southwest of Lake Farmin.” The baroness looks to Belina who tips her head in confirmation. “The cave that Belina followed that dreaded man-ogre, Drekohr, into appears to be of significance. The orcs attacking Bone Hill take orders from those that came out of that cave. The orcs are not of the same tribe. There must be something more powerful in that cave to cause the other orc tribes enough fear to follow orders.”

    “I ask your group to travel to this cave under the guidance of Belina. I ask you to investigate what power may be concealed there and destroy it with extreme prejudice. This cause,” the baroness looks to Tathar, Cirdan and Grimlock each in turn, “will also help the elvenkind as the orcs continue to lay siege upon Bone Hill. I have nothing to offer you as a reward to entice you into this cause as I have tied up much wealth into further protecting Restenford and the greater barony.”

    “What I do offer you is this. All that you find of value within the cave is yours to keep duty free. I shall have supplies for your travel. Each of you shall be given enough provisions for two weeks travel, two waterskins, a wool blanket, an oil flask, two torches, and a tinder box with flint/steel. In addition, the party will be given two hooded lanterns and one beacon lantern. I ask that you leave as soon as tomorrow morning.”
    “How say ye?”

    Tathar remains silent while the group responds to Baroness Fairwind.

    With a grin on his face and a twinkle in his eye that would be more at home on Dalic's face, Cirdan steps forwards and bows to the baroness. His noble background makes the gesture more fluid. It seems to the party that Cirdan is actually showing off a bit; his excitement with the thought of a new adventure appears to be causing him to show more emotion than normal, "My lady, Baroness Fairwind, I would be much pleased to add whatever skills I have to any party that sets out to rid the world of such evil!" With that, he turns, winks at whoever is looking and steps back.

    At the same time, Dalic almost too eagerly agrees, catching himself from responding in the affirmative too loudly, he remains brief, "Ye hab me sword."

    “I travel with the party as well,” adds Ide Otneaux.

    Kuba and Speck both volunteer.

    P’innr Bhut is in.

    Grimlock joins the excitement.

    Southar nods to the affirmative.

    Breymeer joins the group knowing Belina will be leading the group back to the cave.

    Peylae, representing her entire crew, is the last to speak, “Baroness Fairwind. My condolence to you and your family at the loss of your husband, Baron Grellus. I have recently lost my father and can understand your pain. Restenford has sheltered me while I recovered from my wounds fighting the gnolls near Bone Hill. I wish to repay your kindness. I will accompany this assault as well. I leave behind my ship and crew to aid Restenford as needed. Comus shall be in command in my absence.”

    “Thank you Lady Peylae. Your words are kind.” The baroness finishes the meeting stating, “So it is. You shall travel as you see fit to this mystery cave and terminate whatever evil it is you find there.”

    “Gelpas shall lead you into the dining hall. I have had two hogs roasted in your anticipated acceptance of this mission. We have had the honor of Falco delivering a barrel of his special Harvesterfest Ale. Enjoy and the speed of Phaulkon’s wind be with you.”

    Gelpas leads the group into the dining hall. It is slightly cramped with so many occupants. Falco, and an assistant, is there. Falco has a large dwarven smile. He has already tapped the barrel and is obviously a glass or two in. “She samples well,” Falco declares. His helper remains quiet and reserved; quietly drinking his ale and eating off the hog.

    The meal is enjoyed by all and many hours of revelry are enjoyed among the adventurers. Several times Falco appears to be caught staring at Dalic with curious eyes although he shows no negative emotions.

    Leaving the castle, Belina asks all to stop by the West Wind to go over some final details of the trip. The party moves to the tavern.

    In the tavern, Belina covers many of the details. She intends to travel by road from Restenford, through Lake Farmin. From there, she intends to travel across the small plain to the low mountains that contain the hidden cave.

    While Belina is speaking, the door to the common room opens and in walks Falco and his dwarven assistant.

    “G’eve brave travelers. I interrupt to take a moment of your time,” begins Falco.

    The party, stunned slightly by his bold appearance, remains quiet as he continues, “I notice dat you carry weapons and a shield made by my people. Tha items, recov’red in Bone Hill keep, were made by craftsmen of my clan an’ carried by my kin into da keep. Thay were lost seekin’ a evil power in da keep. The evil of da keep was tied to anot’er. Grab ‘erself an ale. I have a story ta tell.”

    The dwarf seems very sincere. His delivery catches the party’s interest and all take a seat or get comfortable standing to hear out the story.

    He tells the group over two hundred years ago his kin worked a mine to the south and west of Lake Farmin. The dwarves kept to themselves as they worked the mine. Near the end of the dig, something went strangely wrong. The trouble is rumored to have started deep in the mine. Contact was lost with the delve. The clan sent an armed contingent to investigate but they were also lost. A second party was sent to the ruins of a keep on Bone Hill to set up a basecamp but no word of that expedition returned either. Unwilling to risk further losses, the clan decided to abandon the mine.

    Falco finishes his tale, “I’ve remain’d in Restenford since in ord’r to watch and list’n. For two hundred years, all ‘as remain’d quiet. But now, appears somethin’ has made lair of da mine. The clan be wishin’ to assist in puttin’ down da threat. I give to ya Bofor Barrelmace, Priest of Fortubo, Patron of Stone & Metals.”

    Falco’s ‘helper’ steps forward, his long red beard pulled into two parts bound at the ends with golden rings. He has a calm deep voice. He is well spoken, “I request to accompany your raid on the mine. My knowledge of minecraft and engineering promises to aid your exploration of the mine. I have been briefed on the layout of the mine as it was last known. We, more than any, would like to see the evil in the mine vanquished. If this can be accomplished, the clan leaders are prepared to give each of you two thousand gold pieces (2,000 gp) or the equivalent thereof. In addition, the party may keep whatever plunder it locates that is not directly related to the mine or its previous operations. This gift will be given only with the promise of silence to any and all dwarven secrets we may encounter there be it engineering, mine related, political, financial or any other related subjects. Should you agree, you will be required to sign a contract. Violations of the contract will be dealt with very harshly.” He produces a scroll tube and removes a multi-page document written in dwarvish and common. “Should you not agree, I bid you the blessings of Fortubo for I will not travel with or aid your quest.”

    Bofor Barrelmace passes the document around saying, “Our clan wishes no ill will on Restenford or Lake Farmin. This mine, however, lays outside the control of the barony. The threat from the mine does indeed concern the barony. Therefore, we are willing to help destroy this threat. It should be clear, once the threat is removed, the mine remains in dwarven control.

    The contract basically states the adventurers shall remain silent about all aspect of the mine other than creatures met, the honor of any fallen party members, and if the mission was completed successfully. The contract depicts a dwarven clan member will be appointed as a liason to Restenford. This liason will represent dwarven interests and disseminate information as it relate to the mine. This liason currently is Falco.

    “Is everyone willing to sign the contract?” asks Bofor Barrelmace.

    Dalic Steelcoat, the battle raging dwarf, steps forward to sign, “Jus’ ta be clear? The mine and Belina’s cave ‘re da same?”

    “Indeed they are my thin dwarven cousin. I should suspect you and I will appreciate being back underground,” answers Bofor.

    Breymeer, the bearded human northland ranger, continues the questioning as Dalic signs the contract, “Is the baroness aware of this contract and if not, why?”

    Bofor answers, “We are not intending to put the barony at odds with our clan. I give you this information fully before Belina who I am aware is a Restenford Ranger and duty bound to report to Baroness Fairwind. The mine is in the wilds outside the reaches and protection of the barony and therefore its secrets need not be of the barony’s concern. I do agree the foe that appears to have taken up a residence and threatened the barony is a serious matter and that needs resolution. For this, our clan will pay dearly to this group for said resolution. Once the foe is defeated, the concerns of the barony shall be at rest and the contents of the mine a trivial matter to the barony. Any further concern are between our clan and the baroness and shall be negotiated in her court. I hope this answer satisfies you man-of-the-wild.”

    Breymeer accepts the answer and signs the contract.

    Kuba Cyvlorandau, the human man-at-arms, says as he flexes his massive muscles, "The pay seems fair enough and I have no interest in dwarvish mining or political secrets. I'm ready for some more vigorous activity."

    Speck, the halfling, is lost in thought for a bit and then smiles and says to Kuba, "I'll need help carrying 2,000 gold pieces." Speck flexes his little Halfling arm to a few snickers around the room.

    P’innr Bhut, the human sellsword, agrees to sign the contract. He states, "I am one of few words, this should not be a problem for me to remain silent."

    Ide Otneaux, the female half orc great-axe wielder, joins the group, “Sure, sounds fun.”

    The elves step forward as a group, Grimlock, the multi-talented half elf, Cirdan Saralonde, the noble elf mage, and Tathar Surion, the quiet moon-eyed Sehanine priest and Peylae, Captain of the Ungohling. They do not speak as they sign aboard. Once the contract is signed, Cirdan requests, “I have heard some of you speak an elvish bard playing in Farmin. I would very much like to overnight there on our way to hear her play.”

    Belina looks pleased but does not step forward, “As your guide, I will not be setting foot into the mine. Baroness Fairwind has requested I not enter the mine and therefore have no need to sign the contract. In addition, as a member of the Restenford Rangers, you will not be obligated to pay me any reward. I shall guard the animals and camp while the group explores the delve.

    Bofor looks the paperwork over, “Everything seems in order.” We leave at daybreak. Bofor Barrelmace and Falco bid the group good evening and retire back to Falco’s Tavern.

    The rest of the day the group makes some last minute purchases such as arrows and bolts from Pelo, an elf, the town fletcher, and visiting Alton, the armorer, for final tweeks and repairs.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Wed Dec 16, 2015 7:54 pm  
    Harvester 22, 577

    The group sets out in the pre-dawn light. The temperature is in the low 70s and the wind is calm.

    Bofor Barrelmace rides a pony. He is dressed in chain mail armor. He wears a brown tunic trimmed in grey over his armor. His helm has a partially open face with cheek and nose plates. The tunic and armor are decorated with hammer designs. A shield is strapped to his back. He has a warhammer, a mace and two throwing hammers. A silver colored hammer hangs on a similarly colored chain around his neck.

    Everyone in the group has a mount with the exception of Cirdan, Peylae and Tathar. They intend to buy mounts in Lake Farmin. Peylae captains the Ungohling from Restenford to Lake Farmin. Cirdan, Tathar and Peylae disembark and wait at the House of Abraham for the rest of the group to arrive. Cirdan Saralonde enjoys the music of Morwen.

    The rest of the group rides north without incident making it to the pass and turning south following the road. The road passes through a small wood and the weather remains steady as mid-day passes. The Dead Forest looms ahead on the horizon as Bone Hill’s wooded slopes rise on the western side of the road.

    The group passes the gnoll battle site and enters the Dead Woods. There is a disturbing feeling that the group’s passing is being monitored. Whether it is orc or elf scouts is never determined.

    As darkness falls, the group rides into Lake Farmin without incident. The first stop is the House of Abraham. The group is re-united. Abraham is thrilled to see the party and puts them up in rooms. After a quick hot meal and assorted drinks the party retires to their rooms having another long day ahead.

    During the trip Cirdan, waiting for a moment to speak to Paylae alone, seeks her council. Cirdan informs her of the brass serpent ring that he and Ledago recovered from the Yuan-Ti, He informs her of all he has discovered about it, mainly that it had a mild aura of protection on it with detect magic. Cirdan asks her opinion of the ring as he intends to put it on.

    Peylae agrees to help him and also thinks the ring is likely one that affords the wearer some form of magical protections.

    Cirdan, preparing to put the ring on, asks, “If it is cursed, please help me break the curse and remove the ring.” Peylae promises to do so. Cirdan slips on the ring with no obvious signs for good or ill.
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    Wed Dec 16, 2015 8:02 pm  
    Harvest 23, 577

    The evening was spent in fine bliss. Having heard the adventurers were back in town, Balmorrow came to the inn after his show and played music with Morwen. It was a very special treat.

    The morning of Harvester the 23rd brings temperatures in the low 70s and broken clouds. It has rained some overnight but ceased with the rising sun.

    Cirdan Saralonde, Peylae and Tathar visit the horse trader nearly across the street from the inn. They each purchase a horse. The trader’s supply is running low but the horses were stable animals. Southar finds himself walking as no horse will have him. They get nervous and jumpy when he is near.

    Any final adventuring gear is purchased at Lydia’s general store and weapons from Gilmi, the dwarf and town weaponsmith.

    Once the final preparations are made, the party rides out of town by late morning. Southar walks ahead of the group scouting. There is no wind and mild temperatures. The clouds become scattered and the sun shines through. For once the group rides in moderate comfort.

    The party rides past the guard shack with a wave from Golfig, one of the town guards stationed there. Passing beyond the limits of town, the party rides over the arched stone bridge, crossing over the Farmin River as it passes from Farmin Lake to the Oljatt Sea. The bridge has a high arch allowing some ship traffic into the lake from the sea. In the middle of the bridge is a solitary wooden post with a lantern mounted at the top. The lantern glows day and night by some mysterious power.

    Beyond the bridge lay the wilder lands of the barony. The road to Loreltarma passes through the Rogan Forest and then stretches out into the open, crossing the low grassy plain as it heads west following the Farmin River on the southern bank. The sea is but a handful of miles to the south; the air smells of it.

    In the distance, the road encounters the foothills of a stray spine of the Farmin Mountains. The small spine parallels its larger father to the north. Upon reaching the foothills, the road parallels the low peaks on the north side. A little to the west of the foothills, the Farmin River turns from its southern flow out of the mountains easterly towards Lake Farmin. West of the river the valley elevation increases as it is closed together between the main mountain chain and the lonely spine.

    The mountains themselves generally follow the shoreline of the sea from Loreltarma to north of Lake Farmin and terminating to large foothills and scattered high areas such as Bone Hill near Restenford. The grassy valley narrows the farther west one travels until the main peaks and the stray spine come together as one.

    Belina points to the foothills ahead, “We shall camp there overnight. We should be safe enough at the edge of the valley. The cave is only a few hours travel from there. Going into the delve during the day will give me a better chance at security while you are gone.”

    The trip across the valley in completely uneventful. There has been very little traffic on the road for some time. The Waverunner had delivered supplies into Lake Farmin just after the parties departure from the hamlet. It appears few brave the road for commerce anymore. The road, really more of a dirt track, is beginning to grow over but remains very visible and easily traveled. It is soft from the recent rains. Any farms or signs of settlement disappear within a few miles of Farmin Lake. The burned shells of farmhouses here or there are proof enough of the dangers of orc raids both now and in the distant past.

    It is but ten or so miles to the foothills. The trip is made in good time and there are several hours of light left when Belina holds up the group, “The orcs seem to be traveling north along the river into the Farmin Mountains. We shall came south of the river on the eastern slopes. With luck, they will not suspect we are here.”

    Belina leads the group south off of the path and into the foothills looking for a sheltered area. “We cannot afford a fire tonight so light one now while we can.”

    While sitting around the campfire, Bofor Barrelmace gives a brief overview of the first level of the mine, “There are front and rear entrances. Both lead to two chambers in series, one after the other. The front chambers are much grander than the rear. Connecting the front and rear chambers are two passages, one angled north and one south. Each passage has an additional chamber. The southern chamber has a secret entrance to the mines below.”

    The clouds move back in as night approaches. The temperatures drop into the low 60s. Cirdan Saralonde produces a small crystal bead and places it on the ground. With a few commands and motions, an opaque dome forms over where the crystal had been. It is roughly fifteen feet across, “Peylae my captain, your shelter.”

    The magical shelter is warm and dry inside. Standing inside, one can see clearly through the opaque shell as it becomes transparent to those inside.

    The elves occupy the shelter leaving room for four more occupants. Southar, Belina and Breymeer stay outside on watch while Speck, Kuba, Bhut, and Dalic squeeze in. Bofor, not one for magic shelters, stays outside. He is joined by Ide Otneaux. Dalic, Bhut and Kuba help with overwatch during the night.
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    Wed Dec 16, 2015 8:11 pm  
    Harvester 24, 577

    Morning arrives with continued light clouds and occasional misty drizzle. The temp is 70 degrees. The rain is insignificant and hardly enough to dampen one’s clothing let alone the adventurer’s spirit.

    Camp is broke and Belina guides the group around the northeastern edge of the foothills. Climbing into the foothills slightly, the group comes to a vantage point where the Farmin River can be seen flowing south across the grassy plain, cutting a shallow channel as it does so. The river then turns easterly towards Lake Farmin. Across the valley, the snowless tops of the Farmin Mountains are clear to see even with the broken clouds. Only in the deep winter do the tops of the mountains show snow and rare enough it is at that. Much of the foothills are a scattering of grassy areas, clumps of pines, yew and fir and rock outcroppings. The mountains are much of the same with more of a rocky structure than grass.

    Belina finds a small vale among some rocky hilltops. Here she informs the group, “I will watch the horses here and await your return. If there is trouble, I shall set the horses free and fade into the wilderness. In the event I am attacked, I will escape and evade until I can return to Restenford. Do not look for me here if the horses are gone.”

    To Bofor she asks, “Do you remember the way Mr. Barrelmace?” Bofor confirms he does.

    The group transfers gear from horse to pack, readies themselves for battle and prepares to move out. Bofor Barrelmace takes the lead among Breymeer and Southar. The two rangers scout for tracks.

    Within an hour, they find tracks leaving the foothills heading north. The tracks likely belong to the group Belina watched leave the cave.

    Bofor confirms this by telling the group, “The hill that contains the delve is a few miles south of us now. It is a little deeper into the foothills and a little higher in elevation. I do not know what may guard this place or any outposts they may have. Set your approach and I will guide you in. Out destination is that middle hilltop if I recall correctly.” Barrelmace points to the south where five hillcrests stand in a line.

    After attempting to observe the hilltop from a distance, it is concluded the dwarves have hidden the entrance too well. Even Barrelmace, a clan member, is unable to make out the entrance from a distance.

    Needing to close the distance, the rangers take an approach on the hill that minimizes any chance of counter-surveillance from the hill. It moves up the valley towards the hill, approaching from the east. Reaching the base, the party begins a slow ascent of the eastern slope. The trees on the slopes offer some limited protection from prying eyes.

    While scouting, Breymeer spots an odd flat stone that does not match the surrounding rock. Bofor confirms it appears to be one of the well-hidden dwarven markers. The marker “steps” continue up the slope of the hill at irregular intervals. The slope increases as the elevation increases. The orc tracks do not come down in this area leading the group to hope their approach will not be watched. The orc tracks are assumed to have come down from the western slope.

    Bofor advises the group the western entrance was the main entrance and the eastern entrance was used as a rear entrance, “It appears the orcs are using the main, western, entrance. Let’s hope the rear door is not guarded, assuming we can find it.”

    Southar and Breymeer lead the approach. Bofor is not far behind cautiously watching the edges of the hills as they climb. Dalic follows up behind Bofor, Dalic’s sword at the ready. Bofor looks back and gives an encouraging nod even though he has a concerned look on his face.

    Ide Otneaux and P’innr Bhut make up the next ranks. Ide walks with her spear as a walking staff.

    The elves congregate towards the middle. Tathar has his bow in hand.

    Kuba and Speck follow in behind the elves, watching the rear as they move.

    The hill is nearly a half mile across at this point. It is oval shaped with the widest part of the hill generally east to west and roughly one third mile north to south. The scattered trees begin to give way to rockier outcroppings and the slope increases significantly. The entrances are to be on the east and west slopes.

    The stones markers lead up the increasingly sharp slope and follow a shallow draw. The marked path slowly bends toward the eastern slope.

    Southar suddenly puts his hand up and points. Somehow a ledge, previously unseen, has come into view only two hundred feet ahead of the party’s scouts. Bofor can be heard commenting, “There it is. The dwaves are masters at hiding their entrances.”

    The ledge, and any secrets it contains, is two hundred feet ahead of the party and about 80 feet higher in elevation. At this point, there appears to be no resistance.

    Clouds have begun to thicken and are slowly filling the skies and covering the sun.

    Breymeer offers to scout ahead quietly.

    Bofor Barrelmace comments, “We have two options. Rest while scouting and plotting nearby, keeping an eye on the rear entrance here till morning again, or entering now. What say you?”

    Bofor gives his opinion, “We should be cautious and wait. Waiting will give more information but possibly expose us before we even enter the delve.”

    Dalic quickly expresses him opinion. He wishes to enter right away.

    Breymeer volunteers to approach silently to recon the immediate area around the entrance. He requests someone to come with.

    Grimlock volunteers to accompany Breymeer.

    Bofor takes his mace to hand.

    The way up to the ledge is moderately steep but not impassable. Breymeer finds strategically places stones making the climb more of a hidden staircase that winds slightly back and forth up to the ledge. The craftsmanship of the dwarve’s stonework is very impressive.

    Breymeer and Grimlock move in tandem. They move without sound, low and cautious. They reach the landing and risk a peak over the surface of the ledge. They take in all evidence they can gather and return to the group without arousing any obvious suspicion.

    Breymeer reports the entrance is cut from the stone, 15 feet high and 10 feet wide. Preceding the entrance is a 50 foot ledge consisting of flat stone. The landing has been cleared of obstructions such as brush and loose stone. Within the tunnel, there is a flicking light consistent with that of torchlight. There were no fresh tracks located on the approach to the ledge. It is obvious the ledge is cleared by something or someone. The flat stone did not reveal any tracks from what he could see.

    Grimlock adds to Breymeer’s observations, “Not to mention, how long will a torch burn? This area is obviously maintained at regular intervals. I offer to observe the patrol pattern if we decide to wait on entry.”

    Kuba steps forward, “I volunteer to be in the front ranks when we go in.” He has his war hammer out along with his shield.

    “And I can cover the rear with the sure aim of my bow,” adds Speck.

    Cirdan proposes to the group, "I do not know what kind of foe we are dealing with. An unguarded entrance that the inhabitants knows is there is concerning. Either they feel secure and feel no need to place guards, they have better fortifications further in, they have magical protections or it is a trap. If it is orcs, I would not suspect any magical traps, realistically. If the dwarves delved too deep and made contact with the drow, that may be different. The fact that this enemy wiped out an armed force of dwarves that knew they were going into hostile ground is sobering. We need to exercise caution in our actions. We cannot, my friend Dalic," Cirdan looks and Dalic and gives him a wink, "go in on a blind charge and expect to have an outcome similar to Bone Hill."

    Cirdan continues by offering his plan, "If the party agrees, I will recon the entrance, and further in, invisibly. I will go in as deep as I can while the spell is in effect. If all is clear and there is a place for the party to move up to into the cave, I will signal. We can then all be in the cave and have the surprise on any enemies that come by. That way they may not be able to alert others, and we may be able to take a prisoner that one of the mages could charm and get intel from."

    Seeing wisdom in Cirdan’s plan, the party allows him to proceed. Cirdan removes a gummy substance from a pocket, pulls out an eyelash and wraps the gummy material around it. Cirdan proceeds with his spell and disappears upon its completion.

    Cirdan’s voice advises, “I shall return.”
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    Thu Dec 17, 2015 10:07 pm  

    Cirdan carefully and quietly creeps to the edge of the platform; taking nearly ten minutes to get into position. Cirdan peeks around the landing finding nothing suspicious not previously noted.

    He sneaks to the edge of the chiseled opening to see if he can see deeper into the cave with his elven eyes. His dark vision is ruined by torches place nearly every 30 feet on alternating sides of the passageway. Cirdan is able to judge the passageway leads at least 150 feet arrow straight into the hillside; obviously intentionally carved from the stone. Cirdan admits to himself the dwarven-kind do have talent working stone.

    As quietly and quickly as Cirdan dare move, he slips up the passageway. As he proceeds, he hears orcs conversing ahead in their crude language, “None return yet. No troubles. Your watch.” The voices continue in mundane orcish interests. Cirdan slows and moves cautiously ahead. He passes the second torch, now roughly 60 feet into the passage, and stops. Directly in front of him, at a distance of 15 feet, are four armed orcs. They have ring mail armor, shields on their backs, hand axes on their belts and crossbows in their hands. Each has a collection of extra crossbow bolts in a case. A bone horn hangs on the wall next to the group.

    Beyond the orcs gathered in the hall, the passageway continues straight ahead. About 75 feet past the orcs, the passage appears to open into a circular chamber roughly 60 feet in diameter. The chamber is lit by torchlight and appears to be occupied by orcs. There may be as many as a dozen or so orcs in the room. It is too hard for Cirdan to quickly ascertain the exact number.

    They do not appear to have noticed Cirdan.

    “No point in rushing into death,” Kuba declares as Cirdan disappears and wanders off.

    Speck offers up, “I am very small and can help recon whenever needed.”

    Dalic concedes. He will gladly enter with Kuba when the time is right.

    Bofor speaks, "Let's find a lookout point and temporary camp location. We must remain easily concealable but at least have line a'sight to the entrance from the lookout station." Bofor looks about.

    Dalic follows suit.

    Dalic approaches Speck and Grmilock and quietly offers to join given his ability to conceal himself.

    Bofor stays slightly isolated observing the group. He appears to be particularly watching Dalic.

    During this time, it appears Southar has wandered off.

    Before the party gets a chance to scout for an observation point, Cirdan returns. He was gone about a half hour. Cirdan’s approach was not observed. Only his voice gave away his return and position.

    Cirdan briefs the group. The passage is cut out of the stone straight into the hillside. The passage is about 150 feet long and ends in a 60 foot diameter chamber with nearly a dozen orcs in it. In addition, halfway down the hall are four orcs standing guard. Next to them is a bone horn hanging on the wall.

    Cirdan suggests having an assault group near the entrance to jump the orc sentry when he does a perimeter check. Cirdan will have snuck back into the passage and take out whoever still stands next to the horn; preventing an alarm.

    Dalic, Kuba and Bhut immediately volunteer to be the assault team. Ide will remain with the group for protection until entry is made. Cirdan advised those not on the assault unit can move to just below the ledge.

    Suddenly, Southar’s image reappears nearby, materializing from the stone itself. He had been leaning up against a stone, unmoving for some time. His image had completely altered coloration to match his surroundings making him virtually invisible, equipment and all. “I will cover our rear in case of attack. Inform me when the initial chamber is clear.”

    Cirdan bids good luck and returns to the passageway.

    Dalic, Kuba and Bhut move up to the cut edge of the passage entrance. Dalic notes to the others the stonework is obviously of dwarven craftsmanship.

    The rest of the group moves up to just below the ledge.

    The party waits and waits. Sticking with the plan, knowing the torches must be replaced on a routine basis, the party hangs tight.

    Finally, footsteps are heard coming towards the entrance from the interior of the passage. The sound of armor is clear. This is certainly not Cirdan although the individual sounds to be alone. An orc exits the threshold of the passageway and steps out onto the ledge. He wears ring mail armor and has a shield on his back. He holds a light crossbow and has a hand axe on his belt. He immediately sees the group and stands wide eyed and drop jawed in surprise.

    When Cirdan reaches the orc outpost in the passageway, he discovers only two orcs remain. In addition, the orcs in the main chamber have started a fire in a center fire ring. Cirdan waits patiently for nearly an hour before an orc walks up the passageway replacing torches as he comes. The orc is armed and equipped as the others. His crossbow and axe are stowed. The torch bearer places a fresh torch into the sconce and leaves the extinguished torches on the floor below the sconces. The torch bearer moves past the orc outpost and eventually approaches the exterior ledge. Cirdan prepares for the impending attack.

    The attack comes swiftly on the ledge. Kuba charges forward, shield before him and war hammer raised. While doing so, Dalic lets fly with a throwing knife. The knife sticks the orc in the left thigh as a bolt from Grimlock’s crossbow sticks it in the abdomen. Lastly, Kuba’s hammer, in a side-swing arc, strikes its neck snapping it immediately. The orc crumples to the ground. Bhut, an attack not required, grabs the body and drags it clear of the passage.

    Breymeer, bow in hand, covers the landing for other dangers.

    The rest of the party remains alert for threats.

    Bofor calls down to the others as he watches the orc go down, “They are almost in. Prepare to move up to the ledge to fall in behind.” Bofor grips his mace tightly and turns to approach the ledge.

    Grimlock walks over to the orc corpse and sighs, “We may have a problem. I’m guessing our buddy here,” he nudges the body with his foot, “needs to get back to the others soon. Ahhhhh, now what?”

    Dalic walks over as well and retrieves his throwing dagger from the body. He whispers to the others, “Sneak, speak or spell?” In Dalic-speak, he is curious if the group should call the enemy out, sneak in to attack or use a spell to bind or disorient them.

    Tathar joins the others on the ledge and examines the corpse. Its purse is very light. It contains only one solitary gold piece.

    During the time, Cirdan comes to the threshold dragging a corpse. The orc body has its throat cut deeply. He announces, “There is another body back there. The orc sentries are all dead. They have started a central fire in the chamber beyond. We may have to go in and just start killing. Some should go around to the other tunnel to prevent escape.” While speaking he kneels and checks the body, finding 7 gp.

    Tathar, noticing the horn on Cirdan's neck proposes, "When we enter I will recover any horn that may be available for signal.” Tathar prepares himself for entry by withdrawing his bow and nocking an arrow.

    The entire group has now moved up from below the landing and stands to the side of the tunnel entrance for the next move.
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    Fri Jan 08, 2016 10:13 pm  
    Into the delve

    Breymeer concurs with Cirdan’s idea. “I will go to the other entrance. Who wants to come with?”

    Kuba and then Speck both step forward. Kuba tells Breymeer, “We are willing to go to the other entrance. Anyone else?”

    Ide Otneaux volunteers to be the fourth if no one else wishes to join them.

    Bhut is ready to enter here, “Let’s move silently to the chamber and attack.”

    Grimlock asks what is beyond the chamber of orcs. Cirdan is unsure but a passageway continues west from the chamber.

    Dalic eagerly draws his bastard sword, grinning ear to ear, "I like Cirdan's plan. We may need ta just start killin'." His eyes crinkle at the corners beneath his helmet.

    Bofor, walking up, offers to follow in on the initial assault, "The clan thanks ye each for your bravery. I shall follow in here behind ye. Beyond the initial chamber, nearly 200 feet further into the hill, will be a second, larger chamber. I know not what is now in it."

    Southar decides he wishes to travel with Breymeer, Kuba and Speck. He will enter the western opening with them. Ide Otneaux will stay with the main group as a result.

    The group splits. Breymeer estimates it will take about an hour to get to the west entrance. Breymeer, Southar, Speck and Kuba depart.

    West expedition (WE), The western expedition backtracks to lower ground and begin carefully making their way around the circumference of the hill, trying to stay concealed. They do not travel to the base of the hill to save time.

    East expedition (EE), The eastern expedition enters the tunnel and slowly and quietly make their way up the passage.

    After 75 feet, the group reaches the corpse of the other orc sentry. Tathar pauses to grab its purse. It looks nearly empty.

    The group continues up the passage. It is 10 feet wide and 15 feet high. The group walks in two columns.

    Dalic, with his bastard sword in hand, and Bhut, with his axes, have taken the front rank.

    Ide Otneaux walks solo in the second rank. She has her spear out.

    Cirdan Saralone and Tathar, holding his bow with an arrow nocked, are in the third row.

    Peylae and Grimlock are the fourth row.

    Bofor Barrelmace is alone in the fifth and final row.

    As the group nears the room, they can make out more of the details. The chamber is circular, cut smoothly from the rock with a domed ceiling. The apex of the ceiling is 30 feet above the floor. There are eight sconces with torches along the walls spaced generally evenly. The walls themselves are decorated with intricate bas-reliefs depicting scenes from dwarven legends. The decorations have been defaced significantly. There are no furnishings in the chamber, just simple blankets scattered about. A large box on the north wall contains a supply of wood.

    A ten foot wide passageway continues west from the room. It is also 15 feet high.

    There are ten orcs in the room. All wear ring mail armor. Nine have hand axes and crossbows. One has a shield, spear and short sword.

    The one with the short sword stands near the fire. The others are milling about the room. A couple are adding wood to the fire from the box. Four appear to be playing some type of game of chance.

    The orcs do not appear to be aware of the adventurers in the eastern passage. Grimlock has pressed himself close to the wall.

    The group has been moving forward in the dark, using the light from the torches in the passageway and the chamber to guide them.

    Breymeer and Southar do some quick scouting and decided to travel the southern side of the hill. Both of them concluded it offered enough cover and had the fewest sign of travel.

    Dalic whispers, "Iffen only we coul' smoke 'em out: thems a lotta bolts ta dodge." He shifts close to the right edge of the cave wall for additional concealment. He crouches and even pauses on one knee, "Grim, ye hab any more a-tha web magix? Iffen so, every one hold here, tha torches may catch the webbing a blaze!"

    The orc tending the fire looks up and sees the group of adventurers gathered in the passageway.

    Dalic, seeing the gig is up, charges side by side with Bhut and Ide Otneaux into the room as the orc at the fire pit begins giving his companions orders.

    Dalic enters the chamber, moving right. The first orc in his path fires a crossbow bolt at him. It flies past him and ricochets off the stone wall, harming no one. Dalic, for his part, removes the orc’s head from its body. The orc standing behind the crumbling corpse fires his crossbow into Dalic point blank. The bolt pierces the armor plating at his right shoulder but only grazes his flesh (4, 26/30).

    Ide Otneaux passes by Bhut as she charges the orcs on the left where two are busy talking in front of the four playing the game of chance.

    The two orcs turn and guard while arming themselves with their axes. Ide piles into them removing the head from one with her great axe. It falls dead. The remaining orc cuts Ide’s flesh with his hatchet, hitting her in the right leg just below the knee (5, 30/35).

    P’innr Bhut follows her charge and drops the orc as it recovers from striking her in the leg. He removed the orcs leg at the thigh. It falls to the stone floor as it bleeds out.

    The four orcs playing games of chance quickly form a line and fire bolts into P’innr and Ide. One of the bolts misses Bhut and a second deflects off Ide’s studded leather armor. The third strikes Ide’s upper right arm (4, 26/35) and the fourth rips through her right forearm tearing a wound as it passes through (6, 20/35). Ide drops her great axe from the impact and pain.

    Peylae steps ahead of Grimlock, “Bofor, put out that torch. We can all see back here without it.”

    Grimlock holds and analyzes.

    Cirdan, still invisible, is heard to move up the passage towards the chamber but the sound of his footsteps are lost almost immediately.

    Tathar fires two arrows into the orc at the fire pit. The first arrow deflects off its shield but the second takes him through the head when he steals a peak at the elf. The orc dies immediately.

    The remaining orc, at the far right of the chamber, turns and begins to flee down the exit passageway heading deeper into the hill.

    In the passageway, Bofor quickly seizes the torch near him and douses it.

    Grimlock gathers some dust and blows it towards the room while giving incantations.

    Peylae holds her position while Tathar takes a deadly aim at the fleeing orc. While doing so, he shouts to an unseen Cirdan, “Cirdan, hit the floor wherever you are!” Tathar pauses only a moment before letting the sniper’s arrow fly. He takes a second arrow in hand to fire at the orc and then pauses, seeing from his experience, it will not be needed. The initial arrow strikes the fleeing orc in the back and protrudes through his chest, felling it with an abbreviated shriek of warning down the hall. Tathar stands momentarily to admire his shot, then moves into the chamber while notching the arrow to bowstring. For such a quiet, aloof elf, his speed and decision making are sobering when trouble breaks out. Tathar rounds the corner into the chamber and takes a defensive position.

    Dalic advances on the orc before him. The orc drops its crossbow and takes its hand axe to bear against Dalic. The blow deflects off Dalic’s plate mail armor. Dalic brings death upon the orc by slashing it deeply across the thigh and lower abdomen, spilling the contents.

    Ide retrieves her axe. She joins Bhut as they move in on the line of orcs resembling a whirling axe death dealing machine. Bhut splits a head and Ide removes a leg killing both orcs. The remaining two orcs drop in their tracks and begin an unnatural snooze brought on by Grimlock’s arcane magics.

    The adversaries are momentarily overcome. The combat in the chamber has ended.

    Bhut checks the bodies of the two orcs he killed finding the armor and weapons described as well as each orc has a small coin pouch.

    Dalic searches the two orcs he slew finding similar results. He takes the bolt carrier from each orc. He moves on to the crate along the wall finding blocks of wood and crude torches. From there he moves along the circular wall to the far corridor and waits for the group out of the line of sight of the passageway. Dalic admires the skill of the dwarf stonework as he moves.

    Grimlock enters the room and carefully binds both sleeping orcs. Between them, a few gold coins are scattered on the floor where they had been gambling.

    Bofor, while watching the actions of Grimlock as he deals with the sleeping orcs, simply moves across the perimeter of the room in similar fashion as Dalic. Bofor takes up a position near Dalic.

    Tathar walks up to Ide and looks to the bleeding hole in her forearm. Ide grimaces as Tathar patches up the arm with bandages (+2, 22/35) and then asks Sehanine for her healing powers upon the half-orc ally (+4, 26/35). The wound stops bleeding.

    The voice of Cirdan startles everyone shortly after the battle is over, “The next chamber is nearly two hundred feet down this passageway. I can see a fire burning in the center of the room but I saw no orcs or other foul creatures. Give me a few minutes and I will go down and scout the room closer.” Before the voice stops, Cirdan adds, “In regard to the sleeping orcs, we only need one of them. When I get back, I can try to loosen its tongue with magic, unless Paylae can.” With that, Cirdan is assumed to have returned to the far passageway to scout.

    Cirdan makes his way carefully down the hall making note that there are no torches lighting the way. It is only dimly lit by the fires in the two rooms at either end. The passageway is a little less than two hundred feet long; it is arrow straight and carved from the stone.

    Once Cirdan reaches the entrance to the chamber, he peers in. The room is similarly constructed, being circular in design with a 90 foot diameter. The chamber ceiling is 45 feet above the floor. The fire consists of burning wood pallets. Near the southern wall is a large wooden table with two long, high benches. Sitting at the table is a lone bugbear. He appears very bored and stares, as if in a daydream, into the fire in the center of the room. He does not appear to have heard anything of the battle.

    Peylae, having walked into the room in time to hear Cirdan’s departing words, advises, “If Cirdan advises magical aid to the questioning, I shall await his return and assist.”

    Dalic offers the crossbow bolts he collected to the party members with crossbows and offers to carry them on their behalf until needed. Grimlock acknowledges and thanks him. Dalic continues by recommending killing the orcs after getting information. Should an interrogation be in order, he volunteers somewhat reluctantly.

    Bofor watches with odd amusement to Dalic's actions. He states, "Should any need further healing before we continue, make it known as we may not get another moment for some time. Put the filthy orcs to death as needed.”

    Grimlock states, “We will keep both orcs for now. What we do can intimidate the other. If we decide to go that route. Not sure it's a really wise choice for Cirdan to scout so far ahead alone.”

    Ide tests out her healed arm and finds it very stable, “I’m good.” She walks around and finishes collecting the coin sacks from the fallen orcs, including the loose coins on the ground by the gamblers, “Looks like their luck ran out. And now we all have some celebration gold when we return to Restenford.”

    Cirdan sneaks across the room without drawing attention to himself. The corridor leading to the NW is lined with six sconces spaced evenly along its nearly 360 foot length. Only half of the torches are lit leaving much of the hallway shadowed. He investigates up to the next chamber.

    The room is a 90 foot circular room with a 45 foot ceiling similar to the previous chamber. This chamber has a passageway leading SW out of the room.

    In the room are three flickering torches illuminating the room from a triangular pattern across the room from each other. The distance leaves the room dimly lit at the fringes of the torch light (roughly 20-30 radius per torch). The room contains a large wooden table, three chairs and three straw pallets. Two of the pallets have been ransacked. Human or humanoid bones and offal are spread around the chamber. Smashed and broken weapons also litter the floor as do torn armor and battered shields. The chamber smells horrible.

    Sitting on the intact sleeping straw pallet is a large green and mottled grey creature. If erect, it would stand nine feet high. Its frame, although gangly, is heavy and weighs roughly 500 pounds. The hide of the creature is rubbery and wart covered. Its coarse hair is greenish-black. It has long claw like fingers ending in dagger-like nails and a mouth full of sharp teeth.

    Dalic, realizing Cirdan has been gone for a while prepares his bastard sword offering to advance, “Kill an’ leave dem orcs. Cirdan be gone too long. I will scout ahead and lend aid tha be needed. We ain’t ta split further fer safety. We must away t’gether an’ now.”

    Bofor supports him, “My odd looking kinsman is right,” he turns towards the hall, mace in hand. Dalic begins the march down the hall ahead of Bofor.

    “Don’t rush ahead,” calls out Grimlock. “Cirdan can take care of himself. Wait here for his return and scouting report. Let’s work on our captives for information.”

    Bofor steps hesitantly and turns back, “For your party ye know more of its members. If ye think Cirdan is safe yet, we will give him time.”

    “Let it be known, it be a mistake ta leave him ou so long alone, but even more foolish ta run after im wit no back up,” Dalic grumbles.

    Grimlock wakes one of the orcs, “Who is the ogre and who does he serve? Draw us a map of this cave. How many are you and what other foul creatures are under their control?”

    The orc either does not know the common language or refuses to answer.

    Cirdan returns during the attempted interview and brief’s the group. A bugbear is in the next chamber. He is nearly asleep sitting at a table staring at the fire. To the NW, a long hallway leads to an additional chamber. This chamber contains a troll. From that chamber, the passageway exits to the SW. Cirdan did not go any further.

    Cirdan suggests, “We need to dispatch the bugbear, then we can get the troll. I will volunteer to try and slit its throat while everyone else stands by to hack it to bits when it wakes up.”

    Ide Otneaux looks through the pouches she collected. Looks to be about 5 dozen gold.

    Grimlock gives his opinion, “I would say we leave the orcs bound under one guard. We can take out the bugbear as it is not wary in its vulnerable state. Then come back here and finish with the orcs. That way we have a safety zone between the troll and us.”

    Grimlock looks for reactions as he continues, “Cirdan and I can dispatch the bugbear with a backup of ranged weapons in case we miss our mark.”

    Tathar proposes dispatching the bugbear with arrows from the doorway. All who can fire will loose arrows at the same time.

    Dalic gives a counter point, “Bugbear and troll disposal! We keep’n movin’. Kill da orcs. Let’s go.”

    Bhut agrees with Dalic.

    Grimlock continues to argue for his plan, “Dalic, moving in is likely to spoil our advantage. Battle is not all just stepping in and swinging. It seems a bit odd a lone hobgoblin would be sitting alone in a room doesn't it?”

    Grimlock asks Cirdan how large the room with the bugbear is and Cirdan responds, “Both the room with the bugbear and the troll are about 90 feet across with high ceilings.

    “Rushing in could be a huge mistake,” concludes Grimlock. He addresses Cirdan again, “You should go down the southwest hall from the bugbear room and then report back. We go from there. I am not going further until then.”

    Dalic gets a pouty face and Bofor rolls his eyes at him.

    Peylae interrupts pointing down the dark passageway that leads from the orc chamber the party stands in towards the bugbear chamber, “Mute point fellas. Something comes.” Her voice lowers to a loud whisper, “I believe the troll has entered the passage.”

    Peylae had been looking down the hall while the party discussed its next action. The passageway is dark in the middle, lit only by the bon fires in the rooms on either end of its nearly 200 foot length.

    At the far end of the darkened hall stands what appears to be a lone bugbear staring in the direction of the party while rubbing sleep from its eyes. It wears splint mail armor and leans heavily on a large spear.

    In the passageway, the large, hunched silhouette of a gangly creature moves slowly up the hall. It sniffs the air, appearing to be tracking something by scent. Its shoulders hunch forward and its long, muscled arms drag loosely along the floor. It is moving at a slow walk; a rate of about 3 feet per second. At its current rate, it will reach the room in about one minute.
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    Tue Jan 12, 2016 12:28 pm  
    Trolls, Ogres & Fireballs - oh my

    Cirdan, Dalic and Grimlock all start giving orders at the same time. They all give similar tactical advice.

    Cirdan states, ”Everyone who uses ranged attacks move back. Those with melee weapons hide on either side of the door. Tathar, stay close to the door, when the troll clears, move into the passage and shoot the bugbear. I will follow if, you need help. When the troll enters, Dalic, do what you do best, and everyone else join in.” Given the tone of his voice, one could almost make out the twinkle in his eye had he not remained invisible.

    Grimlock, as a quick sidebar, calls out, “Dalic, you can dispose of the orc if you wish, just make it fast and quiet.”

    To Peylae he requests, “Put that bugbear to sleep while it is in sight or someone put it down with a magic bolt.”

    Grimlock throws out all caution, “Cirdan, want to have some fun and blow the hell out of that tunnel and everything in it? Will be a sight to behold but we may announce ourselves to those deeper in.”

    More practically, he continues, “Hell, let's all get to the sides, half on each side. When the troll enters the room everyone unleash a volley of arrows. Then Dalic and our heavies clean up what's left. I have oil so we can burn what's left of the troll to keep it down for good.”

    Grimlock stands among the orcs, both tied and one yet sleeping. He gets his oil prepared in his pack and arms himself with his crossbow. Locked and loaded, he awaits his fate.

    Dalic’s voice rings in, "Looks like tha troll be tracking our invisible fren'. Let's take tha flanks at tha cave walls, ranged attacks at entry. Shoot as many times as ye can without hitting the Bhut, Ide an' Dalic."

    Dalic pulls out his caltrops and lobs all ten of them toward the entry point keeping them within the cavern while adding,"An' aim low, he may be stumblin'. We shoul' stan' in the center ta draw 'im in".

    While speaking, Dalic draws two throwing knives himself, "When he be close enough, the three fighters will take 'im down if he yet stands. Kill tha orcs now, shoul' they be freed in tha commotion this will go south quick."

    Bofor takes up a crossbow and bolt case from a dead orc. He motions to Dalic for an additional bolt case and positions himself along his side of the cave wall, ten feet from the mouth to the north of the entrance. Dalic tosses him a bolt case.

    Bofor fumbles with the device but eventually loads it to the best of his ability, training it on the entry point.

    Ide Otneaux follows Bofor’s lead and takes a crossbow and bolt case from a dead orc. She takes up a position in the middle of the room between the fire pit and the entrance way. Next to her, she sets her spear. Tathar joins her with his bow ready. Dalic steps in with his daggers and Bhut with his twirling axes.

    Peylae pulls out her short sword, “I do not have magical bolts dear Grimlock. I will do what I can.” She moves from near the center of the room to the south side of the passage entrance. She holds her short sword inverted downward and prepares to pounce.

    Seeing the commotion and preparation for attack, the bugbear ducks to the south side of the doorway disappearing from view before anyone can put an arrow in his gob.

    The troll alerts to the presence of the party and bolts forward into a sprint with surprising speed and agility. Its teeth bared and claws raking the ground like Freddie Krueger, he charges recklessly down the hall like a charging bull.

    Bowstrings begin to sing as Tathar and Ide let fly.

    Ide Otneaux, having very little crossbow experience, sends her bolt high left.

    Tathar, having the unerring accuracy of the elves, strikes its left thigh with his first round but the sheaf arrow bounces off the tough rubbery hide. Correcting his aim, Tathar puts the second one across the troll’s cheek drawing forth a greenish colored ooze from the injury (4, 39/43).

    The troll covers the entire hallway and bursts into the room as Dalic heaves his daggers, one after the other. The first strikes its left leg piercing the skin before bouncing off (4, 35/43). The second buries itself deep into the right thigh (9, 26/43). Blood slowly leaks from the wound. Immediately after it steps upon one of Dalic’s caltrops (2, 24/43) shrieking with pain and anger.

    As the troll enters the chamber, Bofor lets fly with his bolt, missing everything and everyone.

    The troll, having the caltrop stuck in his foot, stumbles forward but still reaches the line of defenders. Dalic draws his sword while Tathar deftly side steps the charging beast.

    Ide acts quickly to drop her crossbow and pulls up her spear. She barely raises the spear high enough to catch the troll’s right leg (5, 19/43) as it slams into her shredding her left thigh as it rakes her deeply with his left hand claws (16, 10/35). Ide is sent spinning to the floor with a heavy thud from the impact (2, 8/35). She lands prone just north of her original position. Her spear clatters away to the north wall. Her leg, although wounded, does not continue to bleed as the attack did not significantly damage the arteries. She grimaces in obvious pain but remains conscious.

    Bhut takes advantage of his opportunity and swings both his axes like a home run hitter into the off balance troll’s abdomen. Both break through the rubbery hide, the second deeper than the first (6, 13/43 and 9, 4/43).

    As it goes down, the troll rakes Bhut across the chest with its right hand claws (7, 21/28) as it comes crashing down to the floor sliding into the fire pit (4, 0/43). Coals, sparks and ash fly about as the fire is nearly extinguished and scattered. The troll rolls free of the now disrupted fire pit. It leaks greenish blood through its soot stained skin. It quivers slightly, twitching as it gives into death.

    As the troll barrels into the fire pit, Peylae, spinning her blade point up, heads down the hall increasing her speed from a jog to a sprint, “We need to stop the bugbear.”

    Dalic immediately goes to the troll’s body and begins to hack at it multiple times. He gashes it deeply twice with his bastard sword (20, -20/43). Between slashes, Dalic lets out, “And somehow <hack>, that almost worked <hack> . . .”

    Bhut regains his composure, straightening out his armor and equipment after the blow from the troll. “If anyone has a chance to give me some aid quickly? If not, I can press on through the pain.” Bhut looks at his chest, finding himself with several lacerations, none of which continue to bleed; just a touch painful. Bhut finds he still has full range of movement.

    Grimlock moves over with his oil in hand.

    Ide moves from a prone position to a sitting position, crying out from the pain in her leg. She looks the injury over without trying to stand. She then looks at the troll being hacked apart and lets out a sigh of relief.

    Tathar removes his aid kit and binds Ide’s thigh injury tightly (+3, 11/35) as Bofor runs over, mace in hand, looking to strike the troll. Seeing the troll staying down, and Ide’s need, he instead lays his hands on her thigh and prays for her healing, “Never did I think I would be praying for the life of an orc. Your fellowship is certainly peculiar.” (+5, 16/35).

    Tathar has Ide test the leg. She stands but finds it still injured. The elf heals her as well (+3, 19/35). Ide continues to limp on the leg as the wound affects her movements. She vows to continue on as needed.

    Soft footsteps pattern down the western passageway as Peylae continues to sprint westward after the bugbear. She slows as she enters the bugbear chamber to avoid any ambush set against her as she enters. Seeing the chamber clear, she begins to run again, this time crossing the bugbear’s chamber heading for the SW passageway.

    <The troll begins to regenerate (+3, -17/43).>

    Peylae slows to enter the SW passageway. The hallway is dark. Although lined by six sconces, only the fourth one, 180 feet down the passageway from NE to SW, is lit. The bugbear is passing through the torchlight given off by this torch as Peylae and Cirdan enter the SW passageway from the bugbear’s chamber.

    The end of the passageway (a little over 300 feet long) opens up to a large chamber. As with the other chambers, a fire burns in the center of the chamber illuminating the room.

    Peylae and Cirdan make it about 90 feet down the passageway before seeing the bugbear enter the chamber at the end of the passageway. It is now giving off many hand signals and speaking loudly to something.

    Having been beat to the chamber, Peylae stops and presses herself up against the wall in attempt to hide as best she can <fails hide in shadows check>. Cirdan stops moving and stands quiety across the hall from her. They peer SW in the dark towards the large chamber. Two ogres appear in the passageway entrance to the room and peer NE towards Peylae and Cirdan.

    The ogres appear to give some commands to the bugbear as they arm themselves with very large clubs.

    Dalic, seeing the troll is sufficiently subdued, stands back to allow Grimlock to burn it, “Bhut, if ye be set now, on me. We need ta back up Peylae.” Dalic collects up his caltrops and jogs away without awaiting a response.

    Grimlock, putting away the oil, sprints west down the hallway after Peylae. He moves with incredible speed, nimble and fast. He reaches the end of the passageway and turns south, disappearing into the bugbear chamber. There he meets Peylae on her return to the party, “Ogres, Grimlock. There are two ogres ahead. The bugbear may have raised the alarm.”

    Bofor adds, “Burn the thing good so we don’t need to fight it again. Kill the remaining orcs and meet in the next room.” He follows Dalic west down the passageway.

    Bhut, flashing Dalic a look of joy on his face, gladly runs west down the hall, eager for the chance for more battle. He finds the short legged dwarf’s pace easy to maintain, hardly above his face walking pace.

    Tathar remains in the orc chamber. The orcs remain bound. One awake and one asleep. The troll remains a crumpled pile on the floor.

    Ide remains with Tathar, “I do not feel like a bugbear chase on this leg. I will stay here with you. If anything comes, get behind me and turn it into a pin cushion. I will keep them off of you.”

    Peylae and Grimlock hold in the bugbear chamber as Dalic, Bofor and Bhut arrive. They stay out of sight of the SW passageway. Peylae briefs them, “There are two ogres in the next chamber. Cirdan is somewhere in that hall,” she points to the SW passageway from the bugbear chamber to the ogre chamber. “He told me to come back and warn you. I assume he is holding guard until we catch up. I left him a little over 1/3 the way down the hall (90 feet).”

    The bugbear chamber is a 90 foot circular room with a 45 foot high domed ceiling. It has a fire going in the center of the chamber. Two large, rough sleeping pallets occupy the room on the far side of a large wooden table and two long high benches. Some wooden pallets along with straw burns on the fire. It appears the bugbear had burned some of the sleeping pallets (straw sleeping pallets over crude wooden shipping pallets).

    Cirdan begins to move down the passageway as quickly and quietly as he dare move. He risks his regular walking speed until he nears the ogre chamber. He yet remains 120 feet away.

    Cirdan arrives in the ogre chamber. It is identically shaped as the troll chamber. It contains similar defiled dwarven images as the other chamber walls depicted.

    Strewn about the room are six large sleeping pallets, two huge clubs, some cured skins, animal bones, broken weapons and smashed armor. The smoky bonfire is the room’s only light. A dark corridor leads NW. It is lit by only one torch although the walls have six sconces. The lit torch is nearly half way down the hall.

    Looking down the NW corridor, Cirdan can see the bugbear entering a dimly lit, very large chamber. It is shouting alarm. The ogres are passing by the lit torch approximately half way to the large chamber to the NW.

    Cirdan carefully follows the ogres and watches them enter the very large central chamber. It is dimly lit by torches around the outer walls of the 330 foot diameter room. The ceiling domes to a height 60 feet above.

    Cirdan’s dark vision aids him to see in the dim torchlight that there are over two dozen orcs coming to the call of the bugbear. After a quick situation report, the orcs muster and assemble. They begin making defensive positions on the SE and NE hallways. Nearly ten orcs go to each position. The ogres take up positions by the orcs as well. The bugbear and one orc appear to have run off to the west. Several orcs, approx. a half dozen, are scattering and taking up positions behind sleeping pallets. They are tipping them up and using them for cover. They appear to have crossbows. There are four orcs in individual hides and two orcs in a fifth hide. The fifth hide is near the central column. The other four are scattered in an arc to the east of the central column halfway across the radius of the room.

    Cirdan does some quick calculations in his head as he removes some sulfur and bat guano from a pocket, rolling the two together. Knowing he cannot hit both groups, he concentrates the energies on the orcs and ogre forming up at the passageway entrance in front of him.
    Cirdan points to the group and the sticky bundle in his hand alights and takes flight down the hallway. The perplexed look on the creatures faces soon turns to horror as the little streaking flame bursts into a fiery eruption.

    The fireball immediately kills eight of the orcs at the SE position. One orc remains standing. He is equipped and armored similar to the orc slain by the firepit back in the original orc chamber. This orc is assumed to be some type of leader. The ogre also yet stands.

    Both the orc and the ogre are busy beating out the flames that remain about their clothing and equipment. They are both stumbling back into the chamber, giving up their post.

    Dalic moves to the table and tips it into barricade position very close to the SW entry. Seeing his intentions, Bofor assists. They struggle to move the sturdy table into position. It was obviously made for the large framed bugbear. The duo also takes the remaining wooden pallets completing a semi circle around the SW entry point while allowing only a man sized breach for Cirdan to return through. While doing so, the two dwarves talk amongst themselves.

    As with the orc chamber, the group notes the dwarven images on the walls of this chamber are all defaced.

    Grimlock pauses to make sure the room remains clear of threats. Seeing the room is generally secured to the SW, Grimlock moves into the NW passageway cautiously.

    Dalic, seeing Grimlock exploring the tunnel, calls out, “Circle back to this chamber after your brief recon.”

    Peylae takes up position at the NW entry calling quietly out to Grimlock, “Call for aid if needed.”

    Bhut takes up position in the center of the room resting both axes on his shoulders. He remains alert to trouble from any of the portals in the room.

    The group has hardly completed their fortifications when the dimly lit ogre chamber three hundred plus feet to the SW illuminates with a flash of distant light. The flash appears to have come from the northwest corner of the chamber or hallway beyond. A soft sound of an erupting fire carries up the hall shortly thereafter.

    Grimlock finds the corridor leading to the NW is lined with six sconces spaced evenly along its nearly 360 foot length. Only half of the torches are lit leaving much of the hallway shadowed.

    The room is a 90 foot circular room with a 45 foot ceiling similar to the previous chamber. This chamber has a passageway leading SW out of the room.

    In the room are three flickering torches illuminating the room from a triangular pattern across the room from each other. The distance leaves the room dimly lit at the fringes of the torch light (roughly 20-30 radius per torch). The room contains a large wooden table, three chairs and three straw pallets. Two of the pallets have been ransacked. Human or humanoid bones and offal are spread around the chamber. Smashed and broken weapons also litter the floor as do torn armor and battered shields. The chamber smells horrible.

    Tathar pours oil upon the troll. While doing so, he discovers the wounds are beginning to close on the creature. He quickly puts it to fire and has Ide assist him in gathering the wood from the box and that scattered about the room. They spend several minutes building a fire around the troll’s body.

    Finding the body too large to completely cover with wood, Ide chops the arms, legs and head from the beast and stacks them on the torso. Ide Otneaux adds her flask of oil to the fire and within a few minutes, the dry wood has gathered strength and burns heartily over the troll’s corpse. The green rubbery skin begins to turn black as the fire slowly works away at the hide.
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    Sun Feb 14, 2016 8:27 pm  

    Dalic becomes giddy, "Dragon? Please tell me we gets ta kill a dragon!"

    Bofor chastises him, "Dragons are not to be trifled with odd-kin."

    Dalic braces himself against the wall ready to pounce at the opening in the barricade.

    Bofor readies his mace and states, Cirdan Saralonde, ye best get back here quick before Dalic has to save you." The jovial nature of the statement seems odd but speaks to Bofor's dwarven taste for battle.

    Peylae listens to the dwarves banter, “Dwarves certainly fear not battle. Cirdan will return for who shall see him?”

    Bhut continues to impatiently watch intermittently between the tunnels. He appears anxious to get back into battle.

    A few minutes pass before Cirdan comes creeping back up the hallway, now visible. He quickly briefs the group. The orcs are assembled in the large chamber. There were about two dozen of them along with two ogres. The alarm has been raised. They were mobilizing at the SE and NE entrances to the room. He hit the SE group with a ball of fire wounding an ogre and an orc leader. The fireball also took out more than half dozen orc soldiers.

    Cirdan looks among the few party members in the room. We should split and close on the large chamber from the troll room and the ogre room. I will fireball the NE group as we approach. That will be the signal to attack.

    Cirdan waits for Dalic, Bofor, Peylae and Bhut to process the plan. He awaits their reply.

    Grimlock quickly looks through the scattered weapons and armor for anything in better than good shape or items that are not corroded. He finds nothing special among the discarded items. A sudden flash of light illuminates the SW passageway softly. The flash is followed by cries of pain and the sound of erupting flames.

    Grimlock heads out the SW corridor extinguishing each lit torch as he passes by it. Jogging down this hallway, he makes it about 280 feet down the 330 foot hall, extinguishing all three torches along the way. He can see several orcs beginning to set up barriers near the center of the room. One has a single orc armed with crossbow. The second contains two orcs.

    Grimlock slows and begins to move silently, trying to stay in the dark as he creeps forward towards the room. He slows even more as he nears the final 20 feet to the chamber. In the room, Grimlock can see there are at least five sniper hides near the center of the chamber. The chamber itself is over 300 feet across, lit dimly by torches around its circumference. The domed ceiling is 60 feet above. A central column, 20 feet in diameter, holds up the ceiling. The dwarven artwork on the walls, as with all the chambers so far, have been defiled.

    As he approaches the edge of the room, now only 15 feet away, he can heard the rustle of armor just beyond the entrance. It appears orcs, or something else, may be hiding right around the corner. Just as he pauses, his scabbard brushes the wall giving off a faint sound.

    At that moment, a human voice from just inside the chamber in front of Grimlock calls out in orc. Old soldiers begin to pour around the corner, charging Grimlock’s position. Each orc is armored in ring mail and carries a halberd. Two by two they come. First two, then four and they continue into the passageway from each side of the passageway.

    The human voice calls out a second time, this time in the common language, “Surrender or die!”

    Southar and Breymeer guide the group safely to the western slopes of the hill. Looking up, the foursome is unable to see any such ledge or opening. Searching the area, Southar finds another well-hidden dwarven marker. The stones lead up the western slopes revealing more markers at the foursome climbs. Following the dwarven markers, the group begins to climb, searching for an entrance.

    The orcs come around the corner and then stall as Grimlock begins to flee back down the hallway away from them. They appear to have been temporarily surprised by his sudden movement. Grimlock quickly outdistances them. The human voice begins an incantation behind Grimlock. Grimlock’s ear picks up enough of the spell to estimate its intent. Grimlock comes to a quick stop just as a mass of webbing forms in the hallway ahead of him. Grimlock stopped running in time to avoid becoming stuck in the sticky mass. The web wall begins about 40 feet down the hall NE from the chamber and extends to a distance unknown.

    The orcs reassemble at the beginning of the hall. They begin a systematic march up the hall three orcs wide and two rows deep. They have their halberds out before them as a pike wall. Three orcs remain at the entrance. Two with halberds and one with a spear and shield. It has a short sword on his belt. He is giving orders to the spear wall moving towards Grimlock. The orcs have moved 15 feet up the hall, 25 feet from Grimlock.

    Bofor speaks, "Splitting is a fool’s task. Best stick together. All file through the barricade and if need be we can retreat behind it."

    Dalic looks oddly disappointed, speaking to Cirdan he comments, "So you were the dragon? I agree we stick tagether. I be leading tha charge. Keep yer distance from me. Battle is calling an we will need tha strength o Dalgur. Fire ball em at entry an I will begin tha slaughter." He grins. He begins pysch himself up for the battle.

    Bofor looks at Dalic slightly bemused. Bofor has not been witness the Dalic’s berserk behaviors. The dwarves line up at the barricade and prepare to enter. Bofor calls back through chamber to roust the others back together.

    Shortly thereafter, Tathar and Ide arrive. They escort one of the orcs into the chamber. The orc’s hands are bound behind it. They report putting the other orc prisoner to the knife.

    Bhut joins the dwarves at the barricade.

    Ide and Peylae are briefed on the plan. Ide joins Bhut and the dwarves. Peylae offers to watch the prisoner in this room until the group returns to get her. She will attempt to question it while she waits.

    Cirdan advises he will go through the NW passageway towards the troll room and then come down into the main chamber from the north. He will start the fight with another fireball. The others are to charge in from the southern passage when the eruption clears.

    Dalic has already started to work himself up into a sweat. Spittle begins to form on his lips and his eyes are becoming wild. His hands wring the hilt of his bastard sword as he chants to himself.

    Bofor grips his mace and readies his shield.

    Bhut, battle axe in each hand, looks eagerly down the hall. Battle awaits. He wears a grin on his face.

    Ide, tests her leg and finds it not yet able to fully support her weight. Tathar comes up behind her. He lays his hands upon her leg, “Sehanine shall help.” Ide’s leg warms and strengthens. Ide finds she can now fully stand on it (+7, 26/35).

    Tathar takes his bow in hand and nods to Cirdan.

    Each group exits the bugbear chamber toward the battle to come.

    Grimlock pulls out a bit of webbing and repeats the spell. Webbing shoots forth filling the hallway between Grimlock and the main chamber leaving Grimlock 10 feet of space. The orcs are enveloped with webbing and only the tips of the halberds are sticking out. Quiet falls around Grimlock and darkness envelopes him.

    Grimlock works quickly to remove his tinder box. He sparks away until he is able to get the other mages webs alight. Once lit, they are quickly engulfed in flames. It takes them a moment to burn down as the sticky mess drops from the walls and ceiling leaving the previously extinguished torches now relit.

    Grimlock moves up the hall and retrieves the nearest torch. He turns and throws the torch at his webbing. The torch sticks to the webbing and sputters a bit before the webbing ignites and bursts into flame. Grimlock takes careful aim and throws his oil flask for good measure. It strikes the webbing and quickly spreads the flames in both area and intensity. The pike line of orcs quickly succumbs to the flames. They cry out in agony.

    Grimlock takes his crossbow off his back and sprints up the hallway towards the troll lair. He stops about 2/3 the way back to the troll room and checks for pursuers, finding none. The webs are still burning and dripping down from the walls and ceiling. The torches down the rest of the hall have relit. Grimlock can see the three orcs at the entrance to the room had freed themselves before the webbing was engulfed in flames.

    As Cirdan makes him way from the bugbear chamber to the troll lair, there is illumination from the chamber ahead of him; possibly from the hall between the troll lair and the main chamber. The illumination appears waving as if made from a fire. It is continuous. There are cries of pain floating down the passageway.

    Grimlock retreats back to the troll lair. He enters the room opposite Cirdan as the Celene elf enters the chamber from the direction of the bugbear chamber. The sudden appearance of Cirdan catches Grimlock off guard. Grimlock reacts by raising his crossbow but quickly lowers it as he recognizes friend from foe.

    Cirdan says, as he passes Grimlock in haste, "Come my half-elf friend, let us give them some serious fire. Prepare your weapons, and prepare to charge." Cirdan begins to dig out spell components.

    Grimlock calls for Cirdan to halt, which he does. Grimlock briefs Cirdan, informing him of Grimlock’s encounter with the mage and the orcs. Grimlock inquires if Cirdan had conjured up a fire ball.

    Cirdan replies to Grimlock, "Do something productive when you hear the fighting start." With that, he will sprints back towards the bugbear chamber.

    Grimlock follows with his crossbow out.

    At the bugbear chamber, Cirdan turns into the SW tunnel attempting to catch up to Dalic and company and inform them of the change of plans. Peylae, standing guard behind the makeshift barricade in front of the SW passage, looks a bit worried as the two elves run past her. She holds the remaining orc captive at swordpoint.

    Grimlock turns east and runs off towards the initial room with the orcs; where the troll died.

    Grimlock finds the troll dismembered and burned badly in a still burning bon fire. The troll appears deceased. The entire wooden box and contents have been used to build the fire. The room stinks of burned flesh. The second orc prisoner has been put to the knife in his sleep.

    Grimlock sprints back to the bugbear chamber and turns back towards the troll chamber. Peylae wishes him good luck as he passes by, “Fall back to this chamber if trouble finds you.”

    Grimlock passes through the troll chamber and slows as he creeps up the tunnel towards the main orc chamber. Reaching the center of the tunnel, he hides and waits. He only has to wait a few seconds before the orc chamber begins to illuminate with signs of a fire from the southern end of the chamber.

    Cirdan sprints up to the group from behind, coming to them from the bugbear chamber they had just left. “Grimlock has taken out the north group. That ought to brighten your day Dalic, we can charge straight in instead.”

    Dalic barely registers Cirdan’s update as froth forms at the corner of his mouth. Dalic’s eyes are becoming bloodshot and his skin glistens with sweat. Dalic continues to chant himself into a rage. Dalic fades toward the back of the group as they near the end of the tunnel.

    Tathar prepares his bow, “I will try to keep the archers pinned down until the group can clear the tunnel.”

    The group finds the end of the tunnel choked with large strand spider webs. The webs clearly resemble the same type of web Grimlock conjured up at the boathouse in Lake Farmin on the last adventure.

    Bhut inquires, “Can the web be burned down? Maybe get some fire to clear the way.”

    Bofor has already moved off to retreive a torch from back in other chamber. Upon his return, he tells everyone to back up as he tosses the torch into the webbing to burn it away. "Once the fire clears begin the assault!" Bofor calls as he throws the torch.

    The webbing quickly catches fire. The fire spreads rapidly among the threading as it burns and melts away. The flames make their way down the tunnel and approach the main orc chamber.

    The group prepares for the fight ahead. Bhut and Ide get ready to charge into the room, axes awaiting orcish victims. Tathar peers through the final flames, his elf eyes seeking a target for his bow. Bofor prepares his mace and Cirdan stands next to the near berserk Dalic at the end of the line.

    As the final flaming strands of web fall the group begins to get a glimpse of what stands against them. As the group sets for the final charge, a stray ember streaks into the hall from the center of the orc chamber. Cirdan recognizes the flaming ball of guano immediately and screams to the group, “Fireball! Take cover!”
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    Fri Feb 19, 2016 1:07 pm  

    Grimlock gets past the last torch and tries to hide in the fringe of the light near the end of the tunnel. He appears to have avoided prying eyes. He gets into position in time to see a small burning ember fly from near the central column towards the SE passageway. It explodes into a fireball. Cries of pain follow the burst of flame. A man, human in form, appears behind the defensive structure on the east side of the column. He is shrouded in a dark, dull green hooded robe with strange sigils on it.

    Grimlock begins to remove spell components when he hears the sound of crossbows releasing bolts. He looks up in time to see the two orcs in the northern hides have spotted him and are firing upon him. The first bolt flies wide but the second strikes with deadly accuracy. The bolt rips through Grimlock’s left forearm (12, 10/22). The injuries creates a wound but does not disable his arm. Grimlock’s armor spell remains in effect.

    Grimlock, grimacing through the pain, completes the spell and disappears from view as two more bolts whistle harmlessly past.

    The fireball bursts in the passageway engulfing the entire party in a rush of scorching flames.

    Dalic ducks into a tight ball, holding his breath until the flames subside. He is burned lightly but survives (12, 12/30). His small tailored pouch, a small belt pouch and his rations are consumed in the fire. He pats out the small flames remaining among his possessions.

    Bhut does not react in time and the explosion catches him fully (24, -3/28). He is blown forward and drops face first onto the stone floor with a fresh wound. He does not get back up. One of his axe is destroyed as the handle burns away. He is not on fire.

    Next to Bhut, Ide is also taken off guard. She remains standing but is burned across much of her body (24, 2/35). She is also wounded. Her leather armor strapping burned away enough to destroy her armor. Her spear is consumed along with a chest in her backpack that contained oil. She reacts quickly to dump the chest and extinguish herself by rolling on the floor.

    Cirdan is able to shelter himself as well and only gets lightly burned (12, 12/26). He loses his tasloi net, rations and the pouch recovered from the bugbear in the Hepmonaland jungle in the flames. Cirdan pats out the remaining flames on himself.

    Tathar is able to protect himself (12, 12/24) but the blast burns up his coil of rope. The string of his bow sizzles and then snaps. He dumps the burning rope and checks to make sure he has no other flames on him.

    Bofor takes the entire blast without protection (24, 17/41) causing a wound. His tough dwarven gear remains intact but his fancy beard is badly singed.

    Light smoke wafts along the passageway slightly adding to the misery.

    The small chest Ide drops begins to burn with some intensity. It becomes a small campfire.

    Bofor pats at his smoking beard and takes the slow approach forward keeping as much of himself behind his shield as possible.

    Dalic suddenly enlarges to the size of a large man and charges up behind Bofor spitting some of the last tactical advice he can muster before losing his senses, "Take the cover ye need. Dalic draw fire. Take out magicmen."

    Ide grits her teeth to the pain and moves forward to check Bhut, “P’innr is down? He is beyond my help! Tathar, Bofor, someone help him.” Bhut is not responding.

    The orcs begin firing their crossbows at the party as the flames subside. One hits the wall near the tunnel but the other grazes Bofor’s right arm (3, 14/41).

    Three orcs to the north of the passageway begin a charge towards the group as the smoke clears. The leader has ring mail, shield and a short sword. His is followed by two in ring mail with halberds lowered for the charge.

    A man, human in form, appears behind the defensive structure on the east side of the column. He is shrouded in a dark, dull green hooded robe with strange sigils on it.

    Tathar recovers from the blast and immediately acts to counter the mage, “May Sehanine hold your tongue!” <Mage makes ST>

    Cirdan steps behind the moon-eyed elf pulling a small black item from a pouch. Verbalizing he launches the palmed item forward. It catches fire and begins a straight trajectory towards the mage and orc foxhole.
    The green robed mage blips out of view; vanishing into thin air just as the flaming streak airbursts just above the foxhole. Flames engulf the defensive position. <Mage made ST, orcs did not>. The two orcs are immediately burned to death. The fate of the mage is unknown. The flash of flame briefly lights the room brightly and then fades back to a smoky darkness. Strangely, as the flames mushroom up towards the ceiling, all sound of the eruption vanishes and remains unheard.

    The orcs express dismay at the momentary brightness of the chamber.
    The two northern orc snipers had been firing into the northern tunnel. One continues to fire into the tunnel and the other turns his sights on the southern tunnel.

    The one focuses from north to south. It sights in Bofor as he moves in to give aid to Bhut. The bolt buries itself in Bofor’s right thigh nearly causing him to collapse (6, 8/41). With dwarven stubbornness he forces himself forward. He drops next to Bhut and prays, “May the strength from the surrounding dwarf hewn stone give you strength dear P’innr Bhut.” Healing energy flows through Bhut’s body (+7, 4/28). Bhut’s eyes pop open searching for his axe, “I’m okay, I’m okay. Bhut remains a bit confused as his body and mind reconnect.

    The third orc fires a bolt at the party’s fire throwing mage. Some sort of magical aura deflects the bolt to Cirdan’s side just before impacting his chest.

    The fourth orc sniper fires at Dalic striking him center mass. The bolt pierces his plate mail armor and dives into his chest cavity causing a wound (10, 2(7)/30; Dalic is at +5 hp for Berserk). Dalic’s armor is visually damaged and the enraged dwarf is almost knocked over. Only his increased size keeps him afoot.

    Dalic prepares for melee as three orcs slam into the party’s ranks. Ide rises from Bhut to block the orc charge from the recovering axe man.

    The lead orc, with sword and shield, holds up and guards against Dalic, the oversized dwarf. The halberd wielding orc charging behind the lead orc was unprepared for the sudden change of plans and the blade of his halberd splits the lead orcs head open; killing it instantly.

    The other orc charges up to Ide but fails to deliver a hit upon her. She side steps the blow while swinging her axe back at the orc, cutting the halberd in half with the first blow and splitting it’s chest with the second. It drops dead at her feet.

    Dalic, at Ide’s left, steps past the halberd’s blade and drives his bastard sword through the orc’s chest killing it.

    The charging orcs all lay dead at the tunnel entrance.

    The sound of heavy footsteps are heard to the party's direct left (west) but nothing is seen there. The heavy footsteps are closing fast; only a few feet away.

    The orc aiming toward Grimlock's tunnel takes a bead directly at Grimlock even though Grimlock has disappeared from view. The bolt hits him in the abdomen and burrows into his guts, chewing at his organs (8, 2/22). Grimlock receives a second wound as he cries out lightly from the pain barely holding onto consciousness.

    Grimlock stumbles forward out of the tunnel trying to remove himself from the killing fields. Blood slowly drips from his abdomen. Grimlock barely makes it into the chamber from the passageway, slowly making his way to the west.

    With a sudden, unseen impact, Ide doubles over and is immediately flung backwards ten feet into the chamber wall behind her (22, -20/35). The blunt force trauma crushes her body from chest to pelvis. Her body lands in a heap upon the floor as she lets out her final breath. The half orc from the streets of Highport dies among the only friends she had even known.

    As Ide’s limp body falls helpless to the ground, an ogre materializes to the left of the party, just ahead of Dalic. The ogre shows signs of burns and its hair is charred off. Its oversized club is stained with Ide’s blood and soot from Cirdan’s previous fireball.

    Dalic steps into melee with the ogre, “The sneaky runner be MINE!” He slashes the ogre across the left knee (22, -3/27) and then spins quickly, rotating around his center and allowing the blade to gather centrifugal force. Coming in with the blade elevated, Dalic removes the head from the humanoid beast (28, -31/27). The ogre’s leg collapses and the headless body falls lifeless to the stone floor.

    Bofor quickly heals himself, calling upon his deity for aid, (+8, 16/41) and positions himself to follow Dalic. "I don't know exactly what makes you what you are duergar, but I will aid you in this fight," Bofor scowls at the word duergar escaping from his lips.

    Cirdan draws his dagger, and braces himself. He appears to be scanning and listening for signs of the green robed mage. While observing, Cirdan prepares spell components in the event he may need them quickly.

    Tathar goes into defensive mode keeping an eye on the arches while evaluating the scene for the mage. While doing so, Tathar removes the bowstring from his now burned back up bow. He restrings his ornate bow, replacing the burned bowstring. Tathar smiles as he fits the string to bow.

    The northern orc sniper has his crossbow loaded and is scanning to its northeast looking for a target.

    The other three orc snipers all fire upon the southern party but none of them strike their target.

    Grimlock begins to hear heavy bipedal footsteps behind him accompanied by sniffing. Whatever is making the footsteps is much, much larger than a man and many times as heavy. It appears, whatever it is, it is beginning to follow him. Grimlock, fighting through the pain, picks up the pace a bit. The bolt in his abdomen sends near overwhelming pain to his brain.

    Having removed his backpack as he was moving from the tunnel, Grimlock tries to quietly dig out a healing potion.

    Even pushing himself, he is barely outpacing whatever hunts him. Whatever it is, it remains completely unseen and only about 20 feet to his general west.

    The northern orc sniper watches, crossbow armed, for Grimlock to show himself. It appears the orc has lost track of where Grimlock has moved as it is scanning the area near the tunnel.
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    Fri Mar 04, 2016 8:02 am  
    The battle continues as the tide turns against the party

    Dalic’s image fades from view. The sound of his plate mail armor betrays his course. He is advancing on the sniper positions at the center of the room. He appears to be moving slow and cautiously.

    Bofor steps to follow Dalic but finds he has vanished before his eyes. He mutters something about evil dwarven tricksters and crouches behind his shield, "A forward melee! Fall in behind my shield and we may attempt to rid the scene of the remaining scourge".

    Bhut struggles to regain his feet. He is able to rise to his knees and he crawls in behind Bofor and his shield.

    Tathar tests his bow on the nearest orc sniper. His first arrow flies high. Tathar makes a few adjustments, takes a deep breath, and sends a second arrow at the orc sniper as it releases the bolt from its crossbow. Tathar’s arrow strikes the orc in the center of his chest dumping hit dead as a doornail behind his defensive shelter (5, 0/5).

    Cirdan moves forward carefully in order to avoid disturbing Tathar’s bow work. While doing so, the dead orc’s final bold strikes Cirdan at the edge of his chest. It fails to cut him deep, instead it cuts across his side (6, 6/26). Cirdan takes position behind the corpse of the ogre for extra protection. Cirdan ducks a second bolt as he reaches the ogre’s corpse. A third bolt buries into the ogre’s flesh just ahead of where Cirdan conceals himself.

    From the far western end of the chamber a clamoring rises. From the thirty foot wide by twenty foot high passageway opening charges two separate groups. Each group is led by a bugbear, follow by four orcs; all wearing chain mail. Three have crossbows and axes and the remaining one has spear and shield with a short sword at his side.

    The creatures are charging in as fast as they can. They are fanning out and scattering as the come. They are generally charging the SE tunnel where the party is currently sheltering.

    Grimlock continues to move northwest along the outer wall. He is roughly half way between the NE tunnel opening and the 12 o’clock position north of the central column.

    Whatever bipedal beast follows him, it is slowly starting to gain on him. It is no more than 20 feet behind him now.

    Grimlock remains in misery from his injured arm and guts.

    Both orc snipers continue to fire at Cirdan. Both quarrels stick into the ogre corpse. The tip of one pokes through stopping inches short of Cirdan.

    “Fall back!” shouts Cirdan to the others. “Fall back to the next chamber. It is a more sound, defendable position! Make them come to us!”

    Cirdan then turns to Tathar, “Would Sehanine show her blessing upon me? I am in need of her healing hand.”

    For the moment, the quiet elf continues to string arrows; firing upon the orc snipers. Tathar’s first round strikes the second orc sniper in the guts causing it to cry out in pain (4, 1/5). His second attempt is a rare miss.

    Bofor repositions to account for the newly exposed flank. He continues to hide low behind his shield as protection from the archers. He prepares for melee as he faces down the charging horde.

    The charging horde continues to fan out as it crosses the room at a sprint. One of the orcs, wielding a crossbow, stops at the central column and begins to take aim at the party. A second orc with a crossbow was able to outpace the group and takes up a position behind the barrier where the first orc sniper died. The rest of the group, consisting of two bugbear and four orcs, continues their charge as they pass to the south of the central column.

    Dalic stops and faces the bugbear parade and holds waiting for them. He positions himself to give himself the greatest chance to attack both bugbear as they pass. If he could be seen, one would note his eyes behind his helm are nearly rolled back in his head with fury and delight.

    Grimlock drinks his potion and tosses the flask toward the wall to the north and slightly east. The liquid tasks mildly sweet, with a hint of honey (+7, 9/22). It warms his body and the bleeding slows around the bolt remains in his abdomen.

    Grimlock immediately starts moving to the SW, hobbling along while listening to the heavy footsteps close in on the sound of the flask hitting the wall.

    Cirdan, seeing Bofor has no intention of retreating, yells again to the group, “FALL BACK!” Cirdan then verbalizes an incantation and disappears from view.

    Tathar, still in the passageway, turns and retreats. “Cirdan, you shall have to wait for a safer area for Sehanine’s blessings!” Once removed from the threat of crossbow fire, he turns and sprints away.

    Bhut crawls forward, taking shelter behind the dead ogre next to the disappearing Cirdan, “My head is nearly clear. I will delay the horde.” Bhut takes ahold of his sole remaining axe.

    The orcs fire upon the group. Bolts deflect off the stone walls, floor and stick in the ogre but now hit their mark hiding behind the body. The third sniper seems to have some type of malfunction with his crossbow that he is trying to remedy.

    Bofor is not as lucky. The last bolt nicks the side of his abdomen just outside the protection of his shield.

    The lead bugbear closes in on Bofor with a loud roaring battle cry. It lowers its spear level with Bofor’s chest.

    The lead bugbear’s left arm suddenly opens up; the flesh is hewn as Dalic’s sword cuts into it upper arm. Dalic reappears next to the bugbear about 25 feet west of Bofor.

    The bugbear continues through the attack. As it closes on Bofor, he heaves a war hammer striking the bugbear splint mail. It bounces off harmlessly. The bugbear reaches Bofor and drives its spear into his right shin.

    The second bugbear continues its charge past Dalic. Dalic attempts to quick side step into its path to get a strike upon it but slips upon blood and drops supine onto the stone floor. He strikes his head hard inside of his helmet and rings his bell. He is completely stunned bordering on unconsciousness.

    The bugbear ignores the suddenly appearing oversized dwarf and lunges forward with his spear towards Bhut. He misses Bhut completely.

    The two orcs behind the second bugbear stop and begin binding Dalic’s arms and legs.

    The final two orcs continue to close but have not yet reached the melee.

    Grimlock continues moving in a southwestern direction, limping along in pain as best he can. He is dripping less blood as he moves.

    Whatever had been following him appears to be stalled for the moment. He does not hear it moving after him.

    Tathar continues his flight and nears the empty ogre chamber. It is assumed Cirdan, as was his indicated intent, has joined Tathar.

    Bofor ducks out of the reach of the first bugbear to join the route. As he passes by the bugbear facing Bhut, it sticks its spear into Bofor’s back. The force of the blow from the powerful bugbear penetrates his armor. The chain mail protects the dwarf from the worst of the blow but the spear tip still finds flesh (3, 2/41). Bofor maintains his feet and scurries out of the room into the SE passageway.

    The orc snipers take careful aim at Bofor as he flees but only one is able to make contact and that bolt deflects harmlessly off his armor. The third orc sniper is still having trouble with his crossbow.

    Bhut, regaining control of his body, stands and takes a mighty swing at the bugbear. It parries the blow with its spear. Bhut recovers from the first swing and takes a wood splitter’s stroke at his foe but misses. The blow buries deep into the dead ogres body and gets stuck.

    Seeing his weapon stuck, the second bugbear moves in and grapples Bhut. They both tumble to the floor over the bodies of the orcs and ogre. The bugbear remains on top of Bhut as he struggles against its heavy frame.

    Dalic’s, in his mad fury, refused to submit to the blackness covering his mind. Finding his sword hilt he attempts to strike at the orcs. Alas, they are too quick for him and one pounces upon his sword arm while the other puts it weight into Dalic’s enlarged frame. They pin Dalic to the ground. As Dalic struggles to free himself, two more orcs arrive and join the scrum.

    Grimlock digs out his last healing potion and quaffs it (+8, 17/22). Again, the flavor hints of honey as the curing warm flows across his body. He retains both of his wounds. The hole in his forearm is nearly closed and is not bleeding. The bolt in his abdomen remains in place but the wound is no longer bleeding.

    The heavy creature tailing Grimlock appears to have temporarily lost track of his. Grimlock can hear its careful footsteps moving south but slightly east. It is moving somewhat farther away from him. It is now far enough away Grimlock does not hear it breathing.

    The western expedition continues their approach. Breymeer suggests someone watch from below with bow ready till entrance found. Southar volunteers to scout ahead for traps, sentries and the entrance. Breymeer takes overwatch, covering Southar’s movements with his bow.

    Southar moves ahead with his golden shield and sword. He has his shield covered with burlap at the moment to aid in his stealth. He remains very adept in moving through the wildlands.

    Southar returns after a few minutes and reports there is a hidden ledge as on the eastern side. This ledge is slightly larger and the large, flat stone blends in with the overall appearance of the surrounding rock. For whatever reason, the ledge cannot be seen at much distance. The abilities of the dwarves with stone are remarkable.

    Southar could not detect any guards, traps or sentries.

    The rout continues as Tathar, Cirdan and Bofor flee back towards Peylae. The elves are quickly outpacing the short legged dwarf.

    Tathar holds up at the ogre’s chamber for Cirdan in order to ask Sehanine to mend his wounds.

    Bofor huffs and puffs his way down the hall.

    Grimlock veers wide around the most northern orc sniper heading for the central support pillar. Grimlock has draped his backpack across his shoulder and secured his shield to his arm for protection from the snipers should they detect him and fire upon him.

    Bhut is buried under a bugbear pile. Struggle as he might he cannot fight free.

    Dalic struggles with the orcs but the next two pile on pinning him to the ground.

    Southar and Speck begin their sneak back up the hill towards the ledge. Kuba and Breymeer follow shortly behind with their bows out in order to return fire should they encounter resistance.

    Grimlock works his way painfully back to the north wall and follows it easterly towards the NE tunnel. He moves cautiously, noting any odd sound or smell. He keeps his shield out ahead of him. His left forearm and abdomen injuries continue to haunt him.

    He watches in horror as Dalic and Bhut are both overcome by the enemy. Both are bound tightly. Bhut is quickly rendered unconscious.

    Dalic struggles continuously, albeit in vain. The orcs remove his helmet but find they are unable to punch him out. The string of dwarven profanities is endless. He appears to have gone completely insane.

    The orcs begin to drag Dalic’s flailing body to the west. One of the bugbears is dragging Bhut’s limp body. Ide Otneaux remain in a heap near the SE tunnel exit.

    The elves reach the ogre chamber and find it still unoccupied. Tathar heals Cirdan on his arrival (+6, 16/26).

    Tathar asks Cirdan to run and get Peylae. Agreeing with the idea, Cirdan bolts off to the NE to retrieve the elf maiden.

    Tathar, having doused all of the torches in the passageway to the main orc chamber during his flight, prepares his bow and watches the dark tunnel with his dark vision.

    The only thing coming down the tunnel is the huffing and puffing dwarf. He breaths so loud, Tathar could shoot him in the dark.

    On arrival, Bofor Barrelmace prays to his dwarven god for healing (+7, 9/41).

    Cirdan bursts into the bugbear chamber and is greeted by Peylae. She has been interrogating the orc with no luck. She does not speak orc and it either does not speak elf or common or it simply refuses to speak.
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    Fri Mar 04, 2016 12:02 pm  
    Western expedition enters the fray

    Grimlock moves along the north wall and approaches the tunnel. He walks carefully trying to keep his movements silent. As he reaches the tunnel he gets an uneasy feeling. His nervousness is justified as he begins to hear the large nemesis begin sniffing the air again; it appears to have smelled the rogue.

    Grimlock does not tarry. He moves into the tunnel and hurries up the tunnel as fast as he can. Heavy steps move in on him quickly.

    Grimlock continues up the tunnel preparing to run if necessary. The footsteps stop at the tunnel entrance and the creature appears to be sniffing the air. It appears to have stopped near the center of the opening.

    Grimlock limps his way up the tunnel to safety.

    Arriving at the troll’s chamber, Grimlock sneaks his way across the room to take the final tunnel to Peylae. As he gets close to the SW tunnel entrance, he begins to feel like he is not alone. Something comes up the tunnel towards him.

    Cirdan, unseen to Peylae, greets Peylae and she acknowledges his return. Cirdan updates Peylae on the party’s condition and advises dispatching the orc prisoner. “We need to decide if we run or try and hold off the horde until the reinforcements arrive from the other side.”

    Cirdan moves up the north tunnel towards the troll chamber. He moves up and quiet and quick as he dares. He pauses at the entrance to the chamber to examine it before entry. All appears in calm but he can’t shake the idea that he isn’t alone.

    Tathar and Bofor gather up what wood they can quickly locate. Tathar gets an armload from near the fire and Bofor drags two of the ogre clubs. Both head at their own pace back towards Peylae in the bugbear chamber.

    Peylae listens to Cirdan’s footsteps quickly disappear to the NW as he heads off to the troll chamber. At the same moment, Tathar dumps an armload of wood in front of Dalic’s makeshift barricade at the SW tunnel entrance.

    Tathar prays for his own healing (+3, 15/24) and then walks up to the orc prisoner and sticks a blade into it, killing it without emotion.

    Bofor arrives next, dropping the ogre clubs on the armload of wood before the barricade. He walks into the room looking defeated. Dwarves are not used to fleeing from a fight.

    Cirdan identifies Grimlock’s voice and Grimlock verbalizes his spell. Cirdan walks quietly past Grimlock and enters the troll’s chamber. Grimlock calls out, “Cirdan?”

    Cirdan greets Grimlock back, “How do you fair?”

    “I have faired better and I still have a bolt in my gut, but I am alive. The mage bailed after you fire balled him. I didn’t see where he went but he likely took off severely injured. I hope his spellbook is intact. There is an invisible ogre still running around. Where be Tathar?”

    “Continue down the corridor. Tathar, Bofor and Peylae are in the next room preparing defenses. Do you need help?”

    “Just a dab of healing would help.”

    “Quickly down the passage then. I will make a quick search of this room and follow if enemies come.

    Grimlock departs with neither elf laying eyes upon each other.

    Grimlock arrives in the bugbear chamber unnoticed. Bofor is chopping the benches into smaller pieces as Tathar and Peylae are piling them up in the eastern passageway leading to the exit.

    The table still lays on its side mostly blocking the SW passageway. In front of the passageway is a small pile of wood and two wooden ogre clubs. Bofor, Peylae and Tathar have stacked what oil they have behind the table for emergency use.

    By the time the defenses have been prepared, the torches in the attached hallways slowly burn themselves out. Only the bonfire in the center of the room illuminates the room.

    Cirdan, searching through the troll room, notes the presence of a wooden table, three chairs and three straw pallets. Two of the pallets have been ransacked. Human and demi-human bones and offal are spread around the chamber. Smashed and broken weapons litter the floor, as do torn armor and battered shields.

    Cirdan looks through the various bones, under and around the table, and the straw mats, starting with the unransacked one. He also checks on the various pieces of armor but finds they are all near worthless. The ransacked straw mats are just that but in the unransacked one, Cirdan locates a large leather pouch. Opening the pouch, Cirdan locates gold pieces (140), electrum pieces (220) and a decent sized pearl (800 gp). The muscular elf takes the 30+ pound sack with him.

    Bhut has no memory of how he arrived where is when he wakes up. This was not so uncommon when loitering in the hard drinking dock districts of Harby, but it is very uncomfortable in the confines of the orc lair.

    Dalic is near Bhut. He has finally stopped struggling and now is little more than an exhausted lump. He remains enlarged to human size making Bhut regret all the short jokes he has delivered at Dalic’s expense.

    They are in cells, each their own. It is really not more than an iron cage. The entire south end of the room is lined with similar cells. There are eight total cells. Each rests next to the southern wall. There are five other prisoners, each in their own cell. Each prisoner is secured by their wrists and ankles with manacles. The manacles around their wrists are attached by a stout chain to an iron ring bolted to the wall. All the prisoners are injured in one form or another.

    The floor of the room is strewn with straw, offal, and rotting feed for the orc’s mounts. There are six horses tethered to iron rings bolted to the floor. The horses look frightened and bray in complaint.

    The room itself is circular with the common defaced dwarven images on the walls. The room’s diameter is 150 feet and the domed ceiling rises 50 feet above. Eight iron brackets are set into the walls of this room, four per side. All but one bracket, one in the north wall, contain a lit torch.

    Passages cut with dwarven precision enter and exit the chamber to the east and west. Each passageway is 30 feet wide and 20 feet high; rectangular in shape.

    A bugbear and five orcs remain in the room formulating a defensive plan.

    Southar and Speck sneak up and scout the landing. Finding it clear, they slowly move onto it keeping a keen eye out for traps. The area appears safe.

    They call Breymeer and Kuba forward.

    The western entrance is similar to the eastern entrance only grander in scale. The landing in front of the tunnel is roughly 60 feet across. The passageway is 30 feet wide and 20 feet high. It is carved with precision.

    The tunnel extends into the hill beyond what the two humans, the snake man or the halfling can see. It is certainly at least 30 feet into the hillside.

    Dalic’s chest wound bled some while he was being taken into custody (-1, 1/30). After being shackled, Dalic returned from his fighting craze and fell into exhaustion. While lying on the floor, his chest wound plugged and stopped bleeding. Dalic stays on the floor playing possum.

    Bhut looks around but remains silent. The chains binding him to the wall are stout. The bars, spaced too close for a human to squeeze through, are sturdy but Bhut reasons it would be possible to bend them apart enough to slip through. Certainly so if unarmored.

    Bhut’s cage is empty other than himself. Dalic is fetal in the cage to Bhut’s west. It appears Dalic is breathing.

    The duo’s gear was moved across the room and placed somewhere past a secret door opened on the north wall. The door was triggered by pulling down on the torch sconce on the north wall.

    Two orc guards, armed with their crossbows, move into the exit tunnel to the west. The tunnel is 30 feet wide and 20 feet high; rectangular shaped.

    Two orcs remain in the room guarding the cages. One has a crossbow and the other has a spear and shield ready.

    The bugbear and the final orc have moved to the eastern tunnel leading to the main orc chamber. They remain at the cusp of the prison chamber but seem to be watching mainly to the east.

    In the eastern cages are three human males and a female elf.

    The first human male is in his late 40s and appears to be a commoner. He is of average build and has short cut red hair along with a full beard partially hiding the swelling in his face from a recent beating. He looks defeated.

    To his east is a mid-teen age male. He also has red hair; longer than the others. He has a family resemblance to the older man; likely his father or uncle. He is fit but also injured from a recent pummeling. He is dressed as a commoner.

    The final male, east of the teenager, is a 30-something male. He is stronger in appearance having a fighter’s build. He has a light colored mustache and blond hair shaved close. He wears chain mail armor. His leg is swollen, possibly broken, from a severe bludgeoning strike.

    Finally, the easternmost cage contains a female elf. She wears a skin tight grey bodysuit chased with gold threat and covered with a hoodless scarlet cloak held around in place by a thin but sturdy gold cord. The gold trim accents her body lines and curves. The material consists of something very shimmering. She wears tight elbow length gloves of similar material. Her blonde hair falls to mid back. Her hair parts in the middle and is held off her face by her long ears. Her eyes appear green and her skin, as with most elves, is as pale as fresh cream. She is obviously pretty even through the bruising on her face.

    Grimlock vocalizes a request, “I have a bolt in my guts. Please aid me.” Grimlock pulls aside his clothing covering the bolt and the bolt alone materializes. Half of the shaft and tip remain invisible as they are within Grimlock’s body.

    Bofor approaches and feels around for Grimlock’s body. He says a prayer and just prior to completing it, he yanks the bolt clear of Grimlock’s body. The immediate rush of pain is quickly replaced by the warmth of the dwarf’s healing (+5, 22/22). Both of Grimlock’s wounds clear.

    Grimlock remains invisible as he discusses the defensive plan with Bofor, Peylae and Tathar. They share their experiences in the recent battle.

    During this discussion, Cirdan arrives, announcing his presence although remaining unseen.

    Grimlock suggests, “Cirdan and myself can go scout the northwest tunnel to see what is going on in the big room again.”

    Cirdan concurs, “It is my thought as well.”

    The two invisible elves bid farewell and work their way back towards the main chamber.

    Bofor heals himself (+6, 15/41).

    Southar, with eagerness, suggests, “Let's sneak in and see what we are up against.”

    Speck quietly says, "This looks like the main entrance. Why isn't it guarded as much as the back door? Is there some unseen force or guardian around that negates the need of sentries?"

    Breymeer agrees with the other ranger, “Let's sneak in. I have a magic torch. I can be ready to throw, or use, it as a surprise tactic in case of a fight.”

    Speck says, "Maybe someone small and stealthy can sneak in the shadows and see if there is any danger lurking."

    The halfling looks to the two rangers to see if his wisdom will prevail over their bravado.

    Kuba asks, “What shall it be? Speck sneak or ranger?”

    Cirdan stops, having only traveled a short way up the NW passage. “Let’s try the south, that is the room with the secret door in it, I believe. I want to keep an eye on that. If need be, I suggest holding hands so we know where each other are.”

    Grimlock agrees, “Sure, I will go southwest but the northwest tunnel has had less action and likely less attention. It's logical to pay more attention to the tunnel where our party attacked from.”

    Cirdan still votes for the southwest tunnel so the two elves change direction. Heading through the bugbear chamber, they see Tathar is healing himself (+7, 22/24).

    Cirdan and Grimlock, speaking softly and occasionally reaching out and checking each other’s position, move as quickly and quietly as the elves dare. Grimlock, the half elf wanderer from the Wild Coast, quickly demonstrates he is near silent while moving. Grimlock’s stealth impresses the Celene nobleman.

    The duo arrives at the ogre chamber finding it appearing to be empty. The smokey fire still burns in the center of the room.

    Southar, appearing very eager and fearless, slurs, “Tanksss going in. Have rogue sssstay ssssneaky to be prepared to take out any sssurprisesss.”

    Breymeer adds, “By all means, let speck look around. We'll come running if we hear trouble.”

    Speck agrees about sneaking in. He initially agrees to follow one or both of the rangers, keeping as hidden as he can. After Breymeer speaks, Speck agrees to take lead.

    Southar assures Speck he will be no more than 40 yards behind him.

    Kuba volunteers to take the rear guard. Breymeer joins Kuba, bow in hand.

    The halfling tucks into the shadows at the exterior of the tunnel and disappears up the trail quieter than a mouse in a cottonfield.

    Southar, Breymeer and Kuba slowly count down waiting to enter the tunnel. They give speck a 50 count head start. That should put Speck about 125 feet ahead of the rest of the three humans.

    The three humans will have no vision once they are into the tunnel and away from the exterior ledge.

    Speck makes it into the tunnel about 40 feet. His eyes are just adjusting to the lack of light. His dark vision picks up movement at the very end of his vision. He sees two figures standing in the hallway. Both hold loaded crossbows pointing toward the exit. The crossbows are held at the low ready. They appear to be alert to activity at the end of the tunnel but have not seemed to notice Speck has snuck up on them. Speck is only about 60 feet from them.

    Something hangs on the north wall next to the orcs. Hanging next to it appears to be some type of small hammer or striker.

    The three fighters plan to enter the tunnel in roughly 30 seconds.

    The thought of taking out the guards with his sure aim with a bow comes and quickly leaves as Speck considers that a thought out plan of attack is better.

    Speck makes a careful but quick sneak back toward the entrance. Just as the fighters are about to enter the tunnel, Speck pops out and the the side.

    Speck inform the others of the waiting guard and alarm, “My dark vision helps me and I am deadly with my bow but I don't know if I can take them both out before they sound the alarm.”

    Southar quietly voices a plan, “Let’s have Speck take out the person with alarm and have the tanks barrel in and end it quick.”

    Speck nods in understanding, while trying to cover a wave of anxiety over what is about to unfold. He prepares to make another stealthy approach with his short bow at the ready. “Remember, you need to come running as soon as it starts.”

    Before Speck goes, Kuba gives his little companion a nod & thumbs up. Kuba wields his shield and bastard sword in preparation for the assault.

    Southar points out the obvious, “We will need some source of light.” He lights and prepares one of the hooded lanterns. Once lit, he completely hoods it. He loosens his long sword in the scabbard and readies his golden shield, “I will set down the lantern when the melee starts.”

    Breymeer adds his suggestion, “I will throw in my magic torch to aid with vision as soon as it starts.”

    Speck darts back into the passage. The fighters begin a rough countdown waiting to hear the string of the bow.

    Speck is able to make his way back up the corridor stopping just at the edge of his vision. Speck quietly pulls the string back on his bow. Hoping Kuba and his companions get to him in time, Speck releases his breath, takes aim and releases the arrow.

    The first arrow takes the humanoid shaped creature directly in the chest. It remains standing and instinctively reaches out for the alarm knocker. With aim practiced since childhood, Speck puts the second arrow into the creature’s right arm as it reaches out. The creature succumbs to the combination of arrows and falls lifeless without reaching the alarm.

    “GO!” yells Kuba.

    Breymeer, torch in his throwing hand and bow in the other, tosses the magic torch up the hallway. It skids to a stop about 40 feet up the corridor as Kuba and Southar are already charging up the hall. The torchlight illuminates the hall to a distance of 100 feet. At the cusp of the torchlight, the guards are revealed to be two orcs. The first orc is dead with Speck’s arrows in it and the second is moving for the gong striker.

    Breymeer takes careful aim at the remaining orc and sends his arrow up the passageway. The arrow streaks between Southar and Kuba as they run up the 30 foot wide hall. The orc, acting quickly, reaches out to the alarm knocker and is able to ring one solitary peel of the large bronze gong. Breymeer’s arrow rips through the orcs heart as the sound of the gong reverberates though the hollow stone hallway.

    The orc gong ringer drops dead with the striker still in his hand. No enemy are not within sight as Kuba and Southar reach the gong and dead orc bodies.

    Cirdan asks Grimlock if his spell to detect those not visible is still working, and if so, if the room is clear.

    Grimlock unfortunately advises Cirdan he can see no more than the nobleman. He did not cast a detection spell.

    Cirdan takes a quick peak down the NW tunnel leading towards the main orc chamber. Seeing nothing, he suggests a quick search of this room, then they should continue.

    Looking around the room, the two elves can see six large straw sleeping pallets, some cured skins on the sleeping pallets, animal bones, broken weapons and smashed armor. They begin to look closer at the objects.

    A few minutes into searching the room, prior to gathering up any specific treasure, the peel of a bronze gong echoes through the stone passageway. It is hard to pinpoint the exact directions of the sound.

    Tathar informs Bofor and Paylae that they should maybe move up and use this as a fall back point, “It doesn't seem that we are being immediately pursued. Maybe Southar and company have reached the other side, and have drawn the attention of the orcs. We may be able to help with a rear attack, it that is the case.”

    They agree. Tathar recovers the oil flasks and hands one back to each. Tathar notches an arrow and moves out through the northwest tunnel, opposite than the passage the mages took.

    They move slowly and in the darkness; all taking advantage of their darkvision. They reach the troll chamber.

    As they advance into the troll chamber, the peel of a bronze gong rings through the hollow stone dwarven halls.

    The orcs do not refresh their torches and make a point of extinguishing those that still burn. Dalic can see when enough as his darkvision takes over but Bhut is left straining to listen as his vision fails.

    Dalic and Bhut have been prisoners for roughly twenty five minutes when a peel of a bronze gong rings loudly out of the western exit tunnel. The sound of pounding footsteps softly echo in the lofty passageway.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Mon Mar 21, 2016 3:37 pm  

    Dalic and Bhut, now accustomed to the darkness, notice a bright light a short distance down the western passage. It is not enough to illuminate into the room but it is obviously visible in the tunnel. The sound of bowstrings, cries of agony and pounding feet are heard.

    Dalic shrinks back down to his normal size. It becomes immediately obvious the shackles can now be slipped from his wrists and ankles within a few seconds. He continues to play possum; his size change goes unnoticed as the battle breaks out to the west.

    The two orcs in the chamber are scrambling towards the western passageway.

    The orc and the bugbear at the eastern passageway stand fast.

    Tathar inquires, "An alarm for Southar and company?" He continues moving to see what he can see down the hall towards the great room. Peylea and Bofor accompany Tathar. The two elves have to deliberately slow their walk to match Bofor’s in order to keep the dwarf from being too loud.

    Cirdan will continue searching, but ask Grimlock, "What do you make of that? I would think they would have sounded an alarm already, with the fight we just ran from...Some sort of ritual?"

    Grimlock hopes, “Could it be our reinforcements? Let's go see quickly.” His footsteps and Doppler of his voice indicate Grimlock is moving quickly towards the NW passage and back to the large central chamber.

    Speck moves up to the dead orcs and prepares to take shots at oncoming enemies.

    Kuba examines the dead orcs, “These loaded crossbows can be used against any oncoming foes.”

    Southar bids, “Let’s continue. Let the halfling check what is ahead, or not, if he so chooses.”

    Breymeer chimes in on the situation, “Here are my two coppers, let's find a defendable spot. Dark out, hide, wait and listen for response to the gong. If they come running with torches we can sure unleash hell on ‘em with arrows.” He speaks only as loud as he dare to get the group’s attention. He stands ten feet inside the passageway and the halfing and other two humans are 100 feet east down the hallway; 90 feet from Breymeer.

    As the foursome is planning, footsteps are heard to the east. The steps indicate there are few in number; maybe two or three. They sound like booted bipeds. It is too dark to tell exactly what is happening. Speck’s dark vision does not aid him as he stands within the illumination of Breymeer’s torch and his eyes have not yet adjusted as he strains to see into the darkness east of him.

    Cirdan finds the scattered equipment to be old and ruined. He begins to rifle through the sleeping pallets.

    Kuba quietly says, "We may have to defend this position. Whatever a single chime of the alarm means I don't know, but here comes a greeting party."

    Kuba takes the two dead orcs and props them into a seated positing facing up the hallway. He leans them together so they stay and takes cover behind them.

    Speck moves ahead slightly to the shadows and prepare for his next shots. Trying to secret himself into the darkness, with his bow at the ready, Speck peers ahead and is barely able to identify the adversary. Two orcs stand at the entrance to a room. They have taken partial cover, one on each side of the passageway, and are firing crossbows at the party.

    One bolt drills into one of the dead orcs before Kuba. The second one nicks Kuba’s right shoulder giving him a bruise but failing to break the skin after striking and penetrating a hard leather plate (2, 18/36).

    It is obvious the enemy advance has stopped. The reload from their defensive positions.

    Southar unhoods one side of the lantern, illuminating the passageway east of the party. He charges forward with sword and shield.

    Kuba sits behind the two dead orcs and prepares both of the loaded crossbows to fire.

    Speck takes aim at the orcs and lets his arrows fly. Both arrows fail to hit their mark as the orcs are taking considerable cover around the corners of the hall. The second arrow deflects just inches past one of the orc’s face as it peaks out to fire.

    The orcs return fire.

    The first bolt cuts along Kuba’s side causing a scratch (2, 16/36).

    The second bolt strikes Southar’s left shin bone causing a wound (12, 26/52). The bolt deflects off and does not remain stuck in his leg. The impact is enough to through Southar’s timing off. Southar closes in on the orc sniper. Southar arcs his long sword forward missing his adversary.

    Breymeer move up the tunnel to his torch. He recovers his torch and places it back into his pack to keep the party from being illuminated. The tunnel quickly darkens, other than Southar’s lantern, as the bright magical light is covered. Breymeer continues up the hall and takes cover next to Kuba.

    Both Kuba and Breymeer can now make out the orcs as they play peek-a-boo around the corner. Southar has closed on the southern sniper.

    Grimlock slows fearing his footsteps have been heard by the sniper. Grimlock moves to the side and finds the orc does not track him with its crossbow. It appears to be whispering to something to the north.
    Grimlock sneaks forward, slowly. He moves to the orc’s south side and quickly sees the participant of the orc’s conversation. A bugbear wielding a spear.

    Cirdan continues to search the room. The animal skins used as blankets seems rather used and dull with the exception of two leopard skins that may yet be intact. He finds nothing in most of them but finds scattered gold pieces in two of the pallets. He has collected nearly three dozen gold pieces from one and over five dozen from the other (30 gp and 65 gp respectively). Within a few minutes of searching, Cirdan begins to get an itch in his nose and throat. He also finds his hands and arms itch fiercely.

    Tathar does not like the slow pace of the dwarf. He and Peylae increase their speed. Tathar tells Bofor, “Continue at your speed, as quietly as he can. Paylae and I will move ahead. If you hear trouble, run."

    Tathar and Peylae quickly outpace Bofor, who grunts something under his breath about elves.

    The bright white light in the eastern tunnel goes out but is replaced by a dimmer lantern light. A missile battle has erupted in the tunnel.
    Dalic and Bhut can now see the shadowy figures of two orcs firing to the east as they hide at the edge of the passageway; using the stone walls as cover. Arrows deflect off the stone walls and skid into the room in return.
    Suddenly, a great helmed human sized warrior rounds the corner and engages the southern orc in melee. He wields a long sword and a shield. He can be no other than Southar.

    Kuba raises the first crossbow to his shoulder. He is not proficient in its use but figures it is worth a shot. He aims at the northern orc using dead reckoning and pulls the trigger. As if guided by fate, the bolt flies true. The bolt flies through the orc’s left arm as it raises its own crossbow. The bolt comes to rest in the orcs head.

    Breymeer sends his first arrow high and it flies harmlessly into the chamber beyond.

    Speck’s first arrow also flies harmlessly into the chamber.

    The northern orc drops stone dead upon the floor with Kuba’s bolt lodged in its face. It did not get its shot off.

    Southar battles the second orc and it makes an error of stepping forward during the melee giving up its cover from the stone wall. It attempts to butt-stroke Southar with its crossbow stock.

    Breymeer and Speck both sink an arrow into it, one in the shoulder and the other in the guts. Kuba picks up the second crossbow and lets the quarrel fly. Strangely, as if blessed, this bolt also flies true and buries itself into the side of the orc’s chest; striking its heart.

    Southar then steps up and strokes off its head. It too drops dead upon the floor.

    The sound of footsteps, closing quickly, are heard to Southar’s east. At least two creatures are charging. One sounds to be the size of an orc. The second creature sounds a bit heavier.

    Cirdan removes a waterskin and attempts to wash off his arms, hands, nose and mouth.

    Dalic slips his bonds and moves towards Bhut’s cell. There is a common wall between them. Dalic finds he is just too stout to fit through. He begins looking for a weak bar to bend.

    Speck moves close to Kuba feeling safe alongside his warrior friend. Speck recovers two of his arrows from the dead orc sentry. Kuba finds they each have a small coin purse with a few gold pieces (20 gp total). In addition to their crossbows, they have hand axes and ring mail armor.

    Breymeer moves up from the sentry point to where Southar was just in melee keeping his bow ready. The blackness of the large chamber repels the light from Southar’s lantern keeping whatever approaches a mystery.

    Southar’s scaly face turns to a demonic grin. He pulls his shield up and awaits his next unworthy victim.

    Out of the inky blackness comes a large spear, hurtled with great strength. Southar easily stops the shaft with his gold shield. With a loud metallic ring the spear drops at his feet. Southar’s grin widens and his forked tongue licks the air with excitement.

    He does not have to wait long until an orc comes charging in on him.

    Breymeer, while advancing, attempts to stick the orc with an arrow. The missile flies wide.

    The orc’s charge reaches Southar and it attempts to shield bash Southar but fails to knock him off balance. However, as Southar swings his longsword ‘Bloodletter’ in defense, he steps on the spear shaft. It rolls under his feet and nearly drops him to his knees. Only Southar’s superior dexterity keeps him erect. The orc now grins as it prepares its sword and shield for melee.

    Dalic finds a loose bar and he is able to bend it out enough to slip into Bhut’s cell. Bhut, although still chained to the wall, is pleased to have his friend and the possibility of escape Dalic brings.

    The eastern guards have charged across the room to engage Southar in the western tunnel entrance.

    Grimlock sneaks past both the orc and the bugbear to survey the room. The orc and the bugbear appear to be very alert and nervous as if they know something is nearby. It is obvious they are at a loss to Grimlock’s location. Grimlock can see a very faint light down western corridor. He can hear the metallic sounds of melee echoing from the west; the distance is undeterminable. Grimlock leaves the orc and bugbear behind him and moves west towards the sound of battle. He moves west across the massive chamber passing just within view (55 feet) of the southern orc sniper post. It appears to be unoccupied save the dead orcs behind it. The orc and bugbear at the tunnel entrance do not appear to have noticed Grimlock passed them by. Checking over his shoulder, he can see they are still at the tunnel. They are at the very edge of his vision behind him.

    Cirdan is concerned about what he may have contracted. He moves up the passageway towards the main orc chamber following Grimlock’s last known move. Cirdan does his best to not sneeze and itch.

    Tathar & Peylae approach the main orc chamber. Sixty feet ahead of them they can see the passageway opens into a very large chamber. The outer walls out are of view to their dark vision.

    Somewhere behind them, Bofor trudges forward.
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    Mon Mar 21, 2016 6:11 pm  
    The melee ends but what new problem is discovered.

    Dalic is able to bend the pin holding Bhut’s arm restrains. He quickly slips them off Bhut’s arms. Bhut is free of the wall but his legs remain shackled.

    Furthermore, Bhut cannot see anything other than the faint light illuminating the western passage. Shadowy figures melee there.

    Dalic, with his dark vision, can see the other prisoners in their cells and the final enemy, a bugbear, close in ranks and join the melee in the west passage entrance The prisoner resembling a mercenary tries in vain to break his bonds.

    Southar and Breymeer team up on the remaining orc. Southar removes a leg with ‘bloodletter’ and Breymeer an arm with his broadsword. Breymeer chops the orc to the ground with a final blow from his hand axe.

    They just recover as a bugbear arrives. It does not slow as it barrels into Southar with its shoulder. Southar, shield in front of him, is knocked flat on his back on the stone passageway floor. The bugbear goes down with Southar, ‘bloodletter’ sticking out of its back. Southar is buried under the large hairy but unmoving bugbear.

    Kuba runs up to assist, shield and sword at the ready. Speck is trailing behind with his bow in hand; arrow to string.

    Grimlock continues to cross the large chamber. The sound of melee to the west stops.

    Tathar and Peylae hold their position as Bofor continues up the tunnel behind them.

    Cirdan continues up the passageway.

    Breymeer aids Southar in rolling the dead bugbear off of him. Southar stands on his own, ignoring the hand Breymeer puts out to aid him, “Thankssss anyway. I’m able to sssstand on my own.” His snake transformed eyes show no emotion.

    Kuba grabs the coins purses from the bugbear and orc (50 gp total) while Speck recovers the hooded lantern, bringing it up to the group. He also finds one more of his arrows.

    Breymeer suggests, “Lets recover that lantern and hood it again. We can go dark and have our scout, Speck here, go ahead of us while we follow.”

    While the foursome are discussing their plans, a rattle of chains followed by metal clanging onto the stone floor is heard to the southeast. It echoes through the chamber.

    Dalic is able to break Bhut completely free of his bonds. The metal shackles and chains fall to the ground with an echoing clang made all the louder now that the melee to the west has ended.

    What appears to be Breymeer, Southar, Kuba and Speck are gathered in the chamber near the western passage.

    Cirdan continues up the passageway. His skin itches and burns but does not seem to be blistering or causing him and harm other than irritation. He continues to clear his throat to keep for coughing out loud.

    Tathar and Peylae, using their elven stealth, move up to the edge of the chamber and peer into the massive room. Peylae’s elvish dark vision picks up no sign of anything but empty room out to the limit of her sight. Even Tathar, blessed with greater distance by Sehanine, can only make out the northern orc’s sniper post. It is unmanned.

    With only the warning of a rush of air, the invisible ogre steps from the northern side of the passageway and swings his great club. The club hits Tathar square in the chest (13, 9/24) laying him out supine. The moon-eyed elf luckily survives the blow by superior dexterity alone. At the very last instant, Tathar was able to contort his body to deflect some of the powerful blow. He remains conscious and able to move.

    Peylae is caught flat-footed and only manages a loud shriek, staring wide-eyed as the massive ogre materializes in front of her.

    Grimlock has nearly crossed the southern portion of the large chamber. He can see the western wall as it curves slowly to the western exit. The exit remains out of view but Grimlock figures he cannot be more than 70 or 80 feet from it.

    A metallic clang is heard to echo the west just before the sound of a shriek is heard to the northeast. The shriek is too soft to be that of these barbarian races, sounding feminine as well. It really could only belong to Peylae. It came directly across the chamber to the NE; approx. where the tunnel from the troll room enters the main chamber.

    Tathar, calling upon the power of Sehanine, orders the ogre, “Flee!”

    Peylae utters a spell and brings forth an electrical energy jumping back and forth between her fingers. She attempts to lay her hand upon the ogre but misses as it turns to flee. She leaps forward as it turns its back on her and lands the palm of her hand upon its lower back. A snap of electricity transfers between Peylae’s hand and the ogre (11, 14/25). It cries out in agony. The smell of ozone is present.

    The ogre continues to flee from Tathar into the chamber, running generally south.

    Cirdan continues to scratch and sniffle his way up the passage.

    Dalic instructs Bhut to assist him in bending the exterior bars. Both the dwarf and man are strong; the dwarf noticeable more so. The bars relent and bend far enough apart to allow escape. Once on the exterior, Dalic pulls a dagger from each of his boots. He hands one over to Bhut with a wry smile that Bhut cannot see.

    Bhut, taking the dagger being thrust into his hand, requests, “Dalic, help guide me through the dark, and alert me so that I do not to stumble over anything that might be in the path.

    “Honorable dwarf. Kind sir,” a voice from the closest cell calls out. It belongs to the older, non-warrior, man. “We are merchants from Loreltarma area. Me, my boy and one of our guards. Would you kindly free us as well?”

    The elf in the easternmost cell remains quiet, studying the situation.

    Speck sets down the lantern, now shuttered, along the north edge of the tunnel where it meets the room. He continues into the room using his sneaking abilities and carefully make his way towards the sounds.

    Speck thinks to himself, “I hope it's just a gate being shut or something like that, rather than some great creature being loosed.” He holds his bow at the ready.

    Breymeer transfers to bow and finds a spot to set up to be ready for what's coming although he cannot see his own nose after Speck shuttered the lantern.

    Kuba and Southar hold in the tunnel entrance.

    Grimlock turns to the sounds of Peylae’s shriek. He begins to run towards the sound, forgoing all stealth. The sounds had to have come from the northeast tunnel. Damn that ogre.

    Grimlock quickly closes in on the center of the room. The massive column comes into view along with the orc’s sniper posts. Three of them are occupied.

    Tathar, still supine, sits up and arms himself with his bow. He tries to take aim on the fleeing ogre but it has gone beyond the limits of his extended vision.

    It is gone only a moment though as it has turned and is now charging full speed back towards the tunnel entrance.

    Tathar fires two rapid shots, the first cutting its leg (4, 10/25) and the second deflecting off its armor covered chest. The ogre bears down on Tathar with incredible speed; faster than Tathar can string another arrow.

    Peylae, in an imitation of her father, creates an illusionary mirror image of herself.

    The ogre passes both images of Peylae and stops in front of Tathar. It raises its club above its head preparing to smash the elf into jelly.

    Bofor, on a dead sprint, runs in front the passageway screaming a dwarven war cry. He runs between the ogre’s legs, delivering a fatal blow to the groin of the oversized beast (10, 0/25). Its pelvis snaps and it drops dead to the floor. “These are dwarven halls!” Bofor declares in a huff.

    A bolt, fired blindly from an orc sniper in the dark to the west/southwest, flies into the group striking a nearby wall.

    Just after, the bugbear arrives, spear tip forward. It lays a fatal blow into Peylae’s chest. Its victorious grin turns to confusion as the image of Peylae blips from view leaving the real Peylae standing nearby.

    Cirdan pauses and removes a scroll from his belongings. He reads off of it a magical spell giving him the power to see those otherwise invisible.

    Bhut tells Dalic that we should wait and clear the area of any hostiles before thinking of helping them. Then we can come back.

    Dalic responds to his companion, “We be injured and could use da help.”

    Dalic asks the prisoners if they can fight mumbling something about the enemy of my enemy.

    The older man speaks again, “We are but common folk and our guard has a broken leg. If freed, we will do our best.”

    The elf adds, in a very eloquent and pretty voice, “As I can, I shall aid you.”

    He moves to free the mercenary type requesting Bhut's help.

    The horses chained in the center of the room become more anxious as Speck moves easterly towards them in the dark. Dalic can track his movements in the dark but Bhut cannot.

    Speck moves out towards the center of the room where he comes across several horses chained to the floor. They are very nervous and easily spooked. The get agitated as the halfling nears.

    Those in the western entrance chamber begin to hear an echo of combat from the east again. Cries of pain and surprise along with clang of armor and weapons; even a snap of an electric shock. Several heavy boots steps are soon added to the mix.

    An unmistakable dwarven war cry rises crisply echoing like that of a mighty champion in the hallowed dwarven halls. The sound of hammered metal is heard and then softer, but undeniable thud of a large body striking the stone floor.

    Grimlock slows as he stealthily makes his way between the snipers. The westernmost sniper appears to be looking around for something but fails to track Grimlock as he sneaks his way past. The north sniper appears to be taking pot shot at the sound of the melee.

    Heavy footsteps can be heard running south as Grimlock moves between the snipers. Grimlock guesses it is the ogre. The steps stop and then run just as fast back north, this time accompanied by slightly softer steps; a very large orc or maybe a bugbear.

    The steps reach the area of the northeast passage and a frantic melee restarts followed by a loud thud of a very large body striking the stone floor.

    Bhut assists Dalic but mumbles his disagreement in so doing. They both lay into the mercenaries cell bars and quickly pry open a large enough space to gain entrance in order to free the soldier from his chains.
    The elf maiden informs with a whisper, “Find me a couple short, stouts poles and I can fashion a splint for Errius’ leg.”

    A sudden change of status draws the attention to the company in the western passage. Southar has taken up the lantern and unhooded it, illuminating the area around them. He charges eastward toward the sound of battle. Southar exits the room charging into the eastern tunnel.
    The illumination from the lantern was not enough to light up the southern prison cells or the occupants therein.

    As Speck looks cautiously around for anything other than skittish horses, Southar takes the lantern, unhoods it, and charges eastward across the room towards the sound of battle. In so doing, he illuminates the center of the room as he runs.

    The floor of this circular room (approx. 180 feet across) is strewn with straw, offal and rotting feed. There are six horses tethered to iron rings bolted to the floor in the center of the room. The horses are frightened. The north and south extremes of the room remain shadowed in darkness and reveal nothing of detail. The ceiling is domed above reaching 50 feet. The walls are decorated with intricate bas-reliefs depicting scenes of dwarven heroics. The dwarven artistry has been defaced.
    Southar quickly passes by Speck, crosses the room and enters the tunnel beyond leaving his companions once again in the darkness.
    The occasional metallic sound comes from the darkness in the southern portion of the room.

    Grimlock uses his stealth to sneak up behind the westernmost orc sniper. He eliminates the sniper with a deadly thrust of his blade across its neck.
    The other two snipers do not appear to have noticed Grimlock as they are now both firing blindly into the melee.

    Tathar fires his bow from the seated position seeming as if he were comfortable doing so. Tathar takes caution so as not to strike Peylae or Bofor. The bugbear dodges one of the missiles and the other deflects off of its splint mail armor.

    Peylae conjures up another electrical charge on her hand but fails to grasp the dexterous bugbear. Bofor misses it as well with his war hammer.

    The bugbear skillfully jabs its heavy spear over the top of Bofor’s shield striking him square in the chest. Although the tip does not break through the armor, the force of the blow is damaging enough (8, 7/41). Bofor is barely able to keep from having the wind knocked out of his lungs. The tenacious dwarf remains standing.

    Two more bolts deflect off of stone in the general area of the melee as the snipers fire blindly into the fight.

    Cirdan moves up the hallway until a barricade of bodies comes into view at the entrance to the main chamber. An orc sniper hides behind the bodies. Piled before it are an ogre, several orcs and Ide. Cirdan is roughly 60 feet southeast of the orc, still in the passageway.

    Tathar regains his feet and steps back into the tunnel slightly to try and get some protection from errant quarrels.

    The bugbear lunges forward attempting to skewer the dwarf. Bofor deflects the blow with his shield. Using his advantage, Bofor steps in and smashes the bugbear’s face with his war hammer (5, 12/17).

    Simultaneously, Peylae lays her sparking hand upon its right thigh discharging the pent up charge (8, 4/17).

    The bugbear cries out in pain through broken teeth. Showing elite fighting skill, it engages Bofor one handed with its spear while backhanding Peylae with its heavy fist (3(1), 15(13)/16). Peylae is knocked back a step but remains in the fight.

    The orc sniper gets off a lucky shot. The bolt streaks into the battle and bites deep into flesh. To the bugbears demise, the bolt strikes him in the left ribs and punctures both his lungs (8, -4/17). It drops to the ground dying from the mortal blow.

    Cirdan Saralonde moves up the hallway doing his best to be quiet. He reaches the main chamber and slides around the piles of bodies the orc is using for cover. Something catches the orcs attention and it spins towards Cirdan and lets a bolt fly in panic. The missile flies just wide of Cirdan, striking the wall and deflecting harmlessly away.

    Grimlock sneaks up behind the southern orc sniper and efficiently and quietly brings death upon it. The other orc continues to send bolts into the battle without noticing Grimlock.

    Southar clears the tunnel and runs out into the main chamber.

    Kuba asks Breymeer, “If you can get that torch out so we can see, let’s join the melee ahead.”

    Breymeer is already doing just that. Removing the torch, the room illuminates with more light. Breymeer’s face betrays his displeasure with the party always splitting up and running off without warning.

    Breymeer has his sword in one hand and torch in the other.

    Speck, slightly surprised by Southar running past says to Kuba and Breymeer, "Come on guys." Speck takes off after Southar, attempting to keep up with his little legs.

    Dalic and Bhut, working together, free the mercenary. Dalic addresses the other prisoners, “We'll be back fer da others.” Needing a better weapon, he points Bhut to the north, “Secret door. We are ta retrieve our gear.”

    The mercenary tests his leg and finds it will not hold much weight. He nods to his rescuers, “I shall give it a try.”

    The room becomes brighter as Breymeer removes his magical torch. Speck, Kuba and Breymeer cross the room and enter into the eastern passageway to join the other melee seemingly having not seen or heard the prisoners in the still dark southern section of the room.

    The elf, watching the others run past, petitions, “Master dwarf, Honorable Man, I am not some hapless wit. I am certainly of more use than this hobbled caravan guard. Free me and I can aid you and then assist the soldier’s mobility issue.”

    Cirdan sees the orc sentry put his guard down. It appears in a panic. It clambers over the bodies in an attempt to flee southeast down the passageway.

    Cirdan pounces upon the orc stabbing his dagger deep into its back as Cirdan materializes. The orc succumbs to the blow and collapses onto the dead pile.

    Cirdan immediately uses his magic to return to invisibility.

    The sound of the melee to the north has ended.

    From the west comes a charge. Southar, holding a lantern and sword, leads the charge. He nears the center column of the room. Behind him is Breymeer, holding a torch with a brilliant white light, also enters the room with Kuba and behind them, Speck.

    Grimlock sneaks up behind the final orc sniper with ease and eliminates him while he is reloading his crossbow.

    The sound of the melee at the northeast tunnel has ended.

    From the west comes a charge. Southar, holding a lantern and sword, leads the charge. He nears the center column of the room. Behind him is Breymeer, holding a torch with a brilliant white light, also enters the room with Kuba and behind them, Speck.

    Tathar quickly calls upon aid and is healed some (+2, 11/24). Peylae collects herself and Bofor also calls upon aid for healing (+8, 15/41).

    From the west comes a charge. Southar, holding a lantern and sword, leads the charge. He nears the center column of the room. Behind him is Breymeer, holding a torch with a brilliant white light, also enters the room with Kuba and behind them, Speck.

    The light from Southar and Breymeer fades into the eastern tunnel.

    Dalic nods, forgetting Bhut is relatively blind and replies, “We make it so.” Dalic and Bhut free the elf as well.

    Once free, Dalic instructs the others to wait in her cell while he retrieves their plundered weapons.

    Dalic and the elf cross the room. By turning the norther torch sconce, they open and then enter the secret door on the north wall.

    Southar and company find the room dark and now quiet. Coming past the large central column, Southar slows, ready for a fight. Kuba, Breymeer and Speck all catch up in turn. Breymeer’s magical torch casting light much farther than the lantern.

    There are five trap doors opened 90 degrees with shallow pits revealed. The doors were obviously being used as cover for sniper pits. Over half dozen dead orcs are scattered in the area of the pits, some shot with arrows, some cut down by sword.

    Peylae, Tathar and Bofor call out and approach from the northeastern passage. They are all injured with Peylae fairing better than Bofor and Tathar.

    At the northeast tunnel entrance are the bodies of a bugbear and an ogre.

    By exploring south, the southeastern exit reveals a pile of orc bodies, an ogre body and Ide Otneaux’s broken body.

    Peylae quickly brings the western exploration group up to speed. All known enemy have been slain with the exception of a wizard who turned invisible in this room a while back and has not been seen or heard from since.

    Grimlock and Cirdan were to have come to this room by the southern passage but have not been seen since either.

    Dalic and Bhut were captured by the orcs and are now missing in action. It is believed they were hauled off to the west.

    Breymeer advises the eastern group of their encounter entering from the west. A small group of orcs and a bugbear were slain. They did not take the time to search the chamber well as they ran through to aid with the battle here. There were several horses tied in the center of the chamber but the northern and southern tips of the room remain unknown as the light sources were not powerful enough to reveal them as the western crew ran through.

    Cirdan, looking around from the southeast area of the room, sees no further enemy nor any invisible mage.

    The secret door opens revealing a smaller northeast corridor. It has a nearly 10 foot high ceiling and is roughly 8 feet wide. The tunnel is roughly carved and obviously not the work of dwarves. It is unlit.

    Dalic and the elf move about 90 feet through the passage before it splits straight north and straight east. To the east, it continues roughly straight out of the range of Dalic’s vision. To the north, it continues north about 75 feet to a wooden door. A side tunnel to the west brakes off the corridor about 20 feet north of north/east split.

    Dalic leads the elf to the western branch. They walk down to the end of the hall and check on the door. It is stuck fast. Dalic tries to shoulder it open to no avail. Dalic attempts to pry the lock. Nothing seems to be able to circumvent the door.

    Pausing, Dalic speaks to the elf, “Are you able to aid me with my health or this door?”

    The elf responds confidently, “Your health, yes.” She takes the dagger from Dalic and cuts strips from his cloak. She applies them to his injuries. “The door? Not at the moment.”

    Dalic receives his dagger back and leads the elf to the northern door. To their surprise, the door opens easy enough.

    The room is roughly rectangular. It is 60 feet east/west and 45 feet north/south. The floor to this room consists of three raised tiers, each tier approximately 5 feet above the one beneath. The effect resembles a ziggurat. The top is 10 feet long and 5 feet wide. The ceiling is 30 feet high.

    The room is dimly lit by some mysterious illumination.

    A voice calls out, speaking the non-common human Suel language. The voice is coming from higher up the pyramid. The voice is coming from somewhere up the ziggurat.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 09, 2001
    Posts: 655

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    Thu Mar 24, 2016 7:49 pm  

    Sorry. Been meaning to post for some time. I really like how you run your campaign. Is it doable FtF game? So much good dialogue that I assume it is online. I just re-read the Bone Hill adventure. I actually read part of it, adding pictures from my MM, to my son. He loved the zombies!

    I thought the necromancer was great. Some of the best stuff I've read. I have to start the LLL part of over as I forgot what was happening. Anyway, keep up the great work!
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 21, 2013
    Posts: 350
    From: Minnesota

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    Sat Apr 16, 2016 9:37 pm  

    Thanks Ragnar.

    It is play by post email. It is a very slow way to play but it can add a lot of detail. I have a mix of players. Some add a lot, others are too busy to add much. I am just glad they are playing. Currently there are 8 players running 10 characters.

    We did a table-top session with some other characters in February. They were created to go to Garrotten and assaulted the keep in attempts to overthrow the Mayor and her minions. I will not be posting that entire adventure as I did not take notes. There will likely be a summary at some point. The party did pretty well but many of the bad guys got away. As a result, the bad guys and their orc allies raided Restenford and burned many parts of it (set up for L4).

    This is my first crack at DMing Lendore Island. It has been really fun so far.

    Happy gaming.
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 21, 2013
    Posts: 350
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    Sun Apr 17, 2016 8:02 pm  
    Securing the upper chambers.

    At that moment, several glowing missiles appear and streak down towards Dalic and the elf. The first bolt strikes Dalic in the back as he goes for cover followed immediately by a second (4, -4/30). He gasps as the energy pulses through his body driving him to the stone floor. He sees a final bolts strike the elf (4, 3/8). Dalic remains conscious long enough to see the elf withstand the assault. On the second tier of the ziggurat appears the green robed wizard sneering at his advantage. Dalic then slips into oblivion.

    The elf runs to the dwarf’s aid, trying in vain to bring him back to consciousness. Grabbing a dagger, the elf turns to face the green mage.

    The green mage laughs with a deep evil grin. It pulls itself up onto the top tier of the ziggurat as the elf throws the dagger at him. The dagger strikes the mage in the back but falls harmlessly away.

    As the mage reaches the top tier, his bellowing laugh fills the room. His body begins to de-materialize as his voice calls down in the common speech, “Leave now or lose your soul!”

    The words hang in the air as the mage, in a swirl of color, blurs into a green mist and then disappears.

    Tathar calls upon Sehanine to heal himself (+2, 11/24).

    Tathar addresses Bofor in what is long-winded for Tathar, "My brother cleric, I am exhausted and will not have the strength to heal our friends until I pray to Sehanine and enter the reverie. Please do what you can for them."

    Tathar sets about searching the bodies for anything the party can use. During which time he rubs some ash upon his face reapplying his black face paint.

    Grimlock rises from one of the orc sniper pits where he had secreted himself. His sword is bloodied. It is clear that he had worked his way through the sniper pits and eliminated them.

    Cirdan’s voice calls out to Peylae, “I am here as well. I took out an orc trying to sneak off towards the ogre chamber <sneeze>.” Cirdan appears to have been affected by something as he routinely coughs and sneezes or clears his throat. He remains invisible. “I am searching for the green mage. I should be able to see him, even hidden though he may be. Cover me.”

    With the lantern open and Breymeer’s magical torch out, the group searches the large main chamber and then moves off into the western chamber.

    The western chamber, 150 feet across with similarly designed dwarven images on the walls and a 50 feet high ceiling.

    The western group crossed the room in a hurry. Coming back now and searching slowly shows the horses remain tethered to iron rings bolted into the floor. Scattered around them is straw, offal and rotting feed. The southern wall contains eight cages serving as cells. Four of them have bent bars.

    Bhut stands nearby. He appears to have escaped the cages. His weapons have been taken. He stands with a dagger. “I have been unable to free the rest of the prisoners. Dalic and an elf went north through a secret door.”

    In the third cage is a human male is in his late 40s and appears to be a commoner. He is of average build and has short cut red hair along with a full beard partially hiding the swelling in his face from a recent beating.

    To his east, in cell four, is a mid-teen age male. He also has red hair; longer than the others. He has a family resemblance to the older man; likely his father or uncle. He is fit but also injured from a recent pummeling. He is dressed as a commoner.

    Both of the above prisoners still have their hands and feet shackled. Their hand manacles are chained to an iron ring secured into the wall.

    The final human male, east of the teenager in cage five, is a 30-something male. He is stronger in appearance having a fighter’s build. He has a light colored mustache and blond hair shaved close. He wears chain mail armor. His leg is swollen, possibly broken, from a severe bludgeoning strike. This man’s cage has bent bars and he has been freed from his shackles. He leans heavily against the iron bars resting his injured leg.

    The other cages are empty and intact excepting the final cage which has the bars bent.

    From the north, pulling open a concealed door, enters an elf. She is very winded as she drags Dalic’s body into the doorway. She collapses, “He needs aid. We were ambushed by a mage in a green robe. He is gone. He disappeared atop some type of strange pyramid.”

    The elf wears a skin tight grey bodysuit chased with gold threat and covered with a hoodless scarlet cloak held in place by a thin but sturdy gold cord. The gold trim accents her body lines and curves. The material consists of something very shimmering. She wears tight elbow length gloves of similar material. Her blonde hair falls to mid back. Her hair parts in the middle and is held off her face by her long ears. Her eyes appear green and her skin, as with most elves, is as pale as fresh cream. She is obviously pretty even through the bruising on her face.

    The party finds Dalic unconscious but stable. The elf reports, “We were hit by magical arrows. I was able to keep him stable after he fell.” The party can see she is also injured and in significant pain.

    Bofor comes to the aid of the dwarf. Praying, Dalic’s injuries are eased (+6, 2/30). Bofor also prays for aid for the elf that saved Dalic (+3, 6/8).

    Cirdan and company move north and explore the secret passage. The passage is crudely excavated and obviously not the work of the original dwarves. It is nearly 10 feet high and 8 feet wide. It is unlit. The party finds it travels northeast before splitting straight north and straight east.

    The eastern passage parallels the tunnel to the south between the chamber with the horses and the main central chamber. Where the tunnel meets the main central chamber, there is another concealed door, obvious from this side, that enters to the northwestern arc of the room. The passage continues around the circumference of the room, gaining elevation as it travels east. This tunnel terminates at an observation post. Cut into the southern wall is a 3 inch slit. Looking through the slit, one can observe the main chamber.

    The northern passage terminates in a door with one side passage going west to a door.

    The northern door is opened to reveal a 60 foot wide room east/west and 45 feet deep. The floor of the room consists of three raised tiers, each tier approximately 5 feet above the one beneath. The effect resembles a ziggurat. The top is 10 feet long and 5 feet wide. The ceiling is 30 feet high. The room is dimly lit by some unknown source.

    The top of this ziggurat is where the elf maiden says the green robed mage vaporized. She said he did not just blip out but instead spun into a green mist and then just vaporized. The description appears similar to what happened to Grimlock and Cirdan when Horan the mage would teleport them to and fro in the Hepmonaland jungle.

    Cirdan can see the mage is no longer in the room, visible or invisible.

    The group moves to the western room finding the door completely unmoving. Speck steps forward with a grin and a few small metal tools in hand. He goes to work on the locking mechanism and soon has the door swinging inward.

    The sight in the room brings glee to the group. Inside the room is the orcs treasure room. There are two large chests, a weapons rack and a small pile of gear.

    The gear belongs to Dalic and Bhut. The weapons rack contains Dalic and Bhut’s confiscated weapons. In addition, there is a hand axe, a bastard sword and a long sword. The axe is a metal head mounted on a bronzewood shaft. The metal head is engraved with the dwarven rune for strength. The bastard sword has a steel blade mounted into a leather wrapped steel hilt. The leather appears well cured. The sword retains a keen edge. The long sword has a silver blade mounted upon a steel hilt. The steel grip and pommel are designed with images of wolves.

    The two chests are examined and appear clear of traps. Opening the chests reveals a mass of treasure.

    The first chest contains copper coins, thousands in count (7,940 cp), a golden circlet and a book chased with gold and scarlet coloring. The book appears to be a spellbook and is quickly seized by the elf. “These are mine.” She places the golden circlet on her head. It fits perfectly and completes her outfit.

    The second chest contains electrum (643 ep), silver (697 sp) and gold (1,470 gp).

    In addition to the treasure room, the party collects up the remaining coin purses from the dead enemy. Cirdan advises to use caution in the sleeping pallets as he came across one trapped with sneezing powder. He continues to suffer from hives, sneezing and coughing. In addition, the weapons are piled in the main orc chamber for possible use or later sale.

    The group frees the final two men and discovers they are father and son. They earn their keep by making deliveries between Loreltarma and the Lake Farmin/Restenford area. The solider is one of their men-at-arms. The elf had paid them to allow her to accompany the caravan to make a delivery of specialty goods to the house of a mage named Pelltar in Restenford.

    The caravan was attacked by an orc raid. Most were slaughtered. The horses were taken along with the caravan survivors. The wagons were broken up for firewood and torches. The four prisoners and horses in the chamber are all that are left.

    The father’s name is Lidulf, his son is Ernald, the soldier is Errius and the elf is Aravae.

    The party agrees it needs to set guards and rest and recuperate. It is around mid-afternoon.

    Grimlock, standing before the treasure horde and weapons rack, declares, “I could use the long sword. I have been looking in each city for something like this. I would not be so ill equipped to deal with the undead with this I think.”

    Grimlock takes the silver wolf sword from the shelf and examines it, “Is everyone okay with that?” There is no objection.

    The axe catches Breymeer’s eye. He hefts it and check out the feel, "If no one objects I think I can put this to good use." The hard wood of the bronzewood tree feels good in his hand. The bronzewood is one of the hardest woods known. There are no objections to Breymeer claiming the axe.

    Dalic claims the newly found bastard sword as his own. He straps the blade of Dalgur to his back and sets the new blade to his hip. There is no objections to Dalic claiming the blade.

    Dalic travels back to retrieve his daggers and caltrops which had been strewn about in battle. As he departs, he requests the healers assist him with his wounds upon his return as their deity allows.

    Bofor looks with disgust at Dalic as he leaves but says nothing.

    For the time being, the treasure chests are left in the treasure room.

    Tathar, with some assistance, recovers Ide's body and searches her stuff for all that can be used or sold. She has already been plundered by the orcs and the whereabouts of her things is unknown except her giant axe.

    Tathar creates a funeral pyre out of wood and other combustible material he scavanges and places her on it. It is unknown if she had any reverence for a particular deity.

    Tathar holds a small ceremony for any who wish to gather in which he calls upon the gods to take her spirit to the next plane. All who fought with her show their respect. It is obvious, her strength in combat will be sorely missed.

    After the ceremony, Tathar offers to give a once-over physical assessment to the caged persons. They accept his help. Aravae and Peylae both assist having skill in first aid.

    Tathar searches around for bow parts but only finds crossbow material. He recovers the arrows he can find and then waits for nightfall to pray.

    As the day drifts into late afternoon, the party forms a conference.

    Grimlock requests Cirdan, “While you remain unseen, will you return to Belina and advise her we will need at least two days to work deeper into the fortress.”

    Breymeer suggests, “I will find Belina so she knows all is good in hopes she'll stick around with horses. After meeting with her, I’ll be back to help clear this foul place of slave taking bastards.”

    Cirdan makes his observations known, "It is clear to me that clearing this mine of the evil that inhabits it will take longer than Belina will wait. I am guessing Lindulf and Ernald have no desire to enter the delve with us, but Errius and Aravae may be eager to seek revenge for the wrongs they have been caused and wish to join us. I do not speak for anyone but myself; my suggestion is this: We take the horses, loaded with the treasure, and send Lindulf, Ernald and a couple others back to Belina. Belina can get these gentlemen back to Farmin and get them on their way. The treasure she can leave at the castle for our return. We can also let Belina know that we will find our way back to Farmin, and if we do not return to assume the worst. We should rest here for a day, tomorrow our healers, their gods willing, can restore our health and on the second day we enter the delve."

    Lindulf, Ernald and Errius decline the offer to enter the delve. Lindulf and Ernald claim to be simple merchant and Errius is their hired guard.

    Aravae accepts the offer to continue into the delve, “I have lost the goods I was responsible for getting to Restenford. I would be happy to join this expedition in order to recoup my losses. I intent to travel to Lake Farmin with whomever travels there prior to returning to aid in the expedition.”

    After some discussion, the party decides to send the treasure, under guard, back to Lake Farmin. Not having full trust in the castle administration, the party finally agrees to secure the money on the Ungohling under the security of Comus and the crew. The Ungohling will stay docked or weigh anchor at or near Lake Farmin until the party’s return.

    Peylae, Breymeer, and Aravae agree to travel with Lindulf, Ernald and Errius to find Belina and bring the treasure to Lake Farmin.

    The away team begins to organize to leave and the others begin making defensive positions before nightfall. Cirdan ensures the gong is recovered. The party has the use of the gong and the horn in the event of trouble.

    As the party is preparing defenses, an interesting interaction occurs. Dalic, having returned from recovering his equipment, takes a rest near the party. He leans up against the wall, letting out a sigh.

    Bofor grimaces at the sight of Dalic. No longer able to hold his tongue, the dwarven priest unleashes on Dalic, "I don't know or much care how you came into the company of these good folk or how they would even have you, but I know what you are! Your fancy skin coloring cannot hide your duergar nature. Your evil, self-serving and barbaric kind have no purpose above ground with the good folk of these islands. I have half the mind to either pile you up with the rest of the enemy or drive you from these honorable halls you disgrace with your presence."

    Dalic remains silent. There is not much to say to this and certainly nothing he can change as he is indeed duergar.

    Bofor begins to lay into him again, but for some reason makes no physical motion toward Dalic to fulfill his aforementioned threats, "More puzzling than your origins is the fact that you indeed fight well alongside this party." Bofor scoffs, "As if it would even be possible for your kind to form the bound I might confuse you as having with this crew!" He stammers, seeing no response from Dalic. "How could this be? I would have said I knew better had I not seen you with mine own eyes. I'd call it a ruse if I hadn't seen you fight. The way you battle leaves no room for dishonesty."

    The air rides tense with the lingering phrase left apparently unmet in its tone.

    Dalic breaks the silence, "I belong nowhere but here with these'n. I be duergar. Dalgur Steelcoat be my given name. Me family was killed by mine own clan and I be sold as a slave ta tha drow an' others. Placed in tha fightin' pits and wagered on ta kill or die was tha only life I knew 'for bein' bought an' freed in Restenford. I travel now wit these'n a free dwarf. Free of tha duergar, free of the pits an' free ab me clan. By birth I be duergar. By choice I be Dalic."

    The last words are clearly satisfying to the gray dwarf as he closes his eyes and lets his head fall back to the chamber wall he is sitting against. Unafraid of the consequences of being outed as a duergar the fighter clearly is more at home now than he has ever been in his life.

    Bofor's shoulders relax a bit. He says nothing for a while, pondering the simple yet extremely revealing information about Dalic. Finally, he relents, "I have never met a creature the likes of Dalic Steelcoat. You force me to change my position in a most surprising manner."

    And thus the mysterious powers of the strange dwarf are revealed. Yet, the party does not appear to be anymore uneasy with the duergar dwarf then they had been before knowing his origins. The duergar dwarf is battle crazy and completely lacks caution but he has been nothing but loyal to the group and has given his blood freely for them.

    Thus, Dalic Steelcoat, in the presence of the similarly strange snake-skinned Southar, finds himself completely at home with this party.

    The away team departs. Their intent is to stay in Lake Farmin overnight and return the following day. The horses, calmed by Breymeer, travel with the away team.

    Bofor Barrelmace, calling upon his deity for aid, brings healing to Bhut, Tathar and himself. Then, he approaches Dalic, “If you have indeed turned from your evil ways, may the deities of the dwarves shine upon you and keep you true.” With that, Bofor brings some healing to Dalic as well.

    After the sun sets, Tathar walks to the outside open air to pray, he finds peace on the eastern platform in the light of the moon as it peeks often between the scattered clouds.

    The away team rendezvous with Belina without problems and makes their way to Lake Farmin without incident.

    The following day, Harvester 25th, brings more clouds and some rain.
    The away team secures the treasure upon the Ungohling and returns to the dwarven complex without trouble. Their only encounter was with a watchful cougar that spied them as they climbed the central hill towards the eastern entrance to the mines.

    Those in the mines take the day to rest. The elf and dwarf priests continue to bring aid at the blessings of their respective deities.

    The day passes without any issues. The entire adventure group is reunited when the away team returns.

    The party prepares to penetrate deeper into the delve upon waking.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Wed Apr 20, 2016 5:02 pm  
    Deeper into the Delve - Down to level two

    Harvester 26, 577 arrives peacefully. After rising and preparing for the day, including meditation and study for the spellcasters, the group prepares for its next expedition being ready by 8 AM.

    Even though the party made significant defensive positions and preparations, including several traps set by Southar, no counter attack is made. In fact, the dwarven halls remain quiet during the day and two nights of rest.

    The party, with the blessings of Sehanine and Fortubo, are near fully healed and prepared for the trek into the lower level.

    The temperatures outside have fallen into the mid to low 60s as the broken clouds are blown about by a moderate wind. They spit occasional rain.

    Inside the delve, the stone walls are cool; roughly 60 degrees.

    Breymeer, torch in hand, Southar with one of the hooded lanterns (unlit), and the rest of the group gather at the secret door in the ogre’s chamber.

    The door itself is well concealed into the wall. Bofor walks over to the wall and feels around carefully. A small stone sinks into the wall under the pressure of Bofor’s hand. The door swings silently inward at a slow, constant speed.

    Musty air and swirls of dust greet the party as the door opens. Beyond the door is a ten foot wide tunnel that descends at a 25 degree angle downward to the west out of view. A quarter-inch thick layer of dust coats the floor. It is obvious nothing has passed this way in a very long time.

    Just beyond the door is illuminated some ancient dwarven runes scratched in the wall just inside the arc of the door on the tunnel wall. Below the writing is a desiccated skeleton of what appears to be a dwarf. The skeleton wears the same layer of dust.

    The center of the tunnel has a set of rusted iron rails, about three feet apart. The rails run continuously west into the darkness. Bofor comments, “They are for the ore cars that once worked here.” Dust covers them as well.

    Bofor looks down at the skeleton while muttering a prayer. He then steps forward and reads aloud the writing on the wall:

    Curse the darkness that lies below
    And all the horrors it hath spawned
    Foesmiter tried and Foesmiter died
    His foolish bravery has doomed us all

    The tunnel appears carved from seamless stone by the dwarven miners. At the edge of the torchlight, an iron sconce is set into the wall on the left side of the wall. An unlit torch remains in the sconce.

    The passage beyond is still and quiet.

    Grimlock and Cirdan are both invisible; their presence only detected by the sound of their voice and the soft falling of their steps. Often, they walk so silently their footfalls go unnoticed.

    Grimlock wants to take rear guard.

    Cirdan, looking over the corpse of the dwarf, chooses to walk near the middle.

    Tathar, examining the ceiling, also chooses the middle of the group.

    Breymeer steps to the front of the group, torch and sword in hand.

    Bhut, needing the light of the torch to see by, steps alongside Breymeer in the front row.

    Dalic gravitates towards his companion Bhut and steps in front of him, “Ye can see o’er me head.” Bhut takes the second rank instead. Dalic has his new found sword in hand. He has taken to calling his new sword "the Delven Bastard" and thinks himself clever for coming up with the name. For the fact his weapons are two-handed in nature he does not carry a light. Besides, his duergar eyes find little need for extra lighting.

    Southar comments, “I wisssh we would have had Belina return inssstead of sssssstaying in Farmin. Ssssssshe would have ssssstayed with the horsssssesssss in the horsssse chamber. Now we will have to carry the plunder oursssselvessss.” His voice carries some contempt. “I ssssshall lead assssss I posssssssesssss the greatesssst sssskilllsss.” Southar scouts out ahead of the group with his lantern in one hand and shield in the other. His long sword ‘Bloodletter’ sits loose in his scabbard.

    Bofor steps in line behind Breymeer.

    The elves take up the center, Tathar, Cirdan, Aravae and Peylae.

    The next rank is covered by Kuba and Speck.

    Grimlock, as stated, takes up rear guard.

    Marching Order:


    Breymeer Dalic
    Bofor Bhut
    Tathar Cirdan
    Aravae Peylae
    Kuba Speck


    Southar steps into the passageway. His forked tongue licks the air in quick repetitions. He moves ahead of the group by about 25 feet. He carefully checks the floor, walls as ceiling. He moves slow enough to allow Speck to keep pace.

    The party files in behind Southar and follow him down the passageway.
    The passageway drops sharply. The seamless walls only broken up by unlit torches in sconces every 60 or 70 feet. Very occasionally the stone walls have cracks or chipped stone. They in no way effect the structural integrity of the mine shaft.

    The rails continue on ahead of the party.

    After nearly 300 feet, the party approaches a chamber. The entrance to the chamber remains about 50 feet ahead of Southar and therefore 75 feet ahead of Breymeer and Dalic.

    The size of the chamber is hard to estimate but the glint of some type of metal objects reflects in Southar’s lantern light. The metal objects appear to be at floor level or within a few feet of the floor.

    Southar and the front ranks move closer to the room. Dalic continues to check for traps and anomalous formations. Dalic, never one to show fear, moves up slowly behind Southar; keeping a reactionary space between them.

    Breymeer hands his magical torch back to Bofor, “Hold this a moment.” Breymeer then switches to his bow and calls forward to Southar, “If anything attacks you Southar, arrows will find their mark.”

    Bofor takes the torch and advances up with Dalic, staying about 20 feet behind Southar. With his free hand he palms a throwing hammer.

    Bhut, having Breymeer halt with his bow in front of him, takes a step to Breymeer’s left in case a charge is in order. He slowly drifts forward in anticipation.

    The elves hold back for now as Tathar holds out his hand to pause them. Tathar whispers to the elves, “The last time I entered a cavern not knowing what was there, I got hit in the gut by an invisible ogre. The time before that was a fireball. Let’s wait.” They wait for what Southar uncovers.

    The elves holding up prevents forward movement from those in the rear. Speck readies his bow and Kuba watches with his shield and bastard sword in hand. Somewhere behind them, Grimlock is presumed to be. If necessary, those behind the elves can move through their ranks as needed.

    Southar fearlessly moves up to the edge of the room and illuminates it with his lantern. He calls back over his shoulder a description of the room and its contents.

    The 90 ft diameter room is circular with a 30 ft high domed ceiling. Strewn about the room are picks, shovels, and other digging equipment; none of which is salvageable. In the center of the room is an ore car mounted on the rusty rails. Along the walls are ten wooden beds upon which lie ten stout skeletons.

    From the eastern entrance Southar stands near, he can see a north-northwesterly passage leading out of the chamber.

    Southar sets down the lantern and pulls out Bloodletter. Shield and sword in hand, Southar glides into the room. The chamber’s far walls are too distant to be defined by the lantern light. Southar can make out about half of the room with detail.

    Dalic watches Southar’s movements, prepared to aid him if necessary.

    Behind them, Breymeer stows his bow and takes out both of his dwarven hand axes. Breymeer eyes the room suspiciously.

    Bofor asks quietly, “Does it look to be more of my kinfolk?”

    Bhut remains alert, muscles tense.

    The elves begin to creep forward.

    Southar moves into the room towards the nearest skeleton. His sword is out before him as he approaches to molest the skeleton to test if it will animate. Southar walks to the north as it is the closest arc to the exit on the NNW portion of the chamber.

    As soon as Southar enters the room, in perfect unison, ten dwarven skeletons sit up on their beds. The skulls upon their boney shoulders each turn to glare at Southar. Each wields a hand axe with a bony hand.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Wed Apr 20, 2016 5:23 pm  
    Skeletal menace, an ore cart ride and a willow wisp?

    Southar backs up to the entrance of the room in attempt to funnel the skeletons. Hearing Dalic charging up behind him, Southar leaves him room to join the fray.

    Dalic indeed joins Southar at the entrance to the room, “Stick ta-gethah, don’t split off!”

    Bhut calls forward, “I have never encountered such things, what is the best way to destroy these skeletons?”

    Bofor calls back to him, “Bludgeon them if you can. Just don’t try to stab them. Won’t do you much good.”

    Bhut looks at his axes, “I like to slice and dice!” He grins as he moves forward to battle.

    Both Bofor and Bhut move forward. Bofor places his throwing hammer back on his belt. He tucks the magical torch into his belt as well and then arms himself with his mace and readies his shield. The light of the magical torch, though somewhat blocked to the rear, continues to shine forward illuminating the darker parts of the room to some degree.

    Hearing the enemy is skeletons, Kuba arms himself with his war harmmer while Speck, and presumably Grimlock, remain at the rear. Kuba does not yet try and move up past the elves; keeping rear guard instead.

    Tathar moves up quickly at the first indication of undead. By the sounds of the light elvish footsteps, Cirdan has done the same. They both bypass Breymeer on their move forward. The party starts to bottleneck in the hallway.

    Tathar, seeing the undead, stows his bow and draw his staff. Being log jammed in the hallway, he takes a defensive position and awaits the fight.
    Aravae and Peylae hold their ground for the time being.

    As Southar defensively steps back into the hallway, the skeletons stop their advance. They remain animated but only stand and watch the party. Tension builds as Southar and Dalic find themselves in a standoff with the ten undead dwarves.

    Breymeer, convinced the rear is secure, and having his pride hurt the elves moved into battle ahead of him, switches one axe out for a mace and moves up to attack.

    Kuba and Speck move past Aravae and Peylae as they fall in behind Breymeer with Speck falling behind a little and hugging the shadows along the wall. Aravae and Paylae do not advance. They monitor the rear.

    Bhut, confused, asks, “Why did they stop?” He tries to relax his muscles in preparattion for combat.

    Dalic holds his attack. Seeing the skeletons not advancing tests a theory, “Lemme try somethin’,” he tells the party as he walks calmly into the room.

    The skeletons do not advance on him even though two are within striking distance.

    Bofor steps in next to Dalic, “These are my kin. They do not appear willing to attack their own kind. Even a duergar it appears.”

    Dalic motions for Bofor to join him, “We will scout tha room. Iffen there be a way ta pass without a fight, we’ll fine’ it.”

    Dalic begins searching the room for some type of barricade or item to form help form a safe path across the room. Bofor joins him.

    The skeletons at the eastern passage block the entrance to the rest of the party. The skeletons make no further hostile actions. Their hollow eye sockets stare at the group endlessly.

    One item appears to be an obvious solution. Bofor points it out first, “That ore cart. Maybe we can use it to shuttle the others.” It sits upon the rails the group has been following. The rails bend through the room and continue down the NNW passage.

    Inspection shows the cart is currently held in place on the rails by a large chunk of stone. The rails have a significant downward slope to them. It appears the cart, if not restrained, would naturally pass through the room under the power of gravity.

    Southar comments, “We will want to go across the room. We either have to coordinate killing the skeletons or you dwarves will have to figure out a way to get us across. Some testing may be in order.”

    The cart appears to be able to hold up to three man sized persons comfortably.

    Dalic suggests another option as well, “We could try’n tie ‘em together wit’ rope.”

    As the debate continues at the front ranks, Grimlock’s bodiless voice calls forward, “I vote for just whacking them to release them from their bony prisons.”

    Tathar’s voice competes with Grimlock’s, “Bofor, these are no ordinary undead skeletons. If they were, they would attack with mindless abandon. The fact that they won't attack dwarfs suggests that your kin put them here as a protective device, which is highlighted by the fact that there were no tracks in the thin layer of dust. None of the mine's recent inhabitants have been through the secret door we just passed through. Perhaps dispelling magic will do the trick?"

    Dalic steps ahead of the cart and pulls the stone from the front of the ore car. Bofor joins him, holding the car in place. The cart groans against its still wheels. Dalic, using his strength, breaks the cart free of its eternal rest. The car moves with annoying metal on metal squeaking that levels off after about ten feet of movement. Dalic moves around to the front and begins to drag the car back to the group, "Anyone spry enough ta try a test run? Hop in. Up ta three."

    Bofor pushes and Dalic pulls the car into the corridor out of the apparent reach of the the skeletons.

    Bofor palms his holy symbol and prepares for the worse. Bofor answers Tathar, “I know not what keeps my kin from our hero’s halls. If this does not work, do as you see fit.”

    Southar removes his great helmet and casts it uncaringly to the side. He wears a grin upon his scaled face, “Letsss give thisss a try. I will be the tesst sssubject." Southar climbs skillfully into the ore cart.

    Whether it is a distrust of the ore cart or Southar, no one else jumps into the cart.”

    Dalic asks Southar for his rope to secure the ore car just in case. Southar complies.

    Dalic suggests to Southar, “Use yer shield ta wall off or cap tha cart fer protection er concealin' an we be off.” Dalic gives the car a running start and launches it toward the other side of the room. The rope trails behind the car. The car moves at a slow but steady pace; about that of a walking man.

    The moment the car enters the room, the skeletons focus on it. They move away from the walls towards the car. It rolls too quickly between the two skeletons watching the eastern passage. The two skeletons on the NNW passage step in front of the car’s path.

    Bofor boldly holds his holy symbol out before him, “Rest my kin!” The two skeletons at the eastern entrance, the two along the northern wall and one of the skeletons blocking the NNW passage come apart and fall into piles of bones.

    The three of the four southern skeleton cannot reach the rails in time to attack. The fourth reaches the car as it approaches the NNE exit. It hammers downward with his hand axe. The axe strikes the golden shield and busts into several pieces.

    The echo of a hearty laugh echoes up from the rear as Grimlock laughs at the goofiness of the predicament. Aravae and Peylae each move forward and catch up to the rear of the group. Even though Grimlock appears to be behind the two elf maidens, they remain vigilant to a rear attack.

    The ore cart and Southar reach the edge of the room. The ore cart runs over the skeleton guarding the far passage. It blows apart into numerous shards of bone.

    A light glows from under the golden shield as Southar had grabbed the lantern moments before jumping into the car. The passage on the far side of the room continues its downward slope. The car lumbers along.

    Dalic calls to arms, “They be chasin’ the cart, we be free ta fall in. All ta arms an’lay ‘em to rest. Take advantage ab tha new flank!" Dalic charges the second closest skeleton to him and turns his sword blade sideways using it like a club against the skeleton. The sword bashes the bones apart and it collapses to the floor.

    Breymeer follows Dalic’s charge, working his way past Bhut and Bofor. Using an axe and a mace Breymeer knocks away part of the rib cage of the closest skeleton; the one Dalic bypassed. It remains standing (5, 3/8).

    Tathar steps into the room and presents his holy symbol to the remaining skeletons, “By Sehanine, let us pass.” The remaining skeletons begin the back away towards the outer walls.

    On Tathar’s heels comes the sound of running feet. Cirdan skillfully steps between the other party members as he runs into the room attempting to catch up to the car. He is able to overcome the trailing rope.

    Grimlock’s banter continues from within the eastern passageway, “Our mage is chasing down an ore cart with the golden shield in it in an attempt to out muscle the ore cart! A MAGE NO LESS! Sounds like the tall tales we hear at the inn!”

    Cirdan’s running into the room caused little dusty explosions every time his foot fell upon the ground. The rope dragging behind the ore car left a line upon the dusty floor. Just before exiting the room, the rope mark disappears and Cirdan’s dusty footfalls turn into two foot drags. The rope becomes taut and level with the ground. It appears Cirdan is skiing behind the ore car.

    Grimlock continues to boil with laughter.

    The ore cart, lit by the light of the lantern, continues down the passage with Southar, and apparently now Cirdan, along for the ride.

    Tathar begins to look about the room, examining it with his elf eyes for anything that may have been overlooked with a cursory glance.

    Dalic moves about the room bashing the skeletons to bits with the ‘Delven Bastard’. Dalic has moved straight south and destroyed the bony animation as it back steps. Dalic turns his attention to the western remaining two.

    Breymeer begins to run after the ore car with Bhut entering the room and running with similar intent some 30 feet behind Breymeer. Both head for the far passage.

    Kuba and Speck enter the room carefully. Speck has his short sword out and stays close to Kuba.

    Peylae and Aravae also move up but hold in the passage just shy of entering the room.

    Grimlock, as given away by his voice, is still roughly 100 feet east of the group in the eastern passageway.

    The skeletons do not advance, overpowered by Sehanine.

    Peylae and Aravae make notice of Grimlock as he enters the room between them. They continue to hold at the eastern entrance.

    Tathar continues to move about the room exploring. All the while, he keeps the two remaining skeletons at bay.

    Kuba and Speck are still monitoring for trouble along with Bofor who holds the magical torch.

    Meanwhile, down the passageway, Cirdan, still dragging along behind the car, calls ahead to Southar, “Do you really want to risk going off a cliff?” Southar appears to be enjoying himself.

    Breymeer overtakes Cirdan and catches up to the car. Bhut is only moments behind Breymeer. They grab onto the rear of the car. The added drag on the car begins to slow its momentum. Dalic, running hard behind them, soon closes to within a few paces of the slowing Cirdan.

    The walls of the passageway open into a chamber as the car comes slowly to a creaking halt. Southar, smiling, holds his lantern aloft illuminating most of the chamber. The room is large, appearing to be of similar size as the previous chamber; a round chamber 90 feet in diameter with a domed ceiling 30 feet overhead.

    The rails continue through this chamber curving slightly to the right as the pass into the darkness of a northeastern tunnel. The room contains the crumbling remains of wood benches, tables and two large bellows. The bellows, which point down along the track, appear to have been used to circulate air as opposed to fanning flames. They are somewhat tattered and age appears to have rendered them inoperable. The room contains a similar undisturbed layer of dust.

    Back in the chamber with the skeletons, the remaining party members hear the cart come to a slow halt. Looking down the passageway, they can see Southar’s lantern illuminating a new chamber. The passageway between the chambers is 150 feet long.

    Grimlock’s voices, “Looks like it’s time to fall back into line and catch up.”

    Tathar addresses Bofor, “Bofor, I think we need to aid the bones of your kin to their eternal rest. It is right to do that for them and we do not need undead behind us when we know not what is in front.”

    Bofor agrees. He presents his holy symbol again and speaks, “My kinsman, you have done your duty with honor. We will route the evil from this mine. Go now and rest with our fathers.”

    The remaining skeletons pause for a moment before coming apart and dropping to the floor into piles of loose bones.

    Bofor and Kuba lead the halfling and remaining elves deeper into the mine. Moving to the next chamber, they find it secured already.

    Dalic questions the disposition of the remaining skeletons. Discovering their fate, he appears content.

    Bofor returns the magical torch to Breymeer.

    Cirdan chocks the wheels of the ore car to keep it for rolling downward into the dark passage. He uses some of the rotting wood from the tables and benches. Once the weight of the car pins the block of wood to the rail, it appears to hold.

    Southar unties his rope and stows it in his pack.

    Taking a moment to look around the room, the party finds nothing more of interest. As before, it appears nothing has disturbed this room for hundreds of years.

    The party reforms its columns and continues its descent. Bofor comments, “We are already over 300 feet below the main level above. I pray our luck holds out.”

    The group moves cautiously down the perfectly cut stone passageway. The rails and floor remain dust covered. Tathar, and others, keep vigilant of the walls and ceilings as well.

    After 300 feet, the passage opens into another room. It enters from the southwest. After carefully approaching, Southar exclaims, “I am sssssscertainly glad I didn’t go in there!”

    Peering in, the room is revealed to be another large circular room, slightly bigger than the last. The room’s diameter is 120 feet. The magical torch illuminates a large crevice running across the room from southeast to the northwest. The rails are broken and twisted as they end at the crevice. On the far side of the nearly 10 foot wide crevice, the rails begin again. A second ore car sits upon them. It is significantly rustier and does not reflect light as well. The crevice extends beyond the domes ceiling 30 feet overhead and also into the southeastern and northwestern walls. The rails do not extend more than a foot or so from either side of the crevice. What used to span the crevice appears to have fallen long ago. Nothing spans the gap to allow travel across.

    Behind the second ore car, at floor level, is a small glowing ball of light. It is initially very faint but appears to be growing in size and intensity.

    In the very shadowy eastern wall, the group can barely make out what appears to be another passageway exiting the room. Only the large dark spot on the wall hints at its location.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Fri Apr 29, 2016 8:47 pm  
    What becons from yonder light?

    Grimlock pauses in the passageway, turns, and begins watching the rear.

    Breymeer boldly walks into the room towards the eastern exit. He pauses at the edge of the chasm and looks towards the other passageway. His torch illuminates the room fully in its bright white light. The tunnel is only partially lit; enough to discover it appears to be similarly constructed as the other tunnels within the hill. The rails continue downward into the eastern tunnel.

    Dalic pouts a bit as he laments the loss of his rope to the fireball. He awaits further ideas.

    The rest of the group remains in column formation waiting for a plan.

    Meanwhile the light behind the rusty ore car appears to have gone out or been overpowered by the pure white light of the magical torch.

    Speck, trying to peek around others and standing on his tippy toes, pipes up from the rear of the group, “Shouldn’t we go in and face whatever is in the room together rather than crowding this cramped corridor?” He starts to walk forward among the others.

    Kuba adds on Speck’s behalf, “The halfling is right. Let’s get moving.”

    Cirdan and Tathar move up next to Breymeer at the end of the trench. Cirdan lights a torch and drops it into the trench. The torch falls for a couple seconds revealing the depth to be over 50 feet. The torch remains burning at the bottom of the chasm displaying a bottom full of jagged and busted rocks.

    Tathar quietly sighs, “Too bad all the wood we have come across is rotted beyond use.”

    Tathar hands his backpack to Cirdan and steps back from the ravine. Running forward he leaps across the 10 foot gap in an elongated dive. He immediately tumbles into a roll and comes up behind the ore car prepared for trouble. The glow appears to have vanished from behind the car.

    Cirdan throws Tathar’s pack across to him.

    Cirdan suggests to Breymeer, “Cover that torch a moment to see if the glow is still there.” Breymeer complies and covers the bright white light of the torch. The glow of the burning torch in the chasm only dimly lights the room above and there is no glow behind the rusted ore car.

    Southar, seeing Breymeer cover the torch, guesses at the intent and shutters his lantern.

    It is then the glowing sphere becomes clear. The sphere has somehow shifted in both location and form. What was once a glowing ball behind the ore car has become a translucent image of a dwarf warrior in full battle armor standing directly before Bhut. Helmetless, its hazy visage depicts not fear or hate; but instead an intensity of purpose in its nebulous eyes.

    The ghostly apparition has grasp onto Bhuts arms, one in each hand. Bhut remains mute and unmoving. Bhut’s eyes show no thought. He appears to lack the will to react.

    Speck has advanced up to directly behind Bhut. He stops his advance at the sudden appearance of trouble.

    Bofor exclaims in disbelief, nearly under his breath, “Khorliss Foesmiter, the great dwarf warrior!”

    Dalic quickly positions himself behind the figure and places an aimed slash at the base of the figure’s skull. The hazy apparition fades and wisps just below the stroke of the blade. The stroke of the blade passes by the chest of Bhut without hitting him.

    Cirdan moves to the north to gain a reactionary gap as he watches the spirit.

    Tathar, looking across the ravine, speaks, “We should retrieve the other mine cart so we can anchor a rope to each side and have a way back.”

    Breymeer lays his torch down and takes a hand axe in each hand. He moves up on the battle with the spectre. He keeps an eye out for other danger.

    Bofor takes his holy symbol in hand. The symbol is a silver hammer with a golden head; the symbol of Fortubo. “Klorliss Foesmiter, step back. We continue your mission. Do not harm us.”

    The spirit lets go of Bhut and begins to float backwards along the southwest wall.

    Bhut drops to one knee and inhales a gasp of air. He appears slightly pale and weak of will but otherwise unharmed.

    A low voice calls out from the spirit, speaking in the dwarven language. Bofor quickly translates as it speaks, “He says, ‘I know you not’”. Bofor continues to summarize Klorliss: He is very angry it took us so long to return. He wishes not to harm us but he has a great desire to slay Frelpic, the twisted dwarven priest who slay Klorliss. He will not rest until Frelpic is slain.

    Grimlock says nothing and continues to watch the rear.

    Breymeer stands ready. He watches as the encounter with the spirit plays out and gazes about for other possible threats.

    Cirdan suggests, “Maybe he will accompany us and give guidance or help.” He addresses Dalic, “Can you get more information out of him?”

    Dalic is bemused at the idea of having a spirited comrade. “Fight wit us not against, great warrior. Let us finish this fight tagether!” He stands down his attack on the spirit.

    Bofor interjects, “I fear if I release this spirit, it may again prey upon us.” Bofor continues to hold it back with the bold display of his holy hammer symbol.

    Bhut, meanwhile, regains his composure and continues with the group, unsure of what just happened to him. He looks about, “Anyone have some ale to drink to aid in my recovery.”

    Klorliss Foesmiter, continuing to slowly float in retreat from Bofor, switches to the common language, “I am bound here by death unless you give me the aid of one of your bodies. The man warrior is my choice. I will relinquish the body when the swine Frelpic joins the dead he commands.”

    “Warrior man,” Klorliss looks directly at Bhut, “shall I have the aid of your body?”

    Speck takes a very large halfling step away from Bhut.

    Bhut appears shocked at the request as all eyes fall upon him. “I am afraid of this spirit not releasing my body after the quest is complete. I am compelled to refuse. How do the rest of you feel?”

    Dalic gives and immediate answer by stepping in front of Bhut. Dalic points his sword brazenly at the spirit. "This 'ere be a good man. I will nae let ye take inta 'im. I shall put ye ta rest wit this blade should ye try it! Rather, I challenge ye. Fight me. If ye shall win ye can take this fine dwarven body till the foe be slain. I hab more'n 'nuf evil days behind me ta be deservin' such a fate; after ye be bound ta release me or face the wrath ab tha priests. Iffen ye lose, me blade shall gib ye rest. These are tha terms iffen ye will not or cannot help us otherwise."

    Dalic glances harshly to the others indicating not to interfere yet.

    Bofor continues to hold the spirit at bay as the situation plays out.

    Klorliss hisses in what appears to be a laugh, “It appears I chose a warrior that is close of heart to this deep dwarf. I am known for slaying the dark elves,” he glances the way of the Tathar and Cirdan as the other elves have not yet revealed themselves, “but I have laid low many a duergar as well.”

    Klorliss continues to slowly float away from the dwarven holy symbol. “Put away your hammer, Priest of Fortubo, and this duergar shall be your guide.”

    Curiosity gets the better of Grimlock. Unseen he moves forward to witness the battle to come.

    Breymeer pipes in, “Spirit, you say you want Frelpic and his evil gone so help bring us to them or get out of the way.”

    Cirdan’s bodiless voice adds, “Dalic, we need information. If you defeat this spirit, we lose possible vital information.” From the sound of his voice, Cirdan has moved north of the group yet still on the west side of the crevice.

    Bhut takes a step back and gives a nod to Dalic as a thank you.

    Dalic nods to Bofor indicating his wish to have the spirit released.

    Bofor pauses, considering the wisdom of the party. “Dalic, I do not doubt your heroism but Cirdan is correct. Master Foesmiter may have more to share. I only fear what death may have done to his soul.” Bofor continues to hold the spirit at bay.

    “Priest of Fortubo, this I know. Frelpic smote me here with a magical hammer and I am forever bound to this chamber. I singularly desire Frelpic’s demise. You are no more a tool to this end than my great sword. I know not what political reason humans and elves have been allowed into our clan’s mine, nor do I care anymore.”

    The shimmering image of the dwarf morphs back to a ball of light as the spirit continues, “If you are so great priest, release me from my hell. If unable or unwilling, stow your symbol and allow me to humble this too proud duergar. If you fear for his heartless soul, then continue on.”

    The light floats over the ravine alone the southern wall, now more difficult to see in its ball form among the bright light of Breymeer’s torch which lies upon the chamber floor. “Be warned, I carried a sword of great power. It is nothing to trifle with. Without me, should you find it, may Fortubo and the great dwarven deities have mercy on your soul.”

    As the parlay continues, Tathar walks off to the eastern tunnel while being observant of the contents of the room on the eastern side of the ravine. Finding nothing of interest other than the rails and the ore car, he peers into the tunnel. It continues easterly without interruption past the edge of his vision. As the spirit gets towards his side of the ravine, Tathar prepares again for trouble.

    Bofor tells the group, “Master Foesmiter indeed carried a great weapon of power. If the enemy now has it, we may very well be in dire danger. Either way, legends record how Master Foesmiter and his band of followers independently ravaged drow enclaves without the support and often guidance of the clan. He forsake the can’s council and would answer to none. Whether it was the sword’s will or Master Foesmiter’s, none now know; except him.” Bofor Barrelmace points to the glowing ball hovering above the chasm.

    Breymeer returns to his torch and picks it up. He begins to examine the chasm for a way across.

    Dalic relaxes his stance. “We have found swords, yes?” He holds out the Delven Bastard. “We must check all weapons for magic.” He continues to present his sword for inspection.

    Grimlock blurts out, “Why not let Dalic have a go at the spirit? It seems like a fitting tale to tell and a benefit to us all when he wins. I say let him have a go if he desires it.”

    Bofor thinks for just a moment, “I believe I can drive him back should things turn sour. Ready yourself Dalic! You’re free to give it a go.”

    “Offer accepted!” exclaims the spirit.

    A grin of pleasure crosses Dalic’s face. He drops a foot back from his inspection stance and readies his blade for combat.

    Bofor releases the spirit as he lowers his symbol. The spirit ball moves quickly towards Dalic and settles upon the floor half way between Dalic and the ravine. The ball changes back to the image of the great Klorliss Foesmiter. With a similar grin on its face, Klorliss raises his arm and beckons Dalic’s assault with the waving of his hand, “Come duergar. Make your move. We will finish this adventure together. Literally.”

    “May Fortubo guide your blade,” encourages Bofor as moves farther into the room towards Breymeer.

    Dalic charges the spirit as Grimlock advises Bofor, “You must not intervene if Dalic falters. He accepted the terms of their duel and it would leave him honorless if you stepped in. The ghost never said he would harm Dalic but only to use him as a vassal. Unless the ghost intentionally puts Dalic in a suicidal situation, we must not intervene.”

    Dalic cries out a dwarven battle cry as he rushes into battle. At the last second he side steps the spirit. The spirit lurches forward, grasping at the air from which Dalic just vacated. Dalic slashes through the spirit’s torso with the Delven Bastard (2, 19/21). The illumination of the spirit shimmers where the blade cuts through. The visage of the ghost shows a flash of anger.

    Dalic moves in a circular pattern around the spirit. He continually works his feet to gain a flanking attack. Dalic pounces in and out, strafing at the spirit with his sword. The ghostly apparition deftly avoids Dalic’s blade.

    The spirit anticipates one of Dalic’s strikes and grabs the duergar around his neck with both hands (-6 wisdom, 7/13). For a moment Dalic’s eyes flash concern until he realizes he can breath fully. Dalic chops through both arms of the ghost causing a disruption in the translucent haze (2, 17/21). Dalic recovers but appears slightly slouched in his posture. He shows no sign of physical injury but lacks the fearless confidence he possessed just moments ago.

    Having stepped back from the spirit, Dalic straightens himself while twirling his blade menacingly.

    The spirit makes a bold rush at Dalic who side steps. Dalic brings his blade across the spirit’s shoulders in a level arc. The blade passes between the shoulders and the head. Its neck shimmers in a visual disruption (2, 15/21). The results are not as Dalic had envisioned.

    The spirit pounces, grabbing Dalic’s primary sword arm momentarily before Dalic tactically breaks free (-4 wisdom, 3/13). Dalic rolls to the side but remains on one knee. Again, he appears uninjured but lacks the will to stand.

    “You’re foolish arrogance is costing you dearly, duergar.” The spirit sneers as it mocks Dalic.

    Dalic, grunting as if under a heavy burden, stands. Determination fills his eyes and no fear is seen within the deep dwarf. Dalic grips the leather wrapped hilt of his sword and charges forward. He raises he blade level with the spirit’s heart and prepares to stab it through as if with a spear. At the last moment, the spirit dodges the piercing blow so Dalic steps to the side and brings the sword through the spirit from the rear in a slash that would have removed an ogre’s head (2, 13/21).

    The ghost does not turn, its hazy image simply reforms facing Dalic.

    Dalic looks dejected as the spirit pounces. It wraps its hands around Dalic’s neck again. This time Dalic’s will can hold out no longer. Dalic falls backwards upon the cold stone floor and the image of Foesmiter turns to translucent mist and floats into Dalic’s nose and open mouth.

    Dalic gasps as a seizure takes hold. It lasts but a moment and a stillness falls across the room. The other party members realize they are now holding their own breath in anticipation.

    Slowly the body of Dalic begins to move. He rolls onto his side and pushes himself up into a seated position, “Well, that was certainly fun. Now then, let us find this Frelpic shall we?”

    The dwarf stands and picks up his sword. He takes several practice strokes with it. Seemingly finding it acceptable, he returns the blade to its sheath.

    The voice and the body appear to be Dalic but the speech pattern and accent is no longer the duergar’s. It appears the spirit has taken over.
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    Tue May 03, 2016 10:59 pm  
    Foesmiter joins the fun

    Kuba, with caution in his voice, voices a general statement to anyone listening, “The help of a spirit guided dwarf will help our situation.” Speck, looking up at his friend, nods in agreement.

    Cirdan is the first to address Foesmiter, "Master Foesmiter, my name is Cirdan Saralonde, a High Elf from the land of Celene. You cannot see me because of the spell of invisibility that shrouds me, but I want you to know I am here. I and my companions have been hired by your clan, under the guidance of Bofor, to rid the delve of the evil that slew you and your warriors. Please do not be angered at our presence here, it is an honor for us to see such craftmanship with stone. What can you tell us of the evil we face?"

    “I can tell you it shall suffer me before the life is drained from this body,” replies the spirit as it checks its new body over. It feels for weapon locations and checks Dalic’s packs and pouches for items.

    Breymeer throws several of his items across in order to lighten his load. With a running start, he leaps the chasm. His foot reaches the very edge and slips downward. The momentum of the jump takes his body forward but he drives his knee into the ground hard as he crashes to the ground (2, 45/47). He stands, testing his leg as he winces in pain. He finds himself still stable and the initial pain soon ebbs.

    Southar shakes his head at Breymeer’s haste. Southar removes his rope from his pouch, walks to the edge of the chasm and points to the rusty ore car on the eastern side of the void, “Wrap around the axle and return to me.” The rope does as commanded. It snakes out across the void staying taut above the open space below it by using is leverage off the western floor. The rope wraps around the closest axle of the ore car and returns to Southar. “Get the other ore car.”

    Breymeer throws an additional length of rope across that is secured across the top of the ore cars giving a bit more stability to those crossing the lower lengths of rope.

    Breymeer and Tathar then covered the eastern exit. They walk partially down the tunnel and set up a forward observation post.

    The initial ore car is gathered by the strong men and brought to the room where the wheels are re-chocked to stop its movement. Southar orders his rope to secure itself and before a half hour has passed, there are three rope lengths spanning the void.

    Another 15 minutes pass as the remaining party members take their turn at crossing the makeshift bridge. Many do it on their hands and knees. The more dexterous walk across. The slender rope proves to be incredibly strong and reliable.

    With the crossing completed, Grimlock warns Dalic, “Lead on spirit as we wish to aid you as we has conjoining goals, BUT, be it known to you, we will not stand by and allow you to recklessly jeopardize the vassal you possess. We will allow you to be as reckless as you have already witnessed of OUR duergar but no more. Do we understand each other?”

    “Do not threaten me elf-man. It is the dwarves that battle under earth and stone. You may sing and dance a merry song glorifying my victory once complete. I have a great respect for your dark cousins that dwell below the earth, for they are truly a challenging foe. The rest of your lot, tip-toeing through the treetops, are not so well suited for delves such as this.” It appears Klorliss Foesmiter is no more friendly than the duergar whose body he possessed.

    The party enters the eastern tunnel and joins Breymeer and Tathar who have nothing to report other than the temperature seems to be decreasing slightly as the depth increases.

    Bofor estimates the party is now nearly 400 feet below the floor of the main orc chambers above.

    Once reunited, Breymeer asks the spirit "Which way to rid this place of evil? Lead the way.”

    Dalic steps to the front of the group and takes point, removing the Delven Bastard from its sheath. A grin crosses the duergar’s face in such a way that causes his companions to reflect upon the possessed dwarf plunging through Bone Keep with his ‘fear lantern’.

    Peylae questions, “I can’t help but ponder what ill lay ahead that is more concerning than that which now leads us?”

    Aravae finds herself comforted by those around her as she steps into her place in the column.

    Bofor, keeping his holy symbol very accessible, keeps an unblinking eye upon Dalic.

    Dalic’s mind drifts off as the spirit overwhelms him. His body goes numb as his mind fades. Voices and sounds around him are muffled as if through a curtain or hearing it from another chamber. Dalic’s vision goes dark. In Dalic’s mind, now completely disconnected from his body, he ponders, “W’at er da true intentions once ta final foe is smitt’n herein?”

    “Do not interfere!” Dalic’s mind cowers at the strength of will Foesmiter presents. His voice overwhelming Dalic’s mind.

    “Tell da others I am intact and at peace.” Dalic wishes. The voice of Foesmiter does not respond. Dalic feels a great sadness as loneliness envelopes him. He realizes his fondness for his traveling companions. He also becomes very aware of how much despair this new loneliness brings him.

    Breymeer, Southar, Kuba, Dalic and Bhut approach the chamber finding it another circular room with a 90 foot diameter. The domed ceiling rises to a height of 30 feet overhead. The party approaches the room from the east/northeast. There is one exit to the west/southwest.

    The ore car rails continue into the center of the room where they terminate at an iron stop raised from the floor and spiked into place.

    The floor is covered with an unbroken layer of dust.

    The sound of water dripping echoes from the west/southwest passageway.

    Grimlock holds a small conference with Bofor, Cirdan, Tathar and Peylae as the lead element approaches the next chamber.

    Aravae and Speck stand between the two groups watching for danger while the others hold their conference.

    Grimlock questions how to deal with the spirit if and when the group wants it out of Dalic. “We can’t assume turning it will work,” Grimlock warns Bofor. “Is there any way to hold Dalic by spell or otherwise? If we are able to hold Dalic, will the spirit leave him? When the spirit leaves him can we kill it if we are presented with no other options? What does it take to kill it? Did Dalic even injure it during their duel?”

    Bofor responds, “I believe the spirit can be kept at bay by the power of Fortubo’s symbol. As for holding Dalic, Fortubo willing, I should be able to hold him as well. The result on the spirit is uncertain.”

    Peylae adds, “As far as killing it, I believe the spirit was affected by Dalic’s Delven Bastard. As for other weapons, I dare not guess. If it comes to it, I plan to use magic over steel.”

    Grimlock nods, “I would rely on magic prior to steel as well. A barrage of magical missiles from Peylae, Cirdan and myself should make decent work on it.”

    “That being said,” Grimlock continues, “if things go bad and we need to act against the spirit, what should the plan be?” Grimlock answers his own question, “Bofor should attempt to turn the spirit out of Dalic. If he is unsuccessful, Bofor should try and hold him by spell. He should make repeated attempts if need be. That should not hurt Dalic. When the spirit leaves him, we will hold attack to see what it does.”

    Bofor agrees, “I will do as advised. It sounds like sound counsel to me.”

    Grimlock finishes with, “If anyone fires upon the spirit, I say we all let loose immediately. We can figure out if we are wrong later but I won’t be too upset if we just send another undead back to the dead.”

    Cirdan adds, "Right now we have little choice. I think we must see this through to its end. If it does not release Dalic when it has finished its task, I think we need to destroy it, even if it means destroying Dalic. He would not want to live like that."

    Tathar nods in agreement to Cirdan.

    Peylae gives her consent to the plan as well. She cautions, “Let us be prudent in our attempts to save Dalic.” He voice lowers and she looks over her shoulder before completing her thought, “But if Dalic must be sacrificed to save others, so be it. His recklessness is hardly outdone by his courage.”

    The council is ended. Speck and Aravae join the foursome in entering the room with the warriors.

    As the elves, Bofor and Speck enter the room, Breymeer addresses them, "Anything we should be aware of before we proceed?" Breymeer appears a little annoyed with the lack of group brotherhood and separation.

    Bofor quickly interjects while letting Breymeer see him give a very slight nod towards Dalic, “We were formulating our attack strategies as we continue forward should any unforeseen danger arise.”

    Bhut, unconcerned about the council, curses under his breath at another domed room. He looks around the room for any signs of danger as Dalic Foesmiter saunters over to the exiting passage and carefully peers around the corner to make out what he can see with his dark vision; Delven Bastard in hand.

    The shaft before Dalic continues straight beyond the limits of Dalic’s eyes.

    Bofor, seeing the end of the rail line, exclaims, “Search the southern walls! I was told our clan secreted a passageway at the end of the rail line.” He walks purposefully across the chamber and begins to inspect the southern wall.

    Dalic tries to call out to his friends but the inky darkness absorbs the sounds before they leave him. Nearly crippled with depression, Dalic searches his mind. Lost in a black void, his internal voice is all that tells Dalic he yet lives. At least Dalic hopes he yet lives. Dalic concentrates, making an attempt to read Foesmiter's thoughts. Only deafening silence can be found. Dalic calms himself. This is a fight he has never prepared for. He longs for some recess in which he can find comfort, shelter or knowledge. There is only quiet blackness to be found; broken only by his own thoughts.

    Dalic Foesmiter perks at the direction from Bofor and eagerly strafes along the southern wall feeling for abnormalities in the rock, grasping at any protrusions. He says nothing. His sneer is constant and somehow deeply troublesome even more so than the grimaces Dalic was known for.

    Speck and Grimlock join Dalic in his search, each taking their own section of wall.

    Breymeer and Kuba stand guard, watching both passages for trouble.

    Bhut also walks over to the southern wall and begins his search

    Bhut asks Tathar, “Does pressing on the wall open it or is there another method?” Bhut puts up his arm and rests his weight upon the torch sconce mounted near him on the wall. It pushes into the wall away from him. A distinct ‘click’ is heard and a previously concealed portal pushes slightly into the southern wall just west of center.

    During the time in the chamber, word is passed among the party members.

    Cirdan walks by Breymeer and whispers to him as he passes, “We have a plan to defeat the spirit should the need arise.”

    Peylae passes the information onto Aravae and Speck, who appears to have ease dropped, gives the update to Kuba.

    Tathar moves next to Bhut to search the southern wall. While doing so, he gives a similar update to the warrior, “If the spirit turns on us, we will do all we can to save Dalic.”

    The information is not yet passed onto Southar.

    Dalic Steelcoat, with the only tool at his disposal apparently being his thoughts, tries to visualize the structure of his mind taking painful measure to account for the separate categories he holds dear. He visualizes these manifesting through the void in hopes to create for himself a more comforting environment if only imagined. He thinks of his training and what he would imagine the library of these thoughts to look like. He pictures the pathways of thought as hallways that lead to other knowledge bases such as dwarven history, engineering, tactics and intimidation. He falters at the realization that the majority of his mental faculties have been dedicated to strife and destruction. A natural side effect of his time in the pits and his slavery, true: but somehow hauntingly lonely.

    He grasps now for memories in hope that they might somehow adorn this imaginary fortress of bloodshed and battle that structures his mind. He thinks of Grimlock and the pain he felt each time he looked on Dalic with suspicion. He thinks of Cirdan and his willingness to pass over doubt in Dalics motives. He thinks of Southar rescuing him at bone keep. He thinks of t