Apocalyptica

Giants and Manticores, Oh My!
Return to Sighing Valley

The party made their way from Red Larch back to the Sighing Valley. Approaching from the south, they crossed the river and investigated a large cave, Kareep had seen from the air.

Templeton snuck up to the cave and entered stealthily. The rest of the party was about 500 yards away where there was more cover. Templeton found a large rank smelling cave with a very dim light coming from deeper in. As he snuck through he was really hampered by his lack of darkvision. He could not see as well enough to be totally effective. He did detect a pool of water and something moving near it.

Templeton heard something moving and waited, holding very still. He saw a large shape moving in the darkness for but a moment. Outside, the party saw something large and winged making a bee line for the cave entrance. Puck sent Widget in to warn Templeton. Templeton made his way quietly out of the cave until at last he emerged into the light. In full Han Solo fashion he stepped on a dried bone and SNAP – it made a loud noise.

A huge humanoid looking creature came out of the cave and started yelling at Templeton as he ran for cover and a good hiding spot. It became clear that it was a big nasty hill giant toting a huge club and a big rock for hurling. Right behind him was a huge Manticore.

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Seeing the jig was up, the party tried to close the distance to get closer to Templeton and the cave. Kareep picked up Puck and flew fast using his haste ability granted to him by The Revenant. Quintus ran as fast as he could but his full plate armor and the difficult terrain slowed him down. They saw the large form bearing down on them was a second manticore.

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The battle was spread over a huge area. With Templeton hiding and sniping the hill giant with his heavy crossbow bolts, Puck hurling fireballs, and Kareep hurling lightning javelins, and Quintus running to try and get into the fight. The hill giant and manticore readied attacks to get Templeton but he managed to use his minor illusion to make an image of himself pop up in a different location. The two were fooled and attacked in the wrong spot. Kareep did not fair as well. During the battle he was riddled with Manticore Spikes and smashed with several hurled rocks from the giant. Eventually he went down and began to bleed to death. Quintus was still way too far away to help. But Templeton managed to work his way close enough to deliver a potion of healing to Kareep using his arcane legerdemain. Originally Templeton wanted to use his healer’s kit, but needed a full action to do so. In his excitement to put down the escaping manticore, he fired his crossbow and was unable to administer the healer’s kit before Kareep would have died. The potion of healing barely saved the bird man’s life.

With the battle finished and the hill giant and 2 manticores slain, the party took refuge in their cave and took an extended rest. Searching the hill giant lair they found some odd coinage that amounted to 50 GP. They also explored the cave finding a pool of water. Templeton used his mage hand to move his continual light stone through the water to light up what lay below the surface. Templeton found an old sack which he fished out using his mage hand. The sack contained 3 rubies (50 gp each), a larger red gem, and two potions. Puck identified them as an* Earth Elemental Gem*, Potion of Greater Healing, and a Potion of Water Breathing. Templeton claimed the elemental gem and the Greater Healing Potion while Quintus claimed the Potion of Water Breathing. The Master Party Treasure List was updated.

The next day they searched northeast to another cave. Inside they found some dead hippogriff eggs. To the northeast they found some dead gnolls – clearly slain by the giant and manticores. On the other side of the river, they found a group of dead Aarokokra. Quintus used his speak with dead spell the next morning to see if the aarokokra could answer any of our questions.

Quintus gently gathers the body of the least malled Aarakocra and sits quietly in front of it for a short time. He then stands and walks slowly around the body, crafting a circle in the dirt to hold the spirit’s essence in place for the short time of the spell. Breaking the quiet, Quintus ends by calling loudly for the spirit to manifest.

Within moments, a wispy form rises from the center of the circle, only vaguely identifiable as a humanoid form. Then, as if from all around you, a soft voice calls. “You have called. I will speak.”

Quintus then calmly asks the first question, “What were you and your clan doing here in the Sighing Valley?”

After a moments pause, the voice calls again. “We sought a disturbance in the Balance.”

Quintus then asks the second question, “Where is your Aarakocra lair located where we can find more of your kin?”

“Our home is not yours to find.”

With a somewhat furrowed brow, Quintus asks the third question, “What do you know about the monks that are in a cave in a canyon to the North?”

“They foolishly seek to own the Wind as one of your kind seeks to own gold, for power and control.”

Quintus asks the fourth question, “Is there another entrance to the cave other than through the defile from the valley, and if so, where is it?”

The spirit answers, “Perhaps. We suspect that Wind is connected to Flame is connected to Wave is connected to Stone.”

Quintus then asks the final question, “Where is the gnoll lair located?”

The spirit almost seems to shrug, “Irrelevant.”

The spirit then begins to fade as the magic ceases. However, just before the spirit is gone completely, the spirit turns its gaze from Quintus towards Kareep and has some final words, “This path will be like a storm for you, brother. Do not forget your purpose. There may be times when you will come crosswise with comrades. Do not falter.”

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Scarlet Moon Hall Revealed
Shooting Fish in a Barel

The battle raged on between the party and the last of the Circle of The Scarlet Moon. The mephits used their smoke belching ability to hide their master’s movements and spellcasting and also to directly blind Kareep and Puck. Elizar continued to pound the party with very powerful magics including nailing Puck with a moisture draining spell that left him shriveled up like a processed gelfling. Kareep managed to stabilize Puck as Quintus and Templeton managed to reach out and touch Elizar with ranged attacks. Templeton chased Elizar up the scaffolding of the tower and back down again. While Kareep used one of Puck’s healing potions on Puck to bring him back into the fight. Apparently Elizar had some ability that allowed him to see through the smoke which he used to great effect om eluding pursuit. But eventually his luck ran out and the party cornered him and he finally fell. Puck found a Dagger+1 on Elizar, which he tucked in his belt for safe keeping. A quick search of everyone else yielded 97 GP.

With everything quiet but the tower still yet explored, wounds needed healing. So a 1 hour rest was taken and hit dice were cashed in. When everyone was ready to go, Templeton led the way sneaking into the tower. He found multiple levels connected by rickety stairs and many sections where the floor had given in.

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Five little magmen played around on the bottom of the tower merrily burning away at the huge debris pile that had fallen there. Bypassing those the upper levels were home to some of cult guards and leaders who were now all dead. The only thing of value amongst their belongings was a small chest with 250 GP, 2 fire opals (50 gp each) and a scroll of flame arrows. Templeton took the scroll and the Master Party Treasure List was updated.

The top of the tower was home to 5 large bats. Those were left behind but Kareep could not abide those magmen as they are from the elemental plane of fire. Kareep hates elementals with a passion. Using ranged weapons the party reigned down destruction upon the hapless creatures. It was like shooting fish in a barrel.

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Battle for Scarlet Moon Hall

The party focused all of its fire on the fire elemental. Kareep managed to put out the flames on the fallen Quintus and then went toe to toe with the elemental getting good protection from his Ring of Fire Resistance. Templeton used his mage hand to pour a potion of healing down the throat of Quintus. With Quintus back up and everyone focusing their fire on the elemental, he finally went down. That left only two cult guards. Templeton put a crossbow bolt through one of their necks, felling him and chased the other up the scaffolding and into the tower. Before Templeton could climb all the way up the scaffolding, a flaming dwarf came out of the tower and jumped down to attack him.

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The creature was an Azer, a creature from the elemental plane of fire whose skin was always ablaze. He had a huge hammer which he proceeded to swing mightily against Templeton who uncannily dodged his way away to safety. The guard came back out too and was raining crossbow bolts down on us. The Azer was pounding on Quintus with his hammer. It was a tough fight but eventually Puck finished things with his gust of wind spell, blowing the guard and the Azer right off the scaffolding to fall to their death against the cold hard ground.

They were dealt with and the party faced a choice. They were badly hurt with no more healing magic. They could either enter the tower or try to take an hour long rest. They chose the latter, hunkering down in some of the tents that had been set up around the tower. Widget flew around keeping guard.

Forty minutes into the rest, Widget saw a guard come out of the tower. He looked around and saw the dead bodies that had been left on the ground. He ran back into the tower. He returned with another guard and the fire druid, Elizar. Elizar quickly took charge and ordered the guards to look around for intruders. He immediately went over to examine the burning wicker giant. Because the fire elemental had been slain, the fire was dying. Elizar cursed that the ritual had been spoiled.

The cultists looked around for 10 minutes but never once thought to look into the tents. After the rest was complete, the party emerged and got the jump on them. During the battle, Elizar summoned a collection of smoke mephits, creatures from the elemental plane of fire. They surrounded Kareep and spat out gouts of smoke which obscured a large area. Kareep flew straight up and out of the smoke but the winged mephits gave chase. Elizar created a wall of fire cutting off most of the party. It was tricky getting around it. Elizar also cast a nasty spell which sucked the moisture right out of Kareep, doing nasty damage.

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Puck again used his gust of wind spell to great effect. He blew away the smoke caused by the mephits and forced the flying mephits up and away from the battle.

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The Rite of the Wicker Giant

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The battle with the remaining warg and female fire cultist was finished quickly with Kareep keeping the light on the cultist and Templeton shooting her with deadly bolts from Sky Piercer. Quintus cut down the warg with his enchanted greatsword. With everyone being hurt badly, a quick search of the bodies was conducted as the party moved to a camp site with some frightened druids. The werewolf bodies had 20 GP and the bugbears had 55 gp and 42 sp. The Master Party Treasure List was updated.

The legitimate druids who had come for the rite of the wicker giant were scared and confused by the violence. Templeton Daltrey approached them cautiously and explained the situation with the fire cult. He warned them that they had been deceived and that this rite was for the fire cult and NOT druidic in nature. After some back and forth they were convinced and decided they wanted no part in this conflict. They joined together with the other remaining druids and rangers and left with their elk.

The party hunkered down in the abandoned camp site for 10 minutes while Quintus tried to cast a mass healing spell. Before the spell was complete 2 more female fire cultists came down to investigate from the keep. Templeton and Widget spotted them and were able to direct the party to sneak back to a camp site a bit further on and avoid engaging with them until the mass heal spell was complete. This was successful and after everyone was healed, the 2 fire cultists were attacked and slain with crossbow bolts, javelins, gnome magic, and the wrath of Tempus.

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Widget then flew around the keep and examined the wicker giant. It was a huge giant made of wicker. It was burning brightly but it did not seem to be consuming any of the fuel. The keep consisted of some outer walls on varying states of disrepair and a tall main tower supported in places by some scaffolding. Three cult guards with crossbows were on patrol and 2 hell hounds prowled the far side.

Kareep flew Templeton up into place hiding in the dark behind one of the walls. Kareep then attached Puck and flew up into the air. Quintus moved up the path on his own.

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The hell hounds were struck first with Kareep hurling his javelin of lightning. The hounds were badly damaged by the surprise attack which also included some deadly crossbow bolts flying in from Templeton and some magic by Puck to freeze them in their tracks. One hell hound went down quickly while the other ran towards Quintus.

During the battle one of the cult guards waved his hands in front of the burning wicker giant. A huge fire elemental emerged and smashed into Quintus catching him on fire and knocking him down. Puck’s ice magic did little to slow it down. The hell hounds and 1 guardsman were destroyed but 2 cult guards and 1 fire elemental remained with Quintus down, bleeding to death, and on fire.

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Investigating the Camp Sites

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Using Kareep’s pass without trace magic, the party was able to sneak around and observe 4 out of the 6 cap fires below the Fire Keep. Knowing that we were marked men, Templeton used his disguise self magic and cloaked himself in the guise of an old human man in robes with a staff. Widget landed on his shoulder and the two stepped out into each circle of light in turn and asked questions of those camping out in the area.

The first circle included a chained up bear and a couple of women in robes who claimed to be druids. They were apparently at the site to participate in the Bonfire Rite being put on by The Circle of The Scarlet Moon, a local druid organization. The chained and injured bear and their words did not quite add up. Templeton moved on to the next group not finding out anything more than he knew already.

The next group was 4 druids dancing around a fire with elk standing in the background. They stopped their chanting to speak with Templeton. He did not overtly claim t be a druid but the druids assumed as much. They spoke to him in a language that he did not understand (most likely druidic). When Templeton said he did not understand their speech, the druids politely ended the conversation and went back to their chanting no longer interested in him.

Next Templeton spoke with the priest. He was with 2 druids but was separate and seemed a bit out of place. When Templeton was speaking to him he flashed a strange signal. Templeton attempted to flash it back. They then went off to speak in private, away from the 2 druids. The symbol flashed was that of the water cult but Templeton misinterpreted it as the fire cult symbol. So when they were alone he spoke of the hell hounds and their attack on the inn. The water cultists was confused. It seems that this priest was a spy from the water cult. When both men realized the other was not who they thought, the two traded spells against each other. Templeton tried a quick charm person spell that failed to affect the priest and Templeton was hit by a spell which he managed to save for no effect as well. Templeton then shrugged and shot the priest point blank with a crossbow bolt. Kareep then flew out of the darkness to stab the priest with his lance. The priest ran off into the light of the druids asking for their help when another of Templeton’s crossbow bolts came flying out of the darkness to catch him in the back of the neck and send the priest sprawling face first into the dirt by the campfire. He did not get up. The two druids went to him to see if they could help, keeping a wary eye out into the darkness but they found his wounds beyond their ability to heal.

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An alarm of sorts had been raised, however, the two scruffy looking men we had avoided talking to began to transform into werewolves. The two of them ran through the dark to attack. Puck, tired of all the sneaking around, decisively unleashed a fireball spell on the werewolves burning them badly and closing the door on any kind of subterfuge. Templeton moved around the werewolves to hide in an illusory rock of his own devising. From there he began unleashing deadly shots from Sky Piercer, his enchanted heavy crossbow, knowing that enchanted weapons were needed to pierce the lycanthrope’s hide.

As the battle with the werewolves raged on, the 2 female druids we first talked to came into view and each unleashed a fireball on the group. It hurt… a lot. Templeton zeroed in on one of the women from his hiding spot inside the illusory rock and let go a shot from Sky Piercer that caught her right in the eye and came out the back of her head. She was dead before she hit the ground. The other female ran back into the shadows while all the druids simply tried to stay back out of the fight. Kareep flew over and landed near the woman to try and keep her in sight and cut off her escape.

The last werewolf went down but not before 2 bugbears riding wargs came riding in to attack.

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The situation was very much in a serious state. Puck was able to cast his blur spell and draw most of the fire from the bugbears and wargs until Quintus hacked them up and Templeton sniped them with crossbow bolts. Both bugbears were slain along with 1 of the wargs. One of the female cultists and 1 of the wargs remained but Puck was out of most of his spells, everyone was badly hurt and a whole lot of everything had gone to hell.

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Bay of The Hell Hounds

The Four finally returned to Red Larch. It was late and they went straight to The Swinging Sword Inn for a huge meal and some well earned rest. After finishing the meal there was a strange noise – a yell from someone outside and then a scream. Suddenly 4 Hell Hounds burst through different windows of the inn and breathed powerful gouts of flame out of their maws. 8 poor townsfolk in the Inn were incinerated by the flames and many tables, chairs, walls and ceilings were engulfed in flame. The Hell Hounds seemed to key in on party members as their quarry because they ignored the remaining townsfolk to focus on attacking the party.

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The party battled the hell hounds as the fire spread. Templeton created an illusory cupboard on the wall into which he stealthily sneaked in order to hide inside it and carefully aim deadly crossbow fire into the hell hounds. Puck was surrounded by hell hounds so he teleported away and sought cover behind the bar with Kaylessa Irkell, the owner and her barkeep. The other two promptly fled via a side door and left Puck alone behind the bar.

Between Kareep’s lance attacks, the great sword of Quintus, and the deadly sniping of Templeton, 2 of the Hell Hounds were slain. The other two fought on until they were both wounded and then one of them let out a baleful moan and they fled the battle, leaping out through a broken window. Templeton and Kareep gave chase but they could not keep up with the speedy hounds who sped off into the night. Kareep noted their trail, however, and could clearly make out their tracks and signs of their blood. He made a mental note of where it was so that they could be tracked later.

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Meanwhile Puck and Quintus were trying really hard to get the fire in the Inn under control. Puck used his Gust of Wind Spell to extinguish some of the fires. He also used his thunderwave magic to move the fire into concentrated areas that he could try and extinguish with his gust of wind. Quintus grabbed one of the dead Hell Hounds by the collar and swung him about the room trying to put out flames when he noticed the collar had a symbol of the Fire Cult on it. Quintus took the collar as evidence. Quintus then grabbed a huge cask of Ale from behind the bar and sloshed it over some sections of fire, putting them out. Templeton raised the alarm and organized townsfolk to form a bucket brigade.

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It was a valiant effort but the fire was too large and out of control to contain. The Swinging Swords Inn burned to the ground. Kareep felt bad for Kaylessa Irkell and gave her 40 GP of his own funds. He pledged to help rebuild The Swinging Sword Inn. The rest of the party did likewise and vowed to return and help rebuild.

The sooty and exhausted party split up to find a place to rest. Quintus went to the The Allfaiths Shrine, Puck and Kareep went to Haeleeya’s bathouse, and Templeton of course returned to The Dripping Candelstick brothel to take a bath with some nice young ladies.

Puck checked in with his Emerald Enclave contact Haeleeya and discovered there was a group nearby called The Circle of The Scarlet Moon. They claim to be a group druids who will be performing a bonfire rite soon. The Emerald Enclave is quite familiar with the druidic orders of the area and has never heard of this group. The Enclave would like Puck and Kareep to investigate it.

After an evening of getting clean, getting to know some new young ladies, and getting some well needed rest, the group came back together and met up at Feng Ironhead‘s shop to see if he had finally completed Kareep’s special javelins. They were indeed ready. Feng had made 6 working javelins with a vial of acid attached near the tip. They cost 50 GP each and Kareep bought all 6. On a hit they do Javelin damage of 1d4+STR bonus and an additional 2d6 acid damage. The Master Party Treasure List was updated.

The Four then went to the location of wear Kareep had seen the hell hound tracks. Kareep tracked them to a forested valley – the same area where the Circle of The Scarlet Moon was supposed to be located. Widget did a flyover and found a large keep with a huge effigy of a man on fire. Also there were cages in the keep courtyard containing hell hounds. Many other fires around tents and camp sites were burning brightly as well. All the fires created a large amount of smoke which hung in the valley and obscured vision.

Kareep also cast his Primeval Awareness spell. He put his ear down to the earth and listened. He told everyone that he could sense Fey, Elementals, and Fiends all within this area. The Four grit their teeth. This would not be easy.

Since it was dark, there was a lot of smoke, and we were using Kareep’s Pass Without Trace Spell, it was easy to sneak up on the smaller camp fires and check them out. Four individual cap sites were reconnoitered. The first had 4 human druids chanting and dancing around a fire. The second had 2 human druids and bear. Two human men talking about The Bonfire Rite seemed pretty excited about it. The final fire was occupied by 3 sleeping humans and a human male priest of some kind.

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We Have a Hobbit Problem

Kareep feels the red fade from his vision as the battle with the halflings comes to a close. He looks down and sees Wiggin Nettlebee, an aged halfling with grievous wounds covering his chest and face. Kareep takes a deep breath, kneels down and touches the halfling, hoping for some life left… but he finds none. Kareep shakes his head, partially in shame, partially in confusion at these featherless humanoids who seem bent on destruction.

Kareep stands and quickly moves to the remains of the younger hobbit, Wiggin’s son, where the bolt of lightning struck him down. Though the halfling’s body is charred across his chest and left arm, it does seem to be taking shallow breaths as it fights for life. Kareep quickly administers some basic first aid, stabilizing the halfling for the moment. He does know that if the halfling is to be brought back from unconscious, time itself will be insufficient and magic will likely have to be invoked.

Certain the halfling will survive for a bit but not wanting to move the hobbit lest he tip the scale towards death, Kareep returns to the entrance of the burrow mound and begins the lengthy task of beginning to remove debris from the cave in.

After 30 minutes, Kareep can hear the sounds of moving skree from the other side and, likewise, the rest of the party can hear Kareep doing work as well. Some muted yelling of glad tidings that everyone seems to be alive invigorates the efforts and within another 20 minutes, a small hole is finally visible. Clearly, only a while longer remains for an opening to sufficiently sized for passage.

However, Kareep hears from behind him, approaching quickly, the sound of feet and hoofbeats. He turns around just in time to see a band of twelve barbarians with two riders on horseback, presumably Uthgardt barbarians, breaking through the treeline and approaching the barrow mound.

The barbarians close the gap rapidly and form up in a semicircle in front of the barrow, with Kareep standing there not quite knowing their intention. Though they do have their eye on Kareep, he does not seem to be the focus of their attention initially. They stand gawking at the destruction of the barrow mound.

One of the riders, her forehead marked with a tatoo of elk horns, dismounts. She says, “My daughter’s vision was true! The destruction is real.” She then focuses her eyes directly on Kareep with her hand on the hilt of her sword. “Are you responsible for this desecration, bird man?! Speak or be slain where you stand!”

Kareep is about to move into a defensive position himself when a deep, echoed voice speaks through the small opening into the barrow mound. The Revenant speaks, “Hold, youngling.” And the glow of the Revenant seeps through the opening as its body shifts through the small opening, re-forming in the open air.

In awe, the barbarian woman drops to her knees before the Revanant and her fellows follow her lead. She looks up and speaks, “We come to see you avenged, ancient one!”

The Revenant nods with grim approval. “This one here,” pointing to Kareep, “is not responsible for the desecration. That one is!”, and the Revenant points to the bloody body of the halfling, Wiggin Nettlebee. The Revanant then closes his eyes for a moment, “Yet there is one more who still lives…” He slowly turns his head in the direction of Wiggin’s son, the charred but living halfling, and he points to him.

The Revenant turns his body towards the living halfling and begins to stride in its direction…

Suddenly Templeton puts his face to the small opening of the tomb and says, “Ah… excuse me… Ancient One? I too share your desire for vengeance upon these foul hobbits for desecrating your hallowed resting place. But are you so certain it was only these two that were involved? Perhaps if we tend to this youngling’s wounds long enough for him to regain consciousness, we could interrogate him and discover if there were any other individuals involved. It would be a terrible crime not to reap vengeance upon all defilers of this tomb.”

Kareep stands tall and proud in the face of the spirit and the Barbarians. “The youngling was duped by the elder, I would like to administer healing and question him in time. My comrades and I came to investigate cultists and it led us here. The dead hobbit summoned an elemental and trapped my friends inside. Please, let me heal the child and then I ask your aid in clearing the passage and returning the burial mound to its proper state. What do you say horse rider?”

Templeton pipes up again, “Well we are not so sure that the youngling is without guilt as my bird man friend has said,but it would be a shame not to see if he has any additional information. As I said before there may be more who need to pay for this desecration. Please allow him to tend to the boy and help us get out of here so we can help set everything right.”

Kareep frowns. “Pay no attention to the man in the hole. Now let me heal the child and help me clear the blocked passage.”

The Revenant pauses for a moment to consider Kareep’s words. Then he looks directly into the Aarakocra’s eyes. “What is it that leads you to believe the young halfling was coerced by this one here? I see no such evidence,” pointing to the older hobbit’s corpse.

“Irregardless, I know that the young one was equally involved in the desecration of my barrow. Justice will be mine. Now.” And the Revenant begins to walk again towards the younger hobbit.

Templeton then speaks up through the small opening in the barrow’s obstruction. The Revenant does not look in Templeton’s direction as it responds while walking to the younger halfling, “You know not what you say. I know who performed this foul work.” In response, Puck leans over to Templeton and calmly comments that the Revenant’s very existence is innately and magically linked to the perpetrators of the desecration. He unerringly knows who did the deed.

The Revenant arrives at the stabilized body of the younger halfling and prepares to kill him.

Puck will exclaim, “Revenant! Please! I know that you cannot rest until the hobbit is killed. But, please, stay your hand until we have had an opportunity to question the hobbit. Do us that favor as we aided you in your quest for solace, did we not? We are on a quest to fight a great primordial evil and he may have information that is vital to that quest.” Puck drops his voice a level and says, “will you not help?”

Quintus yelled through the hole, ""Yo! Wait a second dude.I have suggestion. If the little shit was involved, perhaps we could put him ta work redeemin and rebuild what he and the other short f*kers f*ked up. We could ask these kind gentlemen to make sure as shit it gets done."

With his pale hand upon the halfling’s throat, the Revenant pauses. “Aside from the death of these defilers, there is one more task that needs to be completed before I rest. These halfling’s took the sacred treasure with which I was buried. Perhaps he can tell me where the treasure is…”

He stands up and looks at Kareep. “Bring him back from the edge of death. I wish to speak with him.” Kareep, you see a momentary flash of something in the Revenant’s eyes that frightens you to your core.

Kareep looks down at the charred hobbit with a mixture of pity and anger. He leans over, speaks a few gentle words and many of the burns on the hobbit’s body fade into scars.

As the hobbit regains consciousness, he gazes around, disoriented and uncertain what is happening. Kareep bends down to one knee to have the hobbit focus on him so he can ask questions. Just as Kareep begins to speak, however, the hobbit glances over Kareep’s shoulder to the figure of the Revenant standing calmly behind Kareep. A look of unadulterated horror forms on the hobbit’s visage, illuminated by a distant, pale glow. His mouth opens wide, as if to scream, but no sounds emerge. The skin of of the hobbit’s face begins to pucker and tighten, losing all color. Then the hobbit’s eyes open disturbingly, almost impossibly, wide, his pupils dilating to eclipse all but a halo of white. And he stops any sort of movement. In fact, for a moment, Kareep is uncertain whether the hobbit still lives, he sees no breath or even a sliver of facial twitch, but then there is a subtle, shallow inflation of the hobbit’s chest.

Kareep rotates his head to see the Revenant behind him. The flash of fear Kareep felt a moment previous returns. The Revenant’s eyes seem to draw Kareep in. The eyes are like the pits of hell, empty of all hope, full of fury and pain. For a moment, Kareep begins to lose himself in the fear, but he shakes his head and looks away, taking a moment to recover himself.

The Revenant speaks to the hobbit, “Where is my sword? Where is my helmet? Where are my totems?”

In a whisper almost too faded to hear, the hobbit breathes, “In the basement…”

With an imperceptible nod, the Revenant releases the hobbit from his gaze and looks to Kareep, “You may have two minutes with the hobbit before I destroy him.” The hobbit’s head falls to his chest and he starts to shake and shudder as if from a deep cold. When he slowly looks up, with deep trepidation, Kareep is shocked to see the young hobbit looks like he has aged decades. His face is pale and wrinkled. His eyes droop with palsy. He is in a very, very poor state.

Without blinking Kareep turns his gaze from the Revenant to what was once a boy. For a moment he thinks of doing something rash, but looks at the Hobbit and realized a touch from the creature behind him could send him to the grave.

“You have angered this ancient spirit, if you tell me the truth I will do my best to protect your kin in yonder valley. Why did you and your father (pointing to the corpse) desecrate this barrow? (1) Are there other fire cultists and where are they located? (2) Are you responsible for the brand of the Fire Cult on the livestock? (3)

May whatever gods you worship bless your soul…"

The hobbit looks at you with a hollow despair and with a voice like dry leaves rasps, “I… we… please, please don’t let it hurt my family! Please! They didn’t know…”

Kareep asks, “Why did you and your father desecrate the barrow?”

The young hobbit slowly turns his head, cracking the desiccated skin on his neck and face, and he sees his father’s body for the first time. Tears come to his eyes and whispers, “Oh, father, what have we done?” He slowly turns his face back to Kareep, “I… we… burned the barrow for you. It was a trap… There were rumors of a small group with a bird man who was wreaking havoc. When we heard the Abbess had been killed, my father was furious. Our… dealings had been so lucrative with the Abbess… information and power of the over the earth to help us farm… deep understandings of the way things work in the soils…

“My father, he wanted to kill you. He thought we could do it luring you to the barrow. But this? This was not worth it. It was the deepest folly… Oh, gods. Save my family! Please! It was only my father and me!”

Kareep asks, “Are there other fire cultists and where are they located?”

“I… fire cultists? No, no, you don’t understand. The fire cultists are in the Sumber Hills, they are not here. We… pretended.”

Kareep asks, “Are you responsible for the brand of the Fire Cult on the livestock?”

The hobbit drops his head in shame, “Yes… it was my idea… I thought it would help sell the story. My father’s idea was to torch the barrow. He didn’t know… he can’t have known.. what would happen. Gods. Please. Kill me! Please kill me now! Please!” Weeping and leaning forward with his last strength the hobbit pleads a final time, “Don’t let it have me! Gods… the terror. I’m so sorry! Please!”

Kareep tries to sneak in a fourth question. “Are the relics in your father’s basement? Is anyone or anything protecting them?”

“Yes, the basement, behind a… AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” And then complete and empty silence. The Revenant had walked up, grabbed the hobbit’s throat and gazed into its eyes, seemingly pulling the life from the frail body until all that remains is an empty husk. Just as Kareep turns his back and walks away, so does the Revenant.

The Revenant then looks to the barbarians who have been watching in stony silence. Though they are hardened warriors, though, most quickly hide a look of revulsion and fear. Many even take a subtle step backwards as the Revenant approaches them.

“Go. Retrieve my relics so that I may rest once more.” The barbarians come to attention look at each other and everyone can see that a bloodlust starts to rise. The female barbarian, the apparent leader, speaks, “As you will, ancient one. We will kill them all in your name! It will be a story that is told again and again so that none disturb another barrow! Let’s ride!”

Templeton pipes up from the hole. “Oh Mighty Ancient One, we fought side by side together against the earth elemental. And if it wasn’t for our friend Kareep, the perpetrators of this vile act would most likely have escaped. He was able to lay them both low and save the youngling for your vengeance. Please do not deny us the honor of going to help retrieve your relics. Please have your brethren help Kareep dig us out and we will go together to retrieve your relics.”

Puck will yell, “NO! You will do no such thing. We will retrieve your relics but you,” Puck pointing to the female barbarian, “will harm no one. Your lord’s revenge against those who defiled his resting place have been destroyed. All of the remaining people in that homestead are innocents. If you harm them, you will have to answer to us and you do not want that barbarian!” Puck will use his cantrip Minor Image to cloak himself in some subtle dark flame.

As the others scream from the hole Kareep turns again and looks right at the female leader and the Revenant. “Revenant, I beg that you ask your people (pointing to the barbarians) to hold their hand. There has been enough bloodshed and we already have spoken to the villagers and I know exactly where the basement is that the spoke of. Please let my friends and I find and retrieve your relics without further bloodshed.”

He looks with his big eyes at the female. “Will you not spare the innocent that were not involved in this charade?”

The Revenant looks to Kareep and raises a hand slightly, pausing the barbarians, “It is true that the family is innocent. I would know otherwise. Yet why is it that you care, Aarakocra? As my brethren here suggest, the destruction of the homestead would serve to provide a message to leave our barrows unmolested. Why should I sacrifice this opportunity?”

“I will be honest with you spirit, I was surprised at the old halflings intentions. I read that Hobbits were a kind and gentle folk and I think that may still hold true. It was greed that let this one to do what he did.” pointing to the old hobbit. “I think we both need to give them a chance as they are but farmers and shepherds.” He blinks and goes on. “My friends in the crypt are very clever and will have the relics back in your possession in a matter of hours if not sooner.”

“You are merely repeating your previous platitudes, Aarakocra. You have not answered my question. I will ask only one more time. Why should I spare the innocents when their death will serve a greater purpose… to tell a story of terror that will prevent others from desecrating our barrow mounds?”

“You are obviously incapable of empathy spirit as violence will only bring more violence. What I am saying is that if you spare the village I will parade these corpses around and spread the tale of your mercy. If your people kill everyone and burn their homesteads they will be to blame not you. Their families will be targeted by nasty hobbit spies and killed in their sleep, continuing a never ending Pattern of violence. I plead with you to spare their lives. Do what you will as I have nothing else to say about the matter.”

Templeton pipes up again from the hole. “I have something else to say on the matter. Those innocent hobbits are farmers. They are simple folk. They know nothing of weapons or battle. The Uthgardt are a proud people of warriors. Why would you sully your name and legacy by slaughtering weak and innocent halflings? They pose no threat to anyone. Killing them does not provide honor or prove your skill in battle. It only leaves a legacy of weakness. Only the weak prey upon the weak. Those responsible for this crime have been punished. We will ensure this tale is told throughout the Dessarin Valley. Only a fool would want to molest your barrow after hearing the fate that befell these two hobbits that lay dead at your feet. Help us get out of this hole and we will get the relics back and restore your barrow to its pristine state."

To be clear, the Revenant can easily hear everyone – that is clear to all. It just chose to ignore Templeton and Puck in the last part as Kareep was the most intimately involved and if the Revenant has respect for anyone outside the barbarians, it seems to be Kareep.

Also, to be clear, it won’t take but another 20 minutes of clearing for the tunnel to be open. In fact, you could have continued clearing during the last 5 minutes of time so I’ll assume you all continued so there is only 15 minutes of clearing left.

The Revenant speaks, "I have no specific desire for innocents die unnecessarily. I do have a desire never to be disturbed again once I return to rest, however. If I hold my brethren and allow you to return my relics without harming the hobbits, then there will forever be a mantle upon you. Choose it carefully. If anyone disturbs my barrow again, in addition to ending those directly involved, I will hold you all responsible, for now and forever. And I will hunt you to extinction. If you no longer live and the barrow is disturbed in the future, the debt would yet be paid by your children or your children’s children. I will hunt them instead. It is a burden your progeny will carry forever. Carry this story far and wide. Now and to generations in the future. Then I will be satisfied.

“And lest you think the agreement can be ended here by somehow confronting all of us and destroying these good folk,” pointing to the barbarians, “and my current manifestation, know that even if you somehow overcame us, tomorrow I would return to hunt you. And if again you were to overcome me, again, the day after that I would return.. to the end of time I would hunt you every day. One day I would best you. And if I did not, then on the day of your first born I would be there to destroy them. And on and on…”

“Do we have an understanding? Are the lives of a few innocent hobbits worth this burden? Choose now.”

At first, while the Revenant speaks, the barbarians seem to be holding in their disappointment and frustration at potentially being held back. By the end, however, they are eerily quiet and look upon you all with pity.

At the end of the Revenant’s proclamation, Puck stands there, shaking somewhat. He knows the Revenant is capable of such continued manifestations. He knows the Revenant speaks the truth.

Kareep speaks up immediately, “I will take the entire burden squarely in my shoulders spirit. Let them live (pointing to the village) and we will find your relics and seal this mound for all eternity.”

The Revenant looks Kareep directly in the eyes when Kareep responds. Upon finishing the statement of his commitment, the Revenant’s eyes seem to flash in acceptance.

The Revenant then moves and seeps through the crack once more and confronts each of you directly to ascertain the same commitment. Each of you must look into his eyes and agree.

“Gnome, do you agree?”
“Man of faith, do you agree?”
“Slippery one, do you agree?”

Quintus scratched the stubble on his chin and said, “Shit, as I see it there’s no downside. I gets ta protect the little f’rs and if they screw up I get ta have a fight every day, Ahm in.”

Puck and Templeton both frowned and looked at each other with dark knowing glances. Neither of them thought this was a good deal but saw little choice in the matter at the current point in time.

Puck gritted his teeth and said “Yes, I agree.”

Templeton shuffled his feet and looked around the cave as if trying to find a way out but eventually nodded his head, “Yes, I agree.”

The Revenant nods firmly. “It is done. Be back in the morning with my relics.” It slips back through the cave entrance and faces the barbarians. “Please make yourselves at home for the moment. We shall share stories and see what has changed since I was young.”

Kareep turns to the lead female Barbarian… “What is your name woman?”

As she turns to sit in a circle with her brethren and the Revenant, the female barbarian nods to Kareep. ‘I am called Fennor, bird man. You have been honorable and clear in your dealings. May your path be full.’ And she turns away.

The party spends the next 15 minutes getting everyone out of the barrow. You then gather the bodies of the halflings and make your way down to the homestead, arriving an hour after dark.

Kareep will carries the bodies down himself and says, “At some point my friends we will come back and make things right but now is not the time to discuss it. Templeton, please gather the Hobbits and explain what has happened to these two. We must get his books (Wiggin I think) and the relics the two of them stole from the burial mound.”

You can see the homestead is occupied and you can smell the waft of good food, fresh bread and cooking meat.

Templeton makes sure Kareep sets the bodies down somewhere out of view. Then he will knock.

Templeton hears the light walk of quick, halfling footsteps and the door opens. The young hobbit child opens the door. “Hi! You’re back!” He turns around and yells, “Their back, mama! The birdman and the others!”

From around the corner, Jayne comes into view and she shushes the child to the side, “Ignatius! Lower your voice! I’m right here.” Then she looks to you. “Well, you arrived just in time for dinner. I have some extra. Bertram and that old goat haven’t returned yet so they can just make their own dinner when they get home. Serves them right.”

Jayne opens the door and steps aside to let you enter. Inside you see Watson, whom you met previously, Ignatius, and two other young hobbits whose names you quickly learn are Darrow and Elisa. They all look excited to have you share their table.

Kareep come in and sits down on the floor without making a sound.

Templeton enters and says, “Good evening Mrs. Nettlebee. May I speak to you in private please? I need to tell you something very important.” Templeton will usher her into a private room or anyplace out of earshot of the other halfings.

Then he will continue, “I come with grave tidings indeed. My comrades and I investigated the Uthgardt Barrow. Just as young Watson had described it was broken into. We went in and found that not only had it been broken into but it had been desecrated with fire and ancient relics sacred to the Uthgardt had been stolen. We discovered that those responsible for this desecration of the site were your father-in-law Wiggan and his son. We learned that recently the two of them were involved in an evil cult of elemental earth magic. This particular cult has been killing folk, imprisoning innocents, and spreading its evil all through the Dessarin Valley. We have been fighting against this cult. It seems that your two relatives fell in with the cult because the entire fire witch story was a ruse to attract us to your farm and murder us for their cult leaders. They actually attacked us in the barrow and tried to seal us in the tomb forever. Their treachery was so great that the ancient Uthgardt Chief who was buried in that Barrow rose from the dead as a spirit to wreak his vengeance upon them.”

Templeton’s face grows very grave, “Wiggan and his son are dead. The ancient spirit called to his people. There are 12 Uthgardt barbarians up at the barrowmound with their undead ancestor. Although the perpetrators of the defilement are dead that has yet to appease the ancient spirit. If not for our efforts, the barbarians would have rode down here and slaughtered your entire family and probably many other nearby farms.”

Templeton’s face turns stern and angry, “Your foolish father in law and his idiot son has put your entire family in grave peril. We have negotiated a settlement to end the hostilities and put things to right. You and your family can be saved, but I will need your total cooperation to make it happen. I need to have your permission to search the entire house especially any rooms of Wiggin and his son and examine their papers and belongings. I also need to search your basement. I am looking for the ancient relics that Wiggin and his son stole from the ”/wikis/the-barrowmound" class=“wiki-page-link”> barrowmound. We need to return those relics to the barrow and seal it before the ancient spirit will finally rest and the Uthgardt barbarians will go home.”

Templeton’s face softens a bit and finishes, “I know this is difficult for you but we did manage to retrieve the bodies of Wiggin and his son. You can bury them in any fashion you like when this ugly business is finished but our first priority is saving the rest of your family and finding these relics. Our time grows short what say you?”

Throughout the retelling, Jayne’s emotions seem to swing from disbelief to anger to raw pain. When Templeton completes his tale, Jayne collapses on the stoop and begins to weep quietly.

“Bertram is dead! My husband…” Then she stands up and in a fury looks Templeton eye to eye, “How dare you accuse my husband of such… ugliness. Where’s your proof?!” And she points a sharp finger in your chest, Templeton?

Templeton stares down Jane Nettlebee. "Your husband tried to murder my friends and I. With his dying breath, Bertram confessed to everything but the undead spirit of the Uthgardt did not spare him. Additional proof will be in the documents of Wiggan and the stolen Uthgardt Artifacts that are in your basement. I will go and recover them now.

Templeton heads for the basement and begins a search. He is looking for a chest or container large enough to hold the artifacts. He will also look carefully for a secret trap door in the floor or a false wall board that might hide valuables. He asks Puck to cast detect magic and assist him as the artifacts may still carry some form of dweomer.

With a hard voice, Templeton describes Bertram’s attempt to kill the party. He then moves past her to enter the house to find the basement. When entering, Watson stands there and sees his mother weeping on the stoop. He gets in front of Templeton to stop him. “Hey, what’s going on? Mother? Are you ok?” At the moment, the situation looks like Watson is becoming very protective.

Templeton softens his posture and beckons to Watson, “As the oldest, you’d best come in and hear the news.” Again away from the ear shot of the younger one’s Templeton explains that his father Bertram is dead. He explains the treachery of Bertrand his father Wiggin and the terrible cult they were involved in. He also emphasizes again how great and immediate the danger is to Jane, Watson and the rest of their family. The Uthgardt will kill everyone here if they are not appeased. The relics that were stolen by Bertram and Wiggin are here in this house. Bertram said they were hidden in the basement. We must find them and bring them to the Uthgardt for the danger to pass. Templeton will do what he can to console the distraught woman and her son and persuade them that the time for grief is later after the danger has passed. They must pull themselves together for the sake of the children.

Over the next 20 minutes, Templeton and Kareep calm and convince Jayne and Watson that the story is true, at least in part. Jayne goes in and takes the children around the fireplace while Watson leads the group to Wiggan’s office in the basement.

After a little searching, Puck finds a niche in the flagstone floor that hides an iron chest. It is locked but Watson finds the key and opens it for everyone. Inside is the following.

- An ornate helmet made of leather, rope and bone. It combines a bear skull, deer antlers, and saber-toothed tiger’s lower jaw. It clearly looks very old and well made.

- An oiled hide wrapped around an ornate greatsword of ancient make. If you didn’t know better, you’d estimate it is of ancient dwarven origin. Perhaps Besilmer? The sword’s grip is bound in ancient leather that doesn’t look original and is marked with sequential notches. Bear claws are tied to the pommel.

- Four animal figurines the size of a large human fist. A bear carved of lapis lazuli, a tiger carved of red obsidian, an elk carved of banded agate, and a raven made of silver.

- A large pile of copper, silver, gold and platinum coins. Nine rose quartz crystals.

- An old sack with tattered designs of fields and fowl.

Upon seeing the helmet, sword and figurines, Watson slumps. These items confirm your story. “Take them.” He says and gently hands them to you. Under his breath, you hear Watson swearing. “Gods damn it, father. Grandfather what were you thinking?! Leaving your family with this burden?”

Templeton closes the chest and tucks it under his arm. He places a hand on Watson’s shoulder. “Watson, your father and grandfather made a terrible mistake. They got involved with evil folk and made bad choices. Please don’t let that happen to you or anyone else in your family. You’ve been given a second chance. Please use it wisely. Work hard on the farm. Live a good honest life and you will see it bear fruit. We intend to seal the barrowmound forever. Help spread the word far and wide of the terrible evil that befalls anyone who disturbs the Uthgardt mounds. We do not want this evil to walk again. In order to do that we need to be absolutely sure we have everything that was stolen. Can you think of anything else that has happened recently that was queer or struck you as odd. Did you notice any strange behavior from your father or grandfather? It might be helpful to read any journals or letters or documents they might have written lately. Do you know where you father or grandfather would have kept such things? Down here? In one of their rooms up stairs? Someone led your father and grandfather down the evil path of the earth cult and we intend to find out who they are and stop them from doing it to anyone else.”

Templeton looks through the items and is about to close the chest and take it all when Watson exclaims, “Hey, what are your doing? The chest is ours! You came for relics and you have them – take the sword, helmet and figurines. Everything else is ours… it’s what we have left out of all this….”

Kareep and Puck have been looking around for documents and such and you do find a desk with a bunch of notes and journals. However, once again Watson inserts himself. “Look, I get it. You want to see what history there might be in there… but so do I. I need to understand what’s going on. I am going to look at these while you are gone and you can look at them when you return. This spirit didn’t ask for journals, right? Give me some time. Please.”

Puck does discretely cast Detect Magic and sweeps the room and everything uncovered so far. Two items glow with magic. The silver raven and the old sack embroidered with images of farm and fowl. Puck discreetly casts identify on the items and finds the sack is a Bag of Holding. The raven is a Figurine of Wondrous Power. Puck will discreetly mention this in Elven to Templeton only.

Hmmm… Templeton’s spider sense is tingling a bit here. There is a chance that Watson may be involved with the cult and he is playing us for a chance to hide incriminating documents. Templeton will ask him directly if he knew anything about an earth cult and ask if he himself was involved. Insight 18+10 = 28.

Templeton asks whether Watson had anything to do with the cult. Watson responds with a wounded look in his eyes, “What? You’re asking me that now? Why would I risk my family? Gods…” Templeton’s insight check reveals that he believes Watson is innocent of the matter.

Afterwards Templeton will explain that we do not want to take any of the documents and we will leave them all behind for him to review himself but we need to review them before we return to the barrow. They may hold information about what exactly the halflings did to bring the spirit of the Uthgardt back from the grave. There might be some information that would help us put him to rest forever. Templeton sternly reminds Watson that he and his family are still in great danger and that he needs to follow our lead if he is to get his family out of this mess alive.

Templeton then says you are going to review the documents before you leave. Watson responds, “Fine. You read and I’ll read and we’ll change them around.” That being said, there are many, many journals. If you have a sense of urgency you will likely be unable to review all documents before needing to leave.

Templeton then says that they are going to take the entire chest. The spirit was intentionally very vague when telling us what was stolen and necessary to return to the barrow. We do not want to make a mistake and leave something vital behind. The spirit may still be looking for an excuse to destroy this farm in retribution. We will return whatever was not necessary to appease the spirit.

Finally, Templeton then firmly states he is taking the entire chest. Watson leaps up furiously and exclaims, “Are you telling me you don’t believe me? That’s our money! That’s our my great, great grandmother’s bag that has been handed down for generations,” pointing at the embroidered sack. “You will NOT take our things! I thought you were honorable! You’re just thieves, aren’t you? I don’t even know if I believe you anymore! What happened on the hill?!?”

Templeton looks right into the eyes of Watson and as he speaks his voice becomes audibly louder and more powerful. He gets closer to Watson and appears to be towering over him, ‘Watson Nettlebee do not take me for some Thief! I am not trying to rob you…’ Then Templeton seems to shrink back and his face softens, ‘…I am trying to help you…’

Templeton continues, ‘Coins? Old sacks? When are you going to wake up and realize what is going on here boy? Those are just things. You and the rest of your family are traversing a razor’s edge. Stray but a little and you will fall.’ Templeton looks at Watson very ominously, ’You will see for yourself what evil is up on that hill, boy. You and and your mother are coming with us back up to the barrowmound. You need to witness for yourself the terrible acts your father and grandfather committed. You need to see for yourselves what must be kept sleeping and never awoken again. You must spread the word of your tale of woe far and wide so that the barrow will never again be disturbed by anyone. If indeed nothing else in the chest is needed, you will get it back."

Watson is looking around with slightly crazed eyes. Everyone can clearly see that Watson is in a very difficult position. A group of adventurer strangers have just come to say that his father and grandfather are dead – by somebody else’s hands, but with no real proof of such. He is deeply grieving, realizing he is now the oldest in the family aside from his mother, and the same strangers are threatening to take all his family has in savings. And then forcibly saying he and his mother need to abandon the children as they are weeping from learning of the death of their father. No, Watson does not come outside with Kareep.

Watson grabs the chest from Templeton, pulls out the weapon, the helmet and the figurines and throws them to the ground. He then in a slow, cold voice, “Take them! These are not ours – but the rest of this is my family’s and you have no right them. Now you want to read my grandfather’s journals? Fine, read. But do so here while I read with you. I want to know what is here as much as you seemingly do. From this moment forward, though, you will treat me and my family with respect. I will have it no other way.”

Kareep looks Watson right in the eye and gets close. “You should count yourself lucky that we are fair. I will be waiting outside while you continue the investigation Templeton.” He goes outside and safeguards the bodies.

Quintus starts calmly and gets a little more irate as he talks…

Listen dude. I’m glad you found your sack, but let me point out sumthin here…
We could let the horde of f’n barbarians ride down and slaughter all of ya.
WE could have let the renevant make you his bitch and rain undead f’n horror on you and every one you have ever heard about.
Instead we took responsibility to protect all you little f’ers in return for your father and grandfather trying to f us over we told the thing in the mound that we would put out F’n lives and the lives of OUR F’n families on the line to protect and defend the LITTLE F’rs families that left us to die in that crypt.
Maybe we made a mistake in riskin our kin for yours BUT IT WAS THE RIGHT F’n DAMN THING TO DO! We are good people and we ain’t going to let you get screwed up the ass no matter how ungrateful or unworthy you are of our protection.
Show me you ACTUALLY have a pair and come and see what YOUR family did and WHAT we are risking to F’N protect you.
IF you don’t, well, I leave it in Tempus’s hands as we go an tell the creature that killed yer father that you choose to reject our attempt to pull your asses out of the fire…. If you choose to fight these things, I will give you the blessings of Tempus and let you prove yourself to Him.
Quintus will turn and walk out with Kareep.

After Quintus leaves, Puck simply stares daggers at Watson his eyes screaming disgust. He then turns his back on the little hobbit and leaves to join his friends outside.

Everyone walks out except Templeton and Templeton fumes and decides to distract himself by starting to review the documents that are at hand.

Templeton’s first impression, having great familiarity with, and perhaps great dislike of, financial ledgers, is that Wiggan, the “old goat”, was a very shrewd business man. The ledgers clearly document the amassment of a small fortune by a farmer’s standards at least approximately equivalent to the coinage and gems Templeton saw in the iron chest.

In addition, throughout the ledgers, there are numerous notes and references. With a focused hour of investigation, a rough narrative emerges. When the earth cultists started exploring the region, Wiggan took their money for information and occasional aid. However, Wiggan’s interest in the actual powers exhibited by the cultists becomes clear after a time. He seemingly got to know them and the earth powers intrigued him. There are multiple references for ideas on how control over the earth could facilitate better farming.

After a time, the relationship deepened when the cult “removed” some of Wiggan’s rivals in the area, and the cult leadership, Hellenrae specifically, assured Wiggan further wealth and influence as the cult’s influenced increased.

At some point, Wiggan began to share his collaboration and plans with his son, Bertram. There are explicit references to eventually pulling Watson into the fold at some point, but that “he wasn’t ready” and “Watson is too damn high-minded and noble”.

At the end of the notes, there is explicit reference to the cult reaching out to Wiggan to play a ruse on “the band of trouble-makers” who “wreaked havoc at the Sacred Stone Monastery.” They wanted Wiggan to play the “meek halflings” to lure the “trouble-makers” into a trap. Clearly, though, it was Wiggan’s idea to use the fire cultists as the means to deceive.

Throughout this review of documents, Watson has been reading and absorbing at the same rate. Clearly, he has a sharp mind. By the end of the hour, Watson is downcast and quiet.

Then he speaks, "I am sorry. I am sorry that my father and grandfather made… evil and foolish choices. Gods, what were they thinking. And I am sorry that you have been pulled into our family’s follies through no fault of your own. From what you say, you have sacrificed your future for ours with this barbarian Revenant. I don’t know what to say…

Templeton replies, “Well… hopefully that satisfies your need for evidence. You have been through a lot, Watson, but it is not over yet. Your trials have just begun. Next you must face the bodies or your father and your grandfather. Then you must face the Uthgardt Revenant himself. It will not be easy. The evil of the undead is difficult to understand. Prepare yourself as best you can. Please try and follow our lead. We have all sacrificed greatly to save you and your family and to be quite frank your behavior has made us all wonder if we made the right choice.

“I will come with you to the barrow. But my mother needs to stay here with the children. They cannot be left alone.”

Templeton replies, “That is fine. Please tell your mother where we are going.” Templeton gathers up the sword, the helmet, and the figurines and goes up stairs with Watson and then outside.

Watson then packs the iron chest back in its hole, walks upstairs to explain the situation to his mother and then says, “Let’s go.”

Templeton brings Watson over to the where the rest of the party is waiting by the bodies of his dead father and grandfather. “Look closely at your father’s corpse Watson. See the pale gaunt cracked skin, his eyes wide with terror. I know it is hard to believe but that is him. The evil that your family awoke from the barrowmound is capable of doing that to any of us. Look hard at the twisted lifeless husk that was once your father and understand that we must seal the barrowmound properly and never ever again disturb the rest of the evil that lies within. And we must tell the story of the Nettlebee Folly that was to disturb the barrowmound. This evil must never again walk in search of vengeance."

When Watson can stand no more, we will linger a bit longer and then finally depart for the barrowmound. Along the way Templeton will share his findings from the document review with the rest of the party.

As expected, upon seeing his father’s body Watson audibly gasps and cries out for a moment. With tears running down his already damp cheeks, Watson looks silently for a long while. Then he gently kneels down and kisses the forehead of his father’s corpse, “Rest in peace, father. I will do what I can… I know you did not see this end for you or for the family. I will make it right.” When Watson stands, his lips dusted white from the flaked flesh of his father’s corpse, he speaks, “Please help me move the bodies to the barn. I will bury them when I return,” and with a determined edge to his voice, “Now let’s go.”

You are all exhausted by now as you trudge under a half moon rising over the barrow hill. The mood is sour and quiet as you willfully travel back to an audience with the barrow king. The moon’s light is bright enough to let you walk slowly but safely over the next two hours. In the distance, the only sounds are the occasional hoot of a barred owl and the periodic rhythm of the barbarians’ chanting carried by the wind as the evening cold sinks into the valley.

When you arrive at the barrow, the barbarians sit quietly in a half-circle with the Revenant at its heart. They are waiting for you. Kareep steps up next to Templeton and quietly says, “Let me do it.” Templeton gladly hands the artifacts to him and whispers, “Be careful.”

Kareep approaches the Revenant who looks upon the objects in his feathered hands. The Revenant nods, making no sound, and gestures for Kareep to follow him. Looking a bit proud and a bit nervous, Kareep follows the Revenant into the fully cleared pathway back into the barrow mound. The glow of the phantom is sufficient for Kareep to see where he steps as he follows.

Inside the final chamber, the Revenant returns his bier and silently gestures for Kareep to place the objects in their places. Kareep carefully places the banded agate elk figurine on the alter with carved antlers. He then walks to the alter with carved fangs and places the red obsidian tiger. Then he moves to the alter carved with a bear’s paw print and places the lapis lazuli bear. Finally, Kareep approaches the central bier and places the sword, the helmet, and the silver raven amongst the bones which have been gathered once again.

With the final placement of the raven, a deep rumbling sends a vibration through the chamber, limning everything with aura of ancient dust for a moment. With the last glimpse of light as the fading Revenant disappears, Kareep notices the silver raven is gone. When the light becomes utter darkness a powerful gust of wind pushes Kareep backwards through the entrance passage and outside once again. Eddies of dust and ash seem to seek everyone out, ruffling feathers and blowing cloaks. And then all is silent and dark.

Kareep lands as the wind subsides and looks right at Fennor. “The spirit is at rest, but you must seal this tomb Fennor. I task you to martial the resources and seal this place from further intrusion.” He puts out his hand to hers. “Will you see to it that this place is sealed for ever?”

With an hour’s collective work, everyone participates, even small Watson, and successfully seals the barrow just as the sun’s first rays illuminate the hillside.

Now with the light of day everyone gathered more stone and dirt. Watson’s oxen, farm tools, and wagons plus the barbarian’s horses were employed to really seal this thing up nice and tight. Big stones and lots of dirt. Quintus, Kareep, and the barbarians can do the heavy lifting. Watson can provide the tools, livestock, and knowledge of the local resources (where is the best source of the stone), and Puck and Templeton can direct and organize the labor and use their smarts to strategically engineer a very strong and capable extra layer of wall.

After the barbarians depart, Kareep peels open the last layer and Quintus lays a Glyph of Warding underneath the stone. The explosive runes will detonate if anyone disturbs the outer stone. It will do 5d8 of thunder damage. The exception included in the spell is that it will not detonate if it is Quintus, Kareep, Puck, or Templeton disturbing the stone.

As they worked they discussed it and discovered that each was given a boon by the ancient Uthgardt Spirit. Kareep was given A Silver Raven Figurine of Wondrous Power and a boon that allows him to use the effects of a Potion of Speed twice. Templeton received a boon that allows him to use the effects of a Potion of Gaseous Form twice. Puck received a boon granting him the power of a Potion of invisibility twice. And finally Quintus received a boon granting him the power of a Potion of Stone Giant Strength twice.

With everything now in place the party left, glad to be done with the cursed Nettlebee Farm. Everyone hoped they never saw a hobbit again.

The Four journeyed through Womford and on to Red Larch. The entire way the told and retold the story of the Halfling’s Curse again and again to anyone they could. They made it clear that messing with Uthgardt Burial Mounds was a terrible losing proposition. The story is being spread far and wide.

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Scourge of The Nettlebees
Nasty Hobbitses

With their new found resolve and unity, The Four set out from Womford and made the easy journey overland toward the Nettlebee Farm through rolling hills of prime agricultural land. On the way, Kareep used his reputation as a folk hero in these parts to get a nice warm spot in a farmer’s barn to spend the night. The next day the party arrived at the Nettlebee’s Farm. They met Jane Nettlebee, the matriarch of the family. After some talking she explained some of the queer things that had been happening on the farm lately.

There was a large Uthguardt burial mound within site of the farm which they called The Barrow Mound. It had been sealed for longer than anyone could remember. The hobbits kept their distance but it never troubled anyone. That is until a few weeks ago when the whole area around the burial mound caught fire and burned in unnatural fire. Jane Nettlebee’s son Watson was there that night and snuck up to witness it. He saw that the large field stone that had always blocked the entrance to the mound was sundered. Watson could see in and saw the entire area inside was wreathed in flames and he heard terrible whispers coming from inside. Watson left as fast as he could. No one has gone up there since and has no idea what happened but old man Wiggin Nettlebee, Jane Nettlebee’s father-in-law blamed the whole thing on fire witches. The party tried to speak with old man Wiggin but he refused even after being tempted with a platinum coin from Templeton. The other queer happening was that ever since the fire the Nettlebee’s livestock has been randomly branded and burned with a symbol. Jane showed one of the sheep that bore the mark.

fire_cult_symbol.jpg

It was the same mark that they saw on the tapestry in Lance Rock and was the last symbol to be placed with an elemental cult. Everyone was very certain it was the fire cult. The party assured Jane Nettlebee that they would get to the bottom of these strange happenings. Young Watson led the four to the entrance of barrow mound. But sensing his fear, Templeton asked him to run home and tell his mother where they were going.

The Four instantly felt a chill in the air as they approached the open barrow. This cold spread over them as they made their way into the ancient burial place. Templeton and Kareep snuck in while the other two held back. Templeton grit his teeth against the cold but Kareep seemed to be affected by it more and more as he went deeper into the crypt. It sapped away his strength and left him exhausted. The inside of the barrow was burnt with continual light spells still illuminating the area.

Templeton found three altars one with markings of the elk, a second with markings of the tiger, and a third with markings of the bear. In the center of these altars was another altar that once seemed to be the resting place for a body. But the remains were broken and scattered across the floor. Templeton hid and observed while Quintus and Puck used their religion and history skill to try and figure out what was going on here. Kareep was was too overcome with the effects of the cold was forced to get out of the barrow to try and warm up.

barrowmound.jpg

Suddenly the continual light spells were all dispelled and the barrow was plunged into darkness. A strange blue light began to coalesce around the center altar into the form of an undead spirit. Puck recognized this as a Revenant of an ancient Uthgardt Barbarian Chief. The creature spoke saying:
I will not rest until I find those responsible for defiling my hall.

Quintus and Puck stepped forward to interact with the revenant while Templeton hid in the shadows covering them with his crossbow. The spirit looked at Puck and Quintus and said You are not responsible.

Just then outside Kareep noticed the figure of an old hobbit. He pulled out a scroll and used it to summon an earth elemental which proceeded to cave in the entrance of the barrow sealing the party (except for Kareep) inside. Kareep, still exhausted from the chilling effects of the barrow, chased after the hobbits who were trying to hide.

Meanwhile inside the earth elemental streaked down the hall to engage the revenant and the party members in battle. It surfaced underneath Puck and slammed him to the ground with a large stony fist. The elemental’s body was tough only enchanted weapons could do it any harm. Luckily Templeton attacked with Sky Piercer, his enchanted heavy crossbow and Quintus attacked with his enchanted greatsword +1. The revenant touched the elemental with its undead hands to deal damage.

Outside Kareep spotted one of the hobbits as it was trying to hide and hurled his javelin of lightning at it. The javelin missed its mark but still exploded in lightning which was enough to kill the hobbit. The other older hobbit stopped in his tracks and slowly turned to face Kareep. ‘You killed my son!’ he screamed as he rushed in to attack.

Inside the battle raged on the with elemental. Puck really wanted to cast a fireball against the earth elemental but he thought better of it. This barrow had been defiled by magical fire and he thought it would anger the revenant further who was currently helping the party. So instead he cast haste on Templeton and teleported out of harms way. Templeton did not disappoint. He used the extra attack to great effect aiming carefully and unleashing two deadly attacks with his heavy crossbow doing a great deal of damage. The elemental fought hard but eventually it was brought down by one of Puck’s cantrips which luckily did not anger the revenant.

Outside Kareep was fighting toe to toe with the old hobbit who turned out to be Old Man Wiggin Nettlebee. ‘Your one of those one’s that killed Hellenrae!’ he yelled at Kareep. Kareep only kawed in response as he pierced him repeatedly with his lance. Wiggin used a spiritual weapon and his shillelagh spell to beat on Kareep and then did better with a cause serious wounds spell. But Kareep responded by viciously tearing him apart with his claws.

Kareep quickly searched the two Hobbits finding only a pouch with 10 GP on Wiggen that he pocketed for himself. He then turned to the caved in entrance and began the long laborious process of helping the other dig their way out…

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The Journey to Womford
Things Get A Little Out of Hand

The Four escorted the prisoners liberated from Monastery of the Sacred Stone to the small village of Womford. Along the way, Templeton had some conversations with Bruldenthar. Templeton learned the following:

1. Bruldenthar clearly was upset over the current state of The Monastery of Stone. It seemed that it was a place once inhabited by dwarves. Is that true? What is the history of that place? Would any dwarves be interested in reclaiming it?
“I have spoken to Puck at length regarding this question. I’ll let him share what he will.”

2. Runedorth is a shield dwarf that was with the Mirabar trade delegation caravan. He went missing and was one of the prisoners taken but the cultists after the attack. Who is he exactly? Was he guarding Bruldenthar and her books? Should we still be looking for him? If we find him should we direct him to go to Waterdeep to find Brulthendar?
“Rhundorth was neither my brethren nor my ally. Of course, he and I spoke on pleasant terms, but as to his purpose in the caravan, I am ignorant. The only comment I might make is that he and ”/characters/the-elven-girl" class=“wiki-content-link”>Teresiel did seem to have some surprising camaraderie."

3. Does Brulthendar know anything of the name Valklondar? Templeton will describe the cursed arrow and the cryptic message written around it. Can she shed any light on this mystery?
“That name is not familiar to me. Nor is the curse.”

4. Has Brulthendar ever heard of The Lord of Lance Rock? or of the place? He will show her the drawings of the necromancers tapestries and show her the different symbols that we have associated with different elemental cults. Does she know anything about these symbols? Especially the eye like one which rises over them all? Does she know any additional details about who these cultists are and what they are after? Templeton describes the floating eye and shrine like pedestal that we saw in Lance Rock before it faded away. He even re-creates it via an illusion for her to see. Does she recognize this at all?
With a look of surprise on her face, “The individual lower symbols do not hold much immediate meaning to me. However”, and she looks to Puck for a moment, "the symbol of the floating eye is one that I have seen reference to before – in association with a renegade drow temple. Do you wish to share, Puck?

“I am deeply disturbed that somehow such a symbol has surfaced to present days and above ground. Puck, perhaps can illuminate.”

5. Templeton discusses the writings of Marlos Urnrayle with Bruldenthar. Has she ever heard of The Evergrowing Mountain? Or The Black Geode?
“I have not. Though I would like to evaluate whatever writings you have.”

6. Templeton describes the goings on of the elders of Red Larch during our exploration of the Great Sinkhole underneath Red Larch. She explains what we know of the believers and the delvers. He describes the hidden temple of floating stones and the petrified dwarves that were found down there. Templeton also describes the sign we found "Petrified Ironstar (?) dwarf, found 1459 DR in Red Larch West Quarry in broken condition.” Can she shed any light on what we found there?
“As Puck can describe, there is a history of dwarves in these hills. Clearly, the quarry was the site of some dwarven history – though what exactly, I do not know.”

Surprised by Puck’s initiative and exclusion of him in the conversation Templeton exclaimed, “Puck, you little bastard. Have you been holding back on me?”

“There’s been a lot holding back from everyone here though hasn’t there Mr. Daltrey?” Puck replied.

“I don’t know what you are talking about,”said Templeton. “I am simply a spoiled noble with a dangerous taste for alcohol and the ladies. An open book with no secrets my little friend. I am a short and lecherous fellow who shall never live up to his potential. Just ask my father…”

“I’m calling the bigger little man out.” trumpeted Puck. "I think it is time that you divulge your true allegiances, Mr. Daltrey. I think that you have only disclosed certain chapters of this “open book. You flashed a secret handshake to Bruldenthar. What organization do you belong to?”

Kareep gets really intense at Puck’s questions to Templeton and responds with a firm… “Kakaw! is this true Templeton, did you flash a secret sign to the hairy woman?”

Templeton puts his hands out to either side. “Gentlemen. We have all been through a lot. Perhaps I can make a suggestion. Our large friend here, Quintus, can I believe call on the power of Tempus to cast a magic spell called Zone of Truth. If we all submit to the spell (intentionally fail our saves), we will only be able to speak the truth. We can then have a conversation and get everything out in the open. What do you think?”

“That sounds fair!” kawed Kareep.

On the following evening, after a long day’s journey, you all sit around a small fire warming your weary muscles. Quintus stands up, looks seriously at everyone, calls for Tempus to friggin’ strike down anyone who lies within this circle and casts Zone of Truth.

Kareep forfeits his save and looks at everyone with an intense stare. “I have recently been working for the ”/wikis/the-emerald-enclave" class=“wiki-page-link”> Emerald Enclave in an effort to protect the Dessarin Valley. Puck is also a member of the Emerald Enclave, is that not correct Puck?"

Templeton says, “Kareep, I appreciate your honesty. Can you tell me more about the ”/wikis/the-emerald-enclave" class=“wiki-page-link”> Emerald Enclave? What kind of organization is it? What are its goals?"

Kareep cocked his head and said “You tell me what you are doing here and who you work for first, then I will tell you what I know.”

Templeton frowns. “The truth hurts, Kareep. That is why I do not wish to speak of it. The truth is I am no hero. I am a small petty little man trying hard to make a better name for myself in the eyes of my family and especially my father. Unfortunately, I am still mostly regarded by them all as a drunken womanizer and I am not good enough. Hard drink and loose women truly are my downfall, but they are difficult demons to exorcise. I play at being a big man. I play at being a hero. I mime some sort of signals to dwarven sages to make myself look important but in the end the truth is sadly that I have no greater calling. I work for my family – The Daltreys. These cultists are bad for trade. The life blood of my family’s riches is through trade especially in this region. Perhaps bringing stability to this region will make my father take some modicum of interest in me. Maybe if I pretend to be a hero it can somehow pull me out of drowning my sorrows in wine and women’s bosoms. “

Templeton shakes his head as if coming out of some sort of stupor, “But your Emerald Enclave. That sounds like something real. That sounds like an organization that can make a difference. Who are you and what are your goals? How does one become a member?”

Kareep nods his head “Your words ring true…to be honest I know little about the ”/wikis/the-emerald-enclave" class=“wiki-page-link”> Emerald Enclave. They saved my life when I first came to explore the valley region. I was ambushed by the evil vulture riders and almost died. They asked me to join them and I came with Puck to try to put an end to the problems we have recently uncovered. You have been a brave friend Templton Daltry, we would not have come so far without you and Quintus."

Puck frowns. “That is not good enough. What signal did you flash to ”/characters/bruldenthar" class=“wiki-content-link”>Bruldenthar?"

Templeton shrugs, “I just did this.” He makes a movement with his hands. “I do have a certain knack for mimicking things. I was trying to make Bruldenthar think I was something that I was not. I wanted her to gain her trust. The signal did not really mean anything more to me. But now Mr. Puck it is your turn. I suppose you could shed some more light on this Emerald Enclave. Kareep speaks very highly of it but seems to not know many details. What say you Puck?”

Puck looks to Quintus for some indication that Templeton is lying, but the cleric says, “Tempus does not say he is lying.”

Puck’s eyebrows narrow and Puck shakes his head, “that is not logical. You’re saying that you just happened to flash a hand signal to ”/characters/bruldenthar" class=“wiki-content-link”>Bruldenthar, a highly intelligent sage, that somehow won over her trust?! That is fantastical lie. I do not believe you and I do not believe that you have entered in the Zone of Truth in good faith. I will divulge nothing to you and you threaten to end our continued association. If you want me to divulge the information I gleaned from Bruldenthar, you’re going to have to answer my question."

After Puck’s accusation Kareep stands up and changes his tune drastically. He gabs Templeton by the collar (to hit 26 AC to grab him) and screeches. “By my kin you are lying little man. So help me you will tell the truth right now or I will strike you down dead where you stand!”

Templeton hangs in the air, held aloft by Kareep. He calmly says, “You will set me down and unhand me immediately. Is this any way to treat a friend? My actions may not be logical but is that cause for violence? I think I may have misjudged you two…”

Puck yelled, “Kareep!! Stop! There’s no need for violence here…yet. I trust Bruldenthar was not evil but because you’ve disclosed our allegiance to Emerald Enclave I need to know whom that information is now being shared with. I do not believe Templeton is evil but I will not share further information with him until I am convinced that he is not passing it on to third parties whose interests are not aligned with Enclave’s.”

Kareep lets Templeton down gently and steps back. “All apologies, but I know in my heart you are lying. I opened my heart to you and you lied Templeton, now is the time for truth as there is much we can accomplish together.”

Quintus put his hands in the air and said, “Now let’s not be a bunch of f# nuts and calm this shet down a peg. Let’s jest be honest an fricken remember that we have covered one an others arse s for sometime now and in Tempus’s eyes and mine own f#n peepers that’s counts for something. If someone wants to be dickwad and lie to his companions and brothers in arms, ahm sure as shit they must have a reason. If ya have a sekret that you feel you want ta keep jest say so and let’s move on to the impotent thing and get back to smitin heathens.”

Templeton Daltrey straightens his expensive shirt and smooths the collar back into place. Suddenly Templeton looks completely different. The foppish grin is gone replaced with a grim visage of fierce intensity. Gone are the nonchalant and whimsical eyes being replaced by a pair of deadly serious orbs. “Your concern is well placed Puck and Kareep. I am not really Templeton Daltrey. My life of nobility and privilege is but a ruse. I am sorry for the deception but it had to be done in order to safe guard my mission and allegiances. But Kareep is right. There are more important things going on here in the Dessarin Valley than maintaining cover stories. We have uncovered some serious goings on with these cultists. They must be stopped. I believe it is in the best interest of both of our respective organizations to work together to make sure they are destroyed. As a token of my good faith in this matter, I will reveal to you all my secret.”

Templeton waves his hand over his left shoulder and a cloak pin appears where you saw none before. The pin is a field of blue pierced by a silver crescent moon and a harp. “Friends, I am an agent of The Harpers. a secret organization dedicated to promoting good, preserving history (including art and music of old) and maintaining a balance between civilization and nature by keeping kingdoms small and the destruction of plant life to a minimum. I am one of those who harp and I follow the harper code:

• Harpers work against villainy and wickedness wherever they find it, but they work ever mindful of the consequences of what they do.
• All beings should walk free of fear, with the right to live their lives as they wish.
• The rule of law aids peace and fosters freedom, so long as the laws are just and those who enforce them lenient and understanding.
• No extreme is good. For freedom to flourish, all must be in balance: the powers of realms, the reaches of the cities and the wilderlands into each other, and the influence of one being over another.
• Whatever it takes, a Harper will do. Pride never rules the deeds of a true Harper.
• Freedom is a multiversal right, though Harpers can spare themselves less freedom than those they work to protect when the need presents itself.
• Harpers police their own. A Harper who hears the call of personal power can no longer hear the sweet song of the harp. A Harper who seizes power, and holds it above all else, is a traitor to the harp. Traitors must die for freedom to live.
• Without a past, no being can appreciate what they have, and where they may be going.

Harper_Pin.jpg

Templeton points to the newly visible cloak pin, “This is my harper pin. It is a magical item that remains invisible unless I wish it to be seen. It also cloaks my mind and wards me from mind reading magics and detection of lies. That is why the zone of truth spell cast by Quintus did not affect me even though I submitted to it.” Templeton waves his hand over his shoulder again and the harper pin disappears.

“I am sorry for lying to you, but I had to make sure you were not working for an organization that was at odds with The Harpers. Luckily for all of us, The Emerald Enclave and The Harpers have similar aims and guiding principles. I am certain that both would want to see the elemental cults of the Dessarin Valley destroyed. And would encourage us to solidify our alliance. So I make this pact with all three of you. I will not speak to anyone of your affiliations or secrets and I expect the same of you. We will work together to see an end to these cultists and their dark faith. Do we have an accord?”

Templeton Daltrey extends his hand out and bids all 3 of the other party members to grasp his hand at once and seal this bond. As one the hands of each of The Four came together and sealed the bond. With the de-escalation of tensions complete, Puck confirmed that he too was a member of the Emerald Enclave. He also revealed the information that he had gleaned from Bruldenthar.

Puck studied as an apprentice under a human wizard named Scandarian who was a member of the emerald enclave. Scandarian was killed while investigating drow and elementalist activities a couple of years ago.

One thousand years ago dwarves of Besilimir built the Monastery of the Sacred Stone. They also built the Feathergale Spire, and the Riverside Keep. All of these places were connected underground to a stronghold called Tyar-Besil. While building Tyar-Besil, they came upon a great evil. The Besilimir Dwarves uncovered and abandoned drow temple dedicated to primordial evil (NOT Lloth). The dwarves could not cleanse the drow ruins. They abandoned the area but were pressed on the surface by trolls and giants. In the end they were attacked from all sides and that marked the fall of Besilimir Dwarves. A few hundred years later men called The Knights of The Silver Horn discovered the dwarven ruins and built their own keeps on top of the dwarven ruins. An Orc horde wiped out these humans.

Recently, a few years ago, renegade drow were sighted in the region. A drow wizard said that he sought the ancient temple beneath Tyar-Besil. Puck thinks that this same drow was one of the ones his master, Scandarian, was investigating. The eye symbol that figured so prominently over the other elemental cult symbols in the tapestry at Lance Rock.

Patterns.jpg

This eye symbol represents the primordial evil of the drow temple beneath Tyar-Besil. Bruldenthar is quite concerned that this would have come to the surface lands. It could represent a great threat to the Dessarin Valley and beyond.

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Cleansing The Monastery of Stone

ogre_battle.jpg

A huge ogre burst out of the door and slammed into a surprised Templeton. Luckily his uncanny dodge allowed him to avoid some of the damage. Before he could react, 3 Orogs pushed past their ogre friend to surround Templeton. Templeton’s shield spell went up and stopped a few of their blows but a couple made it past his guard. In a bad way and very exposed, Templeton disengaged from the fight and moved away. He used his action to cast a minor illusion spell of a bulge in the rough hewn cave wall and snuck around to hide inside it. He could now see through the illusory walls but the orogos and ogre could not see him.

The battle wore on with Templeton firing his crossbows from the safety of his hidden location. Kareep made good use of his ablity to hide and sneak up to ambush the Ogre using his ambuscade ability. Puck let loose a fireball that killed the Ogre and burned the Orogs badly. Quintus used his spirutal hammer to beat the love of Tempus into their black hearts. Eventually all were slain. In their room Templeton found a loose flagstone hiding a pouch with 90 GP and 40 EP. The Master Party Treasure List was updated.

Templeton led the way exploring the rest of the tunnels.

under_tunnels.jpg

An area was found that was barred off with a very complicated lock. Attempts to to pick the local and bend the bars failed. Widget was sent down but hit some kind of a ward and was destroyed. Clearly there was no way to go any further. But a different section of the tunnels led to a crypt. There were sarcophagi and remains lining the walls. A large central sarcophagus was open and empty. It had writing on it that said:

Here lies Samular Caradoon defender of the North.

Four zombies suddenly surrounded and attacked Quintus. He fought them off by calling upon the holy power of Tempus and turning two of them to dust. The other two were quickly dispatched by the deadly crossbow fire of Templeton and the strong lance work by Kareep.

crypt.jpg

The crypt was searched and Kareep found 2 rings. One was made of silver with inset rubies worth 600 GP. The other was made of gold but was enchanted. Puck identified the ring as a ring of fire resistance. Kareep kept the item and attuned himself to it. The Master Party Treasure List was updated.

With the keep secured, the party escorted the prisoners up to the mess hall at the upper level. There they ate and drank their fill and provisioned themselves for the journey out of the monastery. During this time, Bruldenthar told her harrowing tale of what happened to the caravan. Right before they would have reached Summit Hall, the attack came. It was swift and devastating. Earth cultists including monks wearing golden masks, earth priests, and fighters with the strange stone armor took down the caravan. Bruldenthar was taken prisoner along with Deseyna Norvael, Teresial, and Runedorth.

The group was ferried across the river by pirates in exchange for Brulhendar’s books for payment. At some point after that but before they reached the Monastery of the Sacred Stone, they were attacked by the air cult. It is suspected at that point Deseyna Norvael, Teresial, and Runedorth were taken by the air cult since they were not found in the Monastery of the Sacred Stone.

After an extended rest, the group geared up and worked their way overland to the town of Womford.

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