Apocalyptica

Beliard and Beyond
The Hunt for the Caravan Continues

The Four arrive in Beliard, a bit weary, particularly Templeton, but the pleasantness of the town raises your spirits to some extent. As you enter the village, though you look battle-worn and dusty, the townsfolks don’t seem to pay you much mind. They must be used to travelers.

Upon further inspection, the town seems a bit smaller than Red Larch. At least, there doesn’t seem to be the breadth of businesses you encountered there. The town center has a small square with somewhat active stalls. Surrounding the square are a tanner, a smith and numerous stables. However, the largest building by far, clearly a building that has been added onto many times over, is a prominently signed inn – The Watchful Knight.

Templeton brushes the dust off his traveling clothes and notices the wingwear he is wearing. ‘Gentlemen, to avoid any inappropriate associations I urge you to remove your wingwear for now and stow it away in a pack. We will not need it in town and I don’t want anyone who knows what it is to spot it on us.’ Templeton removes the wingwear and stows it in his backpack. He straightens his tussled mop of hair and says, ‘Now on to more important things. I have had about enough of this walking through the wilds nonsense. Follow me to The Watchful Knight. There is properly cooked food and good drink in our future lads.’

With that Templeton heads straight to The Watchful Knight. He will enter the establishment and immediately enquire about food and drink for himself and his traveling companions. He also would like to book a room for the night that has access to a hot bath and Waterdavian soaps.

As we sit and eat our food and drink, Templeton will listen intently to the other conversations in the inn and tray to take measure of anyone in the dining room, the innkeeper, and the staff.

Puck nods his readily and removes his wingwear and stows it. ’Let’s also keep in mind that we will need mounts. Once we’ve had a chance to rest and reconnoiter a bit, we should go to the stables an inquire about horses. Perhaps there will be another caravan that we might join as well. This is rough country.’

Kareep ditches the shield from Feathergale Spire in the morning and keeps cloaked and hooded in Beliard and the Watchful Knight. The only thing he is interested in purchasing is a shield and possibly healing potions. He asks Templeton to make the transaction for him for the shield as he does not wish to cause any problems. He will be quiet and respectful if approached by any townsfolk.

You enter The Watchful Knight in the early evening hours. The tavern room is quite sizable and seems to be filling up quickly. You find yourselves a table off to the side and soon a hearty serving woman arrives to take your orders of food and rooms. (2gp each for good rooms, drink and meals).

The majority of the patrons seem to be in relatively good spirits and hail from a variety of venues, both local and distant. There seem to be plenty of local workers and farmers as well as caravan guards and such. There does seem to be another ‘class’ of folks as well. Overhearing conversations, you get the sense that a number of older guards and caravan-related folks that seem to have settled locally as well.

You do catch sight of the proprieter of the inn, one Neshor Fleurdin. He seems busy, focused but reasonably jovial.

After filling his belly, drinking more than his fill, taking a bath, and changing into some clean clothes Templeton sets about working the room. He wants to have a conversation with Neshor Fleurdin and some of the caravan folks. He is going to ask about ask about the caravan from Mirabar. How long ago did it leave Beliard? Any word on its fate as it is overdue? Was it headed south towards summit hall? He also wants to inquire about some services in town. In particular he is looking for a temple and a brothel. Or even better a temple that is a brothel.

Kareep will have a good meal but when Templeton returns to work the tavern after his bath, he will stay in their room. Kareep will cast primeval awareness before going to sleep. Kareep’s casting of Primeval Awareness reveals nothing untoward.

While waiting for Neshor, Templeton works the room for other information, he does hear one other account of interest. A cattle drover by the name of Eann says he met the caravan about 10 miles south of town. Apparently they got at least that far.

Eann also says later that day he saw a group of warriors in sky-blue armor and white cloaks, flying on giant vultures fly overhead heading south in the same direction as the caravan.

neshor.jpg

After insisting speaking with Neshor himself, a serving maiden eventually retrieves him. He sits down at your table, sitting with a straight back, and inquires politely, ‘Yes, Mr. Daltrey, how can I help you. Ah, you are inquiring about the Waterdaevian delegation that has gone missing? Well, I certainly spoke to them before they left. They were well stocked and provisioned. They seemed like capable folk with clear goals. They were headed south along the Dessarin Road, of course, with clear intent to deliver the body of a fallen knight to Summit Hall.’

‘In addition, I have heard Senya, one of my serving maidens, speak of seeing a strange monk wearing a golden mask observing the Mirabarrans when they stayed here at The Knight. She says the monk left some hours before the caravan departed south. No one has seen any of them since.’

‘Is there anything else, Mr. Templeton? Ah, brothels and temples. Ah, well… I can certainly arrange for a visitor this evening, but there is no brothel in town, I’m afraid. There is a small temple to Lathander, the God of Birth and Renewal just outside of town.’

Neshor responds, ‘Everything I have heard suggests the caravan never made it to Summit Hall. But, of course, I can’t verify such rumors.’

‘Of course, you can speak with Senya when her shift is over… I don’t want her distracted while working of course.’

‘The Lathander Temple is just outside of town on the Dessarin Road as you would head to Summit Hall.’

‘There is no formal book shop in Beliard, but my father, Old Man Nestor, is a bit of a collector. I can introduce you if you like, in the morning.’

He nods and takes the gold.

‘Thank you, Neshor. I would be honored to meet your father in the morning. That would be delightful. I know that there were Mirabar dwarves amongst the caravan. But did you know if there were any Waterdhavian nobility amongst the caravan when it left Beliard? A woman perhaps?’

Before leaving, Neshor responds, ‘I do seem to remember mention of a Waterdhavian contingent. However, I never spoke with anyone directly from Waterdeep.’

Sometime later, after the dinner rush, a young woman approaches and shyly says her name is Senya. ‘Yes, sir? You had a question?’

wench.jpeg

‘Ah, hello. You must be Senya. It’s a pleasure to meet you my dear. My name is Templeton Daltrey of The Waterdeep Daltrey’s. Please now that things have cleared out a bit let’s move over to a place with a bit more privacy.’

Templeton will usher her over to a booth in the corner – somewhere out of easy earshot and eyeshot of others.

After they are seated he will continue, ‘I am here in town looking for a lost caravan from Mirabar. Neshor tells me you saw a suspicious fellow in a mask watching the caravan before it left town. I was hoping that you could do me favor and think really hard about that masked man and describe him to me.’ As she describes the masked monk to Templeton he is going to wink at her and say, ‘Don’t be alarmed I am going to cast a magical spell to create an image as you describe it.’ As she describes the monk Templeton will use minor illusion to create a scale image of the man only 1 foot tall standing on the table in such a way as to avoid anyone else in the tavern from seeing. He will further refine the image as she describes it to try to get a really good picture of what this monk looked like. He will ask about other distinguishing marks besides the golden mask. Any tattoos or symbols on his robes. In particular he will use his illusion magic to show her the air cult symbol and the other symbols he knows and ask if she recognizes any of those symbols as part of his garb or saw anyone else with those markings.

Does she remember anything the strange man did? Did he speak to anyone? Does she remember anything else that was strange or memorable about the Mirabar Delegation. Was there a Waterdahiavn noblewoman present?

Senya arrives some time later and follows you to the back of the room. She seems fascinated by the illusion and engages enthusiastically. After 20 minutes or so, given your passive insight, you end up with an image that you believe might be a bit hyperbolic. Senya’s memory does not seem precise, she has changed her mind a couple of times throughout the process, and you think she is taken with the ability to form an image via magic.

The image is of a very tall and thin humanoid figure in a long, deeply hooded black robe. The face is largely obscured, but seems to look like a grotesque, golden-faced gargoyle.

You inquire to get more details about it speaking or something else, but Senya is unable to provide any other details.

She has no other knowledge about other contingents in the caravan. All nobles ‘look the same’ to her.

Templeton smiles, ‘Thank you my dear Senya. You have been very helpful.’ Templeton slides 4 gold coins over the table to her. As she reaches for the coins he gently touches her hand with his own and looks into her eyes. ‘I am in room 42. If you join me later this evening you will find I have more than just illusion magic at my command…’ He uses his invisible mage hand to caress her cheek. “Magic can be quite useful when engaged in pleasures of the flesh. You could stand to earn a few more coins as well.”

Her eyes turn to confusion and then to fury. She picks up your mug of beer and sprays it into your face. She then shoves the coins back your direction, ‘I am a married woman, Mr. Templeton. I do not appreciate being approached in such a manner.’

She then stalks away.

Templeton wipes the beer from his face. And thinks, if I had a copper coin for every time that happened I would be a rich man. Oh wait I am a rich man! He cleans himself off and retires for the evening.

Everyone woke up the next day. Neshor introduced Puck and Templeton to his father, old man Nestor. But he seemed a bit dim witted and addled by age. The stop at the Lathander temple proved useful with each party member purchasing a potion of healing. Quintus and Templeton each purchased a horse and Puck purchased a pony. The master treasure list was updated.

The following morning, you head south along The Dessarin Road. You come across the small Lathander Temple and purchase potions. They are thankful for your “donation”.
The Dessarin Road leads south through the barren Sumber Hills. You don’t meet any other travelers this day, but you find evidence that the trail supports traffic—wagon ruts and mule droppings prove that people come this way on a regular basis. You find nothing else until near the end of the day when you are about fifteen miles south of Beliard. Kareep catches sight of a cloud of ravens and vultures circling a mile or so west of the trail.

caravan_1.jpg

In a small dell a mile off the road, you find the clear remains of a battle. A dozen dead soldiers lie on the ground, dressed in black surcoats bearing the emblem of a red axe. Templeton recognizes the emblem as that of Mirabar.

Most of the soldiers appear to have died from battle injuries, although some lie in small craters or jumbles of broken rock. Abandoned and looted wagons lie nearby. A couple of broken trunks sit on the ground by the wagons. Two rock cairns—one large and one small—stand atop a hillside nearby.

Templeton looks through the broken trunks and finds little of value. The trunks have largely been emptied and only have some torn clothing as a lingering remainder.

Quintus carefully uncovers the large cairn first. He pulls off large rocks and unveils the body of a bugbear. He grunts in surprise and continues pulling away rocks. Eventually, Quintus uncovers the bodies of five dead bugbears in all. They are dressed in worn black leather armor with a strange triangular symbol – an exact replica of the one you found in the caverns beneath Red Larch.

The smaller cairn uncovers more quickly and contains only one body – that of a human woman in monk’s robes, with a strange golden mask shaped like a gargoyle face.

Using his knowledge in magic as well as the Detect Magic spell, Puck determines that there is the barest hint of lingering elemental-based magic. He thinks that perhaps the reason the carrion birds are just arriving, even though the battle was at least a week ago, is that the now fading magic kept them at bay for a while.

Further, the piles of rock and craters, as Templeton surmised, were the result of powerful earth-based battle magic.

caravan_2.jpg

Kareep looks around and after a couple of minutes comes across a clear set of tracks heading west into the hills. You estimate there was likely 30-35 bugbears and medium-sized humanoids heading that direction.

Templeton surveys the scene and shakes his head in disgust. He covers his nose with a beautiful silk handkerchief embroidered with the letters TD to avoid the foul stench of the rotting bodies. “This golden masked monk is female. There is at least one more at large. The serving wench spotted a man wearing such a mask.” Templeton bends down and removes the golden mask and robes. He asks Puck to scan them for magic before tucking them into his pack. “This might prove useful later. It seems that in addition to hurricane monks we are facing some sort of black earth monks. These like to wear golden masks for some reason.”

‘This mark here.’ Templeton points to the symbol on the bugbear armor. ‘We have seen this before. It was worn by LaRock’s men. He was the one who eluded us and clearly used powerful earth magic to escape. It seems quite clear that the evidence before us combined with the letter on Thurl’s desk point to the responsible party for this attack actually being the black earth cult. Thurl and his Feathergale Knights simply took the opportunity to attack after the bugbear assault most likely. I believe we should track these bugbears back to wherever they came from and try to find any survivors.’

As best Quintus can ascertain, he believes the caravan was likely ambushed on the road and chased this direction into the hands of a larger ambush. Quintus knows Bugbears can be quite stealthy and enjoy ambushing, so perhaps they waited in ambush while others, the wielders of magic(?), chased them this direction.

Quintus also knows that though Bugbears like to bully the weak (goblins, hobgoblins and such), they will fight for powerful masters if bloodshed and booty is assured.

The only aspect of this battle that seems out of place to Quintus is that the bodies of the bugbears were encased in a cairn. They are known to normally leave wounded allies behind without a second thought. Burying their dead is certainly not one of their normal practices.

There isn’t so much a trail as clear tracks to follow. the group clearly wasn’t trying to hide its passage, and now that you have a good eye on the tracks, kareep can follow easily – even from 30-40 feet in the air if he wishes.

The horses could be lead easily. riding them is possible too though there is some small risk of injury.

After getting a small distance from the chaotic scuffling of the battle, Kareep flies low to the ground a few hundred feet ahead and expertly evaluates the tracks heading west.

After a few moments, Kareep chirps and calls the other to him. ‘There are 10 bugbear tracks and 18 humanoid tracks heading due west. These tracks are close to two tendays old. We are lucky there is has been little rain of late. The details might have been lost otherwise.’

At this point, the sun is beginning to set and you will have to make camp soon. Where do you want to camp?

Kareep does an excellent job of finding a secluded spot with a small cave to give you all cover from potential roving eyes through the night. The night proceeds uneventfully.

In the morning, Kareep picks up the trail where he left off. You travel for about 10 miles due west through the hills. With Kareep’s guidance you travel quickly and quietly. Near the end of the day, you come over a small esker and see the tracks lead down a short skree slope to the edge of a large river. Kareep knows this is the same river you flew over as you were headed to Beliard.

After investigating the riverbank, Kareep declares that there are several “gouges” at the water’s edge where the tracks end. Apparently, the bugbears and humanoids launched into the river with multiple keelboats headed south along the river’s course.

After discussion regarding the possibility of building our own raft or sending someone back to purchase a boat, it was decided to press on by foot. You actually don’t know whether the river is navigable by raft. You see evidence of keelboats here on the river’s edge – which are agile boats capable of carrying cargo. you suspect that some trade does happen along the river, but you have no idea whether a hand-built raft would hold up – particularly with horses on it.

Could Kareep guide the party and the horses south on a parallel course with the river (might be a mile east if necessary). My goal would be to scout ahead a ways down the river, then double back. Then lead the group south for about the same distance parallel to the river. Perhaps repeat this pattern a few times.

I want to study the marks on the river’s edge so I can try to find where they get off down river.

Kareep again finds an excellent spot to camp for the night. you find yourselves unmolested for the night.

The following day you head south following the river’s path. Kareep scouts ahead and then returns, finding you a safe path for the day. by the time the sun is near setting, you have traveled about 10 miles or so. There has been no sign of the bugbears or others.

You are ready to make camp again. Well done. Again, the evening passes uneventfully. you pack up, well-rested, onward to another day’s travel south along the river’s edge. the day itself passes quickly as you travel through the hills with kareep’s expert guidance.

roughly an hour before dusk, something in the distance breaks the regularity of hill terrain on the other side of the river. kareep catches sight of it first. he carefully leads the way and you find yourself on the opposite bank from a large stone keep that seems to be built partially into the embankment. there is access to the base of the keep via the river and you catch sight of a single moored keelboat. it’s hard to tell, but it also seems likely there is land-based access on the opposite of the keep as well.

keep_on_the_river.jpg

The keep looks very old, but does seem to be in reasonably good repair. It’s hard to tell much more than that without getting closer.

Having been watching the river throughout your journey south, Kareep is dubious there is any ford in the river safe enough for the horses – at least from what you’ve seen so far. Perhaps further south? perhaps not.

Kareep, go ahead and give me one more survival check to find a place to camp.

View
Flying Over the Sumber Hills
Ankhegs and Perytons Oh My!

The Four outfitted their 2 hippogriffs and set off out of Feathergale Spire with Puck and Templeton riding one of the Hippogriffs and Quintus riding the other. Kareep flew using his own wings. A quick hour long fly over of the canyon adjacent to Feathgale Spire revealed a few things of interest including a tribe of gnolls in the southwest portion of the howling plateau and some interesting looking caves. The bodies of the dead hurricane monks were also removed from where they had fallen in the previous day’s battle.

The party then took wing to the north flying over the Sumber Hills on a two day journey to the town of Beliard. At the end of the first day, the party touched down in a place of Kareep’s choosing that looked defensible and well hidden. The Hippogriffs seemed a bit nervous and on edge. In order to help put them at ease, Templeton walked out of site and cloaked himself in the guise of a Feathergale Knight using his disguise self spell. That seemed to calm one of the hippogriffs but not the other.

During the night there was a tremor in the ground and two huge Ankheg erupted from the earth to attack. The huge ant like insect creatures spit streams of acid and delivered terrible bites with their deadly mandibles. One of the hippogriffs flew off in terror but the other one stayed and fought back against the Ankhegs. Quintus struck hard and fast with his greatsword and Templeton fired point blank shots with his hand crossbow to take out one of the giant insects. Puck eventually dealt with the other one using his Aganazzer’s Scorcher spell. Kareep mounted the remaining hippogriff and went off in search of the hippogriff that had fled but there was no sign of it. The party was down to only one hippogriff and they were deep in the middle of the sumber hills far away from any roads or settlements. But they made the best of it with Quintus unleashing the power of Tempus to heal the acid burns and bites suffered by the party. They finished their extended rest but left camp well into late morning due to the evening’s interruption.

ankheg.jpg

With only one hippogriff left, Quintus and Templeton rode it while Kareep carried Puck in his special leather harness. The late start and the heavier burdens extended the journey to Beliard and forced the party to make camp at dusk still well within the wilds of the Sumber Hills. As they were making camp two large forms streaked out of the sky to attack. Two perytons, half eagle – half stag enchanted creatures, were attracted by the hippogriff who as it turns out are mortal enemies of each other. A critical gore attack against the hippogriff by one of the perytons spelled the end for the unfortunate hippogriff. The huge antlers of the peryton pierced the hippogriffs hide very deep and tossed it aside. Quintus also was hit by antlers and talons during deadly fly by attacks. The party fought back bravely but found the hide of the enchanted perytons was magically tough. The creatures had resistance to most attacks reducing them to half damage.

Peryton.jpg

An amazing critical shot by Templeton killed one of the perytons. The other was slain through a coordinated attack between Quintus’ guided bolt, Puck’s ray of sickness, and Kareep’s hurled javelin. Kareep took some nasty damage but was saved by Puck’s ray of sickness which caused the Peryton to attack with disadvantage. Templeton’s steady aim proved quite useful as he patiently waited for the peryton to use its fly by attack to be adjacent to a party member before loosing his bolt in order to get sneak attack damage every time.

Again Quintus and Kareep healed everyone except for the poor hippogriff who had taken such massive damage (more than twice his HP) that he was beyond any help that could be provided. Templeton sighed. Now the party had to finish the trek on foot. Luckily they made it the rest of the way to Beliard without incident. But the heady days of flying about the countryside on hippogriffs were no more.

View
Hurricaine Monk Ambush
Uh oh... There is more than just 1...

The Four set out from freshly conquered Feathergale Spire upon their newly acquired hippogriff mounts in search of the missing Savra Belegata. Kareep found and followed her tracks through the canyon to a large cave area. The riders dismounted and found a nice place to let their mounts rest while they explored the area. Through a short series of ravines the found a large open area between the rock filled with trees and shrubs with a large cave opening on the other side.

Templeton Daltrey snuck up through the ample cover to find a Hurricane Monk sitting in contemplation by the cave entrance. Using his message spell he communicated back to his compatriots explaining what he had found. Knowing how dangerous these monks were after having encountered one at the top of feathergale spire. Puck bid Templeton to return to hatch a plan.

storm.png

Discussions of parlay or trickery quickly fell away to the realization that whatever happened it would most likely end in a fight. Therefore the decision was made to begin the attack on the most favorable terms possible and get the upper hand. Templeton worked his way back into a good hiding spot with a clear shot on the meditating monk. Meanwhile the rest of the party returned to the hippogriffs and mounted up. After they left the area, however, Templeton saw another monk surface from a pool of water near to where the rest of the party had just been and run with unearthly speed to the side of the meditating monk. They two had a brief conversation which Templeton could not over hear but then the new monk sped off in pursuit of the party. Templeton grimaced but stuck to the plan. It had been set into motion and he could no longer communicate with his compatriots.

Kareep was first to strike maneuvering his hippogriff straight down the canyon cliff to dive bomb the sitting monk. But before he could get within lance range the monk stood up and began to cast a gust of wind spell. Before the spell was complete, Templeton let loose a readied heavy crossbow bolt from hiding. The monk looked down at his chest in surprise as the crossbow bolt pierced him clean through. The monk gripped his chest in pain, breaking his concentration on the spell and ruining it. With the gust of wind to knock him off his mount, Kareep swooped down and pierced the monk with his lance. The hurricane monk crumpled in a shower of blood.

The Four made quick work of the first monk. However, 4 more of them emerged from hiding to press the attack. The first got behind Templeton and unleashed a gust of wind spell that blew him out of hiding into the open. The other three monks swarmed around Templeton and unleashed volleys of deadly kicks and punches. Templeton quickly raised a shield spell which deflected many of the blows but some made it past the magical ward to strike true.

3_storms.jpg

Quintus flew down and dismounted to engage the monks with his greatsword. A slender female figure then floated out of the cave. ‘I do wish you would have tried trickery. It would have been so much better to have lured you inside. Btu this will do nicely,’ said the skyweaver. And with that she floated high off the ground and unleashed a bolt of lighting that ripped through Quintus, his hippogriff, and Templeton. In a howl of burning feathers, the charred hippogriff fell to the ground. Quintus and Templeton were barely alive.

Puck having lost his action to indecision finally gathered himself together, maneuvered his hipoogriff within range and cast crown of madness on the skyweaver. The female witich laughed, ‘You will have to do better than that my little gnome,’ as she made her save against the spell and was unaffected. Kareep flew up and healed Quintus as Templeton fired his hand crossbows at the monks. To his horror, one of the monks snatched one of the bolts right out of the air and casually tossed it aside.

The monks continued to punch, kick, unleash gust of wind of spells, and cast thunderwave spells. The skyweaver thrust her open hand forward and unleashed another lighting bolt. The spell ripped through Quintus once more and he fell to the ground blood pouring from his ears. With a laugh the female witch turned invisible. Kareep managed to fly over and use the last of his healing magic to bring Quintus to consciousness.

The syweaver frowned seeing Kareep. She said, ‘I hate Aurakokra!’ and cast a witchbolt on Kareep. The spell tethered Kareep to her with arcing energy. Shaking his head, Quintus stumbled to his feet and assessed the situation. Calling upon the power of his divine lord, he spread healing magic in a wide arc to heal everyone in the party. Then for good measure he cast a spiritual hammer, summoning a magical hammer of divine power to pound into The Skyweaver. Templeton shot again with his crossbow against the monks scoring a critical hit. To his horror, the monk again snatched the bolt right out of the air as if it were nothing.

lo_pan_and_the_storms.jpg

Pushing his luck, Puck unleashed another crown of madness hoping to ensnare the skyweaver under his power. She was too mentally strong, however, and saved yet again to thwart the spell. Kareep singed by the witchbolt spell, flew right up to the skyweaver yelling, ‘Aurrakoka hate you too!’ Kareep’s lance drove home piercing the skyweaver and cutting a deep gash in her side. The wound was so grievous that the skyweaver grimaced and grabbed her side distracting her enough to break her concentration on the witchbolt spell. ‘You are tougher than I thought… I will have to get my sisters…’ The skyweaver turned invisible and vanished.

The battle with the remaining 4 hurricane monks raged on. The monks focused on Quintus unleashing wave after deadly wave of Thunderwave spells. The magical onslaught was too much for even the tough as nails cleric to withstand. Quintus fell again and began to bleed to death. Kareep swooped down and finally slew one of the monks leaving 3. Puck unleashed an Agonnazzer’s Scorcher spell to slay another monk monk leaving two. Knowing his crossbow was of little used against the monk’s missile weapon deflection abilities, the cunning rogue snuck through the shrubbery going unnoticed in the middle of the battle to arrive at the side of Quintus. Just before the mighty cleric bled out, Templeton used his healer’s kit to stop the bleeding and stabilize Quintus.

Kareep expertly maneuvered his hippogriff to swoop down and thrust his lance clean through the another monk leaving only 1 left. Kareep then wheeled around and landed his hippogriff next to the unconscious body of Quintus. Templeton’s keen ears heard three female voices coming from the mouth of the cave. Fearing the return of the three sisters, he used his new silent image spell to create the illusion of a 15 foot tall stone giant swinging a club menacingly at the cave entrance to keep the sisters at bay. Templeton leaped onto the hippogriff and bid Kareep to hurry with Quintus.

Puck rained fire bolts down upon the last monk to hold him at bay as Kareep strapped the unconscious Quintus to Templeton’s hippogriff. With one last well placed fire bolt the last monk was finally laid low. Templeton and Puck flew their hippogriffs up and out of the canyon with Kareep flying behind via his own wings. As they began to put some distance between themselves and the deadly grove, Templeton glanced back over his shoulder and winced as he saw two lighting bolts pass through his illusory stone giant. Checking on Quintus he saw that his bandages held firm and his brave heart still beat. Templeton shook his head and grimaced. He yelled back at the three sisters below. “A day will come when you think yourself safe and happy, and suddenly your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth, and you’ll know the debt is paid.”

3_Sisters.jpg

The four wheeled their hippogriffs out and about and headed straight for Feathergale Spire. There they rested safely and tended to their wounds for an extended rest. They used magical healing to heal the injured Hippogriffs. Kareep outfitted each Hippogriff with a shield and re-provisioned the food for the mounts. Content to let Savra Belegata and The 3 Sisters go for now, at dawn The Four set out once again to circle the canyon and then head north to Beliard in search of the lost caravan.

View
The Conquest of Feathergale Spire
We Claim This Tower in the Name of Templeton Daltrey

Expecting the Feathergale Knights to burst into the room, everyone got attacks ready. But the door remained shut until a loud clank noise came from the other side. ‘They are trapping us inside!’ yelled Templeton, ‘Quintus see if you can open the door’. The huge cleric of Tempus moved to the door and tried to open it. The door moved only slightly away from him before making contact with something bug and heavy. Quintus put a brawny should er to the door and pushed with all his might. The door strained but remained shut. He backed away to make room for someone else to try. Kareep moved forward and wrenched the door right off its hinges and smashed through into the room holding the door in front of him like a shield.

Two Feathergale initiates were waiting and hurled 2 daggers each at Kareep. All 4 daggers sunk into the wooden door shield. With Kareep and the door out of the way, Templeton had a clean line of fire from his hidden position to one of the initiates. He took careful aim with his heavy crossbow, exhaled and slowly pulled the trigger. Thwak. The initiate was spun around as the bolt caught him cleanly in the face, going down hard and fast. Puck then cast a minor illusion spell of a black wall of darkness where the door once stood. Kareep kept moving and backed into one of the stalls where a Feathergale Knight was in the process of dismounting his hippogriff.

Templeton then leaped up and ran to the illusory wall. He could see through it but those on the other side could not see him. He pulled out a hand crossbow and let loose another sneak attack against the other initiate. Again the bolt struck true and took him down in one shot. Templeton then ran through the illusory wall and stood next to Kareep. He aimed his other hand crossbow at the Feathergale Knight in on the other side of him and loosed yet another bolt. The knight was much stronger, however, and grabbed at the bolt in his leg, tore it out, and drew his sword. Templeton then retreated back beyond the illusory wall back into the room from whence he came.

The battle continued to rage on and things were not going well for the feathergale knights. At one point in the battle one of the knights commanded a mounted initiate to fly away and ‘warn the others of had happened here at the spire.’ Templeton overhead the conversation and managed to slip out one of the stable doors and spot the rider flying away. He took out his heavy crossbow and took careful aim. Templeton let loose a bolt that connected dead center in the initiate’s back. The initiate cried out and slumped forward dead in the saddle. ‘Dead men tell no tales,’ said Templeton under his breath before spinning around and running back inside to return to the fray.

crossbow.jpg

Eventually all of the feathergale knights and initiates were slain. The party then took a brief respite to make sure everyone was OK and fully process what had just happened. The party then worked their way up stairs going room by room to make sure all the Feathergale Knights had been dealt with.

The entire tower was clear. Kareep took to the air from the roof and flew down to where Thurl Merosska had fallen. It took a few minutes to find the remains of the Feathergale Captain. An arm here, a piece of foot there. There was not much left. The fall from on high onto the multitude of sharp rocks had torn the body apart. Kareep found nothing of value. He flew back up and joined his friends on the roof. The party then worked their way down searching every room for treasure and clues as to what was going on.

gold.jpg

Almost every personal room in the tower belonging to a knight had a chest of gold. In all 887 GP was recovered along with a Potion of Heroism which was given to Quintus and spell scroll of beast bond and sky write. Puck claimed the Sky Write scroll and Kareep claimed the beast bond spell. In addition each of the Feathergale Knights was wearing a special shirt with a leather harness. It was determined that they were enchanted. Wingwear allowed for a limited form of flight while worn. Everyone in the party donned a set of Wingwear and attuned to it. The magic item worked with all types of armor. The Master Party Treasure List was updated.

Each Wingwear suit was emblazoned with the following symbol. This symbol was recognized from all the symbols seen Lance Rock and is believed to be the symbol of the air cult.

Air_Cult.jpg

In the room of Thurl Merosska a letter was found on the his desk written to him from a woman called Aerisi Kalinoth and referring to herself as Thurl’s Queen.

Merosska,

We are pleased to hear about the outcome of your altercation with the Black Earth cult, and we praise you for the capture of one of their prisoners. This noblewoman from Waterdeep has an interesting tale to tell, and we shall enjoy interrogating her further. Keep a close watch on the Sacred Stone Monastery. I want to know what our enemy is planning next.

Your Beloved Queen,
Aerisi Kalinoth

So the party had won Feathergale Spire for their own. They locked it up as best they could and claimed 3 hippogriffs. Puck was too small to use the saddles by himself so he rode with Kareep on one of the beasts.

feathergale_spire.jpg

The only loose end seemed to be Savra Belegata. She had used feather fall to survive the fall from the spire when Thurl threw her off. The party flew down and Kareep picked up what he thought was her trail. It led past a huge graveyard of hundreds of bodies that seemed to have been dropped from on high and dashed on the rocks below. It then led to a tunnel going into the rock of the canyon.

The party debated whether to follow Savra or not or to perhaps head over to investigate the missing caravan as was their original plan before coming to Feathergale Spire.

View
All Hell Breaks Loose
Battle Rages through Feathergale Spire

Hoping to get to the unconscious Thurl Merosska before he could be revived, Templeton Daltrey ran down the spiral staircase from the rooftop level to the next level down of Feathergale Spire. A Feathergale Knight and 3 feathergale initiates waited in ambush but hesitated when the person running into view looked like a Feathergale Knight. Templeton’s disguise self spell had saved him again. The knightly illusory veil made his enemies hesitate and stay their attacks. Quickly thinking on his feet, Templeton yelled out, ‘We have won the day! The intruders have been eliminated. Quickly come up to the roof to help our wounded knights.’ With that he pivoted and ran back up the stairs before they could get a good enough look at him to pierce his illusory guise.

feathergale_spire.jpg

As he ran up the stairs, Templeton sent a silent message spell up to Puck telling him that more men were coming up and to set up an ambush. Templeton reached the top and hid behind one of the walls surrounding the opening of the central stair. Sure enough the Feathergale Knights came to the top and looked around. The trap was sprung and two of the initiates went down fast. The knight was gravely wounded and fought on with confusion as he saw Templeton shoot his comrades looking like a Feathergale Knight himself.

In the fog of war, Puck found himself surrounded by Feathergale Knights. Using his dimension door spell, he teleported to safety away from the enemies. The fight went quickly with one of the knights escaping by leaping off the tower and hurtling down towards the ground. Suspecting the use of featherfall, Puck cried out to Quintus, ‘Follow him. I will handle the fall.’ In an act of supreme trust towards his little friend, Quintus shrugged and leaped off the side of the tower just as the knight had. Puck put a pointed finger to the side of his nose and blew a feather into the air. Suddenly Quintus and the entire party felt buoyed in the air. Quintus began floating down to the ground. Puck raised his hands and said, ‘Kareep, collect me.’

The bird man ranger flew up and grasped wee Puck’s leather harness in his talons and flew down the other side of Feathergale Spire. There he saw at the lowest level, the stable level, some of the stable doors were open and Feathergale Knights were mounting hippogriffs and vultures. Quintus took a big swing to cut his way through the open door and hack his way inside the stables. Templeton followed up with shots from his crossbow and ran past Quintus to the center of the stable by the staircase. Peering around the corner he caught a glimpse of a wounded but conscious Thurl Merosska being helped into his saddle on a vulture. Templeton screamed to his compatriots, ‘I see Thurl. He is in the stable. We have to stop him!’

Puck and Kareep heard Templeton but were were surrounded by mounted Feathergale Knights and were unable to respond. Templeton ran up behind a huge vulture as it took wing flown by a Feathergale Initiate and Thurl. Templeton took careful aim as it winged its way around and he let loose a bolt from his heavy crossbow which sank deep into Thurl’s leg. Fearing retribution and wanting to get out of the way for Quintus to attack, Templeton ducked back around the corner and hid inside the stables.

AirCultistMount.jpg

Quintus moved up to attack but as he emerged from the stable doorway he found Thurl waiting for him. Thurl swung his readied Greatsword in a wide arc catching Quintus on the shoulder and cutting a deep wound, that staggered the priest of Tempus. Thurl picked the blade up high again and swung it down again, but this time Quintus was ready and managed to knock the sword aside with his own blade. But Thurl then suddenly spun around and thrust his Greatsword forward under Quintus’ guard and slid the blade into his gut. Thurl smiled as he pulled the blade free and Quintus crumpled to the ground unconscious and bleeding to death.

Puck unleashed a Thunderwave spell and blasted The Feathergale Knights and their mounts back. In a squawk of fury Kareep fought his way past the disrupted Feathergale Knights to the body of Quintus laying a large pool of his own blood. Kareep pulled out a healing potion and administered it to Quintus whose wounds then quickly began to fade. Then out of the darkness of the stables, Templeton suddenly emerged and unleashed two point blank hand crossbow shots right into Thurl’s chest. The Feathergale Knight leader staggered backwards and Kareep rushed forward. He thrust his longspear completely through Thurl. Kareep squawked in triumph as he lifted the impaled knight up off the ground.

Thurl slumped forward coughing blood as he hung suspended on Kareep’s spear. As he died, he managed to whisper in Auran to Kareep, ‘She knows what you have done and she will kill you.’ Quintus stood up and yelled, ‘This ends now. We have slain Thurl who tried to kill me. No more blood needs to be spilled. Tempus has had his fix on this day.’

With Thurl dead, the Feathergale Knights hesitated. Quintus looked to Templeton and said, ‘maybe you can say somethin to make ’em let us go.’ Templeton thought for a moment and then pulled out his hand crossbows and fired them noth, killing a Feathergale Knight on a hippogriff nearby. Templeton grimaced, ‘The only way we are getting out of here is by fighting our way out.’ With that he ducked back inside the stables and out of harms way.

Enraged by the death of his rider, the hippogrif attacked the nearest enemy he could find which was Quintus. As the cleric of Tempus tried to understand Templeton continuing to fight, the hippogrif landed a nasty hit with a hoof and then a viscous critical hit with its deadly beak. Again, Quintus went down. Puck blasted off another Thunderwave spell to clear the area and Kareep pulled Quintus inside the stable. Puck ducked into the stable and shut the door to the outside. He then wisely produced a minor illusion of Quintus standing in the open doorway leading to the stairs. The feathergale knights on the inside by the stairs all launched ranged attacks but they all were fooled by the illusion targeting the illusory Quintus.

Templeton shut the door of the stable to the staircase area and administered a potion of healing to Quintus. Again Quintus came around and was incredulous. But he cast a group healing spell and brought everyone back to almost full strength. With the power of tempus flowing through their bodies, the party considered what to do next.

View
Thurl Showdown
Hurricaine Monk Revealed

205pinnacle.jpg

Having just seen Thurl Merosska hurl Savra Belegata off the top of Feathergale Spire, Templeton Daltrey was filled with rage. He used his message spell to send word to the rest of the party downstairs about what had just happened and to come to his aid immediately. The cold blooded murder cast Thurl and Feathergale Society in a terrible light indeed. Justice must be served. Still cloaked in an illusion making him look like a feathergale knight, Templeton stepped out from hiding and quickly cast charm person on Thurl Merosska. Thurl made his save and was unaffected. Templeton approached him nonetheless and said, ‘Greetings Thurl Meroska, I am Lord Tremont of The Feathergale Society in Waterdeep. I was recently elected as the treasurer of the organization. I am here to help you put things to right. Please you must bring me up to speed on what has happened here so that I can help you.’

His mind unclouded by the charm magic, Thurl pressed Templeton on his claim and seemed confused. He began to slowly move towards a large horn affixed to the roof of Feathergale Spire. Knowing his ruse would not work and not wanting Thurl to sound the alarm, Templeton sprang forward jamming an iron spike into the blow hole of the horn rending it useless. Before Thurl could react, Templeton danced away and hid behind the staircase wall. Just then Quintus Andronicus emerged from the staircase.

The confusion on Thurl’s face was replaced with rage. ‘You! So you and your friends are responsible for all this.’ Quintus cut him off yelling, ‘You will pay for the murder of Savra Belegata.’

Thurl frowned and said more calmly, ‘Murder? Stand down Quintus. I have not murdered Savra, she like all of The Feathergale Knights can feather fall from great heights.’ Thurl moved to the edge of the tower and beckoned him over. ‘Look you will see that she is quite alright. I simply threw her off in order to teach her a lesson. She will have a long walk back up.’

Templeton’s stomach churned his inside’s out. Could he have possibly misjudged Thurl? No, he still did not trust the man. He called out for Quintus to be wary.

Quintus moved cautiously over to stand next to Thurl and peer over the edge. Sure enough he could see Savra floating down. Quintus sheathed his greatsword and said, ‘My apologies, Thurl. I beg your forgiveness for this misunderstanding.’

Thurl smiled and yelled with all his might, ‘Well I have had quite enough of you and your friends. Its time to be rid of you once and for all. Feathergale Knights come to me on the roof!’ With a powerful thrust of his arms, he attempted to shove Quintus off the edge to his death. Quintus was caught off balance and teetered precariously over the huge 800 foot drop, but somehow managed to regain his footing and locked arms with Thurl. The two huge men grappled together trying to gain the upper hand. Thurl twisted the arm of Quintus back on itself and was poised to drag him off the edge.

But before Thurl could pull Quintus over the edge, the rest of the party responded. Cursing Thurl’s treachery under his breath, Templeton leaped out of hiding and let two crossbow bolts fly. Both bolts sunk deep into the hip of Thurl. Puck poked his little head around the corner and let loose a crown of madness spell. Thurl could not resist the magical call to rage and the charming magic overtook him. Puck made Thurl hurl Quintus to the ground instead of pulling him over the edge. But the Feathergale Knight still had control over his movement, so he leaped over the edge to try and escape.

Quintus hauled himself up off the ground and leaned over the edge of the tower to see Thurl floating down via a featherfall spell to the windows a level below. Thurl put one foot on the window as if to step through before Quintus called the power of Tempus down upon him. The hold person spell froze Thurl in place. He could not move or take any action.

Kareep flew down and tried to grab hold of the knight and carry him back up to rooftop but the large heavily armored man proved too heavy. Templeton burst into action by pulling out a rope with a grappling hook. He secured the grappling ook end to the top of the tower and through the rope down to Kareep. The mighty bird man tied the rope around Thurl to securely bind him.

Puck maintained his concentration on his crown of madness spell and hid while Quintus grabbed hold of the rope and hauled Thurl up to the roof with Kareep pushing from below. Two feathergale knights emerged from the central staircase to come to the aid of their captain. Two more feathergale knights mounted on vultures flew up from the stables below and began to circle the tower rooftop.

AirCultistMount.jpg

The knights let loose ray of frost spells to hurt and slow down members of the party. Kareep was able to absorb some of the cold magic and use it to add damage to his own attacks. Templeton and Quintus used devastating attacks against the helpless Thurl to try and knock him unconscious. It took many blows and bolts but eventually the tough warrior’s head sagged down and everything went black.

The party was handling the Feathergale knights when something unexpected happened. One of the Hurricaine Monks had scaled the side of the tower and suddenly leaped up onto the roof. He waved his hands and kicked in the air performing some sort of elemental evil kata that unleashed a powerful gust of wind. The wind buffeted everyone threatening to sweep them off the top of the tower to their death on the rocks far below. The wind was so strong it picked up the unconscious body of Thurl Merosska and flung him off the spire. He was still tied to the rope, however, so he dangled from the spire tossed to and fro from the mighty wind.

Kareep was outside of the gust of wind area and flew around to attack the hurricane monk with his lance. Kareep could sense the danger in the powerful foe and unleashed everything he had upon him. He set him as his quarry, added absorbed cold damage, and used some other ranger abilities to do a lot of damage in hopes of disrupting the hurricane monk’s spell but the monk’s concentration was strong and the powerful wind persisted.

Quintus with his big body and heavy plate armor was hard to move and he was able to keep his feet against the gale force of the gust of wind and even push hard against it to make his way adjacent to the hurricane monk. He swung his great sword in a wide arc to slash at the hurricane monk, but he was too quick and adeptly dodged out of the way. Little Puck gritted his teeth as he could feel the wind taking him off his feet. Somehow he managed to hunker down and regain his footing leaning heavily into the wind , almost horizontal to the ground. He looked around desperately for somewhere to move to escape the wind but found nothing close enough. Desperate times called for desperate measures. Puck tucked his little hand into his cloak and drew forth his wand of magic missiles. He unleashed every charge he could without depleting the wand completely of his magic. With 6 charges used it was casting a 6th level version of magic missile spell which unleashed 8 bolts of force to unnervingly strike the hurricane monk. The monk’s body danced as the magic tore into him in rapid succession.

wand_of_magic_missiles.jpg

The hurricane monk could not withstand the onslaught, his concentration was broken and the gust of wind was silenced. Puck let go a sigh of relief as he was now to move freely to the safety of the wall in the center of the roof – away from the edge.

Templeton moved into position and let two bolts fly sinking deep into the chest of the hurricane monk. The critical hit laid him low. The rest of the feathergale knights dropped quickly but one of the vulture mounted knights retreated below the top of the tower and somehow made off with Thurl Merosska. For later when Kareep looked over the edge he saw only the flapping of the rope. Thurl was no longer bound to the end of it.

Worried that healing magics would be applied to Thurl, Templeton sped down the stairs to try and get to the captain of the feathergale knights before he could be roused from unconsciousness. At the next level down, however, feathergale knights were waiting for him with ranged attacks at the ready…

View
The Manticore Hunt
Holy *&$%# he just threw her off the tower!

dessarin_valley_with_markers_2.jpg

The party spent 175 gold coins to purchase two potions of healing and 1 riding horse. The Master Party Treasure List was updated. One potion went to Kareep and the other to Puck. Quintus told everyone about needing to get the body of a fallen hero to Summit Hall. Templeton was seeking Bruldenthar and her books. Puck and Kareep were looking for an elven girl who had some magic beans. All of them were missing from the Mirabar Trade Delegation. Guratra Darkeyes had told Templeton that the Mirabar caravan was last seen in Beliard and had gone south. Bruldenthar’s book turned up in Womford. So Templeton thought there should be some sort of trail between the two locations to investigate. But reports by a local shepherd of bodies hastily buried nearby needed to be investigated as they could be related.

The party left Red Larch being guided by Larmon Greenboot, the shepherd who had seen some fresh graves outside of town. Templeton’s suspicions of the graves being related to the Mirabar caravan disappearance proved true. There were 4 graves. The first grave belonged to a male dwarf who looked like he was an artisan. The second was that of a human female who was clearly a warrior. She wore a red coat with a black axe embroidered on it – the code of arms belonging to Mirabar. The third body was human male with a black cloak and stony armor. The symbol associated with LaRock was on his shirt.

delvers.jpg

The fourth body was a human male with white robes and black feathers. In the distance the party could see Feathergale Spire rising up out of the mountains. Templeton Daltrey had heard of the place. It was the stronghold of the Feathergale Society, a group of rich Waterdhavian knights who enjoyed flying mounts. The party decided to travel to the spire to see if the Feathergale Society knew anything of the Mirabar caravan’s disappearance.

feathergale_spire.jpg

Savra Belegata met the party at the gate and Templeton convinced her to let them in and speak with her captain. Thurl Merosska did not recognize any of the dead folk nor had any info regarding the missing caravan. But he did seem to be hiding something. He invited everyone to dine with them at a feast that evening. There Templeton bragged about the party’s exploits and Thurl was impressed. He invited the party to join the knights in a Manticore Hunt. The creature had been sighted flying nearby Feathergale Spire.

manticore-hunt.png

In one hunting party Templeton and Quintus mounted Hippogriffs and Puck was carried by Kareep. In the second hunting party 4 Feathergale Knights rode giant vultures. Flying through the mists that filled the canyon, Templeton’s hunting party spotted the Manticore first. Templeton fired his heavy crossbow and scored a hit on the large creature and then guided his hippogriff into a flanking maneuver. Quintus blew his horn to alert the other hunting party and then cast a guided bolt spell and really hurt the manticore with a critical hit. He then moved to the opposite flank. Not wanting to get surrounded the Manticore tried to fly away but not before unleashing a barrage of spikes from its tail at Quintus. Templeton flew up and drew both his hand crossbows and unleashed them at the same time. One sank deep and the other missed. Three manticore spikes came his way. A quick shield spell thwarted two of the spikes but the third managed to hit its mark. The Manticore continued to fly away but the hippogriffs were faster. Bu the manticore’s spikes were deadly and it was hard to hit. Kareep and Quintus both had to use healing magic to keep us in the party in the hunt. Puck acast a frost bite spell to finally slay the manticore as it dropped out of the sky in an icy heap.

Quintus cut the head from the beast and brought it back to Thurl as proof of the deed. There was much feasting and celebrating after the hunt including including Thurl Merosska gifting a golden ring worth 250 GP to Puck who delivered the killing blow. The Master Party Treasure List was updated. Everyone went to bed and had a great restful sleep. The next morning Savra Belegata visited the party’s room and was clearly impressed with Templeton’s tales of the party’s brave exploits and success on the hunt. She wanted to invite us to join her order. Templeton managed to get her to talk a little more and she let slip that the Feathergale Society was working with some Hurricaine Monks who were teaching them mastery over the elemental air.

After breakfast Kareep mentioned the invitation to Thurl and made a vague but rather accusatory reference to the hurricane monks. Thurl Merosska was obviously angry with Savra Belegata. He said that only one of the group could possibly join the order and that was Quintus but he doubted whether or not any of the group had the heart for it. There was a tense moment where Thurl clearly slighted Templeton and Puck for their small stature and Kareep for being a weird bird man. After Kareep again made reference to something else going on in the tower, Thurl was even more incensed claiming that he had only shown grace and hospitality to the party. Templeton smoothed out the ruffled feathers and calmed everyone down. The party said their good byes and made to leave. But Templeton noticed that Thurl grabbed Savra and brought her upstairs.

Hoping to learn more, Templeton cast Disguise Self on himself to look like one of the Feathergale Knights and snuck up the stairs to follow the pair. He found them arguing on the balcony. At first he could not hear exactly what they were saying, so Templeton used his illusion magic to create a higher railing on the staircase to hide behind. Thurl made reference to the Hurricaine Monks and it was clear that Savra should not have spoken to the party about them. Templeton watched as the argument turned violent and looked in in disbelief as Thurl actually picked Savra up and hurled her off the tower to plummet to her death on the rocks below.

View
Temple of the Floating Stones

The party completed their exploration of the large area beneath the town of Red Larch. The bandit prisoner of the “bringers of woe” bit his own tongue off in order to avoid interrogation. He was also fanatical enough to kill himself to avoid further capture. Kareep of Goldenfields flew young Braelen up to safety and left him in the care of Constable Harbruck. The constable was quite confused by the goings on and demanded answers. Kareep obliged with middling success and then promptly flew back down into the sinkhole to join his friends. The party encountered an old man by the name of Baragustus. He claimed to to be one of the town elders and was very evasive with our questioning. He was clearly one of The Believers. He was quite upset calling the underground area the “temple of the floating stones” and wanted us to leave. He explained that the stones are interpreted and provide guidance to the elders and to the town in general. He explained that the bandits were LaRock’s men. It was unclear how tightly aligned they were with The Believers. LaRock himself was encountered in the temple of floating stones. He turned out to be a powerful wizard who used slow and shatter spells to great effect against the party. However, the party proved too much for him to handle, and after becoming greatly wounded, LaRock retreated down a secret passage. He promptly caused a cave in which sealed off any possible pursuit.

Disappointed he got away, the party went up the trap door near the surface and discovered some blood on it. All the bodies of LaRock’s men had been taken away. Templeton suspected that they were brought up and out through the trap door. Quintus popped u pout of the trap door and found himself in a small shed on the edge of town. Templeton found tracks leading off our of town. Kareep tracked the traces of blood and found that they led to a quarry. The trail ended at some huge pieces of rock. Templeton suspected that the bodies were crushed and effectively hidden under the rock.

View
Exploring The Great Sinkhole of Red Larch
Delvers and Believers

Templeton listened at both doors in the room (eastern and western wall). Templeton heard some voices beyond the western door, the opposite was silent. The dwarven statue was examined. The treasure included copper, silver, and gold coins and 8 gems. A well crafted dagger was also found. The ring of gravel carefully laid down around the treasure was purposefully kicked by Templeton. As he did so crossbow bolts fired out of the darkness from the northern passageway to strike him in the chest. He heard a voice from the darkness call out, ‘We are the bringer’s of woe’. Templeton went down on one knee gripping his chest and calling for help. Quintus moved forward and cast a healing spell on his friend. With strength renewed, Templeton ran forward and shut the door.

bandit.jpg

Everyone gathered around the door until it was opened again. This time bolts flew at Quintus but his armor protected him. Four bandits were chased through the tunnels in a game of cat and mouse. Three were slain and one was captured and tied up. Before he could be interrogated, Puck’s owl who had been left to guard the western door (the one with the voices) warned of the door opening. The party made its way quickly back through the long tunnel to the room with the dwarven statue but it was too late. Puck’s owl had been slain.

Kareep flew up and grasped Puck’s leather harness with his talons. He then flew down the passageway at high speed. This brought Puck to the battle much faster than his little legs could have carried him. There they found a huge half orc and three more bandits. The battle was viscous with Kareep taking a beating at one point and using his healing magic on himself. The half orc swung a huge mace very hard. But Puck’s magic made the difference. First he chilled him to the bone making the half orc attack with disadvantage. Then he shredded him with a Thunderwave spell.

Grund.jpg

Wanting another prisoner to interrogate and get answers, Templeton affixed a blunted bolt to his crossbow and used it to knock out the second to last bandit. The battle came down to one of the bandits remaining who chose to flee. But before he ran off he shot and killed his own unconscious ally. Quintus ran after the fleeing bandit with Templeton yelling ‘Take him alive!’ Quintus ran into the next room and came face to face with the bandit who had a scimitar to the throat of a small boy who was pinned under some rocks. The bandit threatened to kill the boy unless Quintus backed off.

Quintus lowered his sword and then yelled a command spell at the bandit to compel him to flee. The weak minded bandit fell prey to the spell. He dropped his scimitar and turned to flee. As he ran off a sharp thwack of Templeton’s crossbow sent a blunt bolt smashing into the back of the bandit’s head rendering him unconscious.

With the last of the enemies down and out, Kareep went back to collect the first prisoner that was left tied up. Templeton and Quintus removed the rocks pinning the young boy and freed him. He was scared of Quintus and was clearly beaten, hungry, and thirsty. Templeton Daltrey has a soft spot in his heart for cripples, bastards, and broken things so he took the young boy under his wing. Templeton gave the boy food, water, and a warm blanket to ward off the chill of the cold damp rock. Templeton’s silver tongue reassured the boy and got him to talk quite a bit about his predicament. The boy’s name was Braelen and he lived in Red Larch. He had failed to deliver a message for his father, Rother. As punishment Braelen was brought down here. The half orcs name was Grund. Grunf worked for Rother. Braelen described his father as a Believer.

It is unclear exactly what The Believers are but when pressed it seemed Braelen was loyal to them and wanted to aspire to be one and follow in his father’s footsteps despite his terrible treatment at his father’s hands. Braelen also identified the leader of the bandits as LaRock. The bandits all were wearing a symbol on their shirts under their armor which looked like a triangle with a line in it.

delvers.jpg

Braelen identified the symbol as belonging to LaRock. There was also an inscription on one of the stones that read:
Displease not the Delvers.

Meanwhile Kareep found the other captured bandit covered in rats. The poor man had been devoured by the foul vermin. His eyes were gouged out, his throat was torn open, and blood was everywhere. One of the rats even had his tongue in its mouth and was chewing on it.
rat_swarm.jpg
In disgust, Kareep let fly one of his javelins and killed the rat. Protecting their own, the rats swarmed and attacked tearing out feathers and injuring Kareep greatly. The bird man cried out and flew away at top speed. Hearing his call for help, Quintus and Templeton left the boy under the watchful eye of Puck and went to go help Kareep. They found him a tangle of blood and feathers but he was whole. The rats had given up the chase and gone back to their easy meal of the bandit. Kareep used the last of his magic to heal his wounds and everyone returned to speak with the boy some more.

A short rest was taken where wounds were bound and Puck used his identify ritual to determine the properties of the enchanted dagger. Its name was Reszur. It was a +1 dagger that can shed dim light 10 feet on command. It also had the curious property of making no sound when struck against any object. Tapping it against the stone floor yielded no noise.

View
The Great Sinkhole of Red Larch
What the Hell is Going On? Look at that huge hole!

After a short rest of 1 hour, the party worked their way to the front of the caves under Lance Rock and explored the last bit of the tunnels that they had yet to visit. Templeton led the way sneaking forward until he came to a grizzly site. Many fresh bodies and bones and terrible things lay strewn about in a cave. Nothing moved and all was quiet. Holding back his nauseau from the foul stench, Templeton Daltrey trained his crossbow on the corpse on the top. He did not want to be fooled again by a zombie lying in wait. He fired his crossbow and it thwacked into the body with a nasty squishing noise. The dead body did not move. However, a few moments later some bones beneath the pile began to move. Three skeletons arose from the pile of putrescence as if to attack. Templeton yelled a warning about the coming skeletons and made a hasty retreat back down the tunnel to a more defensible position and hid behind an outcropping of rock.

The other party members moved into position as well. Quintus Andronicus stood ready with sword drawn blocking the passageway waiting for the skeletons to come to him. Puck also moved into position readying a spell. Kareep of Goldenfields readied a javelin and flew back. The first skeleton to emerge from the darkness was met with a sneak attack from Templeton’s heavy crossbow. Scoring a critical hit, the bolt went clean through the skull, pinning it to the cave wall bringing up eerie memories of the skull and arrow found with the note from Valklondar.

Puck cast a spell but the remaining skeletons resisted. Kareep hurled a javelin and hit his target but it was not enough to bring the skeleton down. Both skeletons drew back their bows and fired at Quintus. The cleric’s plate mail armor proved too much for the bony archers and the arrows missed their mark. Templeton then jumped into the passageway drawing forth both hand crossbows and firing. The point blank bolts smashed the skeleton into pieces that fell away to the ground. The last skeleton was then dispatched by another javelin of Kareep and the freezing cold magic of Puck.

With the cave system now clear, Quintus and Kareep under the direction of Templeton and Puck carried all of the zombie and skeleton bodies and various body parts from all over the cave system into this final cave and heaped them upon the grotesque pile. Kareep flew outside and gathered up some dry wood and stacked it in the room. Quintus tore down the tapestries and hauled them to the room to add them to the pile. Templeton used a vial of oil to coat the huge pyre.

It was a lot of work taking many hours to complete, but everyone agreed it was the right thing to do. Lance Rock must be cleansed. Quintus said some prayers to Tempus to send the spirits of the dead on their way and Templeton tossed a torch onto the pile of bodies, wood, and oil to set it ablaze. It caught quickly and the tunnels filled with acrid smoke. Everyone left and marched a good distance away before night fell and camp was made.

The evening passed without incident and everyone got a good night’s sleep. In the morning, the group set off for Red Larch and returned as the sun was beginning to set. Kareep of Goldenfields found a nice roost outside of town and watched the roads going in and out of Red larch. Everyone else made their way to the The Swinging Sword Inn. There they found Kaylessa Irkell eager to hear news of their deeds. Templeton Daltrey told the story of The Lord of Lance Rock and what was found in his caves. As proof of the Lord’s demise, Puck showed his new spellbook and wand to Kaylessa. She shuddered at the grim items and thanked everyone for their work. As agreed she gave the party 50 GP and a huge feast to celebrate their victory.

gold.jpg

Templeton showed Kaylessa the symbols they had found that were made by the Lord of Lance Rock but she could make no sense of them. Everyone ate well and turned in that night for some proper sleep in a nice bed. The next morning Templeton checked in on Kareep’s exploding javelin progress at the shop of Feng Ironhead. The weapons were not yet ready. But progress was being made. Templeton checked in with Endrith Vallivoe at his shop to see if there was anything new for sale (which there wasn’t) and asked him about the symbols found with The Lord of Lance Rock. Vallivoe knew nothing about them or where to find out anything more. Templeton, Puck, and Quintus collected Kareep from his roost and went to talk to Imdarr Relvaunder at the Allfaiths Temple. Templeton showed him the disturbing iconography of The Lord of Lance Rock. He was unable to identify anything about them but counseled further investigation. Templeton purchased 3 Potions of Healing from Imdarr and gave one to Kareep and one to Puck, keeping the third for himself. (The Master Party Treasure List was updated.)

On their way to speak with Constable Harbruck something very unexpected indeed happened. The ground shook and a huge sinkhole opened up in the middle of Red Larch. A number of young children fell into the hole as it opened up beneath them. A woman cried out and ran over to try and help. The edge of the sinkhole gave way and she disappeared down into the darkness below.

Templeton was the first to act. He ran up and tied his rope around a sturdy beam of a nearby porch and ran towards the hole. Puck and Quintus followed and Kareep flew down right into the hole to see what was going on. He found the hole went straight down some 30 feet and then opened up into a larger cave. He used his new driftglobe to shed bright light and push back the darkness. Kareep found the children in a mound of soft dirt. They were shaken up but not harmed by their fall. The woman, however, had not been so lucky. She had landed badly on a less forgiving surface. She was seriously hurt and had fallen unconscious from the bad fall.

Templeton ran to the hole and leaped down swinging in on the rope to break his fall. At the completion of his acrobatic move, he safely reached the ground and immediately assessed the situation. Templeton securely tied one of the children to the rope and yelled up to Quintus to haul the boy up. Kareep took the woman gently in his arms and flew up up and out to safety. Quintus then hauled up the young lad on Templeton’s rope. Puck went into a trance and began seeing through the eyes of his owl familiar. The owl flew down into the sinkhole and began to explore the large cave beyond Kareep’s light using his darkvision. Puck saw a door and a passageway leading out of the much larger than expected cave.

hole_map_4.jpg

Between Templeton’s rope and Kareep’s wings, they managed to get everyone to safety. But then another very unexpected thing happened. Out from the crowd of townsfolk that had assembled to view the spectacle and lend their aid, three of the town elders seemed to be trying to take control of the situation. Albaeri Mellikho of Mellikho Stoneworks, Ulhro Luruth of Luruth’s Tannery, and Ilmeth Waelvur of Waelvur’s Wagonmakers were shooing people away from the sinkhole and directing Albaeir’s stoneworkers to start filling the hole with stone. When confronted by Templeton as to why they would do this, the town elders were all very evasive. The elders seemed like they knew something and were trying to cover something up literally and figuratively. Finally Constable Harbruck arrived and Templeton used his silver tongue to talk some sense into the constable. Due to the party’s successful previous ventures, Harbruck seemed to have faith in us. He ordered the the elders to stand down and stop filling in the sinkhole. He also allowed the party to investigate the Great Sinkhole of Red Larch to see what was down there. If there were no further threats posed by the caves beneath, the sinkhole would be filled in. Using the ropes already in place, the party quickly descended into the sinkhole to begin their investigation.

The main cave held something of interest right away. There were two cloaks hanging on pegs and lots of human tracks showing that the area was recently used. Folk had been down here not long ago. There was also a stone door set into the eastern wall and a passageway leading off to the north. The party followed the passageway first finding it gradually sloping up towards the surface. It ended with an area of wet sand with torches stuck into the sand below a trap door in the ceiling.

hole_map_5.jpg

Deciding to deal with the trapdoor later, the party turned back and made their way back to the stone door in the main cave. It opened rather easily revealing a tunnel leading into the darkness. The tunnel came to a three way intersection with 2 stone dwarven statues at the intersection. No traps or secret compartments were found on them but the carvings were clearly quite ancient and had been here a long time. Following the passageway to the left at the intersection going north, the party followed a winding tunnel which went through an area with the remains of some humans that had been eaten down to sinew and bone by some giant rats. The rats looked up from their dinner but Quintus clanged his shield against his plate mail and scared them away.

The room beyond held a black stone hovering 3 feet off the ground. The Black Stone was 1 foot diameter and 1 foot tall. The party eyed the stone warily but decided to contiue on their way.

The tunnel continued down to a larger room in which was a larger dwarven statue stood in the center of the room. Two doors were also in this room one on the east wall and the other on the west wall.

The dwarven statue was broken and held together with some wooden braces. It also had a small wooden plaque that read:

Petrified Ironstar (?) dwarf, found 1459 DR in Red Larch West Quarry in broken condition.

The date was only 2 years ago. The statue was newer looking and clearly brought here from somewhere else. The statue was surrounded by a ring of gravel. Inside the ring of gravel were copper, silver, and gold coins, 8 gems, and a dagger.

hole_map_9.jpg

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.