Category Archives: Classic Fantasy

The Stories of Errath the Bard Chapter 5 The Missing Part 4


The Missing

Part 4

Life and Death

Earlier Chapters here

Guido puts Jonno down by me and the mule, and looks at me and says he is dying. I have a mental battle, should I as a believer in balance allow nature to take its course or should I try to save Jonno for the party, I decide to try my healing skills and leave balance up to the gods. I get out my healing equipment and look at Jonno it is obvious that he needs surgery to seal the gash in his throat. This is not going to be easy but I set to and sow up the gash and apply healing herbs, I am successful and seals the gaping wound. Jonno is unlikely to die now although he is still very weak and his future is still in the hands of the gods. However he might never speak again due to the damage but that will not be known for months as it will take a long time for him to fully heal if he continues to get good care.

 

While Jonno is being saved James moves the tied up goblins into the cell Jonno was in and hobbles them there with some food and water, Thorn decides to try to save the dire wolf and pulls Guido’s spear from it and casts cure minor wounds on it to stop any further damage. James with the prisoners secure heads over to the mule and the lifesaving action going on there. They talk plans and how to keep Jonno warm, so James casts Warmth onto Jonno and carries him to the cave while keeping the spell up Guido and I come along with the mule.

 

Now we are all back at the base of the tower we settle Jonno by the fire in blankets and James drops the warmth spell. I heal Arnost’s right arm but can do nothing for the damage to his abdomen so for now he cannot walk anywhere. I then settle down to cast Animal Friendship on the Dire Wolf to make him a companion. While I do that the others decide to deal with the goblins in the roof and form up an assault party Thorn casts Barkskin of Guido who leads the march up the stairs with his shield if front of him and his death to goblins sword in hand.

 

As Guido reaches the top of the stairs in the roof, he sees two goblins ahead of him which he charges and two more off to his left which he hopes Thorn and James will deal with. Guido’s charge and swing takes a goblins head off. The remaining goblin moves away readying its dagger as it drops its sling the other two also ready their daggers.

The goblin moves back to Guido’s side while the other two move to attack Thorn at the top of the stairs.

The goblin attacks Guido but his dagger has no effect on all his armour reinforced by barkskin. One of the others attacks Thorn who parries the blow and counters with a stunning blow to its head.

 

The last two goblins soon fall to Guido, Thorn and James and the roof is secured. Guido and co come back down to the basement and set up a guard ready for some rest. Meanwhile I have finished my spell and now have an injured Dire Wolf as companion. I use my healing skills on my new friend and save its leg. I curl up by the wolf near the entrance as we settle down for rest.

The Stories of Errath the Bard Chapter 5 The Missing Part 3


The Stories of Errath the Bard Chapter 5

The Missing

Part 3

The Goblin Raiders

Earlier Chapters here

With Arnost still in combat and enraged our options are slim at the moment.

 

Thorn falls back outside of the cave while Arnost smashes another goblin into a smaller size. James decides that his paternal passion means he both needs to protect Jonno and Arnost which might be difficult. He calls on the goblin leader to call off his warriors as he starts to cast Magic Missile. The goblin chief says fine but you must call of your giant. As he can’t communicate with James and his men his men continue to defend themselves. The four slingers let lose two hit Arnost one hits a goblin and one misses, the dangers of firing into s fight.  The hit on the goblin has the most effect. Guido falls back outside the cave.

Thorn starts to cast Hold Person, Arnost splats another of the goblins leaving just one in the group he is fighting. James continues to cast and the goblin leader calls out ‘stop or else’. The last goblin in front of Arnost falls back while the slingers start to reload and the spears stand.

Guido advances back towards the goblin leader.

Thorn continues his casting and holds it, James also holds his spell while the goblin chief puts his knife into Jonno’s throat and shouts ‘your choice’.

 

Thorn advances back to the cave mouth alongside Guido. Arnost moves to engace the other block of 4 goblin spear. James who is still invisible has his line of sight blocked by Thorn and Guido. The goblin chief finishes the cut and slices Jonno’s throat open. The 4 slingers release at Arnost again with 2 hitting him in the right leg and right arm both areas being stunned by the blow. The four spear thrust at him and he takes impales to his right leg and right arm. Arnost now has 5 spears in him. Guido moves to engage the goblin chief.

Thorn casts his hold spell on the goblins holding one of them holding a spear. Arnost can do nothing with his arm and leg numb. James releases his magic missile at a slinger and spear taking down the spear. The goblin chief stabs at Guido with his dagger which is swatted away by Guido’s shield. The 2 goblins with spears in Arnost pull but fail to extract the spears while the other one stabs at him but fails to do anything. Guido uses his Delian blade for the first time in anger and hacks the goblin chief down.

Thorn starts to cast cure serious wound while James now visible activates his slider cloak and moves behind the goblin spear in a puff of grey smoke.  The goblins continue to attack Arnsot with yet another impale in to his right arm. Guido picks up Jonno and moves quickly to Thorn.

 

Thorn forces his cure spell as he fails at it’s casting to stop the boy Jonno bleeding out. However he is very weak and appears as good as dead. Arnost decides to throw his hammer left handed as his right is still out of action.  It misses the goblin in front of his and fly’s past James to clatter on the wall behind. James draws and readies his sword as the Goblins try to pull spears from Arnost failing while the other goblin stabs at him with his spear which Arnost tries to parry with his arm. Instead he ends up with the spear stuck in his left arm that is now 7 spears stuck into him. Two of the slingers turn to face James and draw their daggers. Guido starts to run back to the mule with Jonno.

 

Thorn readies his mace and Arnost readies a axe in his left hand. James hits a goblin chopping it’s leg off and prepares to counter any impale attempt with a damage weapon move. The last two spear goblins try again to pull their spears free and fail, the two slingers attack James with their daggers but James parries the only attack which gets close.

 

Arnost swings his axe at the goblin but with all the pain and spears in him make it very hard to continue fighting. James chops another goblin down while the two with daggers fail to hurt him as his armour is two tough. The other goblins manage at last to pull their spears free causing more injury to Arnost. James asks the goblins to surrender which the last six do.

 

With no enemies Arnost drops out of his rage and collapses to the ground with 5 spears in him. They are in his left arm, right arm, chest, right leg and head. James finds rope to tie up the goblins while Thorn uses his first aid to remove the spears in Arnost. After all the spears are removed and Arnsot’s wounds patched he has serious wounds in his right leg and right arm with minor wounds all over him. As Gnoman sees Guido running past he heads to the cave still invisible while I see Guido coming and await him.

 

James having finished tying up the goblins uses his pearl of power to recall and cast locate object focusing on the jade the children found, even though he does not have it with him. He senses that the rest is below a flagstone in a cell next to the one Jonno was in. He pulls up the flagstone and can see a worn old satchel, he draws his dagger and rips it open throwing up a cloud of dust and mould. As he does a bunch of coins roll out and he can see a mouldy cloth which seems to be wrapped around something. Again he uses his dagger to pull it slightly open releasing more spores into the air however he can see what looks like a necklace with jade fittings. James retrieves the necklace and then the coins, 30sp and 10gp of general type he thinks the necklace might be elven but is not sure so shows it to Gnoman who has dropped his invisibility. Gnoman has no real idea about the necklace.

 

The Stories of Errath the Bard Chapter 5 The Missing Part 2


The Stories of Errath the Bard Chapter 5

The Missing

Part 2

The missing Shepherd boy

Earlier Chapters here

Thorn, James, Errath and Gnoman are in Greymoor city having wintered here. With thoughts of a new year of adventure they buy items and a mule and think about what to do with spring coming. Were will adventure take them this year the last two have been eventful. Thorn receives a message in the Month of the Wave week four via the temple in Greymoor from Arnost their companion of old.

 

Message

To Thorrie Oakenleg Cleric of Hombel of the Hammer and Rose in Greymoor.

I am in Longreed in the Blue river valley, Duchy of Betheny.

It would be good if you could join me here I came north looking for adventure I will wait for you till the month of the Rose then I  will head further north.

The Blue River valley is kind of a hidden gem: the farming here is really good, and the trade in Whitesand is really good and Longreed, too. These valley-folk have it easy, but that doesn’t mean life is perfect – there’s plenty of strange happenings here, too, mostly down in that Great Marsh. There have been some strange deaths of late in the town. I am working with the sheriff and the local blacksmith at the moment.  Sir Poldark is also interested in seeing you.

Hope to see you soon Arnost.

Thorn is happy about going there as it might allow a side trip to see his family in Boskenland after visiting Sir Poldark in the Whitesand area where he can explain about Ron to his patron.  We can get a ship which will take a couple of weeks or walk which will take more than a month. We decide to take a ship cheaper and faster. We join a merchant ship going that way from Greymoor city @ a cost of 100gp sleeping in a common covered area with rations and drink served by a steward. We will also be expected to defend the ship if needed. The journey will take one to two weeks depending on wind and stop offs. We leave Greymoor by sea on Herday week 1 of the Satyr heading towards the Northern Borderlands to meet up with Arnost. The spring voyage is fast due to good winds and uneventful.

 

We arrive in Longreed midmorning on Bleday of week 3 of the Satyr and wonder where we will find Arnost. We unload our mule and gear onto the quayside and look around. Longreed seems to be an unwalled town although we can see a walled building near the centre of the town. The harbour area seems to be full of mainly small fishing boats with ours and another merchant ship docked.

 

James eventually asks around and hear that the sheriff and his men are to be found at the sheriffs weekly court as most locals will be there dealing with town business. So we head off to find the court and Arnost.

 

Thorn, James, Gnoman and Errath enter the sheriff’s court along with and older man and what looks like his son. They appear to be farmers. You recognise Arnost standing intimidatingly by the sheriffs chair, with another big human sat the other side keeping records. There are also a couple of other guards in the hall and two at the door checking people as they come in.

 

The Greybark’s, Timson Greybark and his eldest son Pengle, ask for a hearing before the lunch break and are given it. They report to the Sheriff and all assembled, that three days ago their son Jonno disappeared: he was out walking the extent of their grazing pastures, and did not come home. The family mounted a search, and did not find Jonno; what they did find was the head of one of their sheep on a stake at the edges of their farm. The Greybarks took this as a sign that Jonno had been made off with by raiders or bandits, and came immediately to personally request the assistance of the Sheriff in finding and returning his son. ‘ I am sorry’ the sheriff say’s ‘I just does not have the men to send so far from town on a wild sheep chase as they are busy looking for a missing person in the town.’ However he asks the assembled people if anyone will go and help the Greybark’s. There is a stunned silence as all heads turn to look at the Graybarks and the strangers, obviously adventurers as the four consist of two mages a cleric and a bard and two of them also seem to be members of the fighters guild,  stood near them.

 

With no one saying anything, the tall man by the sheriff stands and asks the sheriff to let him go as his honour requires him to help people against bandits. The Sheriff, Sir Viktor Haag, looks over at Arnost and says you had better go with Guido as well. Thorn says ‘what is the payment?’ as James says ‘the company of the Hammer and Rose will go as well.’ Timson Greybark offers you all the coin he has it comes to 20gp, ‘this all we have as a family I hope it will do?’ James says ‘only if we succeed will you have to pay’.

 

Timson says we will need to head back to Three Roads village and stop the night there and continue to his farm in the morning arriving around midmorning. The party of eight walk mainly in silence until Pengle gets close to me, next morning, and says he believes that Jonno may have disappeared around “the old tower”, a place where all local farmers forbid their children to go, because it’s an old ruin and thus dangerous. Pengle believes that Jonno may have done this because he saw Jonno hiding a treasure in his things: a piece of worked jade. Pengle has brought this with him as proof of Jonno’s activity, but has yet to reveal it because he’s afraid of how his father will react. He shows me the jade and it looks like such as might appear in a necklace, this one might even be elven. I tell the others and we continue on our journey.

 

We arrive at the farm and are welcomed and given hospitality by a worried but conscientious family, wife her parents and their daughter and 2 neighbours, a couple from nearby. They are all happy to have Timson and Pengle back home but, all the same, everyone’s attention is focussed on Jonno’s fate. The Greybark’s graze sheep and have around 200 and 2 sheepdogs on the moorland.

The farm is a walled enclosure with all the windows facing in towards the courtyard and only a double farm gate as access.  After a good midday meal Guido and I give 3sp to them to cover it. ‘You do not need to’ she says, Guido says ‘we want to’.

 

With the meal over Timson says I will show you where the sheep head is and he and a neighbour leads us onto the moors. It takes about an hour to reach the site of the gruesome marker. It is at the edge of the Greybark’s grazing land, in a nearly direct line between the farmstead, and a line of hills. The sheep is undeniably one of the Greybark flock – the left ear of the sheep is tattooed with a Greybark mark – while the stake is, in fact, a short, roughly made Dagger Spear. Guido recognises the dagger spear as a cheap goblin weapon a dagger tied onto a spear shaft. Gnoman and James look for tracks and find quite a lot I then help Arnost to id the tracks and we see where they lead. The tracks are of a bunch of Goblins and a human presumably Jonno the tracks lead towards the hills. I ask, without thinking, is this the way to the tower and Timson says, ‘Yes’. He tells us that In ages past, the tower lay at the top of a round hill, but sometime in the past (before the time of any local, or their memory) a seismic event tore a rent through the top of the hill, causing a ravine to appear along the part of the ridgeline that stretches down to the lower lands where the farmsteads are. A shallow creek bed now runs at the base of this ravine; the creek runs during and after heavy rains, but for the most part is intermittent or dry. The earthquake that split the hill top also caused the collapse of one side of the tower; a full third of the roof collapsed into the ravine, and a fifth of the first floor.

 

We follow the tracks in a line with Arnost and I in the middle following the tracks, leaving Timson to go back home. The tracks lead towards the hills, the ground is soft from spring snow melt and rain and so the tracks are easy to follow. We walk for about 4 hours always getting closer to the foothills of the mountains in the distance.  As we get closer to the hills the moorland changes to a more hilly terrain and the grass gets much longer about 2-3’ high there are also small groves of thick thorn trees with nasty barbs.  Eventually we can see the broken hill with the broken tower on it.

 

We can see smoke coming from the building, and we think we can see movement around the roof area. Gnoman casts invisibility on himself and says he will scout ahead and into the gully. We move up close to the gully mouth and he goes off, at first we can see him moving through the tall grass then he must enter the rocky gully and we can no longer follow his progress.

 

Gnoman moves up the stream bed and once level with the tower he can see a cave like hole in the gully wall. Keeping away from it he climbs the gully way and enters the ground floor of the tower.  He sees smoke coming from what he assumes is a chimney the smoke slowly curls up and out the roof. There is a stair case in the far corner leading up to the roof area; there are some high barred windows in here 2 each side. These are high being 5’ up, but let light into the interior. The ground floor has rubble from the roof and other rubbish, bones, bird nets ect, lying around. The front gates are iron bound and shut. Gnoman moves quietly across the floor to the stairs and slowly goes up them, as he pops his head over the top step he can see four goblins sheltering in the shadows with one popping its head out to see every so often.

 

Gnoman goes back to the ground floor and climbs back down the gully side, dislodging some stones as he goes. He then hears a low growling like from a wolf coming from near him. He casts an illusion of a rabbit and has it run past the hole which brings more growling and then a small voice says something and the growling stops. Carefully he returns to the group and throws 3 stones to announce his arrival.

 

He explains to us what he saw and heard we then start to plan what to do. This seems to take a while and suddenly four sling stones fall around Guido, not close but in his area. It seems he has been seen by the goblins in the roof. So with no more planning we have invisibility on all of us and James, Arnost, Guido, Thorn and Gnoman head off well I think they do as I can’t see what they do. I stay with the mule.

 

Gnoman stops at the beginning of the gully to cover the rear in case the goblins in the roof come down. Arnost, James, Thorn and Guido mange not to trip over each other getting to the cave entrance, not easy to move as a group when you can’t see each other. I will take the story on for each of them separately as they explained it to me later as they could not see each other enter until they became visible.

 

As they reached the cave Thorn, James, Guido and Arnost can see a fire with what looks like a sheep roasting but little more in the gloom of the cave.

Arnost went straight into the cave and the wolf growled as it scented him as the goblins started to scatter one with the wolf heads off to the side towards a cell. Arnost goes into a rage and although he would like to have charged them he goes slower due to the rubble on the floor and heads towards the main goblins in front of him.

 

Guido went in and seeing the goblin and very large wolf, looked where they were going an saw a child in a cell and assuming it was Jonno throw his spear at the wolf. The spear lodges into the wolfs left front leg smashing it and the wolf falls. He then starts to advance on the quickly organising goblins that are forming groups of four in front of him and Arnost. He does hear James cry and starts to back away.

 

Thorn stopped and cast Barkskin on himself but arrives in time to see the goblin entering the cage and attacks him with his mace. The goblin parries with his spear then strikes back but Thorn parries as well. Thorn then attacks again misses and the goblin parries and trips him down. The goblin then goes into the cage and holds his spear over the boy, calling in goblin stop or he dies. However none of those in the cave speak goblin. Thorn stands and sees the goblin with his dagger at the boy’s throat and backs off.

 

James reached the area of the cave and stopped to cast Shield on himself then enters the cave to see the goblins an injured wolf Arnost moving to engage 4 goblins and Guido also moving towards 4 goblins. He starts to cast Colour Spray but when he hears the goblin say stop or the boy dies, he knows goblin, and calls out to the others in common to back off he drops the spell. Her calls out 5 sheep for the boy and we will help your wolf.

 

Meanwhile Arnost and the four goblins in front of him exchange blows, he hits one a glancing blow with his mighty hammer which knocks it out however at the same time two of the goblins hit him with their spears. He parries one but takes the other in his head; the spear gets past his armour and catches in his cheek. The other two both thrust again getting a spear stuck in his right arm and abdomen. None of the blows are life threatening, mainly due to his raze, but he is in trouble with 3 spears impaled into him and another group of 4 spear armed goblins nearby along with 4 more nearly ready to release their sling shot at him.

 

End of session

Guido, Thorn and James are just inside the cave facing the goblin leader with the boy. Arnost deeper into the cave has 3 spears stuck into him with another four goblins with spears and 4 more with slings nearby while he is still in a rage.

The Stories of Errath the Bard Chapter 5 The Missing Prequel


 

The Stories of Errath the Bard Chapter 5 

The Missing  Prequel

Earlier Chapters here

I was told this story by Arnost and Guido when we joined up with them.

Arnsot and Guido find themselves on the road between the town of Longreed and Thale Castle, during the month of the Wolf; acting as extra guards and customs inspector for a trade caravan, nobody expects any trouble on the five day journey through scattered farms and rocky hills but historically this has always been a risky route. Being as they were following the coast a lot the weather isn’t too bad for winter.

The first two days travel passes without note as we moved through the swamp lands. There isn’t much out in these lands. Early in the third day, while in the foothills again there is not much here but a few scattered elven ruins hint at a more prosperous age centuries past.  We noticed that the weather was changing.

 

Strangely warm winds carried a subtle scent from the west. A hazy orange light suggests sunset is near, but it’s not even midday as dark clouds twist over the hills. Thiago, the Caravan Master, orders all the wagon drivers to push on in the hope that shelter isn’t too far ahead. A cheer goes up from the lead wagon, and word soon spreads through the caravan that a stead-hold has been spotted.

A small cluster of buildings comes into view in the valley ahead. As the caravan approaches you can pick out a large barn, several two story houses, and some out buildings. Simple plank walls connect the buildings to create a large protected courtyard.

The caravan pulls up to the large gates at the front of the compound and a helmeted head peeks over the walls. You can’t quite make out what Thiago is saying to the person but his dramatic gestures toward the coming storm are unmistakable. After a few minutes of discussion the caravan lurches forward into the courtyard. Wagon drivers quickly get horses loose from their traces and into the barns or any sort of shelter they can find. The homesteaders are in the middle of their own preparations but they take a few minutes to direct the caravaners to the houses. Arnost and Guido, along with Thiago and the higher ranking merchants are ushered toward the largest house.

 

Inside, the furnishings are simple but well built. The family members are in worn but clean clothes. The man who seems to be in charge of the stead-hold approaches Thiago “We don’t have much, it’ll be a while before the spring crops come in so we’ve just got what’s left of our winter supplies, but we’ll try to keep your folks comfortable while the weather passes.” He says apologetically.

The stead-hold is home to two principle families, the Mabbetts and the Treharne. Elias Mabbett, elderly grandparent, is the patriarch of the stead-hold and his extended family lives in the largest of the houses. The Treharnes live in the other large house and are cousins to the Mabbetts. There are about 20 people who live and work on the stead-hold. They mostly grow food crops for themselves. Surplus beans and ale are cash crops and provide the stead-hold with its limited income. Elias Mabbett is the primary contact between the caravan and the farmers. He is reserved and protective, but has very little to offer.

 

They overhear Elias directing the younger family members to help prepare for the meal and to gather things their guests might need. The main farm house is well stocked with mundane farm items; baskets, rakes, tools. There is a sword and a mace crossed above the mantle; souvenirs of an ancestor who joined the army. They are of average quality and old in style.

 

Arnost and Guido begin to smell the food being prepared and the work of securing the caravan for the storm is going well. Everyone has started to gather back at the farmhouses for dinner when Maja, Elias’s eleven year old granddaughter bursts into the main room in a panic.

“They took Peter! Some monsters came and they took Peter!”

Everyone gathers around as Elias tries to calm Maja down and find out what happened. He’s able to learn that Maja and Peter went outside of walls to pick herbs for the visitor’s dinner. They were near the bee hives when some huge monsters jumped out and took Peter. Maja was a short distance from Peter when she heard him scream in surprise, and was able to run away. Although she describes them as ‘huge’, she eventually describes them as big, but not as big as a grown up. Maja doesn’t know what they were, but remembers pointy teeth and weapons. If pushed she says they look like the sword on the mantle. Elias quickly starts shouting for the young men of the stead-hold to gather torches and weapons.

 

As farmers assemble Caravan Guard Captain Water, Arnost and Guido join them as Elias and a few of the braver farmers, Dale, Zac and Fred lead the party out to the hives where Peter was taken. A rising wind whips over the fields and there’s a damp smell in the air. A misty sleety rain is falling as they approach the hives, which sit at the far end of the fields. Further on are hills with snow on and we could see the tops of dark trees in the distance. The basket that Peter was carrying lies on the ground near the hives. Matted grass shows that a struggle took place, and footprints show that whatever took Peter headed toward the woods.

 

It doesn’t take us long to work out that the tracks belong to Goblins and maybe a Bugbear as well. The trail enters the Boar Woods and winds through the trees. The soft group makes tracking the goblins easy. It starts to get late and the woods get dark. As the storm gets more intense and snow starts to fall we started to have a hard time making progress and we heard branches or maybe boars crashing in the forest. We decide pushing on to save the boy is more important than resting.

 

Eventually the trail we’ve been following leads to the remnants of an old road that runs north to south. The tracks clearly head north along the road and soon lead out of the Boar Woods into open rocky hills. We spot a ruin on a hill not far off. The tracks veer off the road and toward the ruins.

 

The evening is dark and gloomy. The only structure left standing in the ruin we can see is a small stone built dome with an entrance.  We notice two goblins about 50’ away walking around with crossbows in their tiny hands.

We discuss what to do, Arnost want to rage and charge the Captain isn’t sure about this and the archers would rather lose arrows at them.

 

Our load discussion comes to an end as a bolt wizzes past Arnost while the other one hits his left arm slicing across it. We charge.

 

Arnost reaches the first goblin but his frenzied charge means his hammer blow misses. He is followed by Guido and the Captain who also all miss as they charge into contact.  The goblins have drawn and readied their fails by now but fail to contact the attackers.

 

Arnost smashes the goblin in front of him with his big hammer, while Guido shield bashes the goblin in front of him stunning it.

 

With a captured Goblin, Arnost shakes off his rage before he kills it and they take a 15 minute break to recover and interrogate the goblin. Fred spends the time trying to summon his sheep dogs it takes him a while but he gets there in the end, maybe they were too far away and took a while to get here, 3 sheep dogs turn up. Zac heals Arnost’s arm or at least bandages it. The goblin eventually tells them that the child is to be sacrifice in the tomb and that there are more than his hands and feet inside. Arnsot thinks he is lying about the numbers. We also ask about the nature of the sacrifice but all the goblin knows is that the priest needs it.

 

We move other to the domed building the heavy stone doors to the tomb have been broken and shoved aside. The stink of sweat and filth wafts up with the dry air from inside the tomb. We enter and go down the steps, darkness awaits down the stairs into the ruins. Faded carved script, in elvish, is barely visible in the stone above the entrance. From below we hear the occasional sound of goblins talking to each other. We go down 10 steps then forward 5’ before the passage turns right, were we can see a slight glow and the sound of talking is loader, then 5’ then right again. Arnost is in the lead with Guido behind him and the rest following.

 

From further inside the area you hear chanting or goblin song?
Inside this Offering Room are two large copper bowls. The goblins are using one as a brazier for their campfire and the other as a toilet by the smell. The walls of this room are made of finely crafted pale grey stone. One wall is covered with carvings depicting Elven knights of the Delian Order of Brith fighting chaotic creatures including goblins and their kin.

There are 5 Goblins around the fire cooking and playing bones.

Fred responds and sends the dogs to harass them; Arnost moves in and engages a goblin while Guido moves to the side as he enters. The goblins draw their fails and ready them.

 

The dogs attack a goblin trying to bring it down; Arnost attacks with his hammer turning it to a bloody paste on the floor; Guido moves up to engage another goblin. The goblins attack Guido missing with his flailing fail Guido parries and knocks the flail 10’ away.

Arnost spats another goblin.

 

The dogs continue to harass while Arnost move up to the next goblin as does Guido. A goblin manages to hit a dog while another one attacks Arnost missing and Arnost’s parry forces it’s surrender.

The dogs manage to get on top of the goblin pinning it down and Guido stabs it with his spear killing it. The last goblin attacks Arnost again misses and his parry kills it.

 

Arnost is winded from this fight; he really needs to up his endurance.

 

The sounds of chanting are clear now. They filter through the ruins of a heavy stone door leading deeper into the ruins. The most perceptive characters in the party can also make out the sounds of a sobbing child. It is clear that the door was broken through recently and that it’s heavy stone construction would have required more strength than a human has to break.

 

The group led by Guido move past the shattered door and moves into the corridor. Guido steps on a floor slab which moves a little under his weight, this causes a large curved blade to scythe out and hit him full in the chest. Lucky for him he has heavy armour there and although the cut gets through and he starts to bleed it is not too bad. I could do with better perception if I am going to lead he thinks, and where is a scout when you need one.

 

The passage quickly turns and opens into another room. The walls of this room are made of finely crafted pale grey stone with 6 pillars down the sides. Small niches line the walls. At the far end of the room stands a beautifully crafted statue of an elf paladin in full plate armour but with no sword.
At the foot of the statue is a crude iron cage, which holds the sobbing child Peter. Near the statue at the far end of the room are 3 goblins and one goblin priest. They have their backs to us and are chanting and singing with the priest by the statue.

 

Arnost, Guido and the Captain move into the room and within 5’ of the goblins Arnost then takes a throwing axe and chucks it at the priest. However his aim is off and he hits one of the goblins in the way killing it dead. The captain moves behind another goblin while Zac lets loose an arrow and drops another goblin. Fred sends his dogs after the priest as Guido throws his spear at the priest ripping his arm off and killing him. The bugbear they have not seen in the corner strikes at Arnost, but not before Dale lets loose an arrow at it which bounces off its helm. The bugbears mace hits Arnost in the back and stuns him with the shock.

Arnsot turns to face the bugbear, even though he can’t attack due to shock. The captain finishes the last goblin with his spear. Fred moves back into the corridor to keep out of the way. Guido moves to attack the bugbear while drawing his sabre as the bugbear attacks Arnost again who manages a parry.

Guido attacks the bugbear catching its right leg and nicking a blood vessel and causing a bleeding wound.

 

Guido swings his sabre but the bugbear parries with his shield and counters with its mace which Guido blocks with his shield.

Guido now gets two hits on the bugbear without it responding taking off its right leg and killing it.

 

At the end of this combat Arnost is tired, Guido winded and Fred and Zac winded as well. Dale rushes over to free Peter and calm him down and after a short rest the check the room out. They see that a line of elvish text is carved into the dais that the statue stands on. It reads in each person’s tongue “To keep this, you must first give it to me.”

 

It takes a few minutes but Guido eventually works out he has to give his ‘Word’. Thinking about the history he knows he decides to say, ‘I will fight for and champion Law and Justice’.  As he does he feels a holy power gather around him, sinking through his skin and flesh and wraps itself around his bones. Guido feels a new obligation to champion Law and Justice in the world. [Passion to Law and Justice] As this happens a door behind the statue slides open and cool stale air spills out of a dark doorway.

 

Guido walks into the dark and enters a room light by a slight glow. A shining Longsword rests on a weapon stand in the centre of the room. Five stone sarcophagi are arranged around the room. The sarcophagi are ornately carved with scenes of the victories of the Delian Order. Guido recognizes this room as a holy place and understands that plundering the room is an act of desecration. He also understands that he is free to take the sword, but nothing else. Guido picks up the sword and feels it talk to him; he knows it is a Delian Edict Blade of Goblinoid Slaying. With this in his hand he leave the room and they all leave to escort Peter home.

 

As the party approaches the farm they see a large group gathered at the head of the path near the bee hives. Peter rushes ahead of the party into the arms of his family and a cheer goes up. The heroes are welcomed back with great fanfare and a feast is soon cooked up in their honour.

The Stories of Errath the Bard Chapter 4 Part 11


The Stories of Errath the Bard Chapter 4

The Iron Flow River & The Censer of Weal

Earlier Chapters here

————————— Part 11  —————————-

After a days rest Rathulagon flew us up two at a time and puts us down on a mountain near where the shaft, from his cave, comes out, this is a snow covered steep slope and we need to find a way to get down back to the road and back to Lastever.

 

With limited supplies and no cold weather clothes this could be very dangerous however we set to with all the skill and luck we have. [GM – I use an Extended Conflict to work through this climb, PC’s Con Pool V’s Mountain pool of 16 and Athletics skill V’s 75%. Survival will add 1/5 to each players Athletics if made. Roll each day and they reach the road when the Mountains Pool = 0. Failure means D6 Pool loss, half pool lost become Stressed all rolls @ -20%. 0 Con means take D6 Fatigue and if  another Athletics roll was also failed take D6 falling Damage to 1 random location.  One days stop will recover 1/4 of Pool]

 

Thorn uses his Survival and Navigation skill’s to help the group. The first day is slow going and they cover little ground and suffer from the cold. The second day I realise that I should be using my Athletics to help the others my finding a path for them, as my Star Sign of the Watchman means that they will get a better bonus however I can only really do this twice,  we get further this day. Third day is slow again, and we get very little distance, we are all suffering from the cold and climb, but managing to keep going. Forth day is slow again and I can no longer help the other as much also Thorn fails in his supplying us with food and water. Day five and I and stressed and so Gnoman takes the lead with his unnatural climbing ability, he is a thief after all, and we do much better as we are now out of the snow and its more about the climb. Day 6 another good day we can see the road below us as we camp. Day 7 we reach the road, never have we been so glad to see a rutted road.

 

Now we are down it takes another day to reach the city of Lastever. We rest and buy new clothes, as ours are ruined. Rotnik takes the Censer to the temple. Next day ‘Rebril Moradin’ the High Priest & Thorin City leader receive the party at a banquet and give us a chest with the 1,000gp for the Censer. But they argue that they have not cleared the fort rather it has just been destroyed and so refuse to pay the extra 500gp. A argument starts but I claim it down and say ‘we should not ruin a good meal and celebration maybe we can sort this out tomorrow’. This all agree to and we finish a wonderful meal in our honour.

 

Next day we met up with Rebril and Thorin to make our case. However the fact that the fort is a destroyed smocking ruin counts against us and we can not get the extra 500 gold for clearing and re-garrisoning it. Thorn is not happy but has to except this, we do however ask about honours but only I get one, after all I did deal with the dragon. I am made a Bard of the City allowing me free access into the city and the right to entertain, as long as I always tell the story of the scared Elf who didn’t face off the dragon but hid in a human town. We then spend some time debating how to divide this gold, will James get any? what about Mackenzie and Rotnik? In the end we decide to be knid to James and give him a retainer of 50 gold from our payment while also giving 100 gold to both Rotnik and Mackenize. Thorn, Gnoman and myself each get 250 gold. Thorn then arranges to have the skull of the dwarf we had found buried properly. Then he gets a new helm, his is to badly damaged, and a right arm vambrace, while I find 2 new javelins. One of these turns out to be of wonderful quality giving me a bonus to my throwing and its damage.

 

So after a couple of days we made our way to Duvik Pass to find James. We find him still with Ernst learning spells and he tells us his story.

James story in Duvik Pass

Arrival at the Town Gates – Orid is on the gates and needs to levy the new tolls  Cost to enter 1sp per person animal or wagon.  James pays the 1sp. Then lets fellow member of fighters guild, Orid, know that a Kobold raiding party is threatening the road. Orid does send a party to clear the road around the city, he reports that he found some tracks but noting else. James also lets the guild know that the Dwarf Fighter-Priest Thorn has negotiated a Condetta contract from the Dwarf’s of Lastever worth 1500 GP on total success which if it comes off will greatly help Duvik Pass and it’s trade income. He then goes to call on Ersnt who is busy when James arrives and he will need to wait till evening before he is free then he will met James for supper.

 

Ernst is not happy that James has abandoned his apprentice. He will only James allow guild access to his spell book when James returns with him or promises to keep him for a year and a day. Ernst wants a biding oath from James to this end,  James happily gives this. James then points out that the only reason he left him safe & studying in Lastever is that he currently lacks the stealth for quick trips across dangerous territory.  Road is just not safe at current moment in time with White Fang Fort out of action. Ersnt accepts this and allows James guild access to his books. Ernst has an important meeting tomorrow with Lord Sendars and the council and will not be free to do any work for a few days, this will mean James has to spend more time than he expected to gain the spells he wants as Ernst only has a guild spell book for 1st level spells and will need to make a scroll of any 2nd level ones James wants for James to copy from, this increases both the time and the cost of accessing these spells.  The List of spells Ernst has, as he has adapted some spells to make them yellow those with a * are non standard

Cantraps – All in Spare spell book

1st level – All  in spare spell book plus he knows Non-standard *Affect Normal Fires; *Color Cascade; *Detect Magic; *Disk of Burden; *Faerie Lights; *Flaming Hands; *Light; *Magic Missile

2nd level – Dispel Magic; *Fireball; Haste; Hold Person; *Know Passions; Locate Object; Mage Lock; Read Thoughts; Tongues

Next few days – While waiting to spend time with Ernst and learning new spells James practices and thinks about flying so far he has had some easy flights and a crash in the Mountains to study [he spends 3 EP on fly skill, also spends 1ER on combat skills] James has created his Fly spell known as “Wings of the Arials”. The original spell developed by Arial Elf Mages to give their earth bound and wingless kin a taste of the Sky.  Developed out of Levitation Magic first used to reach Elf Tree Houses without use of ladders/tree climbing the Fly Spell gives the target of the spell full horizontal movement and the ability to glide and soar as well as move up and down.  Handy to pop over to the neighbours for dinner and a song (or to drop things on them if they are annoying).  Spell causes a of mystic wings to grow from the caster’s back. In version of the spell used by James Ernst & the Duvik Pass Guild these wings are yellow and red, due to use of pinch of Red Dragon powder to replace some other more common components and influence of Ernest. When under influence of the spell a hit in the Chest area results in need to make a hard fly skill roll, a failed roll means only able to levitate in place, a second easy roll is then needed to recover or character will start to fall, a fumble results in falling out of the sky instantly.

James goes, after a couple of days, to see Father Sam, Ernest the Yellow & Lord Senders to advise that the group have requested help with the Haunting from both the Dwarfs & the Elves. Gordon has taken the Dragon Heart to the King & Queen of Loreddell, they might send a Cleric to pick up the Crystal Crescent Moon encased in Brass holy symbol of Lumiya & perhaps the Elven Art work both of which we have left on display at the temple until the Elves claim it. You can not really haggle with Elven Royalty but they may be gracious enough to help, it will take some months before any answer can come. However Rebril arrives, from Lastever, and does the job of removing the ghost from the mine and town.

 

James Copies Feather fall, 1st level, from the guild book with apprentices watching how its done as they do it as well. Then he starts on the second level spells he wants. Ernst however will only commit to creating two scrolls for James at a time, taking him 8 days. Then it will be a couple of weeks before he can do the other two each taking him 4 days, therefore it will be a month before James is finished getting his spells and learning to Fly. By then he has also regained the magic used on his courier, to the elves, meaning he is either dead or carried out his mission.

 

Spells James works on with Ernst – Yellow Fireball 2nd level Swapped for ‘Wings of the Arials’. This Scroll takes Ernst 4 days to make and takes James 1/2 day to scribe into spell book costs 200+ for ink to put into your book. Haste 2nd level cost 200sp for scroll 4 days to make  1/2 day to scribe into spell book cost of ink 200+sp.

Locate object 2nd level cost 200sp for scroll 4 days to make  1/2day to scribe into spell book cost of ink 200+sp. Tongues 2nd level cost 200sp for scroll 4 days to make  1/2day to scribe into spell book cost of ink 200+sp.

 

With James still needing time we all have to wait at the town for a couple of weeks before we head to South Borough and Trumpton, the Halfling village where Gnoman comes from. While waiting Gnoman gets his long wanted Longbow and starts to learn how to use it. We are again given a feast for the work we have done to free the town from the plague and then the ghost.  As winter draws in we leave the area and head to Trumpton to see the family of Gnoman and explain about his sisters death.

 

Carrot Gemstone is not a happy father when he hears of the loss of his daughter. He blames Gnoman for taking her into the cave, even if he thought it was better than leaving her in the plague ridden town. ‘Why didn’t you send her home he cries’ Gnoman has no answer and accepts his fathers scorn. He explains that we sent a messenger with a message however it appears Meria and Ron never turned up, we wonder what happened to them. We do not stay here long and move to Greymoor which we reach by end of the year. What with the cost of travelling and then Guild dees and Taxes we do not have a lot left from our adventures in the Iron Flow River area. With winter coming on we settle in to Greymoor  doing odd jobs, guild work or working for the guard for now. We have all learnt a lot from this adventure and spend time at our guilds improving ourselves, all of us are now at the second level in at least one Guild area and wonder what our next adventure will be, also we remember those who died helping us in our journey they were not as lucky as us in dangerous situations.

The Stories of Errath the Bard Chapter 4 Part 10


The Stories of Errath the Bard Chapter 4

The Iron Flow River & The Censer of Weal

Earlier Chapters here

————————— Part 10  —————————-

 We move on down the natural steps ahead of us which brings us to a opening on our left. Mack shines his light into it and it seems to be another passage which bends after about 20′. We stop and listen and Gnoman thinks he hears something so gets us all to be quite. He hears shuffling sounds, we decide to move on down the main passageway which leads to more natural steps leading further underground. James would have so loved this! We come to a Y junction with us arriving from the bottom. Again we listen and Gnoman hears flapping like something flying maybe from the left. Again we continue deciding that resting here is not going to be of any help. The Trog wants us to go right which leads us to a massive cave

We have entered an enormous cavern. The ceiling towers above you, perhaps over100 feet in height or more. Long, jagged stalactites hang from the ceiling by the hundreds in tight clusters, and great, convoluted draperies of stone hang along the walls. The floor beneath our feet is loose, sandy soil. Beyond this small beach is a great pool of dark water that goes as far as we can see. Since we entered this cavern a continuous roar has filled our ears. Looking to the north you now see the source: or at least the spray glittering in your light, of a great waterfall. A flat bridge constructed of stone slabs stretches across the water ahead of us to reach another larger sandy beach far to the west. The bridge appears to be a primitive work, yet it looks stoutly constructed, and the builder was clever enough to include small handrails on either side and a walking surface made from giant, flat slabs of grey stone. The beach to the west appears unoccupied except for a scattering of boulders and large rocks here and there illuminated by scattered light from above. You can dimly make out what might be a cave entrance beyond the far beach. The majesty of this cavern is nearly overwhelming and we cannot help but believe that we have discovered the great scaly god’s lair at long last.

Gnoman looks up not wanting to be surprised while Thorn checks the water for refilling their skins. As Thorn thinks the water, which is flowing quickly, should be fine he wades away from the shore to get water, as it will not have sand etc in it. Rotnick holds the rope tied to him as he does this. I, Errath, stand by the entrence to keep watch while Mack holds the Trog off to the side.

Look out I shout as two Troglodyte zombies shuffle towards me only a few feet away. The zombies reach me and I ready my club, not having time to throw a javelin. Gnoman moves to get line of sight, while I get hit, in the chest, by one zombie while by parry allows me to fall back from the other one. The chest blow dazes me.

Gnoman releases a sling shot from his sling and a zombie hits its right leg and knocks it down. I parry the other zombie attack but miss with my club. Gnoman starts to reload his sling I again parry the zombie attack and this time manage to hit it in the chest with my club. Gnoman continues to load.

Gnoman lets go another sling shot at the fallen zombie hitting its right arm. I parry the zombie attack but miss my counter attack. Rotnik readies his mace and moves up, having helped Thorn from the water. Gnoman starts to reload his sling, I parry the zombie again and my club trips it up as I hit its left leg. Rotnik also attacks but misses.

With both zombies on the ground it is easy to finish them off now that Rotnik has joined me. However just as we do we hear a roar and a flash. Lighting blasts from behind me catching Thorn, myself and Rotnik in its blast. Both of them burst into flame as their backpacks etc, catch fire, I am lucky as nothing catches fire.

Thorn seeing a Blue Dragon, the Scaly God!, flees heading for the passageway. Gnoman changes weapons to his hand crossbow. I use a potion to restore my very burnt body, I took more of the lighting blast than the other two.  Rotnik turns to face the dragon and flees in terror. Mackenzie, being a paladin, ignores the fear and challenges the dragon to a fight man on man.

The dragon accepts and they line up on the beach as I and Gnoman watch, only after Gnoman gives Mack one of his Blue Dragon slaying crossbow bolts to use as a dagger if he can.

The dragon is faster and strikes first with its claw, smashing into Mack’s right leg and only with luck not ripping it right off. Mack is dazed by the pain of his leg and stands.

The dragon lowers its head over Mack and swallows him in one gulp ripping his head off as he does so.

I start to sing as I run, about a dragon who having swallowed a paladin chokes on a crossbow bolt. Unfortunately this one doesn’t.

We stop a little way up the passage and think. Does this dragon have the censer or is it just another block in our journey to find it? How can we get past it or kill it. We still have one Blue Dragon Slaying Bolt for Gnomans hand crossbow left. Thorn also still has his potions of Giant strength and invisibility left in what is left of his backpack. Our plan is simple, Gnoman will sneak back to the cave invisible, he still has enough power to cast it on himself. Thorn will cast Silence on him and I will cast Barkskin as well. I will drink half of Thorns invisibility potion and Gnoman will have the other half for when he has to drop his spell. I will follow Gnoman into the cave as support.

Gnoman, carrying his cat, heads back into the cave with me following while the Dwarfs tend to their burns. Gnoman sees nothing so moves up to the bridge and checks it for traps, seeing none he moves onto it to cross over. Halfway across he notices that the central slab is dodgy and will tip if a human or Dwarf walk on it tipping them into the flowing water. Being a Gnome has its advantages thinks Gnoman.  He moves onto the other beach while I watch from the other side, not him of course he’s invisible.  Looking up Gnoman sees the outline of a hole in the roof with diffused light coming down it.

Moving over the beach Gnoman reaches the entrance they had seen from the other side. He has night vision thanks to his cat and can just about make out a long thin cave around 100′ by 20′ just in from the entrance is a pile of coins and gems with a scooped intended top next to it is a smaller pile of items, he can not see a dragon. Listening he can hear the breathing of the dragon, where is it?  Thinking maybe its in the pile or made itself look like the pile of coins Gnoman removes a coin. It comes way easily and a few others roll down the pile. He reaches out and touches just above the coins and feels a heaving body. A eye opens and the dragon says well I never it is a Gnome, I smelt you coming and wondered what you wanted, just what do you intend to do? Gnoaman puts up his hand crossbow and fires his dragon slaying bolt into what he hopes is the invisible dragons belly.

He draws his potion of invisibly and runs back towards the bridge as the dragon shacks itself and scrambles after him. It looks like the bolt of slaying didn’t work, such bad luck. Gnoman thinks his days might be numbered. I seeing the dragon coming after a visible Gnoman drink the potion of giant strength and throw my javelin at the dragon. I hit it in its forequarters where I can see the bolt sticking in it. This seems to daze the dragon who just hovers near the bridge. I quickly ready my second javelin and throw again.  Again I hit its forequarters and I force its surrender. I Errath forced a dragon to surrender.

We agree with the dragon that we will leave it alone if it gives us the Censer, flies us up out of the caves and destroys the goblins holding the fort. Rathulagon agrees, he was lucky not to die[he has used up his last luck point], he will do all of this after a days rest.

The Stories of Errath the Bard Chapter 4 – Part 9


The Stories of Errath the Bard Chapter 4

The Iron Flow River & The Censer of Weal

Earlier Chapters here

————————— Part 9  —————————-

 

We tie Ssustre up, hands behind with a rope through for us to hold him by, we use part of his rope curtain for this. We have a short discussion about how we go forth, Mackenzie casts Light on his big two handed mace and then let Ssustre lead us. He takes us past the acid spitting plant which hits thorn on his shield burning it slightly, then Rotnik on his right leg armour, Gnoman manages to dodge the globule. He then leads us past two shrieker’s avoiding the tendril plant. Then into a corridor and to our dead pony, where we all collect the items we had on it with Mackenzie carrying some of it. Then we go back up the passageway to the first shrieker at the four way junction, where we head south east. Down and down we go past other side tunnels.

The passage before us slopes down, and we feel the air growing more musty and damp as we proceed.
A small mural painted on the southern wall catches our attention. The primitive image, apparently painted with natural clays and animal fat, depicts troglodytes presenting struggling live offerings of assorted humanoids to a huge, lizard-like being partially draped in shadow. The scaled lizard creature is depicted in a hunched pose, crouched before a waterfall under stalagmites. Beneath the frightening mural is a line of crude runes chiseled into the wall. Mackenzie casts Know Language on the runes which warn that beyond this point is the lair of the great lizard god and that death awaits to those that proceed further. We think about the message until Ssustre tugs on the rope to bid go on.

The passage continues, until sitting directly in its center is a carved statue or idol of some sort. The crude stone figure stands approximately five feet high and depicts some sort of gruesome, lizard like beast. The creature has been carved with peeling, tattered folds of skin, a small pair of wings, long foreclaws, and a huge gaping maw filled with teeth. The long claws and snout horn add to the beast’s dangerous appearance. The statue has two large red gemstones for eyes. The statue is posed as if it were ready to leap and attack the viewer. Its stone scales shine with moisture, and despite the crude level of workmanship it almost seems to breathe. Rotnik wants the ‘ruby eyes’, Thorn looks around while I try to talk Rotnik out of desecrating a shrine. I fail and Rotnik uses his great hammer to smash the head of the idol and then take the two red stones. He thinks they are worth 10 and 12 gold each. Thorn sees that Ssustre is amused at this activity. We move on past the idol.

A short distance beyond the statue, four forms are slumped against the walls, two on either side of a northern exit passage. As we draw closer, the forms reveal themselves to be  troglodytes, but they are in an advanced state of decay. They have lost many scales, bones show in some places while in other places their scales are covered with yellowish mold, and their head fins droop. The bodies appear to have been purposefully propped up against the walls – perhaps as a warning to those who dare proceed farther down the passage. We dare.

Suddenly their glassy eyes swivel in our direction and they move, lurching toward us!  Thorn calls on Hombel and two of the zombies turn and stagger away, with new bits falling from them the other two continue to close with us. Gnoman and I with Ssustre move back and leave Thorn, Mackenzie and Rotnik to face them. Mack hits the first one in its left leg bashing it back 10′ as well as knocking bits off of it. The other zombie attacks Thorn misses with its bite but so does Thorns parry. Thorn then counters with a hit in its left arm, knocking bits off it and scattering yellow spores into the air. Thorn quickly holds his breath to avoid breathing in any spores. Rotnik hits that zombie in the chest also bashing it back 10′.

Mack pulls some cloth over his mouth and nose while the zombies move 5′ back towards them.

Mack finishes pulling the cloth over his face, as the zombies close into attack range again. Thorn hits one in its left arm smashing it off the body, but still the undead keeps coming. Rotnik also hits that zombie in its chest smashing it apart. Both of them manage to avoid breathing in any spores.

Mack hits the other zombie in its right arm and parries its bit back. Thorn and Rotnik move to help Mack.

Thorn hits the zombie in its right leg and trips it.

They all than smash it up while it is on the ground. Just as we rest from that combat the other two zombies turn up again.  They attack Thorn and Mack both of whom parry the attempted bites. Thorn then hits it in the head with Mack and Rotnik both hitting the other in its head smashing it and seeing it fall to the ground, finally dead.

The remaining zombie tries to bite Thorn who parries the bit and then Thorn smashes its head in with a mighty blow.

All zombies dead, did Ssustre lead us here on purpose and is it the right way we wonder. Mack is tired from the fighting and eats one of the Hombel gift fruits we still have to recover. We continue on our way with Ssustre leading us. Further we go deeper and deeper under the rock, with the cold damp air penetrating our bodies. We pass many other passages and start to get confused as to the way, we then reach an area of many twists and turns and passages and Rotnik starts to chip  the way we are going for when we come back, incase we do not have the trog with us. A bit late we know but its better than nothing.

Then the tunnel opens up into a huge cavern. We stand on a smooth ledge perhaps eight feet wide that sweeps along the cavern wall and banks down at a curving angle to eventually meet the cavern floor some distance below. A short distance ahead is an opening to another passage or cave that leads away from the ledge, about halfway down the incline. A few small stalagmites dot the bottom of this natural ramp; otherwise, the
ledge is clear of debris except for spattering’s of bat guano. Peering over the ledge, we can make out what appears to be a ribcage and possibly other bones littering the cave floor far below. We continue down the curve carefully and being aware of the side passage, I see strands of spider web lying around, quite thick compare to a normal spider. I recognize it, from childhood stories, as belonging to Gorung man sized spiders which are touched by chaos and by eating gems have the ability to cancel magic. We do not see the spiders and hope they are not interested in us.

The sweeping ledge leads down into a large cavern. The ceiling here is very high, further than our light shines, but we can see the bottom of some dotted around stalactites. Hopefully they are attached to something. The floor here is largely flat with very few stalagmites or loose rock present. There are some loose bones lying about and several whole skeletons as well. One skeleton is particularly large, perhaps being the remains of an ogre or similar size creature. We follow the wall as we can’t see the other side and come to an exit, which Ssustre takes us through.

This passage brings us to a small cave with a high ceiling that reaches 30 feet and more in places where the light cannot reach. Short stalactites drip water from the ceiling above. Ahead the floor drops sharply away to an unknown depth, except for a seemingly natural span of stone that stretches across this dangerous plunge and connects to a similar ledge some 40 feet away. This bridge of sorts looks solid but the stone appears both damp
and smooth. Luckily, the very center of the span is worn down slightly, creating a slight lip to either side that at least gives the illusion of safety. The sheen of moisture is present on the walls, the bridge… everywhere we can see. From somewhere beyond comes a low, continuous sound – the sound of moving water far below.  Ssustre leads us towards the bridge.

Gnoman using his skills checks the bridge out, he believes that if more than one person is on it that it will wobble on its worn rounded base. So we decide he can go first as he is the lightest taking one end of our silk rope with him the rest of us holding it firm. He gets across ok even though he finds the footing very slippery. Mack goes next and only just makes it with some bridge wobbling and foot sliding, he was lucky. We release the trog so he can go over but he just climbs along the wall to join the others, while Rotnik cover him with his crossbow. I go next with no problem followed by Rotnik. Then Thorn ties the rope around himself and we hold it our side this time, he gets over ok as well.

We follow the passage some more passing another one to our left and then two to our right still going down sometimes by natural worn steps. We come at last to another cave which has rippled, uneven sides and it is difficult to see how many passages lead out of it. Water enters this cave through many small openings in the lower northeast wall and flows out of the cave to the southwest, flowing across the center of the cave as it goes. As it passes through the cave the water collects in a natural depression and a pool of unknown depth has been created. The current stirs the sediment in the pool, creating a murky swirl. Thrusting up from the center of the
cloudy pool is a stunted tree – apparently dead, judging by the drooping, bare branches and the unhealthy-looking blackish color of the bark. On closer inspection, with out getting close to the water, the tree trunk bears numerous scars, and the whole thing leans slightly to one side. A long white bone and a single silver piece are visible just beneath the water, near the edge of the pool. A narrow walkway skirts the pool on either side. I believe Ssustre when he moves towards the left side walkway which will take us under the falling water.

Before we move on though we decide it would be good to fill our empty water skins. I, using my survival skill, check both the pool and the falling water and do not think either is a good idea, after all it has killed this tree, although we wonder what a tree is doing here. Thorn also checks the falling water and thinks it is safe so we fill up and drink.  Ssustre leads us under the falling water so we all get wet and cold and leads us onwards until we reach a large crevasse which cuts cleanly through the corridor floor, blocking our advance. The gaping chasm falls away to an unknown depth. Beyond the crevasse, the corridor slopes downward and to the left. We need to get over this gap but how. This quest is a lot harder than we thought.

Again Gnoman is tied to the silk rope and with Rotnik holding it he climbs up the wall and over and then down on the other side. This takes him a good 5 minutes. Gnoman then looks to see how he can secure the rope for the others, he spots a good looking fissure which his sword would hold in. However he does not want to use his nice magical sword and so Thorn gets me to throw his chopping small axe over. This I do with ease and Gnoman finds a fissure in the wall and rams it in and ties the rope to it. With one end secure and the other held by Rotnik and Mack Thorn crosses hand over hand. The trog’s is pushed to the rope and gets over before being retired. Then Mack goes over with Rotnik and I holding the rope. Then its Rotnik’s turn leaving me holding the rope, he gets over ok but I suffer rope burns to my hands as the rope slides under his weight. Finally its my turn, with no one to hold I tie the rope around me and the others pull it in leaving some slack and I climb as Gnoman did. Again it takes a while but I get there and we are all across safe and sound, even if it took a good 1/2 hour or more, getting back could be fun though.

Mackenize’s light goes out now and he recasts it to last another two hours. We take a drink and wonder what will be next and prepare to move on having rejected the idea of trying to rest here.