Chapter Three – Wildsgate & the Foehammer Spires


Chapter 3

Wildsgate & the Foehammer Spires

 

Back at Ice River, after 5 day’s, our heroes collect the 500sp from Red Beard and add it to the 2 sliver bars [2,000 sp] and 10 Ducats [2,000sp] they got from the Dwarves. They pay the driver and archer their weeks pay, 30sp each. This leaves them with 4,440sp [1,110 each] from this mission. A good pay out for the trouble, 37 weeks income for a freeman.

 

Needing to rest and train before there next adventure our heroes decide to stay here for a some weeks. During that time they learn from their experiences on the last adventure, train with each other and the locals, get drunk, womanise and eat well.  This costs 50sp each a week, plus 25sp a week accommodation as you rent a reasonable cottage for the group.

 

Yehonala  pays her Mage and temple dues, and after the two weeks of reflection spends the next three using Drago’s lab to make some potions, and trying to summon a familiar. She fails in the summoning losing all the expensive ingredients she had to use, which cost her 1,000sp most of her profit from the adventure.   She makes three holy water giving one to the temple, two Healing Salves and a weak Aic gas, having failed to find the ingredients for a strong one.  Groshchl enjoys chasing the girls, particularly when they are drunk. He remembers eventfully to pay his Fight Guild dues and also replaces his chest and abdomen armour with  banded instead, this has to be ordered and made to his very large size.

 

During this time four local lads join others from the republic and are sent of for their militia service at the forts, it turns out that the border forts are manned mainly by a levy of young Guild freemen [16-20] who spend 6 months duty, Winter and Spring or Sumer and Autumn, there. Married men and those who are the only male in the family are exempt, as are those in the Mage, and similar guilds. The forts also have an elite mounted scout unit, which patrol the area around it. The Wildsgate fort has a bigger garrison than most due to its exposed position. Groschl is not one of those chosen for this draft.

 

After more than a month [5 weeks] our heroes are asked to carry 3 heavy bags [each with 1,000sp Enc 10] out to Wildsgate to give to Marshak the Captain of the Watch there. Wildsgate is north East of the town 3 days away through the forest. there are a few small villages on the way. Cost of living for these 5 weeks, Yehonala stays with Drago so only 150 for food, the others pay 250 + 42 each for the rent = 292sp. They decide they could do with a mule and drover to carry the bag’s and some of their equipment, so hire one for 50sp the week. Groshchl thinks the town should cover their cost and so goes to see the head of the fighter guild Captain James. He says it is the guilds duty to support the republic by doing this small job and to just get on with it, life is not always about making lots of sliver. The others are happy, due to their passions or desire to go to Wildsgate, to do this small job.

 

 

Date – Neara 1 New  [5th month 1st day of the first week] Middle of Summer, they leave.

The first day’s travel, east, goes through farmed land surrounded by forest, that evening they rest in a village barn. They have Groschl then Roj and his wolf followed by Boridhren and then Yehonala in the morning as guard duty. This night passes quietly.

 

Next day [Neara 2 New] they cross the wide river Saedre by ferry and  by evening they have left the villages behind and have to camp out in the forest. As they move through the forest Roj covers their tracks to stop anyone tracking them. They are concerned that that much sliver will attract bad company.

 

That night Broidhren while on guard, hears the sound of movment in the forest coming towards there camp. This camp was chosen by Groschl for its defensiveness. Boridhren goes to kick first Groschl awake then the rest. Groschl once awake picks up his helm and puts it on and starts to put his arm armour on.  However……

 

As he does so he can see 10 human looking shapes enter the camp area and move to attack him.

 

Combat report in 5 second bursts.

1/  Boridhren having kicked everyone starts to cast the spell ‘Shield’, still holding his falchion ready in his hand. The decaying bodies, zombies, move another 10′ and two get close enough to Groschl, who only has his scale helm on so far, to attack with their fists, he manages to block one attack with a little foot work and dodging. However the other one hits him, he steps back and drags his halberd from the ground, it was stuck in it standing up. As he steps back the two zombies attack again both hitting his left leg giving him a serious wound, forcing him to fall and is in pain. Boridhren, finishes his spell and it shimmers into life in front of him, with its added protection he moves to attack a zombie and half severs its head. The one he attacks strikes back but has no effect due to the shield as well as his studded leather.

 

2/ Yehonala having woken up, stands, Borridhren, now at close range can’t use his falchion effectively so hits with the hilt but misses. The zombies split and two move to attack each of them and Roj’s wolf. Groschl, still on the ground in pain, manages to block one attack but the other hits him in his left arm. Yehonala is missed by one while the other hits her right arm. This wound numbs her limb and leaves her in pain.  Boridhren, is hit twice, but both fail to penetrate his protection. He appears to be immune to their attacks.  Roj, still on the ground having not quite woken up yet, is hit in his chest and right arm, but not to badly, while his wolf is missed, as it jumps around.  Roj then stands up, while picking up his hammer. While his wolf, trips one of the zombies attacking it, putting on the ground.

Yehonala decides to disengage and move away from the zombies, hoping to get time to get over the pain in her arm and so be able to cast some magic. Boridhren, still to close to use his weapon properly, attacks again but misses. The zombies attack and Groschl is hit in his right leg and which, is badly injured as well. Roj is hit in his abdomen, while the wolf evades the attacks and Yehonala just lets them hit him.

Boridhren attacks once more managing to get closer to removing the zombies head.

 

3/ Yehonala keeps 20′ away from the two zombies following her, while Boridhren decides he needs to chance the combat range to one which favours his weapon, so steps back. The zombies attack him as he does so but cause no damage, and then close the range again but he hits in response and finally takes its head off. One zombie down nine to go. Groschl is hit again this time its his left arm which is rendered useless. Roj is hit in the chest, while his wolf avoids the attacks of the one on the ground and the one standing. Roj decides he also needs to get away from the zombies and disengages, taking attacks as he does so.  While his wolf attacks but fails to hit.

Boridhren steps back again to open the combat range, made easy as the zombies facing him are not fast enough to react. Groschl rolls to avoid one attack but the other hits rendering his right arm useless. He is now in a bad way. The wolf manages to trip the other zombie so now both of them are on the ground trying to bit him.

The wolf now grapples one of the prone zombies going for its throat.

 

3/ Yehonala with her arm not in so much pain, starts to cast a strong seven intensity magic missile spell, this will give her four missiles. Boridhren attacks the remaining zombie in front of him again managing to half sever its head. The zombie reply’s by closing with him again, while the others stumble after Yehonala and Roj. Groschl is lucky for once and they both miss him. Roj having moved away now readies his shield which he had in his hand but had not managed to get into place, and calls his wolf to come.

Yehonala fires off her spell and with a lot of luck blows a zombie to pieces. Boridhren steps back again and the zombie closes again. One of the two zombies attacking Groschl jump on him to try and bit him, they are hungry. Roj orders the wolf to attack but it fails to trip a zombie.

Yehonala starts summoning the energy for another mighty magic missile, while Boridhren takes off the head of his second zombie, that’s three down. The wolf attacks the zombie but fails to knock it down.

 

4/Yehonala fires off her next magical assault and blows another zombie away. Boridhren charges a zombie, one of the ones fighting Groschl, and removes its head with a mighty swing. That’s four down, and the others other than the one trying to eat Groschl start to shamble away, as their food is to quick for them. The last zombie doesn’t last long on his own. Fight over in 20 seconds, with five destroyed zombies and a battered party, with Groschl being by far the worst off. They find the drover up a tree having climbed there with a holy water bottle, which he had taken from Yehonala pack, which he threw at the zombies but missed. The vial was broken in the skirmish.

 

 

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With the combat over its time for first aid, Roj is the only one able to do so and starts work on Yehonala arm but fails to make it usable so she is left in pain. Roj does manage to get both of Groschl’s legs working but not his arm so at least he can limp around. Roj then tends to his wolf, removing any venom which might have been left by the zombie bit. With that done they leave Boridhren on guard well they all try to get some rest. The night goes quietly even if they are in pain.  When morning comes, Neara 3 New,  they continue through the forest, putting Groschl’s armour and weapons on the mule leaving him to hobble along using a branch for a stick,, until it thins out and they come across a highway they can see smudge’s of smoke from small settlements ahead.

 

 

As they continue NNE along it they come across riders, some are fort outriders, and can see small farms and hamlets,   You stop and slake your thirst at the first hamlet, sweating under the hot summer sun. They decide to rest there and spend the night, the locals allow them to stay in the tithe barn.  Fed and looked after by some local maids charged 1sp a day.  From chatting with locals they find out more about the area. That Zamuck the Swift stole the three heirlooms of the Barons including the crown some 100 years ago. Zamuck hid these treasures, but there loss has resulted in the Wulfrun family heirs dying young. It is rumoured that he left them in the spires, but no one has found them yet, as its a dangerous place to go.

They also hear the moans about lost live stock in the night and the sound of large creatures flying in the night. Also about the raids on caravans and lone travellers, who no one hears from again, this is a dangerous place to live and travel. That there is a kingdom of undead dwarfs in the spires, slaving for a ancient dwarven lich, you can find their horde behind a secret door in the upper levels of the mines. There are also rumours of a terrible dragon ruling in the deepest pits of the spires slaying all who defile his dark realm, also something about the spires corrupts men’s minds and turns them into crazed cannibals.

 

Wildsgate – is the seat of the Baron Wulfrun, it is a fortified settlement on the borders of the republic. It has farm land around it farmed by people who live in and around the fort. its local population is around 100 families. It has a daily market of local produce as well as a weekly one which brings in trade from the seven local manors as well. These seven manors raise the population within 10 miles by another 150 families, most of whom come to the weekly market to buy things they do not have locally.

Once a month this market also has visiting merchants. The current  Baron is Kaldal, age 21, like all the male line since the artefacts were stolen the young Baron of Wildsgate is sickly and near death. It is said that the men of family are cursed, and that all die not long after coming of age. The Baron has control of Wildsgate fort and a Barony of 27 manors, only 7 of which are local to Wildsgate. This barony was set up years ago when the republic recognised Wulfrun, a northern barbarian, as the defender of this part of their border.  The Baron draws his guard from the northern barbarians to this day, each one swearing allegiance to the baron and his heirs. The missing artefacts are a crown, a sceptre and a sword, long held family heirlooms, their loss has brought the curse upon the family. A old man, a local, offers to sell them a sketch map of the area  for 5sp, they bite and give him the cash thinking he can be trusted.

 

Our party leaves the hamlet next morning and heads towards Wildsgate which is not far away. The hot sun beats down on the rutted road, filling their mouths with dust and bringing a sweat to their brows. North across the rive Saedre, the cool shaded forests call to you seductively with the snow topped mounts of the spires behind it. Yet every  person they have met on this highway has declared the forests to be cursed and filled with unholy monsters and man-beasts. “The Wilds” are what the forests are called, with hushed whispers, home to ghosts and worse.

 

Ahead they spot a ox-drawn wagon led by a sun weathered farmer. They raise their hands in salute as they pass him with his son asleep in the back. They ask how far to Wildsgate he says just a couple of miles see you can just make out the white towers on the horizon. As they leave him behind they notice with relief that a passing cloud has offered a moments respite from the sun.

 

The farmer screams in terror, and they realise that what was mistaken for a cloud is a trio of enormous wings, giant bats. Their riders shriek war cries as they dive out of the sun towards the farmer. The party are 50′ ahead of him.

 

1/ Yehonala reacts first and  starts to cast her shield spell, while Boridhren draws his falchion and Roj his sling.  Meanwhile the bats start a dive towards the farmer.

Yehonala spell goes off creating a energy barrier in front of her, she then starts to cast a sleep spell while Roj starts to load his sling.

Yehonala holds her spell, while Boridhren starts to cast a jump spell. Two of the bats attack the farmer and his son, the man manages to avoid being grabbed but the boy is grabbed by a bat.

2/ Yehonala releases his sleep spell at the two bats and their Goblin riders, managing to put the boy and one rider to sleep. Borridhren’s spell fails as the bats start to fly away, the one with the boy being followed by the one with a sleeping rider. The two low ones start to climb away towards the river while the one in over cover also moves away.

Yehonala prepares a magic missile, while Roj manages to hit the wing of the bat carrying the boy stunning it, this causes the bat to start to fall.

Yehonala magic missile spell goes off, firing 4 missiles together all of which hit the claw holding the boy. This damages the claw so badly it releases the boy who starts to fall to earth as the bat also does with its stunned wing.

The boy luckily falls into a marshy area near to the river and being asleep is limp enough to only suffer light damage from the fall, Roj does first Aid on Teran the boy and soon has him feeling better while the others finish the bat off, its rider is crushed by the fall.

 

 

They load the bat and the goblin, along with its barbed javelins which are tied to the harness by a cord so they can be pulled out, or pull the victim with the flaying bat, on to the cart and all set off towards Wildsgate.

 

Two black granite towers rise like spears towards the sky, flanking a stout gatehouse made of the same dark stone. Men at arms hail them from atop the battlements, raising their crossbows in a warriors salute. Despite the hearty welcome, they cannot help but notice the gatehouses arrow slits and murder holes, or the catapult and stacks of stones. Passing beneath the heavy iron portcullis, they emerge into sunlight again and see an enormous bear of a man with a wicked great axe slung over his shoulder. He hails from across the crowded courtyard, a hunchbacked elf shuffles alongside him, clutching a scroll in his tight bony fists.  “Names and business?” he asks, but from the tone in his voice it is obvious the giant is really asking ” Friends or foe ?” From the notches on the haft of his axe and the eager grin showing beneath his thick beard, its clear he’s seen plenty of both.  Yehonala says payroll and the giant introduces himself as Marshak the Barons Reeve, Captain of the Watch, head of the Fighters guild here and arm wrestling champion, and says, come to my office then.

 

Marshaks office is off to the left in the tower of the watch, this broad tower rises 40′ into the sky, its walls hung with vines and ivy. Beneath these leafs can be seen traces of past conflict, with scares where the rock wall has been beaten. High above, heavy battlements defend bowmen, also one catapult and two ballistae. On the west side facing the river, a collection of seven ogre skulls hang from the catwalks, a warning to all. Marshak shows the party into his office followed by Nazost the scrivener, he tells them to put the cash by the strong box and Nazost will check it and supply a receipt. Marshak asks again there business and they say there occupations, but he says adventurers then! judging by the bat and your conditions. They chat about various things and the group ask about the fort and places to stay.  Mushak lists and describes the Mug & Blade a good taven for food and drink, the Falling Star inn, a clean and well run place to stay with a stable, although not cheep. The Hammer and Anvil smithy run by Bolo the one eyed tall dwarf, The chapel run by Father Motter, the Broken Manacles a gnome run trade store and locksmith. The Bloodstone, run by Sergio Vizier, moneylender amongst other things.  The Sign of the Black Dragon, a flop house, cheep but be on your guard, a Fish market and home to the Trout’s and Eel families, a Tailor and Cobbler’s home to the Tailor’s and Cobblers families, a Carpenter’s and Wheel Wright’s and home of the Carpenter and Shield families. He also tells of the lookout fires around the cliff sides where there are no wall and the inner keep where the Baron and the White Lady live.

 

Yehonala asks about her young cousin who lives here Juliet Cobbler, Mushak tell her where the cobblers live. He also says that if they decide to go adventuring into the Spires there are always a few mercenaries in the Mug & Blade wanting employment. The party leaves him in good sprits and go to see the Cobbler’s.

 

Yehonala is welcomed, however her cousin is missing having gone to trade in the surrounding villages, and has not come back. It is feared she has been taken by the creatures of the Spires. Juliet married into this family just over a year ago. With that bad news still in there ears the group heads for the chapel to see if Father Motter can help with their injuries.

 

Chapel to Pantheon of Xatos

Here there are shrines to Ciana, Ehrendil, and Analdir although all followers of Xatos are welcome. Father Motter follows Ehrendil Beldroth, he has three assistant Priests – George, Mandy, Simon. Father welcomes them and sees that they need help, he takes them upstairs to the infirmary and using his healing skill tries to fix the damaged limbs. He manages to improve Groschl’s leg and one arm, but could do nothing for the other arm or Yehonala’s arm. With these still in need of recovery they decide to spend a week resting and go off to look for accommodation.

 

They go to the Falling Star and rent beds in the common room, a 50’x40 room with 30 single beds each with a lockable locker and a jug of water and tumbler. This plus meals at the Mug & Blade will cost 56sp a week per person. They pay for the drover for one night then he can find his own way home. With Yehonala and Groschl needing to rest Roj explores on his own, learning from past adventures and buying a leather hauberk from the Cobbler’s and Tailor’s, they make this up for him. With a week of rest all the group are now fully recovered with a little finishing help from some druid healing magic.

 

 

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During this week of rest Roj goes to talk to Father Motter, about the area and wither he thinks the Baron or the Lady might sponsor the group to raid the spires and free any captives. Motter tells them to go and see the regent Sodersund the elf. He and Broidhren then goes about investigating around the fort, looking for information on the spires; routes to them and any pit falls; combat styles and tactics of the occupants of the spires; any changes in the area recently; about the relics and Zamuk.

 

Being very lucky as a group they find out that a goblin clan resides in the old dwarf mines who fight with bat’s throwing javelins from them, also there is a group of cannibals near by who seem to use axe’s and use flint knives to scalp victims. During the last six months caravans have been raided by armed and armoured humans, so it is possible a third group is operating in the area of the spires. Finally they find out from Sergio the Vizier, via Kolgot the gnome, who seems to be part of the thieves guild, that lady  Aborn has knowledge of at least one relic, even though she does not have her hands on it. Groschl gets them to have a quilted poncho made for him covering his chest and abdomen, so he can sleep in it keeping warm and having some armour if woken at night. Roj pays for this as Groschl doesn’t have the money at the moment. They agree that this will come out of his pay in the future, as Groschl likes to have a employer to follow.

 

Neara 4 First, now they are ready to see what adventures they can find, and rescue Juliet and any other captives in the area of the spires. To prepare for this they go with the letter from Father Motter to the keep to see Sodersund the regent of the baron.

 

They approach the citadel within the fort, which perches atop the ridge like a dark falcon. A central keep rises above the stone battlements, and a tower behind that. A narrow stone bridge leads to the mighty gate, a work of massive wooden beams and heavy iron straps. It is a gate intended to stop a army, and judging from the scars it has. The group are stopped at the gate by the guards, four of the barons personal Housecarls, these are half-orc barbarians from the north. They stand 6′ tall armed with  a great axe and wearing full mail with a plate helm. Showing the letter from father Motter, they are told to wait while a servant goes to get instructions.

 

After some time they are instructed to enter and follow a servant into the keep, which is built from fitted stone blocks. The interior is decorated in a manner befitting its first ruler, the Baron Wulfrun. The keep is cold and stark, marked only by broken weapons, shattered shields, and the skulls of mighty monsters. Trophies taken from fallen foes.  The throne room stands silent and empty, the dying Baron has not held court in over eight months. A tall bony Half Elf with sharp cheekbones and dark hollow eyes welcomes them.

 

Sodersund the regent welcomes them and asks there business. they inform him of who they are and that they want to help recover Juliet and others held in the spires. He talks to them about their motives and what they want. Eventually they come to a agreement, the regent will forward them 1,000 slivers on condition they swear to use it to find any kidnapped locals and find the relics or any information which will help recover them. Yehonala has to swear on Ciana his deity, Broidhren swears on his own word, Roj swears on his druid oath to Analdir and Groschl swears as a member of the fighters guild loyal to a employer. With most of the day gone they head back to the Falling Star and take a common bed for the night, hoping to set out next day. During the evening they check out the mercenaries at the Mug and Blade tavern, as they intend to use some of the sliver to get some support. There they find three Human Male’s ,Zac, Chester,  Cain, and one Human female, Zara all armed with a long sword and heater shield and wearing ring mail armour. One Half Orc, Rog, with a great sword and one Half Elf, Strong-Oak, who has a longbow.

 

 

The next morning, Neara 5 First they decide to check out the ford and the bridge the only two easy ways to cross the river into the forests around the spires. Going west they see again the ford area, here the river is only 3 to 6 foot deep and there are big stones in it. A trio of ropes span the raging river, anchored on both shores. The result is a makeshift bridge over the dark waters. On the far shore a trail winds its way north into the wilds. They decide that although they might be able to cross here it would be impossible to bring a mule and maybe even Roj’s wolf. It will also put them on the west side of the river flowing from the spires and they want to go to the other side.

 

So they go to the north of the fort to look at the stone bridge which will take them across to the right side of the Saedre river and into the forest. This bridge is known as the Wildsgate bridge, it is a stone bridge which crosses the 150 foot river in a long arch with pillars. The bridge seems to have fallen into some disrepair, entire blocks have fallen into the river, leaving gaping holes in the bridge.  Broidhren says he will go across it to see what it is like. As he moves across the bridge, dust and small rocks fall off in places. He looks up and spots two dark spots in front of the sun.

 

He and the others realise that these dark spots are moving towards them. Bats come to mind.

 

The bat’s appear to be diving in to attack Broidhren on the bridge, our heroes prepare for combat.

 

Yehonala starts to cast magic missile at magnitude 7 aiming at one of the bats. These bat’s dive 200 feet ending up 100 feet away from Broidhren, Roj starts to load and prepare his sling while Groschl stands ready with his halberd. Broidhren starts to cast the jump  spell on himself.

Yehonala releases her magic missiles, four of them grouped together hitting a bat in its chest. Roj continues to load and Broidhren ‘s jump spell goes of.

Yehonala starts to cast another magnitude 7 magic missile spell.

 

Yehonala’s magic missile goes off again she group sthe missiles which hit the same bat in its abdomen, she moans about her lack of luck. If it had hit the chest again she was sure the giant bat would have fallen from the sky, allowing them to capture its rider. The giant bats move 100 feet towards Broidhren and he jumps back 10 foot falling in the process, while their goblin riders prepare to throw javelins at him. Roj finishes preparing his sling, while Broidhren delays.

Yehonala prepares a magic missile this time only a level one, due to lack of magical power. The bat riders close and throw their javelins, one misses due to Broidhren evading the other is ineffective. Roj losses his sling shot and hits a bat in its chest, but the bat is not stunned by the blow. Broidhren stands up.

Yehonala casts her single magic missile but it fails to go off so she starts again. Broidhren starts to cast his Shield spell.

 

Yehonala fires off her magic missile hitting the bat again and starts on another one. The bat riders throw again with one javelin impaling into Broidhren’s abdomen. Roj starts to reload his sling, while Broidhren’s shield spell fails and he fails to cut the rope attached to the javelin back to the bat.

Yehonala hits the bat again with her magic missile still failing to bring it down. The bat’s now dive under the bridge and up the other side, dragging poor Broidhren with them. Broidhren fails to cast Feather fall and falls off the impaled javelin falling unconscious from the wound as he drops into the river below.

 

As the bats fly away, Roj casts Entangle on the river weeds to stop Broidhren being swept down river. Roj then wades into the water tied to Groschl and Yehonala and manages to pull Broidhren out. Broidhren is suffering from his belly wound as well as drinking water. All of them are tired after this strenuous activity and Broidhren is incapacitated from the dunking in the river. So carrying Broidhren they head back to the fort, to recover, it will take at least a week for Broidhren to recover from his wounds.

 

 

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Neara 6 First, back in the fort our heroes need to rest, particularly Boridhren who even with the application of a healing slave will need over a week to recover fully from the javelin injury and the near drowning. During this eight day, as it turns out, Groschl spends time talking with the Marshal Marshak to learn more about tactics, [using his experience from the last few weeks]  as well as practicing with the guard to improve his ability to evade area attacks. Yehonala and Roj spend the first day looking for ingredients for Yehonala  to make some potions.  They find enough for two healing slaves which she spends the next two days making. However only one turns out ok, as the other was over cooked.  She then spends the rest of the time reflecting of her casting and knowledge of the arcane along with sparing with the locals to improve her ability with the quarterstaff. Boridhren uses the time lying in bed and healing to reflect on his arcane knowledge as well, as he gets better he practices making pan pipes as well. Once able to move around he starts to practice finding lost things.

 

This eight days cost each of them 64sp in board in the common room at the Falling Star taking their meals at the Mug & Blade. At last ready to go again the four of them go to the Mug and blade to hire some mercenary help. They decide on letting Yehonala do the hiring as she has the strongest will to avoid being made to pay to much, they accept that this might mean they do not knock the price down as much. She starts with Strong Oak the half Elf Archer, using her insight to gain a insight into the motive of the elf. The bargaining which followed was balanced and they hire him for 150sp a week. Yehonala then tries for Zara the female human sword and shield  fighter, this time Yehonala manages to push the weekly cost down to 120sp. Finally she hires Zac also a sword and shield fighter for 150sp, Zac using his passion for wealth to avoid being out bargained. They also agree to hire Groschl at 80sp a week as the commander, this plays to his passion to work for others. So for 500sp a week they have Groschl and 3 other fighters, who are all members of the fighters guild. Groschl is senior as Masdhak has made him up to Warrior in the fighters guild.

 

 

Nera 7 Full, Yehonala  gets up early to worship at the shrine of Ciana in the chapel to Xatos, this gives her a boost to her magic power for the journey. With provisions bought our extended group of seven plus the wolf heads back to the stone bridge, to the north of the fort.  It is a hot and sunny summers day and they can see no bats as they approach the bridge.  Boridhren starts to cross first taking care to avoid any holes in the bridges stone work. Once he is around fifty feet across the 150 plus foot bridge Roj follows, then Zara and Zac. Then Yehonala followed by Strong Oak with Groschl bring up the rear. The were worried about the size of Groschl on the damaged bridge, but in the end it all went fine. Groschl says this bridge is going to fall done sometime you know.

 

Having got to the north of the river, they now head west generally to follow the main river to the side river south of the fort. From there they intend to move up stream through the forest keeping the side river in sight so as not to get lost.

 

With the Druid Roj in the lead, with his wolf ranging around ahead the group follows in single file. Strong Oak, Groschl, Zara & Zac, Yehonala with Boridhren at the rear.  They have to move slowly and carefully due to the roots, undergrowth, and the bank of the river, which they see often.  After a hour or so, walking in the shade under the trees, with the sounds of birds, and small animals around them and the scatter of sunlight through the trees. They stop and start to look around, they have the feeling they are being watched.  However no matter how often they stop and loom at a moving branch or shadow they see nothing. The mages wonder if it might be a familiar but they have no way of knowing if any bird or little animal is or not. So with that sense of being watched still there they move on even slower than before, ready to respond in a moment.

 

a couple of hours later on Roj stops the column as he sees a body lying on the ground ahead, his wolf is standing by it. The body turns out to be a elf, a dead elf lying in a dried pool of blood. Careful examination of the ground and body shows that around half a dozen humanoids attacked with axes, around 24 hours ago. They wonder why the elf was out here and decide it might have been a ranger or druid. Roj with his love for anything elfish wants to bury the body, but the others say that there is not enough time. So they cover the body with stones so they can pick it up on the way back. This takes less than an hour to do with some of them keeping watch.

 

With the body protected the column moves on through the forest, something is going on here, as if they didn’t already know that. A hour or so later they reach the end of the thick forest and Roj stops them while he looks ahead. The heavy forest canopy parts to reveal a dozer towers of sheer rock that rise from the forest floor. Like spears planted by the gods, the towers threaten to pierce the sky. A thundering waterfall plunges hundreds of feet down the from the heart of the spires, casting a rainbow of mist that drifts out over the wilds. The trees, so thick and healthy before, have all withered and died here, clinging to the rocky spires like bony hands clawing at the sky.  To the west, a small cave burrows into the base of the ridge. Far atop the nearby spires, dark things circle in the sky. To the north, alongside the high waterfall, a narrow staircase winds its way up the steep canyon walls. To the east, black smoke rises from a dense collection of peaks. The group exchange silent looks, nodding grimly. Certainly, these must be the dreaded Foehammer Spires…..

 

 

What awaits them here and which way will they go?

 

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Late Morning of Nera 7 Full, our heroes debate what to do. They can see three choices. Cross the river and approach the caves with the bats flying over them, the goblin clans they assume. Keep going straight on and up the stairs to the waterfall, where the dead dwarfs are supposed to be. Or head right to where the smoke is, the cannibals?

 

They decide to go to the cannibal camp, to save any locals kept there. This requires them moving through the forest again to come out on the smokes further side. Roj the druid and his wolf take the lead, followed by Strong Oak, Groschl, Yehonala, Zara and Zac, with Boridhren watching the rear. They move for some hours through the deep forest, taking care not to be seen. The sounds of the forest are around them again, as they move very slowly around the trees and undergrowth. Again they start to feel they are being watched, again they can see nothing obvious. They wonder if its the White Lady, she might have magic to keep an eye on them and the money.

 

Late afternoon, still following a bad trail, with the dark woods alive with the sound of animals, birds calling back and forth. Glowing spiders hang from silken threads in the shadows, and somewhere in the distance a wolf howls. The trail is buried beneath rotting leaves and…

… They stop short. Something hangs limply from a tree just above the trail. A thatch doll, tied in the shape of  a human.  No not one but dozens of dolls, hang from branches, dancing silently in the soft breeze.  They notice that all other sound has ceased, the forest is as silent as the grave.

From the edge of the forest they can see past trees to where a narrow muddy ditch winds under a crude stockade. The light of a enormous bonfire shines from deeper in the valley ahead. This is joined by the rumble of mighty drums and the shouts of dancers. The 8′ tall stockade stops them seeing what is inside the valley.

 

Our cleaver heroes rack there minds to work out what this might mean. Witchcraft, evil magic and human sacrifice comes to mind. Is Juliet Cobbler, about to be killed? With that thought in their minds the group decide to act, but with care and thought not a reckless charge.

 

Boridhren, climbs a tree and spots some guards in the ditch. So he is sent off to scout. He slips from tree to tree, making use of the shadows to approach the ditch. Suddenly, the ground falls away beneath his foot, he throws himself backwards and avoids falling into a 10′ pit. Maybe this area is guarded after all. Taking a bit more care he continues to advance. Above him he spots a dead fall, with a vine trip in front of him. He moves around it and spots a bent back branch, which is held in place and has sharpened branches on it. Another trap. Maybe the last he hopes.

 

Now at the edge of the muddy ditch he looks to see if they are any traps they, he can see any.  Climbing a tree near the stockade he looks over and in. He can see three savage looking humans in a couple of hides at the top of the ditch, guarding the way in. Behind that he sees, many crude wattle huts around 5 feet tall topped by a roof of branches and moss. Behind the huts he can see the big fire with a mound behind it. Around the fire are seven savages, waving axes in the air while dancing to the drums and banging of  shields of around a dozen others. To his horror, he sees four limp corpses impaled on long spears. They are hung over the fire, not to burn but to roast, like spitted pigs. As he looks on, two of the savages ease a corpse from the fire and tear apart the heat bloated belly, greedily devouring the steaming entrails.

 

Boridhren returns to the rest of the party and explains what he has seen.  They decide to wait a while and at dusk start their attack.

 

Boridhren climbs a tree and the help of Groschl pulling on a rope over a prance hauls Yehonala  up. They both then move into positions they can see the guards from, they are about 50 foot away and 10 foot apart one on the left and two on the right side of the ditch. Yehonala prepares and casts her sleep spell, catching all three guards in its area. She has no idea if it has worked or not but hopes so, it should last 5 minutes so the others have to get a move on.

 

Groschl and Roj boost on a shield Zara and Zac to get over the stockade, on the left side of the ditch, both land the other side ok. Groschl then boosts Roj over, he also lands ok. Groschl uses his strength to haul himself over and with a bit of luck lands ok on the other side.  Now Groschl and Zara cross the ditch to the right hand side guards while Roj and Zac deal with the left. All guards are asleep and quickly dispatched to whatever hell awaits them.

 

With the way clear and open, Boridhren and Yehonala need to get down from the tree and with Strong Oak get to the other side. Yehonala goes first but is really not up to this type of activity, and falls. Boridhren tries to cast feather fall on her to save her, but unlucky fails, Yehonala injures her chest as the rope used to get her into the tree catches and cuts into her.  Roj meanwhile checks the ditch for traps from the other side and seeing that it is clear, calls his wolf through. The wolf is followed by Yehonala, Boridhren and Strong Oak, all getting quite muddy. Yehonala now looks quite a mess, her clothes torn and dirties from the tree and now covered in mud.

 

With the whole group now in the camp. they move to the nearest hut and hide by it. The fire is about 20 foot away, and the savages around seem intent on their ritual.  Roj stealthily moves to the side so he can see the 12 making the music!. He then casts entangle which fails and then twice more successfully to wrap them all in roots and other undergrowth in the mud. Again with no real idea of how effective the spells have been, but Boridhren has cast shield at the same time, the group moves to engage the savages.

 

Yehonala starts by preparing a sleep spell while still behind the hut. Boridhren steps out and throws a dagger, impaling one of the dancing warriors in the back. Roj moves to attack the music players while his wolf leaps at one.  Groschl moves to a music player and impales and kills her on his halberd. Strong Oak steps out and losses a arrow which impales the left leg of another warrior. Zac and Zara move towards the warriors and ahead of Strong Oak and Boridhren. The savage warriors then run to contact, two only needing to walk can attack Zac, his parry against one fails to stop the blow and he suffers a right arm hit which renders his arm useless and makes him drop his sword.  The music making slaves who can run, four of them, while the others are stuck caught in the vegetation.

 

Yehonala holds her sleep spell and moves to the left of the hut, Boridhren uses his falchion to attack a warrior right in front of him but fails to contact. Roj delays to see what might happen, Groschl extracts his halberd from the dead slave, while Strong Oak puts his bow away and draws his longsword.  Zara attacks a warrior but fails to have any real effect, with her longsword. The savage warriors attack, one goes for Zara and also fails to have any effect. Two have a go at Boridhren, and one at Zac, who both manage to avoid the attacks. Groschl parries another warrior attack with the shaft of his halberd.

 

Yehonala fires off her sleep spell, which takes down two warriors, and Zac, but fails to effect Groschl.

 

 

Yehonala starts a magic missile 3 spell aiming at the left hand guard at the top of the stairs leading to the mound. Boridhren manages to hit a warrior in its right leg bringing it to the ground. While Roj finishes one of the asleep warriors. Groschl swings his halberd and smashes in the head of another warrior.  Zara goes for the head of a warrior to get around its shield, and Strong Oak does the same. Strong Oak is hit in return by his enemy causing a bleeding abdomen wound. While Zara avoids being hit.

 

Yehonala spell fails to go off and she starts again, while Boridhren continues to fence with his opponent. Roj and his wolf finishes off the other sleeping warrior, while Groschl has his halberd blocked by the shield of another warrior, who is trying to get past the reach of his weapon. Zara kills the warrior she is facing, but Strong Oak takes a battleaxe to the head, and drops dead.

 

Yehonala magic missile fails again and she starts a third time, but with a level one spell this time.

 

 

Yehonala’s magic missile goes off hitting the guard but having no obvious effect, then waits to see what will happen. Boridhren, manages to get past the defences of a warrior and smashes its head in with his heavy cutting weapon. Roj moves to reach another warrior, but fails to hit, while Groschl chopps the right leg off another one. Zara moves to give first aid to Zac.

 

Roj finishes off the last warrior.

 

 

With no warriors left to fight, the group turn to using missile weapons on the mound guards which seem to be not moving. Groschl and Roj use their slings, while Yehonala uses low level magic missile. After the first salvo they realise that the guards are dead with bits of flesh falling off them. Zombies, presumably with orders to attack anyone moving onto the mound. So Groschl and Roj move to close range and aim for their heads spending the next 2 minutes throwing lead, before they both zombies have their heads smashed in and fall to the ground, fully dead at last.

 

By this time Groschl is winded, as is Boridhren and Roj. However other than fleeing slaves and dead bodies the area is under control. They are now ready to move onto the mound and enter the long hall there. What will be inside? They expect to find a witchdoctor or similar somewhere, maybe in there.

 

 

 

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Late afternoon, early evening, with the fight over the group take stock. Yehonala and Zara tend to Zac’s wounded arm, while the others respond to the slaves calls of help us, save us, or head those trying to run away. After doing first aid Yehonala tried to calm them down but just cannot, Roj also tries but also fails to get them calm. Finely Groschl calms them down with his presence, the sheer size of him along with his calmness works a charm. The slaves mostly male talk about home, most are local, within the Wildsfort area and have been taken over many years. They are asked about the number of warriors and the leader, as far as can be made out from the babble of answers, there are warriors missing, possibly on a raid. Also the leader speaks we stop or run, Roj and others say possibly the use of a command spell.

 

Spending some time looking at the hall on the mound they see that smoke is coming from its roof. It appears to be made of rough logs with a double door in the front which is 10′ high and 10’ wide. From inside they can raucous laughter and female cries of terror. Worried that her cousin might be in there she hurries the group up. She casts Spider Climb on Broidren, after suggesting Groschl challenges the witchdoctor to personal combat, Groschl declines. With the ability to climb like a spider, Broidren climbs up the hall to its roof and then to the smock hole. He looks through the hole and while listening, he can hear slightly better but can see little due to smoke and the roof. So he climbs through the hole and onto a cross beam.  From there he can see that the long hall is lit by dozens of flaming torches, hung along the walls. Mounds of hot steaming flesh are pilled high atop a wide table that occupies the room. Four mighty warriors, their faces and limbs covered by leather and bone armour, with the face being quite grotesque. The warriors are standing with two handed battle axes and standing back from the doors. around a dozen females are cowering in the corners their hands bound with chains.

 

After a while, thinking Broidren should be in place, Groschl puts his halberd in the ground near the door and pushes.  Both doors swing inwards with a great push from him, Roj is to one side with his sling readied while Yehonala on the other side has a sleep spell ready. All but Yehonala are still winded from the earlier fight and will therefore be at a disadvantage.

 

With the doors open, Yehonala steps towards Groschl and tries to spot a target for her sleep spell., the darkness and smoke inside stop her seeing after the bright light outside. Roj also moves to realise his sling shot, he manages to spot a target and casts. the stone hits a bone armoured warrior. Broidren, waits on his beam. Two of the warriors advance to attack Groschl in the doorway, they both fail to contact with their axes, one was a lucky miss. Groschl picks up his halberd and gets ready for his next time to act.

Yehonala with the enemy right in front of her realises her sleep spell, this puts 4 warriors to sleep but also Groschl. Roj draws his hammer, while Broidren in the hall drops to the floor. The one standing barbarian warrior stands over Groschl and swings his axe at Yehonala, who with a lot of luck manages to parry the axe as it misses her. Causing the warrior to be overextended and off balance.

Broidren who fell when dropping down from the roof stands up, while the barbarian thinks of attacking as he regains his footing.

 

Yehonala tries to kick Groschl awake but fails to find his body while watching for any attack from the warrior. Roj has a go at the barbarian but has an unlucky miss. Broidren draws his falchion and gets ready to attack. The barbarian swings at Yehonala again and again she gets very lucky and catching him at a disadvantage calls on his surrender. He throws down his axe, humiliated by a magic user twice, even his fear of magic didn’t help him this time.

 

With all the warriors down, Roj and Broidren cut the sleeping ones throats. Then Roj who speaks barbarian questions the captured one. What’s behind the doors at the other end?, ‘The boss’. Who is that and what are his abilities’? ‘a witch man with dolls very powerful’.  Dolls? ‘Small totems’ he replies. ‘They move sometimes’. Yehonala thinks they might be magic storage or for spirit combat, what ever they are for it will require them all at full strength. So they rest to recover there lost fatigue.  While they do Yehonala and Groschl impress the female slaves, who are amassed that a woman could out fight a barbarian and at the size of Groschl. Again Yehonala’s cousin is not among them, they are glad to be freed but in quite a state.

 

Broidren recasts his shield spell, which will last 10 minutes, then Groschl opens the doors and enters. The door opens into a tunnel hewn into the rocky heart of the spire. The air is hot and dry here, and smells of spices and incense. The floor of the cave is entirely covered in dried bones. Every square inch is covered in piles of white, cracked bones. Broidren moves in to look for traps. Crunch, crunch goes his foot fall as the bones creak under him. He see’s no traps though. With him leading the others follow, leaving Zac and Zara to look after the slaves. Although that created some disagreement as Groschl wanted them to come with them and help. Zara explains that she has already fought, one of them is dead and Zac injured, they have earnt their money. They where not hired to just be killed, but to be part of the group, one fight a day is more than enough.

 

They move into the cavern which then turns right, a shrivelled, shrunken body reclines on a wooden throne. To either side of the throne is a pyramid of skulls wreathed in white blue flames. More worrisome than the shrivelled body and the pile of skulls, are the tiny dolls that dangle from the ceiling, spinning slowly and silently. The desiccated body watches them with half closed eyes, its parched lips pulled into a twisted grin. A trio of dolls, secured by woven thread, dangles around his neck. “I’ve been expecting you.” The old one takes a skull from the top of a pyramid and considers the flames. “I dance, breathe and even deceive, I am not alive, yet watch how I thrive. Do not come to near.. least I eat you my dears.” As he says these last words he throws the skull at Groschl.

 

Yehonala reacts quickest, and she starts to cast a magic missile level one, this is harder than normal as she finds she can not make a sound. Groschl goes next throwing a dagger at a pile of skulls, cracking one open. The thrown skull then hits him, he tries to parry it but is unlucky, as it hits him it breaks and a mixture of oil, and sticky stuff goes out and is ignited by the blue flames. This flaming mixture spreads over his armour starting to burn him. The witchdoctor takes another skull and prepares to throw it. Roj casts with his sling, and hits the witch in the right leg breaking it.

 

Yehonala fails to cast her magic missile and has to restart it, she suspects a silence spell. She fails to overcome the effect and must continue to cast in silence. Groschl moves to halberd range of the shaman, saying now I have you. The witch says, I knew my time was up but I will damage you as well, he then smashes the skull in his hand onto Groschl, thus adding to the flames now eating at his skin. Groschl falls with both his legs giving out from the pain, however the shaman also takes damage from the splash back. Broidren move to stand over Groschl, while Roj readies his warhammer.

Yehonala successfully casts her magic missile and hits the doctor in the head, while he swings his morning star wildly at Broidren. Broidren parries and disarms the witch and then finishes him with a heavy cut from his falchion.

 

With the witchdoctor dead, Roj  runs over to Groschl and smothers the flames on him with his own hands, burning them in the process. Then Yehonala applies a load of healing slaves and first aid to Groschl. He is still in a bad way, with serious damage to many areas of his body.

 

 

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When the first aid is done, Groschl still has some very bad burns and will not be walking home to Wildsgate Fort. Broidren and Roj then search the cave area of the witchdoctor and his body. On him they find a Morning Star, a mail shirt to fit a normal sized person with a coif which they intend to keep to equip any mercenaries they hire who need it as most seem to only have ringmail. They also find a Iron Key with sapphire in it around his neck. Close examination shows it to be dwarvish and it opens a complex lock.  Looking further afield they check the long hall and then the outside and come up with, 18 battle axes, 14 throwing axes they keep 6 back for Groschl. There are also the flaming skulls, they put the fire out and collect them up, using one to set a trap and putting the over 7 in a sack. Also each barbarian warrior has gold rings in his hair and beard, they find 20, leaving the captured one with his, which they think are gold and sliver and worth about half a gold coin each so 100sliver pieces. They have also freed 25 slaves as well as having  a captured warrior. The trap with the skull is over the double doors into the hall, so anyone opening it will have it drop into a pile of warm coals.

 

With all that done they make a stretcher for Groschl and prepare to leave the area, eight male slaves will take it in turn to carry Groschl on the stretcher, while the loot, except the gold rings, will be carried by the females. The last two male slaves and the two mercenaries will carry Strong Oaks body back.

 

Broidren leads the column until they reach the denser woods, making sure no one falls into one of the traps. Once they enter the deep forest, Roj takes the lead with his wolf, followed by Zara & Zac and two slaves carrying Strong Oaks body, then females followed by Groschl carried by  four of the eight male slaves with him, then Yehonala and Broidren at the rear. With the sun going down they head across the forest towards the small river. The forest is very dark and getting darker, the howl of wolfs breaks the air and sends shivers through the group. Once they reach the bank of the river, they decide to camp for the night, no fires Roj says, and the large group spreads out to find places to rest and eat cold berries.

 

A guard rota is set up with Roj going first followed by Broidren & Zac then Yehonala & Xara with Groschl watching from where he is laid.

After a couple of hours with the camp trying to sleep, Roj hears a sound.

He calls to the others, and Yehonala, Broidren & Groschl all stir.

Roj hears the sounds again, then a screaming roar from various parts of the camp.

They are under attack but by what?

 

Yehonala wakes, while Roj with his infravision sees two upright bodies moving towards him and so moves towards them carefully. Broidren wakes, as do Zara and Zac, Groschl starts to shout to wake up the rest of the camp.

Yehonala, tries to see what is going on, but finds it to dark, and her human eyes have yet to adapt to the pitch dark. Roj continues to move forward, Broidren sits up facing outwards while Zara stands.

Yehonala stands and prepares her quarterstaff with her back to a tree.

 

Yehonala tries to listen to hear where any threat is but there is to much noise from the waking camp for her to make out anything else. Roj intends to get within 20 foot of the approaching figure and wait for them. Broidren finds his helm and starts to put it on. Zara and Zac make ready.

Yehonala starts to cast a magic missile one, Roj tries to see what is going on elsewhere, but there are to many trees and bodies. Broidren starts to tie his helm on.

Yehonala aborts her magic missile and moves round the tree out of sight she hopes, having realised that the gathering magical energies marked her out as a target. Broidren carries on tying his helm.

 

 

Yehonala tries to listen again but there is still to much noise around for her to hear anything. Roj now has two bodies in front of him, so he moves in to attack with his war hammer. His blow gets past the parrying shield and smashes into the targets arm causing it to drop its shield. His wolf, leaps on the other and knocks it down. Broidren finishes tying his helm. The creature, which looked like a savage human, with the smashed arm disengages from Roj.  Groschl see’s one attacker stumbling around the trees nearby.

Yehonala, just stands quietly, attacks the prone attacker and smashes his war hammer into its abdomen, while his wolf grabs its arm. Broidren luckily finds his falchion in the dark, just in time to try to parry a incoming blow. His armour takes the blow.

Broidren, now stands.

 

Yehonala, still hiding again tries to see what is going on around her. Roj’s wolf bites into the arm of the attacker drawing blood, while his attack is blocked by the shield of the prone savage. Broidren attacks but his attack goes wide the savage parries and tries to disarm him.    The savage attacks Broidren back who manages to block the blow, while another one attacks Zac who parry’s the blow and disarms the savage. He then counters with his attack and smashes in the savages head.

Roj forces the savage to surrender.

Broidren attacks but misses even though the savage could not parry.

 

Broidren and the savage now enter into a long duel with blow and counter.  Broidren ends up on the ground when he tries to throw himself out of the way of a blow, having been disarmed of his falchion. Draws his dagger and gets back to his feet.

Now winded Broidren is starting to struggle, but both sides fall back from the combat.

 

After a while it seems that the attackers have all retreated, leaving one dead and one captured. Roj interrogates the captured one and finds out they where on there way back to the savage camp when they heard the party. He is then tied up and joins the other captive.

 

At dawn, they break camp and head down river to the main river which they follow up to the stone bridge. The fort sees them coming and sends out support. Taking care to watch the sky for bats and there footing the large group crosses the bridge back to safety.

 

 

 

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Back in Wildsgate                 Nera 1 Last

Back in the fort, they hand the freed captives over to the watch, along with the captives. Groschl needs two to three weeks to heal and recover, so they pay him for this time which goes on accommodation. They also pay off the mercenaries using up the last of the 1,000 sliver pieces they had received.

 

The others pay for their stay from the 2480 slivers they got for the rings, weapons and reward for the captives. From this they have to pay 696 in tax, and 480 living expenses leaving 1304sp.  All of them start to reflect and learn from the experience, Yehonala finally finishes learning and writing out her Phantasmal Force spell as she becomes a higher ranked mage.

 

Roj and Yehonala look over the iron key, found on the witchdoctor, Yehonala with her knowledge of minerals thinks the Sapphire is valuable.

 

 OMUS 1 New

After the first week Lady Aborn asks them to visit her.

When they reach her tower they are shown into a small room, with four guards in it. These are well dressed in fashionable robes covering head to foot, they hold a loaded Crossbow, Broidren thinks they might be thieves. Lady Aborn enters wearing a plain dress, which shows off her beauty. She says how pleased she is that they have rescued so many people,  she has heard many rumours about their adventure and while praising them asks to hear their story in their own words. Roj, Yehonala and Broidren, Groschl is still in the chapel infirmary, tell her about their trip into the wilds and the freeing of the captives from the cannibals.  The loss of Strong Oak and the injuries to Groschl and Zac, the danger of the bats and the strangeness of the woods. She then asks, “Can I buy the key from you?  I can offer 4,000 sp which will be a good reward for all you have done.  I like unusual things, particularly of Dwarven make.” Yehonala says yes straight away, after all she is a fellow mage, Roj says no, not now, while after thinking and listening for a while Broidren also says yes. Roj digs his heals in and no matter how much persuasion of influence all three use on him he will not budge. He says, “In three days, I will bring it back for you Lady”, after she had offered to buy it without the gem.

 

She also asks if they intend any more adventure in that area. When they say yes, we will continue what you have helped us start, she asks if they would like to work for her, helping her group look for Dwarven items for her. She offers 100sp a week, which they think is rather low, even including a 10% recovery fee. In the end they agree to give her first rejection on anything they get, other than the heirlooms, which they have agreed to give to the Vizier. They then realise that she was not the one who gave them support but the Vizier working for her half brother.

 

Leaving Lady Aborn, they head back into the fort to wait for Groschl’s recovery and to decide on their next steps. They decide to go and talk to Kolgot the Gnome at the Broken Manacles, knowing his interest in locks and keys, Broidren remebers he is part of the thieves guild. They spend an hour with him as he examines the key, he says it is a very rare and unique Dwraven key, exceedingly well made for a specific lock.  They ask if he could make them another and the point of the sapphire.  He says given the time a week or more he is sure he could copy it, he will need the key all that time as it need to have the same balance, shape etc.  Roj is not happy about letting him have it for that long but asks if he could take the sapphire out for them. Kolgot says yes if they give him some hours, Yehonala says we want to be able to watch, Kolgot says fine but the room is to small for you big folk. So he leaves the door to his small low ceiling work room open for them to see into as he works. They find it hard to see all that he is doing from behind, after four hours work he comes back out to them. He gives them the key and the sapphire separately. He says you do know that the gem is only crystal with sapphire dust covering don’t you. Yehonala says, ” I was sure it was real”. Kolgot says while in place it does indeed look real, but once its out and you can check its weight etc then it becomes obvious that it is a good fake. Properly so that the key would have the right weight and balance as well as look good. They pay Kolgot his 120sp fee for the time he has been working, then Yehonala asks if the fake gem could be put on a sliver chain for her to put round her neck. Kolgot agrees it would suit her very much and after trying to sell her much more expensive chains takes 100sp for the work it will need to put the gem on the chain. Yehonala says she will come back tomorrow to collect it.

 

Meanwhile Groschl spends his time talking to Father Motter and his Assistant Priests – George, Mandy, and Simon, about Lady Aborn. He is told that she helps the poor, supports his work with the sick and is well liked. Her half brother is dying as all the male heirs have over the years. She will inherit when he dies.  When Yehonala goes back to Kolgot for her chain Broidren goes along to get a receipt / providence for the key and the work they had done at the same time.

 

Over the days while at the Mug & Blade they talk to more of the people wanting work, Zara and Zac both agree to work for them again at 150sp a week plus 50sp for any extra fights after the first. They also hire Rog and Cain, telling them all to be ready by Omus 3 First when they expect to go into the wilds again. They also spend time buying things for there adventure, two lanterns hooded and basic, as well as twn flasks of oil. More arrows for their looted longbow, as well as trail rations for the eight of them. Broidren also wondered about getting a better pole/quarterstaff than the basic wooden one he has. So he takes a trip to Kolgot’s again, he asks him as a fellow of the guild, about the rumour that a dwarf makes weapons to kill elves, which Kolgot thinks may well be true. Broidren asks him to look into whether Bolo one eye is the one, giving Kolgot 150sp retainer to do this.  Kolgot only has basic staff’s but is sure you could have a hollow metal one made if you had the sliver.

 

When our heroes make a return trip to see the Lady with the key, they are informed that she is unwell and will see them in a week or so when feeling better. They can not get past the guards on the gate of the citadel.   With some time still on their hands Yehonala works on making some healing slaves and produces two in the time she has. Broidren visits Bolo the smith to inquire about improving his staff, in the end he pays 100sp to have the ends slivered to look good and aid in defeating any strange creatures. This will not stand up to the rigors of combat for long but is a quick fix.

 

Omus 3 First, they pay Groschl and the mercenaries, Groschl using his pay to pay off the loan he had with Roj, and then they head out of the fort south towards the ford and the rope bridge.  Rather than try to walk across the trio of ropes, they decide to use the stones in the ford and hold on to the lower rope. Groschl will go first his size and height will make it easy for him, followed by Broidren, Yehonala, Cain, Zara, Rog, Roj and his wolf. They first scan the sky looking for bats but see none in the clear sky, broken with the odd cloud. They then scan the other bank for any goblins. As its 150 or so feet across and misty from the water going over the rocks, it is not easy to see anything.

 

However Yehonala thinks she can see something, back in the tree line, so they use the slings to throw some shot into the area. A few birds take flight and scatter into the sky. They decide to still cross with Groschl in the lead but now with Roj behind him, Yehonala and the mercenaries Rog & Zara will provide cover fire if needed.

 

Groschl starts across, holding onto the rope, while stepping carefully on the rocks. Time passes slowly when crossing a fast flowing river, when every step could be a misstep sweeping one to a water death. Eventually Groschl nears the far shore, and starts to climb out onto dry land.   As he does so he is hit by multiple impacts, with some others flying past him. He feels pain in his left arm and right leg as bolts punch through his armour and into his flesh, two others bounce off his armoured body.  They have been attacked….

 

Yehonala reacts fasted, due to her quick mind and reflexes, she spots around 180 feet away six figures about 10 feet apart in the trees. She starts to cast a fireball seven spell.  Yehonala realises that casting the fireball might well set the forest alight over a large area and so stops the casting. Roj starts to cast entangle but this will take a few seconds. Broidren starts to cast shield, while Groschl leaves the river and prepares his halberd. Rog and Zara spot and prepare to fire.

Yehonala starts to cast a magic missile aiming at the target furthest away, Roj continues to chant to Analdir his druid deity for her support. Broidren’s shield spell goes off and he starts to look around.  Zara and Rog release their sling shot and arrow, they think they hit something in the bushes.

Yehonala’s magic missile goes off hitting her target and she starts another one, while Broidren continues to look around while standing in the water.

 

Yehonala releases her magic missile hitting another target, Roj finishes his entangle aiming at the centre of the ambush group, the trees and undergrowth start to move and come to life, wrapping around the crossbow armed targets. Roj then starts to move towards the bank followed by Broidren, while Groschl stands alert on the bank.

 

The ambush is all over in ten seconds, two of the assailants are down, three more caught up in the forest as well as one dead one. The last is heard running away into the forest. Yehonala, says, “I should have used my phantasmal force rather than trying the fireball, in fact I should have created a copy of Groschl to cross first, it would have taken the bolts instead.”

 

 

 

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Roj sends his wolf to run down the fleeing assailant, and comes back with his face covered with blood. Meanwhile Roj casts bless to help Yehonala and ties up the three captured enemies, while Yehonala spends some 30 minutes trying to remove the two bolts from Groschl and then healing the wounds. She failed with the bolts and caused more damage as they came out, and also only managed to make any difference to the left arm wound leaving the right leg in a injured state. Roj having tied up the captives casts minor healing on Groschl’s leg, but needing three attempts to get divine intervention. With the basics done, they search and strip of equipment the captives and dead, gaining 5 light crossbows with bolts, some food and water, as well as 5 short swords and studded leather armour. They then interrogate them, using intimidation, Groschl, insight and influence. They find out they work for Kos a half orc and Liath a dark elf, who are based behind the waterfall. The attackers are from here and there and not local, and have been recruited by their guild, thief’s, for the job.

 

The crossbows are given to Xara, Zac & Cain, Rog says he doesn’t like using missiles ‘prefer big sword’. The party decide to keep one of the attackers as a guide, and pick the one they feel is most trustworthy, offering 100sp a week for the work. Yehonala also casts charm on him just to make sure. He is given his armour back but no arms, the others are send on their way, with strict instructions to stay clear of Wildsgate and this area.

 

With the day moving on, its midmorning now, they set off again. Tommy, the captive, shows them the trail through the forest and with Broidren leading followed by Tom, then Groschl, the mercenaries and Yehonala with Roj and the wolf bring up the rear. After a while they come across a area which has signs of people waiting in ambush, it looks like it hasn’t been used for more than a week and Tom thinks it might be a savage ambush area. They talk to Tommy about Liath finding out she is likely a dark druid and has a wolf with her. They wonder if they are working for the lady, but have no way of knowing as Tommy has not heard of her.  Eventually they reach another stream, Tommy says they can cross at a ford and then they will need to decide which way they want to go.  Up towards the goblin peaks or to the waterfall and the dwarf mines, the mines will mean they have to cross the main river below the falls. They talk about the best option and decide to deal with the mine first, although Yehonala wants to do the goblins first hoping they have her cousin, Juliet Cobbler, there. So they cross the stream and then the river to the right hand side and head towards the mine, it is now mid afternoon. Coming out of the forest they see ahead the falls and what looks like a dais and steps leading up to it. They continue to walk towards it, with Tommy saying its the way in.

 

Polished marble steps rise to a raised dais. The dais is ringed by broken stone monoliths that cast long chill shadows over the platform from the dying sun. A solemn, granite throne rests in the centre of the dais, looking down over the river valley towards Wildsgate. Once this must have been the court of a mighty monarch, but now the seat of the throne is covered in pine needles and moss. Behind the mossy throne a stone staircase wends its way up the side of the cliff, following the river back towards the waterfall.  They check for secret passages but find none. So its up the long climb, the stairs are carved directly from the stone, bas-reliefs of dwarven warriors line the entire staircase, when the wind blows through the spires, as it does, the statues whistle and moan like long dead spirits. Broidren takes the lead having cast invisibility on himself.

 

Ahead is a flat platform, for a moment the howling wind ceases, leaving an uneasy calm in its place. A low, mournful voice rises from the dwarven statues. ‘Who would pass before the Dwarf Lords?’ The voice rises like the wind, and falls into silence. Tommy answers, ‘servants of the white lady’, and explains that there is a couple of bugbear guards here who can use a long spear to attack through the statues. The party thank him and they continue up the stairs, passing the entrance into cliff which leads to the guards.  On and on up the stairs they go, which now are in a crescent. This is a long hard journey up hundreds of feet at 2′ a step.

 

Suddenly they notice two dark shapes, Bats. The bats start to dive towards them, this is not good as they could easily be pulled off the stairs into a long fall with those barbed javelins. Yehonala acts first and prepares a power 3 magic missile with the aim of targeting the riders once they move into range. Roj starts to prepare his sling for use. The bat’s close to 200′ away, while the mercenaries load a bolt into the crossbows and Groschl starts to load and draw his longbow.

Yehonala, with the bats in range, releases her three magic missiles, two hit one rider in the right leg and chest while the other hits the other rider in the abdomen. The bats with their riders injured shy away in there dive and move out of range.

 

The party checks they are all ok and moves on up the stairs, past the thundering spray of the falls, the stairs rise to their destination; a pair of vaulted stone gates. Each gate is as tall as two man and hewn from black stone, both gates are decorated with intricate carvings and etchings. Bas-reliefs depect an army of dwarves standing down a host of dragons, ogres and giants. Above the dwarves shine a hammer and anvil, meting out the fate of the stout folk and wicked alike. The proud stone gates stand closed; a keyhole is placed where the two gates meet, directly beneath the hammer and above the anvil.  Yehonala worried about her hair after going through the falls, looks to that, using a cantrip to dry it, while Broidren tries to pick the lock. He finds it very hard but with some luck he manages to crack it and with a gentle push he opens the well balanced doors.

 

 

The doors lead into a passage with stairs going up to a chamber about 40′ square. This vaulted hall, has six wide pillars supporting the ceiling, each pillar is carved in the likeness of a dwarven paragon, despite looking similar each masterful carving has its own distinct personality. One is grim and dour another determined and proud, another devoted and yet arrogant. Above each is carved a rune.  In the centre of the floor is a black pedestal, six feet around. In the centre of this pedestal, on its top, are three key holes marked by shinning gemstones; one ruby, one emerald and one sapphire. To the right is a corridor leading on, ‘to a lift’ says Tommy, he explains that the rest of the raiders are down below looking for the keys. The group decide not to try out their sapphire key. The pillar carvings watch them with wary anticipation as if to judge their next move. Our knowledgeable group soon work out the cravings represent different clans with the allied rune. There is the Deepdelve clan with a coin rune; the Firebrand clan with a hammer rune; the Ember clan with a thunderbolt; the Axefell clan with the axe rune; the Wander clan with the gem rune and the Shieldfast clan with a shield rune. The last seems to wear a iron ring.

 

Roj looks around for hidden passages and finds none, then casts detect magic on the ring and pillars, the ring shows a intensity one magic while the pedestal shows massive divine magical power. Moving on to the right they enter a short corridor with steps down which leads to a wooden platform surrounded by a cage of iron. Below past cracks in the floor, the shaft descends into darkness. A lever and winch occupy the back of the platform and also beside it. Tommy tells them its around 100′ feet down and takes about ten minutes to travel up or down, taking 4-6 people at a time. Roj, Groschl, Broidren and Rog go down first as all have Infravision they do not think they need a lantern and the ones left behind light up two lanterns.

 

As the lift creaks and groans slowly down Broidren looks around and his detect magic flares on the shaft wall. The stop the lift and go back up a short distance to see a glowing hole. Using their hands they find a small alcove with a wood front, what ever is behind is showing as magical. Groschl finds a candle and lights it up, this shows the alcove with a wooden door and keyhole. Broidren checks for traps and is sure they are not any. He then tries to pick the lock but fails and so Groschl uses his brawn to rip it open, scattering the contents on the lift floor. A bunch of gold coins fall out and hands reach out to grab them, also there are 6 bolts which radiate magic, a silver embossed black leather bolt case and a short piece of wood which also radiates magic.

 

Rog the half orc mercenary manages to grab around 60 of the gold coins and refuses to hand them back while the others pool theirs. They proceed to the bottom of the shaft and wait for the others to come down.

 

 

 

 

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With all the group, nine plus a wolf, at the bottom of the shaft the light of the lanterns show a corridor around 10′ wide, 10′ high and 50′ long with a cross junction about 30′ down. Roj and Yehonala again say, ‘we will pretend to be reinforcements’. Tommy says, ‘I am not sure that would work, normally you would be met by a leaders at the entrance and then introduced to the rest.’  ‘How do they know when they will be getting new people?’ Yehonala asks. ‘Magic, Tommy say’s. They talk about if they always know when and how many will turn up, or about being late or early.

 

Broidren, still invisible, moves down the corridor and heads left towards the glimmering light he can see in that direction. While Roj goes to check out the rest of the corridor and finds a secret door at the end and a rubble blocked passage to the right of the one Broidren went up. Broidren meanwhile having moved up the passage comes into a 20’30’ room. This dusty dry room is occupied by several bedrolls. A small circle of stones ring the charcoal and ashes of a recent fire. A tattered cloak has been hung on the far wall and used for target practice. The area is lit by two torches and a single man sits by the dead fire looking at the entrance. Broidren moves slowly and quietly past him towards the door he can see at the far end. Once at it he can hear the sound of fighting, the ring of blade crashing together and on to shields.  There seems to be some fighting going on past this door.

 

Broidren heads back the way he came taking care not to kick up dust.  As he comes near the rest of the group the wolf detects his sense and perks up alerting Roj to his presence.   Broidren makes himself known and tells them of what he saw. Roj tells him about the secret door and he goes to check it for traps, it seems clear. Roj’s detect magic finishes and they open the door, Broidren goes in first, still invisible, and luckily notices that there is no mechanism on the other side to open the door again, so they pin it open with a climbing piton.  Broidren with the wolf beside him, moves on in, the wolf is so the others know where he is, followed by Roj. carrying a lantern in his right hand.

 

The concealed door swings smoothly on its hinges, revealing a corridor choked with dried cobwebs. Six mouldering skeletons lie on the dusty flagstones, armour and weapons rusting around them, they all look Dwarven sized. The passage seems to go on a little way and then turn right, but not much can be seen with all the cobwebs.

 

As they look ahead the skeletons start to rise picking up their weapons as they do. Broidren calls out a warning to the others.

The skeletons engage the wolf two of them getting close enough to hit with their war hammers, breaking its left hind leg and injuring its hindquarters, the pain knocks it out.  Another skeleton hits Roj and stuns his left leg. Broidren tried to climb the wall to get out of the way, but can not get a good grip on the stone work. Roj tries to push past Tommy who is behind him and blocking the way out, but fails due to his leg not working properly.  Groschl turns and grabs Tommy throwing him 10′ back and out of the way. Zara does the same to Roj but only manages to just pull him back. through the doorway. Rog, 1/2 orc, moves to cover the passage to the occupied room and Chester moves to support him. Tommy runs.

Broidren giving up on climbing presses himself tightly into the corner.

 

Zac, still with no where to move to stands, the skeletons attack Roj again, he successfully parries the blow. Only one of them could get at him, through the door way. Roj tries to disengage and move away, which he manages to put the dwarf skeleton hits him in the head as he does so. Groschl with his long reach halberd stabs at the skeleton hitting it in its head. Chester moves up to help Zara and Groschl, the others do little more than either  move or make sure they are not in the way.

The skeletons attack Chester and Zara, not being able to reach Groschl, Zara parried the blow while Chester was missed. Yehonala takes the lantern from Roj, while Groschl jabs again at the skeleton hitting its head again. Zara attacks the same skeleton missing and Chester misses the other one.

 

Skeletons attack Chester and Zara again, Chester fails to parry and has his left leg hit while Zara is missed. Yehonala moves back a few feet to keep out of danger, while Groschl misses and Zara hits smashing the head of that skeleton. Rog, meanwhile, has seen movement ahead from up the corridor he is watching, and shouts a warning. There appears to be 1,2,3,4,5,…. rogues with crossbows aiming at him, having moved into sight. He quickly moves behind Zac who has a shield, whereas Rog uses a two handed sword and no shield.  Chester prepares a parry, ready for the next skeleton attack. The six rogues release their bolts at Zac who has crouched behind his shield, two hit his right leg and one his left leg, causing wounds but not impaling, they choose to hit the exposed legs under his shield.

Zac responds by moving forward to engage, followed by Rog, the skeletons attack Zara stunning her right arm forcing her to drop her sword. They also hit Chester’s right arm, he failed his parry, stunning it as well. Broidren decided he had better do something and moved from his corner, he attacked from invisible, which broke the spell, but allowed him to smash the head in of a skeleton. Roj with no lantern to hold draws his war hammer, while Yehonala casts a third power magic missile and holds it ready for when she pops round the corner to target the rogues. Groschl attacks the skeleton again, this time smashing its right arm and so disarming it. Chester also attacks and smashes the right arm of the other skeleton. The rogues, having fired there crossbows, the front three draw their short swords and the back three start to reload.

Broidren attacks again hitting another skeleton in the head but with no great effect. While Yehonala moved to see the rogues release her three magic missiles at the front three and move back out of sight. The missiles hit one in the abdomen, another in the right arm and the other in the left arm.

 

Zac attacks one of the rogues but misses, maybe he is two much pain from the bolt hits. The skeletons attack Broidren  but the blow is stopped by his quarterstaff parry. The one attacking Zara uses its shield which is countered by Zara’s shield, while Chester is hit in his head by a shield but it has no effect. Broidren attacks again, hitting the skeleton in its abdomen and knocking it over. Roj starts to cast healing on Chester, while Yehonala casts a one power magic missile at one of the rogues, hitting its right arm. Groschl smashes the head of the skeleton, while Rog swings his great sword in a arc but misses both the rogues in front of him. The rogues attack back with their swords, one of them hitting Zac in the head, but bouncing of his helm.

Zac attacks the rogue again but misses again, while Rog swings again and takes the heads off two of the rogues with one slice. The last two skeleton’s attack Broidren and miss him, and clash shields with Chester. Broidren attacks again but is parried, Roj continues to cast his healing spell. Groschl attacks the skeleton and misses, while Chester uses his shield to hit the skeleton, bring another shield clash. The back three rogues finsih loading their crossbows, while the forth stabs at Zac.

Broidren smashes the last skeleton, while Yehonala stays out of trouble and holds on to her remaining magic power.

 

Zac strikes back at the rogue in front of him, impaling his long sword into its left arm when the rogue fails to parry. Broidren Yehonala, Groschl and Zara all rest and catch their breath, while Roj finishes his healing spell and saves Chester. Rog sweeps again at the rogues in the second row, his weapon is long enough to reach. These rogues with loaded crossbows have little choice but to try to evade out of the way, this they fail to do and the massive blade rips through their chests dropping them dying. The last back row rogue with four dead or dying friends fires his bolt at Rog catching him in the head and ignoring his helmet, killing him he then turns and runs, while the last one facing Zac has no choice as he is impaled but to try to kill his enemy. He fails and dies.

 

The fight seems to be over, six destroyed skeletons, five dead or dying rogues, one dead 1/2 orc, Rog, one badly injured wolf, Chester and Zara with seriously injured right arms, Roj with some light wounds.

No matter what the occupants of this mine know there are visitors.

 

 

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Omus 3 First late afternoon early evening, they think.

They quickly discus the various party injuries suffered, and Roj decides to follow his nature passion and use some of his limited divine power to bring healing to his wolf rather than any of the hirelings. Yehonala is not impressed at this, thinking that a fighter in front of her is much better than a wolf running around. With the wolf feeling much better Roj Moves to do first aid on Chester while Yehonala does it on Zac. This takes 3 minutes and just as they finish Tommy and Broidren shout out a warning, the door into the area where the rouges where camped out. This was the door Broidren heard fighting before. So  around five minutes after the last fight it looks like they have another one on their hands.

 

 

Roj calls on Tommy to get a skull out of the sack and light it, these are the skulls they took from the witchdoctor full of inflammables. Groschl walks to join Tommy and Broidren, while Tommy opens the sack. Broidren casts his shield spell, which starts to flutter around in front of him. From the door four mail covered sword and shield welding fighters emerge, followed by a half Orc in mail and plate with a axe and buckler. They are followed by a Dark Elf with her Wolf.

Liath, the dark elf, starts to chant and wave her hands around, as if casting a spell. Tommy gets his hand into the sack, while Broidren casts a colour spray spell at the advancing enemies, catching all but one of the fighters in its cone. [His first throw is a critical but the three fighter, Liath and Kos the half Orc all burn off a luck point to make it a lesser roll. Even with the lesser roll they all take some effect from the spell.]

Tommy removes a skull, while Broidren attacks the one fighter not in the spells effect, the fighter blocks his falchion blow with his heater shield.

 

Yehonala walks towards the action, stopping at the corner, while Roj also puts his hand into the open sack and takes a skull. The unaffected fighter swings his long sword at Broidren misses and Broidren uses his swing to pull him onto the ground. Of the other fighters one is blind, two are stunned as is Liath and Kos, the wolf is also blind so they are all doing nothing for now. Tommy opens his lantern, while Broidren smashes down at the fallen fighter who manages to put his shield in the way of a devastating blow, [a critical] the blow pushes past the shield but fails to get past the fighters armour.

Yehonala starts to cast a summon monsters spell, while Roj lights his skull from the lantern. Liath now able to think straight again starts casting another spell, Darkness to cover her men. Groschl jabs with his halberd and trips one of the stunned fighters, while rendering his left leg useless. Tommy lights his skull while Broidren attacks the fallen fighter again damaging his left arm.

Yehonala spell goes off and three goblins appear behind the fighters,  Liath finishes her spell and it fails [even with a luck reroll]. Tommy throws his skull missing his target but landing next to a stunned fighter, splashing him with flame.

 

Yehonala watches while her goblins all thrust their spears at two of the fighters, all three miss. Jog throws his flaming skull at Liath who just moves out of the way and it goes past her to hit the far wall. She calls out to the party, if you let us go we will leave all other things including what you are looking for behind. She has realised that with the failure of her last spell any further conflict could dwell end up in her death even if they manage to take out some of the attackers. Rog looks at Yehonala and Broidren and they nod yes.

 

So Kos puts out the splash fire in the fighter while the others pick up the injured one and they all head for the lift along with the last rouge. Before long the party are on there own and smilingly in control of the mine. Both sides life to fight another day.

 

Roj sets the mercenaries to watch the lift while they check out the area. He and Broidren search the rouges room and Broidren finds a letter amongst the bedding and a coffer in under the firestones. He reads the letter and then hands it to Rog. It says “The bearer of this letter has the right to detain for the purpose of interrogation, investigation, or taxation any citizen of Wildsgate, or person passing through said environs known commonly as the wilds. By the power invested in me. Lady Aborn of Wildsgate.” “So this is how they get money from merchants” Rog says. “The seal looks authentic so it might pass an official, I wonder how many of these are out there”.   Broidren meanwhile checks out the iron coffer and finding it neither locked or trapped opens it, inside is a load of sliver coins and a iron flask with symbols on it. Rog says it is Druid chant for heal serious. So a potion, they give it to Zac to drink and his wounds start to heal over and in seconds he is feeling his old self and a happy soul. There are 375 sliver coins, which they add to the party collection.

 

They move through the door into the area Liath and her men came from. This area has 25 cots along the walls with bedrolls and wooden trunks, to the left is a rubble filled area and to the right steps going down. Tommy says down there is where Liath and Kos hung out. He is asked how many men were normally around and tells them, around 36. They work out that with the 6 they dealt with at the ambush plus the 5 killed earlier and the ones just left they have accounted for half. It looks like Liath could have more men outside to call on, there had better be another way out, even if Tommy doesn’t know of it. Broidren searches this area while Roj and Yehonala move down the stairs to check out the area there.

 

Broidren finds a sliver necklace in the bottom of one of the trunks and sees that the rubble is part of a corridor which caved in long ago. It does however look like work has started on digging it out. Roj enters a hexagonal room, in which a large round table fills its center. Atop the table is a large map drawn in charcoal. The walls are dominated by bookshelves, stacks of crates and more maps pinned on the walls with knifes. A brazier hangs from the ceiling, giving the room a hellish red glow. A search relives that the crates contain 15 suites of mail, wooden shields, long swords, crossbows as well as 30 short spears and 300 bolts. There are also 3 rolls of gold trimmed light blue and light green pattern silk. The books all seem to be old and presumably dwarfish, however atop one of the bookshelves is a small ion box.

 

Roj gets Broidren who has finished upstairs to come to check it out, he is happy it is not trapped or locked and opens it, once all the others have left. It contains a iron key decorated with a small emerald, a lot like the sapphire one they found. They decide to equip the mercenaries with new equipment, each of them getting a full suite of mail, a new sword and shield as well as two spears. Yehonala wants them to have crossbows but they point out that they are better off with a throwing weapon which allows them to use their shields at the same time, then all they need to do is draw their sword.  A crossbow would mean having to ready both shield and sword leaving them exposed for a long time.

 

Tommy is given a crossbow to carry on his back, while Yehonala is given another crossbow and the magic bolts, even though she can not use it. They decide they need to rest, they have little magical energy between them and all are tired. After a discussion about resting in the secret passage or here they opt for here as there are so many beds. Broidren says he can set up a trap to protect them and give more security so they decide to do it at the bottom of the lift. Broidren takes some hours and with the help of some of the others builds a barricade and a four crossbow trap with the lift reaching the bottom the trigger. Yehonala makes dinner and they eat as they work. With that done, and the secret door closed the magic users head to bed, while the others take turns in watching the lift shaft. They hope for a good eight hours sleep before finishing exploring and finding a way out.

 

 

Will the regret letting Liath go?

How many might be waiting for them up the top or will they have gone?

What’s down the secret passage?

 

Find out next time.

 

 

 

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So with the mercenaries and Groschl on guard Yehonala, Broidren and Roj settle down to sleep, five hours later they are awoken by Groschl who says the others and him need some rest now. They sleep for three hours and then allow the magic users another hours sleep. While Food is prepared Roj  casts healing on both Zara’s and Zac’s badly injured bodies, restoring them to full health. He then sleeps for another three hours to recover the energy he used.

Omus 4 First, sometime in the morning, they are all rested, healed and ready for action. They head towards the secret door they found open it, wedge it open and enter where they met skeletons before. With Broidren and Tommy, with lantern, in the lead, side by side, they move down the passage in single file. They come round a corner and see a narrow stream of water running down the centre of the passageway coning from a pile of rubble on the right. The stream is only a few inches deep and is dirty and slimy, dropping some dirt as it goes or picking more up from the floor. Broidren notices something in the water and picks up a small rough yellow stone. He takes it back to Yehonala who says it is gold, worth around 200sp, “is there more” she asks. Broidren and Tommy look around for a while and find another two nuggets of gold. Yehonala says they are worth around 40 and 140sp each, they are given to Groschl to carry.

 

They follow the stream and the passageway50′ and then left. The stream runs to the end of the corridor and pitches over the edge into the blackness of a shaft. Broidren talks to Tim and they carefully move to the edge where they see, around 15′ down a lift like the earlier one. The planks where they are, are rotten and broken and the lift looks rusted.  The party now spend a long time in loud conversation about what to do. They try the lift and hear the grinding of the mechanism but no movement. They get Groschl to check the mechanism and he thinks it is still workable, but the lift need to be nudged back onto its runners again.  Broidren is lowered down to the lift roped to Groschl and others. Broidren tell them all to stand back as he jumps up and down to bounce the lift back on its runners.

 

After a few jumps the lift moves and starts to fall. Broidren grabs the wall to avoid going down with it while Yehonala pulls on the lever at the top to stop it falling. They then bring the lift back up to them. Groschl checks it out and says the brake is well rusted and could fail. Not sure that this is a good idea they decided to see how far down the shaft goes. So they tie a rock and three lengths of rope together and lower away. As it does not take all three of the 30′ ropes it is more than 60′ but not 90′ down. They enter into another long conversation and decide to use feather fall to drop down rather than climbing down. Roj casts bless on them all and then Broidren casts Feather fall on them all, it needs a intensity six spell to cover all their mass. They then jump off the edge in turn and slowly float to the bottom.

 

With them all at the bottom of the shaft they move out of the way and try to bring the lift down. It jerks and clangs its way down but just over half way. There is a bang and the lifts speeds up falling out of control. It crashes into the bottom of the shaft throwing debris out. The lift is smashed just as well there was no one in it. However getting back up will mean a climb as they had not left the ropes tied to anything.

 

Ahead the passage from the lift turns right and opens into a hall. A long narrow hall stretches before them, illuminated by a slivery golden light coming from a sliver anvil with a glowing golden hammer floating above it in a alcove at the far end. There are two iron doors on the right wall and the air is hot with steam, and the walls, floor and ceiling are all slick with condensation. The floor of the hall is made up of curious flagstones. Every tenth stone is etched with a rune, six in all. The flagstones directly in front of them bears a thick dwarven script.  As none of them read dwarvish they can not work out the meaning of the words and so have to act blind. Roj casts detect magic and the Anvil and Hammer both show up as magical. Suspecting a trap but with no idea how to bypass it, Broidren moved forward down the centre of the hall.

 

 

As Broidren moves forward the hammer speeds towards him, he stops and waits.

 

The others start to think about what they can do. Broidren continues to wait, and then attacks the hammer as it tries to attack him. The hammer blocks the attack and splinters his quarterstaff. Broidren then parries the hammers attack and finds his damaged staff smashed in half. Roj starts to cast bless.

Groschl having moved to support Broidren attacks the hammer, which blocks the attack. Broidren draws his secondary weapon, while the hammer attacks him, smashing his right leg and dropping him to the ground. Roj continues to cast bless.

Yehonala casts shield.

 

Yehonala watches and waits, Groschl again attacks the hammer which blocks and damages his halberd. The hammer attacks Groschl, but is parried. Roj finishes his casting of bless but it fails. Yehonala wonders if Dwarf divine magic is interfering with his nature magic.

Broidren fails to cast feather fall, trying to make it easier for him to be pulled out of the way. Meanwhile the hammer and Groschl dance around each other, while Roj casts and holds cure serious wounds and Chester pulls Broidren back next to Roj. Zac attacks the hammer but the blow is blocked.

The hammer attacks Groschl and hits him in the chest, but the mighty half orc just smiles.

 

Groschl again has his weapon damaged when his attack is blocked by the hammer, however the hammer also fails to connect with Groschl. Roj realises his cure spell and restores Broidren’s leg. Zara and Zac both swing their swords at the hammer.

Yehonala realising that she can not dispel this magical hammer, prayers to her deity for help. Groschl again attacks the hammer but dosn’t seem to be able to damage it. Broidren with his leg healed, stands up. The hammer attacks Groschl but again fails to connect with him, Roj starts to cast bless again. Meanwhile Zac and Zara both attack, with Zac managing to chip a lump off of the hammer. [By pass armour effect from a critical]

Yehonala continues to pray, seeing some positive things happening. Broidren tries and fails to cast invisibility on himself.

 

Yehonala stops praying, but sees no effect on herself, while Groschl Zara and Zac all attack the hammer again. This time Zara gets her blow past the hammers blocks and smashes it apart. It falls to the ground in three parts.

 

 

———————–[14-3-15]———————————–

 

 

With the hammer broken they move up the hall to see the anvil, Broidren checks it out. It is a very shiny sliver object, which reflects back their light. as well as shinning with some of its own. He and Yehonala decide that it about 150lb in weight and made of mithral, Yehonala eyes glass over as she thinks of the wealth tied up in it. Broidren is told to check both of the doors in the hall for traps and such, he finds nothing, and Roj finds no secret doors in the hall either. Deciding to open the lower door near to the alcove holding the anvil, Roj opens it while a invisible Broidren stands back ready to enter after seeing what’s there. Tommy holds on to the lantern off to one side.

 

Broidren enters, telling Roj he is as he passes him, he sees, with his infravision, a rectangular room off to the left with a passage heading straight on. The room has little variation  in heat but he can make out water pools on the floor and patches on the walls with radiate a small difference in heat. He uses his noise and smells mould and damp. He then notices a cold spot in the lower corner. As he pounders the cold spot and starts to talk to the others, the spot moves rapidly towards him taking flight. It then goes past him though the door and over the others.

 

Fleetingly they see a 4-5′ long white dragon fly past and out the way they came from. They realise that it must be a baby as it is so small. Lighting a couple more lanterns and putting them on the floor, Roj takes the bull lantern from Tommy and Tommy and Zac load crossbows with a magical bolt. Roj then enters the room followed by Tommy ands Zac, with the lantern they can see what Broidren couldn’t.

 

Blocks of what was once polished marble line the floor and walls of this secluded chamber. Ancient tapestries adorn the walls, once fine and beautiful, now stained black with mould. Pools of fetid water puddle the floor. Six square stone pedestals stand in the centre of the room, each coved in what was once rich silk dyed the colour of blood. Atop the pedestals are various items, on the first a spiked shield, on the second a battle helm crown, on the third a very long tooth, on the fourth a warhammer. On the fifth a stone tablet, and on the last a very large cracked egg.

 

Broidren checks for traps while Roj casts detect magic he then goes to look at the egg shell. This turns out to be a mottled blue and white egg shell which is broken open at the back, this must be the white dragons shell.  Roj then looks at the stone tablet, it appears to be in dwarvish as are the plaques on the pedestals. The tablet is magical and seems to him to be a code of some sort and he puts in it his pack, happy that he did not blow up, shrink or have other unfortunate things happen.  Yehonala decides that taking the whole 3′ egg would be difficult picks up some of the broken bits, she thinks they might be useful for her alchemy. Roj then looks at the tooth, this is not magical but is over 2′ long, Not sure what it comes from the druid asks the others and Yehonala says it might be from a red dragon due to the burning on the tooth. She then sticks that in her pack as well, to go with her dragon egg shell.

 

Roj then looks at the warhammer, which radiates magic, it appears to be to a dwarf design and of a odd metal. He shows to Grschl who with his background in metal working recognises adamantine. Groschl then looks at the shield, which is forged of black metal and bears the symbol of a serpent which ends in its head as part of the spike. He thinks its orcish and straps it on his back.  Having picked up the hammer and the shield Groschl now goes for the helm. This is a battle worn helm with a crown around it and a rearing dragon atop it, it has a mail coif attached to it. As this has also registered as magical he puts in on his head.

 

The dwarf sized helm expands a little to fit his larger head, so he leaves his old helm in its place. He now realises he can read the plaques on the  pedestals. The first says the shield celebrates the warriors of clan Axefell and their victory over a orc lord. The second commemorates the master magic crafters of Clan Ember, the helm is known as Stone Friend. The description of it shows that it allows improvement to ones ability to deal with earth races, like dwarves, gnomes, halflings and earth elementals, as well as being able to read and speak dwarven.  The third item is the broken fang of a red dragon that failed to storm the city, it is their to commemorate clan Shieldfast.  The warhammer is Foehammer and celebrates the craft of the Firbrand clan, it is named after the mountains and is a goblin bane weapon. The tablet is the writ of sale of mithril to the King of Man and recalls the master traders of clan Deepdelve. The final pedestal honours clan Wandered, the egg was stolen from the nest of an ancient white dragon and placed in stasis.  This mystical cage has obviously failed and allowed the dragon to hatch.

 

Having spent some hours looking at these items and seeing that the passage which went straight on lead to a rubble filled collapsed area which Roj believes lead back to where they encountered the steps guard on their way to the waterfall, they leave the room, carrying their loot with them. They move back up the hall to the middle hot door. This iron door is hot to the touch, but again Roj opens it while the still invisible Broidren stands ready to enter with lanterns shinning on the door. Roj opens the door and a blast of steam vents from the room beyond. As a reaction to the steam they all try to avert their eyes, some manage to others don’t. The steam makes it hard to see for a few seconds and then dissipates around the hall. Broidren enters and sees, a 20’x30′ room dominated by a enormous forge, which is still working. The air is thick with the smell of smelted ore and bright mounds of hot coals cast the room in a hellish red light. A 6′ tall living flame works before the forge, a fire elemental smith!

 

Broidren leaves the room and tells the others what he has seen. Groschl goes in, as he has a smithing background. He speaks to the smith in dwarven, ‘can I ask you what you are doing’ he says. The smith hears ‘can you what doing’

The smith replies ‘more water please’ pointing to a tank at the back of the room. His quenching pool, Groschl sees that it is no longer full.

Groschl says, ‘give me something to put it in’, the smith hears ‘me put it in’, and replies ‘there’ and points at the vat again.

Groschl realises that although the helm allows him to speak in dwarven he is not very good at it. However practice makes perfect and he continues.

 

The group uses their helmets to collect water from the lift area, where the stream falls from above. As they do so Groschl takes it to the tank and pours it in, each time the warm water becomes cold. This activity takes some hours, they stop and eat as they work, and Yehonala keeps watch. Groschl continues a intermittent conversation with the fire smith.

G – ‘what are you working on? what’s it for?’

S – ‘great sword’, ‘….. attempt’

G – ‘would mithral help in this process?’ The smith hears ‘mithral help this process’

S – ‘yes it would, I was not left with any’

G – ‘if I supply some can we keep half’, smith hears ‘I supply ….. can we keep half’

S – ‘yes’, ‘where from?’

G – ‘I’ll show you’, smith hears ‘show’.

S – ‘ok’.

 

So Groschl takes the fire elemental to the anvil, where the fire smith covers it with his body. Then says ‘yes! you move to forge.’ and nove off the anvil which has been slightly melted at its edges. Groschl gets Chester and Zac to help him and flexing his massive size picks up the anvil and carries it to the room. Then Groschl drags it to the forge.

The smith move to the far wall and opens a secret door in it, ‘one’ pointing in. ‘Pardon’ replies Groschl. The smith replies ‘please one’. ‘Please one what’  Groschl says.

S – ‘take one as reward’ and points into door again. Groschl goes to the door and looks. the small room is full of racks of weapons and armour all shinny new.  Their appears to be 1-6 of each type of metal armour and weapon all sized for dwarfs. Groschl looks over the items and takes a all metal halberd, although it is slightly shorter than his its haft is metal not wood and it is so well balanced and honed. Groschl says ‘thanks’ and hands the broken hammer and his old halberd to the smith.

 

The elemental cuts off the end of the anvil, about 20lb of mithral, Groschl says ‘can you cut in quarters’ and the smith replies ‘ok’. The smith then cuts the piece into four each about 5 lb each. Groschl says ‘thank you’. Each of the main characters put a 5 lb piece of mithral into their packs and think about having some time to rest and recover from their latest exertions.

 

 

—————————————————————————

Omus 4 First

The group wedges the door shut and then notices that they are running short of oil for the lanterns.  So they put the lanterns out and use the remaining skulls for light. Yehonala and Chester stand guard while the others go to sleep. Broidren and Roj both sleep for eight hours to recover their magical energies. After this eight hours, they set Zara and Groschl to work clearing the passageway working for half an hour before swapping with Chester and Zac. They swap around like that for two hours then take an hour break, then start again. The rubble is moved from the passageway into the room, Groschl uses his engineering knowledge limited as it is, helped by the blessing of the druid Roj, to take out the minimum rubble needed making a passage about 3′ wide and 4-5′ high.  This work took more than half a day and required Broidren to be woken four times to cast feather fall on four large boulders to make them easier to move.

 

By the end of this time, they are all covered in dust and Roj’s wolf keeps shaking out his fur to get it off of him. During this time they used candles for light around the work area. With the feel of a draft on their hot and tired bodies they realise they have got through. Broidren casts invisibility on himself and goes through the cleared way to see what is beyond.  While he is gone the others  put armour on and arm themselves. Broidren comes back and tells them his infravision allowed him to see stairs going down from the passage leading into a chamber  which had two bodies in it, Bugbears they assume as they say them on the way up the stairs to the falls.  The Bugbears with their acute hearing had heard the digging and now smelt something in the air, so go to see what was going on.

 

Our party prepares to go through the passage and are hoping to trick the bugbears again into believing that they are White Lady forces again, after all the know the pass phrase.  Broidren leads the way, still invisible, with each person putting a hand on the person in front. Followed by Roj and his wolf, then Tommy with the lantern, Yehonala, Chester, Zara, Zac with Groschl bring up the rear.

 

They make a lot of noise moving through, and the mercenaries chat a lot, so they are heard coming by the bugbears who move to the top of the stairs.  “Who’s there” the bugbears grunt in common. “Servants of the White Lady” Roj replies, “looking for Lilath.” “Where are you?” comes the grunt again. “Relief party” Roj replies, having heard who are you rather than where are you. “Advance” comes the reply.

 

Broidren steps out followed by Roj, who is attacked by spears from both sides. He throws himself to the ground as he sees the blades coming. It appears the bugbears didn’t fall for the trick this time, maybe they had been warned by Lilath.

 

Broidren reacts and draws his falchion, the bugbears both attack Roj, on the ground, who manages to parry both attacks. His wolf leaps at a bugbear put misses and impales itself on the spear, right through his left hind leg.

Broidren attacks the right side bugbear, losing his invisibility as he does so, causing a bleeding wound on its right arm. The bugbear turns to face and puts his back to the wall while thrusting his spear at Broidren. The other bugbear stabs at Roj again impaling his spear into his right arm, nearly wreaking it.

Broidren attacks again getting past the bugbears parry and hitting it in the head.

 

Broidren again attacks, but is parried, the bugbear stabs back and hits Broidren in his leg. Yehonala casts phantasmal force with audible glammer,  she creates a knight of the republic in plate armour with shield and sword. Sir Reginald of New Venice her hero. Roj sees this appear  and calls out for help as he starts to cast cure serious wounds on himself.  The other bugbear having delayed, throws his spear at the knight, spearing in right through its armour and into its right arm. Yehonala manipulates it so that it does not drop its sword, but does now have a spear in its arm. Roj’s wolf lies by him whimpering in pain. Groschl tells the mercenaries to kneel so he can use his bow as they do he says now I can see as there is nothing between me and the end, forgetting the appearing knight. This causes the illusion to unravel and disapear, much to Yehonala’s dismay.

Broidren attacks again, taking a head shot again, staggering the bugbear. In reply Broidren takes a hit to his chest, the other bugbear moves to retrieve his spear from the wolf.

Yehonala fires off three magic missiles at the bugbear who had moved into the open to retrieve his spear, these hit his right leg twice and its left arm. and then does it again hitting the same areas.

 

Broidren again hits the bugbear in its head, Yehonala pushes past Tommy to get closer to the front. Roj fails in his casting of his heal spell due to the distraction of having a spear in his arm.

Broidren swings again and hits the bugbear in the head again dropping it to the ground, dead with blood coming from many wounds, the other one dies from the many missile wounds it had received.

 

Both bugbears are dead, Roj finally casts his healing spell healing his right arm, although the spear is still stuck in it, he then heals his wolf the same way. Yehonala with Groschl helping her, removes both spears, with the holes closing up due to the healing spell.  Looking around they find that the stairs leads to the chamber Broidren saw before which has two passageways leading off of it. One is full of rubble and leads to the back of the statues where they had encountered the bugbear guard on the way in up the stairs to the waterfall. The other seems to lead out to the stairs, this the use the bodies and shields to create an obstacle, they then prepare to rest to regain their strength and magical power.  Broidren and the Wolf stand guard first, followed by Roj and the wolf, then Yehonala and Tommy with Groschl and the mercenaries taking the end. Each slot is about three to four hours long, giving the magic users enough time to fully recover.

 

 

 

——————————————————————-

 

Omus 5 First

Our party wake to the dim light of early morning, over breakfast they decide on what to do next. Yehonala wants to go to the Goblin held area to rescue her cousin, who she has not forgotten. The others are not so sure and think finishing of Liath and her forces would be a better idea. The mercenaries think home to Wildsgate would be good.  In the end they decide to head home to Wildsgate and so prepare to send Broidren out to scout back down the stairs. Zara with a crossbow, Chester and Zac with sword and shield stand guard at the entrance.  They are told that Broidren will throw three stones in when he gets back to warn them. Broidren then turns himself invisible and heads down the stairs, he reaches the area of the statues and continues down to the Dais near the bottom by the forest. As he goes he sees bats high above circling.  At the bottom he looks around and sees nothing moving, he can hear small animals and birds but nothing threatening, so he goes back up.

 

As he goes back up he notices a guard up by the waterfall, straining his eyes and moving closer he see’s that the guard is leaning against the wall with his shield leaning there as well. Broidren makes some noise as he goes, but assumes that the guard did not hear as he did not move.  Broidren heads back to the rest of the group, throwing the stones in to alert them of his coming. Talking quietly he explains what he say and they again discuss there options. With a decision made they act.

 

Roj bless them all and Broidren casts invisibility on Yehonala, who will act as backup to Broidren with her magic. Broidren heads back up the steps to the guard, with Yehonala watching from below. He puts his hand over the mouth of the guard and stabs with his dagger, pushing the blade past the guards helmet and into his face. He then trips him over the edge and into the falling river. Yehonala reports to the others Broidren’s success as a now visible Broidren comes back down the steps to join them.

 

As Broidren comes down the rest of the group start up towards him. As they do they spot two bat’s diving towards them. With time to get ready Tommy and Zac load crossbows while Chester prepares to throw a spear and Groschl prepares his longbow. Broidren casts shield on himself and Yehonala prepares to cast as well. Once the bats are at 125 meters or so, Groschl realises but misses due to their speed and the wind. Once they get to around 60 meters Yehonala casts three magic missiles hitting both riders. Roj uses his sling but misses as well, while Broidren casts Feather Fall on one bat. The bats veer off under this magical barrage, one struggling to maintain flight with both riders injured.

 

The group abandon heading up and head down the stairs to the forest, realising that they are now low on magical power again and that fighting there way back into the mine might be costly. Reaching the bottom of the steps, and enter the forest again. Meanwhile Liath notices the missing guard and replaces him with a pair as well as finding the dead bugbears and the new way into the mines.  Crossing the river the group heads towards the Goblin held part of the Spires. They can see multiple peaks which seem to be linked by some sort of structure, they can also see bats circling the peaks. At the bottom of the main spire they can see a entrance a little way up the slope. Realising that again they will have to work in dark mountain interiors and with there lack of oil for light or any magical way of creating light they give up for the time being and decide to head back to Wildsgate to resupply.

 

So heading back into the wood they head back towards the ford and rope bridge. Broidren is sent forward to scout and see’s across the river twelve riders in dispersed line standing back from the crossing. He reports and they recognise the flag as that of the Republics outriders under Captain Argun. Yehonala and him go together and Yehonala hails, ‘What’s going on?’.   Broidren adds, ‘we have been doing some clearing in the Spires for the baron.’

Argun replies, ‘Yes so what!’

Broidren, ‘we intend to look for a lost cousin and the lost artefacts of the baron, we need save passage to go and get more oil.’

Argun, ‘So what!’

Broidren, ‘will you let us cross?’

Argun, ‘whose stopping you?’

Broidren, ‘assume you patrol and stop crossing’.

Argun, ‘true’.

Yehonala, what’s the reason for the patrol? has anything happened?’

Argun, ‘its our normal job’

Yehonala, ‘can we buy oil from you?’

Argun, ‘are we merchants?’

Brodren, ‘how many of our party can cross please?’

Argun, ‘how many are you?’

Broidren, ‘eight’

Argun, ‘fine’

They go and get the others, and Groschl decides to cross first, using the stones and holding on to the ropes. As he reaches dry land on the other side and raises his helm, Argun shouts, ‘its a orc! attack.’ The riders start to move towards Groschl from 200 feet away. Groschl calls out that he is a half orc and not an enemy, but still the riders close, lowering their lances.

 

Groschl picks up his halberd and backs into the river and slowly back to his friends. The riders full back again. Zara tells them that the riders will leave and go back to the fort come night, and reminds them that it is rumoured that Argun has a crush on Lady Aborn.

 

 

So how will they get oil?

Will they manage to rescue Yehonala’s cousin and get the last key?

 

 

—————————————————————-

 

With the ford currently impossible to cross Yehonala looks through her spell book for an answer. She finds some pages stuck together, which she had not noticed before, and separating them finds the light spell. Being a second level mage she can now cast continual light on her staff to get over the lighting oil problem. This does not help them cross the river but will help them to explore the goblin mines, so they decide to head back there and deal with that problem before the issue of re-crossing the river. As its now late in the afternoon they decide to camp away from the ford but near to the river long enough to recover their strength and magical ability. They decide in the end to cast the light onto the bull’s-eye lantern so they can shut it on and off and direct it.

 

They decide to camp on the rocky, hill between the main and side waters, Broidhren and Roj scout it out and find a circle of trees on the top with small trees and scrub up its sides. Broidhren also see’s the riders heading back to the fort, he can see the beacons of the fort being light for the night. The only wildlife they see are the nesting birds they scare, who settle back again after taking flight.  In the centre of the trees they find some moss and lichen covered stones, they appear to be in a square. Broidren removes the moss covering and dirt and they appear to be in a ordered fashion, maybe part of a building. After uncovering  all the stones, Broidhren finds an inscription which appears to be in an old elvish tongue. It seems to say ‘Rest in peace this night’  Thinking back to what he heard as a child in the elf woods Broidhren thinks that this is a rest place. It will alert you to any danger so you can rest safety, however if you stay to long you will not wake.  This might be the reason no animals seem to be around. With this security they decide to camp here for 9 hours with Groschl and Zac taking first watch, followed by Broidhren and Zara followed by Roj and Chester,  Roj’s wolves went off hunting.

 

Late at night while Broidhren and Zara were on guard they had a voice saying, beware danger while the others, asleep, woke with a dream of shapes climbing the slope. Most grab weapons and prepare while Tommy opens the lantern, Roj tries to see what he can see and then starts to cast Barkskin 3,  Yehonala casts Shield.  A minute later there is a shrill scream followed by a bunch of javelins coming from different directions.  Two miss Broidhren, one is stopped by Yehonala’s sheild spell, one misses Roj, one sticks in Chester’s and Zara’s shield’s while poor Tommy is hit twice and left bleeding to death.

 

They are under attack..

Yehonala reacts fast and starts to cast a level five fireball, while Broidhren starts to cast Shield. Zara and Chester start to chop the javelins out of their shields, while Roj calls for his wolves. Groschl looks around and spots a goblin in the scrub. Another deep roar and two 7′ tall furry Bugbears crash in to the camp, one engaging Yehonala and other Zac.

Yehonala, having started casting a fireball, holds her nerve and casts it 20′ behind the bugbear. The creature is covered in fire, which not only burns badly but also sets fire to its fur, it falls to the ground roaring in pain as it burns to death. The large are of the fire ball also catches three Goblins, although Yehonala does not know that at this time. Broidhren finishes his Shield spell, while Zac manages to get pass the Bugbears parry and hit it, causing a slight wound. The seven remaining Goblins, having rearmed, through javelins again, most missing or being parried but Groschl had thrown himself to the ground to make sure he was not hit. Zac’s Bugbear smashes his long spear into Zac’s shield, as Zac manages to avoid being impaled.

Yehonala looks around, Broidhren looks around and moves to help Zac.

 

Yehonala turns round and casts a magic missile at the other Bugbear hitting it in its right leg. Broidhren engages the same Bugbear, while Zac attacks it but is forced to the ground while losing his weapon to the mighty parry of the creature. Roj tries to cast Barkskin on Groschl but the spell fails. The Goblins rain javelins onto the group again.  One is stopped by Boridhren’s magical shield, another hits Roj in the head and Zara takes one in her abdomen. Groschl stands up, while the bugbear smashes his shield into the fallen Zac’s head, caving it in.

Yehonala casts another magic missile this time creating 3 missile which drops the Bugbear as one hits it in the head. Boridhren finishes it off.

 

They can hear the remaining Goblins running away, they decide not to follow into the dark forest. Ten seconds of combat and Chester, Zac and Tommy are dead, but the attack was driven off. Roj tends to Zara’s wound with his magic.  Roj’s wolves turn up later with blood on their jaws. Deciding they need more rest to recover magic power again Yehonala, Roj and Boridhren go to sleep for another six hours. While Groschl and Zara honour and burry the dead.

 

 

 

—————————————————–

 

Omus 6 First

It is now late morning and being all awake they plan their next move. They decide to go to the Goblin caves but will track back those who attacked them to see if they come to a different entrance. Roj and his wolves track back the goblins and they end up back at the cave mouth in the spire. After a brief chat they decide to go in.

 

Broidren makes himself invisible and looks into the cave and then enters a little way. The entrance widens into a large cave that sinks of rot. His infravison shows patches of heat, he concentrates hard and works out that they are mouldy leaves and deadwood with dripping water on the walls and ceiling. He looks around for other ways in and out and sees cut stone steps curling up from his left. Using his pebble trick he alerts the other to his return and tells them what he has seen.

 

Yehonala casts Phantasmal Force onto a ground sheet to make it look like the ground around them. They then hold the four corners with the wolves under it and walk very slowly across the open ground from the tree line to the cave. This was to avoid the circling bats seeing them. As they move in Roj checks again for secret doors and finds none. Roj opens the lantern so they can all see and with Broidren leading, around 30-40 feet ahead, followed by Groschl, Roj and his wolves, Yehonala and then Zara at the back they prepare to climb the steps.

 

Broidren climbs the steps which wind upwards into the spire, varying between 6-8 foot high and 7-10 wide,  till he reaches a 10′ long 6′ deep pit. He returns to tell the others of this obstacle. The others mill around at the foot of the steps not knowing they are being watched. After the usual discussion they work out a way past the hole.  Broidren climbs along the wall to get past the pit and moves 10′ on up to see what is ahead. He is not as quite as he thinks he is. The rest of the group follow after counting to 100 slowly, when they reach the pit Groschl lowers himself into the pit. He checks the bottom of it using his halberd, moving the bones and leaves around and so exposing the rock floor. There are stakes pushed into holes cut into the rocky floor, but he can see nothing else. Groschl then carries the wolves across the gap, and helps Roj up the other side after he dropped himself down.  The wolves growl, it is assumed they can smell Goblin.  Yehonala drops down into the pit, and Groschl helps her up the other side while having a grope.

 

A low moan rumbles through the air and they see a monstrous ogre wreathed in blue flames at the top of the stairs. The tortured wail fills the cramped stairs as the flying ogre hurtles down the steps. As everything happens   fast, the fiery ogre slams into Broidren and throws him backwards. Roj tries to get out of the way but is also picked up by the ogre. Groschl and Yehonala fall back into the pit as Roj and Broidren are dropped in as the ogre fly’s over it. Roj  twists in his fall to land on his shield injuring his arm while Broidren lands on his chest driving the metal studs on his studded leather into his body.

 

A goblin screeching war-cry follow the ogre attack,  and Zara who managed to stop the onrush can see some goblins at the top of the stairs with javelins. The goblins throw their javelins at Zara but miss her due to the ogre being in the way, while Yehonala starts work on an illusion of herself leaving the pit. Groschl pulls a stake out of the floor, while Broidren prepares feather fall and holds it. Yehonala then uses her image to get out of the pit, a bunch of javelins hit the image and Yehonala lets it fail. Roj sends the wolves to attack the goblins. The Goblins stand and one is taken down by a wolf, the other two run and one of them is taken down by the other wolf.  Both of these goblins are ripped apart while the other goblin gets away.

 

As the party clear the pit again the wolves come back with blooded mouths, Roj stops to cast a healing spell onto Broidren, who had been badly bruised by his fall. Meanwhile the Goblin gives the alarm and the other occupants of the complex prepare to deal with the intruders.  Broidhren scouts ahead again, seeing at the top of the steps a 30 x 50 foot irregular cave, rotten mats, straw and cracked bones litter the floor of the sprawling cavern. The low ceiling is stained black from the smoke of  small fires a couple of which still burn. The air is oppressive with moisture and heat, broken wooden crates have been converted into crude beds and small sleeping holes have been carved into the walls. There is also a barricade of these crates across the further right hand corner of the cave with a mould eaten banner across the far wall. Behind the barricade are  4 goblin heads and 2 bugbears armed and ready.  Broidren reports all this back to the others.

 

Roj casts Barkskin onto Groschl then Groschl followed by Yehonala enter the room, Broidren has already gone back in. Broidren moves towards the banner and see’s feet under it. Three goblins throw javelins at Yehonala hiding behind Groschl, most miss and land close and one bounces off Groschl. As the goblins rearm Groschl and Yehonala fall back, releasing that a silence spell is in effect as they can not talk to each other.  Broidren pulls back the banner and looks in. The banner parts to reveal a chamber strewn with macabre decorations. The walls, ceiling and floors are painted with dripping red runes that spiral in on themselves like a labyrinth of eldritch mystery. A withered hunchbacked goblin sits at the back of the room over a pair of bone dice. The goblin barks something in a guttural tongue, then begins to shake the die in his crippled claws. With a flourish he casts the die into the centre of the room. He said in goblin, ‘blood thralls eh? Sent by the master, were you? We’ll see if fortune shines on you bloody leech today.’  Broidren evades away and back through the banner.  He then creeps back in but again has to move the banner so his entry is seen, even if he can not be. The goblin calls out again and the roots poking through the floor and ceiling grab around the area of the banner trapping Broidren. ‘I might not be able to see you but I know you are there’ the goblin grunts.

 

Meanwhile, Groschl goes back into the cave and picks up the centre javelin,  Roj also with Barkskin on himself also moves in with his sling ready for use. Zara follows with her crossbow, Yehonala stays back down the steps out of sight. Three javelins hit Groschl but all bounce off his armour and barkskin.

Roj slings his shot at a bugbear but misses, while the goblins rearm and the bugbears pick up spears to throw. Zara hits a bugbear in the head with her crossbow bolt, while Groschl throws the javelin and hits a bugbear in the head as well. Non of these hits do much damage to the tough bugbears.

Roj steps behind Groschl and starts to reload his sling, while the goblins and bugbears throw. Zara is hit in her left arm with a javelin which sticks in it, Groschl is also hit in his right arm and has a javelin stuck in it.

 

Roj moves to the side cave off to the right, while there is a break in the fire as the goblins and bugbears rearm. Zara falls back to the stairs and Yehonala, while Groschl stands, before he also joins Roj in the side cave.

 

So Zara, Yehonala and the wolves are on the stairs with Zara having a javelin in her arm. While a impaled Groschl and Roj are in the side cave and Broidren is stuck in the other cavern.

 

How will they get out of this, split up and injured.

Find out next time.

 

 

 

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Yehonala deciding she was the only way out for all of them, put on her courage and started casting spells. First she cast ‘Shield’ which would last 25 seconds, then ‘Mirror Image’ which would last 30 seconds. Then she moved up the steps, with Zara’s voice calling out don’t leave me, ringing in her ears. With time running out on her spells, she casts a powerful level five ‘Fireball’ spell. Yehonala then stepped up the last couple of steps and released the ball of fire at the centre of the barricade and its defenders. As it turned out she was lucky enough to catch the Goblins and Bugbears out of step and before they could throw javelins at her the fireball went off.

 

With a roaring sound the ball of fire expanded and covered the goblins and bugbears in flame along with the banner. The goblins and bugbears are fired and the area starts to fill with the smell of burning flesh and fur. This causes Roj to throw up, Broidren, still invisible, trapped on the other side of the barricade is lucky the barricade and the roots take some of the fire and he is only badly singed all over, his un-armoured legs worse of all.  Yehonala followed the fire into the cavern, he tried to peer through the burning banner and luckily he makes out the old goblin shaman. She uses up virtually the last of her magical energies to throw three magic missiles at the goblin. These hit in the head and both arms, causing the goblin to scream out and fall to the ground, as Yehonala does not understand goblin and no one else heard the cry she has no idea what curse the goblin might have thrown at her.

 

With the area free of enemies, the party turns to healing its wounds. Roj fails to safely remove the javelin from Groschl arm, so casts cure on the badly injured arm. Yehonala meanwhile also fails to remove safely the javelin in Zara and makes the wound so bad that her arm is useless. Roj comes over and casts heal serious wound on it to restore it to good order. Groschl and Yehonala then use some healing balm and first aid to ease Broidren’s burns somewhat.

 

With the healing done and with both Roj and Yehonala effectively out of magical energy, they decide they need to secure the area so that they can rest. First they need to search the area, Groschl checks out the main cavern while Roj checks out the shamans area. Groschl finds 3sp amongst the debris of the barricade and bedding. Roj finishes of the shaman and finds a small iron chest amongst the various odds and ends around the area, there is also a short spear by the shaman. The spears tip is shaped like a serpents head ending in a razor sharp tongue. uncovering the chest results in Roj being pricked. Broidhren is called to open the chest he disables the poison needle trap but fails to get past the lock. Groschl takes his halberd to the end of the chest trying to cut it off. After a couple of tries he cuts through the end and liquid runs out with sliver coins in it.Yehonala picks it up and puts it on its other end to stop the flow. She realises that this liquid is from minor healing potions. As she looks into the the chest she can see a broken ceramic jug with three broken vials in it.  The pounding of the halberd must have broken them, she can also see a slivered axe head and sliver coins. Roj uses the last of his magic to cast detect magic in the area, the spear resisters as magical as does the liquid. The axe head doesn’t but Groschl thinks he could make a shaft for it and it might be helpful.

 

Having noticed a passageway behind where the shaman was, they check it out, it leads to a dead end with a hole in the floor. There is a rope and bucket beside the hole both with webs and mould on. In the hole they can see the reflection of dark water, the air sinks of death and an icy chill steals through there bones. Being paranoid they decide to cover the hole and use parts of the barricade to do so, the rest of the barricade is used to partially block the entrance which the banner had covered.  With this done Groschl and a wolf take first watch to be followed around three hours later by Zara and the other wolf while the others sleep to recharge their magical energies. They light a small fire for a little warmth and a little light. The aim is to sleep or rest for around nine hours, which will not totally recharge Yehonala but will give her a large portion of her magical strength back and fully restore the other two.

 

The switch over to Zara being on guard goes fine, but a little later one of the wolves stirs in its sleep. Then Broidren screams in his sleep, his nightmare waking the others. As they others wake and improve the light they can see that Broidren is shrouded in shadow, Groschl picks up his halberd, while the others think.

Broidren screams again and Groschl jabs at the shadow but it just passes in so he stops before hitting Broidren.

Yehonala fires off a level one magic missile, which hit and shakes the shadow.

The shadow falls away from Broidren and moves rapidly down the passageway and through the cover into the hole.

Broidren seems to have suffered a life force loss and is very tired, so they let him sleep for another three hours, with Groschl on guard holding the magical spear, which they assume is what kept the shadow at bay before.

 

This goblin area is proving more dangerous than they expected, what other horrors will they find and is Yehonala’s cousin still likely to be alive?

 

 

 

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With the party rested, magical strength partially restored and some food eaten, they prepare to continue into the alerted goblin caves and bridges. It is night outside although the heroes have no way of knowing that. Broidren again takes the role of scout, he sneaks up the rough cut steps in the rock, moving upwards with every step. He moves slowly taking care over ever step, as one slip will throw him back down the steps or alert anyone at the top. after about a few hundred steps he senses that the passage has widened out into a cave or such, his Infravision shows him little.  He goes back down the steps a bit and waits for a while, a 200 count, and then goes back up to look again. Again he moves carefully and slowly, he sees a little more this time, some various changes in heat but he has no idea what they are. He waits to see what will happen, meanwhile the others are tapping their feet and wondering if he is ok.  After waiting a while Broidren moves around slowly to see if he can find out what is in this area. He puts his hand into slimy stuff and touches cloth and wood, he thinks this is a storage area filled with boxes and crates, some of which have fallen apart in the wet and damp atmosphere.

 

Broidren goes down to get the others quite sure that there is no danger here. With the lantern, the one with a permanent Light spell on it, they can quickly see that the cavern is stacked floor to ceiling, with crates, barrels and boxes. All of the goods seemed ruined by moisture, mould and time. Rolls of cloth rot in puddles, broken casks of wine litter the room, and spoiled foodstuffs sit in piles on the floor.  As the group searches around for a long time and they manage to find some dried meats and salted fish for a snack, Roj also casts detect magic and finds  a idol of Sodomutya, it is covered in brown stains which they assume is dried blood. They decide to leave it where it is. Meanwhile Groschl gets Zara to make some torches from bits of crate and cloth.

 

Broidren meanwhile moves up more steps but finds a dead end, so he goes back down to the others. Roj goes up with the lantern with Groschl behind him. He sees a trap door 8′ above the ground in the ceiling. There are also small hand and foot holds in the wall which would allow a goblin to climb up. They talk among themselves, making quite a bit of noise.  Broidren climbs up and hears two goblin style voices and smells cooking meat. Broidren goes back down to Roj and they talk to each other quitely and then the others. Broidren climbs back up and moves the locking bar out of the way, while Groschl listens but all he can hear is the sound of Broidren’s heart and breathing.

 

Yehonala holds the lantern, while Roj casts Barkskin on Broidren. Broidren then stands on Roj’s shield and Groschl lifts it up. As he does Broidren pushes the trap door open with his left hand while holding his falchion in his right. Held up into the opening Broidren can see two goblins, standing in a cave with a brassier in it, roasting bits of meat on their javelins.

 

Broidren jumps to engage the first goblin, who jabs with its javelin at him missing. The other goblin throws his javelin and also misses.

Broidren swings his falchion and misses while the goblin seeing a chance misses its parry. The goblin then misses again with his javelin while the second one draws his morning star.

Broidren attacks again and catches the goblin in its left arm, causing it to bleed. Meanwhile Roj gets onto Groschl’s shield.

 

Broidren manages to get pass goblin ones parry and hits it in the head, the goblin withdraws away. Broidren attacks and gets overstretched.

Goblin two having moved into combat smashes at Broidren with its morning star, the heavy blow is parried by Broidren’s sword.

 

Roj having been lifted by Groschl attacks the goblin with his goblin bane war hammer but misses. While Broidren gets past the goblins parry and hits it in the head. The first goblin runs while the second one swings at Broidren who parries again.

Roj again misses with his attack, but Broidren hits and tries to trips the goblin while hitting it in its left arm rendering it useless. The goblin keeps its balance. Goblin one runs out of sight, while two tries also tries to withdraw, he is hit as he does so by Broidren and his falchion rips its abdomen open killing it.

 

Broidren spends some seconds thinking and then chases the fleeing goblin. Being faster, even if tired from the fight, Broidren starts to catch the wounded and tiring goblin. Broidren slips on some blood and realises he is on a rope and plank bridge, he unluckily fails to keep his balance and also fails to grap the edge as he falls over. As he falls he tries to cast Feather Fall, failing the first time and only succeeding just before he hits the rocky ground after a 100′ fall. He managed not to scream as he fell so being able to cast his spell.  He finds somewhere to hide and rests for half an hour or so and then having recovered his breath casts invisibility on himself.

 

 

So now the party has lost its scout, where has he fallen?

What will Broidren do and what will the rest do?

 

 

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With the fight over the others are lifted up by Groschl and he then pulls himself up. Past the trapdoor is a open air chamber looking out onto a wooden platform. An iron brazier stands in the centre of the floor, its glowing embers light the room dimly. The wolves set about eating the meat on the javelins, while Roj moves to look outside. A rope and plank bridge stretches out from the platform reaching over to another platform.  On the bridge Roj can just about make out in the dim light of the night a goblin lying on it. He can not see any bats around. So he moves out a bit further to look at the other platform. This large platform seems to cling to the side of the spire, he can make out some huts which must have a fire in them as he can see the heat plume coming from them, with his infravision. He can also make out three goblin sized heat sources on the platform.

 

They realise that Broidren has not come back and wonder where he might be. They start tp plan what they will now do.  The options come down to charging across the bridge to deal with the three goblins they can see and risk them raising the alarm. Or using spells and missiles to drop them first then to cross. They go for the later option in the end. Groschl and Zara prepare their long bow and crossbow respectively. Roj gives the wolfs the sent of the goblins and then keeps them ready to bound across the bridge to attack. Roj then casts Barkskin on himself followed by Fairy Fire to illuminate the goblins so that Zara and Groschl can see them. Zara and Groschl take aim at two different goblins while Yehonala standing behind readies three magic missiles, one for each goblin. Loose comes the call from Groschl and the wolfs are realised as Zara and Groschl release their missiles and Yehonala casts her spell.

 

What with the distance over 60′ and the lack of light and the night wind these are not easy shots for Groschl and Zara, she misses but he gets a goblin in the eye, the goblins scream as the magic missiles and arrow hit home.

 

Zara and Groschl chance weapons to their melee weapons and start to move onto the bridge, while Roj loads his sling. Yehonala keeps watch for bats or any other dangers, while the wolfs leave the bridge and move onto the other platform.

 

Groschl and Zara start to cross the bridge moving slowly so as not to fall, its a long way down. Roj releases his sling but misses.

 

The wolfs attack two of the goblins, baying as they attack. Groschl and Zara reach the end of the bridge and look around while Roj picks up his goblin bane warhammer and moves onto the bridge.

 

The goblins coming out of the huts react and throw javelins. Two hit one of the wolves, sticking into it, two miss Groschl and one of two sticks in Zara’s shield.  Zara and Groschl delay and move into engagement range.

The goblins go again and ready their morning stars. Groschl attacks and hits but the goblin parries with his buckler reducing the damage to its chest. Zara also attacks but misses, the  goblin parries anyway and knocks her sword from her hand.

 

The six goblins, three are dead or dying, mainly delay, expect the one facing Zara who hits her with its morning star and knocks her back and over the edge of the platform. Another tries to close with Groschl fails and is tripped and decapitated at the same time by Groschl’s halberd. Roj orders his wolfs, one to jump attack a goblin who throws its self out of the way, and the other to evade away. Groschl attacks and decapitates another goblin. Zara, arrhhhh.

Goblins attack the wolf who is knocked unconscious by a blow to its head, and then killed.

 

The remaining four goblins delay and fall back round the platform away from the swinging halberd.  Our heroes, Roj and Groschl, slowly and carefully close on them while Yehonala starts to cross the bridge with great care.

As Roj and Groschl move into engagement range two goblins attack Roj using their delayed actions. one misses and Roj parries the other. The other two can not attack Groschl as his halberd has a longer reach.

The goblins attack Roj and get under the reach of Groschl’s halberd.

 

The goblins attack Roj and fail to do much while the other two attack Groschl who parries and extends the range again.

Roj attacks one goblin but both he and the goblins parry fail to do anything. Groschl seeing three goblins lines up in front of him swings his halberd in a wide arc. The first goblin has its head smashed in, the second a leg nearly ripped off and the last knocked out and tripped up.

The fight is all but over, a couple of coup de grace  and the platform is full of dead goblins, one badly wounded wolf with two javelins in it and one dead wolf.  Not forgetting Zara the last of their mercenaries. Roj sets to work using his first aid to remove the javelins safely from his remaining wolf. Yehonala helps him, but they fail and end up killing the wolf. Meanwhile Groschl throws the nine dead goblins and the wolf dead over the side. The last one joins them.

 

Roj takes a breather from the exertions of the fight while Yehonala and Groschl search the huts. They find 30 javelins which they break and one cask of some moonshine, this takes them a fair while. With Roj rested they have three ways to go, back the way they came, or over two other bridges one leading to a cave across the way on another spire or one round the back to another platform. They decide to go to the cave.

 

The floor to this cave is filled with rubble. Small boulders and bits of broken tiles line the floor. At the back of the chamber stands an ominous statue that reaches the 20′ ceiling. The statue depicts a muscular dwarf with outstretched wings of a bat, and writhing tentacles in place of a beard. The statues head is thrown back in a wild howl, its massive gemstone eyes sparkling in the darkness of the night. Twelve freshly slain bodies lie on the rocky floor.

 

The bodies  are Elf, Human and goblin. Yehonala thinks this statue is the god Sodoutym, the same as the little statue they found. One of the seven dark Dwarven gods, it also looks like this room was cut off from the main dwarf area and been opened by a later rock fall. Roj looking around, while Yehonala eyes up the eye’s, finds a secret door in the mouth. He then casts detect traps, burning fatigue to do so as well as forcing the spell. There does not appear to be any traps in this area.

 

Groschl crawls into the maw and through the secret doorway, inside the ten foot square area he sees undisturbed dust covering a heavy crossbow with fancy etchings, a full suite of plate armour dwarf sized crafted to look like the god  and 2 potion bottles along with a brooch. Yehonala coming in after Groschl casts detect magic on them and the rest of the cave. The crossbow, potions brooch as well as the statue all resister as magical.  Deciding they need to sleep as Roj is not only out of magic points but also very tired, they all get into the alcove reseal the door and putting the armour by the door and leaving the lantern glowing go to sleep. Fourteen hours later they wake, dust off the crossbow and see its flame weaved etching and pocket the brooch and potions.

 

Meanwhile.

Broidren, is sat invisible below the bridge, he hears the fight going on above him and sees a body fall screaming from the platform. Sue it is not a goblin by its size he casts feather fall onto it, stopping Zara’s headlong fall to the ground. He makes himself known to her and they sit and rest, wondering what has happen up above and where the others are.

 

 

 

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Zara talks to Broidren, who casts invisibility onto her, about the fight on the platform and how she fell. Broidren and Zara decide that there best option is to go back into the cave, which should be round the over side of the spire they are sat by. So the get up having rested and recovered from the shock of falling and slowly and carefully head around the bottom of the spire peak. Other than loose rocks, diversions around impassable areas, the odd sleeping creatures which scurries away, they find the journey fine. They talk quietly to each other  to make sure they do not lose track of each other, they are invisible after all.

 

After a hour or two the pair reach the cave mouth, they enter carefully in case any new goblins have arrived ahead of them. However all is fine, the cave area looks empty and ransacked just as they left it. Assuming that the stairs will also be clear they head up to the area of the goblin shaman and his group. This area is also still clear, with bodies still on the floor. So they head back up the stairs to the trapdoor, where Broidren listens carefully before going though the still open trapdoor. The area above is empty, there is no sign of the rest of the group, so Zara and Broidren cross the bridge to the next platform. This platform is also empty with blood covering the wooden platform. They see that there is only two ways off of this platform other then the way they came, one to a cave and one to another platform around the spire. Stopping and talking it over the decide the others are most likely to have gone to the cave first.

 

So Broidren and Zara cross the bridge to the cave and see the bodies on the floor. Broidren notices that the area has been disturbed recently, so they must have come here. They go back over the bridge and check out the other direction. There are goblins there so its obvious that they didn’t go that way or at least not yet.  With no idea of where they might have gone from here if at all, Zara and Broidren make them selves comfortable back in the statue cave.  As time passes Broidren uses magical power to keep the invisibility going. [-8MP for him]

 

Roj, Groschl and Yehonala have a meal after their hours of rest, sleeping and meditating, then they listen at the door to hear if they is anything going on in the cave. They hear nothing, though that might be due to the very tight and thick door. They sort out some of the treasures they have found so far, the Broach of Power goes to Yehonala she finds that her connection to the universe improves. The Iron Ring goes to Groschl, this provides a magical spell effect he can power from his own mystical energy. The Fancy crossbow goes to Yehonala who leaves her light one behind. Yehonala uses her clean Cantrip to make herself look presentable again. Yehonala and Roj drink the potions that Yehonala thinks are invisibility potions, they both have a few odd sensations and then disappear from each others and Groschl’s sight.

 

Groschl moves the dwarven armour from the doorway and Yehonala opens the door a little and listens. She can hear breathing and the sound of gentle movement, maybe something is out there. Yehonala quietly tells Groschl there might be something out there, he responds you are  invisible check it out. Yehonala opens the door and steps out into the maw of the statue and then into the cave itself. She stops and looks around and listens.  Nothing. She moves to look outside, its light with clouds and around midmorning.  She can see some big birds flying around in the sky but nothing else. So she goes back to the Maw and reports to the others. Roj steps out followed by Groschl who closes the secret door behind him. They all step into the cave.

 

As Roj, Yehonala and Groschl leave the secret area behind the statue, they hear ‘Hi, we wondered where you had got to. Do you know we have been sat here for ages!’ Who’s that! says Groschl and then recognises the voice of Broidren. Is that you Broidren? he asks. Yes me and Zara, where have you been? With four invisible parties they sit and Broidren and Zara tell there story, as do Groschl, Roj and Yehonala. With the catch up done, they give Zara the magical spear taken from the shaman to use.

 

With five members together now the party heads out and over the bridge to the platform with the huts. They move slowly so as not to fall or trip over each other. Groschl says we need to check the huts. Broidren goes up to the first hut and listens at its door, nothing and he can not see into the dark through the cracks due to the brightness of the daylight. So he opens the door and goes in, his infravision kicks in and he can see the heat of some embers in the brazier and a couple of rats trying to keep to the corners. He then moves over to the second hut and listens, again nothing. He opens the door and moves in. As his infravision kicks in he can see four goblins looking out through the walls.  The goblin nearest the door turns, mumbles in goblin and goes and closes the door. Broidren waits a while then opens and shuts the door as he leaves.  He goes to Groschl and tells him what is there, he goes to deal with it and asks Zara to cover the door.

 

Groschl enters the hut and goblins see him, he kills the first goblin. The other goblins pick up their morning stars, and Groschl walks to engage the next one.

The two unengaged goblins move to get close enough to attack while the third tries to close the range under Groschl’s halberd. The goblin is successful but is hit in the arm as it does, the halberd rips its right arm off killing the goblin at Groschl’s feet. Groschl then changes facing to face the other goblins.

The last two goblins attack, both fail to contact and Groschl parries one and extends the range from one goblin.

 

The goblin still in contact attacks and is parried, while the other one tries to close and is hit in its right leg and killed doing so.

The last goblin swings again, this time its morning star contacts, but does not get past Groschl armour, but the bash forces Groschl back into the wall and he falls.

The last goblin sees its change and legs it screaming, straight into Zara’s spear as he leaves the hut. This attack makes her visible, but all four goblins are dead and they do not thing his scream was long enough to alert any others.

 

Meanwhile the still invisible Roj looks around to see the other platform across a short bridge round the corner. There appears to be three more goblins under a cover from the sun sat there looking around. Groschl cleans the blood and guts and other rubbish from his body, while Roj goes to check hut three. He also listens at the door and hearing nothing enters. This hut is empty. Groschl clears up by throwing the bodies over the side and collecting 11sp from the bodies as he does.

 

Roj, Yehonala and Broidren cross the bridge to the small platform which the goblin spotters are on, they are all still invisible.  The bridge moves a lot in the wind and with their movements, but no warning is given. The three goblin sentries sit atop a high platform, the platform itself rests on a shorter spire offering   commanding view of the surrounding lands. There is a canopy over the platform offering shade from the sun.  After a 100 count Groschl follows onto the bridge, he moves carefully and slowly. He gets about half way across before a guttural shout shows he has been seen.

 

Groschl activates his ring and continues to walk slowly ready to respond to any attack. The three goblins pick up javelins.

The goblins throw their javelins but all miss.

The goblins pick up another javelin.

 

Groschl continues his careful walk along the bridge. The goblins throw again and miss again.

As Groschl is getting close to the end of the bridge the goblins arm with morning star and shield now.

 

Groschl again holds back but moves on to the platform. The goblins move to engagement range, one stopped at long reach by Groschl’s halberd the others getting closer. Groschl uses his being ready to thrust at the goblin right in front of him. The goblin fails to parry and is tripped and killed by the blow.

Again Groschl waits to respond, the two goblins attack one misses the other hits and trips Groschl.

The goblins attack again but Groschl even on the ground is hard to hit and they fail to.

 

With Groschl floored and under attack, Yehonala fires up three magic missiles targeting two at one goblin killing it and one at the other which hits the goblin in the head killing it. She is now also visible. Groschl gets up and throws the bodies over the side.

 

Roj and Broidren the only two left invisible, Broidren having kept his and Zara’s going, cross another bridge from this small platform to a large one they can see. This large platform is ominously empty, but a white crust covers most of the platform also the platform is missing even the low rail the others had. A pair of braziers stand before the mouth of an enormous cavern. They cross the white guano and enter the massive cave opening. In the light from outside they see, several long dark stalactites stretching from ceiling to floor,  In the far corner they see what looks like racks of riding harnesses. Beside the racks are stacks of javelins, and ropes. The floor of the cavern is covered in thick white mounds, and they smell the smock of a fire even though they can not see one. There seems to be two sets of crude stairs on one side leading up into darkness, and a small opening opposite the way in.

 

Distracted by looking around, Broidren and Roj are disturbed by a sudden breeze and a thumbing sound. They both drop to the floor as two stalactites come to life as dire bates who fly over them.

Broidren and Roj both start to crawl Roj towards the way they came and Broidren towards a wall.

The bats, using their echo location manage to find the two slowly moving items on the ground and fly past racking their claws over the two. Roj takes a hit but manages to avoid to much damage while Broidren takes a bad wound in his chest, nearly finishing him off.

 

Broidren lies still, while Roj casts Barkskin on himself, toughening his skin to high levels. Just as he finishes the bat manages to grab him, even though the barkskin protects him from damage.

 

Yehonala, Zara and Groschl hear the others cry for help and move onto the bridge to go help, as they do they see two dark shapes driving from above, more bat riders.

 

—————————————————-

 

What will happen?

Will Broidren survive his fall only to become bat food?

Will Roj be dropped from a great height?

See next time.

 

 

 

——————————————————-

 

With Broidren and Roj in trouble and two bats diving in fromm around 600′ away the party seems to be in trouble.

Broidren, in the bat cave, decides to play dead and hope that a non moving thing on the ground will be hard for the bats echo location to find. Yehonala, on the covered lookout platform, while working out the range to the diving bats, 600′, hands the magical crossbow to Zara. Roj, 5′ off the ground in the grip of the right claw of a bat in the bat cave, has his limbs free so swings his war hammer. A hard attack but he manages to hit the bats abdomen stunning it. The bat holding Roj throws him against the wall as it falls to the ground, the throw damages Roj’s leg. The two diving bats with riders close 100′ towards Groschl on the bridge between the outlook platform and the bat cave area platform. The other bat in the cave heads out of the cave leaving its buddy playing with its food. Groschl walks slowly over the bridge, while Zara takes the crossbow and starts to load it.

Yehonala realises three magic missiles at the incoming bat riders, as they are now in range, she hits one in the right arm twice and the other in the head. Roj decides to join Broidren and plays dead against the side of the wall and the floor. The two bats outside wheel away from the missile fire, while the stunned one rests and the other bat flies over the platform towards Groschl on who is about to step off the bridge. Groschl lies down.

Yehonala casts sleep on the bat about to attack Groschl, however it has no effect.

 

Yehonala casts sleep again, this time it works and puts the bat into a zzzzzz sleep. Groschl stands.

Yehonala sees that the two bats she fired at are circling at 600′.  Roj gets to his knees behind his shield, as the remaining bat in the cave tries to bat him with its wing. Groschl not wanting to ignore a sleeping bat gift, swings his halberd and smashes its head in. Again Groschl is covered with body fluids and bits of brain. Zara finishes loading the crossbow.

 

Yehonala moves onto the bridge now that Groschl has cleared it. Roj delays waiting to see what the bat will do, it sweeps its left wings this time. The wing fails to make contact with Roj and his attempt to hit the passing wing fails as well. The two bats outside are now circling at 600′.

Broidren hearing the sound of Roj in combat decides to kneel. Yehonala on the bridge tries to hit the bats and there riders by adding some range to her magic missiles, but the spell fails to go off. Roj again awaits the bats attack, again the bat fails to hit with its right wing but Roj catches it as it swings past him. The war hammer hits the wings mussel and injures it, while Groschl moves up behind it.

Broidren starts to cast colour spray while Yehonala tries the long range magic missiles again. This time it works and she hits both bat and rider.

 

Broidren moves towards the bat as he continues to cast colour spray, Yehonala continues her slow walk across the swaying plank and rope bridge. Roj again delays and awaits the bats attack. However this time the bat seeing Broidren swings its left wing at him, and knocks him back into the wall knocking him unconscious for four minutes. Of the two outside bats one flies away while the other closes in a dive by 100′. Groschl then swings at the bat he and Roj are fighting, smashing into its abdonmen with his halberd he knocks it out, for six minutes.

Roj attacks the bat doing more damage to its abdomen, followed by Groschl also ripping again into its abdomen. The outside bat closes to 400′.

Yehonala fires off another three magic missiles which hit the bat in its left wing and abdomen, this causes it to turn away and flee.

 

So with two dead bats and the other two plus presumably dead riders our heroes rest a second taking in the mess. Stirred up guano in the air and on them, mixed with blood, theirs and bat, as well as body bits from the bats. [all made to take endurance rolls to see if they have caught something, Broidren failed] Roj uses his wand of cure minor wounds twice on himself then casts two cure serious wounds on Broidren who is in a bad way in his chest and abdomen. Followed by one use of the wand to his slightly damaged right leg. Yehonala casts cleanse and perfume on them all as well as polish on Groschl’s tusks, this makes them all nice and clean and sweet smelling.  [I am allowing cantrips to be cost at zero MP once caster is second level]

 

There are three other ways out of the bat cave, than the big entrance, two set of steps of to the right side and a small cave mouth in the back wall by the racks of equipment. Groschl looks into the cave mough and sees!

 

Pale emaciated bodies sprawl about the floor of this small cave. A quick tally counts twelve in all, mostly human with a goblin and a couple of elves. Past the bodies the cave opens onto another suspension bridge that rises to the next spire. Yehonala joins Groschl in searching the cave. He finds Julia her cousin amongst the near dead. She applies first aid to her, finding two holes in her neck. A blood draining creature has been busy here. All the bodies show the same mark and all are drained of their blood but left with enough to stay living. They move the bodies back to the big bat cave where they is more room and light. They then fall out over whether they should be tied up or otherwise restrained in case they die and turn. Eventually they leave them to rest, with Yehonala feeding them small bits of cooked, on the brazier, bat liver to help in their recovery.

 

Meanwhile Broidren decides to scout out the steps, leaving Zara with the crossbow to guard the cave and his back he sneaks up the stairs. The air gets thicker with moisture as he climbs the steps which open into a large cave, in fact both sets of steps lead here. The air here is thick with heat and moisture, condensation covers the walls and floor of the cavern. A bonfire rages in the centre of the cave, heating a black iron cauldron large enough to boil an ogre whole. Copper pipes and tubing wind around the room feeding strange contraptions which issue strange  whistles and steam. Two goblins scramble franticly about the fire and pipes, alternately stoking and dosing the flames or tweaking a valve. A third ducks and weaves through the maze of pipes inspecting the chaos.

 

Broidren leaves and reports back. Groschl says he will deal with them, and sneaks up on the third goblin who looks like he is in charge. This will be the first time Groschl has snuck up on anyone, lucky for him there is a lot of steam and noise in the cave. Using his dagger rather than his usual halberd he cuts into the head of the goblin but fails to kill it.

 

The Goblin screams and  reacts by trying to evade away but gets hit in the chest by Groschl’s dagger. This leaves him unconscious. The other two goblins run to their weapons, while Groschl prepares his halberd sheaving his dagger. He also shouts in goblin at the goblins, trying to intimate the goblins.

One goblin sits shaking with fear while the other hits the pipes with a small hammer. Groschl walks slowly to be able to attack.

The goblin continues to hit the pipe and valve.

 

The goblin sticks his mouth under the pipe and drinks in the escaping liquid and cackles manically, as Groschl moves close enough to attack.

The steaming goblin stands staring at nothing as Groschl takes its head off.

 

Cave cleared, Groschl recognises the device as a still and it appears to be a very ancient dwarf one badly in need of maintenance. With that thought the cave erupts in a loud boom and sheets of flame as the still blows, with no one tinkering with it all the time and being old. Poor Groschl is burnt all over as he dives for cover as scolding liquid and flames lick over his body. The goblin  and the two dead one are consumed in the blast. The blast shoots flame down the steps and into the main bat cave, stirring up the dust again and alerting the others to the trouble Groschl might be in.

 

Groschl staggers out, still smocking to join the other, they have a long discussion about what type of vampire they might find over the bridge. In the end they realise can not be a giant bat as  it would not fit through the mouth of the cave over the bridge, they do hope it is a goblin as that will help the use of the goblin bane hammer of Roj’s.  They decide to take the spear from Zara and give it to Groschl for this encounter as they know that only magic is likely to scratch a vampire. Roj had his hammer and Zara is given the crossbow now they have worked out that it ignites the bolt as it is fired if the word fire is called in dwarfish when it id fired.  Broidren casts invisibility on Zara taking on fatigue doing so as he was out of magic points. Broidren to tied for anything else carries the lantern.

 

So off they go across another bridge with Groschl in the lead, followed by Zara, Broidren, Roj and Yehonala. As Groschl gets to the end of the bridge and enters the narrow entrance to another cave he sees a small goblin lazing inside the dark cave lounging atop a bat-winged throne carved from the back wall of the cave. All about are treasures pilled upon treasures stretching nearly to the ceiling.  The goblin adjusts his coal black helm, regarding Groschl with distain. A feral snarl builds in his throat, ‘The lady sent you for the third key eh? Tell your mistress that the secret of Zarmuk’s vault belongs to me and none other!.”

 

The goblin vampire looks Groschl in the eyes and brings him under his sway with his gaze ability. The others can do nothing as Zara is on the bridge behind him and he blocks the entrance with his bulk.

Azubal the vampire commands Groschl to turn and attack, he resists but does not break free. Broidren throws a dagger at Groschl which bounces off his armour.

 

Azubal having moved into combat range gives up on commanding and instead just hits Groschl with his Elf bane two handed fail, this allows Groschl to parry which he does, but he trips in the process. Groschl delays waiting to see what will happen however he is still in the way of the others. Yehonala manages to see past the others and fires off her last magic point with a magic missile which hits the vampire. Zara also manages to see past Groschl and shoots her magic crossbow. The bolt bursts into flame and smashes into the vampire, bursting into flame as it does so.

 

Azubal attacks Groschl again and is parried again, Broidren tries to give Roj a flask but Roj does not take it. Yehonala pushes herself and takes fatigue to cast  three more magic missiles, a critical saves her two levels of fatigue, the missiles hit home but Yehonala is now a spent force as is Broidren. Zara now visible moves to engage with the vampire the moving combat of Groschl and the goblin giving her room.

Azubal attacks Zara but the fail bounces off her mail, Broidren casts floating disc which exhausts him even more. Yehonala summons more energy from herself and casts another magic missile. Both Broidren and Yehonala are now so tired it will take days for them to recover.

Azubal attacks Zara again, but fails to hit.

 

 

Azubal hits Zara rendering her right arm useless, Broidren puts the lantern in his disc and sends it closer to the fight in the cave.  Groschl ignored by the goblin thrusts his snake headed magic spear into his right leg impaling it. Zara swings with her crossbow but misses.

Azubal gaze attacks Zara as Broidren lies down on the bridge, inviting Roj to walk over him, which Roj does. Groschl twists and pulls the spear out of the goblins leg.

Azubal struggling with accumulated wounds which do not seal up as they where caused by magic weapons, turns into smoke and disappears on the breeze.

 

The fight is over, the vampire has fled for now, however Broidren and Yehonala are both exhausted, Roj uses his cure minor wounds wand to heal Groschl and Zara.  Then Roj and Zara search the cave to see what goodies it holds.  There are eight bolts of rare silk, eleven casks of wine, five crates of salt, three large tapestries, forty one short spears, five suites of mail, ten long swords and ten large wooden shields.  On top of that under  a loose flagstone they find a coffin with a sack of eight gold coins and a small iron key with a ruby in it. The third key?

 

What to do now?

They have all three keys, but a exhausted party along with twelve close to dead captives including Julia.

How will they get them and all this loot to safety, how will they get back into the Dwarf chamber to use the keys with Kos and Liath and the men of the White lady there?

See next time.

 

 

 

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