A Temple is a Terrible Thing to Waste...

The Hunt
May 6, 2018

The party set off to the skies in search of the Manticore.  Four of the Knights on thier Giant Vultures and the PCs on their Hippogriffs.  The Manticore was near.  They spread out into 3 groups to find it and they did relatively quickly.  At first the Manticore tried to shoot at them from a distance with it's tail spikes but once it saw a vulnerability it moved in.  A bad mistake because in close quarter combat Enallis was just waiting for it to get wounded.  The Knights had the thing surrounded and did some real serious damage to it.  When Enallis saw that it was quite wounded he began to cast sleep.  The beast fell from the sky in a deep slumber and landed hard on the canyon floor below.   The Knights began to celebrate.  As they saw things, Belmeer, their lead commander was the one who delivered the final blow to the Manticore.  And while there might of been a slight pause from the time the blow was delivered and the Manticore shut its eyes… they are absolutely sure death came to the beast while in the air and not as a result of it hitting the canyon floor.  

The Knight cut the head of the Manticore and claimed it as his own before returning to the Spire.  At the pinnacle of the Spire, the rest of the Society was anxiously awaiting the return of the hunting party and the entire canyon was a roar when they saw Belmeer arrive with the head of the beast under his arm.  Thurl Merosska raised his ring in tribute and motioned to Belmeer as he arrived.  Orfil said under his breath, "the ring… that's right Thurl offered a ring for the one who killed the beast… damn".  Enallis, "but… but, I killed it, I put it to sleep".  Just when the praising of Belmeer was at it's pinnacle (pun intended), Alpheus steps off his mount and proclaims, "Wait a damn minute here. You didn't kill that beast.  I saw everything it was Enallis our Warlock that put the beast to sleep….Which consequently made the creature fall and land hard upon the canyon floor killing it.  It was not Belmeer's blow that did the creature in!!!"  Belmeer, "Are you questioning my honor?  I killed the beast and all here saw it" he motions toward his men who supported his claim loudly.  Alpheus replied "Indeed, I'm not only questioning your honor… I'm flat out calling you a filthy liar!"  The entire pinnacle was aghast.  Belmeer looks at Thurl and blurts,  "Are you just going to stand there and allow this, this EARTH GE!" he pauses a second as if to gain his composure… "This must be handled in the old ways!  A joust to the DEATH!"  Alpheus without much thought of what the rules of said joust entails or any such concern immediately rebuts, "I ACCEPT!"  Thurl looks around as to absorb all this in,  "Very well it is settled, Lord Belmeer (as he gives him a stern look) has challenged Lord Alpheus for his honor and "LOOORD" Alpheus (he says with a smirk) has accepted!"  He pauses as the crowd cheered and began to speak once again, "And so it shall be.  On the morrow at high twelve the two shall settle this dispute and fight to the death upon our skies above!!!" 

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Air Not on the Side of Caution
4/15/2018

It would seem Harak Valnore had much in common with the party.  After a brief introduction the party soon learned that the stout dwarf was a member of the ascetic Order of the Gauntlet and was on a similar mission.  Nish, however, was a little concerned.  He had heard of the order's draconian brand of justice and how members would employ extremely harsh punishment for those who broke the "law".  Nish thought of the group as a bunch of radical zealots who oppressed people for their own holier than thou gains but for now their paths seemed to be aligned.  Nish would have to keep a close eye on the dwarf.  

Harak explained to the group that Ushien Stormbanner the leader of the Knights of Samular of Summit Hall had charged him with a very important mission.  He was to find the body of the renown knight that traveled with the missing delegation and bring him to Summit Hall so he could be interred with honors and given the proper burial he deserved.  The party agreed to join forces with the dwarf as they had similar goals.  Now they just had to decide what to do next. 

Before the group arrived on the scene, Harak had carefully searched the freshly occupied graves on the hill.  He discovered pretty much what Orfil had but with one extra detail.  The woman in the grave had the emblem of a red axe on her surcoat.  This was the symbol of the Guards of Mirabar and she was a long way from home.  The only reasonable explanation was that she was part of the entourage of the Mirabean delegation.  But what was she doing this far southwest of Beliard? 

The group decided to follow the trail of the ones who escaped to the south.  They soon realized that whoever it was that ran to the south, soon made a beeline to the Cairn Road and then north toward Red Larch.  The party was not about to return to Red Larch.   They debated going to the Bargewright Inn, Beliard…. anywhere but the Spire full of mounted aereal knights!  But Feathergale Spire was much closer than anything else and it was a very good lead to pursue.  And while the thought of going toe to toe with mounted knights was not a very reassuring stratagem perhaps the long walk towards the spire would inspire a less barmy modus operendi.

Before the party knew it, the spire and it's greatness came into full view. 

Feathergale Spire rises from a pillar of rock high into the air, the tallest point for miles. Built from white limestone and embellished in marble, the spire resembles a gleaming sword that pierces the sky. The gatehouse faces the opposite cliff, its drawbridge the only apparent point of entry. Tall, wide windows encompass the bottom level of the tower, absent only upon the gatehouse side. A circle of open stalls rings the towers foundation where it meets the rock. Above each stall, the sculpture of a hippogriff in flight leaps from the towers base. Beneath Feathergale Spire to the east, a wide gusty canyon yawns through the hills.

The party contemplated submerging into the canyon below and making a more clandestine approach but they decide to throw care into the wind instead.  They walked right toward the spire.  It was a beautiful sunny day not a cloud in the sky.  Visibility stretched out for miles and the group was sure they had been spotted by now.  A glint of reflected light was seen from the pinnacle of the spire and a mounted knight was seen leaving the spire and disappearing into the canyon.  The winds became more and more agitated as the group grew closer.  From a low whistle to ear numbing howl by the time they reached the moat.  

Orfil proclaimed, "this is the dumbest place to put a bell, you know if you really wanted to make full use of this bell's auditory capabilities you would have placed it inside the keep with some sort of ringing mechanism out here, pfff this is absolutely absurd!!!"  Torbin rang the moat bell and to Orfil's amazement the bell was heard clearly echoing throughout the entire Sighing Valley.  A portal window in the iron reinforced wooden doors opens and a young woman's face appears with a smile. 

Savra, Feathergale Knight proclaims, "Welcome to Feathergale Spire!  The Feathergale Society welcomes all new recruits to our magnificent spire!  You are all in luck.  You've come to our doors on the eve of our society's 10th annual celebration!  Captain Thurl Merosska will be most anxious to meet our new future brethren and he will quell and satisfy all your questions.  Men, open the doors for our new guests!"

With much presentiment the party approached the opening doors.  Nish noticed a trap and tried to warn the others.  It was a battering ram made of large timber reinforced with the steel body and head of an eagle.  It was ominously suspended at the end of the long hall and threatened anyone entering through the doors.  "Come now!  Don't be shy, come on in Thurl will want to meet with you post haste" reassured Savra.  The party was cautious but did not feel any immediate threat and so, walk through the doors and followed Savra.  The spires's floors were very tall about 20' high and they were connected by a center spiral staircase which the group ascended all the way to the pinnacle.  

The pinnacle… or the apex of the tower, the stairs terminate at a round stone gazebo that continues upward in a needle-like minaret. Beyond this enclosure, a small lawn grows upon the top of the tower. Four paths paved with white stones point the directions of the compass, each path ending in a pointed stone crenellation. At the pinnacles edge is a spyglass on a tripod, pointed downward. From this vantage point, the Feathergale Knights possess a supreme view of all that transpires in the nearby canyon called the Sighing Valley and the Sumber Hills beyond.  

"Ah yes, new recruits, thank you for bringing them to me Savra" said Thurl


 

Thurl Merosska a middle aged man that dons full plate, a great sword at this side, and a lavish cloak of feathers;  he is never too far away from his lance either.  He was flanked by two feathergale knights, whose giant vulture mounts carefully eyed the party from close by perched positions. The party and Thurl parleyed for a while and brought up the subject of fresh graves not too far from here.  Thurl became genuinely upset at the mention of the earth cult and reviled them as an evil bunch of thugs to the party's bewilderment.  He said they were a plague on the surrounding area and did not mince words to show his disdain for them.  Thurl was pleased to learn the party had dispatched over 30 of these vile earth cult members and was very excited to hear all about the party's encounters with them.  However, he professed that his eagerness to hear about their adventures must have to wait to the great feast.  Unfortunately, he was quite busy with some other duties that he must attend to and he abruptly dismissed the party.  "Savra please escort our guests to their quarters and show them all the hospitality that Feathergale could afford" Thurl directed.  

Savra showed the party to their rooms where a few of the spire's members were already in the process of preparing.  They were moving chests out from the rooms to accommodate the new guests.  Savra, very politely told the party to please let them know anything at all that they may need and then she retired, promising to see them soon at the feast.  She turned with a smile and closed the door.  Nish's ears quickly raised up in astonishment, "she locked us in!"  The party was aghast but there was not much they could do besides climbing out the window and taking their chances with a 400 ft + fall.  So they waited till the feast.  When Savra came for them they quickly asked why she had locked them in their quarters.  She very amiably responded that it would be foolish for them to just let strangers wander their keep even thought they had the best of intentions and wanted to eagerly join their society.  "You do understand, yes? Please do not be offended… Now on with the celebrations!  The great feast awaits!  Follow me shall we?"  Savra declared with a smile.

The Great Hall:  This great hall spans half the diameter of the tower. Between the overlarge windows, tapestries depict scenes of gallant knights on flying hippogriffs, fighting dragons and jousting with one another among the clouds. High on the walls are the mounted heads of griffons, wyverns, owlbears, and manticores. A long, curved table set for a feast stretches between the halls twin hearths.
 

Thurl raised a chalice when he saw the party approach, "Men may I introduce to you the new prospective members of the Feathergale Society.  These men have killed over 30 of the vile earth cultists!  … And have come to join our ranks!!!"  The hall erupted with cheers.  The party was seated at the main table with Thurl and many of his knights.  The party had many questions and so did Thurl.  The wine and ale flowed and the meal was quite tasty….. chicken it appeared to be but Ennalis got became eerily suspicious when he saw Nish smelling his food cautiously…. "This wouldn't be vulture would it?  They wouldn't serve us VULTURE WOULD THEY!!!" Ennalis' mind raced with dread.  Just then the doors of the great hall flared open!  The men from the pinnacle could be heard screaming "MANTICORE MANTICOOORE!!!"…. "Sire the men have spotted the manticore hunting nearby!" said one of the men as he burst through the doors.  "Splendid!" rejoiced Thurl, "what a better way to commemorate such a great feast than with a hunt!" …. "I ask for 4 volunteers to join our new recruits and bring me the head of this monster"  Thurl stood up and displayed a very elegant gold ring, "This shall be the prize to the one that kills the beast and brings me its head to mount on the wall"  …. Ennalis looked around quite perplexed "Did I just hear him say 'join our new recruits' is that what he said?" … Ennalis beckoned his companions to assure him this was not so.  Thurl continued, "Ah very well you, you ….you and you hahahahaha yes you four will champion the cause.  Hurry, show our guest to the stables and ready their hippogrifs for combat" …. Orfil, "what the shit did he say?" 

Before they knew it the party was trying to hand feed said hippogrifs that were not really taking a liking to them as the knights had assured them and then saddling them up.  "You know lads dwarves are not real effective in aereal combat we are more of the ground type of fighters, so there really is no used in preparing a mount for me you know"  Harak tried to squirm his way out of it to no avail….Ennalis looked at Nish with a prominent tremble in his hands as he strapped on his saddle to his mount, "Are we really going through with this?!?"

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Something Strange is in the Air
Recap 3/18/18

Harburk, the town constable, most graciously thanked the adventurers for unearthing the fowl practices that were going on underneath Red Larch. He was noticeably concerned with the Mirabean trading bars they found and was quick to connect them with an excursion from Mirabar that went missing 2 tenday ago.  Allegedly, this excursion involved some people of high interest and the entire region was a buzz about it.  It wasn’t until Nish interrupted the party’s brief respite at the Helm, and introduced them to “the town baker”, Lorren, that the group started to get an idea of just how important this delegation really was.

 

Mangobarl Lorren, not a particularly menacing looking human shopkeeper. Mangobarl was the mild mannered energetic type, small in stature, the type most people would pass by on the street and not even give a second look at… but the party did notice he was significantly more muscular than most bakers they’ve seen.  Strange a baker knew so much about the missing delegation but hey, he did say he had friends that would pay very well for any information on the missing sobs, so the group was all ears!  …And besides any friend of Nish….

 

Mangobarl explains:

 

“The delegation traveled overland from Westbridge to Beliard, crossing the Stone Bridge. From Beliard it headed south into the Sumber Hills, bound for Summit Hall but they never made it.  And these were some high level folks, not your run of the mill bunch of low level berks! …And they had protection, a small army of well armed guards at their heed. Who ever or what ever took em out… well, just keep your wits about you is all Mangobarl is sayin.

Bruldenthar, a shield dwarf and renowned historian he was transporting a collection of manuscripts to Waterdeep.  Not just any ordinary books lads.  These ere tomes are precious and ole Mangobarl’s got da connections to some men that will pay good coin fer them.  

Teresiel, a moon elf from Silverymoon, she had in her possession a pouch of magical seeds she was taking to the abbey of Goldenfields.  Pfff I don’t  know why anyone would make such a fuss over magical seeds anyway… I mean if you’ve seen one plant you seen them all am I right? (Mangobarl looks around as if seeking approval and stops at Orfil with a smile) am I right!? (Orfil is caught by surprise, but succumbs to the baker’s charm and simply nods and smiles politely)  Anyhow them boys at the abbey are all in a tussle about their seeds and if we could find them or their lost maiden, well I’m sure they’d be most graciously in our debt.  (Mangobarl smiles greedily)  Teresiel was one of 3 important diplomats.

Rhundorth, shield dwarf and diplomat representing the city of Mirabar and Deseyna Majarra a human noble and diplomat representing the city of Waterdeep are the other two. It is not clear why these diplomats were of such importance but we do know they each held some kind of secret… a coded document…a book?… perhaps a ciphered message they memorized?  We are not certain.  But whatever the case they each were entrusted with something very important to future trade relations between the 3 cities.  This information must be recovered at all costs!  Knowledge is power, and this type of commodity is MOST valuable to me and my… associates. 

 

Mangobarl looks at Nish and says a few words that sound like common but make no sense in their context.  Nish apparently acknowledges and Mangobarl continues…

 

Oh yes and how could I forget, it’s kinda a tedious task but if you happen across the corpse of a knight in your travels it may be worth your while. The delegation was also charged with the transport of the body of a knight who was killed fighting orcs in the Spine of the World. The knight was to be interred with honor at Summit Hall, the chapter house of an order called the Knights of Samular. It lies in the southeast Sumber Hills.

 

Any information you acquire you must inform me post haste and I in turn will adequately compensate you for your troubles.  And this goes with out saying gentlemen but my associates and I value our discretion… take heed to this simple rule and we’ll ‘ave a great business relationship.  Do we have a deal then?… Wonderful!  There’s a shepherd that goes by the name Larmon Greenboots.  He hangs around Gaelkurs the town barber.  He’s been telling a tale a tale of finding some mysterious graves, freshly dug graves in the Sumber Hills not too far from ere.  It may be a good start.  Freshly dug graves don’t just appear for no good reason in the middle of know where you know. “ 

 

The party found the good shepherd and arranged for him to show them the fresh graves the following morning:

 

Greenboots leads the adventures to a hilltop a few miles from Red Larch, where the party finds 3 freshly dug shallow graves. The earth scraped out for the holes is piled nearby, although hastily gathered stones cover the graves. The faint smell of death hangs in the air, and several vultures circle overhead.  Greenboots explains that he grazes his sheep in a nearby vale, and he passed by this spot less than a month ago. There were no graves present on his previous visit. He found them just a couple of days ago and has no idea who might be buried here-none of the folk of Red Larch are missing, and he doesn't know of anyone else out this way. The hills are mostly uninhabited.  Well except for that spire just over the hill… These strange knight looking fellows have recently inhabited Feathergale Spire… they are from Waterdeep, I think and they ride on flying monsters!  I stay clear of them and they keep to themselves and that’s just fine with me.

 

The party looked around and tried to make sense of all this.  Enallis ponders quietly, “if only we could talk to some of this here wildlife we may be able to understand what happened here”… Orfil overhears Enallis and is engulfed in profound thought over this ridiculous idea.  Orfil thinks to himself, “pfff talking to animals…what a ridiculous idea”… By this time Nish had already befriended a nearby gopher who called this hill his home.  With some dried fruits and nuts in hand Nish began to seemingly bond with the rodent.  Nish and the gopher begin to make chirping and guttural noises at each other.  Nish begins, “He says there was a great battle here a few days ago.”  Orfils thick eyebrows raise up in amazement.  “There were 2 groups of predators”.  Orfil blurts out, “You can’t seriously want us to believe you can talk to rats?!? I mean am I right men?… ridiculous”… Nish responds bluntly, “He says he is a gopher not a rat there is a difference! And you are offending him!”  Orfil exclaims, “A Go For what? That’s just silly, pfff!”… “Shhhh! be quiet!” Nish continued, “ the first group of predators had prey and the other group wanted their prey so they fought.”  …”the gopher became scared and went underground.  He heard the predators disturb the earth, they brought rocks from nearby and buried the dead” Orfil begins to whistle.  Nish ignored him, “Apparently one of them got away and escaped death” ….”Are you done now!?” uttered Orfil with frustration.  Enallis interjected, “I can’t believe you don’t know the difference between a gopher and rat… What kind of druid are you anyways?”  Orfil exploded, “ WHAT?! Of course I know what a Go For is!… look, I’ll show you”… Orfil morphs into a gopher and Enallis swears he saw the little guy give him an arrogant smirk just before he began to dig.  Orfil dug all around the graves and discovered a few things.  There were two stuffed into one grave, a male dwarf and a female woman in a black surcoat with a symbol on the chest but he couldn’t make it out.  The other two graves had a male human in white robes with black feathers and another male human in a strange stony armor.  Orfil smugly says, “Now see, that is some important information, pfff”. Sir Slowbro interjects, “I think I left the tea kettle on back at the inn” and just starts walking down the hill in the direction of Red Larch.  Greenboots yells out, “Wait friend, I’ll join you I’d love some tea” and begins his way down as well.  The party is dumbfounded but not necessarily surprised and just lets them go.  “He’ll be back” Enallis snorts.  Enallis then changes the subject, “Perhaps we should investigate this Feathergale Spire place?” “How about Beliard? asks, Orfil.  Nish adds, “maybe we should first exhume these corpses, to get a better look, maybe have some jewels… um I mean clues on them.”…..  Just then, from behind a large bush, a burly looking dwarf appears raising up his trousers and trying to fasten his scale legging back on. 

“Phewww!  I wouldn’t go back there for a while if I were you Harhahahrrr”…. “and as far as fer that brilliant idear of exhuming them corpses there fer ‘clues’ I’m going to have to object.”  The dwarf takes his warhammer with two hands in an aggressive fashion.  “You see, as crude as these graves may be ….THEY ARRRE SACRED!  And no one is going to disturb them unless they want me to put this ere’ hammer through their thick block!

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The Enemy of My Enemy
Recap 1/21/18

The party fought bravely and had killed all of the wolves by now.  Vaitiare was forced to returned to her natural form and now all that was left was to kill the Genasi before she was able to morph again.  "Kill her swiftly" they all thought but this would prove much more difficult a task to see through.  The group had highly underestimated this druid's power.  It seemed Vaitiare, on her short journey from Triboar with the party, was just feigning frailty.  In reality she was greatly skilled in the "Old Arts" and she seemed to be connected to the dark forces wreaking havoc across the land as well.  But just how she fit into all these rumors of elemental evil and how she was connected to this priest of the earth cult remained to be seen.  All these questions and more would have to take a back seat because the party had more pressing matters at hand.  The druid began to cast…

Six more winter wolves were summoned.  Vaitiare again heeded the party to leave her be, that this was none of their concerns.  It's as if she did not want to fight and was deterring them from forcing her hand.  Perhaps she was correct and the party just did not understand what they were up against.  One thing was certain, she definitely had an agenda.  One that she would defend with her life and kill for if need be.  Druids were strange folk indeed.  They did not conform to the laws of man.  They are only bound by the forces of nature.  Unpredictable, relentless in their pursuits, and unwavering in their resolve to maintain "balance"…. the balance between good and evil, law and chaos.  Maybe Vaitiare was not the enemy here.  After all she did do away with a priest of the earth cult which was influencing the town of Red Larch and probably responsible for the death of 3 travelers found dead in the northern section of the Tomb.  The enemy of my enemy, so the saying goes… Nevertheless, at this moment she was a force of nature that would not be stopped and luckily for the group they realized this before it was too late.  "Leave NOW! and I shall spare you, INSIST, and you will feel my WRATH!!!", Vaitiare exclaimed before morphing into a polar bear once again.  

Like sulking pups that have been reprimanded by mama wolf, the party retreated to fight another day.  At this point they meet Torbin, who prefers spending time strumming his lute than roaming alone through dank dungeons. Torbin had been sent by Harburk (the Constable of Red Larch) to check up on the PCs.  After a brief introduction, the party realized Torbin posed no threat and they decided to join forces.  Torbin explained that Harburk and the town guards had apprehended the old man Barragustas and Grund trying to escape the Tomb.  The characters also had a bit of explaining to do and convinced Torbin they were trustworthy.  The group decided to take a rest before contemplating their next move.  They retreated to the area of the sinkhole and began to mend their wounds.  Harburk and two of his men could wait no longer and soon came to meet the adventurers down below.  They had many questions and the party more than obliged to answer them.  They told them everything including the bit with Vaitiare and an earth cult priest and how they barely escaped with their lives intact.  Harburk was flabbergasted and intrigued.  He always suspected certain townsfolk of nefarious deeds but never had any proof and now all this unfolds!  Cults, secret meetings, strange stones under the town, murdered travelers, priests, winter wolves and a polar bear for the god's sake!  The constable wanted to know more…. why did Vaitiare kill this priest?  What did she want, and what was she here for?  Harburk demanded they investigate The Tomb of Moving Stones where this all went down.  Against the party's better judgment, they returned to the scene of the crime.  

They opened the door to the Tomb and found the corpses of wolves and cultists just as they had left them and the priest which still lay upon the altar like boulder.  The priest was garbed in the brown robes of the cult of earth, underneath a suit of splintmail.  They searched the corpse and found 3 bars of gold. 

These were trading bars of the town of Mirabar far to the north beyond the Lurkwood Forest.  This made Harburk wonder if this priest may have had something to do with the disappearance of a very important expedition that was en route from Mirabar.  The word is this delegation set off from Mirabar about a month ago headed for Waterdeep.  There was said to be some "very important people" in this delegation and they were last seen at the tiny village of Beliard about 2 tenday ago.  Strange these Mirabean trading bars where found on this priest.  The party looked around the Tomb a bit more and found a secret passageway that had been recently and purposefully caved in.  Surely this was the way Vaitiare made her escape and she insured that no one would follow her.  

Harburk thanked the party for their help in all this.  He assured them that he and his guards would get to the bottom of this conspiracy.  There was still the matter of the rest of the townsfolk and their involvement here.  Grund and the old man would certainly be of great help in discovering whatever this cult was plotting underneath Red Larch.  Even though the immediate threat was quelled, Harburk felt there was more that just his small town at stake.  He urged the party to look further into the missing delegation and this earth cult.  Harburk pledged to help them in any way he could and vowed to bring the townsfolk and any other involved to justice.  For now the party could rest easy but there are many questions left unanswered.   

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Old Friends, Old Faith, and Precarious New Predicament
Recap 1/7/18

The party put their small differences aside and resolved to work together once again.  They decided it best if they back tracked a bit.  Taking the corridor to the north where someone or something was obviously dragged, led them to a small square room that reeked of decaying flesh.  A woman and two men dressed in travelers clothing lay decomposing in the center of the room. They were being kept company by two plump, well fed, and sluggish giant rats that nibbled greedily on their remains.  Seeing that the party posed no threat to them, the two rodents retired into the walls for a well deserved siesta.  Upon careful inspection, the group realized the travelers had been killed by repeated knife wounds and they had the same triangle like symbol seen on the bandit's armor engraved crudely on the foreheads.  Perhaps they were killed in a ritual but certainly not in this room as there was very little blood traces on the floor.  The adventurers pressed forward.  The next room they come across had a black rock about a foot wide floating 3 feet from the ground.  Curiously the party experiments with the area and discovers that there is some kind of energy force field here that makes anything/anyone who enters the area weightless.  Alpheus decides to take a memento of the dungeon and proceeds to walk into the next area with the large black bolder.  The corridor to the south leads to a large stone door.  Alpheus declares, " Stand back!  I will smite this crag of a portal with my magical black rock!"  To his dismay the boulder hit the heavy door and broke in half barely grazing the nefarious obstacle.  Orfil, "Allow me" he said, as he pushed by the distraught Alpheus and proceeded to open the door by simply using the pull rings.  Alpheus gave Orfil a foreboding stare and said, "Aye, well, anyone can do it that way, pfff but I was just trying to make a point!".  Perplexed at their new friends' antics, the party continued on, Enallis as always protecting the rear.  A 50 foot square room opened before them, similar to the one they had left the boy's bloody corpse in.  This room however, had more interesting features in it.  An old man knelt by a life like statue of a dwarf in a chain shirt, helm and large boots.  He carries a shield on his left arm and a battleaxe in the right.  The statue's limbs were in bad shape and it appeared as is someone had reassembled and held together the statue upright in a stout wooden frame.  The floor in front of the statue was surrounded by a ring of fine gravel.  Also inside this ring, a hoard of treasure, perhaps offerings to this statue?? Among the treasure, a fine, jeweled dagger, which the old man had clearly been trying to make way with before the adventurers surprised him.  Alpheus immediately approached the old man.  "I, I dddidn't, I hhhad nothing to dddo with….", pleaded the old man.  Alpheus interrupted, "Be quiet and gather up all that loot into a nice pile in front of me… and be quick about it old man!". Enallis proclaimed, "Perhaps we should NOT anger the Delvers!" but his warning fell on deaf, greedy ears. The party questioned the old man briefly as he begged them to let him go.  He repeated, "please, I had nothing to do with any this, let me go I'm just an old man"…. Nish gathered all the treasure into his backpack as the old man pleaded, "Don't bring the wrath of the Delvers… I beg you please!".  The old man identified himself as Baragustas and he said he was a lookout for a group that called themselves the Believers.  He also identified the alleged ring leader of them all as a man named Larrakh an earth cultist priest.  He mumbled on and on about how this Larrakh was able to read the signs of coming danger by how the great stones changed positions when no one was watching but "that's it I swear I had nothing to do with any of this" he said.  The group was contemplating just letting this poor old man go.  He was weak and obviously not any threat to anyone…. "By the GOOODS!  You can't be serious!", exclaimed Alpheus.  "Your not seriously considering letting another one of these vile cultists slip through our hands are you!?!", Alpheus gasped in utter amazement.  Then they heard a scream!

The door to the east was slightly ajar and Nish was first to look through into the long corridor.  He saw one of the bandits/earth cultists they had fought earlier running for dear life.  A white wolf of all things was close on his heels and tackled the bandit down to the ground.  The wolf tore into his throat with an awful crunch and delivered a mortal wound to the man.  The wolf noticed Nish and growled as a warning as he retired in the darkness once again.  More screams could be heard and more growling but Enallis was the first to hear that sweet familiar voice of an old friend… or so he thought.  "Could it be?  Vaitiare? but what on earth could she be doing here", he thought to himself.  She seemed to be talking over the mayhem in a very relaxed voice… too relaxed Enallis thought.  Something is terribly wrong here.  Sir Slowbro was one of the first to enter the Tomb of Moving Stones.

"Hey there Vaitiare, long time no see, hope you're still not angry with me about interrupting your bath that one time.  Hey so is it hot and dank in here or is it just me? Hey nice wolves you got there…so what going on with you?"…. "Stop, you fool!" commanded the water genasi.  She was in a large room with big stones arranged in strange positions with several large white wolves at her beckon call it seemed.  She had a man in cultists' robes, bloodied on an alter in front of her.  Dagger in hand she turned to face the intruders, "This does not concern any of you.  If ye be wise you'll return to that from whence you came and leave me to my business".  Her smooth, gentle tone frightened the party more than her nonchalant response to a well equipped group of adventurers crashing her party.  Sir Slowbro rambled on and on as he normally did while the party crept into the room one by one.  The white wolves stood firm at attention protecting their master.  "Perhaps you did not hear me the first time? It was not a suggestion and I am not playing any games here", she said as she lunged down with the dagger.  In druidic tongue Orfil overheard her whisper something about the "water cult sends their regards old friend", as she apparently murdered the priest right their in front of them.  "Oh you are still here?" she remarked with indifference as she turned her attention to the party… and Orfil heard that Old Faith incantation he was so familiar with…. "Very well", she said "If death is what thou want DEATH is what you shall receive!" "GRRRRRRRRR!!!"  She morphs into a huge polar bear and the party rolls initiative once again.   Orfil realizing the threat releases the old man who runs away in terror.  "Fuck!" exclaimes Alpheus in disbelief as he watches the old man flee…. And Sir Slowbro continues to rant about how he really didn't see much of anything when he barged in on her at the bath house.  The white wolves attack in pack formation.  The first to fall was Alpheus but Sir Slowbro managed to heal him back up. The party hastily did not rest from the previous encounter with the bandits and now they are out of heals.  The polar bear attacks viciously and the party wonders if they should have heeded the druid's warning and just left her to her nefarious deeds.  But as the old adventurers saying goes… "You don't have to be able to outrun the bear, you just have to outrun the slowest member of your party"  Nevertheless, there is still hope that some of the party will manage to escape this reunion in one piece… if they are wise…

 

 

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Caged Again!
12/17/17

The battle ensued and the cages began to drop once more.  "We are the Bringers of Woe and we are here to reward your curiosity.  Drop your weapons, resistance is futile!"  The adventures were certain the man pulling the strings here was Ilmeth but when he hit the dirt, the bandits did not desist.  They soon realized that these bandits / "Bringers of Woe" answered to another power.  Ilmeth dropped quickly too.  He was not a veteran or military man by any standard, as he presumed to portray himself.  Nevertheless, his death may have to be explained to contable Harburk.  And as for the "half wit, half-orc" Grund, who stood with the group on the eastern end of the corridor, well, he was definitely not leader material.  He was so nervous he could barely keep his crossbow from shaking as he tried to fire on the PCs.  Enallis saw through this ruse, however.  The half-elf's keen fey eyesight together with his human intuition, noticed that Grund was missing the group on purpose.  Grund was noticeably nervous and uncomfortable.  Enallis even thought he saw a touch of remorse and resentment in the half-orcs' eyes. Whatever the case, Enallis was sure Grund was more scared of the Bringers of Woe than the adventurers were and there was absolutely no doubt in his mind that the half-orc's bolt flew true…. right into the stone wall by his face as it were.  

It didn't take long for the PCs to maul the bandits down, literally.  Orfil's bear form had devastated the bowmen's line and it wasn't long till the bandits were running for dear life.  Well, some of them anyways, the men on the eastern end of the corridor seemed more confident, as if they had a fall back plan or something.  Alpheus fought bravely but was overwhelmed and fell.  The bandits planned to take full advantage of the situation and drag Alpheus limp body away further into the Tomb of Moving Stones.  However, a quick heal from the Blue Lady's devoted vicar and Alpheus was not so easy to capture anymore.  Realizing that they were running out of options the two bandits that were left standing in the east, ran for the door.  Grund was not so quick and reached the door just as the bandits were closing it behind them.  Grund begged them to open the door for him but to no avail.  The bandits proceeded to lower the cages once again and trap some of the PCs.  Grund begged for his life, "Please open the door…Grund hasn't done anything, please don't let me die out here".  Meanwhile, as the PCs contemplated this familiar scenario of being trapped once again… the spyhole on the door opened to reveal one of the bandits holding a young boy of no more than 10 years old with a dagger pressed to his throat.  "Drop your weapons and surrender to the Bringers of Woe or we'll kill the boy!", exclaimed the distraught bandit.  The party all looked at each other and pondered their next move.  No one wanted the blood of an innocent boy on their hands and there were very few options left in their present situation.  The sound of weapon after weapon clanging on the floor in surrender had not yet finished reverberating through the corridor, when to everyone's amazement (except perhaps Orfil), the blade in the bandit's hand became covered in blood.  The life faded from the small boy's eyes as the laughter from the Bringers of Woe clamored throughout the chamber like a beating drum upon the heads of the adventurers.  "Hahahahah you fools!  The earth makes no bargain and neither do the Bringers of Woe hahahaha.  Come brother, Larrakh will know what to do with these meddlesome intruders"….

After a few moments Grund says, "They are gone, I will lift the cages but you must promise to let Grund go free.  Grund is innocent, I didn't do anything wrong.  You must believe me!"  There were mixed feelings about this but in the end the party agreed to appease the half-orc…. mostly.  Some, took more convincing that others to believe that Grund was on the up and up and should be trusted.  Alpheus persisted, "This will NOT end well!  He cannot be trusted!  I cannot believe… (yawn) that um so tired… the half-orc set the cages on uuussss (YAWN) before… He'll juuuust"…. Enallis continued to chant in a low soothing voice, "Sleep Alpeus, it will all be ok, just sleeeeeep, you are among friends here, no one will hurt you, just sleeeeeep".  Alpheus' body hit the floor once again.  This time with a much more prominent clash as his chainmail heavy body thud against the floor and his shield went flying towards one of the bars of the cage.  "Quickly friend…" proclaimed Enallis, "We believe you.  Go on and raise the trap and we will let you go free".  The half-orc kept his word and so did the party.  And after some light questioning, Grund was allowed to go free.  "What? Where am… how did I get on the floor?" said Alpheus as he came to, "No, no… Yes I understand sure no problem it had to be done, no hard feelings…."… Alpheus darted to the open door with the intent of close it behind the party.  Orfil jumped and quickly challenged Alpheus before he could get the drop on them.  The two were at a tug of war for a few seconds but Orfil finally won and managed to keep Alpheus from his dastardly plans.  Nish storms in as the rogue voice of reason, "Everyone just calm down! We've got more serious problems at hand".  Alpheus replies with frustration in his voice, "I was just trying to make a point!" 

The party now stood in a square chambers that had been hewn out of the rock. On the west wall is a set of iron bars bolted into the wall about three feet above the floor. Ten oiled chains are secured to the bars, leading up to a hole bored in the ceiling. Another solid stone door is in the middle of the east wall. An eight-foot-tall rectangular stone stands upright in the rooms center. The stone has an inscription on it that reads…"Displease not the Delvers"…  At the foot of the standing stone a few rocks lay scattered on the floor along with some human excrement.  And on the floor near the western door the still warm, blood drained boy's corpse, laying in a pool of blood…

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Unearthed Arcave-in
Recap 12/3

The party was warned several times to stay away from the sinkhole but after noticing that Albaeri, Ilmeth, and Ulhro were not taking the initiative to actually rescue the children and the maiden in distress, they resolved to take things into their own hands.  Alpheus was the first to jump/stumble into action.  After dusting himself off and making sure the victims of the sinkhole were ok, Alpheus lit a torch and noticed there was a huge underground cavern beneath the town.  There was a passageway to the north and a stone doorway to the east.  Strange indeed he thought but there was no time for that now.  

In the meantime up above, Ilmeth, Ulhro, and Albaeri were not happy.  After seeing Alpheus jump in and the rest of the PCs approaching the hole, Ilmeth motioned to Albaeri.  She quickly acknowledged his command and began walking north on the long road.  Orfil decided to go after her and find out what she was up to.  He followed her to the alleyway of The Helm of Highsun and little beyond to the east.  A large 3 story inn perhaps but Orfil was unfamiliar with Red Larch. Orfil hid behind some crates and stealthily noticed Albaeri beckoning to someone. She then said something undistinguishable and went into the building. He was certain she was getting reinforcements so he went back to the group to warn them. 

By this time Enallis and Nish had decided to join Alpheus in the hole and rescue the townsfolk.  Which they did quite successfully and with great appreciation from the people of Red Larch.  Ilmeth had to be calmed by Ulhro as he was saying too much.  Ulhro had to grab Ilmeth and tell him "This is not the place to talk about this…calm yourself Ilmeth!"

After the children were all pulled to safety, the party decided to all go into the sinkhole/underneath cavern and explore.  Ilmeth and Ulhro both warned the PCs against this and threatened them.  By this time the town's constable Harburk and his city guards were on the scene but they seemed almost afraid of Ilmeth and Ulhro's threats.  Nevertheless, the party got the sense that Harburk approved of them exploring what lurked beneath the town. And so they did.  The party notice a couple of cloaks and waterskin laying on the floor near the eastern door.  The druid also discovered there was definitely human sized footprints coming and going to the door from the northern passage.  They opened the door and discovered a finely crafted dwarven passageway leading east.  At the end of the passageway two more stone doors, slightly ajar and with dwarven soldier reliefs cut into the stone.  There was a passageway to the south, north and the one that continued to the east beyond the double doors. The southern one had no sign of traveling.  The one to the north had very little signs of traveling but it did seemed that something or someone was dragged through here.  And to the east, a long dark hall.  The crew decide to go east and that was when everything starting falling apart. 

They walked right into a trap!  Before they knew it they were all trapped except for Enallis (or so it would seem).  Cages began to fall from the fake roof above.  The party cleverly began to work together to help each other escape to the west where Enallis was.  They raised the cages just long enough for there fellow mates to crawl underneath.  Well, all except Alpheus, which must have pulled a bicep or something when he fell into the sinkhole because he just couldn't raise the cages if his life depended on it.  Fortunately or not, it wasn't really necessary because the party was just going from the boiling pot and right into the fire.  The cages began to be raised as a group of mercenaries in leather armor with crossbows drawn rushed into the hallway on both ends.  Ilmeth was heard ordering them in on his end (on the western end of the hall) and he also ordered another group lead by a half-orc thug named Grund (which came in from the east).  In total there were 12 bowmen, six on either side of the party… they were surrounded and things were not looking good for the heroes.  To make matters worse they notice a strange symbol engraved onto the men's armor 

It is the same symbol that in conjunction with other weird symbols made that odd "eye" symbol in the necromancer's cave. 

As the cages were being raised, most everyone in the party decided to grab on to the bars of the cage and ride up with the cages and hide.  Alpheus had already vanished from sight toward the eastern part of the hallway and was just trying to be as still as possible. And Orfil…. well he heroically morphed into bear form and rushed the men to the west.    Ilmeth exclaimed, "We can do this the easy way, or we can do this the hard way but you will surrender to me and to the Tomb of the Moving Stones!….I see it's going to have to be the hard way… FIRE!!!"  Orfil survived the first volley of bolts but just barely.  The party better tread lightly through the Tomb of Moving Stones if they expect to see the light of the surface ever again…

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Beneath Red Larch

The adventurers had just defeated the onslaught of undead in the necromancer's work room.  Now it was time to explore some before going after the Lord of Lance Rock himself.  Stairs cut into the stone led up to a peep hole that showed a room with 2 chests in it.  Nish discovered a switch on the wall next to the peep hole.  His gnomish curiosity got the better of him and he flicked the switch.  Everyone heard a loud crash from the other room, while Nish got an eye full of dust gushing through the eye hole.  It seems the clever necro had devised a small trap for trespassers into his lair.  The group decided to go investigate this other room and after about an hour of clearing out the rocks and fallen debris they were able to get at the chests.  They opened them and found Thorrus and Keth's gear.  After donning their equipment, they decided to go after that vile necromancer.  They went after him through the corridor they saw him flee into.  As they carefully made their way through, they spot a most peculiar sight. 

A small, 6 inch skull with glowing gems for eyes, just floating a foot from the ground ahead of them.  Beyond the skull was an oval room with a strange light emanating in its center and there were purple curtains all along the walls. They all froze and waited to see what would happen but the skull just floated there motionless.  Then they heard a large bang from the room.  Suddenly a large beast with a make shift femur as a weapon emerges from the shadows…

The large creature struggled to get through the corridor at the heroes.  Once it did however it would regret it.  The characters mowed down this beast with great effort. The critical hits were abound!  "Do you not see it? The power of the EYE!!!" exclaimed the hidden voice of the necromancer.  The PC's rushed into the room to discover an elf and dwarf, naked, beaten and manacled to a post on the far end of the room.  The light source was finally in view and they saw a pedestal fashioned by severed arms clutching each other to form a cone. Cradled in the uppermost hand an orb and above the orb was a most intriguing symbol…

The necro emerged from behind the curtains and engaged the characters.  He wielded a wand of magic missles that nearly made a few of the party hit the dirt but they were resilient. The necro fought well, he reanimated some more skeletons to aid him but in the end he was no match for the party.  The necro died with a dramatic poof of black smoke and all that remained of him was some black dust on the floor.  That and his wand of magic missles luckily, which Nish quickly picked up. The driftglobe was taken by Keth to examine and hopefully discover its command word. The party freed the dwarf and elf prisoners and promised to help them get to the nearest town.

 

It was early in the evening when the explorers emerged from the caves.  They decided it would be best to rest the night there just outside the caves.  And although there was still a foul odor coming from the caves, the characters managed to get a good night's sleep. In the morning, they set off to Red Larch again.  Within a few hours they safely return to the town just about high noon time.  Ennalis aspired to meet with the proprietors of Helvur Tarnlar, Clothier and the rest were eager to speak with Kaylessa Irkell who sent them on this mission and promised them a bounty for their efforts.  However, fate had other plans for the group.  As they approached the center of town where the Long Road met Kheldell's Path, they felt a slight tremor in the earth beneath their feet.  Suddenly ahead of them, they see one of the Tarnlar's children pulling a toy cart along with three other children playing in the street get swallowed up by the earth.  A sinkhole right in the center of town!  Mrs. Tarnlar desperately runs up to the edge of the hole and earth gives way under her feet as she is swallowed up as well.  Screams emerge from every direction as the town cries, "quick get some rope!" , "get a ladder!",  "someone please help!".  These three people that the PCs recognize quickly get on the scene…

Albaeri Mellikho from the quarry,

Ilmeth Waelvur the wainwright,

and 

Ulhro Luruth the tanner. 

They arrive within seconds of the sinkhole and try to calm the other townsfolk down.  "Do not come near the hole! We've got this under control, we will get the children don't worry.  STAY BACK!!"

 

 

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Lord of Lance Rock
Recap 10/8 & 10/22

After the party finish knocking back a few drinks and talking to a few of the locals they retired for the night.  In the morning they started their trek to Lance Rock to investigate.  After a several hour walk, they finally arrive at the famous landmark to discover a barely visible trail that leads to a patch of shrubbery a few hundred feet away.  A small opening in the brush leads the adventurers further to find an open hilly area where they were met with a most foul odor.  They followed the rank stench of death to a cave opening and carefully proceeded to enter.  They discover the nature of the stench is a corpse that lay motionless on the floor about 50 feet inside the cave.  The corpse was really a zombie that animated as soon as they approached it and attacked. However, they dispatched of the threat with little effort and continued onward.  The passageway led them to a cavernous room with a big, flat boulder in the center of it.  The party haphazardly walks right into an ambush of two zombies that throw boxes of rocks on the party from a ledge above.  They are not too worse for wear after the ordeal and dispatch these two undead miscreants as well.  A passageway to the north and another to the south.  They choose north and are met with a most disturbing sight.  Well Nish is… as he volunteers to explore the room first. He finds a room with over a dozen skeletons/corpses laying up against the walls of the cavern.  Nish, not wanting to disturb this potential undead swarm, decides it not worth the effort to explore and diligently retreats back to his companions.  "There's a baker's dozen of corpses in there, some rotten to the bone.  A few old weapons… rusty… nothing of value at first glance.  What do you think we should do?" asks the gnome.  Alen replies, " Oh shoot! I think I left my kettle on the fire back at the Red Larch place, you know at the Inn of the Swinging … you know guys sorry but I'm going to have go put that out you know cause eeek fires and wooden buildings… that's not a good…. well see ya!" Perplexed, the adventurers see the old boy make his way back out of the cave.  "Aye! where's Vaitiare, damn she's gone again", proclaimed Sir Lowbrow.  Then Nish hears a low cry for help from the room he just left.  The party decides to investigate and several skeletons emerge and prepare for battle.  Among the dead are two naked humanoids barely alive and with several small scars all over their bodies.  The newest victims of the self proclaimed Lord of Lance Rock.  The party rescues the dwarf and half-orc and cut right through their guardians.  The dwarf brawler, Thorrus Slagfury (fighter/barbarian) and mage, Keth (wizard) introduce themselves and thank the group.  They are anxious to get revenge on the necromancer and get their gear back, so the intros are cut short by the barb…"Let's get goin I've got a score to settle with that two bit death dealer!" They proceed down another corridor that leads to a star shaped room with various crevasses in the walls but only two look passable.  They choose the one that they know leads to the necro's "work" area.  Thorrus, desperate to get to the bashing, throws all care to the wind and triggers a trap…."Aye me fucking axe!!! Oooh thats sharp". The party emerges on the other end of that long corridor and finds a huge room filled with undead and the Lord of Lance Rock as well!  The necro orders his fiends to attack the characters and then makes a curious retreat elsewhere in the lair. The skeletons ready their bows and take position behind a huge natural rock formation that protrudes from the southern wall. The party takes cover as well. Nish finds himself trying to hide behind a natural stone table that has blood all over it with buckets nearby filled with body parts.  The rest of the party tries to take cover from the onslaught of skeleton arrows or tries to advance on the archers to take their ranged advantage from them.  Nish suddenly finds out that his plan to hide was not as good a plan as he had hoped.  The buckets filled with body parts also have some animated hands that come swarming out at him and overrun the poor gnome.  The party concentrates their attacks on these crawling claws and manages to rescue the gnome from a gruesome death.  Sir Lowbrow healed the rogue and he came to again "Um where am I? Could somebody give me a hand over ere?". The party suffered several volleys before they could reach the skeleton archers but when they did, the brave monk, wizard and fighter/barbarian pounded them into a large heap of bones.  Now the adventurers must brave on to meet the Lord of Lance Rock and hopefully exact their revenge.  For the others, possibly find out what exactly this nemesis is doing here and if he's responsible for the awkward rumors of elemental evil being spread like the proprietor of the Swinging Sword proclaims…

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For Whom the Bells Toll
Recap 9/17/17

About a half mile from the town of Red Larch, the caravan is met with a symphony of bells tolling. The town comes alive and within minutes many of the townsfolk swarm the Long Road to greet the travelers. Among them, a quaint little establishment simply called HaelE3ya's (Enter and 3njoy). On the porch of this large building are 9 beautiful, scantily clad, ladies of mixed race but mainly human. One makes her way to the front and exclaims, "Welcome to Red Larch boys! And welcome to Haeleeya's bath house! Our girls will get'ya cleaned up real nice, won't we girls? Ooooh Yes! Stop by any time and let our girls take care of you… we are always, OPEN (as she parts her skirt revealingly) for businesssss!"

"Hiiiiieeee Forinzoooo!" the other girls cried in unison. Forinzo began to reply some dirty, provocative comment as per usual but was interrupted by a woman in the group that was not too happy with his flirting. She cursed him and then ran inside the building slamming the door behind her in a fit of rage. "Don't worry Forinzo" proclaimed a dainty but masculine voice, (two of the ladies are not ladies at all but half-elf cross-dressers instead) "You could always stay with us in our room". Forinzo told the gay half-elves to go fuck themselves! To which the other half-elf "maiden" replied with a heavy lisp, "Oh, don't worry we willll but it would be sssso much better if you joined ussss".
The caravan is halted in front The Swinging Sword inn. There they are met by Kayleesa Irkell

the proprietor of the inn. Iraun Thelder,

the stablemaster, who was also there to give the horses a cool drink of water. Forinzo talks to Urlam back in Triboar via a sending stone and explains to him the details of their journey. Urlam was quite upset by the death of one of his clients but Forinzo surprisingly defended the group, telling Urlam how bravely they fought off the goblin attack and saved the cargo. Urlam agreed to give all the PCs under contract 60 gold pieces (including the bonus pay for early arrival) with the exception of Rhobyn who would only get 54 gp and no bonus because the merchant that died was under his protection. Forinzo told the group they would all get paid after all the wagons were unloaded at the custormers' stores and then taken to other locations to get loaded again. This is basically how it was assigned:

—1 wagon going to the Helm at Highsun (Forinzo's)
—1 wagons going to Drouth Fine Poultry (10) after unload leave wagon there LOWBROW and VAITIARE
—1 wagon going to Jalessa the butcher (11) after unload going to Drouth's RHOBYN
—1 wagon going to Helvur Tarnlar Clothier (7) after unload going to Drouth's ENALLIS
—1 wagon going to the Smithy Tantur (9) after unload going to Mellikho's Stoneworks NISH
—1 wagon going to Luruth's Tannery (19) after unload going to Waelvur's Wagonworks for repairs ALEN

While all this was being organized Lowbrow became surrounded by some children that were fascinated by him. Lowbrow entertained their idea about the group being great adventurers and told them some of their fantastic tales. He gave the children a few silver pieces before departing to Drouth's Fine Poultry. Here, Lowbrow and Vaitiare meet Nahaeliya Drouth

the owner of this very busy and very smelly establishment. Cages, live chickens, pickled chickens, eggs, feathers flying everywhere but a very  organized operation nevertheless. This place must supply the entire Dessarin Valley. Lowbrow and Vaitiare helped unload some empty crated and cages and then were on their way.

Jalessa Ornra,

is the town butcher. Luckily, Forinzo remembered to take out the dead merchant's corpse or Rhobyn might have had a very special delivery indeed. Rhobyn helped unload the wagon and also happened to meet the town constable Harburk Tuthmarillar

who apparently lives in the building behind the butcher. "All this weather, and the rain, it's just Inconceeeivable!!!" Rhobyn dropped off the wagon at Drouth's without any incident.

Enallis was charged with the delivery of cloth to Helvur Tarnlar, Clothier. Helvur Tarnlar

is a very pompous aristocrat from Waterdeep who has a keen eye for fashion. His wife, Maegla Tarnlar,

is the obvious brains of the operation and immediately begins to take inventory of the goods in the wagon. Their children, the very same that surrounded Lowbrow, now surround Enallis and ask him if he's a great adventurer too.  Loni, an 8 year old little girl, blurts out a story about meeting an old dwarf near Lance Rock (a 30 foot monolith just south of town) who warns them to go away that their is a great plague around here. Enallis humors the children and tells them that he and his group would certainly be able to beat whatever plague that dwarf spoke of. Enallis then peruses the tailors wares and promises to return for an absolutely fabulous silk number that brings out the light in his eyes.

Nish goes to meet the smithy, Eldras Tantur,

and his two very strong daughters and handsome young son. They are a fierce looking family which is very busy at work most of the time but very friendly. Tantur's wares are of very fine quality indeed as Nish could attest to. Albaeri Mellikho,

the chubby proprietor of Mellikho's Stoneworks, is outwardly very nice and bubbly but quite nasty to her employees. Nish delivered the wagon there and overheard her scolding her workers who did not look very happy at all.

And we saved the best for last…. Props to Greg who NPC'd Alen damn near to perfection lol….

The wagon was still about 500 feet from the tannery but the merchant could see Alen's abdominal muscles beginning to spasm and his eyes start to water. "Aye half-elf, aarryaaa going to be alright laddy?" asked the merchant… "Oggmm, what is that terrible…aauuck smell?" replied Alen. "Oh dear, you've never been to a tannery aye boy?… eeere put dis cloth around you face" said the merchant… "Yes, yyyess sir guaaak". Ulhro Luruth,

was not pleased. "Come on you fucking half-elf and help us unload these skins", said the miserable middle-aged man. Alen completely consumed by the entire scene…the smell, the vats of lime, the flies everywhere, the dead skins, "Oh by the gods, bbbaaaeee, I'm sorry sir I'm a, eeeaaak, just give me a second while I, oooaaaq!!!". Arrrryyee you blistering pig slop go heave across the street! Not in my shoppe!" …. "ya ya yess sirrraaaeeeq!" "Oooh dear Azuth help meeeaaauuuck!" … by the time they got to Waelvur's Wagonworks Alen's face had regained about 50% of it's color. Ilmeth Waelvur,

a bitter old man who drinks and curses more than ole Forinzo, greets Alen as he drops off the wagon for repairs. Alen notices that all his workers drink while they work and this might explain why the place is so disorganized and chaotic.

The group returns to the Swinging Sword and gets paid by Forinzo who is already 3 pints in. Kayleesa asks the group if anyone would like to secure a room for the night as there are only 3 rooms left and the only other establishment would be Mother Yalantha's boarding house across the way. Enallis need hear no more and quickly fumble through his pouch for the 3 gold and is escorted up to his room by Ghileeda,

the maid.
Vaitiare and Alen also secure a room but must wait for Ghileeda to get back. While they wait Lowbrow makes conversation with Kayleesa and discovers that there might indeed be something afoul at this place Lance Rock. Nish by this time has disappeared and Enallis goes off to pay Helvur for his fine garment that he had secured earlier. Kayleesa, questions the group before giving up any information but when she feels comfortable she offers to give the party 50 gold to explore the area of Lance Rock. She is sure that this place is the pinnacle, no pun intended, of all the evil rumors that have been going around.

Enallis on his way back to the inn sees Ghileeda and dark husky man conversing in the alley of the Helm at Highsun. He overhears them talking about a "gnome and the others". He frantically races into the inn where he finds his friends enjoying a nice meal on the house. "Where is Nish?" he exclaims in elvish… his brethren do not know. "We have to find him quick", he says "he could be in trouble". Vaitiare raises her hood, stands up from her meal, gives Enallis a cold stare and excuses herself from the bar, "I have a pressing matter to attend to… if you would please excuse me". Perplexed, Enallis wonders if she understands elvish but that thought quickly vanishes from his mind as he gathers the group and leaves the inn. The stablemaster is outside smoking his pipe, staring at the group. They confab and plan the best way to find the missing gnome. The stablemaster casually follows the group to the front of the inn by the street, maintaining eye contact the whole time.  The three elfkind go across the street to search the alley of The Helm. Lowbrow goes to the bath house. At the bath house, he storms into the place and he finds a beautiful natural scene with plants and scents that are overwhelmingly soothing. Haeleeya tries to seduce him but Lowbrow resorts to his vows and declines her offer. Haeleeya tells him that there are other bathers less feminine than she If that is what he prefers… "No no I am looking for my friends, have you seen the gnome or the genasi anywhere?" She replies, "the gnome no, but the genasi yes, she is right over there. Join her if you desire, all is accepted within these walls". Lowbrow abruptly parts the curtain to Vaitiare's pool and she is quite embarrassed and upset with him. She tells him to leave her take a bath in peace!

At the helm things get a little strange…. The three elvenkind go into the bar. Enallis goes and sits at the bar next to an adventuring woman type dressed in stamped leather

and orders a drink from Garlen Harlathurl,

the proprietor. Alen and Rhobyn stand awkwardly by the door and stare at each other. The barkeep serves Enallis an ale sets it down next to him and shaves off the head with a knife. Enallis looks down to take his ale in his hand and sees a most troubling site. It's the Helmed Horror! Engraved onto the bar and scratched next to it it says, "The Helm at Highsun where no one will bother you" He looks around the place terrified and sees paintings of this creature almost on every wall! Rhobyn notices the paintings immediately too but keeps his elven composure about it.  And to make matters worse the man that was talking to Ghileeda emerges from a staircase to the cellar behind the bar with a keg on his back.

The man puts the keg down with very little effort and lifts and eyebrow toward Enallis, "Enjoy yuur drink, friend" and returns to the cellar. By this time, Nish and Lowbrow have found their way to The Helm as well. They all take a seat at a table, and order drinks to avoid acting too suspicious (too late). They all stare at each other and whisper to each other what they know. "By the almight Azuth!!! blurts out Alen. "You all are not going to believe this…this is so weird, there's a painting of another helmed knight like the one that interrupted me the other night when I was…." They all look at Alen in disbelief and then ponder what their next step should be…

It was an all roleplaying session but I will award every character 100 xp for the night.  Well done guys and hope to see everyone in two weeks.

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