Morwindl - Darkness Falls

40 - Friend turned Foe
"That's not true, that's impossible!"
Friend Turned Foe


Event Info
Thanks Austin for the write up!

Our setting is The Silver Raven, but the state is confusion. With most of the party present, and a beaten and battered Hoskin tucked away upstairs in a locked room, the patrons of the bar have been removed and the establishment secured. Aran had taken first watch in Hoskin’s room, but with Ford taking up the mantle, Aran left to find Ulrich in his tower and inform him of what had transpired with his trusted friend.

Upon arriving at Tower Draconis, Aran is met with the unsightly and grotesque visage that is Brigitte, Ulrich’s maid and house servant. Naturally this brings more confusion because she seems so out of place in Ulrich’s employ. Nonetheless, Brigitte lets Aran into the main floor and upon Ulrich’s arrival, he immediately informs him of Hoskin’s current well-being. They’re off like a flash.

As Ulrich and Aran make their way to the Raven, Aran brings up, not just the state of Hoskin but also his feet, uncovered and bloody. Those same feet could’ve made the tracks leaving the cove that they had come across. Ulrich states that certainly Hoskin must have been a victim himself and narrowly escaped with his life.

They enter and proceed up the stairs to a barred room. Aran knocks, only to be answered by a familiar voice “I don’t know who you are, but there are 10 of us in here and we can defend ourselves most assuredly.” It was Ford.

Upon letting in Aran and Ulrich, the three of them converse for a time after Ulrich tends to his friend. They discuss what he could’ve been doing at the cove and how he would’ve managed to escape with his life.

As Ford and Aran proceed to exchange roles, Morwen awakens. She kindly offers to take watch whilst giving the other two (Ford and Aran) an opportunity to rest. As the logistics of this task are worked out, Ulrich proceeds to the cellar to fetch a lambic that would be a welcome sight to Hoskin, should he ever awaken.

Ulrich returns and places the cups gently on the nightstand and takes up his seat at the bed’s side. He notices Morwen has taken to inspecting some wood from one of the smashed crates found at the cove. Morwen inspects closely, noting the images on the three separate nails, they’re order…who seals a crate thus?

In an effort to break her concentration Ulrich asks if she had noticed Hoskin’s clothes. Namely, the large hole on his torso. As she inspects, Hoskin’s breathing becomes more labored, so she breaks into song, sharing our familiar ballad of courage. His breathing steadies.

Amalia stirs and takes the watch from Morwen while Ulrich doesn’t move. As Morwen returns to her slumber, Ulrich asks Amalia if she could put out the word among their compatriots that he is looking to sell the completed dragon armor he had made. After a fairly clunky conversation Ulrich proceeds to ask her her thoughts on all that’s happened with Hoskin and the cove. Not but confusion and uncertainty is the consensus.

During this time, you may be asking, “Where has Verity gone?” Well, being the ever wary and smart person she is, she had been spending many hours at the temple of Pelor gaining focus and casting a spell over the entirety of Udkig. One that would show her the true evil of this place and where to find it. After much focus and time, she resolves her spell, unsure of an exact entity or agent of evil. She leaves the temple and shortly thereafter, enters the barred room amidst the conversation of Amalia and Ulrich.

Upon seeing the sight of Hoskin, Varity casts a Regen spell and his limbs begin to grow back as his wounds heal. The party awakens to the sight. Ulrich hands Hoskin his wine but he drops the glass. So Ulrich hands him his own wine.

Without a beat of rest Hoskin was bombarded by questions from the group about what happened. He tries his best to recall what all had occurred, the cave and the bodies. But he is foggy on most details. Ulrich requests the treatment of time, to allow Hoskin to collect his thoughts. Ford however plows ahead with his queries.

Aran decides to make breakfast for everyone and Morwen shows the wood and nails to Ford in an attempt to glean some knowledge of their meaning.

Not paying much attention, Ford gets some pieces of information from Hoskin. Namely, that when he stumbled back into town he went to Tower Draconis before returning to the Raven. Ford asks if there’s any chance he stashed anything there, but gets no answer. After inspecting Hoskin’s clothes, Ford asserts that we all must proceed to the Tower and sort things out for ourselves.

Aran arrives with tasty treats for the group and asks the unsettling questions about Brigitte’s appearance to Ulrich. They clearly don’t see the same image. Aran is concerned that Ulrich is being dominated but Ulrich attests that he is not. Amidst the exchange Verity informs Ulrich of the task she has been undertaking and that there is evil afoot with an unknown location. Ulrich should be concerned if he is seeing things differently from the others.

The final nail in the coffin, they all eat and proceed to the tower. With the tower drawing nearer, tempers rise. Ulrich feels like a suspect, clearly misinterpreting what is actually concern by his friends.

As they mount the steps to the keep, Ford sees Brigitte for the first time. He is utterly terrified.

They all enter the main room and glance around. Some ask Hoskin about what he remembers, others ask if Brigitte knows anything.

Verity makes an attempt to detect evil. But she falls flat on her back. Something has stopped her spell. Her world fades to black as she drifts away into unconsciousness. But quickly she is greeted with icy water dowsing her face and she bolts upright.

As everyone tries to regain their composure, Ford , Aran and Verity notice the image of the dragon on the mat in the room. And a slight tingle of dread chills their spines.

Further inquiry with Hoskin and Brigitte leads the group to the cellar. Ulrich proceeds down the stairs without concern, but Verity and Aran sense something upon touching the rail. There’s something evil here. With an exchange of glancing, they proceed downward. Brigitte leads the way after receiving the stink-eye from Verity . The group follows in stride.

As they all search, nothing jumps out at them. Ulrich is seemingly annoyed but still searches. Ford leans back against the wall, seemingly defeated. But he falls through the wall into an apparent open cave. Morwen notes that there was an illusion upon the walls.

They all walk into the opening and see a huge cavern. Ulrich is surprised, as this is truly something he has never seen before.

As they all enter the space, Aran and Verity notice ornate carvings or shapes in the stonework. They identify it as a black dragon.

In the majesty and grandeur of the cavern, their eyes are drawn to the portal at the far end. Suddenly Brigitte blinks out of existence and becomes some sort of undead thing at the portals opening. It begins to glow and swirl with purple light.

Verity is prepared for the worst and calls her armor in place! The Lich outstretches his hands and two gigantic metallic bulls appear. The being calls to Ulrich, mentioning his adoptive mother, and asks if he wishes to take his rightful place.

Ulrich seems entranced and walks to the portal. At the precipice he is stopped by Ford, amidst the chaos of brilliant light from Verity striking the lich (as he just shakes it off). Ford attempts to talk Ulrich out of his resolve. But he fails. Ulrich enters the portal.

The bulls begin to stamp and snort. As green smoke exits one’s nostrils and turns Aran to stone, Ford is struck by the undead demon, and Verity launches an offensive of beams at the bulls.

Morwen attention is focused on the undead as she attempts to cast Tasha’s hideous laughter on it. At the same time Amalia fires her bow at the same target.

Ford has a different approach, and blinks to the precipice. He attempts to enter the portal but he is stopped. He cannot enter. But, he does see a familiar coastline. As well as the demon.

One of the bulls targets Ford and attempts to attack, but misses. Morwen is attacked by the other bull but Verity attacks it and the trueness of the strike knocks one of the horns right off!

During the battle the undead thing enters the portal and vanishes. Morwen continues attacking the bull and scores a mighty blow, while Amalia finishes off the other with a big blow. The bull falls to the ground and transmutes into a purple goop.

Verity scores a devastating blow and the bull stumbles. It is brought to its end by a final blow from Morwen. With a closed portal, a party member missing and one turned stone, the question exists: what now?

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39 - Dark Tidings, Mangled Friends
"What is in his sack?"
Dark Tidings & Mangled Friends


Event Info
Thanks Sean for the write up!

Following the battle Amalia, Morwen, Ulrich and Verity begin to check the room for any clues or objects of use. A thorough search reveals no new clues but a wealth of gold, a spell book, scrolls and potions for later consideration. By the time the search is concluded, Aran and Ford return from the upward passage to report that a single set of bloody footprints led out of smuggler’s cove and back towards town.

The decision is quickly made to abandon the room full of old and new corpses. Before, departing, Verity drew on her divine connection to heal many of the wounds that the cultists and golem had inflicted. As the group entered the tunnel, Verity and Amalia made an effort to follow the tracks of the bloody footprints which showed no deviation before reaching the cave mouth. The party resolved to mark this spot to remember the entrance to smugglers cove before trailing the lone set of tracks back towards the city. While walking, Ford pondered aloud why the cultists were there and how only one person escaped. Further recollection led him to identify most of the fallen bodies that were divested of their hand and eye to have been sailors, some of which he remembered from brief encounters on the ship Excelsior. The others found this most puzzling as well and speculated at why the cultists were seemingly awaiting them. Almost a mile out, the no longer bloody footprints led to the road and it was assumed that the bearer headed into the city. While walking, Aran began to fiddle with the robe he pulled out of the cove and discovered that one of its many patches detached and became a lantern. The issue of the apparently magical robe distracted the weary travelers until the city gate was reached.

Verityquestioned the gate guard for information on bloody travelers entering in the recent past. The guard was naturally put on guard by this line of questioning. And, it took pointed name dropping from Verity to assuage his reticence to help. In the end he agreed to send the officer that would have been on duty to the temple if he could be of any use to identify persons that might be relevant.

Once the brief discussion was concluded, the guards pointedly took note of the citizenship of Morwen, Ulrich and Verity. The others were informed that it cost a gold to enter the city each time you desired entrance. Aran and Amalia begrudgingly paid for their entry while Ford nervously excused himself further down the length of the wall, making promises to meet up with the others in town. The foolishness of paying for entry over and over rankled him enough to inspire a foolish excursion out of the sight of the guards. One ethereal jaunt later saw him inside the city on an unknown street, slightly worse for wear.

Inside the city Aran broke from the group to make a series of visits to shops. The shield from the former battle with the vampires was sold, to be split. And, a small negotiation with the woman in the Curio Shop identified his robe as holding many useful items in its patches. After making the rounds at other stores, Aran returned to the shop to negotiate a pair of gloves which would increase his dexterity for a sum of money and a promise of a new line of spell infused bread which would put potions to shame.

Ulrich departed for his tower and promised to return to the Raven later to return the magical raven in spite of Aran’s generous and self serving offer to return it for him.

Morwen dropped off several potion ingredients with Lysander and went to see her friend Niac to look over the locked spell book she had acquired. Niac pointedly commented that he did not know how to open locks without keys. After an embarrassed moment, Morwen had an open spell book for him to look over. He identified several spells but also commented on the very strange stories writ between the passages of magic. One, he claimed was a prophesy identical to the one they had found in the book of vile darkness. These dark tales repeatedly referenced the shadow that would taint the land and the dragon which would save the world. But, also hinted at a more secret darkness yet veiled. After this unsettling exchange, Morwen gathered her things to show her friends the book.

Amalia and Verity walked to the temple of Pelor where Verity sequestered herself in her rooms. Amalia waited for her friends to re-gather at the temple and when Ford finally made his way to Pelor’s house, they both plied the acolytes for additional healing to refresh them fully. The acolytes did not ask payment but instead preached the word of Pelor to them in a different kind of payment. Ford and Amalia took a brief trip out of the temple to retrieve bottled drinks and light Amalia’s pipe. They drank and smoked in the currently unused chapel in a rebellious irreverent display.

Shortly after they returned, Morwen entered and produced her new spell book. She suggested they take a look at it as there were several languages that she hadn’t sussed out. She suggested that Ford as a traveled man might know one or more languages in the text. He traded her beer for book and began to look it over. While Morwen looked for her own healing from the temple, Ford translated several more cryptic prophecies like the one she had uncovered with Niac. Ford read the foreboding text in a shaky voice and suggested they address the others with this concern as soon as possible.

The keepers of the temple flatly refused to rouse Verity from prayer to speak to Amalia, Ford and Morwenbut agreed to take a message to her as soon as she was available. Ford, being most concerned with the dire prophecies conveyed his surprisingly scary insistence that they deliver the message discreetly. That done, they all retired to the Raven to await everyone gathering.

The group made themselves comfortable in the taproom while Aran returned to begin his cooking experiment in the back. Amalia continued to fight her lungs with her pipe while Morwen keenly observed Ford’s odd activity. Ford took up a seat at the hearth and began to play and sing in an odd fashion alternating between the lyrics of songs and the incantations of his magic in an attempt to set new spells to old songs.

Once everyone had had their fill of their leisure activities the room had emptied and the door closed for the night. Aran returned to the taproom and Morwenasked if he knew the language in the last untranslated passage of the book. He, using the guidance of his faith, read the book and filled the others in on the final passage. It spoke of a false book which would be conquered and that while that would pass, the true book would seek to control the dragon and savior for itself. The wake of speculation began to froth over what this new development could mean but was interrupted by the door slamming open and a chill evening wind blowing in.

A red clad unshod Hoskin entered the Silver Raven, his left hand tucked into his right armpit, his head hung low, his hair filthy and matted hanging over his face. His right hand dropped a bag on the floor, spilling parcels on the inn’s wooden boards and went to cradle the stump of his left hand. He turned his blood matted face to the startled friends – the hair matted down his face mingled in blood from his left eye socket, the eye gone. Aran barely made it to catch the man as he collapsed. Aran carried the unconscious Hoskin upstairs to attempt to heal him, while Amalia and Morwenset about securing the inn. Ford informed the staff before scooping up the bag, noticing as he did that each parcel had the names of different members of their group scrawled on the wrapped parcels. Hoskin although healing, did not wake from Aran’s ministrations. The party settled in to wait, watch and worry.

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38 - Smuggler's Cove
"It's a rock, it doesn't have any vulnerable spots!"
Smuggler’s Cove


Event Info
Thanks Bryce for the write up!

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The sword wielding cultist deftly strikes Ulrich and Morwen. Ford gathers his courage and steps back and begins to whistle a lilting tune. The party’s pulse begins to quicken to the beat of the song. Amalia fires a couple of arrows in rapid succession at the granite behemoth. One glances off of its chest. The other strikes home, but shatters against its rocky exterior. There is a quick intake of breath as a arrow appears in Ford’s arm. Verity whispers a quick prayer and is suddenly clad in resplendent armor. She approaches the monster as it smashes her with a hay-maker. Morwen dispatches the last cultist in a flurry of blades. Aran unleashes a few kicks at the monster only dislodging a few pebbles from its crust. Ulrich begins to cast a spell and his skin takes on the same appearance as the parties foe. Ford begins to belt out a spell and Aran begins to grow larger. Amalia begins to change her form, assuming the same shape as the rock creature. The rock focuses his attention on Aran who deftly avoids his crush blows. Morwen begins to sing of song of valor and courage to inspire the party to greater heroics. Ulrich backs away from the rock monster and with an adroit motion has retrieved and begun to quaff a potion from his robes. Ford makes a throwing motion and a cloud of dust appears, though it reveals nothing. Rockalia walks forward and slams her smaller rock arms into the legs of the large rock golem, to no effect. Verity begins hammering at the monster with her mace. Morwen has maneuvered herself to the other side and is using her sword to the best of its ability. Some rocks have been chipped away, but the rock elemental stands tall. Ulrich begins an incantation in a low rumbling voice and his hands begin to crackle with the glow of an electric energy. Ford does a bell kick and appears next to the pile of rocks his cane in hand. In a brisk movement he has unsheathed his weapon struck and re-sheathed it. Ulrich charges up the stairs finding a small alcove. A pair of archers panic from their prone positions revealing themselves. Ulrich throws the stored energy in his hands out in a crackle of lighting that envelopes them both, reducing them to ashes in the blink of an eye. The rest of the party continues to to assault the golem, though they are beginning to find it slightly easier. Ford’sweapon has begun to glow with a purple light and the golem’s granite body seems to be becoming a weaker substance. The floor is becoming littered with chunks of rock as the party slowly whittles it down. Amalia seeing that her rock body is having little effect transforms her body into a billowing air elemental. Airmalia surrounds the golem in an attempt to lift his legs and trip him, but he is too well grounded. Finally the final blow is dealt and the golem falls to pieces in a heap of rock and sand.

Ford dashes forward, hunting for something only he knows. Aran quick follows in pursuit. The rest of the party begins to search for any clues as to who could have left such a grisly scene.

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37 - The Fate of Captain Blackbeard
Well, more gray than black, and bushy!
The Fate of Captain Blackbeard


Event Info
Thanks Jen for the write up!

Morwen kept her promise to follow up with Jadel. She informed her that Blackbeard was not fond of using the traditional black market entrances and typically used one that was located off the coast.

The party met up at Silver Raven where Ulrich is introduced to Verity. Ulrich asks about Lindy and Morwen informs him that they had attempted to locate her to give her a mace but they were told she had left town, so they left the mace with Tobias just in case she came back to town and might see him.

The friends talk about what they discovered at the cemetery and Ulrich informs him he had also heard of Zygor. They catch up on the information about the Excelsior. That it was carrying something, an artifact that was enclosed in a crate with nails that had runes etched into them. While Morwen and Verity explain what they found off the coast during their excursion with Flanagan. Ford hands Aran a copy of the runes he remembered and Aran sat for a while looking at them, then suddenly started reading off some of what they said. Verity says that some of the meanings sound like something from a cult, that could possibly be evil. Morwen shares that some of it reminds her of old folktales that parents would tell children to get them to behave.

They hem and haw over what to do next, Ulrich shares that he discovered with the right persuasion, Flanigan might be willing to share the exact location of the cave entrance. However they agree that those of the correct sex were not interested in becoming a plaything for him and they could find the entrance without him.

The trouble was where would they find a boat? Aran looks at Ulrich and proposes that he approach Hoskin about possibly procuring that for them. Ulrich asks Wendy if she can let Hoskin know the party needs to confer with him. He walks over and Ulrich informs him of their predicament.

Hoskin looks at Ulrich, “I would only entrust this to my closest of friends. Take this raven and place it in water. Once you’ve done that say the word ‘schwan’ and it will transform into a boat. Good luck.”

The party agrees to meet back at the Raven in the morning. They go their separate ways. In the morning Ford, Morwen and Amalia visit Lysander at different times procuring various potions. Ulrich visits the tailor and Jasker.

Meanwhile Aran has completed cooking breakfast at the Raven, creating a most delicious dish of eggs benedict or florentine. The party feels significantly better after eating. Morwen even licks her plate clean. Ulrich in his new fine robes with beautifully woven snakes on the sleeves, informs Morwen and Amalia that an old friend has reappeared and is working down at the docks. There was a moment of rage when Morwen thought perhaps it was Shandrela, but Ulrich seeing the emotions running across her face informed her it was Komek. Relief spread over her and she asked how he was doing. Apparently well for himself and was keeping good company. The conversation turns to the plans for the day and Ford pipes up that Lysander has water breathing potions. The group agrees it is time to head out. Everyone but Ulrich heads to Gulps of Gholien. He heads to his home briefly to change out of his fine robes.

They meet down at the docks in a remote location and perform the magic that transforms the raven into a boat. Ford prepares the boat for sailing and they head out to find the cave entrances. They find an inlet within a dark shadowy place. They land and disembark and Ulrich turns the boat back into a raven and pockets the item. Aran asks if he could possibly look at it more closely and Ulrich says he would rather do that with Hoskin present. They move forward into the cavern and are faced with the choice of continuing on land or swimming. They choose to swim, Aran chose to walking the ceiling. Ford has a feather in his cap that appears to light the way along with Ulrich’s spear tip. They swim, some with more difficulty than others. Suddenly a porpoise appears alongside Verity, helping her on her way. They continue for a time, Morwen and Ulrich making it to shore, when suddenly Amalia’s head disappears under water. Just before she feels a burning, painful sensation in her calf, and she’s bleeding. Something has hold of her. Ford dives under and touches a creature, powerful with scales. Morwen drinks a potion pulls her rapier out and dives into the water. Verity shoots a powerful and bright ray of light into the water. It strikes the creature and she is able to see that it has four powerful limbs, a large mouth and a tail. Morwen sinks her rapier into it’s shoulder. It bites down harder on Amalia’s leg refusing to let it’s meal escape. Ford hits a soft spot on the creature and it bleeds profusely. Ulrich suddenly appears in a different place in the cavern. Aran drops down from the ceiling into the water and kicks the creature and white streaks of light strike the creature as he kicks, Amalia feels more pain each time he kicks it. Ford strikes the creature another time and suddenly it releases Amalia and starts sinking to the bottom of the cavern tainting the water with blood. Morwen and Verity tend to Amalia’s wounds. Ulrich dives under the water and re-surfaces with two feet from the creature.

After ensuring that Amalia was tended the group moves forward through the cavern with Ulrich leading the way. They turn a corner and find three humanoid figures attempting to retrieve beer from a cask unsuccessfully. They can see it appears to be two elves and one human, that should be lying dead, not walking. Suddenly there is a bright flash of light around Verity and the undead; all that remains is what they were holding and wearing. Morwen takes the well crafted wooden mug and Aran takes a long coat, pockets an eyepatch and puts on a tri-corn hat. They find a rickety wooden bridge in the cavern and cross it without difficulty. Ulrichcan feel on his tongue a taste of ash, blood and something foul.

Once across the bridge the adventurers discover an encampment with bodies and a fire that has been out for some time. Searching the area they find only minimal money and treasure, there appears to be nothing out of the ordinary in this area aside from the dead men. Ulrich standing at the entrance to another area gets pushed out of the way as Ford runs through the entrance as if on a mission. He inspects a crate and then moves to a fire.

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The party enters the area after him. Morwen looks at a couple bodies, seeing that a left eye and the left hands are removed she draws her weapons. Ford moves towards the other end of the cavern. Verity says some words, and suddenly the room erupts into chaos. A rock dissolves in front of Ford and reforms as a large creature. Two men wearing robes appear in the room. Amalia lets arrows loose and one man falls to the floor but not before striking out at Ford. Morwen feels a pain in her shoulder as she’s struck by an arrow, enraged she runs and strikes the man nearest Ulrich. A divine light comes down from the heavens and strikes the creature. Ulrich says some words and a light dust puffs off from the beast…

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36b - Tower Draconis
The Money Pit
Tower Draconis


Event Info
Thanks Austin for the write up!

Oh wait… y’all can’t see anything, because only one person was there. Check the secrets section!

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36 - Missing Crates
and the lecherous halfling
Missing Crates


Event Info
Thanks Sean for the write up!

The revelations in the graveyard leave many of the party unsettled and unsure of what to do next. But, they travel to the temple to take the hospitality offered by Verity. An acolyte informs them that a crate has arrived marked for Aran. Verity goes to ensure that all get rooms. The rest of the party begins to disperse to their own activities. Amalia begins to smoke her pipe in the vast space of the chapel while Ford heads off to the kitchen.

Aran discovers by the letter on the crate that the items inside are the enchanted ones from their most recent battle that were identified by Lyra. Amalia, Aran and Morwen work on dividing up the gear to best benefit them. The only item which puzzled them was Horn of Triton which the vampires formerly held.

As they are wondering, Ford returns with food and mead. They question him on use of items like the horn. Ford guesses that this item may have been used to still the waters around his ship. Which would explain the unnatural drift of the vessel for so many years. It seems as though the relics stolen from the Excelsior may have been under the gaze of some dark purpose long ago. Yet, no one seems sure how to proceed in investigating the events.

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Following deliberation, Aran goes with Verity to research a lead on the old order based around Vecna. Amalia, Morwen and Ford go to pose more questions to Zygor which proves a fruitless endeavor. However, Ford has an idea of how to possibly find a lead on the crates and requests to be taken down by the docks. With the guidance of Morwen and Amalia, they search through the low city for places near the docks that the crates may have been secreted away to. As they walk about, Ford scrys for the familiar picture of the crates. The distinct black crates with their red runners and odd markings fail to reveal themselves to his arcane sight. And, as the hour grows late, they return to the temple. Aranand Verity report a much more successful search. In their studying they confirmed that the cult of Vecna was indeed poisoning the food supply with the taint of vampirism and may be searching for great artifacts for some old and evil purpose.

Sleep is the resolution that comes to the investigation with hopes that the morning light will shed clearer insight on their search. As they come back together to break the fast, Aran resolves to go make his own investigation at the bakery and re-check the accounts there. Ford and Amalia accompany him there and Aran grows frustrated that Ford cannot remember the markings that were on the side of the crates which could have provided some hint as to their origin.

The baker Mires gratefully opens his books and shop to Aran. But accounts from the staff reveal only vague description of shady figures who match those of the now dead vampires. This prompts Aran and Amalia into a thorough digging into the baker’s books. This search yields only a great deal of boredom and frustration as the morning wears on. Ford, for his part samples baked goods, being happy to eat bread that was not hard-tack.

Meanwhile, Morwen and Verity make their way to the docks to check into Whitecap shipping. Populating the front office of Whitecap Shipping is a greasy looking Halfling who gets immediately keen to Morwen. Morwen leans on the counter to pour on the charm. Then Verity gets down to questioning the man about the breadth of his shipping involvement. It quickly comes to light that both the Intrepid and its captain, “Blackbeard,” were associates of the company. The man behind the counter becomes increasingly concerned and attempts to be more circumspect. But, Verity pushes forward, insinuating that his informal help with information would stave off any kind of formal, rigorous and probably unnecessary investigation into an honest business. The beleaguered Flanigan caves and admits that Blackbeard has screwed him on some deals in the past. He guesses that if the crates went anywhere it would likely be the black market. He of course has no idea where it might be but has heard rumors of a secrete current that can slip smugglers into a tucked away cove.

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Morwen and Verity contract him to take them out on a tour to search for the black market entrance. And, while the dubious Halfling is not directly helpful in spotting it, Morwen does locate a spot along the coast that looks promising. Feigning failure, the two return to the docks to gather the others for a more private trip to the smugglers entrance without Flanigan the lecherous Halfling.

Amalia, Aran and Ford finish up at the Bakers and track the other two ladies to Whitecap Shipping. They find that Morwen and Verity are out and decide to attend their own business while they wait. Aran finds his way to the Curio Shop to see about pricing out the enchanted items he no longer needs. And, is promptly snared by the slim blonde woman behind the counter. He attempts to schmooze despite the deathly glare of the large guard dog. He does end up finding a price for the shield and says he must confer with his fellows before selling their gear. Ford for his part finds a pair of buckled black boots made of supple leather for quick plank work. Amalia remains down by the docks and chats up local fishermen in hopes of gleaning any helpful tidbits of information on their missing cargo, but it seems that no one had seen anything useful the day of the disappearance.

Upon the return of Morwen and Verity, the party reunites for a brief conversation to share what their respective searches yielded. The whole group of them resolves to re-gather the missing Ulrich and make a search of the black market.

Aran says that before they move on they should give Lindy the mace that none of them have use of as her part of the equipment they took. Amalia and Ford are unable to locate Lindy, only receiving reports that she has left town. They leave it in trust for her with Tobias. Morwen goes to meet with Jadel and the others make their preparations before the scheduled meeting at the Silver Raven to plan their excursion.

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35 - Theft on the High Seas
Good cop, bad cop?
Theft on the High Seas


Event Info
Thanks Julie for the write up!

From the hearth at the Hoof ‘N’ Mouth, there is a soft glow lighting the room, the fire crackles amidst the sound of chatter and laughter. Amalia sits back in her chair and takes several long puffs from her pipe. Rather curious about this Ford character and Lindy’s lack of skepticism, she has followed them back to the Hoof ‘N’ Mouth. She watches them interact, drinking and laughing and drinking some more until it’s clear that Ford is sloshing his drink all over himself near the hearth, and is quite unable to stand. Lindy pounds the last of her ale, leaves a few coins, and scoops up an obviously drunk Ford. She tosses him over her right shoulder and exits the room stumbling up the stairs. Amalia suspiciously mutters under her breath, “hmmmm, interesting”, extinguishes her pipe, and heads off to bed at the Wicker Goat. Aran has gone to bed at the Silver Raven. Morwen has accompanied Mires and Lyra to the temple. Ulrich has also gone to bed.

After a nights rest at the temple, Morwen is feeling better and leaves for the Wicker Goat. Ulrich has left to meet with Hoskin to sign papers and obtain the deed to his tower. Lindy awakens to the guttural puking sounds coming from Ford who is hanging out the window. She groans and rolls over, pulling the blanket over her head.

Morwen enters the Wicker Goat and finds Amalia having breakfast. She asks if their are any new discoveries about Ford. Amalia raises an eyebrow and relays to Morwen the events of last night that she observed at the Hoof ‘N’ Mouth. They decide to head to the Silver Raven to meet up with Aran. With her mouth watering at the the thought of Aran’s cooking, Amalia pushes her less than appetizing oatmeal aside.

Verity knocks on Lyra’s door and is welcomed to enter. Closing the door behind her, Verity turns and looks sternly at Lyra. Without any words, Lyra drops her shoulders and proceeds to express regret about the interview with Walthas. “I shouldn’t have said what I did about the decline in followers”….“I shouldn’t have said what I did about the lack of faith in Pelor”. Verity curtly responds, “This isn’t a crisis for the followers! It’s a crisis in front of you!” “You’re a weak point for the cathedral!” Lyra sits and tears begin to fall. Verity continues, “When was the last time you did a proper mission?” Sniffling, Lyra cannot recall. Verity challenges Lyra to to on a mission and reconnect with her faith. Verity offers to take care of things at the cathedral for 6 months while she takes a leave of absence.

Ford leaves Lindy hungover under a mound of blankets and heads downstairs. He asks for 3 plates of food. Shackled, he sits and eats and then takes the 2 remaining plates upstairs and leaves them near Lindy with a bucket. He leaves for the Barracks, taking his sweet time to get there. It has since been such a long time since he has stepped foot on land.

Amalia and Morwen find Aran and they discuss Lindy and Ford. Aran heads to the temple to speak with Lyra. Amalia and Morwen leave for the Barracks, and Verity leaves the temple destined for the Barracks as well.

At the Barracks, Grust is at the front. Verity informs him that Lyra has asked her to follow up on the shipment to the cathedral. Grust grunts and makes mention of the missing prisoner and states that the investigative team is looking for him. “He was shackled and he just disappeared”. Verity asks to speak with Walthas and is informed that he is with a team at the docks to check on the missing cargo. Verity makes personal note that she should ask Walthas for a copy of that report. She decides to stay and make small talk with the half orc. “What business is it of yours about the ship” he snorts. She identifies herself as the cleric assigned by Lyra to find the facts and locate the stuff belonging to the cathedral.

Aran arrives at the temple and is unable to make contact with Lyra as she is in a meeting with the Bishops. Aran decides he will return to the temple tomorrow when church is next in session and leaves for the docks.

Amalia and Morwen arrive at the Barracks. Grust seems less than interested in talking with them. “Is ”/characters/walthas" class=“wiki-content-link”>Walthas in?" He clears his throat and states “he’s at the ”/wikis/shipyard" class=“wiki-page-link”> Shipyard“. ”/characters/morwen" class=“wiki-content-link”>Morwen recognizes the woman next to Grust as a cleric from the church and asks her is she is here to see Walthas. “Are you investigating the ship?” Verity explains her intentions at the Barracks and then asks Morwen what her interest is with Walthas. Morwen explains to Verity the efforts of the party to fight against vampirism and Verity looks at Morwen eyes wide. “Is vampirism resolved? Has it spread any further?” Morwen answers her questions to the best of her abilty. As their discussion ends, Verity decides to wait at the Barracks for Walthas and his report. Ford is still on his way to the Barracks, but has decided to stop for 2 vases of orchids.

Arriving at the docks, Aran finds the Intrepid swarming with people and uniformed soldiers. He identifies Walthas sitting on the side of the ship with pen and quill taking notes. Aran approaches Walthas and is given permission to take a look on board.

Morwen and Amalia go to the Hoof ‘N’ Mouth to inquire about Lindy and Ford, but there is no sign of them and they make haste for the docks.

Ford arrives at the Barracks grinning and holding 2 vases of orchids. Grust pops up out of his chair and demands “where have you been?” “Well you seem a kind fellow…can you see that the lady from the temple and ”/characters/lindy" class=“wiki-content-link”>Lindy get these? They were quite upset last night", Ford recalls. Grust growls “”/characters/walthas" class=“wiki-content-link”>Walthas really needs to talk to you". “Good I’ve decided to help him” chimes in Ford. Recognizing that the shackles do no good anyway Grust steps toward Ford and removes them. Ford asks for his belongings and Grust agrees to return them once he has satisfied Walthas’s questions. Verity asks Ford to tell her what happened on the ship and he agrees to a private interview.

In Walthas’s office Verity casts force to tell truth on Ford. Ford looks at Verity. She appears to be half elf with blonde hair that is tied back. Her height is a good 3 feet shorter than his own. She is wearing nice boots, and there is a large visible symbol of Pelor around her neck. Although her features are plain, she is muscular and well groomed..

While searching, Aran discovers a hidden compartment in the Captain’s desk. It doesn’t open easily, and Aran kicks the desk apart revealing a book. It has an Intrepid flag on the cover and it’s clearly a journal. Aran spends time reading it.

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Amalia and Morwen arrive at the docks. Walthas is staring at his notes and has nothing new to report. Amalia has never been on a boat and thinks it would be a good idea to look around the ship. She sees nothing of interest and exits quickly as her stomach is churning and she feels off balance and sick from the constant motion. As she exits, she sees Aran coming down from the ship. Aran approches Amalia and Morwen and tells them he found a book that he has identified as the Captain’s Log. Recounting what he has read, he tells Amalia and Morwen that they found the Excelsior wreckage and picked up the crates. The crew was effected by something of a necromantic nature. Aran appears puzzled and asks himself how Lyra knew what was in the crates. “She said the crates contained objects of Pelor, but certainly they are not.”

Walthas arrives at the Barracks to find Ford and Verity in his office with Ford in the middle of telling his story. Verity introduces herself to Walthas as a representative of Pelor and informs him she is getting a testimony from his witness.

Aran returns to the temple of Pelor and demands to see Lyra. He waits and eventually receives invitation to her quarters. She is wearing simple robes that are not religious. She is wearing a necklace with a small golden symbol. “Have you made a decision ”/characters/lyra-ivessa" class=“wiki-content-link”>Lyra to leave office?" She admits that she is going to try and reconnect with her faith, but will stay local. Aran asks who told her about the location of the artifacts . Lyra sighs, " It was a member of the congregation, a sailor by the name of Zyor Paternius. He claimed to have found the artifacts of the Excelsior. Anyway, it doesn’t matter because he’s dead, murdered in a street robbery. He’s buried in the cemetery." Aran informs her he has found a ledger of the Captain’s Log, and tells her that as soon as the relics were found the crew started fighting and engaging in murderous intent. Lyra slumps, “it’s happening again.” “”/characters/lyra-ivessa" class=“wiki-content-link”>Lyra what aren’t you telling us?" Lyra takes a deep breath and sits with her hands clasped, “The ”/wikis/excelsior" class=“wiki-page-link”>Excelsior was sent out 30 years ago to ship back what archaeologists had found. Reports from the Excelsior became less and less frequent. There were reports of terrible acts….and then nothing. Then Zyor appeared…. he had a piece of wood with an emblem from the Excelsior. The church hired the Intrepid to find the lost artifacts. The church believed the relics could help show truth to help vanquish Vecna." “You must know that the ”/wikis/intrepid" class=“wiki-page-link”>Intrepid had necromantic energies" Aran replies. Aran asks Lyra to identify the items that Morwen has been carrying to determine if they are cursed. Lyra agrees and Aran excuses himself to return to the Intrepid.

Morwen and Amalia go to the Barracks to enlist a guard to accompany them to the cemetery. Grust dispatches Oli and Eizen. Verity offers Nimble as a servant of the church to accompany those going to the cemetery.

Aran returns to the ship to have another look. He finds a small piece of wood that is unlike the other scattered debris of the shattered desk. He ventures to the carpenter’s guild hall and speaks to Germaine, the guild master. Germaine holds the piece of wood in his hand and determines that he isn’t sure how old the wood is but that’s it’s very old and the carving is also from many years ago. Aran requests that the guild master make a total of 5 boxes for him, and then promptly leaves for the graveyard.

At the cemetery, Aran locates Morwen and Amalia and tells them what he knows of the wood. Morwen approaches Noshi. He recognizes her and asks how he can be of service. “We need to exume a body….that of Zyor Paternius. If he is still buried here that is.” “Well, I can tell you it has been 3 months, and why wouldn’t he still be buried? I have never had any experience with someone being buried and not staying buried.” Skeptical, Amalia whispers to Morwen, “seriously? he is a ”/wikis/citadel-cemetery" class=“wiki-page-link”> cemetery worker. I don’t believe that statement."

Noshi starts digging. Morwen notices a hole by the headstone and calls attention to it. Amalia doesn’t recognize the hole to be something made by nature. Aran searches the other plots and then confronts Noshi about the hole. “A vampire may have escaped in the form of gas. You are in charge of this area!” Trembling and agitated Noshi mumbles, “I don’t know what is happening.”
His shovel hits the wood of the coffin. Amalia sees a hole in the coffin similar to that in the dirt at the headstone. Inside the coffin there is a skeleton with worm eaten clothing. Aran asks Nimble to determine if the contents are evil. Nimble glances at Eizen. “What are you not telling us? It’s clear you’re lying!” Nimble interrupts, “All men have evil in their hearts.” “Eizen come clean or choose a broken leg!” Eizen confesses to fathering a son out of wedlock.

Walthas asks Ford where the crew could have gone at night when the ship came into port. Ford is also puzzled and doesn’t know. Ford and Verity finish conversing with Walthas. Ford receives his belongings back. Verity vows to put the undead to rest and ensures Ford his safety. Together they leave for the cemetery, Ford picking up a vase of orchids on his way out.

Verity and Ford arrive at the cemetery to find a mound of turned earth. “I’m going to assume good reason for digging up a corpse mid-day”, greets Verity. Morwen explains that the artifacts of the Excelsior were of Vecna and actually evil in nature. She explains that Zyor came to Lyra and informed her of the Excelsior identifying the artifacts as those of the cathedral. Noshi looks to the party and identifies the corpse as that of Zyor. Although the body has decomposed an appropriate amount, it’s clear to the party that it has been moved within the space since it was buried, and all belongings of value have been removed. Aran asks Noshi to check his log book.

Ford laughs aloud, “I know he didn’t find the shipwreck. He wasn’t even a crew member.” He stares in obvious thought. Amalia confronts Ford about his sudden clear and inquisitive nature. She asks him what happened to the crew. Staring into the distance, he recalls “As acting captain of the ”/wikis/excelsior" class=“wiki-page-link”>Excelsior, I was in charge of the ship containing the cargo being brought back to the cathedral. We were ambushed at sea during the night. All of the ambushed and my crew were dead. I was stranded. The church dispatched the Intrepid. The cargo was transferred, and I was imprisoned for transport back to port. I don’t know what happened to the crew of the Intrepid or the cargo." “Someone must have known of the mission before it left port, someone not at sea”, Ford speculates aloud.

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34 - Report To Walthas
Argument in the Barracks, a stranger
Report to Walthas


Event Info
Thanks Austin for the write up!

As the party breathes in the air of their accomplishments, they decided to leave with haste to report their findings to Walthas. In their company is the distraught Mires, only recently bound by his own cognition. As the group arrives at the barracks they’re greeted but a somewhat more upset than usual Grust. He informs the party, after some convincing, that Walthas is “interviewing” someone, and with him are Naic and Lyra (high priestess of the temple of Pelor).

Walthas is requested by the party as their news cannot wait, regardless of whom he may be interrogating. He seems unreceptive to the party’s plea for him to hear his report, on the grounds that the interview is far more pressing and worthy of his attention.

Through conversation Walthas reveals they are interviewing a tall slender man named Ford. He was found alone on a ship, locked aboard the Intrepid’s brig without any other crew whatsoever seeming to exist.

During this time our own Lindy had sought out Tobias. Not surprisingly he is tending to his endless studies. But naturally he makes time for a friend so true. Lindy reveals to him a string of ears, several adorned with earrings of her homeland. She requires his assistance to see what knowledge she can glean from them. Sadly, Tobias seems unfamiliar with such things. However, he does promise to focus on them for a time in the hopes of divining the truth for her. And with that, they part ways with an awkward farewell.

Turning back to the majority, Aran has had an idea to assist in the information gathering from Ford (as well as to expedite our own agenda) and has proceeded to the kitchens to make soup for all. After some convincing, Walthas agrees to allow the prisoner to be fed. Our Fordseems quite grateful, as he states time and again through incessant ramblings. They all proceed downstairs to the mess hall.

All sit and eat save Mires, who seems too distraught. Ulrich pours them both some wine to help them become more comfortable. Ford needed no assistance however, as he immediately scarfs 3 bowls of the stuff and proceeds to thank Ulrichfor the delicious drink. Lyra places hands on Mires and determines he has been under compulsion. She proceeds to speak to the party however, Aran directs her attention to Morwen and she immediately does so.

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Upon drinking deeply from the mug Ford introduces himself to Ulrich as Ford Grumbar. As Ulrich begins to prod about the brig and the Intrepid, Ford states that the subject is far to raw for him to delve into and he proceeds to become quite drunk.

As Lindy approaches the barracks door, she sees a familiar halfling attempting to speak through the too high slit to speak to Grust. As she comes to the door, she informs Grust that it’s just Hoskin and they are both let in.

Hoskin is informed that he wasn’t supposed to be there and he retorts that he is a member of the high council and may go as he pleases. As they both proceed down to the mess, Ulrich tosses Hoskin some wine, which he immediately declines and passes to Lindy, who then sits and grabs a bowl of the tasty soup. Hoskin proceeds toward Ulrich and gives him a key to his new keep, and follows suit with Lindy.

As a show of thanks for the wonderful meal, Ford wishes to perform for the group and so asks Walthas for his hat and gloves. While willing to give the man his hat, he denies him his gloves. However, he does provide him with his violin. Most energetically Ford sings a sea shanty as a show of his gratitude.

Aran sings and stomps along with the melody which surprises Walthas as well as the remainder of the group. Mires finally finishes eating and proceeds to fall asleep in his own arms. At this point Aran does what he does best and proceeds to make wonderfully delicious apple tarts (in special shapes for the ladies).

Ford makes a candid statement of how jubilant he is that the case of the missing crates has been solved to which Lyra immediately yells “WE HAVEN’T!!!” She explains that those belong to her. As she begins a fierce argument about worship she seems to strike a chord with Lindy. They argue for a short moment before Lyra states " I don’t know whom you worship, but worship takes more than a temple" and she storms upstairs with tears welling in her eyes.

Walthas snaps at Lindy for a lack of empathy, to which Lindy shows no care for. She huffs and makes her point and proceeds up the stairs and leaves. Ford asks that his shackles be placed back on him so as not to further offend anyone. As Grust takes Ford upstairs, Aran argues about the whole occurrence to Walthas and they stalemate.

Suddenly a loud orcish curse is heard. Apparently Ford had vanished through the door. Ford calls after Lindy out in the streets as she walks away. He wants to make amends with Lyra but Lindy refuses to show him the way to the temple, but offers to lead the way to the Hoof ‘n’ Mouth being that Ford is afraid of the dark.

Grust describes to Aran how Ford escaped. Amalia, lost in translation proceeds to magically fashion a pipe and Ulrich passes a tobacco pouch to her suggesting she goes slowly. Ulrich, Morwen and Aran keep accosting Walthas to give their report and he proceeds with them to his office. But Morwen is more interested in picking the lock to the barracks to get outside WITH GRUST IN PLAIN SIGHT!! He sighs as she exits. But she then hears crying coming from where she just came and picks the lock again to get inside. Grust, hearing the jingling lets her with a stern look on his face. She proceeds to the sounds of weeping, which just happens to be the office that the others have just entered.

There was Lyra, crying in Walthas’ office. As Aran asks Lyra what is wrong, she proceed to tear up; she is sad and distraught. The temple of Pelor has been losing followers and she doesn’t know where to. She had sent the ship Intrepid (with Kasier’s help) to retrieve holy relics that were onboard a wrecked ship from so long ago (35 years). The Excelsior.

The Intrepid found the goods (as she was informed by the captain via raven) but low and behold, all that was there in port was a slender bard locked in a brig (Ford).

A philosophical discussion occurs between them as Walthas furiously jots notes. Aran and Morwen believe it to be a personal problem that she has to deal with, but in the finding of relics, we can surely assist. Ulrich scoffs at the whole notion of finding proof to justify faith. Lyra continues to cry, exclaiming it was years worth of tithes for no gain. All her hope is currently resting with a talented scion named Orthan.

Lindy and Ford had taken to drink at the Hoof ‘n’ Mouth and during the group’s discussion, Amalia had left to meet them, knowing that is where they’d be.

Lyra gives Aran the captain’s message and she and Morwen continue to Pelor’s holy temple to heal Morwen. Ulrich and Aran give their report to Walthas at long last. Upon completion the party parts ways, as Ulrich continues to his keep.

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33 - Life is a Coin
You can spend it any way you like, but you can only spend it once
Life is a Coin


Event Info
Thanks Sharon for the write up!

The trap now behind us, we take a moment to regroup before facing the large, open room before us. Morwen and Amalia treat Ulrich‘s injuries, while Lindy faces the room. Across the room she sees a man, by himself, next to a large stone altar. She recognizes his garb. It’s familiar, but it takes a moment for her to place it.

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It’s formal robes from near her homeland. Lindy screams a sound of pure rage and transforms into snarling black bear that is foaming at the mouth with fury. The robed man smiles a cold smile and reaches up to place a hand on the pillar before him. The glass globe on top begins to glow, as do five others evenly spaced around the room. A static blue flicker crackles between them.

Aran fights through his confusion, having never seen Lindy transform before, and quickly casts two spells, one to show him the presence of magics in the area, and another that will slow missiles aimed at Lindy .

Ulrich, now healed of his injuries, points a finger at the robed man, but the magical energies that form around his hand dissipates and has no effect.

A brazier near the robed man lights up, as do three others in the other corners of the room. Behind the altar is a raised dais with a single man, richly robed, standing, observing the group. He smiles. A heavily armored man on the lower level turns to face the group.

Lindy charges, and as she passes between two pillars, a lightning bolt cracks between them, passing through her body and leaving the stench of burnt hair behind, but Lindy is focused on the robed man and does not even pause. She rakes the robed man across the chest, forcing him back against the wall.

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The man on the dais laughs and raises his hands. Shadows in front of the alter coalesce into a wriggling mass of rats that splits into two groups, one going for Lindy , the other for rest of the party. Lindy sweeps some rats in an arch that splatters against the walls, but it makes no dent in the swarm, so she returns her attention to the robed man, and mauls him once more. His hands move and his lips form ancient words, and Lindy takes another swipe, but the robed man is determined, and Lindy freezes, immobile.

Amalia raises both hands and her voice in a sonorous chant that echoes through the chamber, granting her allies great fortitude in the face of oncoming dangers.

Aran crosses to the left of the entrance, ducking the crackling lightning and engaging a grey-robed cultist who has stepped out of the shadows. First it’s one, then two, then four as they pile out of a small side-chamber that the party hadn’t seen, but they are no match for Aran‘s quickness, and, with backup from Morwen’s darting rapier on the flanks, and Amalia’s covering fire from her longbow, he kicks their makeshift weapons out of their hands and drops them into a concussed heap of bruises, long arrows, and deep stabs on the stone floor.

The armored man steps away from his corner and charges towards Morwen , who’s just dropped a cultist, but he stumbles on his way through the rats underfoot, and his longsword falls from his hand as his arms pinwheel to keep himself on his feet. Ulrich, seeing his opportunity approaches the armored man and slaps his shoulder, and arcane lighting rips through him, but the man just snarls in anger, and grabs Morwen in a bone-crushing grip. Morwen starts singing her songs of courage, slightly muffled by the armored man’s hold.

Lindy roars from the corner and lurches back into motion. She refocuses on the robed man, ursine lips pulled back over bloody teeth. In a panic, the robed man magically hurls Lindy across the room, and she slides to a halt behind the armored man. The robed man breaks into a cloud of bats, and he retreats to the dais.

The armored man sinks his teeth into Morwen’s shoulder, she screams and her struggles get a bit weaker. The man on the dais speaks a sharp command in an arcane tongue, and sleet and ice chunks pelt the group. Amalia summons fire in both hands and hurls it at the rats, where it splashes like a liquid. Most of the rats die instantly, and the rest scatter to the corners, seeking dark places to hide from the carnage.

Aran turns away from his pile of cultist bodies and pulls a narrow wafer from his belt pouch. He lifts it over his head and breaks it in half, and the stored divine energy there ripples across the room. The man on the dais, the robed man, and the armored one all wince as though slapped, but do not stop.

From a corner as yet unsearched, a woman peels herself from the shadows. She is unseen as she lines herself up behind Lindy and plunges a dagger deep into her back. Ulrich summons his telekenetic powers and throws the woman up towards the man on the dais. His aim is a bit low, and the woman smacks into the railing and slides to the ground.

Lindy rakes both sets of claws across the armored man’s back, and he drops Morwen , who takes the opportunity to get some quick rapier thrusts in, and with one final hit, Lindy fells the armored man, who dissolves into a black ichor.

The woman gets to her feet and hops up onto the altar. She grips her dagger with both hands and leaps onto Lindy, once more driving the blade into her back. Ulrich crosses to Lindy and throws a fine grey powder over her and her matted fur hardens into a stone-like substance. He steps back, but the lightning globes strike him. Amalia fires several arrows into the woman, then crosses to Ulrich and summons a mighty healing energy, and his lightning burns fade.

Aran approaches the woman, but once he’s close enough to see her clearly in the gloom, he pales, and turns away, getting a final solid kick in at a cultist who had the gall to move. The man on the dais points his finger at Aran and four bolts of bright red energy shoot towards him, impacting his shoulders and chest.

Ulrich, on a throwing people spree, uses his telekenesis once more, this time lifting Lindy into the air and throwing her towards the man on the dais, Lindy hit him head on, forcing him back a step. Lindy reverts to her human form, looking exhausted and unfocused, but her eyes land on the man in front of her and she draws her greatsword in a flash.

Back on the lower level, Morwen’s flashing sword has pierced the woman in several places, and she falls to the ground. She sprints towards the dais, jumping onto the altar and leaping towards the railing, pulling herself over in one quick motion. Aran runs straight up the wall and is behind the man within seconds. The robed man, seeing this, dissolves into a mist and attempts to flee, but Ulrich spots him, and points his hand at the cloud, unleashing a bolt of lightning that hits it squarely, dispersing the mist into a fine rain of black ichor that falls on the stones.

Amalia summons a swirling mass of dark clouds with nascent lightning rumbling deep within them. She smiles and points at the man and a powerful bolt arcs down to him. Ulrich magically gathers the scattered weapons and debris from the ground into a single massive ball of steel and edges and throws it at the man. He staggers but does not fall.

The man strikes Lindy with a solid blow and with his other hand, grabs Aran by the throat and lifts him from the ground.

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Ulrich gathers up the dead cultists into a meaty mass that he hurls into the man. This time the man slowly starts to petrify, hardening into a protective shell, Aran still dangling from his hand, croaking and trying to loosen the stony grip.

Lindy pulls back and thrusts her greatsword directly into his heart. The first thrust is minor, but she leans her full weight into the blow and forces the sword in further until its hilt halts its travel, the point of the sword gone all the way through his chest and now inches from Aran’s nose. The man dissolves into dust and Aran drops to the stones.

Lindy reaches down to the robes that have crumpled to the ground. She pulls out a gruesome string of ears, many dried and mummified with age, but some still fresh and moist. A twinkling brass earring in one of the older ears catches her eye. She rolls it between her fingers pensively, then ties the whole string to her belt with a single satisfied nod and a grim smile. She also finds a small leather bag with some coins minted in the mainland. These she pockets.

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The party searches the side chambers, and in one of them finds a considerable amount of gold, a pair of leather gloves of superior craftsmanship, a black cloak with silver embroidery, a mace, a shield, and a carved and twisted horn, straight rather than curved like most. There is also a small leather pouch that contains a scrap of paper and some coins from Ornthalas. This is given to Amalia .

In the other room, Mires is found to be deeply asleep. When roused, he has no idea where he is, or how he got here. Aran shows him the journal that the party found in his room, and Mires says that he’s dreamed of this place, but had no idea that it was real.

Amalia shows the paper scrap to Aran, who also has no idea what is written upon it, nor in what language it was written. He shows it to Lindy and Morwen . Lindy correctly identifies the writing as “words,” but Morwen immediately calls it out as the names of music notes. She gives the paper a couple of reads through, them hums the notes written there. Back in the trapped passage, the runes glow in sequence up the hallway and back, and when tested, there are no spears, and no poison. No traps.

The way now made safe, we return to above ground to report to Walthas.

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