The Morning After
Waking up in the Lonely Goat Inn the next morning after solving Bealzethor‘s challenge, Aryn, Glen, and Crying Storm were confronted by Craghand Irondelve with an interesting proposition. It seemed that the elf, De’Naryn Sparrowsong, who had stolen a good sum of gold from House Limlugeth, had high-tailed it out of town early that morning headed for Grimwarden Forest. They were wary to agree at first, but saw value in having the dwarf on their side.
Aryn had convinced Rose Goodlight, the halfling lass from the nearby Goodlight Farm to accompany her as a squire. Rose said her goodbyes to her father and gathered a few belongings from her home before joining Aryn on horseback to meet up with the rest of the group at the stables.
Crying Storm and Craghand tracked De’Naryn’s trail into the forest, but the party was in such a rush to hunt down the thief, they didn’t notice the pack of wolves circling about for an attack. Rose, in her first taste of real danger, was gravely wounded and dragged into the woods by a wolf. Aryn quickly rushed to her aid, while Glen, Crying Storm, and Craghand fought off the rest of the pack.
The battle left them weary, but nevertheless, they pressed on deeper into the forest, closely following De’Naryn’s trail until it ended at the base of a large tree on a slight hill. Upon closer inspection, they discovered a small hole hidden between the tree’s roots that led to a cave system under the hill.
It was immediately apparent that the cave was not abandoned as the group squeezed inside. Spider webs covered the place, and soon enough, the adventurers found themselves faced with spider swarms crawling over their bodies. Through magic and some quick thinking, they were able to dispatch the swarms and continue deeper into the cave in search of the elf and his stolen treasure.
One side passage was partially flooded with water, and Glen and Aryn ordered Cupcake to dive down and see where it lead, despite the fact that the pitiful lad could not see anything in that darkness and had no skill in swimming. Minutes passed, and Glen decided to go in after him. The long, narrow, underwater passage was even a challenge for the kobold, who was at his last desperate bit of air by the time he reached the other side. There, he found Cupcake’s unconscious form floating face down in the water. They appeared to be at the bottom of some sort of deep hole. Unfortunately, their splashing attracted both friends… and foes… the passage above was home to a couple of hungry giant spiders.
A Battle for Their Lives
Crying Storm, Aryn, Rose, and Craghand heard the sounds of their friends in distress from deeper in the caves, and arrived to see a battle with giant spiders well underway. They leaped into action.
A thrilling battle ensued. Glen and Cupcake in their vulnerable position at the bottom of the water-filled hole, struggled to fend off one hungry spider while the other matched Aryn and Craghand. Crying Storm and Rose hung back, making sure nothing would surprise the group from the rear.
Eventually, they won the day, slaying both spiders and rescuing Glen and Cupcake from certain death. The unconscious body of De’Naryn Sparrowsong lay near a couple of wooden chests containing stolen Limlugeth gold, which Aryn was able to unlock and recover.
Craghand was mostly interested in capturing the elf alive so that he could bring him in for a lucrative bounty. He rested up and healed his wounds with the rest of the party before clapping the elf in irons and leading him back to Westwatch in order to claim the reward.
Glen and Aryn discovered another small area of the cave that contained the cocooned corpses of what appeared to be human druids. Among their possessions was a fine leather helm set with a pair of deer antlers, as well as a masterfully crafted wooden spear and a few potions of healing.
It was at this time that Glen decided to more carefully examine the strange amulet he had recovered from Kristoff Anderson’s body. It was inlaid with a carved green jewel in a strange shape that Glen could not recognize, for he had never seen it before. But he could tell that it held some sort of religious significance.
The group cleared out of the caves and parted ways with Craghand and De’Naryn. While the dwarf and his prisoner were headed back to Westwatch, Glen and Aryn were determined to push deeper into Grimwarden forest. Glen had won the deed to a castle from Baelzethor, and he intended to claim it.
A Castle Reclaimed
The castle was not too much farther into the woods, but once they arrived, it was clear that the structure was not in great condition. The first floor was in serviceable shape, but the upper floors and some of the outbuildings had decayed with time and become unusable. It was clear that repairs, time, and money would be needed in order to restore this castle to glory.
Seeing the ever more pressing need for funds, Glen and Aryn made a plan to set off for Mistvale, Cupcake’s home town. Surely his family would pay a handsome reward for his safe return.