Whispers of a Dead God

The Crown of Tarrakas
An ancient artifact... and its consequences...

Trapped!

After making their way through the crypts beneath the forgotten Temple of Grumbar in the Helmcliff Hills, the adventurers fought past a few skeletons and made their way to a stone antechamber. Aryn snooped around and discovered that many of the stone tiles set in the floor were dangerous traps that would give way to deep pits filled with wooden spikes. She convinced Glen to lend her a few potatoes and used them to mark the trapped floor tiles.

A Trap of Their Own

Once they had found a clear path through the antechamber, they discovered a large stone door barred with a heavy wooden crossbeam. Believing that there must be danger on the other side of the door, the adventurers took some time to set up a trap of their own before venturing onward.

Eight Thundercloud and Glen’s slave, Cupcake, worked together to fashion a spiked barricade which they set up facing the door. They then pulled off the heavy wooden beam, knocked loudly, and waited. There was no response, so Glen used the spell Thaumaturgy to force the stone door open.

Battle for the Crown

Beyond the stone door they saw a human male clad all in plate armor with a greatsword across his back. He was kneeling before a broken altar, and to Eight Thundercloud’s delight, she could see that the man was wearing the Crown of Tarrakas, the magical item that had consumed her thoughts and dreams for months on end. She taunted the man, saying “You look like death!” and lured him into battle.

The knight rose to face the adventurers with a consuming green flame in his eyes. Wavering between consciousness and unrelenting rage, he warned them to stay away before rushing forward to attack. In one swift motion of his greatsword, he laid Eight Thundercloud low and set his sights on Glen. He continued to focus on the Tabaxi who had taunted him and was easily baited into traps.

Between dodging the mad knight’s blows and sidestepping the potato tiles, the adventurers managed to revive their fallen companions. Aryn swiftly moved from shadow to shadow, launching several volleys of arrows at the knight, while Eight worked her magical spells upon him, and Glen did his best to take on the towering foe and heal his compatriots’ wounds. Cupcake sat in the corner of the room, hiding from danger in a puddle of his own cowardice.

Eight Thundercloud eventually led the knight onto a trapped floor tile, sending him tumbling into a pit of spikes. The adventurers were able to make short work of him then, and their foe did not last long. He finally fell to a punishing stab from Aryn’s rapier, and she quickly snatched the crown off his head.

Greed and Haunting

Battered and weary, the friends regrouped upstairs in the temple to take a rest and recover from the intense battle. While Aryn attempted to attune herself to the magics inherent in the Crown of Tarrakas, Glen lingered in the crypts, intrigued by a sarcophagus. He soon found himself overwhelmed by a powerful poltergeist who attacked him in revenge for disturbing his resting place. Luckily, the rest of the group arrived just in time to save the kobold’s life. In the end, some valuable treasure was obtained.

Out of the Frying Pan (?)

The next morning, the group set off Southward toward Bloodfang Vale. As they traveled, Aryn continued to try attuning herself to the crown. Each attempt was a battle of will as dark, evil thoughts of bloodlust seeped into her mind and corrupted her thoughts. She was unsuccessful in her first attempts.

Upon the road, the adventurers met with a hobgoblin ambush. Sent by the nafarious Lord Haldor, the hobgoblins had come to take the adventurers back to him at Bloodfang Vale… dead or alive. After a fierce battle, the hobgoblins were slain, and Eight Thundercloud had claimed their hippogriff mount as her own.

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And Into the Fire (?)

Perceiving that their return to Bloodfang Vale might not be met with welcome, the adventurers decided to make their way to The Lonely Goat Inn, where they would take some time to rest and recuperate before deciding their next plan of action.

In the meantime, Aryn had succeded in becoming attuned to the Crown of Tarrakas and had finally resisted it’s invasive dark urgings…. for now…

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The Lonely Goat Inn
Good ale, warm beds, & eternal hellfire

After successfully retrieving the Crown of Tarrakas from the Temple of Grumbar, the adventuring party, now known as the Valiant Crowned, has made their way to the Lonely Goat Inn. The Inn is a small complex consisting of the large inn itself, which has a well-stocked bar and dining area on the first floor and rooms of various comfort levels on the two top floors, a stable and stablemaster’s house/ supply shop, a central green with a gazebo and a well, and a small farm a short ways off with a field for fresh vegetables and grapevines, a pen and barn for livestock, and a rather large, private farmhouse.
The Lonely Goat Inn takes its name from a mounted goat head above the central fireplace in the tavern part of the Inn. No one agrees where the goat head came from or why it is mounted above the fireplace.

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A Motley Crew

Upon arriving at the Lonely Goat Inn, Quincy (a bugbear sorcerer) took the opportunity to magically disguise himself as a burly, muscular half-orc so that he could fit in a little better without drawing too much attention to himself. This had the unintended consequence of gaining the attention of a fierce looking, elderly orc in the tavern, who immediately marked Quincy as a fellow warrior.
Hoping to use this chance to gain a squire, Aryn inquired of a beautiful young halfling woman if the farm down the road might be home to a lady in waiting or some such person. Unbeknownst at the time, she was speaking to Rose Goodlight, who lived and worked at that farm. Rose, demonstrating her tough personality, took offense to the fancy looking stranger’s implication that she was a lady in waiting. Aryn, however, had her sights set on acquiring a servant. It would take some persuading (and a good deal of fine wine) for Rose to finally lighten up.
Glen, the kobold cleric, surveyed the common room of the Inn and spotted a paladin of Bahamut, Kristoff Anderson, who looked like he had suffered a head wound as his head was heavily bandaged. Glen approached him at his spot on a couch by the large central fireplace and offered his healing services in exchange for a small fee. Something about the man seemed off, but he was willing to trade a few expensive looking rings in return for a healing spell. It wasn’t Glen’s finest heal, but it did manage to take a bit of the man’s stink away for a little while at least.
Around this time, Glen and Aryn decided to spend the night in the utmost comfort the Inn had to offer. They rented two of the most expensive suites on the third floor with private wash tubs and feather beds. Cupcake was sent upstairs to put Glen’s luggage away and draw a bath.
In the meantime, Quincy was busy making friends with the tough looking orc. Glad to finally meet another with orc blood in his veins so far from the Greatspire Mountains, the orc, Lurog of Clan Blacktooth, challenged him to a contest of honor — an arm wrestling match.
Immediately drawn to the prospect of a contest where he might win some coin, Glen trotted over and made a bet with the orc. If they would both agree to arm wrestle blindfolded, he would wager an ale on the winner. Lurog agreed, and as soon as his eyes were covered, Glen cheated and cast a guidance spell on Quincy to boost his chances of winning the contest of strength. It was a close match, but in the end, Lurog victoriously slammed Quincy’s hand down onto the table and proudly declared himself the champion. Glen begrudgingly held his end of the bargain and paid for a round of ales at the bar.

Harold Vernmeyer’s Magnificent Elixir

As they drank together, an old man burst in through the front door carrying an unconscious woman in his arms and pleading for help. The adventurers helped him carry her to the couch near the fire.
The old man, Harold Vernmeyer claimed that his daughter, Grace Vernmeyer, had suddenly fallen ill and stopped breathing on their carriage ride to the Inn. As if suddenly remembering something, he reached into a leather satchel and produced a small vial of blue liquid. Hoping as if beyond hope that this concoction of his would help, he gently tilted the girl’s head back and poured a trickle of the serum into her mouth. Miraculously, she stirred back to consciousness. Harold cried with joy and immediately proclaimed the wonder of his latest elixir — a potion so powerful it could even bring someone back from the brink.
Suspicious of all this, Glen, Quincy, and Aryn examined the potion and determined that it was likely a scam of some sort. Meanwhile, Harold was eager to share his magnificent elixir to any of the patrons of the Inn for the mere price of 20 gold pieces. Sensing an opportunity, Glen and Harold arranged a meeting later after dinner in one of the Inn’s private rooms.
After things had settled down, Aryn turned her attention back to Rose. She bought a bottle of wine and a couple of glasses and sat down to talk with her. She apologized for any insult and tried to talk to Rose about her life at Goodlight farm, and of how fantastic a life of travel and adventure would be. After a few drinks, Rose became more friendly and seemed to be interested in Aryn’s tales about life as an adventurer. It seemed like there was one thing still bothering her though, something she was holding back.

The Fate of the Valiant Chosen

The bartender and proprietor of the Lonely Goat Inn, Goren Balenonn, took a particular interest in these adventurers. When he asked who they were, Glen, Aryn, and Quincy told him that they were a subsidiary of the Valiant Chosen known as the Valiant Crowned. Goren had known several of the members of the Valiant Chosen, as he had served them many times when they visited the Inn on their way to some adventure or another. He was extremely shocked and saddened when the group told him that the other members of the Valiant Chosen had all been killed defending a small village in the Helmcliff Hills from wolves.

A Secret Revealed

While ordering another drink from the bar, Aryn was surprised to meet an elf who claimed to recognize her as a member of House Limlugeth. He claimed to be a hunter from around these parts, but also claimed a knowledge of Aryn’s home town of Westwatch. Suspicious of this elf, Aryn intimidated him into coming up to her room for a private chat. She got him to admit that he was familiar with her family because he had recently impersonated a member of her family’s household guard in order to gain access to their treasure vaults and make off with a small fortune. His name was De’Naryn Sparrowsong. He begged Aryn to show mercy and not turn him in, offering her the location of where he had stashed the rest of his ill-gotten treasure as amends for his deed. Aryn seemed to agree to spare his life.
Meanwhile, Quincy helped himself to all the food in Glen’s minifridge, and Cupcake and Glen bathed and washed their clothes in preparation for dinner.

The Plot Thickens…

Leaving her room after speaking to De’Naryn, Aryn spied one of the patrons, a dwarf named Craghand Irondelve, pocketing a message as a messenger raven flew off over the Inn’s third-floor balcony. Stepping ever so quietly, she managed to pull a couple of small pieces of parchment from the dwarf’s pocket. They were letters that identified Craghand as a bounty hunter. One was from Aryn’s own family guard, detailing a wanted thief named De’Naryn Sparrowsong. The other was more disturbing. Aryn recognized it immediately as Lord Haldor‘s handwriting. It promised a reward of 200 gold pieces for each head the dwarf was able to bring back from the adventuring party that had betrayed him, or 500 gold pieces if they were captured and brought back alive.
Aryn met with Glen and Quincy to discuss this development. She milked some poison from her pet viper’s fangs just in case she needed to use it. They considered their options on how to proceed. Should they try to confront the dwarf? Could they possibly gain any allies in the tavern? Would it be possible to frame Craghand for a murder and turn the others against him while they looked like heroes?

Dinner Time

They continued to discuss this as they went down to dinner. The beautiful halfling Rose and the sturdy orc Lurog joined them at their table for dinner, and it seemed clear that the adventurers had won the friendship of these two. They learned that Lurog was the only surviving member of his clan and held a grudge against dwarves. He sought to satisfy a debt of honor and avenge his ancestors.
Rose began to feel comfortable enough to tentatively agree to coming with Aryn on her adventures. She wanted to think it over through the night, but in the meantime, she asked a curious favor of Aryn. Rose revealed that she and the injured paladin Kristoff had been lovers once. He had left on a quest and never returned, and she had thought that he died. But now, she was certain that the man with the bandage around his head, sitting alone in the corner of the tavern, was him. It hurt her that he appeared not to know who she was. She asked Aryn to go and talk to him. She had to know if there was a chance that Kristoff was simply faking the amnesia brought on by a head wound because he no longer wanted to be with her.
In the interest of gaining a potential ally, Aryn agreed to talk to him. It seemed clear that the paladin was at best confused, and at worst truly mentally impaired. Aryn convinced him to tell Rose that it was over between them for the sake of giving her some closure to their relationship. The ensuing interaction brought the poor girl to tears, and she retired to her room for the evening.

Charming Personality

Goren came over to the adventurers’ table with a proposition. He understood that they were adventurers of some renown, having worked alongside the Valiant Chosen and everything. He wondered if they could help him out with a small problem, and in return, he would show them his stock of private goods — special items that he would only sell to people he trusted. The problem was that his Uncle Bael was always bothering him, wanting to play a game of some kind. Goren was busy trying to run the Inn, and asked the adventurers if they could entertain his uncle by playing a game with him.
They were interested, but first, Glen had to attend the after-dinner meeting he had arranged with Harold Vernmeyer.
Meeting together in a private room, Glen wasted no time in getting straight to the point. He knew that Harold was a sham, and that he was essentially peddling snake oil… and Glen wanted in on the scheme. Casting a charm spell, Glen magically coerced Harold into telling him his secrets about the performance he and his daughter put on at every city, inn, and tavern they traveled to. Grace would sip from a diluted sleeping draught, Harold would make a scene as if she were dead, and once the potent blue-razzberry flavor of his so-called magnificent elixir touched her lips, she would awake as if brought back from the dead. This was often times enough to convince simple minded onlookers to purchase his magnificent elixir. Agreeing to continue discussing business terms later, they parted ways. Harold went up to his room for the night, and Glen joined his companions at the bar, ready to begin whatever game Goren’s uncle had in mind.

Fire, Brimstone, and a Puzzle

The adventurers followed Goren behind the bar and into the cellar, where the tielfing opened up a secret room and summoned his Uncle Bael via a red pentagram scrawled into the floor. It turned out that his uncle was Bealzethor the Wicked, Prince of Phlegethos the Fourth Hell, Flayer of Flesh, Doom Dealer, and Devourer of Flame, etc, etc. He was a prince of the Nine Hells who had grown weary of inflicting everlasting torment upon wicked souls. He was more interested in toying with mortals. The game he proposed was this; one of the patrons of the tavern was a lost soul that had somehow escaped from his domain. He needed to have a soul to take its place. Bealzethor hoped that the adventurers would be capable enough to discover who the lost soul might be, but he was willing to accept anyone they brought to him by midnight. As an added incentive, if they brought him the correct soul, he would share the deed to a nearby castle that they could claim as their own.
Quincy had agreed to stay in the common room to keep an eye on the dwarven bounty hunter that was after them, so it was up to Glen and Aryn to tackle this challenge.
Their first step was to make sure the contract Bealzethor wanted them to sign was up to snuff. Sure enough, upon close examination, they found a few unnecessary clauses and loopholes that they forced him to amend. Aryn was still too wary, so Glen ended up being the only one to sign. There was one stipulation. If they failed to find any soul to give Bealzethor by midnight, he would take one of them to fill its place in eternal torment among the flames of Phlegethos , the fourth Hell.

The Game’s Afoot

It was just after dinner when Glen and Aryn began their investigation. They first questioned Goren and his serving staff, two goblins named Inta and Nerf. None of them seemed to be souls worthy of eternal damnation. They had a suspicion about Kristoff, though.
Glen convinced him that he might be able to apply more holistic healing if Kristoff would let him examine his body and his head wound. They retreated to a private room and Glen did just that. The paladin’s skin seemed pale and slightly blue. The head wound was discovered to be a horrific gash where the skull had been split open to reveal the brain. The writhing maggots in the flesh surrounding the wound explained the foul stench Glen had observed earlier when interacting with the man. Still, Kristoff seemed only vaguely aware of his surroundings. Glen cast detect magic and sensed a curious enchantment aura about the man… and a faint magical essence from somewhere on the third floor as well.
In the meantime, Aryn was chatting with Grace Vernmeyer, the young lady who had been carried into the Inn by her father earlier in the evening. She seemed to have recovered all her vitality, and even flirted with Aryn. Eventually, they purchased another bottle of wine and moved the conversation up to Aryn’s room. An enjoyable time was had by all.

Striking a Deal

Making his way upstairs in search of the magic he was detecting, Glen soon found himself at the door to Harold Vernmeyer’s room. The charm spell from earlier had worn off, and Harold was rather peeved with the kobold for using such a tactic. He was still agreeable to their arrangement, though. He agreed to an endorsement deal. The Valiant Chosen would take a supply of Harold’s blue-razzberry flavored potions and advertise them throughout Nymeria in return for an endorsement payment. Glen also bought one of Harold’s sleeping draughts, which he figured may come in handy later.

A Tense Moment

After bidding farewell to Grace a short while later, Aryn met back up with Glen. In the hallway of the second floor, they encountered Craghand and decided to confront him about the bounties he was pursuing. The dwarf seemed like a deadly and capable fellow, but neither group gave an inch or was able to intimidate the other. The tense confrontation nearly came to blows, but Aryn was able to convince Craghand to give them time to persuade him not to follow through with his bounty. If they could offer him enough to buy his loyalty, he would consider it. He gave them until the next day.
Now, they were faced with an interesting scenario. They were tasked with sending someone to hell forever. Who better than a potential enemy? If they delivered Craghand to Bealzethor, it would solve their problem. But they would not gain a castle if he was not the right soul.
They were pretty certain that Kristoff was some sort of undead being. He had to be the lost soul. Had he given up his soul to save Rose, the woman he once loved, from some horrible fate? Was Rose a necromancer who had resurrected her lost lover Kristoff from the dead? They needed to get more info from the halfling woman before they could be sure.

By Any Other Name

The duo knocked on Rose’s door and woke her up to question her. She was a bit upset from the events earlier in the evening, but gave no indication that she was somehow implicated in harboring a lost soul worthy of an eternity in hell.

Time to Act

They were all but certain now that Kristoff was the right choice to deliver unto the Prince of the fourth level of hell. Now, they only had to find a way to convince him to follow them into the cellar. They knock on his door and tell him to come to the cellar so that they can treat his head wound. He refuses and locks the door. Aryn picks the lock and they attempt to intimidate him into going to the cellar. Kristoff behaves very strangely and resists them at first, but they tell him that they know he is undead. Aryn asks what kind of life he could possibly lead like this.
Kristoff tells them that he has been forsaken by his God. He dreams of fire and pain — a place he feels he has been before and never wished to return to. Aryn promises that they will help him and she gains his trust. He agrees to follow them to the cellar.
As soon as they open the secret door and Kristoff sees the pentagram on the floor, he knows that something is not right.
Glen and Aryn try to tell him that this is for the best. He cannot continue on this way. Aryn tells him to think of Rose. Would she want him to continue like this? He only shrieks, “You have deceived me! I won’t go back!”
Kristoff’s body crumples to the floor, lifeless as it has been this this entire time. The spirit that had been possessing the paladin’s body rises up and attacks. “I won’t go back!”
Aryn is so frightened by this that she turns to run. Her body is so severely affected that she feels like she has aged twenty years. Glen stands firm.
He commands the ghostly spirit to flee from him, invoking the holy power of his own deity. But the lost spirit resists. Instead, it reaches out and shocks Aryn to the core with a touch of withering necrotic energy. Glen has just enough time to call out for Bealzethor.
With a puff of red smoke and the scent of brimstone, the devil appears. The soul, seeing it’s captor once more, flies into a desperate rage and tries to attack him. In another puff of red smoke, Bealzethor and the ghost are gone.
The two companions barely have time to catch their breath before Bealzethor appears again. He seems incredibly pleased with them and notices that Aryn has suffered some serious effects from her encounter with the spirit. He motions her close and spirits her away to his palace in the flaming hellscape of Phlegethos, where he commands his chief wizard Salamandrus, a magma-infused slamander, to restore her.
The two of them then appear back in the material plane, and Bealzethor thanks them for platying his game. He is delighted that they made it so interesting.
Glen is awarded the deed to a castle in the Grimwarden Forest, and Bealzethor tells them that he is always up for a good game before departing back to his home plane for good.

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Into The Woods
An unlikely alliance leads to a thief's treasure, and more...

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.

Wolf Pack

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.

Descent

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.

Aftermath

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.

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Wolfmother, Part 1

“Beware Grimwarden Forest, friends.
If half the tales be true,
You’ll meet your most untimely ends
As wolves tear you in two.”
- Nymerian Folk Song

In Squirrel’s Clothing

Glen and Aryn had met up with their comrade in arms, Eight Thundercloud, who arrived on the back of her tamed hippogriff Goldbeak at Glen’s newly acquired castle in Grimwarden Forest. As the trio caught up on their recent adventures, their attention was drawn to a commotion at the edge of the woods. Rushing to investigate, Aryn, Glen, and Eight Thundercloud saw a lanky human boy being pursued by a pack of hungry wolves. To their astonishment, the boy leaped through the air – transforming into a squirrel mid-leap and hastily scrambling up the side of the stone wall surrounding the castle. The trio of adventurers culled the bloodthirsty wolves before addressing the new visitor.

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Over the Moonpool and Through the Woods

The squirrel-boy had transformed back into a boy again, and introduced himself as Rigel Greentree. He implored the adventurers for help, explaining that his druid circle in Grimwarden Forest needed the aid of brave adventurers. He implored them to follow him back to his grove and speak with his mother, the leader of the druid circle. The group reluctantly agreed. Trekking eastward through the dense forest, they soon came upon a shimmering pond ringed with tall standing stones. This, Rigel explained, was the Moonpool. It had once held great magical healing properties for those worthy who drank from its waters, but recently those powers had faded. Not even thirsty animals could be seen to drink from the Moonpool as of late. Something sinister was tainting the water. Unable to discover much more from examining the water and the standing stones, the adventurers followed Rigel the rest of the way to the druid encampent in Kala’s Grove.

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What Hangs in the Balance

Rigel introduced Glen, Aryn, and Eight Thundercould to his mother, Kara Greentree. She appeared to be an ancient druid woman creased and wrinkled by the ages. She arrogantly denied that anything was wrong with the Moonpool, but was eager to ask the adventurers for help once they had introduced themselves as the Valiant Crowned. She explained that, for reasons beyond her knowledge, the balance of nature within Grimwarden Forest had become disrupted. The wolves in the forest had always been dangerous, but had recently become more disturbed and vicious than ever. They had even attacked members of the druid grove and had ventured outside the forest to attack nearby settlements or travelers along the roads.

She promised a handsome reward if the adventurers could investigate the cause of this. The numbers of her druid circle had grown smaller and smaller over the years, and they could not spare the manpower for such a mission. Glen, Aryn, and Eight Thundercloud agreed to help. Unexpectedly, their ally Ponyhater Skinny, a bugbear, showed up.

Potions for Gemstones

The druid circle at Kala’s Grove was small, yet eclectic. Several different races were represented. There were humans, such as Kara and Rigel, half orcs, goblins, and even a dwarf. The adventurers quickly made the acquaintance of the dwarf, Ben Willowsnap, who was the grove’s resident alchemist and cook. He offered to trade some of his goods – potions, simple wooden weapons, and leather armor – in exchange for gemstones or other gear. While most of the group traded gemstones and goods for the dwarf’s valuable potions, Ponyhater Skinny, who had very little material wealth, tried to offer her body in exchange for a potion. Her allies intervened and convinced the dwarf to cut a deal with her.

The Den

That night, they slept soundly in a treehouse above the druid grove. In the morning, Rigel led them toward the location of the wolf den where it was presumed most of the trouble was originating from. Sensing Glen’s hesitation to approach what was obviously the setup for an ambush, Aryn used her newly developing psyonic powers to cause a delusion of gold coins at the mouth of the wolf den to appear inside Glen’s mind. He went sprinting for the entrance to the cave, only to get himself and the rest of the adventuring party caught in an ambush. A druid who had been keeping watch from the limbs of a nearby tree gave a howl, summoning several fierce wolves from the cave. In the ensuing attack, Eight Thundercloud showed off her magical prowess by practically disintegrating most of the attacking wolves, while Ponyhater, Aryn, and Glen took care of the druid.

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After the battle outside the mouth of the cave was over, Rigel explained that he had recognized the enemy druid. He had once been of the Circle of the Tree, a peaceful group in Grimwarden Forest. Despite pressure from the adventurers, Rigel decided to part ways with them rather than follow them into the wolf den. He gathered the pelts and meat from the slain wolves and promised to prepare a feast for them when they returned to Kala’s Grove.

In the meantime, Glen, Aryn, and Eight Thundercloud prepared to enter the cavernous wolf den…

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Wolfmother, Part 2
A descent into the wolfs' lair proves dangerous...

Of Wolves and Men

After battling through an initial ambush at the mouth of the cave leading into the wolfs’ den, Glen Weinstein, Eight Thundercloud, and Aryn Limlugeth decided to press on. They entered the cave to find the bones and discarded remnants of the wolf pack’s previous kills strewn about the stone floor. Despite their best attempts to conceal themselves and explore the lair stealthily, the adventurers were on the wolves’ home turf, and they were quickly discovered. The ensuing battle pitched them against not only massive and deadly dire wolves, but also druids who fought back just as fiercely. It was clear that the threat to the balance of nature in Grimwarden Forest went beyond the stray wolf pack.

A Stroke of Luck

In the ensuing battle, the heroes were brought to the edge of death’s door more than once. It was only through a stoke of luck that they did not meet their ultimate end within the walls of that cavern. Lurog of Clan Blacktooth, the orc who the group had befriended at the Lonely Goat Inn, had followed them to into the forest. His mistrust of dwarves made him wary that the adventurers might find themselves in trouble as they had originally left the inn in the company of Craghand Irondelve, the dwarven bounty hunter. Luckily, Lurog had heard the cries of battle echoing from the cave and charged in just in time to help his allies.
One druid, who was gravely injured, managed to slink away in the confusion of battle. After taking a moment to mend their wounds, the heroes set off in search of him, intent on finding some answers. Lurog, though he had business elsewhere in the Greatspire Mountains, agreed to accompany the adventurers as they made their way through the cave.

Following the Trail

The trail of blood left behind by the injured druid led them deeper into the cave. Beyond the initial few caverns, it was clear that the stonework was carved and shaped into hallways, rooms, and passages fit to accommodate humanoid forms. After following a very long tunnel that wound downwards for what seemed like miles below the forest, the Valiant Crowned finally caught up with the fleeing druid. He was kneeling before an altar of some kind on a ledge overlooking a vast, deep chasm. Fresh blood, presumably the druid’s own, pooled on the altar’s surface and ran over the ledge into the chasm via a series of channels carved into the stone floor. Whatever dark ritual the druid had performed had healed him, and he was ready to face battle once again.
Unfortunately for him, Aryn was a quick thinker. Taking advantage of the hazard posed by the ledge, she summoned up a gust of wind with her magical cloak and sent the druid tumbling backward into the abyss. However, he appeared only moments later, riding on the back of some great foul worm-like creature that had climbed up the sheer side of the cliff. Despite the monster’s horrifying appearance, Aryn and the others were able to send it and the druid toppling back into the abyss for good. Looking down, they could see a great pool of water at the bottom, with rivulets of water flowing upwards into the roof of the cavern. They deduced that they were beneath the Moonpool, and that this must be it’s source.

Secrets

The group had dispatched all present danger, so they decided to take a look around and explore this area hidden deep beneath the Moonpool. They discovered an ancient armory, from which Cupcake armed himself with a shortsword and Rose took a suit of chain-link armor. Beyond another passage, Eight Thundercloud and Aryn discovered a curiously foreboding statue carved of wood. It resembled a humanoid figure, yet the head seemed to sprout tentacles where the mouth should be. It closely resembled the symbol portrayed on the jeweled amulet Glen had taken from Kristoff‘s body. It stood in the same chamber as two locked doors. Despite her proficiency with thieve’s tools, Aryn was unable to pick the locks on these doors. Yet when Glen tried them, the doors opened effortlessly.

Wolfmother

The chamber beyond seemed to be a large dining hall of sorts. Upon entering, however, Glen, Aryn, and Eight Thundercloud heard a chime of some sort go off in another adjoining room. Expecting an imminent attack from whatever had just been alerted to their presence, they tried to quickly push the long wooden table over as a sort of makeshift barricade. There was barely enough time to upend the heavy table before an old, gray-haired woman entered the room, flanked by a pair of wolves. She was displeased with the intruders who had disrupted what she called “the will of Ilsensine”, and any hope for a peaceful resolution to the situation quickly dissolved into chaos. She revealed herself to be more than just a druid. Her form stretched and twisted as her hair grew over her body and her teeth enlarged into fangs. She was a werewolf, and she was intent on destroying the adventurers who had wrought havoc in her lair.
The battle was fierce and quick. Lurog dealt with the wolves, while the rest of the group focused on defeating the Wolfmother. In the fighting, Eight Thundercloud was severely bitten, but they were able to destroy the werewolf and put an end to the vicious wolf attacks in Grimwarden Forest once and for all.

A Smashing Good Time

Satisfied that their work here was done, the adventurers returned to the surface, but not before having Lurog smash the stone altar that seemed to be allowing the druids here to taint the Moonpool source with blood sacrifices.
Their return to Kala’s Grove was a joyous one. As promised, Rigel had prepared a hero’s feast for their arrival. Kara Greentree was happy to have the natural order restored once again in the forest and rewarded each adventurer with a valuable (and heavy) bar of silver. She also seemed to sense that something wasn’t quite right with Eight Thundercloud. Indeed, it was determined that the tabaxi had become afflicted with lycanthropy as a result of the bite wounds suffered during the fight with the Wolfmother. Fortunately, the wholesome effects of the hero’s feast prepared for them were potent enough to cure any disease.
It was a difficult decision for Eight Thundercloud. If she chose to embrace lycanthropy, she would become stronger in ways that were difficult to imagine. Yet there would be consequences, as well. She determined in the end to partake of the feast and forgo any chance of losing the best part of herself, her keen mind and curious personality, in exchange for the bestial powers of a werewolf.

Feast, Festivity, and Dreams…

There was much merriment, song, and drink during the feast. Cupcake and Rose, having been through several dangerous adventures together, seemed to be forming a bond of friendship.
That night, Lurog bid the Valiant Crowned farewell. He had to leave to continue pursuing his own quest for vengeance, but he wished them luck and hoped to see them again one day.
As the festivities wound down and the adventurers headed off to their well deserved rest for the night, Glen drifted off into a restless sleep.
He dreamed of a darkness filled with eyes, and a wide, tooth-filled mouth opening wide to devour him…
The next morning, they would set off on a new adventure. But it seemed clear that something was now in motion that was beyond their power to yet comprehend… something connected to that rough wooden statue beneath the Moonpool, and Glen’s amulet.
Symbol_of_Ilsensine.jpg

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Journey to Mistvale
A happy reunion, a face from Aryn's past, and a new quest

Grayfang

Awaking the morning after celebrating the Valiant Crowned victory over the wolves, Glen and Rigel set off into the forest to hunt. Glen wanted a mount, and the wolves of Grimwarden Forest offered an enticing prospect. To catch and tame a wolf they would need meat. The kobold and the human spent the better part of the day tracking a deer and finally managed to bring it down. They butchered it and baited a live trap with a haunch of venison before retiring for the evening. When they came back to check on it, sure enough, a wolf had been trapped. Glen used the Ring of Animal Influence he had looted from the Wolfmother’s chamber to befriend and speak with the captive wolf. He learned that the wolf’s name was Grayfang. Over the next few days, they became fast friends, and with Rigel’s help eventually learned to ride him as a mount.

The Lonely Goat Inn

Cupcake was eager to get back home to Mistvale, but the rest of the group decided to go visit
Goren Balenonn at the Lonely Goat Inn first. On the way, Eight Thundercloud noticed that Cupcake was trying to assemble a spellbook of sorts from scraps of paper he had scavenged along their journeys. As an adept spellcaster, she helped give the boy a few pointers on spell casting and magic. Once they arrived, Aryn, and Eight Thundercloud went straight away to purchase magical items from Goren’s stash. Glen, meanwhile, haggled with the proprietor of the stable over a miniature saddle that was perfect for riding Grayfang. Rose took the opportunity to visit her father at Goodlight Farm, and the rest of the group stayed in the most luxurious rooms The Lonely Goat Inn had to offer.

Mistvale

Just outside of Mistvale, several riders approached the group. As they drew close, Aryn recognized their banner as that of the Crimson Watchmen – the household guard of House Davarros in Westwatch. She quickly hid herself in some bushes at the roadside. The soldiers had heard of the Valiant Crowned, but seemed unwilling to let them enter Mistvale. The adventurers learned that following the orc raid in which Cupcake had been kidnapped, the Crimson Watchmen had shown up to help protect the town as the survivors began to rebuild. The town was basically on lockdown, and the soldiers turned away any who did not have explicit business in Mistvale. It was only after explaining that the group was on their way to return Cupcake to his family that the guards agreed to escort them into town. Meanwhile, Aryn kept her distance. She would sneak into town another way.

A Secret

The guards escorted Eight Thundercloud and Glen to see their Commander, a stout halfling named Renly Davarros. Renly greeted the adventurers, explaining that he had heard of their deeds throughout Western Nymeria. He was curious to know where the other member of their group, Aryn Limlugeth, was. He explained that she was wanted for murder in Westwatch, and that there was a sizable bounty on her head. This information peaked Glen’s interest. Commander Davarros put them up at a nearby inn known as Old Gran’s Tavern, and they went there to drop off their supplies before taking Cupcake to see his family. It was there that Aryn managed to rejoin them by sneaking up to the roof and dropping in through a skylight. As night fell, they made their way through town toward a tower where the Council of Elders was meeting. Anders Leam, Cupcake’s father, was one of the few surviving elders. He was overjoyed to see his son again, and richly rewarded the adventurers for safely returning him.

A Quest

At the council meeting, the adventurers learned that Cupcake was not the only person who had been taken by the orcs during the raid. Cupcake’s mother, Elanna Leam, and his wizard tutor Gaspard Dukaniel were also taken. Anders implored the adventurers to track down the orcs and find out what had happened to them. He offered a reward of 2,000 gold pieces.

Small-Town Politics

To Aryn’s mind, something slightly sinister seemed to be going on in Mistvale. She was wise to the cunning ways of House Davarros, and didn’t believe for a minute that the Crimson Watchmen were only here to help provide security and restore order. The town was preparing to elect a new leader from among the council of elders, and it was clear that House Davarros stood to gain influence over the region by helping a strong ally get elected. Anders Leam just so happened to have a very high opinion of the Crimson Watchmen, and Commander Renly Davarrros was fully prepared to lend him support. Even the quest they had agreed to undertake, rescuing Elanna Leam and Gaspard Dukaniel, would bolster Anders and make him seem like a more capable leader. It was clear that the Valiant Crowned, and Aryn especially, would have to tread carefully in Mistvale.

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Fire in the Sea of Trees (Aryn's Diary Entry)

The plan was an awful mess. As we set up the decoy soldiers, veiled by darkness and fog, I had a pit in my stomach that only grew worse as I crept slowly to the wall. I tossed the oil and lit it, then bolted, listening for the guttural orc shouts that were sure to follow. We made for the side gate, and for a moment I looked back to see an orc squad and an ogre halt for a bare moment before running after us. I ran out of curses as we closed on the side gate with out foes in pursuit.

The Gate

With the side gate lay the success of our mission, or so I thought. I drew upon the verdant energy of my armor as we ran, casting myself through time and space and out on top of the palisade and into camp. Our new companion, the goat, climbed the wall as well and helped me throw aside the heavy wooden beam. Glen was quick to con the goblin servants to assist. A devious one, Glen; but a useful ally. With the pit in sight, and goblin tools to slow the enemy, our success and quick escape seemed inevitable.

I ordered Rose to check the pit. Poor fool.

As we fought the stinking ogre, the halfling was pushed into the pit by an orc foot soldier. I tasted iron in my mouth and a sudden surge of fiery rage roared over me. Without thinking, I dodged the ogre’s clumsy swing. I used the door frame for added height, leaping and kicking off before thrusting my blade up through the soft cavities to the back of the skull. With the ogre down, I left the remains to my comrades and rushed to the pit.

The Pit

As I arrived, I saw the goblins had already crumbled. About what i expected from them, really. I had only a moment to toss a rope into the pit before it was clear our attack had failed. Eight (Ape) had played her part well, dropping the ballista tower, but the orcs had rallied quickly. I ran to the wall and vaulted over to draw the attention of those orcs I could.

A Slow Collapse

It was time to cut and run. If victory was no longer possible, I realized, I must damage the orcs as much as possible. That is, without undue personal risk. The others would have to take care of themselves.

The orc squadron commander followed me into the woods, a fatal mistake. I vanished, merging with the flickering shadows from the flames engulfing camp, then struck. My rapier cut his hamstring, and I dodged his clumsy swing. From there my arrows ended his life.

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Fire in the Sea of Trees
A disastrous assault leaves the Valiant Crowned broken and wounded

Leaving Mistvale

The Valiant Crowned had successfully reunited Cupcake with his family in Mistvale, but now they had been tasked with finding other survivors from the same orc raid. They rested for the night and gathered supplies for the journey in the morning. They hoped that they could convince Cupcake to accompany them on this quest to free his mother and his tutor, so Eight Thundercloud purchased a fancy leather-bound tome and engraved his name on it as a gift. It would serve as a proper spellbook, rather than the pile of loose notes he had previously compiled. Cupcake was eager to join them and greatly appreciated Eight Thundercloud’s gift. Glen had contracted with a local leatherworker to create a better saddle and reins for his wolf mount, Grayfang. Their last stop before leaving was to speak to Commander Davarros. They figured that if anyone knew where to begin their search for the orcs that had raided Mistvale, it would be him. Their interaction was less than friendly, but helping the Valiant Crowned in this matter also advanced his own political interests in Mistvale, so the Commander gave them the information they needed. The orcs belonged to a cunning tribe of warriors known as the Fist of Baghtru. Crimson Watchmen scouts had spotted signs of orc activity to the southeast, well into the dense and foreboding Sea of Trees.

The Hunter Becomes the Prey

After their first day of traveling, the group came upon a small clearing and decided to bed down for the night. As the sun set, and they were just about to drift off to sleep, a giant boar made its way into the clearing. It became clear that this was the boar’s territory when it charged at the intruders. The adventurers were further surprised when an orc hunter and his goblin servant, who apparently had been hiding in the trees above their heads the entire time, sprang into action, trying to drive off the intruders who had startled their prey. Narrowly avoiding the well-hidden traps that had been placed around the clearing, the Valiant Crowned managed to defeat the boar, kill the goblin, and capture the orc. After a short interrogation, they learned that the orc was a member of the Fist of Baghtru, the tribe they sought. It was all they needed to confirm that they were on the right course. They ended his life and dumped the orc’s corpse in a hole. The roasted boar was delicious.

Orc Encampment

The next day, Aryn scouted ahead along the coast and discovered the orcs’ encampment. It was much more than they were expecting. The large camp was ringed by a tall wooden palisade wall, and there was a large wooden tower with a ballista overlooking everything. She reported her findings to the rest of the group, and they spent some time deliberating the best way to approach the situation. Should they try an attack? Could they sneak in through a side entrance or via Lake Shimmerscale? Would it be possible to strike up a parley with the orcs? In the end, they decided to create a diversion at the front gate and try to sneak in through a side entrance. They busied themselves for a few days carving rough wooden mannequins in the forest, while Eight Thundercloud flew over the camp on Goldbeak for a bird’s eye view of the place. She could see many tents and much activity below, indicating a sizable force of orcs.

Senior Goat

While preparing for their attack, the group encountered a very strange goat man in the forest. He was praying over the corpse of their old ally, Ponyhater Skinny. this goat introduced himself as none other than Senior Goat, a skilled martial artist who wanted to join their cause in order to preach his holy word to the savage orc tribe. The Valiant Crowned were not really impressed with this stranger at first, but eventually they reluctantly agreed to let him join them for a trial membership.

Fire and Smoke

The time had come to put their plan into action. Casting a spell of fog cloud to obscure her approach, Aryn splashed oil on the wooden walls near the front gate and set them ablaze while the others set their wooden mannequins into the ground to create the illusion of an attacking force at the gate. Once the fire was set and the mannequins put into place, the group took off sprinting towards the side entrance. Unfortunately, the watchman atop the ballista tower was quick to spot them. He called out their position and successfully organized the confused orc troops below.

The (Almost) Great Goblin Rebellion

At the side gate, the adventurers found themselves face to face with a large assembly of goblin servants. With the orcs quickly closing in on them, the Valiant Crowned did their best to convince the goblins to aid them in overthrowing their orcish oppressors. The goblins were not one-hundred percent convinced, but managed to hold off the majority of the orcish forces for a few moments. This extra time was key to helping Aryn, Glen and Senior Goat defeat an ogre that was bearing down on them.

The Pit

With the orcish army closing in from all sides and little help from the goblins, Aryn and Rose knew that their best hope for the success of the mission would be to quickly find the captives and escape before they could be overwhelmed. In the goblin servants’ part of the camp was a large pit with a metal grate covering the top. It looked like the most obvious place to keep prisoners. Aryn and Rose rushed to examine the pit, but saw nothing but scraps of waste below. At that moment, a squadron of orcs had scattered the goblins holding one flank of the camp, and and orc was able to rush Rose and throw her down into the pit. It was all Aryn could do to toss down a rope to her before she was forced to flee, leaving the halfling girl behind to face whatever fate might befall her.

The Tower

Eight Thundercloud had entered battle mounted atop Goldbeak, which gave her an advantage over most of the orcs, but also made her a tempting target for the ballista tower. Fortunately, with some quick maneuvering and a few well-timed uses of the shatter spell, Eight was able to send the ballista tower crashing down, crushing part of what appeared to be the Warchief’s tent in the process. Eight was also concerned with finding the prisoners, and decided to land Goldbeak in order to check the tents on the high plateau in the middle of camp. She noticed a few snake-like yuan-ti emerge from once tent and disappear into the ruined remains of the Warchief’s tent. She checked the yuan-ti’s tent and found it empty. The warchief, however, was not about to let the destruction of the ballista tower go unanswered. He leapt through the rubble and cut down Goldbeak. He was about to bring down his axe to finish off the tabaxi as well, but she quickly revived Goldbeak with a potion of healing, and together they were able to fly upwards, out of reach of the Warchief.

Fly, You Fools!

The attack had quickly turned to disaster. The prisoners were nowhere to be found. The party was wounded, separated, and surrounded by squads of orcs. Half the camp was in flames, blocking the potential exit of the main door. Aryn had lost her squire, Rose, and saw escape as her only option. Taking the first opportunity to climb over the wooden wall, she made a beeline for the forest edge and hid there, leaving the rest of her companions to their fate as well. Glen, riding atop Grayfang, has managed to help take down the ogre, but was now surrounded by orcs. Barely surviving an encounter with an orc squad commander, Glen had no choice but to flee. He was almost in the clear when the orc Warchief caught up to him and Grayfang in a ridiculous burst of rage-fueled speed. The Warchief nearly cut the wolf in two, but Glen and Grayfang barely managed to get away, heading for the canoes on the shore of Lake Shimmerscale. Senior Goat and Cupcake had also gotten trapped against the wall, surrounded by orcs. One particularly brutish commander cut Cupcake down with a stroke of his axe and wounded Senior Goat. He was about to finish them both off, but Eight Thundercloud swooped down from the sky and blasted the commander’s head to bits with a well placed spell. This allowed Senior Goat to carry Cupcake’s unconscious form over the wall, where Eight Thundercloud revived him using her last healing potion.

The Battle Continues…

Aryn waits hidden on the north side of camp in the woods. Eight Thundercloud and Cupcake fly high over the southern side of the camp atop a wounded Goldbeak. Senior Goat is on his own at the south side of camp as well. Glen and Grayfang race desperately toward the shore, hoping to make a getaway on a boat before the bloodthirsty Warchief catches up to them.

And down below the action, wounded at the bottom of a filthy pit, Rose sees the glint of moonlight and firelight off of cold eyes watching her; hears the scuttle of chitinous feet; and screams. She is not alone.

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Ascent & Descent
The heroes find new allies & begin a rescue mission

Everyone Almost Dies

Glen Weinstein, Aryn Limlugeth, Eight Thundercloud, Eric “Cupcake” Leam, and Senior Goat were resting and tending to their wounds in a small clearing within the Sea of Trees when they noticed the airship approaching. It descended to a low altitude, and two figures floated down toward the party. Apparently startled by this occurrence, Senior Goat hurled a stone at one of the figures as soon as they came within throwing distance. His stone hit its mark, provoking a violent response that nearly cost the adventurers their lives. One of the descending figures conjured a blazing fireball, engulfing the entire clearing in flame and rendering most of the party members unconscious or severely wounded. Eight Thundercloud and Aryn managed to fly up to the figures on Goldbeak‘s back as they retreated back up toward their airship. After a few tense moments of negotiation, they managed to convince the strangers that they were not hostile, despite Senior Goat’s rude actions. The strangers invited the adventurers aboard their airship so that they could discuss further.

The Covenant Stormshadow

The adventurers were soon introduced to the crew of the Covenant airship Stormshadow, including Captain Mattias Undvik, First Mate Kass Springpaw, and Storm Sorcerer Masughu. It was the first interaction they had had so far with the Covenant – an alliance of Dwarves and Tabaxians far to the north in Glacier Peak. The crew of the Stormshadow was searching for an elemental crystal that was needed to restore full power to their magical airship, and they believed they would find one in the Elven ruins below the destroyed Orc encampment. Captain Mattias proposed a mutually beneficial partnership with the adventurers. Since both groups were headed toward the same destination, they agreed to join forces against whatever unknown threats lay waiting in the Elven ruins.

Rust and Bones

The Stormshadow proved to be a comfortable, safe place to rest. Four powerful focus lenses, capable of blasting out bolts of lightning, helped defend the ship from the threats of the Sea of Trees, allowing the adventurers some respite while they rested, healed, and got to know the crew a bit more. The next day, the ship flew back toward the Orc camp, which was little more than a smoldering, smashed ruin. From the air, the camp appeared to have been abandoned except for two sentries guarding what the adventurers assumed was the entrance to the underground ruins. A blast of lightning from one of the focus lenses made short work of them, allowing Aryn, Eight Thundercloud, and Glen to float down safely, accompanied by Captain Mattias. Aryn urged them to first check out the pit that Rose Goodlight had fallen into, hoping that the halfling girl would still be alive. There was no sign of her at first, and upon descending into the pit, Aryn only discovered a skeleton. They were able to determine that the bones belonged to a humanoid of short stature, but were unable to learn anything more. As the group continued their observations, several rust monsters rushed out from crevices within the walls of the pit. Rather than risk having their metallic weapons and armor damaged by the creatures, the adventurers retreated, climbing back out of the refuse pit.

Tevemanthaur

A quick search of the rest of the camp proved fruitless. The Fist of Baghtru tribe had left, but it was unclear where they had gone or if they planned to return. It was time to begin their descent into the Elven ruins. Eight Thundercloud shared some knowledge of the place that she had gleaned from studying books on the topic. These ruins were once known as “Tevemanthaur,” an Elven temple to the elements. Her books had also mentioned a relic within the temple that Eight Thundercloud was eager to recover. Proceeding with caution, the adventurers made their way through ancient rooms and hallways carved of fine marble and decorated with once-vibrant frescoes and paintings. The first large, circular room they came across was partially barricaded. Two orc sentries watched the entrance, but the adventurers made short work of them.

With the main entrance to the ruins clear, they were ready to begin their exploration, hoping to find an elemental crystal, an Elven relic, and some sign of their captive friends…

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