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Inspired by Gluttony's, NobodysHome's, and others RotRL campaign threads, I decided to write our tale, in a somewhat novelized form. It comes with the help of the player characters that recalled valuable details that were missing from my campaign notes. I do this for my own personal enjoyment, as writing this recalled fun times at the gaming table. But some of you may find enjoyment in it as well.
PLEASE! If you have never played in a Rise of the Runelords campaign, this thread is filled with SPOILERS that will take away from the wonder of discovery for you in this epic adventure. For those planning on GMing this adventure, this thread may give you ideas for your campaign, as other chronicler's threads on this board have for mine.
After over two years of giving 4th edition campaign a whirl, we decided a change was in order. Last year (2011) we decided to give Pathfinder a try. So we sought out the first books, Burnt Offerings and The Skinsaw Man. We immersed ourselves in Golarion and Varisia. So, enjoy!
When times are hard they stay hard unless heroes rise. Some say that such a rise is a matter of luck. Others say it is fate.
Could these be the ones to rise? Are they the lucky? Some may say unlucky. Or are they the heroes of fate? Could they be the ones that rise to legend?
Eleisa was the daughter of a strange union between a Drow Priestess and a Human Warrior. Shunned by both the worlds of Elves and Men, she became a fierce and independent fighter, always fully adorned in her armor. Her studded leather helm and gauntlets never revealing her mixed race to others. Clad as such, she is mysterious and causes others to fear her, an ideal guard for a Cheliax merchant that values intimidation as a way of protection. Eleisa was hired to protect a fat Cheliax merchant named Pevick that roamed the Lost Coast roads plying his wares. It was with the merchant Pevick that Eleisa came to Sandpoint at the dedication of its temple during an odd little festival filled with way too many butterflies. The Swallowtail festival is a perfect time and place for fat merchants to get fatter. And this year's festival has the dedication of the new temple. The crowds should be larger and the purses deeper.
Nirga as an Elf living among Men in Riddleport found great fun and humor in taking the trinkets that these Humans value so much. Until she took from an particularly powerful Human named Gaston Cromarcky, the overlord of Riddleport. Looking back she now sees this whimsical opportunity as maybe a mistake. So a new town to find more trinkets was in the offing. And Sandpoint seemed to have a friendlier group in need of fewer trinkets. Plus this odd little festival seemed an ideal event to find even more trinkets.
Fedra loved the sea. She often travelled with her uncle to strange locations. Halflings were never known as sailors. But her uncle was a good one, and with the family wealth, built a fine vessel to conduct trade. Having a ship worked well for the family of farmers to have a wider market for their tobacco. Fedra's father was devoted to the land, a skilled planter and grower. Her mother knew how to pull power from the air around it. She was the communities Shaman, and taught some of these skills to her daughter. But Fedra learned these skills to defend and attack, instead of to grow and nurture. She was a young Halfling seeking adventure. More than once with a simple cantrip she scared off would be attacker to her uncle's ship. And now with her uncle she comes to Sandpoint at a busy time when a good smoke is often preceded by good food and drink.
Emeril was raised on a farm a few miles outside of Sandpoint. The farm was more to sustain the family. Any excess was used to buy a new mule, or a steel plough to replace the copper one that often became bent. Emeril, a few times a year, travelled in to town with his father to trade. It was on one such trip that Emeril spied a precocious fiery red haired lass named Shayliss. But this flirtsome, at the time twelve year old, paid no attention to the ordinary farm boy. A year later when Emeril was fifteen his father became sick. Desperate, Emeril's mother sent Emeril to town with a mule packed with dried corn to trade for a healing poultice. Emeril came back with the poultice and a fair amount of extra coin. His father recovered. But it was at this time that the family learned of Emeril's skill at bartering. For the next couple of years or so, it was Emeril that went in to town to barter the excess corn, fruits and vegetables for items needed around the farm, plus some extra silver. He also enjoyed the fact that most of his trade was at the Sandpoint General Store, a place where the occasional glance upon the proprietor's daughter, Shayliss Vender, was more common. But Shayliss in his many visits to the General Store never glanced back.
It was on one such trip in to town that disaster struck back at the farm. A Goblin party raided the homestead while Emeril was in Sandpoint. Both his mother and father were killed, the farmhouse and barn burned to the ground. Emeril found their lifeless bodies, so badly mutilated, that he quickly buried them. For the first time in his life Emeril called out to Desna. Desna must have found pity for the young lad, or saw something more, for shortly after the burial a Father Zantus visiting a nearby parishioner saw the smoke of the burning homestead and went to offer aid. There he found the stoic youth by the recently dug graves of his parents. Father Zantus told the boy to come with him. That he could stay at the temple dormitories. Emeril obeyed. That was just a few months ago. Emeril now helped with other Acolytes to roll out the cart filled with swallowtail butterflies on the day of the festival. It was shortly after the butterflies release that trouble started in the streets.
The Swallowtail Festival
While Father Zantus was speaking during the temple dedication, the whelp of a dog is followed by the shrill sound of Goblins. A sickly chant begins to be heard along with the screams of women and children running from these short green little menaces. The nimble female Elf Nirga begins to slip behind a group of three Goblins near a vendor stall on the north side of the plaza in front of the temple. At the time, Nirga truly wished she did not understand Goblin, for the sickly chant was a Goblin song whose poetry was so horrid that Nirga feared losing her already sparse Wisdom by just hearing it. It was at this time that the tall and imposing Eleisa drew her father's sword and engaged one of three Goblins, missing her attack. After all this was her employer's stall. Eleisa glanced at the fat merchant Pevick running, more like waddling, away screaming in terror from his stall. His other guards were doing the same. The Halfling Fedra, standing near the speaker's podium, felt a rush of excitement, and almost without thinking, launched a missile from her fingertips that hit the middle Goblin. The Goblin being surprised dropped his torch and caught himself on fire, dying from the combined damage. Emeril, seeing the same kind of wretched creatures that killed his parents, ran toward the fight. He drew his flail, a tool he used to thresh grain, but also found it useful as a weapon. The Goblins eager for blood and mayhem fought back. Nirga, seeing an opening from behind the Goblin that was engaged with Eleisa, manages a clean stab on the pesky Goblin with her rapier. It falls dead. Emeril flails away to no effect. The third Goblin lands a blow on Emeril with its weird little sword. Eleisa moves to engage the third Goblin, when a burst of electric energy flashes by missing the Goblin, the bristling energy coming from the little Halfling Fedra. The Goblin lands another blow on Emeril. Emeril takes a step away laying a hand on himself and calls on Desna's healing power. He feels better. Eleisa hits the third Goblin, dropping it.
Deep breathes are taken, when Eleisa sees Nirga from behind the stall, Emeril at her right side, and a robed Halfling just behind. Nirga gives Eleisa a wink, and stares at the other two. Emeril gives an approving nod to the helmed warrior at his side. Fedra smiles not really noticing the pleas of her uncle to run back to the ship. Without a word between them, the group that would be known throughout the region as the Heroes of Sandpoint was formed.
But the breather ends quickly as chaos continues around them. Then across the plaza three more Goblins sets a wagon ablaze, lead by a strange whip wielding female Goblin. Eleisa charges across the plaza, followed closely by Emeril, Nirga and struggling to keep pace, the Halfling Fedra. All the while, Fedra's uncle yelling at his niece to go to the ship. Fedra ignores her uncle. Eleisa charges one of the Goblins quickly dropping it. Nirga engages the second, and Emeril the third. Then Fedra stops and launches a missile at the whip wielding Goblin. It strikes the foul little creature. The remaining two Goblins miss their counter attack. The whip wielding Goblin, known as a Warchanter, cast a spell at Eleisa. It fails. An Eleisa move on to Nirga’s Goblin, but misses. Nirga manages a weak blow. Emeril misses. Fedra strikes with a second missile on the Warchanter. Both Goblins lands blows on Nirga and Emeril. The Warchanter cast a spell dazing Eleisa. Nirga stabs at her Goblin but misses. Emeril misses yet again. Fedra, realizing that she may only have enough energy for one more missile, moves closer to the Warchanter, deciding to call again upon her elemental fascination with the air around her, and launch a ray of electricity at the Warchanter. It hits the burning wagon instead. Twice now Fedra has called upon this source of energy and missed with it. Fedra thought to herself that she really needed to work on her aim. Both Goblins miss their attack. The Warchanter tries another spell, but it had no effect. Recovering from her daze, Eleisa charges the Warchanter, but misses. Nirga gets a piercing blow with her rapier. The Goblin falls. Emeril continues to flail away to no effect. Fedra tries a third ray of electricity, but with Eleisa now engaged with the Warchanter it too misses. Emeril's Goblin manages a blow. Emeril staggers but does not fall barely hanging on to consciousness. The Warchanter steps back and whips away at Eleisa, but the attack misses. Eleisa, now thoroughly ticked, steps into the Warchanter sending the wretched creature to some infernal region. Nirga moves to a flanking position on Emeril's Goblin, striking with a precise and clean strike killing the last Goblin.
Emeril drops to one knee, and channels Desna's powers to heal himself and others that were hurt around him. He does this process a couple more times until he feels that his wounds are almost fully healed. He stands. Nirga stares at Emeril realizing her own wounds too were healed. The boy can't fight, but this other healing power is nice Nirga thinks to herself.
Much of the crowd scattered in all directions during the raid. Father Zantus was ushering people into the Temple, but did notice Emeril and the others engaging the Goblins. The Mayor of Sandpoint, a Kendra Deverin took note as well, wondering why her own town guard was nowhere to be seen. But Mayor Deverin did not realize the extent of the raid. The town guard and its leader, a Sheriff Belor Hemlock, were busy fighting Goblins elsewhere in the town. Many of the town’s citizens here and around the plaza now stopped to watch the heroic efforts of the four.
The sounds of Goblins and fighting now echoed away from the plaza where the festival was held. The four looked around at the dead Goblins, and saw some townsfolk on the ground too. Emeril began to move toward one of the fallen, when he heard a man scream and the frantic barking of a dog to the north. A Goblin mounted on what looked like a large hairless dog was attacking some well dressed dandy.
Eleisa was already in full charge toward the mounted Goblin. Nirga looks over at Emeril, shakes her head from side to side, and moves toward the fight. Emeril follows on Nirga's heals. Fedra, adrenalin still pumping inside with excitement, follows as well.
Eleisa slashes at the mounted Goblin but misses. The Goblin wielding a long spear-like thing, known as a horsechopper, stabs at the barking dog skewering it. The dog falls lifeless. Three more Goblins move to engage Eleisa. The shivering dandy hides behind a rain water barrel outside an establishment known as the White Deer. Nirga moves wide to the right of the fight. Emeril advances and lands a blow on one of the approaching Goblins. It falls to Emeril's utter amazement. Fedra launches her final magic-tinged missile at the mounted Goblin striking true as it always seemed to do. The mounted Goblin maneuvers behind the remaining two other Goblins and draws out a bow. One of the two remaining Goblins hits Eleisa. The other swipes at Emeril but misses. Eleisa attacks back dropping another Goblin. Emeril hits again but the Goblin continues to fight on. Nirga keeps moving behind their fray, now waiting to strike. Fedra once more gathers energy from the air around her to launch an electrified ray, this time striking true on the mounted Goblin. She gets excited. Noticeably hurt the Goblin manages to stay on its mangy steed. The mounted Goblin fires an arrow at Fedra, missing. Barely! Fedra's heart went into her throat. Her uncle now seeing too much races out and grabs Fedra’s arm. "Enough! You are coming with me," Fedra's uncle says scolding his niece.
The Goblin on Emeril swings futilely. Eleisa hits again and the Goblin falls. Emeril moves and swings toward the rat-dog thing, but the mounted Goblin steered his mount away from the blow. Nirga moves quickly from behind striking the mounted Goblin. It slumps off its mount. The rat-dog bites Emeril. Eleisa moves but misses her attack on the dog-like critter. Emeril missed. Nirga too misses an assault on the creature. The rat-dog bites Emeril again. Once again Emeril finds himself on the edge of consciousness. Eleisa hits but fails to drop the thing. Emeril steps back out of the fight and calls again on a healing touch from Desna. Nirga keeps missing the ugly beast. Fedra tears herself from her uncle’s grasp, draws her dagger and runs toward the fight. The rat-dog bites Eleisa. Eleisa is starting to feel the pain of her wounds. A rejuvenated Emeril steps up and lands a solid blow killing what the party would later find out is a Goblin Dog.
Eleisa falls to one knee. Father Zantus rushes toward the heroes. A healing touch is delivered to Eleisa. The fight is over. Many who witnessed this bravery began to cheer, including one Shayliss Vender who is now seeing the farm boy Emeril in a different light. Fedra's furious uncle approaches but Mayor Deverin moves toward Fedra thanking her and the three others for their bravery. Fedra's uncle stops and stares at the Mayor.
The dandy rises from behind the rain barrel, straightening his fanciful clothes, brushing off any dust, and looks straight toward Nirga. "Thank you my dear lady. I owe you my life," he says. Eleisa looks puzzled at the dandy. Emeril too, as this very over-dressed noble devotes all his attention toward Nirga. "You deserve a reward, my lady. Come tonight to the Rusty Dragon where I am staying. I will make it worth your while. I am Aldern Foxglove, and I am in your debt", the dandy bows low in a graceful gesture. Nirga thinks how ridiculous this fool looks. But she could use the extra coin and nods OK.
Nirga, typically a very selfish Elf, realizes that any reward also belong to her allies in this fight. Plus Nirga would rather not meet this dandy alone. Nirga moves toward Eleisa, and introduces herself. The tall helmed woman nods, and simply says, "Eleisa." The two women look toward Emeril. "Pleased to meet you, I am Emeril,” he says. Then the three look toward the Halfling. Fedra was so hoping to get a stab in to one of the Goblins with her dagger. She was looking around for any moving Goblins, when she notices the other three staring at her. "Hi! Wasn't that fun?” Fedra says excitedly. "We should look out for more Goblins!" But the sound of conflict and singing Goblins fades away, only to be replaced by a murmur from the regathering crowd. The crowd begins to chat with each other about Sandpoint's new found heroes, their losses, and the silliness of Goblins.
Nirga looks at the three and tells them the dandy they saved wants to give them a reward tonight at the Rusty Dragon. "I will ask Father Zantus if I can come," Emeril says. Eleisa just nods. Fedra on the other hand wonders if she will be able to attend. "I will try to be there," she says.
Nirga began searching the dead Goblins for any coin or valuables. Emeril went to Father Zantus. Zantus was pleased with what he saw. He could see Desna's light on the boy. He agreed to let Emeril go to the Rusty Dragon that night. Eleisa stayed close to Nirga watching her back while the Elf Rogue rummaged through the Goblin rags finding a few coin along the way. Eleisa gathers some weapons, including the Goblin Warchanter's whip. Fedra went back to the ship and received a full tirade from her uncle about her being careless and irresponsible. Fedra was locked in her room. But this was not the first time Fedra was locked in her shipboard room. And Fedra knew how to escape it. And she immediately did so.
As the heroes moved through the town, pats on the back and applauses often followed. Nirga and Eleisa found a spot across from the Rusty Dragon, a place easy to find with its rusty iron dragon perched on it shingled roof, and watched the entrance to wait for their other allies. As Emeril left the temple he too received congratulations, but none more so than a solid kiss on the lips from the beautiful fiery redhead Shayliss Vender. Stunned, he received this kiss. "I have to go to the Rusty Dragon," Emeril said nervously looking into Shayliss' bright green eyes. Shayliss followed Emeril until the booming voice of Ven Vender, Shayliss' father could be heard over the crowd, "Shayliss home," the large stout man yelled. Shayliss stopped in her tracks and sighed. She slowly walked to her father. Emeril stopped too, looking back at Shayliss walking toward the large and imposing man, thinking how both wonderful and absolutely frightening was that kiss from Shayliss. He didn't know which he feared more, Shayliss' kiss or a horde of Goblin Commandoes on Goblin Dogs with horsechoppers in hand. He agreed with himself that it was definitely Shayliss’ kiss.
Darkness fell upon Sandpoint, and the lights of the town began to illuminate the streets. Nirga and Eleisa met Emeril in front of the Rusty Dragon's swivel doors, looked around for the little Halfling, but she was nowhere to be seen. The three shrugged and entered the Dragon to the sounds of singing and dancing. There they noticed the little barefoot Halfling dancing to the strums of an instrument and the voice of an Ameiko Kaijitsu, the proprietor of the Rusty Dragon. She had escaped her room and arrived not long before Nirga and Eleisa.
Aldern Foxglove seemed disappointed that Nirga was not alone. But he shrugged off his feelings, and ordered a round of drinks for the heroes, later followed by spicy meat and potatoes. Emeril dug in ravenously never before having such a meal, having been used to the plain cooking of his mother or more recently the temple porridge. Emeril found the warm mead sharp but refreshing. Eleisa too found the mead satisfying. Fedra preferred wine, and the Rusty Dragon had a fine wine. Nirga thought so too. Eleisa ate and drank lifting her helm up and down just above her mouth between bites. Foxglove quipped, "What is up with this helm? Are you hideous underneath?" Eleisa gives Foxglove a sharp glare and answers with a simple, "Yes."
Fedra quickly changes the subject and properly introduces herself. She begins to talk about her family's plantation outside Korvosa. Nirga talks a little about Riddleport. Emeril talks of Sandpoint, but does not mention the farm or his parents. The pain is still too deep, too recent. Foxglove talks about his manor in Magnimar, and welcomes them all to come and visit. “What about you, Eleisa?” Fedra ask. “I am from the north,” Eleisa says and then says nothing more. But she does listen intently to the others. She notices that Nirga, Fedra and Emeril smile at her when they talk, clearly including her in the conversation, even though Eleisa does not add to it. This is a new sensation for Eleisa. She seems to be accepted and not feared by the others, something that has never happened before in her life. It was a strange feeling, but she liked it; and wished it would not soon end. Eleisa would be granted her wish.
After a few more rounds, Foxglove gave out his promised reward, a sack of 50 gold pieces. Emeril's eyes widened, for he had only seen silver before, but had heard of the far more valuable coin. 12 gold coins were given to each. Emeril asked if he could offer the remaining two gold coins to the temple. They all agreed. Even Nirga who recognized, maybe for the first time in her life, that some outside force may be actually watching and helping, as she recalled the mysterious healing that she had earlier received. She had heard of such power, but until then never had seen it, or in this case, felt it for herself. Sure she knew of potions, elixirs and poultices but this was different. This was divine healing, and not some herbal or magical remedy. She thought nothing more of the two gold coins.
Later, Aldern Foxglove proclaims he is going out to hunt wild boar and would like Nirga to attend, partially for the company, but more so for the protection. Nirga reluctantly agrees, knowing this dandy would likely die out there in the wild. Nirga ask the rest of the party to also join along. Foxglove frowns. Eleisa also agrees to come along feeling the new weight of six month's wages in her purse, deciding that she could now afford a change in company from that fat Cheliax merchant. "Do you have horses?” Foxglove asks. Fedra says she is not good with horses, and declines the invite. Emeril worked with mules, not horses. He never rode the mules. "I don't own a horse," Emeril almost whispers, in thought about the fact he had never ridden one. "I too don't have a horse," Nirga states. "Nor I", Eleisa says flatly. "No problem, we will rent some horses from the town stables" Foxglove states.
During the evening the raven-haired beauty, with a well defined white streak, and tattoo of a snake on her shoulders, Ameiko Kaijitsu, comes by the table and introduces herself as the proprietor of the Rusty Dragon. She learns the party's names, and then immediately goes in to song singing of their heroic deeds of the day. The crowd cheers the party and Ameiko upon her completion. Ameiko offers the party a free room for the night. Nirga accepts, as does Eleisa. Fedra says she must return to her ship. And Emeril says he has a room at the Temple, which in truth is a cot in a dormitory with eleven other teen aged boys. Nirga and Eleisa turn in for the night in their free room. It was a day and night to remember.
Only when the room's lamp was turned off, and it was pitch dark did Eleisa remove her helm, but Nirga would have none of it. She quickly relit the lamp and gazed upon Eleisa. Eleisa moved to cover her face, but Nirga sharply said, "No." Eleisa had dark skin, nearly black. Her white hair was tied up tightly in a bun. She had ears not like a Human, but not like an Elf's either. She had hard exotic features. Nirga was stunned. "You are not hideous," Nirga said with a smile. "My mother is Drow," Eleisa explained flatly. "I did not know her. She died giving birth to me, or so I was told. I was raised by my Human father in the Varisian wilds. He taught me to hunt and to fight. He died. I buried him." Eleisa told her story without emotion. Nirga turned off the light. "Thank you friend,” Nirga said softly. “Your secret is safe with me.” Eleisa slept. Nirga sneaked out and returned to the Rusty Dragon's common room, where many patrons still remained staggering and falling from too much drink, an ideal condition to lose trinkets.
Emeril awoke before sunrise to a massive ache in his head. He did not like it. He went to take care of his chores, hoping Father Zantus would free him for the rest of the day. But Father Zantus was gone. Emeril took this opportunity to head back to the Rusty Dragon. When he arrived in the Dragon's common room he found an older Halfling woman serving cooked eggs and bacon. It smelled wonderful in Emeril's nostrils. Eleisa was there sipping a steaming black tea from a large wooden cup. Nirga was there too, but was not partaking in the morning fare. They both nodded at Emeril. Nirga gave him a smile. Emeril could swear that he saw a smile under Eleisa's helm. He sat at the table. The older Halfling woman, a Bethana Corwin, came to the table, "We have eggs and bacon, or the house porridge. What will you have?" "Eggs and bacon, please", Emeril said a bit too eagerly.
Emeril had devoured his breakfast, when Aldern Foxglove came strutting down the stairs. He was wearing his hunting outfit. The leather coats and breeches appeared new, like they had never been worn before. His hat was adorned with, way too long, colorful feathers. His shirt pressed, with ruffled sleeves and without the slightest stain. Nirga thought he looked worse in this than the garish gold and blue coat and tail he wore the previous day. "Let us find some horses," he proclaims as he glides out the Rusty Dragon's swivel doors.
Next door to the Rusty Dragon was the Goblin Squash Stables. Its owner a Daviren Hosk hated Goblins and witnessed yesterday the hero’s bravery at the festival. Hosk himself, and old retired Ranger, managed to trap a lost Goblin as he was returning to his stables last evening. He coerced its name out of the wretched little creature before killing it and cutting off its ear. As Foxglove, Nirga, Eleisa and Emeril arrive; Hosk was gleefully scribing the Goblin's name on the ear. Above Hosk on the Stable rafters were nailed dozens upon dozens or ears, all inscribed with a Goblin's name. When Hosk sees Emeril, the svelte Elf rogue, and the tall helmed warrior woman, he cheerfully welcomes them. "Welcome! Fine job you did yesterday. Fine job indeed," Hosk says while shaking their hands, ignoring Foxglove. "How can I help you" "I need to retrieve my horse for the day," Foxglove says. "These three need to rent a horse." "Typically I require the value of the horse as a deposit, plus two silvers per day. You would get you deposit upon returning the horse whole. But today, to you three,” pointing to the heroes, “you may pick what horse you like at no charge, and with no deposit" says Hosk, his long gray pony tail tightly bound with leathers straps swinging behind his back.
As Nirga and Eleisa browse the stables, Emeril approaches Hosk. He whispers to the man, "I have never rode a horse before." "What?" Hosk says. "I have seen you before. Don't you live on some farm outside of town?" The others now turn to look at Emeril and Hosk. "I did sir. We had a mule. I never rode it," Emeril says almost apologetically. "I have just the horse for you," Hosk says. He goes to a stall where inside is an old Druman draft horse, a mare named Nell. Hosk begins to bridle and saddle it for Emeril. Nirga finds a sleek, spotted Varisian mare, and begins to ready the horse. Eleisa stops in front of a solid white Qadiran stallion. "This one," Nirga states flatly, staring back at Hosk. "Are you sure? That is Gurat's Pride. This is my finest and strongest Stallion. I use him for breeding. He is not fully broken," Hosk says. "This one," Eleisa states again. Foxglove mounts his mare, another fine mostly white, Qadiran horse. Nirga urges her mount alongside Foxglove. Eleisa approaches Gurat's Pride staring into its eyes. The horse at first agitated, begins to calm and allows Eleisa to place the bridle and saddle. Emeril spins his horse around four times before managing to climb aboard the old gray mare. Eleisa mounts Gurat's Pride, a tall horse with a tall rider, both towering over the others. Emeril, who is as tall as Eleisa, now looks up to her from the much shorter mare.
Foxglove brought spears for each of the riders. Armed, they now leave Hosk and his stable behind. They ride through town, stopping several times to wait for Emeril to catch up. They leave through the north gates along the Lost Coast Road, through a hilly region known as Ravenroost and into the Tickwood forest. Emeril learns to keep pace with the others. Along the way Foxglove stays close to Nirga engaging in small talk that Nirga finds annoying at best; and wondering if the real bore was this dandy at her side. It was less than an hour into Tickwood that Eleisa spots a large wild boar. Foxglove, seeing it too, spurs his horse and charges the boar. As he nears, he clumsily throws his spear landing far short of the prey. Eleisa moved around Foxglove jumps off her mount near the boar, spears in hand, and drives it into the creature’s side. It squeals in pain, and lunges its tusk at Eleisa. But Eleisa dodges it, draws her sword, and finishes off the beast. Nirga and Emeril just stare from the back of their horse. Foxglove a bit stunned says, "Well done!"
That ended the boar hunt. They returned the horses to the Squashed Goblin stable, and took their kill to the Rusty Dragon's kitchen. Ameiko was in the kitchen and gladly accepted the boar. "We will make it the main course for the evening," Ameiko announces.
It was interesting. I have the advantage now of 20-20 Hindsight. This has allowed me to flesh out some glossed over details, and put in writing some of the character development we have touched on over the course of play. Shayliss early on became a focal point. I even have a figurine specifically for her. I look forward to when the party returns to Sandpoint in the 4th book.
Thanks for reading. Here is the next two parts.
On the ship Korvosa's Smoke, Fedra confronts her uncle. Federan is his name. He was named after his father. And yes, Fedra was named for Federan’s father too, her grandfather. Fedra was the first female born into the family in two generations. Federan had had enough and was readying Korvosa's Smoke to sail out of Sandpoint. But Fedra was not leaving. The last day had been the most thrilling of Fedra's life, and she wanted more. She yearned for such adventures, the fight, using her inherent powers, and the wine and song in the tavern afterwards. "I am of age. I can go as I please," she stated firmly. "I promised your parents to bring you home safely,” Federan replied. "I am sorry uncle; you should not have made such a promise. Here give this letter to my parents," Fedra says handing two letters to her uncle. "And one is for you. I love you uncle, but you cannot keep me. I will jump overboard the first chance I get," Fedra states matter-of-factly. "You swim poorly. You would drown," Fedra's uncle retorts. "Then let me go. At least you will know I didn't drown," Fedra embraces her uncle. "I will lock you in your room. What happens after that is out of my hands," Federan says, knowing full well that Fedra will escape it. He retreats to the Captain's cabin where he weeps for his niece.
Fedra packs as much as she can into her knapsack and leaves the Korvosa's Smoke, no telling when she would see it again. As she walks toward the Rusty Dragon, she is stopped by the town's Sheriff. Mayor Deverin is with him. "Where are your compatriots?" Sheriff Hemlock questions. "I think they went on some boar hunt," Fedra responds. Deverin, with a look of frustration on her face, glances at Hemlock, "We would like to meet with all of you. Come to my office at the Town hall. I will wait for you," Mayor Deverin says. The Mayor is going to wait for us! Fedra thinks to herself, "I will bring them as soon as they return," Fedra states. "Thank you", the Mayor then bows and walks away. The Mayor gave me a bow. That's weird! Fedra thought to herself. Neither the ship’s crew nor even the extra hands on the farm bowed to her. She was no royalty.
No. Fedra was not royalty. But what Fedra did not realize is she was becoming something more, a Hero. Her and the party's actions the day before were far above the norm. Even many of the town's guardsmen ran in fear of the marauding Goblins, much to Sheriff Hemlocks chagrin. It was their bravery and their quick actions that set them above. And these facts did not go unnoticed by the town Mayor and many of its citizens.
Fedra went into the Rusty Dragon, it was still before noon. She sat at a table, ordered a glass of wine and waited. Her wait was not long as she heard a commotion in the kitchen and the voice of that dandy Foxglove. Fedra runs into the kitchen. They all turn to stare toward the Halfling. "The Mayor wants to see us," Fedra exclaims. Nirga looks at Eleisa and Emeril, "What does the Mayor want?” Nirga says thinking about some of the trinkets in her pouch. "I do not know," Fedra says "But we should go." Eleisa and Emeril return their spears to Foxglove and heads toward Fedra and then the front door. Nirga hesitates, sighs, gives Foxglove her spear, and follows along; daring not to mention anything to her companions about the assorted trinkets she carries.
"Can I come?" Foxglove asks. Almost in unison they all say, "No!" "I will wait for you here then," Foxglove nods to the party.
"What other inns are in this town?" Nirga asks as they venture toward the Town hall. "I think I have seen enough of this Foxglove fellow."
At the Town hall they are escorted to the Mayor's office. Sheriff Hemlock is there, as well as Father Zantus. "Father!" Emeril exclaims. "Emeril, Father Tobyn's crypt has been broken in to, and his corpse has been removed," Father Zantus states. "And we captured a Goblin for questioning," adds Sheriff Hemlock. "The stupid creature didn't know much, but did know that it was some longshanks behind the raid." "Longshanks?" Emeril ask. "Humans or Elves and not Goblinkind," the Mayor replies. "It appears that the whole purpose of the raid was to act as a diversion, while Father Tobyn's crypt was robbed," Sheriff Hemlock states. "Who is Father Tobyn?" Ask Fedra. Nirga was curious about this too, but was more relieved that the conversation had nothing to do with trinkets. Eleisa just stood quietly and took it all in.
"Father Tobyn," Father Zantus begins, "was the head of the Temple, and my mentor. He died when the previous temple burned to the ground. I do not know why anyone would want his remains.” “We do not know what this is all about, but,” Sheriff Hemlock spoke. “We could use your help.” “We have made arrangements with Ameiko Kaijitsu to provide you room and board at the Rusty Dragon. We can also pay each of you two silvers a day. All we ask is that you be visible and available,” Mayor Deverin makes her offer. “I saw how the four of you handled the Goblins.”
Fedra quickly and a bit eagerly says, “Sure!” Emeril looks over at Father Zantus. “Emeril, Desna’s light is on you. I see it. I have felt it. She has greater plans for you than to work chores in the temple. Go with these others, and aid them and this town as a servant of Desna,” Father Zantus says releasing Emeril to venture out on his own. Eleisa looks at Nirga. Nirga, profoundly relieved that the conversation had nothing to do with trinkets, says “OK.” But not fully pleased that she would have to go back to the Rusty Dragon and see that pompous dandy Aldern Foxglove. Eleisa simply nods her head, yes. “Thank you,” Sheriff Hemlock says, with what appeared to be a bit of relief.
“We should go now,” Father Zantus begins, looking over at Mayor Deverin. “We have a Temple to consecrate, and hopefully this time without Goblins.”
Nirga leaves Mayor Deverin’s office. Eleisa, then Fedra, and finally Emeril follow behind. As they head that afternoon back to the Rusty Dragon, town folk after town folk come and greet the Heroes. They offer food and drink along the way, and yes the heroes graciously accept, enjoying their newfound fame. The short walk to the Rusty Dragon ended up taking several hours.
When they reached the Rusty Dragon, Nirga cringed at the thought of seeing Foxglove again. But he was not there. She would learn that Aldern Foxglove had packed up and checked out about an hour earlier. Nirga was pleased by this bit of news. She drank more wine this evening than the one before. In fact, Fedra and Eleisa also drank more than the night before. Only Emeril with the morning head ache still fresh in his mind drank less. In fact he stuck to the unfermented cider famous to the region. Ameiko would later bring out the cooked boar with the house potatoes and other spicy vegetables. It was amazing! They ate and drank. Fedra danced and Ameiko sang. It was a great day for the Heroes.
When it was time to turn in for the night, Emeril was not sure where to go. Ameiko had provided a room for the Heroes as promised. One room! Nirga noticing the bashful young man grabbed him under an arm and lead him to their room. There were four beds neatly made. Nirga, looking at Fedra and Emeril, “if we are to be together, then there can be but few secrets between us. Eleisa remove your helm,” Nirga ordered the large woman. Eleisa glanced toward Nirga. “Go ahead. I want to wash that smelly thing,” Nirga proclaimed. Eleisa ever so slowly removed her helm. Nirga smiled. Fedra looked and became puzzled, ‘What are you?” she says innocently. Emeril just stares. Softly and with a great deal of apprehension, Eleisa says, “I am Half-Drow. My mother was a Drow. I was raised by my Human father.” “ Well, that’s different!” Fedra says. “Pleased to meet you,” the young Halfling says walking up to shake Eleisa’s hand. Eleisa looks down on the Halfling, taking her hand. They both smile. Eleisa then looks over toward Emeril. Emeril blinks, and just looks at her for a moment longer, before it just slips out, “You are not hideous.” “I know. That what I said,” adds Nirga. They all laugh.
With Eleisa far more relaxed, she Fedra and Nirga begin to slip out of their armor and robes to ready themselves for the night. Emeril begins to fidget, trying hard not look at the three women in his room disrobing. After a few minutes, Nirga notices the uncomfortable young man and walks up to him, topless with only a short undergarment around the waist. Emeril did not know where to look. “Look!” Nirga says. Emeril turns and stares at the almost naked Nirga. “Just think of us as some of the boys. Get some sleep. We do not know what opportunities may come” Nirga says. “OK,” Emeril say sheepishly. It was very hard for Emeril to think of them in the same light as his dormitory companions at the Temple. All three of these women were attractive in their own way. And Emeril did notice this fact. But Nirga’s way relaxed him, and he slept far better than he imagined he would.
The Shopkeep’s Daughter
Emeril awoke the next morning, early as usual before the sun, said his prayers and dressed. Eleisa was still asleep, quiet, not even a stir. The Halfling Fedra was asleep as well. Looking over toward Fedra’s bed Emeril wondered how such a little person could snore so loudly. Nirga was not in the room. He went down to the common room hoping to see Nirga. But Nirga was not there, only Bethana, the elderly Halfling woman was in the room sweeping the floor. “Have you seen Nirga,” Emeril ask. “The Elf,” Bethana responds. “She is out back doing laundry.” Emeril goes through the kitchen, boney remnants of the boar still on its skewer, and finds Nirga scrubbing her studded leather armor with a soapy brush next to a water trough. Eleisa’s armor and Fedra’s robes were already drying on a bench next to her. “You know those robes you wear will not do if we get in to more of a fight. Let’s take a look today to see what the armorer in this town has available,” Nirga states. “That does sound like a good idea,” Emeril agrees. “After all the Mayor did want us seen around town,” Nirga adds.
Shortly after sunup, the party dines on another of Bethana’s delicious Rusty Dragon breakfast this time with ham from the boar to go with the eggs. They then take off to wander the town. Everywhere they go they are greeted with smiles and boisterous handshakes. Around the Sandpoint Market, by the Turandarok Academy, and up Main Street the party strolled. It was there in front of the General Store that Shayliss Vender was in a plain tan dress and barefoot, staring at those that passes by, while most in turn looked back at Shayliss. Then Shayliss saw Emeril and ran straight to him, grabbing him around the neck. “Shayliss,” Emeril says both startled and embarrassed looking toward his companions. Shayliss whispers into Emeril’s left ear, “I believe there is a Dire Rat in my basement, could you come and kill it for me.” Emeril immediately doubts the claim of a Dire Rat; and thinks it is more likely a common house mouse. “She has a rat in her basement and needs help with it,” Emeril says looking at his companions. Shayliss frowns, thinking this is not what she had in mind. Fedra, sensing the actual intent of the young girl, looks at Emeril, and says “Emeril, go see what she needs. We will hang around out here. Yell if you need help.”
Emeril turns and follow Shayliss into the house and down to the basement. The light was low in the basement, it was amazingly clean. There were boxes, crates and other stores. And there was a bed and a table next to it. “Where is this rat of yours,” Emeril ask. “Over here,’ answers Shayliss. Shayliss was standing in front of the bed. In a quick motion she pulls her dress straps from off her shoulder. The weight of her garment causes it to fall quickly to the ground. There Shayliss Vender stood before Emeril totally naked. She was developed way beyond her years. Emeril always thought Shayliss was very pleasant to the eyes, but here in the dim light his thoughts were both of this incredible beauty, and a strange stark terror that lurked deep inside him that he could not explain. Shayliss approaches and kisses Emeril. Emeril grabs both her shoulders, looks down on Shayliss, a good six inches taller, and kisses her back firmly. Shayliss had kissed many boys before, but none like this. Emeril was both strong and handsome, and not to mention brave and true. It was a kiss that would change Shayliss.
Outside, Fedra, Eleisa and Nirga watches Ven Vender return to his store. This may not be good, Fedra thinks to herself. Nirga looks at Fedra, “This could be a problem?” “I think so,” say Fedra. Fedra immediately yells across the street, “Sir. Sir. Are you the owner of this fine establishment?” Fedra shouts as loud as should could. “Why yes,” Ven Vender says looking at the diminutive Halfling. “How can I help you?”
Shayliss hears Fedra and her father outside and looks at Emeril with a frightened look. “My Father,” she says. “He will kill us.” Emeril swallows hard, both from holding a naked Shayliss and the thought of being killed by her father. Shayliss quickly puts her dress back on and runs up the stairs followed closely by Emeril.
Ven notices Shayliss coming up out of the basement. He turns away from Fedra, and sternly asks his daughter, “What were you doing down there?” “Looking for a rat I saw this morning,’ Shayliss continues her lie. “We have no rats in our basement,” Ven Vender announces. “You get out of my store,” Ven says looking at Emeril. “Yes sir. Right away sir,” Emeril stumbles and quickly leaves the store. “Maybe another time, good sir,” Fedra says following casually behind a fleeing Emeril.
The rest of the day was less eventful. Emeril and Eleisa both were fitted with Hide Armor from Savah’s Armory. Its owner, Savah Bevaniky gave them a deep discount of 10 gold pieces per set. Though this was a huge part of Emeril’s coin, he saw the wisdom in getting it, as did Eleisa.
That night was quieter at the Rusty Dragon. The party ate and turned in for the night. The occasional nakedness of Emeril’s women companions no longer fazed him. Even when they paid to have a tub brought in, and they bathed in front of him. He took a bath too. The only nakedness that now distracted Emeril was the thought of Shayliss in the dim light of her basement.
Here is the next installment. Any thoughts are always welcome. Here is a recap of our heroes.
Eleisa The mysterious Half Drow Fighter that always in public wears a helm, but the party now knows what she looks like.
Nirga The Elf Rogue from Riddleport that is not shy about much of anything.
Fedra The Halfling Sorceress from the farmlands outside Korvosa, she enjoys her families tobacco, not to mention good food and drink, and the thrill of adventure.
Emeril The local farm boy that is now a Cleric of Desna. He is strong and brave, but young and a bit naive.
Monster in the Closet
The next day was mostly uneventful. Nirga bought a crossbow with bolts and Emeril a wooden shield from vendors at the Sandpoint market. Emeril also picked up a variety of spices. Eleisa in the afternoon shows Emeril a few things about using a shield. Before sundown the party visited the Hagfish tavern, where Emeril drank from Norah’s tank immediately throwing up the contents. Norah was a hagfish, one of many that had been named Norah over the years that lived in this dirty tank. The water in this tank was so foul that a very few individuals over the ten years since this Tavern opened was able to drink the putrid liquid without throwing it up. Patrons would try to stomach the Hagfish water for one silver piece. For those that failed, and most did, the silver coin was put into a purse to be rewarded to whoever could keep the foul liquid down. In the tavern’s history, only 28 hearty souls had managed to keep the liquid down. Each successful patron would get to carve their names on a ceiling beam above the bar. The rest of the party, including a slightly green Emeril, dares Eleisa to try the water from Norah’s tank. Eleisa put down a silver coin, takes a tankard of the putrid water, lifted her helm just above her lips, and begins to drink. After she downed the liquid, she looked over at Nirga. “That taste bad,” she said matter-of-factly. But Eleisa did not throw the substance up. Instead she carved her name in the tavern’s beam, and counted the 140 silver coins she obtained from the hanging purse. The tavern crowd and the party cheers as the 29th name, Eleisa, was added to the beam, but more than that a legend grew a little more.
That evening the Rusty Dragon had returned to normal with the mix of locals that enjoyed Ameiko's recipes and good drink, and travelers that appreciated the clean rooms. All enjoyed Ameiko's songs. Nirga this night danced. And all were amazed at her skill and grace. Fedra went out and joined her. The party ate and drank; accept not surprisingly Eleisa, who was still experiencing the effects of Norah’s putrid water. Emeril was now glad he threw the foul liquid up, as he enjoyed Ameiko’s good meal and hearty mead.
Afterwards, Fedra brought out a pouch that had rolled tobacco. She stuck one in her mouth, grabbed the table lamp, and lit the other end. "Care for one," Fedra asked offering some of her family's finest. Nirga quickly says, "Yes.” Eleisa just shakes her head, no. Emeril, says, "My father smoked a pipe. I never tried it." "Then it is time you tried one," Fedra says, handing a roll to Emeril. "Just do as I do. Take the smoke in to your mouth, let it linger around and blow it out. Some inhale it, but that is not the best way to enjoy it," Fedra explains. Emeril lights the tobacco and does as Fedra said to do. The taste is sharp, but with a certain sweetness, unlike anything Emeril had tasted before. Fedra watches him intently, a sly smile on her face. She could tell that he enjoyed it, at least until it was near the end, when Emeril started to make strange face. "It gets bitter toward the end," Fedra says. "I like it to the very end, but I am used to it." She puts the tobacco stub out in a stone bowl, and hand the bowl to Emeril. It would not be the last time Emeril would enjoy fine tobacco or the mead that he tried, yet again, this night.
Things were changing for each of the party members. Emeril was quickly becoming a man. He was the youngest of the group, and the others treated him like a younger brother. Fedra was the next oldest, about four years older than Emeril. It was time for Fedra to make this move. This was what she truly wanted more than anything. Eleisa was about ten years older than Emeril, but only recently ventured from the cabin that she long shared with her father in the wilderness, a place hidden from the villages, towns and cities of Varisia. No one really knew how old Nirga was, but she was by far the oldest. She provided very little to the party about her past, saying simply, "It was nothing special." Nirga was enjoying the company of these others. The desire to take their trinkets and that of others was nearly gone. Instead a desire for adventure took its place. She found Fedra's ability to alter a flame or move an object with the wave of her hand and a few strange words fascinating. And she still recalled the mystical healing she received from Emeril. "Yes." She said to herself. “This is a good change.”
That night in their room, tucked in her bed Eleisa raised up slightly, looked at her companions, "Good night all," she said. The others were a bit amazed looking at her face, with it sharp angular features, the white upon white hair now flowing to each side, and a slight purple twinge in the eyes. Eleisa was something to behold. "Good night Eleisa and everyone," Emeril replied, smiling, then rolling over and falling to sleep. "Night, night," Fedra smiled. Nirga, sitting on her bed, looked at the others, thinking this was different. What was that Human phrase, she thought. "Don't let the bed bugs bite," Nirga says. Emeril was snoozing. Eleisa closed her eyes and was soon asleep. Fedra thought about bed bugs, "Yuck! I hate those things."
The next day started out uneventful. Emeril, up very early as usual, asked Bethana if he could help with breakfast. She said yes, thinking she could really use the help. Emeril cleaned plates and bowls and watched as Bethana, standing on a stool, began to add ingredients to the eggs, and then a stew she was making for the evening meal. After breakfast, the party made themselves visible, walking the streets, the bridges, the north wall, toward the Old Light, the strange ancient ruin that dominates over Sandpoint's other structures, and back again toward the wharf and the Rusty Dragon. Back at the Dragon, Emeril asked Ameiko if he could help in the kitchen, she agreed putting him to work plucking feathers from ducks for a meal she had planned for tomorrow. Again Emeril watched Ameiko and Bethana prepare the evening meal, paying close attention to the herbs and spices being used.
It was somewhere around the fourth duck, that Emeril heard the cry of a hysterical woman coming from the common room. Ameiko, Bethana and he ran to see what was up. A woman was in a panic, a baby held to her chest in one arm, a small boy standing beside, holding her other hand. "Look," she says, showing the boys arm. It had several deep but small bites. Ameiko looks and says, "Goblin bites." "Where," Emeril quickly asks. "At my house," the crying woman sobs, "And my husband, he has fallen." Emeril runs to the boy, and lays a hand upon the bite filled arm. He utters a quick prayer. The bleeding stops and the wounds begin to heal. Emeril looks up to the woman, "Let's go!" "I will take care of the boy," Bethana says grabbing the boy's other arm. The woman runs out the door, still clutching the baby. Eleisa and Nirga were close behind. Emeril making certain the boy was OK, turns and runs. They weave through an alley, then over two streets before she stops in front of a townhouse pointing, "In the back bedroom!"
Eleisa runs in the house looking around. She finds the back bedroom and sees the Goblin gnawing on the arm of a man lying face first in a pool of blood. A small dog is lying dead in front of a small bed next to the Goblin. Eleisa, longsword in hand, strikes at the Goblin, just missing. The foul little green creature, with what looked to be a makeshift knife lunges for Eleisa striking a blow. Eleisa strikes back, hitting the Goblin. "Longshanks you hurt Gresgurt," the Goblin says in a very broken common speech. It lunges again, but misses Eleisa. "I will do more than that," Eleisa replies flatly. Striking another blow, she kills Gresgurt. Nirga and Emeril arrive looking into the room. Emeril pushes his way past Eleisa, and kneels down to the man lying on the floor. The man was still alive, but barely. He was dying. Emeril once again calls upon Desna and lays a healing touch on the man. The man's bleeding stops, but he remains unconscious. Emeril tries again, this time channeling healing energy all around him. The man begins to stir. Eleisa's small wound also heals. "That is a handy power you have," Nirga says, looking into the room. "It is not mine" Emeril says helping the man to his feet. Breathing heavy, Fedra finally arrives on the scene, knife in hand, "Where's the Goblin?"
The party would forever be remembered by Alergast and Amele Barett, not to mention their neighbors and their neighbor's neighbors. News of this Goblin attack spread quickly and it was not long before Father Zantus, Sheriff Hemlock and Mayor Deverin arrive on the scene. Emeril tells them about Eleisa slaying the Goblin. But it was Alergast himself that tells them about how Emeril saved his life.
That night, with the Barett family in attendance, the Mayor, the Sheriff, even Father Zantus all drank and ate at the Rusty Dragon, celebrating the life saved.
It's heroic fantasy! I'll admit I can be old fashioned about it, but to me that is what it is all about, the good guys winning, saving someone at the last moment from death. Even changing a teenage girl to aspire to something more, even if that something more was to pursue one very special boy instead of every boy in the town.
The Sandpoint Glassworks
Like the previous morning Emeril awoke early, only this time Nirga was still in her bed. He went to the kitchen. Bethana was there. 'Doesn't this woman sleep,' Emeril thought. She smiled at him and pointed to a tin barrel filled with plates and bowls. Emeril smiled and went to fetch water in the back courtyard well.
It was then that a town guard came into the kitchen. "Where are the Heroes?" He said looking at Bethana. By now everyone in the town referred to them as "The Heroes."
"The Human Boy is out back, Bethana tells him.
The guard goes out back and sees Emeril. "The Sheriff needs to see the Heroes as soon as possible," the guard proclaims.
Emeril nods, “OK.”
He goes back into the kitchen, runs up the stair and into the party’s room. Nirga and Eleisa were awake and dressing. Fedra was snoring loudly. Emeril tells them that Sheriff Hemlock needs the right away. Eleisa gives Fedra a firm shove.
Emeril leads the party to the Town Garrison. When they arrive they are lead to the Sheriff's office. Inside the Sheriff and Mayor Deverin are with a female Elf, taller than Nirga, with pointier ears, and dressed in woodsman's garb holding a longbow in one hand.
"This is Shalelu Andosana,” the Sheriff informs. "She has something to tell us."
Shalelu congratulates the party on their work against the Goblins. She then tells an unsettling story about the raid having Goblins from all five of the local tribes. That something big was going on; and that someone other than a Goblin was likely leading them.
The news greatly concerns Sheriff Hemlock. "We need more soldiers," the Sheriff states. I will leave this morning for Magnimar. Shalelu keep scouting out the countryside."
"I will do so tomorrow morning," Shalelu responds. Shalelu wanted one night at the Rusty Dragon for no other reason than a desire for a hot bath.
The rest of the day had a certain gloom about it. It did not take long for the news of Sheriff Hemlock's departure to spread through the town. The townsfolk didn't smile as much that day, or greet as much. The handshakes were more tentative.
That night at the Rusty Dragon it was unusually quiet. Shalelu was there. She sat alone eating from a bowl. Fedra asked her if she would care to join us at the party's table, but the Elf declined. The party went early to bed. They didn't even notice that Ameiko Kaijitsu had left even earlier.
Emeril wakes up early as usual, but when he leaves the room he is immediately confronted in the upstairs hall by Bethana.
"She is missing," the elderly Halflng says, nearly in tears. "She always gets up first, and makes sure things are started before going off to market or the wharf. Look she says," shoving a note into Emeril's hands.
Emeril takes the note. "I can't read this," Emeril says looking at Bethana.
"The other side! I translated it," the Halfing woman responds.
Emeril reads the note with a terrible sinking feeling inside. He was about to turn and head back into the room when he sees, Shalelu leaving a room further down the hall. "Ms. Andosana, could you come here please," Emeril ask the Elf woman.
The Elf walks up, "Shalelu would be fine."
Emeril nods, and leads the woman into the room. Nirga was almost fully dressed. Eleisa less so, but she did have her helm on. Fedra was still snoring.
"Please, wake Fedra," Emeril asks, handing the note to Shalelu. "Pass it around."
Nirga gives the Halfling a poke, "Fedra, wake up." Fedra begins to stir. Nirga reads the note, and then Eleisa glances at the note giving it to the waking Fedra.
"What's this?" Fedra asks.
"Just read it ," Nirga says curtly.
"This Tsuto is Ameiko's brother" states Fedra.
"Half brother," Bethana says and begins, "Tsuto is a Half Elf."
Eleisa perks up looking at the Halfling with a heightened level of interest.
"Ameiko's mother and father are human," Bethana continues. "It started 21 years ago when Ameiko's mother had a scandalous affair. No one knows Tsuto's real Elven father. But even after the affair, Ameiko's father, Lonjiku stayed married to Ameiko's mother. Tsuto was given to the Turandarok Academy to be raised in that institution. He wasn't allowed to see his mother. But I know that Ameiko would sneak in and visit him. But about six years ago they had a falling out. Ameiko left town for over a year and did some adventuring. Almost five years ago, Ameiko's mother, Atsuii, fell off a cliff. Ameiko returned to attend the funeral. There Tsuto confronted Lonjiku, blaming him for his mother's death. They fought and Lonjiku hit Tsuto so hard he nearly broke his jaw. Tsuto left town after that. If Tsuto is back, then he is up to no good. Please go to the Glassworks and see if Ameiko is alright, “Bethana weeps.
"We could use your help Shalelu," Emeril asks looking at the Elf.
"Alright," Shalelu says flatly, also concerned for Ameiko.
'Great! Another big talker,' Fedra thinks to herself.
The party moves fast to ready themselves and head to the Glassworks. The streets of Sandpoint are nearly deserted in the predawn hour. But there were some vendors preparing their shops for the day, and noticed The Hero's activity. When the party arrived they begin to circle the large stone structure for any signs of activity within. The windows appeared to be covered from inside to prevent one from looking in.
"Someone is trying to hide something," Fedra notes.
They go to the back of building and look over the cliff toward the sea.
Sandpoint sits on the edge a cliff that sharply drops off to a beach area, and then to the sea. The beach area has long been Sandpoint's dumping area. It has been rumored that Goblins sneak in and take garbage from the dumping areas. One Man's garbage is another Goblin's treasure.
It was still dark at a back cliff-side set of double door to the building; as the sun was just now peaking over the eastern skies on the opposite side. Steps cut in to the cliff side leads from these large double doors down to the beach below.
Nirga looks at the party and shrugs, "This may be a good spot," she says.
The rest of the party looks at her, as Nirga takes out a pouch with small intricate tools. She looks at the double door's lock and sighs a little knowing from its design that it is a tough lock to pick. She begins to quietly and carefully work. After what seemed like minutes, but what was less than a single minute, a small click is heard and the door opens.
Emeril with a concerned look glares at Nirga, realizing for the first time that she may be a Thief. For a moment this disturbed the young man, but then he thought that someone with this skill could be useful to their cause. Very useful! Emeril would not think negatively about it again, but he would instead often think of Nirga as an essential and valuable part of the group.
In the dim light Nirga carefully examines the area in front of her, she sees another pair of double door to her left and a hallway to the right. She grasps her crossbow and moves to examine the other double doors. Eleisa moves to her right looking up the hallway.
Emeril squints in the low light. He backs out, and looks at Fedra, "It is hard to see in there."
"Stay close to me," Fedra whispers.
Shalelu cocks an arrow and moves in past the outside doors.
After checking them for traps, Nirga quietly opens this next set of double doors and peers in. A wave of heat hits her face, and then the stench of death fills her nostrils. What she sees turns her stomach. This is the main glass working room. It is long over 100 feet. The entire right side of the room is one large furnace, with several opening for workers to access. There are three large alcoves to the left. A long marble table is immediately in front of her. There are several other tables further into the room. On the nearest table are tools of various kinds, blood and what looks like torsos, maybe three, missing arms, legs and heads. Molten glass covers parts of these bodies. A Goblin, about twenty feet away, is waving around what looks like an arm covered in glass. There is other movement beyond, more Goblins. And toward the center, in the middle alcove there appears to be some strange short statue.
Nirga takes a step into the room to the right, aims and shoots her crossbow. It dropping the Goblin, killing it. Eleisa moves quickly into the room, and moves along the left side of the marble table, sword in hand. She engages a second Goblin toward the end of the long table. Shalelu moves in to the left, and launches an arrow. It misses a third Goblin near the center of the enormous room. Fedra moves in behind Shalelu. The sight is not like anything she has seen before. It is horrific.
Many would turn and run from such a sight, but Fedra instead sees the third Goblin, lifts her arm, and points her index finger at it. A missile of energy shoots forth hitting the Goblin. Emeril steps into the room. With the furnaces providing enough light to maneuver, Emeril moves toward the right side of the long marble table, steps over the fallen Goblin, and engages behind Eleisa's Goblin.
The second Goblin draws a Dogslicer, the strange Goblin short sword, and swipes at Eleisa hitting her. The third Goblin attacks Emeril with what looks like tongs dripping in hot molten glass. It misses. A fourth Goblin, further behind, flings a bottle at Eleisa. It sails over her head crashing in front of Shalelu. A fifth Goblin moves on Eleisa. Three more Goblins approach from further back in this long workshop.
Nirga moves behind Emeril, and readies another bolt in her crossbow. Eleisa swings and drops the second Goblin. Shalelu hits true with an arrow hitting the bottle-throwing fourth Goblin. Another bolt of energy from Fedra passes by Emeril, hitting the third Golin. It falls. Emeril steps and swings on the fifth Goblin hitting it.
The injured fifth Goblin, also with a Dogslicer, swings at Emeril but misses. The bottle throwing Goblin sails another piece of glass to some unknown target and begins to move toward the back of the room. The other three Goblins seeing several of their numbers drop in a flash, turn around and head toward the back door.
Nirga shoots at the fourth Goblin but misses. Eleisa hits the fifth Goblin with such force that its over-sized toothy head flies nearly hitting the short statue. Shalelu launches an arrow. It misses, but she quickly knocks another arrow, fires, sending it true to its target. The bottle throwing Goblin falls.
Fedra move up behind to attack the fleeing Goblin but is distracted as she approaches by the weird statue. It is not a statue at all. It is a man sitting tied to a chair. The face of the man is frozen in what's looks like a terrible scream. It appears that layer after layer of molten glass had been poured on to him. 'What a gruesome way to die,' Fedra thinks to herself.
Emeril moves toward the three fleeing Goblins, but also stops to stare at the man covered in molten glass. His stomach churns. The man looked familiar to Emeril. He is certain that he has seen him around town, but does not know him. He was a wealthy man, someone of prominence. The remaining three Goblins flee the room.
Shalelu approaches, "It is Lonjiku Kaijitsu, Ameiko's father," the Elf says with a hint of sadness. We must finish these abominations off, and runs toward the fleeing Goblins. Eleisa and Nirga follows. Fedra and Emeril hesitate a moment looking at the Lonjiku's pained face, and then heads too toward the back door.
The party passes by more tables with arms, legs, heads and torso, some covered in glass, a truly sad and sickening sight. Shalelu reaches yet another set of double doors opened wide by the fleeing Goblins. She stops only briefly, to see a room with many doors. A regular wood door is open in front of her, and the sounds of movement could be heard from beyond. She quickly moves to this door to see a short hallway that ends with a set of stairs descending into darkness. She waits as the rest of the party catches up behind her.
"We will need a light," Shalelu resigns, knowing this darkness is too much, even for her Elven eyes.
Eleisa moves ahead seeing the stairs clearly. She looks back at Shalelu.
"Wait," Shalelu whispers, as the rest of the party catches up.
Fedra touches Emeril's wood shield and light burst from it. Eleisa moves down the stairs, followed by Shalelu, Nirga, Fedra and finally Emeril now carrying the light. When Eleisa reaches the bottom of the stairs, she sees crates, barrels and two wheelbarrows leaning against a wall in a roughly triangular shaped room. East and to the left appears to be a passage that had been bricked up; but is now open with piles of bricks on either side of the opening. This passage appears to turn right just a few feet pass the pile of bricks. Forward and bending to the south is about an eight foot wide passage way.
Shalelu tugs Eleisa from behind and moves ahead looking closely at the ground. Shalelu motions towards the southerly passage. As she peeps around the corner an arrow glances off the wall in front of her. She returns fire into the darkness missing the Goblin taking cover around a corner some twenty feet down and to the left. Two other Goblins move out in front brandishing Dogslicers. Eleisa moves around Shalelu to engage the two Goblins in an area used for storage with boxes and crates all about.
Emeril moves behind Eleisa providing light down the passage. Nirga moves in, arcs a bolt at the Goblin with a bow, but misses. Fedra glancing around her tall companion spies the bow wielding Goblin and sends forth a missile striking true to toothy green pest. In pain, the Goblin shoots an arrow at Eleisa, but badly misses. The two other Goblins attack Eleisa, the first hits while the other misses. Eleisa strikes the one to her right, it falls. Shalelu, seeing her enemy better send two arrows are the bow wielding Goblin, the first missed, but the second hit dropping the Goblin. Emeril provides light, being unable to make an attack. Nirga stows her crossbow, and draws her rapier. Fedra looks behind making sure nothing is coming around from the other passageway or from up the stairs. The last Goblin and Eleisa go back and forth; missing each other, before Eleisa get a solid hit, killing the Goblin.
Emeril puts a hand on Eleisa, calling forth Desna's healing powers. Eleisa's wounds get better. Nirga moves forward and looks down the left passage way. There are two doors on the right side, and then the passageway turns to the left.
"I think they meet up," Nirga say moving back the way they came, then looking at Emeril, "Follow me."
Nirga carefully moves up to and through the bricked up passage, peaking around the corner. The passages do meet up. Nirga sees two doors to the left, and another place where the passage was bricked up beyond.
"This is strange," Nirga says looking over her shoulder at Emeril.
Nirga moves toward the first door to the left, barely disturbing the dust as she goes. She notices that the door is ajar, she motions the party forward. Looking through the door she sees as far as the light allows down a well hewed tunnel. The party travels over a hundred feet down this tunnel, then decides to turn back so as to not be trapped from behind.
Nirga goes back and examines the second door to the left. She notices a faint light. Nirga checks the door then carefully open it. As soon as she does she is hit by an arrow from a Half Elf kneeling and taking cover from behind a bed.
Nirga now hurt retreats back to the rear of the party. Eleisa steps into the room. Shalelu moves in the room too, shooting an arrow. It hits the Half Elf. Emeril provides healing to Nirga. Fedra moves to just outside the door, calls forth energy from the air around her and fires an electric ray striking the Half Elf.
The Half Elf wounded and outnumbered quickly moves and tumbles past the bow wielding Shalelu, but not past Eleisa who strikes with her father’s longsword. The Half Elf dies in its attempt to leave the room.
The party lays the body on the bed. The Half Elf had a short bow and arrows. He wore a silver earring on his left ear and a gold ring on his right hand, which Fedra quickly determined radiated magic. He also had a satchel. Inside were six pouches filled with gold dust, eight pouches filled with silver dust, a finely crafted flute, a set of tools not unlike Nirga's set, a key, a potion bottle and 10 Platinum pieces. The party looked at each other smiling at the very rare coin. Also, in the satchel was a journal. Nirga quickly thumbed through it, giving it to Fedra.
"This might be interesting," Nirga says, as a curious Fedra looks at the pages.
Eleisa looks at everyone, "We need to secure the area." Shalelunods in agreement.
Fedra tucks the journal in her pouch, while Nirga checks the next door. It was locked. Nirga finds the Half Elf's key. It opens the lock. Inside they find Ameiko Kaijitsu, hands bound behind her back and legs tied at the ankles with leather straps. Nirga rushes in, followed closely by Eleisa and Emeril. Emeril determines she is unconscious but still alive. Nirga takes one of her daggers and cuts the binding. Emeril places a hand on Ameiko and calls on Desna's healing touch. She stirs and opens her eyes. Emeril helps her to her feet.
"Shalelu," Ameiko exclaims recognizing her occasional guest.
Shalelu thinks about Lonjiku, "Ameiko, your father is dead. He died a terrible death at the hands of these Goblin and a Half Elf that was leading them," Shalelu carefully conveys the sad news.
"Half Elf! Where is he?" Ameiko asks with concern.
“He fought us, and died trying to escape," Shalelu explains.
Ameiko nods, and tries to take it all in. Her father and half brother are dead. She straightens up and looks at Emeril and then the rest of the party, "The Half Elf was my brother Tsuto."
Shalelu lowers her head, "I am sorry Ameiko," Shalelu says apologetically.
"It is not your fault. Tsuto was in league with someone that I thought was dead, an Aasimar named Nualia. She was the adoptive daughter of the former head of the Temple, Father Tobyn. Apparently she has some kind of nefarious plans for Sandpoint, and she was using the Goblins, and my brother,” Ameiko conveys what she knows. “Tsuto wanted me to join him. He said it wasn’t safe in Sandpoint.”
"We need to make sure there are no more Goblins," Emeril says.
Eleisa followed by Nirga and the rest of the party goes back up to the Glassworks. Ameiko goes to her dead father, ignoring the other carnage in the room. She is distraught but stoic as she looks for tools to free her father from his glassy tomb. She finds a hammer and begins to work. The rest of the party searches through the Glassworks. Nirga searched bodies as they go. They find no more Goblins.
"We need to get Father Zantus and the Mayor," Emeril says.
"Agree," says Shalelu. "I will go with you."
When Emeril and Shalelu leave the Glassworks building a crowd was forming outside, a clamor of fear and apprehension races through the crowd.
"We need to see Father Zantus," Emeril yells pushing through the crowd.
It was there that Shayliss Vinder runs up and hugs Emeril.
"I am OK, Shayliss. I need to get to Father Zantus," Emeril tells her softly.
It was then that Emeril notices something different about Shayliss. The dress she had on was not as revealing as what she normally wore. Also she was wearing shoes. Emeril tries hard, but does not recall a time when he ever saw Shayliss wearing shoes. Emeril shrugs out the thought and gets back on task.
Emeril and Shalelu return back to the Glassworks with Father Zantus, Mayor Deverin and several of the town's guards. The party tells the Mayor and the Father about the events, and about the tunnel they found under the Glassworks. The Mayor puts the guards to the task of collecting the dead. Ameiko with gentle assistance from Nirga had freed her father from the glass. Fedra hands Tsuto's journal to the Mayor. The contents are disturbing. In it were the plans for the most recent raid, and plans for an even greater raid. There is a mysterious mention of a Quasit, and something or someone the journal refers to as Malfeshnekor. And finally there are a series of drawings that Father Zantus recognizes as Nualia. The drawings, almost pornographic, depict Nualia transforming in to what looks like a Succubus. The journal mentions Nualia's desire to remove the Celestial taint of her Aasimar nature.
"We thought Nualia died in the Temple fire," Father Zantus bemoans. "And now we learn she is alive. That she is behind the taking of Father Tobyn's remains. And worse she is using his remains to transform into a demon for Lamashtu, the deity lord of monsters and madness. This is almost too much to bear." Father Zantus closes his eyes as tears runs down his cheeks.
"We need to stop her at Thistletop," Father Zantus explains.
"We need to secure this town." Mayor Deverin adds. "We don't know what is in those tunnels below."
"We will go down in the morning," Emeril offers. "We need to rest."
Mayor Deverin looks at the party and agrees, understanding what the party had already done this day, equaling if not surpassing what they did at the Swallowtail festival.
"I will put a couple of guards on the tunnel entrance until morning," the Mayor says.
The rest of the day was spent resting and preparing. Emeril helped Father Zantus and the town guard with bringing the dead to the temple. He took time to pray afterwards, feeling an even greater touch from Desna above. Nirga was feeling a little more confident in her abilities, plus the set of tools found on Tsuto was a better make than her own. Eleisa recollected the encounters thinking through how she could improve her attacks and parry blows. For several hours until dark Eleisa practiced maneuvers in the alley behind the Rusty Dragon. Several towns’ folk gathered to watch. Fedra studied Tsuto's ring. She determined it would give a little aid to the wearer, as if carrying a shield. In addition, Fedra felt energy growing inside. She thought she could do a little more, maybe even cast an extra spell each day.
Thanks. That was a good read. I skipped some of the 'in party' dialogue, but was very interested in how you handled a lot of the NPCs and situations.
It sounded like Sandpoint was 'real'/alive and it was good to see NPCs doing something. I changed the whole idea of the initial raid to show that the Sheriff, Guards, Clerics, etc were doing SOMETHING.
I complied several docs you might find helpful too, inc: a Realms sheet for Sandpoint and each of the Goblin Tribes.
The goblin tribes might be of most help since that is where you are going.
I have a thread on Enworld for our campaing (both story and rules discussion, as we are doing it as a DnDN Playtest).
Anyway, you may wish to check out several of my attachments if nothing else. Site: http://www.enworld.org/forum/d-d-pathfinder/328907-campaign-playtest-rise-r unelords.html
Thanks. I copied your version of Bethana's explanation regarding the relationship of Ameiko and her half-bro. That was a neat summary.
And, yes, our party was another that had exact similar feelings/encounter with Aldern Foxglove. Even better, the 'dandy/charlatan' of our group saved him single-handedly.
We are currently at the day following the raid, so your handling of the events in town have been very helpful. :)
Here is a recap of the Party:
Eleisa Female Half Drow Fighter 2
Nirga Female Elf Rogue 2
Fedra Female Halfling Sorceress 2
Emeril Male Cleric of Desna 2
Shalelu Female Elf Ranger 2/Fighter1
Catacombs of Wrath
That night at the Rusty Dragon, Ameiko had cooked the meal and was playing her songs. The party was amazed at her resolve in light of her losses. Emeril told the party that they should give Tsuto's belonging to Ameiko. Even Nirga gave up the nicer set of tools, though she did think about it.
When they had the opportunity to give the items to Ameiko, she was touched at their selflessness. She looked at the items, and picked up the flute. "I will keep this in remembrance of my brother, the rest is yours. You have earned it," Ameiko quietly spoke.
Ameiko's next song was both beautiful and haunting, an ode to her brother, which included an interlude using Tsuto's flute.
A fifth bed was added to the party's room. Nirga and Eleisa grabbed Shalelu under each arm and lead her to their Rusty Dragon room.
"You are with us now," Nirga told her.
The solitary Shalelu resisted at first, but Nirga was insistent. The fact Nirga was also an Elf helped. But it was actually Eleisa who took off her helm and looked straight into Shalelu's eyes and said, "We need to work as a team," that changed Shalelu's stance. Shalelu had never seen anything like Eleisa. The determination in Eleisa's purple tinted eyes was enough to convince Shalelu that it was best that she be a part.
Emeril just shook his head and smiled. 'Now there are four females', he thought to himself, but he did actually prefer this company to that at the Temple dormitory.
With Shalelu in the room the party divided their spoils. Fedra determined the potion would heal small wounds. The party thought that Nirga, after her nearly falling to Tsuto's arrow, should have the potion, and of course the fine set of tools. Tsuto's composite short bow would be best suited for Eleisa since she currently did not have a good range weapon. The party agreed that the robed Fedra could use the Ring of Protection.
Shalelu was fumbling around with the silver earring. The party agreed she would look nice wearing it. Shalelu shyly smiled and put it on. She did look nice wearing it. The party would evenly divide the gold and silver dust, and the ten platinum pieces.
Then the party rested. Shalelu's rest was better than any she had had in a long time. She had almost forgotten what it was like to have others near and close. This night Shalelu did something that she rarely does, rest with both eyes closed. Nirga, as always, would have at least one eye open.
Emeril was up and out of the room before the others. But this morning he did not go to the Rusty Dragon's kitchen, instead he went to the Temple. There he prayed and donated a half bag of gold dust.
Father Zantus went to Emeril after his prayers, "Desna be with you. I have something for you. Come with me."
Emeril followed him to his study and their Father Zantus pulled out a sling and a pouch containing twenty small bullets from his desk drawer.
"Have you used a sling before?" Father Zantus asked.
"I played around with one back on the farm," Emeril responded.
"This is not for play. Use it well," Father Zantus said, giving the sling and stones to Emeril.
"Thank you Father," Emeril said. "I need to get back to the Rusty Dragon."
When Emeril returned to the Rusty Dragon the others were readying for their foray into the tunnels below the Glassworks. Bethana prepared a packet containing some corn biscuits, dried fruit and nuts, for each.
"Ameiko wanted you to have this," the old Halfling said, "She left very early this morning to go to her Father’s estate."
Fedra immediately opened her packet and crunched on a biscuit. "This is not for eating now," Eleisa said, with a slap on the Halfling's hand. Fedra pouted, but finished off the biscuit when Eleisa turned away.
As the party left the Rusty Dragon on their walk to the Glassworks, they were followed by a few of those staying in the inn. Once on the street, shopkeepers, artisans, vendors, laborers, sailors, fisherman and townsfolk of all types also joined behind. They were curious and excited. They wanted to see the Heroes at work. Even Ven Vinder with a tight grip on Shayliss' hand joined the procession. Emeril gave them a glance and marched on. When the party reached the Glassworks they were lead in by a town guardsman. The rest of the parade was stopped from entering. A collective sigh of "ahhs" rang out through the crowd.
Inside were several laborers already at work sweeping glass and washing tables. Another guard was posted at the top of the stairs to the lower level. Fedra cast a light on Emeril's shield, and they ventured downward. Nirga leads the way carefully checking each step as she goes down the tunnel. After about three hundred feet they come across side tunnels, one to the right and one to the left. The left tunnel appears to have once been bricked up. Nirga looks back at the party. Eleisa shrugs. Nirga points to the right and they head on. After about 400 feet this right tunnel comes to an end where it looks like there was a collapsed. They turnaround and head down the left, previously bricked up tunnel.
After a couple of hundred feet Nirga sees an opening to the left. As she approaches, quote 'a horribly deformed humanoid, hairless and emaciated, lurches out of the shadows. Its unnaturally long arms end in three-fingered talons, and its legs bend like those of a dog,' unquote.
Its face is horrible, with red eyes, slits for nostrils and a split prolonged jaw with sharp teeth extending from the month to its tips. Small claws at the elongated jaw's tips and a long lashing tongue add to this aberration's disturbing features. The claws lash out at Nirga, one striking the Elf. Nirga manages to dodge the toothy bite. Nirga step backs and fires a bolt from her crossbow. How could she have missed being so close!
Eleisa moves to strike the creature, but also misses. Shalelu shoots two arrows striking with one. Emeril gives Father Zantus' sling a try. His shot sails past the abomination, barely missing Eleisa. Fedra, shocked at the sight of this creature, cast a spell. An invisible field of force surrounds Fedra.
The hideous creature turns its attention toward Eleisa, hitting with a claw and a bite. Nirga draws her rapier and engages missing the aberration. Eleisa lands a blow. Emeril slings and misses again. Shalelu puts another arrow into the creature; it staggers but does not fall.
Fedra launches an unerring missile from her fingertips dropping the hideous thing. "What is that," Fedra exclaims with a hint of disgust.
"No idea," Nirga says, driving her rapier into it to make sure it is dead.
Emeril channels healing power, both Nirga and Eleisa benefit.
The side cave it came from was empty, but just beyond was another passageway to the right. This tunnel ends in a twenty foot long room scattered with broken clay urns, perhaps an old storage room. This room is not cut roughly out of the bedrock like the tunnel, but expertly cut to form smooth floor and walls. A slight arching ceiling gives testimony to the high quality of the craftsmanship.
"What is this place," Emeril quizzes.
"It is like some of the ruins I have found," Shalelu says. "They are believed to be ancient."
"Ancient," Emeril responds.
"Like the Irespan in Magnimar," Fedra adds having several times visited The City of Monuments on her Uncle's ship; and seeing the colossal ruined bridge that is the city's most dominant feature.
"Possibly," Shalelu says flatly.
There is a stone door on the left side of the room. Nirga quickly checks it, and opens the door. Beyond is a smooth cut corridor that heads north and then to the left. It then turns back to the north, where there is another corridor off to the east. Beyond, in the dark, the corridor widens, the rough cut tunnels appears to intersect to the left, but Nirga can barely make out something standing in the widened area. Nirga slowly looks up the right corridor and sees nothing but darkness beyond. She moves closer to the wider area.
A statue made of red marble stand in the middle of this room, there is a door to the north and a corridor to the east with steps heading up. The statue is of a woman, strikingly beautiful, but with an enraged look upon her face. The rest of the party catches up.
"Who is she," Emeril exclaims.
"No idea," responds Nirga.
The statue is exquisitely carved. The woman holds a book in one hand, a strange seven pointed star inscribed on it. In the other hand she holds a pole arm that does not appear to be a part of the sculpture.
Eleisa approaches the spear-like weapon with its three pointed tips, its glittering metal inlaid with ivory. Eleisa gives it a tug and it releases into her hand.
"It is a ranseur, finely crafted," Eleisa almost whispers.
"Take it," Nirga says. "We need to check out that back corridor. We don't want anything left behind us."
Fifty feet down the back corridor it opens up to a reveal a shrine of some sort. Steps lead to a platform of gray stone. On the platform is an altar made of what appears to be jagged black marble with a concave top forming a basin. The basin is filled with dirty water. The party looks at it, but leaves it alone.
To the southeast an inlet ends in a set of large double door. Nirga checks the door and opens it. A rush of bitter cold air rolls over the party. Inside reveals a large cathedral like room. The walls are covered in strange large spiky runes. In the center of this vast room is a large pool. A ring of polished human skulls form a ring toward the center deeper portion of the pool. On the far end of the cathedral a pair of narrow stairs along both left and right walls rises to a pulpit. Behind the pulpit is another pool. This one is triangular in shape and appears to be filled with translucent churning lava like fluid. Steam appears to be rising off the triangular pool.
A tiny winged creature flies into a rage and yells across the cathedral, "How dare you intrude upon the Mother's sanctum."
She flies over the triangular pool and cuts herself with a knife, her blood dripping into the churning liquid. The glow from the pool noticeably dims. The tiny creature immediately appears startled and shocked by this event.
Nirga notices the expression and looks at the party, "It's bothered by the light going dim. Whatever it is?" She then fires her crossbow at the small flying beast, missing it.
Shalelu fires two arrows, one appeared to hit the creature. Eleisa gives Tsuto's bow a try and sends up an arrow. It misses. Emeril slings a bullet to no effect. Fedra fires a missile from her fingertips hitting the tiny flying thing.
"Erylium is Queen. You cannot take my crown," the creature boast in a raspy voice, then turns invisible.
At about that time, a creature, like the one they fought in the tunnel, rises from the pool. Eleisa runs toward the creature up the left side stairs. Emeril and Nirga follows. Fedra moves closer and pulls energy from the air sending an electric ray toward the emaciated aberration. But the ray misses.
Shalelu shoots two arrows, hitting with one and missing the other.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, a small creature made of nothing but flame appears next to Fedra. It strikes hitting the Halfling. Fedra is hurt.
The abomination rising from the triangular pool engages Eleisa missing with its long clawed arms; but manages a bite from its grotesque jaws.
Eleisa swings and hits the aberration. It staggers but does not fall.
Emeril alarmed at the appearance of the flaming creature, and seeing Fedra stagger from its fiery blow, changes course and heads back down the stairs. He moves behind Fedra, and provides a healing touch. Nirga also reverses course and moves to a position behind the flaming creature. Shalelu takes a step back and sends two arrows into the flaming mass. They seemed to damage the fiery beast.
Then to make matters worse, a large beetle suddenly appears behind Shalelu. It strikes but misses the elf. A sick raspy laugh could be heard as now the party has three more creatures to deal with beyond the tiny flying invisible demon.
Eleisa steps into the horrible humanoid, swings, and the spawn from the triangular pool falls. Emeril stows his sling, draws his flail and engages the flame creature. Nirga positions for a strike, but seeing no vulnerable spots on the flaming creature, slashes away with her rapier with no visible effect. Fedra steps back sending a missile at the fiery mass. It appears to dissipate.
Shalelu also steps away from the Fire Beetle with its glowing abdomen, and fires two arrows into the big bug. It falls.
The little flying demon reappears, even more enraged that her allies quickly fell; especially her newly created spawn, sends a wave of energy toward Eleisa. Eleisa's sword, her Father's long sword, shatters into pieces.
Eleisa is momentarily shocked by this event. That was the only thing in her possession that was her Father's. Emeril pulls out the sling again, and fires a bullet at Erylium. It misses. Nirga sheaves her Rapier, and prepares a bolt for her crossbow. Fedra sends out her last missile for the day hitting Erylium. Shalelu misses with two arrows, and seems aggravated.
The tiny demon flying around spitting curses in a strange language turns invisible. Eleisa grabs the pearl inlaid ranseur and moves back down the stairs to join the rest of the party. Emeril scans the room. Nirga thinks she can make out the winged demon and shoots a bolt. It misses. Fedra waits. Shalelu fires an arrow that hits the opposite wall. She nearly curses under her breath.
After a little while Erylium suddenly reappears just above the party and yells a fearful scream. Nirga become frightened and runs toward the door, the rest of the party attacks. Eleisa jabs towards Erylium with the ranseur, but the tiny demon was just out of reach. Emeril slings a bullet. Shalelu fires arrows. Fedra calls forth energy from the air and launches a ray of electricity. Some hit, but most of the shots miss Erylium. The tiny demon turns invisible. Eleisa changes weapon to Tsuto's short bow. Emeril goes after the fleeing Nirga.
The flying villain appears and spits putrid goo at Eleisa. The Half Drow is disgusted by this crude creature, but nothing more. Eleisa hits with both her arrows, and Shalelu with one of hers. Even Fedra's electric ray hits. But Eyrlium does not fall; instead she goes invisible yet again. All attempts to hit the invisible flying demon appeared to be in vain. Their best chance was to strike when she became visible.
When Erylium reappears, she throws a dagger at Fedra, hitting the Halfling. The dagger returns to Erylium. Eleisa and Shalelu fires arrows. Fedra launches another electrified ray. Again some hit, but more misses the flying nuisance. Erylium turn invisible again. When Erylium appears yet again, she throws the returning dagger once more at Fedra, hitting her. Fedra falls unconscious. Eleisa yells for Emeril and tries unsuccessfully to stop Fedra's bleeding. Shalelu fires more arrows at Erlium, hitting with both. But all the tiny demon does is find some sick glee in all this, laughs, and turns invisible.
Emeril and a more calm Nirga returns back to the massive cathedral. Emeril puts a healing touch on Fedra. She responds and gets up. Erylium appears and throws her dagger at Fedra hitting her again, but she does not fall. Everyone but Emeril fires at the demon. It disappears once again. Emeril provides yet more healing to Fedra. This scenario of Erylium appearing, throwing her dagger, the party responding with volleys, and then the tiny demon disappearing again, repeats itself many more times.
Eleisa frustrated with this cat and mouse game, puts up her bow and pulls out the whip she picked up that first day at the Swallowtail festival from the Goblin Warchanter. She waits and anticipates Erylium’s reappearance. The overconfident tiny demon appears and throws her dagger hitting Fedra yet again. Eleisa lunges toward the demon swinging the whip. Almost miraculously the whip grabs the tiny demon's ankle. In a quick and powerful motion, Eleisa drags Erylium to the ground. Shalelu drops her bow and jumps on the creature. Nirga also jumps on the tiny demon. Erylium squirms to free herself, but is unable to break free with both Shalelu and Nirga hanging on.
Eleisa casually drops the whip. She pulls out the ranseur and with a quick and powerful thrust, skewers the held down Erylium. The tiny demon shrieks in pain. With Erylium impaled on the ranseur, Eleisa, Shalelu and Nirga drags her to the large round pool, and thrust the polearm, demon and all into the water. The party watches as Erylium squirms around underwater unable to free herself from Eleisa's ranseur and the bottom of the pool. Soon the tiny demon squirms no more. Everyone takes a deep breath with a sigh of relief. Emeril channels healing energy to the benefit of more than one. The Queen of the Catacombs was dead.
Eleisa Female Half Drow Fighter 2
Nirga Female Elf Rogue 2
Fedra Female Halfling Sorceress 2
Emeril Male Cleric of Desna 2
Shalelu Female Elf Ranger 2/Fighter1
"We need to rest," says Emeril.
"Here?" says Fedra. "More of those nasty jawed creatures may rise from that pool," she says pointing toward the elevated part of the cathedral.
"I saw what the little flying demon did," says Nirga. "She cut herself, and blood caused the creature to form. But when she did this, the pool dimmed. This disturbed her greatly. Maybe it is losing its power."
"Then let's drain more of its power," Eleisa says pulling the ranseur from the pool, and prying the lifeless Erylium off the pole-arm. She then heads toward the stairs.
"Wait," says Emeril, as he channels more of Desna's healing energy. "OK, let's do this," Emeril follows Eleisa.
The rest of the party follows up the stairs to the edge of the glowing triangular pool. Nirga goes up to the pool and cuts her hand. As a drop of blood hits the pool, it dims noticeably. Shalelu readies an arrow, and Emeril his sling. Nirga loads a bolt. Eleisa stands at the pool's edge with the ranseur in hand. Fedra stands back ready to call energy from the air if needed.
The spawn rises from the liquid. Arrow, bullets and bolts fly, then Eleisa lands a blow. Then the spawn strikes back hitting Eleisa with its talon. The party attacks again. But it was Eleisa blow that drops the creature. Blood from Eleisa's wound falls into the pool; and the pool stops glowing as another spawn forms. It rises, and the party attacks. The creature staggers, but lunges for Eleisa. But none of the blows strike the Half Drow. Another volley of arrows, bullets and bolts rain down on the creature. This second spawn falls lifeless into the now lifeless pool.
"Now let's rest," as Emeril channels healing energy one last time this day.
The party searches out the cathedral. The party gives Erylium's returning dagger to Nirga. She has a thing for knives. Fedra holds on to the tiny demon's small tiara and a strange obsidian symbol. She also takes some time to copy some of the strange spiky writing found on the walls onto a piece of parchment.
The party was uncomfortable in this bitter cold cathedral and retreats to the opening where they fought the first spawn. They move the grotesque body further up the tunnel. Also they don't want anything to pass by and get into the town. The party sets three watches, with Shalelu taking the first watch by herself. Eleisa and Nirga take the second watch, with Emeril and Fedra on the third watch. The party dines on Bethana's packet of corn biscuits, dried fruit and nuts. Fedra eats every bite, but the rest of the party was more sparing with their rations not knowing how long they may need to be down in this place.
The night passes uneventfully. Emeril prays and shares some of his rations with Fedra. The others waken and prepare themselves for whatever surprises come.
Fedra cast a light on Emeril's shield. The party heads on down the rough hewn tunnel, into the finished room with the statue of the enraged woman, then up the stairs due east from this room. After a couple of flights up the party arrives at a landing with a small pool. They see blood stains on the pool edge.
Then a hideous looking beast that looks like an over-sized head with large bat like wings, and tentacles dangling from its mouth flies into view from the shadows. It lets out a piercing shriek. Emeril becomes paralyzed. Fedra launches a magic missile hitting the creature. Shalelu hits the beast with two arrows. Nirga hits it with a crossbow bolt. It falls motionless to the ground.
Eleisa skewers the flying head with the ranseur, making sure it stays motionless. The party tries to rouse Emeril, but after a little while he comes around anyway.
Beyond this pool was a door. Nirga checks it and opens to find more steps leading up to another door. She checks that door, opens it and sees a spiral flight of stairs heading up. Cautiously she heads up, only to be thwarted by the stairs being block by a collapse of heavy rocks. The party contemplates working their way through the rock, but instead decides to search out more below. It was certain to them that nothing was going to be coming from behind in this direction.
The party returns back down to the statue and to a door to the north. Nirga diligently checks the door for traps and opens it. Inside is revealed a massive room that once was a jail or prison, as evidenced by the nearly two dozen small cells on three of the four walls. At this door they find themselves on a rickety raised wooden platform, an ideal location to view all the cells quickly at a glance.
Eleisa, then Nirga enters the room. Then suddenly two spawns leap up from below the platform. One attacks Eleisa striking with a claw. The other gets a claw and a bite into Nirga. Nirga is hurt. Fedra from the corridor hits the one on Nirga with a missile. Shalelu fires two arrows, also at the one on Nirga. She hits with an arrow.
Nirga drops her crossbow, and with a quick motion pulls her rapier and pierces the beast. It staggers but does not fall.
Emeril hits Nirga's spawn with a bullet. The spawn falls off the platform. Emeril was quite pleased that he finally hit something with Father Zantus’ sling.
Eleisa hits the spawn on her. It attacks back with a talon slicing into Eleisa's dark skin, and then a vicious bite. Fedra fires another missile hitting as usual with this magic bolt of energy. Shalelu fire two arrows, the second one drops the spawn.
Emeril channels healing energy around him, and then touches Eleisa and Nirga with more healing from Desna. Eleisa and Nirga mostly recover from their wounds.
"How can that triangular pool create such things?" Emeril ponders with disgust.
"I don't know. We keep finding more questions than answers," Fedra contemplates.
They search the large jail, but find only skeletons in most of the cells. Something must have suddenly happened to their captors. The prisoners likely starved to death.
A wooden ramp from the platform leads to a corridor to the east.
Cautiously Nirga pushes onward. They enter a room that appears to once have been a place of torture. A rusted cage with iron spikes pointed inward from its iron bars stands in one corner. A star shaped frame made of now rooting wood and rusty iron hooks stands in another. And in the center of the room is a long table with several cranks that appear to make the table turn and swivel. All of these horrific devices are of a strange and archaic design.
There are two doors in the room, straight ahead across the room (east) and to their right (south).
Nirga checks the southern door, and opens it. Inside is a long table with chairs, both rotted. And to the south three stone doors with that same strange symbol of a seven pointed star as seen on the book that was being held by the statue of an enraged woman.
“It is the same star that was on the statue,” Fedra observes. “Again more questions.”
There are torn pages and pieces of parchment scattered throughout the room. Fedra gathers some pages with that strange spiky writing as was on the walls in the cathedral. Nirga find a scroll mostly intact. Fedra detects magic on the scroll, but is unable to read it, as it is in the same spiky writing.
Nirga checks the three doors and opens them to discover three cells with skeletons insides of what looks like deformed creatures, one with three arms, another a odd shaped skull, the third and elongated torso. Puzzled the party closes the doors and goes to check the east door.
Finding no hazards, Nirga opens to see a long flight of stairs going down. She slowly, deliberately, moves down the stairs. At the bottom it opens up into a large domed chamber, 20 feet up to the roof. It is eerily cold and Nirga could hear moans and shuffling sounds.
There were eleven rotted wooden hatches scattered throughout the chamber, and a corridor to the south. Nirga moves toward the first hatch with Eleisa and the rest of the party close behind.
It was then that a creature came from the southern corridor, moving toward the center of the room, and between the wooden hatches. It was the size of a Goblin, but hideously deformed with extra limbs and a contorted face. There were runes marked on its mottled gray body. It spits at the party a line of foul liquid hitting both Nirga and Eleisa. Nirga becomes nauseated by the putrid substance, but Eleisa injured by the acidic goo is not sickened by it.
Fedra moving in to the right and sends a missile at the creature, striking true. Shalelu moving in to the left, launching an arrow, but misses. Nirga moves to the back of the party and loses Bethana's dried fruits and nuts onto the catacomb's floor.
Emeril slings a bullet, hitting the creature. He gives a slight fist pump. Eleisa moves around the wooden hatches striking the disgusting creature.
"You will die to Korovus, and the Queen will reward me," the creature shrieks in its guttural Goblin language. He then attacks with a whirl of sword, axe and dagger, striking Eleisa twice. Eleisa staggers but does not fall.
Fedra strikes with yet another missile at this Korovus. Shalelu now fully realizing this is a Goblin, takes careful aim, and hits this abomination with two arrows. Nirga recovers and fires her crossbow, missing. Emeril moves up behind Eleisa and gives her a healing touch. Eleisa reinvigorated strikes again hitting Korovus. The deformed Goblin falls. Eleisa hacks again at it to make sure it is dead.
"What is this," Emeril says staring over the body. He then hears that moaning and shuffling sound. "There is something below these doors."
Nirga now fully recovered, but with a bad taste in her mouth, checks the nearest hatch and opens it. It is a five foot by five foot pit that goes down about twenty feet. In the pit is a Zombie, dripping flesh, clawing hopelessly at the sky, unable to climb or jump the distance needed to escape.
Shalelu looks in the pit, disgusted she begins to pluck arrows at the hapless undead. The rest of the party joins in with their ranged weapons. Then one by one each pit is opened. Each pit had a Zombie, and in each case the party killed it; putting them out of their centuries upon centuries long misery.
Koruvus had several weapons, a silver dagger, a finely crafted hand axe, and an even better sword. Fedra quickly determines the sword is magic. Eleisa takes the sword and hand axe, Nirga the silver dagger.
Eleisa looks upon the sword, thinking about the loss of her Father’s sword. “This is a better sword,” Eleisa states matter-of-factly.
Nirga checks the south corridor. About twenty-five feet down it another corridor intersects to the left (east), and about ten feet beyond that a door. A spiral staircase heads down. They take it a short distance before it too is blocked by another collapse, just like the previously discovered one heading up. They return to check the south door.
Nirga opens the door to this room. Inside the party is bewildered by the site of a fifteen foot wide spherical room with objects just floating around in mid air. The walls of the room are made with some strange red metal. Every moment or two a black electric current courses around the spherical room along the red metal, forming strange symbols or words from some archaic language. Nirga carefully enters the room. She begins to float around too. She is initially startled, but quickly adjusts to the sensation.
Fedra looks into the room. "It is some kind of levitation spell," she says.
The objects floating around are both interesting and disgusting. There is a ragged book, a scroll, a twisted iron wand with a forked tip, a bottle of wine, and maggots floating around what looks like a dead raven. Nirga nimbly floats around the objects, gathering them all except the raven and maggots. She maneuvers back to the door and leaves the room.
"I think that's it," Nirga says pondering over the catacomb's layout. "Let's leave."
“Let’s drag Erylium, a spawn and that flying head thing up with us. Maybe someone knows what they are, and can decipher these runes,” Fedra states.
Eleisa Female Half Drow Fighter 2
Nirga Female Elf Rogue 2
Fedra Female Halfling Sorceress 2
Emeril Male Cleric of Desna 2
Shalelu Female Elf Ranger 2/Fighter1
When the party reaches the main tunnel, they drop the bodies and head back toward the north, Nirga again taking the lead. After about a thousand feet, the tunnel comes to an end. But Nirga notices something odd about it. She works her hands around the sides and edges of the tunnel's end. She finds a swivel point and pushes. It's a door, made of rock that opens up into a roughly thirty foot diameter cave. A rush of sea air hits Nirga and the party. The cave is cut into the side of the cliff overlooking the Varisian Bay. In the cave they find foul bedding and rotted food stuffs about.
"Goblins," Shalelu says. "This is how they got in to town. We need to get back up and warn the Mayor."
As the party trudges back toward the Glassworks, dragging corpses behind them, they are met by two guards, one carrying a torch. They were sent by Mayor Deverin who had become worried since it had been over a day since the party had ventured down below. The guards initially had a look of fear upon their face, but relaxed when they realized it was the Heroes coming back up the tunnel.
Back up at the Glassworks, they are met by Mayor Deverin, some of the town's guards and others working to restore glass production. Mayor Deverin, who had understandably maintained both a stern and worried countenance of late, expresses exuberant joy when she sees the Heroes. She runs up and actually hugs Emeril then Shalelu and then the rest of the party. Shalelu, Nirga and Eleisa are all somewhat taken aback by this demonstrative show of affection, but politely accepts the hugs. Emeril, who has seen the Mayor many times over the last several years, never realized until now how pretty she is. Fedra, excited by all this hugging, returned her hug with a big kiss on the Mayor's cheek.
Emeril tells the Mayor about the tunnel having a cliff side cave entrance; and this was how the Goblins entered the town. He also told her about Erylium and the ancient structures below the town, showing the Mayor Erylium's remains as well as the other creatures.
"These things were living under the town?" the mayor asked.
"Yes Mayor," Emeril responds. "Do you know what they are?"
The Mayor looks at the remains. "No. But Brodert Quink may be able to help you. He lives on Tower Street, the last house on the left under the Old Light. He studies that old ruin. He has this crazy idea the Old Light was use for defense and not a light house."
"Then we need to see him," Emeril says.
"There are many curious people outside," the Mayor says. I do not want to alarm them. Also, I will have a wagon brought over to gather theses remains. Let's cover them up. We don't want to cause a panic."
The Mayor goes to a couple of the guards. One leaves the building, the other takes a large canvas used by those cleaning the building and covers the remains. We are low on men, but I will station two guards in the cave, until we can seal it off.
"Follow me," the Mayor looks at the party. She leads the party outside to the Glasswork's main entrance, and before the town crowd.
"All the Goblins have been killed. We again owe or thanks to our brave Heroes," the Mayor says gesturing to the party. "But the excitement is over, please return to your homes and shops. Tomorrow at noon we will have services at the Temple for our friends and loved ones that we have lost."
The crowd dissipates. Emeril notices Shayliss held firm by her father. Her older sister Katrine was with them. Ven Vinder turns and leads his daughters away. But Shayliss keeps looking back at Emeril. He gives her a little wave and a nod. Shayliss smiles and follows her father.
After the crowd leaves, a wagon is brought to the back of the Glassworks. With the help from a guard, the gruesome remains are loaded on the wagon. The party leads the wagon along the quiet cliff side to the home of Brodert Quink.
Emeril knocks on his front door. No one answers. Emeril knocks louder and harder.
"Go away. I don't want any," the party hears an old crotchety voice.
"We are not trying to sale you anything. We need your help," Emeril loudly speaks through the door.
A peep hole opens. Emeril sees an eye, blood shot and yellowed. "Go away," the old man on the other side says curtly, slamming the peep hole shut.
"We found something under the city," Emeril calls back. "It is ruins of some kind."
The peep hole slowly opens. "Ruins! What kind of ruins?" Brodert Quink questions, clearly now more interested.
Fedra takes out her parchment where she copied the spiky writing, and holds it above her head to the peephole.
The sound of one bolt, then another, then yet another is unlatched on the door. The door cracks open, the short old man looks at the party, and then opens the door further.
"Also there were these creatures in the ruins below," Emeril says pointing to the back of the wagon.
"Creatures," the old man says as he shuffles out of the house and toward the wagon.
Eleisa pulls back the canvas. "That is a Quasit," Quink says looking at the lifeless Erylium. "A lesser demon often used as a familiar to powerful wizards."
"Tsuto's journal," Fedra exclaims. "It mentions a Quasit." The rest of the party begins to takes it all in.
"Maybe we should have figured out what a Quasit was before venturing below," Eleisa states recalling the long frustrating battle with the little demon. The party just stares at her.
"It also mentions a Malfeshnekor," Fedra adds looking at Quink.
"No idea what that is," Quink looks at Fedra and then back toward the wagon.
"But that is a Vargouille." The old man says matter-of-factly pointing toward the head with wings. "Both are creatures of the Planes, Outsiders. They can live for thousands of years. They are not from around here."
"I do not know this one," Brodert Quink says looking at the elongated jawed creature. He turns around and heads back to his house.
"Come in. I will make tea," the old man says now far more relaxed. Eleisa covers the remains.
Inside Brodert Quink's home, the party is hit with the smells of an old person with poor hygiene and urine. Even the growing stench of the corpses in the wagon was better than this stale odor. But the party endures as the old man boils water in a copper kettle.
"Let me see your parchment," Quink holds out his hand at Fedra. She gives him the document. "It is ancient Thassilonian."
"Thassilonian, what is that?" Fedra asked.
"Thousands of years ago, maybe even ten thousand, this area and all of Varisia was once the great ancient kingdom of Thassilonia," Quink explains. "Let me see. It says something about sacrifices to Lamashtu, and the Catacombs of Wrath," Brodert Quink scratches his chin as the water begins to boil. "That Quasit and the other creatures may have been down there for thousands of years."
He takes out six dirty cups and puts crushed leaves in the bottom. He pours hot water filling the cups. He then hands cups of different kinds and sizes to everyone. Nirga swirls around the liquid and takes a drink. The rest of the party just stares at their dirty cups.
"How about theses scrolls, they are magic," Fedra informs Quink.
"Let me take a look, Quink says. "Can you read magic?"
"Yes," Fedra responds.
"Then we can do this together," Quink says. They determine that the first scroll found was a spell that would generate a flaming sphere and the other a spell where fire would burst forth from one's hands.
"That's neat," Fedra says excitedly.
Quink gives her a puzzled look and shrugs.
"We also found this book," Fedra hands Quink the ragged book.
"It is written in infernal," Quink says. "It is a prayer book to Lamashtu." He begins to shiver and quickly gives the book back to Fedra.
"How about this," Fedra says holding the obsidian trinket.
"That is the unholy symbol of Lamashtu," Quink says holding up his hand, not wanting to touch the obsidian symbol. "With those two," Quinks says pointing to the book and the symbol, "You are on your way to becoming a full disciple of Lamashtu the mistress lord of monsters, madness and all manner of nightmares."
Fedra looks down at the book and symbol she is holding. Tears start to form in her eye, she looks up at Brodert Quink, "I don't want to be a disciple of Lamashtu," her lips begin to quiver.
Quink touched by Fedra's innocence, pats her on the head, "You don't have to be a disciple of Lamashtu if you don't want to."
Fedra takes a sigh of relief, gathers herself and ask, "The creature you couldn't identify grew from a pool in the cathedral." Fedra tells Quink. "All it took was a drop of blood."
"Blood! Then this creature may be a Sinspawn. They are archaic references to them in some of the inscriptions I have found. I don't know much about them other than they acted as shock troops back in ancient Thassilonia. I thought them to be extinct," Quink says.
Fedra tells Quink more about the cathedral, Erylium, the prison, but when she mentions the statue, Brodert stops her.
"A statue of a woman," Quink exclaims.
"Yes," answers Fedra. "Eleisa has her ranseur. Show him."
Eleisa hands Quink the polearm inlaid with ivory.
"I believe this may be a replica of the Runelord Alaznist's weapon," Quink says with a hint of wonder. "This is fantastic. I believe those Sinspawns were her twisted creation."
"Runelord, what is that," Fedra asked.
"They were powerful Wizard Kings that ruthlessly ruled Thassilonia with their powerful spells," Quink gets a touch excited as he explains. "I need to see this place for myself."
"It may be clear down there now," Nirga says thinking about all the areas.
"But you shouldn't go down there alone," Emeril adds.
"Then you need to take me," Quink says.
"We need to rest. If it is OK with the Mayor we will go in the morning, “ Emeril tells Quink, putting down his mostly full cup.
The rest of the party puts down their mostly full cups, except Nirga who downs the contents. The rest of the party looks at her oddly.
"What? It is good tea," Nirga says.
The party returns the wagon and the creatures to behind the Glassworks, and heads to the Rusty Dragon. Eleisa spends some more time behind the Dragon practicing her maneuvers as another crowd gathers in the narrow alleyway to watch. Nirga joins her for a time as does Emeril, each working on their martial skills. Fedra sits nearby and watches, studying the scrolls. The spell where flames shoot forth from the hands becomes imbibed within her.
Dusk approaches and the party heads back into the Rusty Dragon.
"I could use a hot bath," Nirga says.
"That does sound good," Shalelu agrees.
"Yeah" exclaims Fedra.
Eleisa nods her head in a strong yes.
Emeril thinking of being in the same room with four naked females says, "I think I will have something to eat in the common room for a while."
The women all look at Emeril and smile.
When his companions come down to supper, Emeril goes up to take his bath in the now cool water. It was still warmer than the creek outside his farmhouse where he took most of his childhood baths.
The tired party turns in early.
Eleisa Female Half Drow Fighter 3
Nirga Female Elf Rogue 3
Fedra Female Halfling Sorceress 3
Emeril Male Cleric of Desna 3
Shalelu Female Elf Ranger 3/Fighter1
Emeril actually is not the first to get up. This morning he gave Fedra a run for last up. When he wakens he sees Nirga , Eleisa and Shalelu getting dressed.
Nirga notices him stirring, "Bethana says we are wanted at the Garrison." She then gives a snoring Fedra a hard shove. A loud “grunt” is heard from the Halfling.
The party skips breakfast and head to the Garrison, at the utter consternation of Fedra.
Overnight Sheriff Hemlock returned to Sandpoint with an additional twelve Magnimar guards. Mayor Deverin was most disappointed in the numbers, thinking fifty or a hundred at least would be needed to defend Sandpoint. This only fueled her already growing disgust for the Lord Mayor of Magnimar.
When the party arrives they are greeted warmly by the Sheriff.
"The Mayor told me all about your adventures below the town," Sheriff Hemlock says shaking their hands.
"I have not scouted out the region," Shalelu says almost apologetically.
"I understand. You have been busy," the Sheriff says giving Shalelu a gentle pat on her back.
It was then that Mayor Deverin walked up. "We need you to scout out Thistletop. Shalelu do you know the way?" The Mayor asks.
"Yes," Shalelu says nodding.
"We would like you to head out right away. Report back as soon as you can with what you see," the Mayor asks.
"Yes Mayor," Emeril responds. "Brodert Quink asked us to take him to the ruins below the town."
"I will talk to Quink," the Mayor says. "That is important I am sure; but this is more important. We need to know when the next raid will come ahead of time."
'Why are we doing this?’ Nirga thinks to herself. Then in her pouch the weight of the gold dust and platinum, the fancy tools and that interesting returning dagger provides the reason. Plus Nirga was having a good time with this group.
"We need provisions," Shalelu announces to the party.
The party visits several shops just as they are opening. They buy dried fruit and nuts. Shalelu and Eleisa purchase more arrows, Nirga more bolts. Emeril buys a copper pot, and adds some carrots, onions and potatoes to his back pack.
Fedra running low on her tobacco buys more rolls. She smiles as she purchases some of her own family grown smoke. 'At least my Uncle made a sale before leaving,' Fedra thinks to herself.
"I sure wish we could get some more of Bethana's corn biscuits," Fedra says thinking out loud.
"We don't have the time," Shalelu responds leading the party northward, out of the town and along the Lost Coast road.
After an uneventful two to three hour walk along the Lost Coast, they cross a gently arching stone bridge over the Thistle River. Just beyond Shalelu comes to a stop and looks for a trail northward into the Nettlewood Forest. She finds it with little difficulty and plunges into the thicket. The party follows with a rustles of leaves and the snapping of twigs.
"Shhh," Shalelu turns around looking at the party. "There are monsters worse than Goblins in the Nettlewood. Be careful where and how you walk."
The party's speed slows down greatly as they venture deeper and deeper into the dark forest, the Thistle River meandering to their left. After a couple more hours they come out of the forest on to a sandy beach.
Shalelu points to her right up the coast. A quarter mile or so the beach ends into cliffs, and just beyond a round knob of an island sits just off the coast. A structure sits atop the island. Barely visible a bridge appears to connect the top of the knob across a narrow gorge to the cliff side.
"Thistletop," Shalelu states. "We go there at first light. The Goblins have the advantages at night. There is a cove down to the left. We should be able to camp there for the night."
To the left the beach follows the forest, and then turns to the left out of Thistletop’s site. Around the bend the beach turns and forms a small inlet almost completely surrounded by trees. Others had camped here before, evidenced by a fire pit made of large stones.
"Fishermen used to camp here and make sea salt to preserve their catch," Shalelu says. "But the Goblins now keep them away."
"Can we make a fire," Emeril ask.
"Yes. But we should put it out at dark. The Goblins are attracted to fire. We should keep it small. Too much smoke will attract them too, Shalelu warns.
Emeril begins to gather wood for a fire.
Shalelu looks at the party, "I need to scout the area. I will be right back."
"Where are you going? Nirga asks.
"I am just going to check the perimeter," Shalelu responds. "Be watchful." Shalelu heads back into the forest.
Fedra begins to eat her dried fruit and nuts. Nirga and Eleisa watches the woods. Emeril builds the fire and begins to boil water in the copper pot.
After no more than an hour Shalelu returns with a large Pheasant.
"Supper," Emeril looks at the game. "Good job!" He walks up taking the Pheasant from Shalelu.
The rest of the party just watch as Emeril begins plucking feathers.
"There are no Goblins in the immediate area. There is a small fresh water stream about 300 yards in, if you need to fill your water skin. We are about a quarter mile from where the Thistle River flows into the sea." Shalelu says pointing back toward the forest.
Later Emeril begins boiling the Pheasant meat in the pot. He adds onions, potatoes and carrots, then the spices he had earlier purchased, testing the flavor as he goes.
Just before night creeps in Emeril says, "Suppers ready."
"Oh good I am starved," says Fedra.
"What do you mean? You have already eaten nearly two day’s worth of rations," Eleisa scolds the Halfling.
Fedra just smiles at Eleisa, pulls out a wooden bowl and hands it to Emeril. Emeril serves the rest of the party dividing the stew as evenly as he can with the party. He eats his portion straight from the copper pot.
"This is almost as good as the Rusty Dragon," Shalelu says. The rest of the party agrees. Emeril smiles satisfied with the outcome of his cuisine. Every bite was consumed. Emeril covers the fire with sand, and readies himself for the night.
Shalelu again takes the first watch. Eleisa and Nirga would take the second watch. And Emeril and Fedra would have the third watch.
After the party laid down to rest, Emeril sits up. Nirga was next to him to his left and Fedra was next to him on his right. She was already snoring. Shalelu was on the other side of Fedra sitting on her bedroll, legs crossed looking back toward the forest. Emeril was in the middle. He found this both strange and comforting. Nirga looks up at him, noticing that he had sat up. She gently grabs his left hand from under the bedroll and squeezes.
"Get some rest," Nirga whispers to him. Emeril looks over at her and smiles, lies back down, and fall asleep.
Emeril was already stirring when Nirga came to wake him up after an uneventful night.
"Sleep well," Nirga asks.
"I think I did," Emeril says.
"Good you may need it," Eleisa responds hearing what Emeril said. She then gives the Halfling a poke. "Wake up. Your watch." Eleisa lies down.
Emeril begins his prayers; he feels Desna's touch on him greater than ever before.
Eleisa Female Half Drow Fighter 3
Nirga Female Elf Rogue 3
Fedra Female Halfling Sorceress 3
Emeril Male Cleric of Desna 3
Shalelu Female Elf Ranger 3/Fighter1
Shalelu leads the party toward Thistletop. She slowly checks for signs of Goblin movement. At one point she helps the party avoid a patch of Stinging Nettles. The thorns and briars get thicker as they advance toward the roaring sea and the cliff side. Then Shalelu stops and examines a wall of thorn bushes. She carefully opens a hatch made of the bristly vegetation. Beyond is a tunnel of thorns and bristle about four feet high.
Shalelu crouches and moves into the tunnel and to the right. The party follows close behind. Only the Halfling Fedra is comfortable in these thorny tunnels, as she cast Mage Armor on herself. The rest of the party must stoop to fit amongst the thorny mass.
The tunnel opens up into a cave like area. The sky can be seen through a thinning of the canopy when they look up. The sound of sloshing waves could be heard from a hole to the left (west). Shalelu looks and examines the hole in the trampled floor. All she sees is darkness. She turns away and moves back to the east and north.
Shalelu stops and sees in front of her Four Goblin Dogs in an open area, each tied to post driven into the ground. She moves a little closer, draws her bow and hits the closest Goblin Dog. Eleisa moves past and engages the second Goblin Dog with Korovus' magic long sword. Nirga moves in firing a bolt. Emeril advances into the musty room next to Eleisa with his flail.
Fedra sends two missiles at one of the hairless beast, excited about the added strength of her favorite spell. The Goblin Dogs snap Eleisa and Emeril except the back one whose tether prevents it from attacking. One of the Goblin Dogs bite Emeril, but the rest were dispatched quickly by the party.
Shalelu moves to her right, and then again to her right (south). There is a tunnel to the north, but Shalelu doesn't see anything that way. She does notice the tunnel opening up to the south. After a few feet a large cat with a blend of red and black stripes, known in this region as a Fire Pelt Cougar, leaps at Shalelu with a roar, claws and a bite. Shalelu tries to back out, but is unable to in the narrow thorny tunnels. She drops her bow and draws a long sword. Eleisa manages to move to the Cougars left, but not without being clawed in the process. Nirga fires a bolt. Two missiles leap forth from Fedra's finger tips striking the colorful cat, once again to the Halfling’s glee. The big cat continues to claw at Shalelu. Shalelu thrusts at the Cougar. Eleisa lands a solid blow, dropping the feline.
Then all around the party the tunnel comes alive with vines reaching and grabbing the party.
Eleisa sees a Goblin, wearing blue robes, a wand in one hand, and a flaming sword in the other. She tries to move toward the Goblin, but find herself tangled in the scratching vines.
Shalelu is also stuck, but Nirga moves through past Eleisa firing her crossbow. It hits this strange Goblin. Again missiles fly past hitting true to Fedra's continued satisfaction. Emeril is almost in a panic trying to pull off the creeping vines slashing with its thorns.
"I warned Ripnugget. But he would not listen to Gogmurt," the Goblin screeches in a language that Shalelu and Nirga understood. He seems to cast a spell on himself.
Nirga drops her crossbow and attacks the Goblin with her rapier, hitting this robed Goblin. Fedra entangled in the vines, concentrates and sends two more missiles striking the Goblin.
Eleisa manages to free herself, move and strikes a powerful blow. The robed Goblin falls as he was trying to move through the walls of the thorny tunnel. The blow was brutal cleaving a deep wound into the little green menace. Nirga steps back looking at the fully helmed and armored warrior. She had never before seen such brute force.
"I am glad you are on my side," Nirga says to Eleisa.
Eleisa looks back at Nirga and gives a slight "Ha," a trace of a smile could be seen from under the helm.
The vines return to normal releasing their victims. Emeril channels healing as nearly everyone was hurt, even if only by the thorny vines. He gives extra healing to the more injured Shalelu.
The party heads north. The tunnel ends at a rope bridge that leads over to the fort. In front of the fort, the part can make out a Goblin on a Goblin Dog.
"We need to clear out this area before moving to the fort," Eleisa says sternly.
No one in the party dared to disagree.
Shalelu continues to search through the tunnels. They eventually come upon a larger cave like area with ten bedraggled Goblins. Shalelu attacks. Eleisa and the rest of the party follow.
Fedra positions herself and draws elemental power from the air and shoots forth from her hands a fan of electric energy. Several Goblins were caught within the fan and drop. Fedra begins to shake with excitement at her new ability. Even though the Goblins outnumbered the party, it wasn't much of a fight as even Emeril killed two Goblins with his flail.
Some of the party did receive minor wounds which Emeril healed.
The party gathers all the bodies and dumps them down the dark sloshing hole. They hear a splash as the bodies hit the water below.
"We need to rest again before attacking that fort," Emeril looks at the party.
"Are we that hurt?" Nirga asks noticing Eleisa looking ready to move on.
"I have used a lot of my powers already," says Fedra.
Shalelu says simply, "We should rest," thinking of the claws and bites she received from the big cat. It had been a long time since she was that injured, though Emeril took care of her wounds.
The party chooses to make camp at the Goblin Dog kennel, wanting to keep the area free, and seeing this location as central. Anyone coming to or from the fort would have to pass this location. The party sets up their usual watches, but does not make a fire, eating their dried fruit and nuts instead. Fedra finishes off everything she had. The rest of the party still had a couple of day’s rations.
Trying to fall asleep was much more difficult for Emeril. The thought of the grabbing vines and the stench of the Goblin Dog kennel plagued his rest. Fedra snored away as usual. Nirga was concerned for Emeril, watching his fitful rest, but let him be.
It was sometime around the second watch that Nirga hears a rustling coming from the direction of the deeper woods. She alerts Eleisa, and goes back to wake the rest of the party.
Coming up out of the south tunnel four Goblins on foot notices the party attacks, followed by another Goblin on a Goblin Dog, and yet another whip wielding Goblin.
It was a much tougher fight than the previous ten Goblins. But one by one the Goblins fell to the heroes. Fedra used her last remaining missiles, and followed them up with far less effective electric rays. Emeril had to use nearly all of Desna's healing blessings for the day.
The party considered leaving the area, but being mostly healed and healthy, and with daybreak in only about three hours, they risked it. Fortunately, there were no more encounters that night.
Dawn broke and Emeril said his prayers. He shared some of his dried fruits and nuts with a very appreciative Fedra.
Shalelu was their guide to Thistletop, and a valuable extra fighter throughout Burnt Offerings. The quality of a module is often enhanced by good NPCs. RotR has good NPCs.
Thing get really hairy for the party in the next installment.
Eleisa Female Half Drow Fighter 3
Nirga Female Elf Rogue 3
Fedra Female Halfling Sorceress 3
Emeril Male Cleric of Desna 3
Shalelu Female Elf Ranger 3/Fighter1
Bridge and Bunyip
The party heads back to the north tunnel. They see the rope bridge and the fort beyond. A Goblin on a Goblin Dog is in front of the fort. Every once in a while the party will see a Goblin's head pop up from a tower lookout on either side of the fort.
Then the Goblin on the Goblin Dog moves to the left and out of view.
"Let’s move," Eleisa races across the bridge.
Emeril follows close behind, then Nirga, Shalelu and finally Fedra. It was just about when Fedra was on the bridge that the entire left side of the bridge suddenly gives way. Eleisa and Emeril fall into the churning waters below. Fedra also falls grazing the cliff face, and into the cold water barely missing and outcropping of rocks. Nirga and Shalelu manage to grab one of the still taut ropes.
Nirga curses to herself for not checking the bridge for traps.
Below Eleisa and Emeril were hurt from the watery impact but conscious. Fedra was unconscious and sinking below the churning surf. Eleisa, a strong swimmer, reaches the jutting rocks along the cliff side, not far from where Fedra hit the water. She drops her backpack and ranseur and dives toward the now submerged Halfling.
Shalelu tries to work her way along the rope back to the cliff and the thorny tunnels beyond, but she slips and falls. Nirga reaches for Shalelu with one hand, but she too slips and falls, both landing into frothing currents.
Emeril wearing the hide armor, shield, backpack and flail struggles to stay afloat. Nirga goes unconscious from the fall. Shalelu was badly injured, but maintains her consciousness. Eleisa frantically swimming below the surf finds Fedra and pulls her up on to the rocks.
Emeril begins to sink below the water line. The situation grows desperate and tense with each passing moment. Eleisa using all her strength and determination swims toward Emeril.
Shalelu, another good swimmer, reaches Nirga. She too was still alive. Relieved, Shalelu struggles to keep Nirga above the surf and swim toward the cliff side.
Eleisa reaches Emeril and drags him to the rocks next to where Fedra lay. Shalelu reaches another rock nearby and puts Nirga on it. Emeril coughing up water looks up and prays to Desna, a wave of healing power flows through the party. Nirga begins to stir, but Fedra does not. Emeril channels more healing energy and repeats again. Fedra comes to coughing and choking up water. Emeril continues prayerful healing on the badly injured party until he feels Desna's hand nearly begins to lift from him.
"That is almost all I can do," Emeril says looking at Eleisa. She shakes her head understanding.
"We are all still hurt. We need to find a place to recover," Shalelu says, as the current in this channel between the cliff and the Thistletop knob batters the party clinging to the rocks.
Back to her right, Shalelu notices an opening in the cliff face. She fumbles through her back pack and takes a small hammer and a iron spike, known as a piton, and hammers it into the cliff about two feet above the water line. She ties a silk rope to it, and begins to work her way along the cliff face toward the opening. About ten feet down along the cliff wall she drives another spike.
"Follow me," Shalelu says yelling back at the party over the sound of the howling wind that races through the channel.
Nirga goes next helping Fedra along the rope behind her. Emeril too helps to steady Fedra to the rope and piton. Eleisa waits making sure no one is caught up by the swirling waters.
Shalelu goes another ten or so feet and plants another piton, then another at the edge of the opening. A rush of sea water is flowing out of a roughly twelve foot wide cave. Shalelu fights the current into the cave. She discovers that it mostly under water, with maybe two feet of head room above the surf. Beyond the cave opening is a small beach.
The party catches up to Shalelu. They consider the beach, but it is easily seen by the fort. They literally could be sitting ducks. Shalelu swims hard into the cave, and struggles against the current to place another piton about ten feet in; but clinging to the cave wall she manages. She notices a dim light and what looks like a glistening grotto with mollusk and other sea life clinging to the walls. She swims to the end of her rope and drives another piton. The cave has an opening in its domed ceiling allowing some light to shimmer off the moist walls. The current is not as swift further in. On the other side of the watery cave there appears to be a ledge, about fifteen feet wide above the water.
Shalelu returns to the party and tells them about inside the grotto; and that more rope is needed.
Eleisa carrying a heavier hemp variety says, "I have more rope." She passes it down to Shalelu.
"Stay close, and be careful. The current is swift," Shalelu says with amazing calm under the circumstances.
Shalelu struggles, but after several attempts manage to put in another piton into the cave wall. She calls back to Eleisa, "Can you swim to that ledge with the rest of the rope?"
Eleisa nods and powerfully swims across this underground stream to the ledge. The current was not as swift within the grotto. She holds the rope on one side, Shalelu holds it on the other. Nirga passes Shalelu and makes her way along the taut rope to the opposite wall's ledge. The ledge is roughly triangular shaped and fifteen feet deep. Nirga gets on the ledge and moves behind Eleisa.
Just as Fedra begins to move along the rope across to the ledge, a creature swims up out of the water attacking Eleisa. It is roughly six feet in length with the body like a Seal, but with a head and razor sharp teeth more like a Shark. It lunges on to the ledge biting Eleisa.
Eleisa still injured from the bridge ordeal, staggers from the blow. Blood gushes from her wound. She drops the rope. But with great resolve, Eleisa steps back next to Nirga, pulls Alaznist's ranseur and thrust it into the beast. Nirga fires her crossbow, hitting the creature.
Fedra, startled, moves back toward Shalelu. Holding one hand on the rope, she reaches out her arm and launches a pair of missiles. It strikes true as it always seems to do.
Shalelu unable to steady herself cannot use her bow. She tries to swim toward the creature, a beast they would later learn is called a Bunyip. Emeril, a poor swimmer, just clings to the rope on the opposite cave wall.
The Bunyip clumsily bites at Eleisa, clearly more comfortable in the water. The Half Drow avoids the creature’s shark-like teeth. Eleisa maneuvers and stabs again the ranseur into the sea creature's hide. Nirga drinks a healing potion. Shalelu struggles trying to swim across the grotto. Fedra shoots forth another pair of Magic Missiles. Emeril just clings to the wall watching helplessly the conflict.
Again the semi-aquatic beast bites at Eleisa, but is unable to sink its teeth. Eleisa misses as well. Shalelu struggles to stay afloat against the current without a taut rope to aid her. But Fedra, clinging to the opposite wall hits with another pair of missiles.
The Bunyip lashes out at Eleisa again, but yet again does not get a bite in. Eleisa instead bites back, this time driving the ranseur deeper into the bowels of the Bunyip. It slumps onto the ledge and dies.
Good fortune had smiled on Eleisa; one more bite from the Bunyip would have put her unconscious. Nirga would not have been a match for the fierce beast. The party lets out a collective sigh. In their weakened condition they were vulnerable, but they survived.
Shalelu manages to find the rope and swim across to the ledge. Emeril holding the other end allows Fedra to make it cross. Emeril crosses pulling himself along the rope. Once on the ledge he prays to Desna one more time for the day, the last little touch of healing energy covers the party.
The Bunyip deserved the Silver Tsuto Award for rolling so poorly. After the initial strike, I couldn't roll higher than a "3". It allowed Eleisa and not to mention the rest of the party to survive the encounter. It was tense.
Once the Bunyip was dispatched the grotto turned out to be a safe place to rest. But that is for the next post. :)
Yay! The Silver Tsuto rears its head in another thread!
I don't know whether your players read this, so feel free to spoiler it, but I'm wondering whether you were rolling Perception for the bunyip every round they tried to move through its cave, or whether it was a 'this feels like about the right time' moment. I usually set up encounters like this by setting the critter's Perception roll beforehand, and then just rolling each round to see when it comes in. (Seems like if it had come much earlier when they were all in the water it would have been a TPK.)
I've lost more critters to poor PER rolls than I care to admit...
After the fall off the bridge, and even with almost all of the Cleric Emeril's healing used, the party was still badly injured. Realizing that an attack while swimming was a certain TPK, I delayed the Bunyip attack to a point that was tense but winnable. A TPK in this spot would have been a bummer for all of us.
I do wish I could have put the Half Drow Fighter Eleisa unconscious, just to ratchet up the intensity level a notch or two.
Eleisa Female Half Drow Fighter 3
Nirga Female Elf Rogue 3
Fedra Female Halfling Sorceress 3
Emeril Male Cleric of Desna 3
Shalelu Female Elf Ranger 3/Fighter1
The party was cold and wet. They huddle up trying to keep each other warm, hoping that the Bunyip didn't have a mate.
Eleisa was not happy that Fedra had eaten all her rations. Emeril was about to share some of his last morsels with Fedra, when Nirga asked to gather it all.
"We are getting low on rations, we need to restrict our portions," Nirga looked sternly at the party, and even more so toward Fedra.
Nirga carefully portioned the dried fruit and nuts, and gave each a share. It was barely a third of their normal amount.
The party set watches and huddled back together.
Fedra wondered if her decision to leave her Uncle and his ship the Korvosa's Smoke was a mistake. She was hungry and tired. There was a smell of death in this grotto. She was still badly injured from the fall. The Halfling stayed close to Emeril. She felt comfortable with him.
"Maybe we should head back to town," Fedra whispers.
"We will heal up in the morning,” Emeril said sensing Fedra’s despair. “Without you we couldn't have done this. You hit that water creature several times with your spells. I couldn't even let go of the rope," Emeril looks at Fedra.
Fedra pushes a little closer to Emeril. He puts his arm around the little Halfling. Fedra begins to snore loudly. Emeril looks down at the snoring Sorceress and shakes his head. She begins to drool on him. Emeril just rolls his eyes.
Nirga sitting on the other side of Emeril just smiles "Try to rest," she whispers.
Emeril falls asleep.
During Nirga and Eleisa's watch, Nirga sees something sparkle below the water.
"There is something down there," Nirga tells the Half Drow.
"Let me guess, you want me to swim down there," Eleisa says. "Let's wait until morning."
No Bunyip mate showed up overnight to everyone's relief. Emeril prays and uses much of Desna's favor to bring the party to full health, using more of her favor than he liked, especially before storming a fort.
Eleisa strips to her underwear and begins to dive into the water. The scene under water was gruesome. Bones of Goblins and larger humanoids litter the bottom, many in various states of decay. Eleisa sees the Goblins the party threw in the sloshing hole a couple of days earlier. Many of them appeared to be partially eaten. But more interestingly she finds gold coins, and brings them up.
"There is more down there," Eleisa says dropping seven gold coins on the ledge.
This ends up becoming a time consuming salvage operation.
Eleisa dives and retrieves more coins. Many dives come up with nothing, but then she finds something more interesting, a gemstone. It is a Spinel that Fedra guesses is worth about 100 gold pieces. Eleisa also finds a rusted Kukri inlaid with a Violet Garnet that Fedra says is worth about 200 gold pieces. Nirga smiles at Fedra. Eleisa finds a rotted quiver, but within are three nearly perfectly preserved arrows. Fedra determines they are magic. Shalelu takes the magic arrows. Eleisa also finds a bone wand. Fedra determines that it will cast a Shield spell, a very useful find. In total Eleisa finds 90 gold pieces. The party’s spirits improve, including Fedra's as she admires the new found magic wand.
While searching underwater Eleisa notices a submerge cave entrance to the west, but determines some of the party would struggle leaving the grotto in that direction.
Much of the day was spent at this salvage operation. The party agrees to wait until the following morning when everyone will be at their full potential to take on the fort.
At dusk Shalelu swam out to retrieve the ropes and pitons. She notices that there were even more Goblins patrolling in front of the fort than before. She also notices that the bridge had been restored.
The party decides to swim over and search the Thistletop knob at dawn in the hope of finding another route. They agreed that attempting the bridge again would be too risky with more Goblins posted.
The party had just endured an ordeal. They came up with a plan to swim over and climb Thistletop. Simple enough idea, though there was really nothing in the AP about this approach. This is where pictures became the words. We were using Pathfinder #1, Burnt Offerings and there was this picture of Thistletop that it appeared to have handholds on the backside. I don't believe this image is in the Anniversary Edition; but I may have overlooked it. It even had what looked like an encounter on the back side of the fort by a force that had approached from this direction. This along with what was a curious image of what appeared to be a boat from the overhead view of the fort, allowed me to run with this idea.
It never fails that when you allow something not quite in the AP or module, that things go completely different from what one would expect; as you will see in the many post to come. I hope you enjoy!
Eleisa Female Half Drow Fighter 3
Nirga Female Elf Rogue 3
Fedra Female Halfling Sorceress 3
Emeril Male Cleric of Desna 3
Shalelu Female Elf Ranger 3/Fighter1
Before dawn the party prepares for the swim and ventures forth. Shalelu sets a piton in the west side wall of the grotto and ties the hemp rope to it. She swims from there to the cave mouth where she ties the rope to another piton. Nirga, Fedra, Emeril and Eleisa follow along the rope in that order.
From the cave mouth Shalelu begins to swim the thirty feet or so to the Thistletop island. No one above notices their movement in the shadowy waters below. With Eleisia securing the rope from the cave entrance and Shalelu from Thistletop, the rest of the party crosses over to the knob. Because of the odd shape of Thistletop, those on top were unable to see those at the water line.
The party was able to work their way left along the rocky base of Thistletop. They notice what looks like an eye socket, then a nose, and a forehead with strange embellishments. Even though these features are heavily worn down by time and weather, it is enough for the party to recognize that Thistletop is the head of what was once a massive statue. When they reach the opposite side of Thistletop they find a narrow landing. An iron ring was set in the rock, likely used to tie off a small water craft. But no boat was present. Also there was hand holds chiseled into rock heading straight up. Every ten feet or so was a hooked iron spike, over twice the size of Shalelu's pitons. These were set next to a hand holds.
"This is convenient," Shalelu says tying the silk rope to the bottom ring.
"I will go up first," Eleisa says taking the silk rope from Shalelu and begins to climb. When she ties off at the first hooked spike, Nirga begins to follow.
Fedra then starts up followed closely by Emeril helping to steady the Halfling as he goes. Shalelu did the same for Emeril taking the rear.
There were a few slips along the climb, but no one fell. Eleisa reaches the top and sees a small rowboat with an iron ring set in its bow. It appears the boat is hoisted up and down from this point for access to the sea.
Once everyone had climbed up, the party moved quickly to the back walls of the fort. No Goblin was seen back here. It appeared that all the activity was directed towards the front of the fort.
The fort seems to have been hobbled together by odd sized pieces of wood and timbers.
"These are parts from ships," Fedra notices. "This looks like a part of a mast," having seen similar notches on the mast of her Uncle's ship.
The party moves along the west side of the fort to a corner where wild shrubs have grown thickly along the walls. The party hears an odd growling sound.
Nirga carefully scales the fort's wall at the corner. She sees that most of the fort is a patch work of planks roped together to form a roof. She also notices at this corner a large courtyard opens to the sky. Several Goblin Dogs are scrapping with each other over a large bone toward the center of the courtyard.
Nirga quietly relays the message, and jumps over wall into the courtyard. She takes aim and fires her crossbow, hitting the unaware Goblin Dog. Eleisa jumps over next and moves slightly in front readying Alaznist's ranseur. Emeril and Shalelu help Fedra to the top of the wall. She clumsily falls to the ground, landing squarely on her butt behind Nirga.
"Go ahead," Emeril looks at Shalelu, cradling his hands to offer a boost.
"I don't think so," Shalelu responds knowing fully that it would be he that would struggle to jump over the wall without help. She cradles her hand to offer Emeril the boost.
Emeril nods in agreement recognizing the Elf’s greater ability. And it turned out that he needed the help. It took all Shalelu’s efforts to help him over the wall. At least he landed on his feet, next to the still struggling to get up Fedra.
Two of the three Goblin Dogs attack. The third took advantage of having some solo time with the bone. Just as well, it turned out to be its last meal.
Eleisa strikes at the first dog, nearly killing it in one blow. The dog bites back hitting Eleisa. The second injured Goblin Dog runs up and bites Nirga. A forth Goblin Dog appears, running and growling toward the party from around a corner.
A ray of bristling blue energy passes by striking this forth Goblin Dog. Fedra, sitting on the ground, looked rather pleased with herself. Emeril uses his sling. But it was the arrow from above that dropped the fourth Goblin Dog, coming from Shalelu atop the wall.
Nirga drops her crossbow, draws her rapier and pierces the Goblin Dog on her. It falls. Eleisa, unable to step back, drops the ranseur, and unsheathes Korovus' magic sword, driving it deep into the Goblin Dog with a shrieking whelp. It dies.
Shalelu lands in the courtyard almost gracefully, and hits the third bone eating Goblin Dog with an arrow. The Goblin Dog bone in mouth runs away around a corner. Eleisa follows into the wider courtyard area. The Goblin Dog turns, drops the bone and bites at Eleisa. But it misses. Eleisa doesn't miss mauling the last Goblin Dog.
The party waits for the rush of Goblins to come from any of the five doors around the courtyard. But no Goblins appear. All they hear is a sickly 'naying' sound coming from near where they jumped over the wall.
Nirga checks the door and peeks in. There is a large horse in a makeshift stall. Shalelu carefully approaches the horse. The horse calmly watches.
"This doesn't make sense" Shalelu says. "Goblins don't keep horses. They are deathly afraid of horses. Maybe it is here for sport, or maybe," she pauses as the horse nudges Shalelu at her pouch belt. "It is hungry.” Shalelu pulls out her sparse rations and gives it to the horse. The horse seems to pep up a bit.
"Is it hurt," Emeril asks.
"It may be," Shalelu responds.
Emeril still not fully comfortable with equines cautiously approaches the horse. He lays a hand on the steed and calls for Desna's healing. The horse immediately responds with vigor.
"This is a warhorse," Eleisa says looking at its size and the tattered remains of what looked like padded barding.
"Hmm… Maybe the Goblins are afraid of him," Shalelu says.
"We are in the middle of this compound. We cannot take the horse with us," Eleisa says matter-of-factly.
"You are right. We will have to leave it behind for now. Maybe it will make a good sentinel for us," Shalelu says.
"I will check these doors," Nirga puts away her crossbow and pulls out her rapier, and then goes from door to door.
"We know there are a bunch of Goblins that way," Emeril says pointing south. "Let’s go that way." He points to the north.
“I have an idea,” Nirga says opening up a set of double doors to the south.
Shalelu approves of Nirga’s idea and leads the Warhorse to the southern set of doors, giving it a little slap on the rear.
The party then moves through the north door off the courtyard. It is a narrow hallway about five wide, but with surprisingly high ceilings. The hallway ends with a door to the right. Nirga checks it and moves on. Beyond is another short hallway, maybe ten feet in length. There is a door to not the north and south.
The party hears quite the commotion coming from the south part of the fort beyond the courtyard. Shalelu manages a smile.
Nirga checks the south door, opens it to find a small round table with several small chairs. It looks like some kind of meeting room for Goblins. The thought of Goblins actually planning and meeting seemed odd to Nirga. She checks the north door. It leads to another hallway with a door to the left ten feet down.
Nirga checks that door and finds a set of stairs heading down into the rock.
Nirga checks the door and finds a set of stairs heading down into the rock. A lit lantern is mounted at the bottom of flight of stairs where a door is ajar. Nirga goes down and carefully checks it. She enters into a large room with a big square table and chairs. There is a slate board with writing on it, and a map with Sandpoint clearly noted. It becomes obvious to the party that this was where the Sandpoint raid was planned.
"Sinspawn," Fedra exclaims looking at a document. "It looks like the next raid was to include Sinspawn from below the town."
"Not anymore," Eleisa says flatly.
Nirga checks the two other doors in the room. A door to the east leads to another hallway. But when Nirga opens the west door, she sees what looks like a well lit study, with a table and chairs, and stacks of books, scrolls, stone tablets and even parts of statues with the spiky writing of Thassilonia shown in bas relief. The north wall has shelves floor to ceiling containing picks, shovels, brushes, lanterns and other excavation equipment.
The room is occupied. Raising her head from behind a stack of scrolls is a young woman with dark complexion, long hair braided in cornrows, and a white tunic and cloak. Quickly Nirga moves to her right rapier in hand. Eleisa moves swiftly behind engaging the woman. Then Emeril enters flail in hand, followed by Shalelu. Finally Fedra enters ready to cast a spell.
The dark skinned young woman holds her hand up, recognizing she is outnumbered.
"Who are you," Fedra ask.
"Well who are you," the dark skinned woman responds.
"We ask the questions," Nirga adds.
"Let's kill her and move on," Eleisa says.
"My name is Lyrie Akenja," the dark skinned woman quickly talks glancing at Eleisa with a look of fear.
"What are you doing here," Fedra continues her questioning.
"I was hired to translate these runes," Lyrie answers.
"Who hired you," Fedra presses.
Lyrie hesitates, but then sees the brutal determination of Eleisa's purple tinged eyes, set within the darkness of her hide helm. "Nualia. Her name is Nualia. She needed someone to translate the Thassilonian rune of this place," Lyrie sighs.
"Why? What is she trying to do," Fedra continues the questioning.
"I don't know," Lyrie responds.
"You are lying," Nirga correctly senses.
Eleisa sticks Koruvus' magic longsword under Lyrie's chin.
Lyrie looks at Eleisa trembling, sweat pouring from her brow, "She is trying to release a creature trapped in the level below."
"A creature! What kind of creature," Fedra asks again.
"It is a powerful eternal creature from ancient Thassilonian. Nualia wants it as an ally," Lyrie responds.
"How do they know there is a creature down there," Fedra asks.
"I don't know. The Goblins say they sense it. It talks to them," Lyrie explains.
"We need to stop this," Emeril interjects.
“Who else is in this place,” Fedra asks.
“Goblins, many Goblins,” Lyrie answers not revealing the whole story.
"Let's kill her and go," Eleisa says coldly.
"I was just paid to read these runes," Lyrie quickly protests. "I have done nothing wrong," the young woman says the biggest lie of her miserable life.
"We can't just kill her," Emeril says looking at the woman with compassion. Something stirs deep down inside him saying this woman should be spared.
"No. But we can't take her with us either," Fedra says while detecting magic on Lyrie. She virtually glows with magic. "Take everything off and put it on the table," the Halfling says in a curious tone.
"Wha," Lyrie begins to protest.
"Do it," Eleisa says.
Lyrie, staring at Eleisa's magic sword, quickly begins putting her possessions on the table.
Nirga helps her along, searching thoroughly the dark skinned young woman as she goes.
Lyrie had a magic cloak and wand, a potion, and five magic scrolls. The party also takes a dagger, a silver comb, a pearl earring, and three platinum pieces.
Lyrie had removed everything but her white gown. "At least let me keep my gown," the young woman begs.
"It is not magic. She can keep her gown," Fedra say not really wanting to leave her naked. "Can we tie her up?"
Nirga smiles, "Sit," she says, looking at the dark skinned young woman. Lyrie sits in the closest chair. Nirga finds twine on the back shelves and securely ties Lyrie to the chair. She also finds dirty rags and uses them to gag the dark skinned young woman.
A white cat jumps out from within a bucket on the shelf. Nirga jumps in surprise. The cat leaps to the top shelf and stairs down at the party with a hiss.
“It is just a cat,” Nirga says and continues her task.
Once the party was satisfied that Lyrie was secured, Nirga checks the other door in the room for traps. She sees a flight of stairs heading down to a landing, and then it turns to the left further downward into darkness.
"Here is how to get to the level below," Nirga announces.
The party heads down leaving the small white cat on the top shelf.
Oh Lyrie... She's scum, but I can't help but feel sorry for her, considering she was set out to be a solo opponent in a cramped room, which is a really bad situation for an NPC to be in.
A solo *spellcasting* opponent in a cramped room.
At least Tsuto had a chance as a monk (at least when not in my campaign). I made sure Lyrie was with others because otherwise Mazra's experience is pretty much inevitable. (Though I admire his party's restraint in keeping her both alive and clothed.)
Eleisa Female Half Drow Fighter 3
Nirga Female Elf Rogue 3
Fedra Female Halfling Sorceress 3
Emeril Male Human Cleric of Desna 3
Shalelu Female Elf Ranger 3/Fighter1
The stairs down seem awkwardly steep. When the party reaches the landing there is a noticeable tilt to the west. Another flight of stair heads further downward, the strange tilt causing the party to steady themselves using their right arms.
At the bottom there is a door that was once adorned with carvings. Slashes and gouges in the door make the carving indistinguishable accept what looks like gemstones and crowns. The door is ajar. Beyond is a room supported by two large pillars with two alcoves to the left and right.
Nirga leads into the room checking for traps, steadying herself along the way, adjusting for the tilt of the room. The room is caked with dust, grime and soot. In the alcoves are statues of a robed man with a glaive in one hand a book in the other, all either on the ground or leaning in their alcove. Whatever caused the tilt clearly jostled these statues. There is a door in the opposite wall.
Nirga checks the door and opens it to reveal a twenty foot long hallway. The floor is polished to a shiny glean, unlike the previously filthy room. The hallway has an upward tilt to go along with its sideways slant. Five foot in there are more alcoves both north and south each with the statue of a man holding a glaive. Beyond, twenty feet down are two doors, north and south, both with Thassilonian inscriptions and just beyond that another alcove with a statue missing its head.
Nirga checks for traps and finds one. The area between the glaive wielding statues has some kind of pressure plate. She studies it carefully, the party anxiously looking behind her.
"Shalelu, do you have any more spike," Nirga asks.
Shalelu quietly hands her two spikes. Nirga gently wedges one side of the pressure plate, and then carefully crosses to wedge the other side. The trap was avoided.
The party slowly follows as Nirga checks the northern door. She does not find a trap, so she opens it. Large red marble ledges line this twenty foot diameter round room. The ledges are filled with books, scrolls, teeth, bones; jars filled with deformed creatures in brine, and strange taxidermy animals. There are three chairs scattered in the room. And a woman, ravishingly beautiful with silver hair, stands over a scroll along the marbled ledge. But as she turns toward the party, they see she has a hideously deformed arm that looks like some demon had latched on to her. Her belly is grotesquely scarred. It was a disturbing sight to see both beauty and corruption combined in one form.
Emeril recognizes this as Father Tobyn's adoptive daughter Nualia. He had seen her upon some of his visits in to town. It was hard not to notice such a striking figure. Humans were often captivated by celestial creatures. And the Aasimar Nualia was no exception.
"How dare you intrude on my studies,” the woman screeches, her red eyes burning with anger. "Destroy them!” She commands a fierce dog like creature.
Floating toward the party, a hairless canine with long sharp claws, vicious fangs, and almost lifeless red eyes, lets out a horrific growl.
That was it! Nirga had had enough. She turns and runs out of the room and through the unexplored south door of the hallway.
Eleisa was overcome with fear, an unusual experience for her. She also turns and runs, but back toward the way they came in.
Emeril seeing Eleisa run by him, knew that this was not a good situation. Without the powerful Half Drow it would be difficult to succeed. Emeril turns and chases after Eleisa.
That leaves Shalelu and Fedra.
“This isn’t good,” The Halfling says out loud.
Shalelu backs out the door and fires an arrow at the flying dog.
Fedra hits the pooch with a pair of missiles, and retreats behind Shalelu, back up the trapped hallway. She notices as she was leaving that the Assimar was casting a spell, but could not discern the type as the little Halfling was a bit busy with a flying hairless mutt.
The flying canine, known as a Yeth Hound moves to the door and bites Shalelu.
Emeril tries to keep up with the fleeing Eleisa. He stops at the stairs heading to the upper level, about 30 feet behind the Half Drow, and calls upon Desna to remove the fear upon his compatriot. Eleisa comes to a stop right at the landing where the staircase makes a 90 degree turn, and begins to regain her senses.
Shalelu drops her bow, and draws a short sword slashing at the hound. Fedra hits it with another pair of missiles.
Nualia cast another spell, draws a large black metal sword, and angrily moves behind the hound.
The Yeth Hound bites at Shalelu, but the Elf dodges the attack.
Eleisa moves back toward the fight, giving Emeril a nod as she passes the youthful Cleric. Emeril follows close behind.
Shalelu strikes the hound. But it was Fedra's third set of missiles that drops the dog. The Halfling moves back to the edge of the trapped area.
Nualia, stepping over the fallen Yeth Hound strikes a blow on Shalelu, and then slashes with her demonic clawed hand.
The Ranger wounded holds her ground, and strikes back hitting the Aasimar. Shalelu takes a step back up the hallway. Fedra strikes Nualia with a pair of Magic Missiles.
Eleisa, now fully recovered, moves through Fedra, then Shalelu to directly engage Nualia.
"You will not defeat me," and enraged Nualia strikes Eleisa with bastard sword and claw.
Shalelu moves across the trap to the dusty room, where Emeril calls forth healing to the injured Ranger.
Fedra fires yet another set of missiles at Nualia.
Eleisa steadying herself to the tilt of the room, begins to trade blows with Nualia.
Fedra hits her with her last Magic Missile. The last spell she would be able to land.
Shalelu without her bow watches, as Emeril fires his sling to no effect.
The Aasimar steps back into her room and calls forth healing from dark sources.
Eleisa pursues landing another blow, erasing the dark healing energy. The two powerful women engage again in a dance to the death.
But in the end it was Eleisa who would land the final blow.
"Yes. We will defeat you," Eleisa stares down at the fallen Aasimar twisting her sword into the tainted Celestial’s flesh.
"Where is Nirga," Emeril ask while channeling healing to the party.
It was about that time that Nirga came through the south door.
"Where have you been," Eleisa asks the Rogue sternly.
"Groping in the darkness," Nirga sighs.
The party hungry, injured, low on spells decides to use Nualia's chamber as a place to rest. They knew they were fortunate. Eleisa could not have taken another blow. If Nirga had not discovered the trap, then not only would the party have suffered more damage, but the powerful Aasimar would have been alerted to their presence and better prepared. Had Emeril not have the wisdom to pray that morning for the ability to remove fear, the battle likely would have turned differently. And if Shalelu and Fedra were not there as a stop gap, to buy the time needed for the mighty Eleisa to return, then this day would have been lost. But this was not the case. The day was won!
Resting with a Tilt
Shalelu picks up her bow and watches the hallway, anticipating an assault from the many Goblins they had bypassed from above.
Fedra detects magic on Nualia's gear. She wore a magic breastplate, wielded a magic bastard sword, and wore a medallion that radiated magic. She also had a finely crafted composite longbow. But it was the medallion that piqued the interest of the party. The medallion was the same seven pointed star that they saw on the statue of the Runelord Alaznist and elsewhere in the Catacombs of Wrath, also on the fallen statues in the previous dusty room.
The party drags Nualia's body into the hallway on this side of the trap, clearly visible to anyone or thing approaching from the way they came. It was placed as a warning.
The room contained an odd fountain of bubbling blue water. Emeril carefully tests it, and found it drinkable.
Fedra beginning to feel more confident in her abilities set to work trying identifying both Nualia's items and Lyrie's too. Also there were a number of journals laying about the room, but something interrupts her, a growl from deep within.
"Is there anything to eat," Fedra says adjusting her priorities. She finds a bowl of fruit. "Hmm," she begins to munch on some grapes. Eleisa walks over and takes the bowl away from Fedra, looking sternly at the Halfling as she removes her hide helm. Fedra sheepishly looks at Eleisa and pouts.
"We need to share," Eleisa states flatly. Then she gives the Halfling a sprig of grapes. Fedra grins.
Nirga searches through the room and finds a lever. She quickly discerns that it controls the trap in the hallway. She returns back to the trap and carefully removes the spikes.
"We can use this to our advantage while we rest," Nirga proclaims. "There wasn't anyone in the room to the south, at least the best I could tell. That leaves the way we came."
Eleisa tries on Nualia's breast plate, but it was loose. The Half Drow was lean and muscular compared to the more full figured Aasimar. The magic armor however fit the broader Emeril. The obvious gender specific designs of the armor just made the young man fit in with his companions. They all smile at him. Red faced Emeril begin to remove it. But Eleisa approaches him.
"This is much better armor. Keep it. It may save your life," the stern but earnest Half Drow tells the bashful young man, then smiles as she turns away with a wink at Nirga, Shalelu and Fedra. The women all work hard at trying to hide their smiles.
Eleisa feels the weight of Nualia's bastard sword taking it firmly in her hand. She likes it, the weight and the length. She makes room and begins to practice.
About an hour later Shalelu hears and then sees through the darkness a pair of Goblins approaching toward the trap. She steps into the room, and quietly informs the party that they have visitors.
Nirga readies her crossbow. Shalelu peaks around the corner, and sends an arrow hitting the lead Goblin. The Goblins retreat into the darkness.
"We are going to have to fight our way out of this place," Shalelu observes.
The party sets up watches, but is not disturbed again through the night.
Fedra reads Nualia's notes. They find out about her sad tale of being an Outsider in Sandpoint. How she was picked on as a child and often shamelessly groped by virtual stranger seeking to receive some kind of strange healing power just by touching her. They learned of her pregnancy from a local boy, and the bitterness toward Father Tobyn, her disapproving adoptive father. How she became filled with rage and anger, channeling her hate to become a servant to the evil demon Lamashtu. They read about her burning down the church and killing Father Tobyn. And more recently her hopes to free the Greater Barghest known as Malfeshnekor trapped somewhere in the lower part of Thistletop. She wanted to use this evil Outsider as an ally to utterly destroy Sandpoint. It was a disturbing read that made sleeping with the tilt of the room uneasy.
The small bowl of fruit Fedra found helped supplement their dwindling food supply, even though the party would be out of food by morning. However there was a fresh supply of water.
Each member of the party awoke feeling stronger. Eleisa felt more confident with Nualia's bastard sword than the long sword she had been carrying. She gave to Nirga Koruvus' magic long sword.
Fedra was toying with a new spell to compliment her missiles. She also discovered that Lyrie's wand delivered missiles. And that her scrolls would cause sleep, create a minor image, comprehend languages, see invisibility, and provide a whispering wind. Add the fact that the cloak could provide some resistance to various effects made Fedra happy with all this new magic. They all agreed that Nirga would benefit most from the cloak. Fedra was disappointed with herself that she was unable to figure out much about the seven pointed star medallion.