Second Exodus

The Long Road to the Depths
or From Grave Robbers to Wool Merchants to Grave Robbers

3/29/12 – Mercsmonth the 2nd through the 10th

Gathering themselves after the strange vision of Ravenloft, the party found the terrible dream had exacted a grizzly toll. The corpse of their long time ally, Esgraphor lies withered on the highway. The fiend Elenia had taken particular interest in the holy child of the Mother. One can only pray his soul found peace the realms beyond and is not chained in endless torment within the girl’s needy clutches.

Dutifully looting their ally’s corpse, the adventurers continued toward Bayside. A night’s pause at a small, unnamed village inn ended in a drunken coma and a new ally, the dwarf cleric Murgle (sp?).

Despite the burden of their alcoholic companion, the adventurers found it within their hearts to aid a shepherd in the repairs of his wagon in a transaction that left them with the wagon and the farmer with the hope of cure for his daughter’s wasting sickness. They parted ways with ambiguous promises of a future in magery for the farmer’s eleven year old boy.

Arrival in Bayside brought disappointment for Avandros, who had issued orders to his serving men to procure rooms in the fine inn, The Sail and Wagon. No reservations had been made, as the mage’s men had been intercepted by Avandros’s longtime friend and archnemesis, Marsember the Bright. Marsember insisted rooms be procured at The Broken Mare, and that is where the companions found him.

At the Mare, Blunderbore agreed to be the second man for William the Horseman in the bare knuckled boxing tourney during the Festival of the Merchant. In addition, Avandros agreed the party would aid Marsember in determining the whereabouts of his longtime friend Westle, the lighthouse keeper.

A half day journey brought the adventuring party to the lighthouse. After startling a number of monstrously icky spiders from the lighthouse keeper’s home, the party stumbled upon a strange pit beneath the floor. Determined to investigate the mystery, they descended to a natural tunnel, spiraling deep into the cliff face. Several hundred yards in, the adventurers encounters two water mephits and made short work of the nasty creatures. Startlingly, they discovered the body of the lighthouse keeper wedged into a tidal pool, plugging a hole that had opened to a chamber below.

Descending into the chamber, revealed strange ruins of some forgotten temple to an ancient cult. After making short work of a group of restless zombie halflings in the temple threshold and triggering a vicious spiked trap, the explorers plunged deeper into the mystery. A battering ram has revealed a sanctuary, and the only parishioners, a gathering of wights, sets upon the party with greedy claws and toothy grimaces.

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The Icy Chill of the Grave
or Rogues? Where we're going, we don't need rogues.

Mercsmonth the 10th

The toothy, muttering Wights descended upon the hapless party. Sir Leif’s mighty greatsword seemed somewhat ineffective; however, the gleaming morning star of Bringut and crackling lightning from the fingers of Avandros buffeted the restless dead with their full force, and the creatures reeled from the assault.

Then, Murgle, that simple-minded dwarf cleric, waded into the clutches of his hated foes, the symbol of his Aspect held high. The Wights withered before him. The black ashes of undeath in their hearts were assailed by the sudden perception of a spring afternoon: the feeling of lush grass under foot, the sun warming the skin, the sound of a distant thunderstorm reverberating off the mountainside, the smell of daffodils. The existence of sense in the souls of the senseless rocked them back, and the Wights cowered in fear of the dwarf and in agony over what they had lost.

The rest of the party easily dispatched them in their powerless state.

Traveling south, the adventurers held strong against a terror trap, except for Sir Leif, who ran away screaming like a little girl. The discovery of a shattered stairway did not dissuade Avandros, who easily located a pressure plate in the floor. Using various wight body parts (a tactic that no doubt enraged the creatures’ god to the point of divine retribution in the very very near future), Bringut triggered the plate, and a secret door slid open to the south.

The party traveled down an eastward running, frosty hallway into a large room full of barred cells. In that room, they faced their greatest foe yet, as a pile of bones in the corner assembled into a strange, large, toothed bird creature. Despite natural feelings of dread, Bringut charged forth and brought his bright morningstar to bear against the creature, Sir Leif strode not far behind, but a lash from the creature’s tail sent the two fighters flying.

From the hallway, a flash of lightning plunged into the creature’s chest, announcing the presence of Avandros. Loud prayers reverberated from the cell walls, as Murgle step forward, defying the monster to engage him. The creature spewed an icy mist that clouded the eyes of the allies and caused the ground to become treacherous beneath their feet, and the creature surged toward the hallway and filled it with a blast of frost that rooted the wizard in place and enclosed around the heart of the cleric as he fell to the ground, one foot on the threshold of oblivion.

Not to be dissuaded, Bringut and Sir Leif charged at the creature, its tail once again sending them flying. This time, however, Sir Leif did not rise again. However, an echoing trigger phrase erupted from Avandros’s lips, and bolts of magical force leaped from the wizard’s outstretched wand and plunged into the creature, and it collapsed in a heap of shattered bone.

Returning to the sanctuary of the wights, the adventurers plunged northward through a door and into a vacant room. Some snooping revealed a small storeroom with a handful of useful potions and a gout of fire trap that sent the party to their bellies. Determining it was an ideal place to rest for a bit, the group took an hour, during which time Avandros’s seemingly everlasting daylight spell finally winked out.

Exploration to the east discovered a bedroom inhabited by a wraith. Easily defeating the shadowy creature, the adventurers determined it was time to take a longer break. Returning to the surface, the evening sun gleamed off the welcoming lighthouse. Within the lighthouse, the tired adventurers found undisturbed slumber.

The sun rises on Hammsday, 11th of Mercmonth.

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For Whom These Shattered Remains?
or Your subscription to trashy undead romances is about the expire!

Mercsmonth the 11th

The party awoke to the slight tremor of a far off earthquake. Aftershocks would dog their steps throughout the day, but cause no harm.

Leaving their fancy cleric behind to commune with his Aspect, the group plunged, once again, into the strange, undead-filled sanctuary. Nothing had disturbed the rooms through which they had already progressed.

Determined to avoid the fire trapped door for the moment, the group instead made their way down a long stairway off of the bedroom. The stairway lead to a “U” shaped hallway along which 3 doors beckoned. A haphazard search for secret doors by the least perceptive characters found, as expected, nothing. The impetuous Blunderbore instead took the lead, and attempted to open the door leading West.

Suddenly, most of the hallway dropped beneath his feet, and both Blunderbore and Bringut plunged nearly two-dozen feet into a pit of deadly spikes. Blunderbore landed roughly, but managed to avoid the sharpest points. Bringut, however, allowed his acrobat training to take over. Sadly, tucking and rolling into a spiked pit can be hazardous for one’s health as our nimble fighter found out.

Venturing instead into a chamber encircled by the hallway revealed an abandon storeroom. However, the always-ready Sir Leif noted an inconsistency in the layout. Another, focused search revealed a secret room filled with useful treasures and a shadowy spirit itself filled with nothing more than vengeful anger from beyond the graaaaaaave. They gave it peace.

Exploring North, the party entered a room occupied by a number of easily-defeated wights. The walls of this small chamber were decorated with the man from the murals on the floors above. From his fists ran chains around the necks of wailing proto-humanoid figures. A large symbol made completely of mithral was embedded into the walls.

Following their northern route, the party hefted a portcullis into a small hallway that in turn lead to a ladder to an unexplored chamber on the first level. Luring the chamber’s shadowy occupants into the hallway, they were able to defeat them easily. Exploration of the chamber revealed little more than a few pouches of dust and two secret doors.

The northerly doorway opened into a barracks of some sort whose ghoulish residents hungered for the flesh of the living and were destroyed. Leading from that room to the West was a door to the remains of a library long ago devoured by rats. The rats themselves, long devoured by time, were still hungry for the savory taste of mortal flesh. Swarms poured from the many piles in the room, but were eventually eradicated.

Avandros searched the library and discovered several tomes with pages still legible.

At that point, in need of rest, the party headed back to Bayside. The half days journey brought them to the Broken Mare just before midnight. A night’s rest is enough to refresh the group before the Merchant’s Festival and perhaps another plunge into the strange sanctuary to discover its secrets, if any remain.

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You Do Not Belong Here
or Rock 'em, sock 'em roustabouts

Mercsmonth the 12th

Dawn brings the Festival of the Merchant and the scheduled bare-knuckled boxing match. William the Horseman handled his fight almost surgically, awarded the decision without absorbing a punch. The second bout of the day featured Bonner Halmest, champion for 3 consecutive years and working on a fourth as he literally crushed the skull of his opponent.

The bouts ended for the morning, Avandros sought out Marsember to inform him of the demise of Westel the lighthouse keeper. In addition, the wizard spoke of the shrine beneath the promontory on which the lighthouse is located. Marsember assured his friend of an audience with the Lord-Mayor once the festival is completed.

Meanwhile, Blunderbore and Murgle headed to the dockworker’s tenements to seek out a thief to help with some of the traps in the shrine. A conversation with a bartender in the shit I forgot the name Tavern connected the two adventurers to a young thief named Jewels, whom they promised a full share of loot.

Accompanied by their new ally, the adventuring party returned to the shrine. An investigation of the “v” shaped hallway in the lower level revealed a secret door. Triggering the door was simple, and it opened into a room full of strangely featured skeletons with flat foreheads and large lower incisors. Weakened by Murgle’s prayer, they were no match for the heroes.

Ignoring the obvious door to the south, the party instead entered a cracked open secret door to the north. The large room was filled with two massive bullheaded skeletons who proved to be much more difficult than the smaller skeletons. An investigation of that room revealed a secret door to the east as well as a normal door. The normal door was trapped, however, and resulted in the destruction of some of Jewel’s thieves tools. The secret door was trapped as well and caused Jewel’s to run screaming from the shrine. Not to be dissuaded, Bluderbore attempted to open the door, successfully, but he also felt a vile curse descend upon him.

Within the secret door, the adventurers discovered a bedroom guarded by a wraith-like creature that devoured light itself. The creature warned them that their presence was unwelcome before succumbing to the combine onslaught of the group. In the bedroom, they discovered a few special items.

Wounded and tired, the party left the shrine at this point to find rest in the lighthouse.

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A Friendly Engagement
or Wait, what's your name again?

Kingsday, Mercsmonth 20

The town of Bayside seems abandoned less than a week after the Festival of the Merchant. Wicked storms off the Dragon’s Rest Sea tore through Kepinger Bay on the Festival’s final night and turned the tent city outside of the town into a pit of mud and fouled carriages. But even the wreckage has been more or less cleaned up by this point, even though the rain only stopped as the sun went down on this Kingsday. Now, in a cloudless sky, Dragon’s last arc sits ready to dip below the horizon, its light casting a yellow orange glow upon the weathered doorway of the Twisted Maid.

One of several small taverns on the Bayside docks, the Twisted Maid has long been a watering hole and meeting place for those acquainted with the town’s underbelly. For whatever reason, it was always a good place to hide one’s face away for a time. Tonight, however, is not a night for hiding among strangers, but one for seeking friends.

And you find them.

The door opens silently into the quiet barroom. Dark shapes huddle close to the sputtering candles centering each tabletop as if seeking warmth from its glow. Yet, as the black hearth attests and the glistening sweat on each inch of exposed skin reveals, the rain did little to cut the sweltering heat and even less to alleviate the summer humidity.

A movement out of the corner of your eye draws your attention to the small pool of lantern light at the bar and the man behind it. The man’s name rushes from your memories so forcefully that you have to check yourself before saying it aloud. Boris Guthand, the tavernkeep; a man so short and stout you’d reckon he was half dwarf, if such an abomination actually existed. His hands busy drying a mug, he nods to a corner of the room, the motion setting his long earring pendulating.

You follow his nod to a corner table. Even before you approach, you recognize some of the shapes around it.

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Summary of Adventure

Into the afternoon of the second day after your encounter with the lizardfolk bandits and their magic-wielding leader, your wagon is force to halt and await the ferry to transport you, your allies, and the merchant’s goods across the wide Ancients’ Tribute. The wait is not long, and before mid-afternoon, you are well on your way across the swift-moving river. The ferryman, a boy of sixteen, speaks little. Instead, the strong lad bends his back to the task of winching the ferry and its occupants slowly along the cable. Before you have a good view of the village, a foul, sulfurous smell fills your nostrils. As the sun touches the horizon behind you, the boat comes to rest along a loading dock, and the stench is bordering on overwhelming.

=
Arriving in Hawksome, you found the populace wracked with a terrible coughing sickness. Using the guidance of the barkeep at the Broken Torch, you sought out the alchemist at Roots & Remedies to determine if it is even safe for you to be in the village. An arrogant confrontation with some sick locals who were simply waiting for their turn with the alchemist, led to the guards being called. Luckily the alchemist, Laurel Kreed, liked you enough (for some reason) to disperse the guards. Granted, this was after you had agreed to track down the three ingredients she needs to cure the coughing sickness (which is apparently caused by spores that infiltrate one’s lungs, forcing nearly persistent coughing which eventually tears the lungs up and the victims drown in their own blood). The three ingredients are elderwood mold, that only grows on the oldest tree in the forest; pickled rats tail, a rare root; and 7 ironbloom mushrooms, known to grow in dwarven ruins.

With the guidance of Milon Rhoddam, a local lumberjack and forest ranger, you made your way toward the first ingredient, elderwood mold. On your way there, during an act of charity rescuing a trapped firefoot fennec, you were ambushed. You made short work of the ambusher, however, and he promised to help you find great treasure if you let him go. You more or less agreed to look into it and see, and continued on your way toward the eldest tree in the forest. Eventually, you come upon a wide clearing, where a massive cathedral of a darkwood tree stretches to the heavens.

=
The sound of crunching leaves shatters the solemn stillness of the eldest tree’s clearing. The man called Trapper rocks back and forth from heel to toe in impatience. Crows caw somewhere in the forest behind you. A light breeze stirs leaves in the upper branches of the ancient darkwood before you, but no golden droplets of late afternoon sunlight scatter upon the ground as the foliage is simply much too thick. Instead, an eerie grey ambient light is the sum total of illumination in the glade.

Party fights some lizard thing in the tree, dispatches a most devoured but living lumberjack in a cave within its trunk and collects the necessary moss. Trapper has fled. The party makes their way to the witches hut where they fight her animated cauldron and successfully gather the rats tail.

=
Weapons dulled and chipped from battering on the iron construct, noses filled with the smells of a witch’s long abandoned abode, you may still feel a sense of accomplishment after achieving the second of your three goals. The one remaining task: search in and around an ancient dwarf monastery for the rare ironblood mushrooms required to cure the foul blackscour TAINT.

=
The party followed the overgrown path to the ancient monastery ruins. An investigation of the compound’s only remaining tower revealed the nest of a vicious, but easily dispatched, spider. Its eager mandibles were no match for Aglar’s dark armor, while the paladin’s sword had no trouble slicing through the creature’s hairy carapace. Among the ruined crates and barrels of the tower, the group discovered very few odds and ends, and also a lumberjack called Splinter, a victim of the spider’s poison and likely ally to the party (at least until he gets to know what bastards they all are).

The group continued to explore the ruins in search of the rare ironbloom mushrooms. Their first mushroom was discovered in a pile of moldy coats. Their second and third were discovered, through the help of the charmed kobold Gooberbutt or something, in the chest cavity of an ancient dwarf skeleton locked away in a secret cell. A request to Gooberbutt for the location of “shiny things,” brought the party to the monastery’s sanctuary which was immediately plunged into darkness. Shadowy tentacled creatures assaulted the party, but, despite of the advantage of darkness and surprise, the party’s coordination and greater numbers won out. The enemies defeated, the sanctuary once again is bathed in torchlight.

Party examines a mural of a gem encrusted dwarven hammer on the wall and the matching hammer on the alter. Placing the gem they found earlier into the hammer, they are able to turn it. The mural crumbles away, leaving another mural of a cloaked figure holding a lantern in the moonlight. The moon has a spot for the gem. They place it, and the entire wall and eventually the room turns blindingly silver. Light fades, and the party is set upon by two wolves. A cloaked figure crouches in the room and somehow aids them in defeating the wolves. She is a beautiful true elf woman and also apparently deaf. The party flees the monastery to see that the Darkwood forest has been replaced with brush and the stumps of harvested trees.

=
/Seriously, Swiftstar, you cannot go through with this.\
__
Her brother’s hand signs come fast and erratic, yet it was the same argument since the day they left. At this point, he need not even sign. His face expresses his condemnation well enough: It is too dangerous. These trials are pointless. They are fanatics.
__
Fanatics was the first word he said to her the day she came home. He met her with open arms in the orchard, and in her joy, she had lifted her voice in a song she had learned. She had never dared sing before. She had never known what it was to sing, but they had taught her, and she delighted in the vibrations traveling through her vocal cords. He stopped directly in front of her, his face twisted in a confused scowl, and he spat out the word like the lethal breath of his namesake, “Fanatic.” Granted, she could not hear him say it, but she read his lips plain enough. The sign language they taught her, and she, in turn, taught him, became just one more way for him to say that word.
__
Oh, Dragonstar, she thought, if only you could see beyond Grandfather’s stone wall, you might begin to understand.

The Present:

The night passes uneventfully, despite the thunderous footsteps nearby during the first watch. When the sun rises, the forest that was is still a memory, reminding you that the strange happenings of the previous day had not been a dream. If any doubt remained, the site of the silvery elf woman, pushing her hair from her face while devouring one of the offered rations was all the indication you needed. Gigantic, flying beasts, disappearing forests, deaf elf women trapped in an ancient engraving. It could have been a dream.

A thunderclap brings you back to the present. Dark clouds accumulating in the west snake tendrils in your direction, and the after moments the wind begins to pick up. At least it will be a relief from the previous day’s heat…

=
Traveling along the stream, the party encounters the strange beast once again. Soaring in from the north, despite the party’s best attempts to hide, the massive creature (that resembled an overgrown razorcrow but possessed a hook at the end of its tail) keyed in on their location. Luckily for the party, the presence of the beast startled a herd of plainsmoose nearby that proved to be a more appetizing meal.

Further into the journey, the party finally encountered other humanoids. These tall, well-muscled men posses small eyes, flat foreheads, and yellowed teeth. Their yellowish skin was hairless and splotchy. At their arrival, the elf woman uttered the first word the party has her speak since encountering her the afternoon prior. Translated from the Ancient, she spoke, “Chained Ones.”

The humanoids, organized and militaristic, used hand signals to demand the party drop its weapons. A battle ensued, wherein one of the men, armed with some sort of wood and metal staff, shot fire, smoke and thunder at the party to no effect. With two of the brutes dead and the last two captured, the party commenced an interrogation which resulted in one attempting to escape (unsuccessfully) and the other having his testicles removed by the deranged wizard. He was summarily put out of his misery, but not before the party had learned that something related to the brutes existed in Hawkshome.

Continuing on their way, a night and most of the next of a rain-filled day, brought the party to a rise overlooking the village. However, where the village once was now stands a small fortress. Unwilling to investigate during the day, the party planned to scout the stronghold during the night. Making camp in a owlbear’s nesting nook was probably not what the party intended.

The creature came upon them from the storm, and, despite putting up a fight, the owlbear was defeated. The party is now wounded and tired. Aglar and Seth are inexplicably missing, any tracks long obscured by the rains. Harmon, the ranger, is unconscious and seems ready to start bleeding out again at any moment. Thunder rattles the walls of the cave.

=
Bedruan and Sayid, volunteered for some midnight reconnaissance on the castle located where they know the village of Hawkshome should be.

The dark of the late month and the constant downpour lent to the stealthiness of the pair as they ascended a rise. Unfortunately, it also mandated a closer observation in order to perceive any sort of detail. Despite the rain, the absence of normal signs of life (guards on the ramparts, torchlight) perplexed the duo, and they elected to navigate around the walls until coming to a gate.

The blown out gate was only the first sign of destruction. Inside the castle, most of the towers were ruined and melted. The south wall of the castle was a crumbled ruin.

The two adventurers discovered a navigable hole in a collapsed hallway into what apparently was the main keep. Unwilling to adventure too far as a pair, instead of investigating within, they searched for a place to escape the weather and continue their investigation at dawn. The lower guardroom of one of the gate towers was in good shape, despite the upper floors’ collapse.

Content with the location, Bedruan and Sayid retrieved the other members of the group, including the wounded Harmon Kass. Finally dry, the party settled in to wait out the night.

=
An uneventful night passes along with the rain, and, gleaming with the reflected fire of the dawn, an unfamiliar figure strides through the blasted gates of the abandoned castle. The warrior introduces himself in the common tongue and reveals that he, too, has been transported to this strange-but-familiar land. The man seems genuine in his confusion and good intentions, so the group allows him to stay.

Scaling the walls, Bedruan scouts the lay of the land. A sizable dockyard lies in crumpled ruins where much of the village of Hawkshome once stood. No creatures move beneath his sight, save for a bobbing shadow within the pool of water just inside the western gate. Smart use of a grapple fishes it successfully and reveals the waterlogged corpse of one of the proto-human grunts encountered earlier, this one the size of a child and only a few days dead.

Determined to explore this castle’s secrets, the party elects to leave Harmon the mage, Sayid the ranger, and the strange, deaf elf woman, Hiya, to guard and tend to the gravely wounded Kendan. Bedruan the Huntsman, Renfro the bard, and the new warrior (whose name escapes me) venture into the tunnel into the collapsed keep, the warrior shoulders scraping roughly against the sides with each inch forward.

Navigating several similar, dark tunnels with only a waning gleam of magelight to guide them, the three explorers eventually find themselves inside a dungeon cell block. No living things stir, but bodies of two of the child-sized proto-humans lie stabbed and stripped in the middle of the hall. More bodies, these of human men and women, populate several of the cells. A winding passage beyond the block leads to a small guardroom, a circular trapdoor yawns open in the corner.

Investigation of the trapdoor’s depths reveal a glimmering cube of animated ooze lurking below. Clever use of fire and oil dispatches the ooze, but not without putting Bedruan in harm’s way. Further investigation of the lower passage reveals a cell block. Within these cells, lie the remains of 5 humans, for of which are piled in a storage room. In addition, the body of a tortured, male true elf is found chained naked to the wall of a solitary passage. The adventurers resolved to collect that body of all of them in order to provide for a proper burial.

Finally, within a storage room crate, the party discovers a fine suit of elven-styled chainmail and a exquisitely made scimitar, again of elven design. Also, in a backpack, they discover two potions and a letter written in flowing elven script. On the back of the letter is a map. Burdened by the body of the dead true elf, the three adventurers returned to the surface to regroup with their allies.

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New Allies; New Threats

Emerging from the ruined castle, the party is confronted by several squads of lizardfolk warriors. Unlike the reptilians with which they were familiar, these creatures seem friendly enough and, dare I say it, nearly civilized. The lizardfolk leader insists the party accompany them back to their village. Vastly outnumbered, the party sees no choice but to agree. However, once the lizardfolk lay eyes on Hiya, the warriors become instantly more amicable, referring to the True Elf as some sort of Chosen One.

The trip to the lizardfolk village takes less than a day, mostly by water. The party is led to a tor in the center of the village, upon which they meet Zelthiss of the Vine, a druidess and apparent leader of the lizardfolk. This druidess, members of the party realize, was the same who led the group of lizardfolk that ambushed the wool cart on the road to Hawkshome. Zelthiss is quite interested in how the party arrived to this unfamiliar land and suggests that it is according to a Lizardfolk prophecy. She offers the party lodging for their stay in the village.

The party determines to seek out the Rahasia indicated in the letter they found in the dead elf’s belongings. They acquire a boat to take them back north, past the ruined castle and beyond Father’s Knuckle. An uneventful journey brings the party to a small village near the base of Father’s Knuckle, or Grey Mountain, is it is referred to locally. They meet Rahasia, who is inexplicably identical to Hiya, but is not deaf. They agree to aid her in saving father and betrothed, as well as the Siswa monks who are under the mind control powers of the evil Rahib. They descend into the temple and face down several of the Siswa, who attack without provocation. The party overcomes their onslaught with ease.

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More Allies; More Threats
or Resetting needle traps is probably not hygienic

The adventurers continue their exploration of the chambers of the Siswa, and in the process find a sleeping elf, snuggling his sack full of odds and ends, on one of the woven mats. The elf introduces himself as Hapgood and claims to be hallucinating, which is probably true. Searches of the rest of the curtained chambers reveal a trapped chest that shoots a poisoned dart into poor Renfro Gripa, knocking him senseless for a few surprisingly jovial and not at all tense seconds. The newcomer searches among the discarded needles, searching for some with poison intact. Unfortunately for the DM, he finds one.

The party, disguised as Siswa, engages a pair of actual Siswa, defeating them easily. Then, realizing they had neglected a doorway, they proceed back and enter the Siswa’s dining room. Perplexed by strange writing stating “Enter” and “Exit” on two alcoves, the party steps into the one labeled “Enter,” and nothing happens. Proceeding to the other alcove, they enter, one by one, and reappear a half day away in a garbage heap in the middle of a small bog.

Working their way back to the temple, they party passes through the Elf Village where they learn that Rahasia never returned from escorting them to the temple. Hurriedly, the party returns to the temple and enters through the front door. Traveling through a small sanctuary, the party proceeds down a long hallway into, apparently, another teleportation portal. Emerging from the hallway before them is a massive cube of ooze. An attempt to retreat back through the portal falls, apparently they are one-way only. Regardless, the party is able to successfully defeat the cube without being engulfed and digested.

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Like Lambs to the Slaughter
or Hand hand hand hand jobbed

Puddles of cube oozing into the paving stones behind them, the party explores a doorway leading into a cavernous central chamber. A massive statue looms over an alter on a raised area of the chamber. Behind the alter, a black robed, hooded figure burns incense. Despite is mediation, he notices the party’s approach (most notably, Bedruan the Huntsman), and disappears in a flash of light and a puff of smoke. Almost immediately, the statue behind the alter rumbles and quakes, plaster crumbling off large segments to reveal a skeletal, four-armed giant. That monstrosity pursues the party from the room, but they fail to escape unscathed, as Bedruan takes a significant blow from the creature during the rout. As soon as the party fled the room, the giant skeleton returned to its inert position behind the alter, now standing in the ruins of the statue.

Unperturbed, the party continues their exploration of the corridors, reluctant to enter any alcoves for fear of being teleported to an unknown destination. Before long, yet another gelatinous cube is drawn toward the adventurers. In an attempt to pit foe vs. foe, Bedruan lures the cube back into the large chamber, hoping to again draw the bone golem’s ire and perhaps trick it into stepping within the cube itself. Unfortunately, despite the bounty hunter’s best efforts, he remains unable to trigger the giant.

Hapgood is far more lucky in that endeavor. As the alchemist stands before the altar, the golem once again springs to life, descending upon the hapless elf and striking him to the ground. Bedruan sprints across the room, grabs Hapgood by the collar, and drags him from the chamber before the giant can strike the killing blow. Through the arcane arts of Renfro, the alchemist is stabilized, but hardly mobile. The party realizes that perhaps the Siswa robes everyone but Hapgood is wearing serve as sufficient disguises to approach the bone golem.

Bedruan tests the theory, and confirms it. He discovers a trapdoor beneath the alter and scouts ahead into an octagonal chamber. Therein, he encounters the spirit of Rahasia’s father who speaks of his death by the Rahib’s hand, of allies in the Dragon Guard and Hasan, and of an even darker evil of which the Rahib is merely a pawn.

Bedruan returns, collects the party, and (using Renfro’s magic) makes Hapgood invisible long enough to bring him past the bone golem. Investigation of the chambers below discovers the Rahib’s study, as well as a secret door to his private chambers. Two black panthers in the bedroom attack, and the party defeats them easily. However, Hapgood the elf, who had remained in the safety of the octagonal room, is discovered dead, his head crushed. Who could have done such a foul deed? A slight stirring of the air brings the faintest hint of Rahasia’s father’s voice, “The Rahiiiib.”

With no way to determine which way the murder fled, the party continues their exploration of the lower levels rooms. In doing so, they are acquainted with a new ally, Ular-Taman, the dragon serpent guarding of the wizard Elyas’s tower. Seeing that he party is of relatively good heart and mind, he relates the story of the tower and of the three witches imprisoned there. In addition, he gifts to the party a black jade ring, and explains that it must be combined with Rahasia’s father’s pendent in order to truly defeat the witch sisters. Beyond the dragon guard lies a tunnel into Elyas’s tower.

The party returns to the octagonal room and explores the dungeons to the south. Within the cells, they find yet more allies to their cause of freeing Rahasia and the other maidens: Hasan, Rahasia’s betrothed; Baik Telor, a human fighter from desert lands; and an unnamed elven cavalier.

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Beneath the Fallen Tower Part 1
or Deep underground and still great cell service!

Following the advice of Hasan, the party sneaks back to the main level of the temple. Before long, they discover the missing talisman that, when combined with the black jade ring, forms an artifact of unknown power against evil.

Before entering the tunnel to Elyas’s tower, Ular-Taman provides the parting with a divine bless, healing their wounds and restoring their vigor.

The party carefully navigates the lower level of the tower. They are ambushed by several bandits who succumb quickly to the party’s wrath. In the twisting corridors, beyond the strange illusions and traps laid by Elyas, the party discovers the wizard’s laboratory, as well as cells, from which they rescue a young elf maid.

Further exploration reveals the tower’s library and map room. Beyond the map room, a secret door leads to a dark stairwell that descends and turns to the right.

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