Fendale

The One With the Return of the Miraculous Growing Dwarves

We come back in to the story with a single captive (who is currently unconscious) tied up and the raft still floating slowly down the river. We quickly pole the raft over the side of the river and spend the next hour looting the raft and waiting for the prisoner to wake up. To everyone’s surprise nothing unusual happens and as the captive slowly groans awake Yaris gets to questioning.

-Why did you attack us? I just follow orders
-Where were you taking us? Sloop-de-woop (their village)
-Were you going to hand us over to someone when we got there? Maybe, like I said I don’t make the decisions
-What’s up the opposite way on the river? Dwarven city, fish people don’t like them. They’re assholes. Mean and NOT stupid
-What about past your village? Couple more cities. Some more fish people cities. Drow, dwarves, some gnolls (but they like to move around), area they don’t go (Deep father says not to)
-Who’s the deep father? I don’t know, you’ll have to talk to Clib-de-vula (that’s what I heard) back at our village
-Do you worship the deep father? Hard question. I like not dying and so far he’s done that so…yeah sure!
-How did you get upriver? We swam (and pulled the raft)
-Do you have a map? What? No! Who’d buy a map anyways? You’ve really never been here have you?
-Are we going to be able to walk there (does the beach extend that far)? Probably not? I’m not really sure, never done it myself
-If we took you to your village would you try and negotiate peaceful terms with us? (We don’t actually want to kill you all) – Uhhhh, sure I’ll do my best.

Melna and Yaris opt to trade off doing shark-scouting duty to watch for any sudden ambush and off we head. The prison is kept tied up for now despite many protests. As we head off we do finally ask his name and find out that he goes by Blippy Dooly-Boop the 4th (until we’re his friends at least)

After a couple of hours we emerge into a large lake area (which we found out isn’t Dark Lake, instead Dark Lake is the whole underground system, rivers and all. This is just one part of it). Blippy gives us a new heading and so we fashion paddles out of bucklers and other left over implements while also tying one of the druid-sharks to help pull the raft. After a couple hours of ungodly boredom with no sign of other life at all besides some random critters we’re finally too exhausted to continue, and so find a small cover to pull the raft in to and settle down to take a nap and eat some fish that Yaris caught during his vigilance. Settling down to a tasty meal of fish (slightly slimy) and good berries (yay component pouch!) we rest for a time.

During Tor’s portion of the watch a mysterious small boat slowly drifts into view. It’s apparently empty although Tor’s lack of darkvision makes it difficult to see for sure. He pokes Yaris awake (hooray meditation) who also takes a look – but also sees nothing but some boxes piled on top. Not seeing anything immediately threatening we opt to leave the boat alone and just keep a careful watch on it (it just sits there bobbing in the water).

Another hour passes with nothing more unusual happening. Suddenly Tor and Yaris are both smashed in the side of the head with large (dwarven) hammers as two dark-skinned dwarves suddenly appear in a very Klingon Bird-Of-Prey-esque attack. They both yell pretty loudly (it really hurt) which luckily startles the rest of the party awake. Some exchanging of blows happens when Melna – still a bit groggy from Tor’s shrill yell – tries out a new spell of hers and casts MOONBEAM. Luckily she specced into the Orbital Laser variety and it completely disinigrates one of the dwarves in a white hot beam of pure moon goodness. At this another dwarf yells from behind Melna and smacks her in the side – but she is mostly unharmed. Yaris and Tor finish off one of the remaining dwarves and as they turn towards the final one he glances around and immediately grapples Melna and pulls her onto the boat, which immediately starts moving away from the shore with suspicious oar marks splashing in the water.

Luckily they aren’t moving very fast so Tor takes a running jump and, while a bit awkward, manages to not only land in the boat but also shove what is likely an invisible dwarf into the water. He looks as shocked as everyone else.

Not to be left out of the fun Yaris takes a leap (still as a wolf) and also leaps into the fray, making the boat wobble quite a bit but not managing to knock anyone else off.

Melna is less than pleased with being taken prisoner, and as the dwarf holding her turns his head to glare at her notices that her eyes are glowing with unnatural light. He has time to mouth off an “Oh shi-” before another moonbeam blasts out of the ceiling and turns him into a molten pile of slag.

The other 2 dwarves aren’t messing around any more and immediately turn visible and start getting larger (and larger). Another dwarf is finished off and as the party turns towards the final dwarf he yells to the air “Azmodius give me strength!” and roars with primal vigor. (Side note – these dwarves are minions of the god Azmodius who is one of the 9 lords of Hell. Which is how they get their crazy invisibility/growing powers)

Regardless of this Azmodius nonsense we dispatch the two dwarves (after the one who fell in the water jumps back on the boat from the island) without too much difficulty. Moon beams > lord of hell and his minions.

Luckily Bloopy is still there (he pretends to be asleep but appears to be shaking slightly). The view fades to black as the party sets to piling the loot onto the boat and resting from their wounds…

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The One With the Sudden But Inevitable Betrayal

The party goes back to the entrance on the left where the gnolls and other creature disappeared down. It’s a bit of a tight squeeze so Yaris has to do the whole collapse-his-ribs thing wolves can apparently do. And once inside we are forced into single file for a couple hundred feet. Eventually though it opens up into a rounded room where the dead form of one of the gnolls appears, with one of the creatures standing over the body of another. It rips its claws out of the head of the second gnoll and then turns towards us and starts to make a clacking noise with its claws again. Over its shoulders the party can see a hole in the ceiling of the room – possibly large enough for the other creature to escape out of.

Tor tries to sit down for a rest, which the monster doesn’t seem to appreciate as it immediately throws one of the Gnoll bodies at Tor (How very rude!) and then advancing menacingly. Given this obviously aggressive display the party opts to GTFO, and thankfully the creature doesn’t follow. We scurry back to the end of the hallway and take a long-deserved rest (which is surprisingly uneventful).

On the way back we poke our heads into the passageway that the gnolls and creatures orginally came from – it goes on for a bit and then opens up into an empty room before continuing on through the opposite wall. There also is a faint low voice carrying through the darkness. We can’t quite make it out but it does seem to be speaking gnollish, so instead of fighting an army of gnolls we opt to go back and check out the hole in the other room. We’re not scared, it just makes sense.

Back in the hole-room we find it empty except for the body of the gnoll that was thrown at Tor. The other body (and creature) are gone, with a blood trail smear leading up to the hole in the ceiling. The party then sets about tackling the mighty beast that is “climbing a wall”. Yaris goes first and as he pops his head up over the edge he sees the odd sight of the two creatures huddled down over a nest of eggs, with the body of the gnoll ripped to shreds beside them. Slightly disappointed at not having the chance to take some more suddenly-orphaned animals into their care the party leaves the cavern.

Still wary of pissing off a bunch of gnolls we head back down the passageway that we rested in to see where it leads to. It starts to curve off to the right (towards gnoll territory) almost immediately. A passage on the left opens up though and so we abandon the right-hand rule and start taking left turns at every intersection we come to. A few twists and turns later we come across….water! Tor runs up and starts shoveling some into his mouth. He immediately starts retching and gagging – while not the worst thing he has every tasted it’s definitely in the top 5. Consulting with the mineralogy experts in the group he determines that it tastes like sulfur. (Belthos chooses not to make it taste like cake)

We decide to head upstream (with the idea that water sources tend to be higher up and might even lead to a way out). Along the way the party forages for some food (Tor falls in the river while trying to grab a tasty looking mushroom). Otherwise it continues to be a pretty boring walk, and after exhausting themselves the party goes to sleep. While eating breakfast the next morning a raft slowly drifts into view on the river, with a number of strange looking frogmen on it (the same as one of the prisoners from before). Yaris yells out a greeting. The frogmen look at each other and after a bit of deliberation start poling their way over to our side of the river. When they arrive they disembark and start talking to each other in a language that sounds very similar to the drow language. After a bit of this they turn and greet us in turn.

“Please, we’re lost down here. Do you know the way out?” asks Melna.

“Out….?” responds one of the Frogmen, looking quite puzzled

“Yes..to the outside. With the sun?” (Oh god we miss the sun)

“Uhhh…..”

“You know what, do you have a village or something we can go to? Some wise elder we can maybe see?”

“Oh! You want to meet Glop!”

“Yes, Glop. We’d love to meet him”

“There should be room, hop (haha) on and we can be on our way”

And so the party boards and the raft pushes off. They seem to be kind of asocial – standing around and swaying a bit for the most part. Asking about the Drow and Gnolls doesn’t reveal a whole lot – they don’t really like either of them and try to stay away if possible. The Drow also occasionally stay in their village (since Drow are terrible at navigating).

Given their lack of interest the party (Tor excluded) passes the rest of the trip in silence as we lazily float down the river. Without warning a number of them suddenly whip out nets and throw them on us! Knew these guys were acting fishy.

Tor cuts his way out and starts with the punching, Belthos seems fine with the net and instead just makes a couple of them fall asleep, Melna grabs the net with a fiery hand and burninates her way out while Yaris also cuts his way out and then immediately WOLFIFIES!

Meanwhile the toad people are grabbing spears that were lying around on the boat and strap on tiny little bucklers. One even has some sort of contraption on the end of his spear – a sort of grabby pincer thing – which he immediatley uses to grapple Tor with.

….insert more fighting sequences here, including the grappling dude casting some sort of spell on himself which makes him glow white…

Many exciting things happen, what with the burning and the stabbing and punching and biting. Eventually though the leader falls (to a ferocious bite from Yaris) and the last 3 frogmen abandon the raft, jumping off and swimming quickly away. Yaris jumps in after them and tries out his form of REEF SHARK! He chases after them, they still seem to be heading down to where they said their village was. He quickly rips two of them to shreds and after a brief struggle with the last manages to finish it off with a jaw to the face.

Swimming back to the boat the party then finishes off one of the sleeping ones and tied up the other.

To be continued….

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The One With Bucky

After spending a bit more time mourning for Eldridth we grab her sword and discuss what plans we have to move forward. A quick decision is made to keep going forward in an attempt to find an end to the bones and (hopefully) more food. The going is slow due to the bones and still casting the ritual spell. But after 2 hours of slogging through that mess an end to the boneyard finally appears! Farther ahead a passageway to the right is revealed, which due to the right-hand-rule is the one we immediately opt to take. As we get close though we hear what sounds like some sort of clacking noise coming from the passageway.

Yaris wolfifies and with his super crazy hearing manages to also hear what sounds like maniacal laughter coming from that passageway (hyena from Lion King maniacal, not mad scientist). He slowly approaches and as he gets within a few feet a large mass starts squeezing itself out of the hole. It has a vulture-like head with hook-like hands and a large body covered in a carapace like a beetles. Pleasent. True to form Yaris greets it by biting it right in the leg and attempting to drag it out of the hole, ripping a large chunk out of the leg. The thing isn’t pleased about this and raises its hook-hands high while clacking them together and then brings them smashing down into Yaris’ side.

After the rest of the party whacks it a few times more the first beast rips its hooks out of Yaris, taking a large chunk of his side with it. This proves to be a bit more for him though and he reverts back to elf form and is thrown against a nearby wall. As this happens the other one finally squeezes out of the hole and takes a wild swing at Yaris – but misjudges the distance due to him suddenly turning back into an elf so whiffs the air above Yaris’ limp body. Good planning Yaris!

Belthos whispers some terrible-horrible-no-good-things into the hurt ones ears and it runs off (not screaming though, oddly it doesn’t seem to be making any noise). Having no choice Tor turns towards the other one. A bit wary of the amount of damage these things seem to be taking and dealing he waves his arms and attempts to ask the creature to stop attacking but it doesn’t seem to understand. Ah well, he punches it instead. Yaris re-wolfs and squares off with the remaining beast.

While this happens a pack of small humanoid beasts (the source of the laughter it would appear) appears down the passageway and rushes towards us. They’re yelling something which we can’t really make out…Yeenoghu being a word they seem to be repeating. Melna turns back towards the beast and attempts to communicate to it in Terran, but that also doesn’t seem to have any effect.

The beast, hearing the noise from the passageway behind, takes one look at the hyena-like things and immediately rushes off into a tunnel on the far side of the passageway. That doesn’t bode well for our intrepid party…Melna takes action and attempts to shove Yaris (still a very large wolf) out of the way to try and avoid being trampled. She partially suceeds just in time, as they get out of the way the hyena-things fan out of the passage and seem slightly shocked to see the party standing there. A couple of them continue chasing after the beast but the rest turn towards the party and charge with their pointy spears aimed right at us.

Tor sees that Belthos is in danger and so runs up to punch the ugliest one, figuring that getting him out of the fight will remove some possible distraction. He punches it right in the ridiculously huge buck teeth but that only suceeds in making it uglier. Enraged by this the two hyena-things poke at Belthos and Tor but miss (probably because of the buck teeth).

Yaris and Melna are engaged with the leader, who lets out a shrill yell. One of the other hyena-things perks up his ears and runs over to sink his sharp little (this wasn’t the buck toothed one) teeth into Melna’s side. That seems like a bad idea, but who are we to judge. True to form Melna is none too pleased and releases a thunder wave (wolf be damned) which causes the hyena-things to howl in pain.

Tor continues his facial reconstruction surgery and carves out Bucky’s other tooth. Which doesn’t help the ugly situation. At all. And only makes him angry enough to stab Tor right in the arm with a spear.

Yaris has had enough of this and goes straight for the throat of the leader, ripping it right out in one ferocious lunge. Blood sprays everywhere as Melna also takes the opportunity to de-head one of the remaining minions. And not to be outdone Belthos raises his sword and chops poor old Bucky in half. And so the combat ends in a vicious flurry of bloodletting.

The party commences to looting and manages to find some fancy spear-mace type weapon as well as a couple shiny gemstones. Nice! With that business done Yaris comes back from exploring the surrounding area and motions for the party to follow him. They head down the middle passageway and come across the previously hurt beast thing – which seems to be cowering in a corner. It doesn’t immediately attack but as they party edges closer it starts to scrape its hook-hands against the wall and is clearly agitated. Melna steps up and casts charm person which does seem to help – it seems much less agitated (although still nervous). Out of options to the party settles down for a rest, but as soon as they do so the creature gets up and starts making its way back towards the passageway that the other one disappeared to. And so with a tired sigh the group packs up again and heads off to track the creature to our hopefully not-deaths…

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The One Where Eldridth Meets and Untimely End

After a restful night (for everyone but Belthos – he has the nightmare again). The party wakes up and discusses options. They decide to have Yaris ritually cast detect magic continuously as they walk (slowly) so they can hopefully detect any other magic symbols like the one they discovered earlier.

A full day passes again without anything unusual happening. The party does manage to forage a good amount of edible plants and roots though to supplement their stocks, and at the end of the day cook up a pretty hearty meal to try and keep spirits up. Belthos again has the nightmare and it’s starting to wear on his psyche a bit (although with presidigtation no one else seems to notice).

Tor takes one of the swords and starts marking the walls as they go along to make sure they aren’t going in circles or anything like that.

A while later we do finally come across another rune, and in fact there are two of them! They appear to be exactly the same as the other one, asides from there being two directly next to each other. Tor pokes at it and then tries to rub at it but nothing appears to happen with that either. How utterly boring. Luckily he still has his fancy hat.

At a loss the party moves on again.

About 30 min later the people with darkvision start seeing a large amount of bones off in the distance. Some of them even appear to be humanoidish – not a great sign. As we get closer the bones continue to appear in the distance with no end in sight. And even better there are a huge variety of creatures represented, some of which we don’t even recognize! The bones are in a variety of states – some broken, some worn, some seemingly new, some still have bits of flesh and/or clothes on them. Investigating them doesn’t seem to cause anything to happen and since it’s the only interesting thing to happen in days of wandering the party opts to keep walking along the field (but still sticking to the right hand rule).

Immediately upon stepping on the bones Yaris freezes, able to think and be aware of things but physically unable to move. This passes though after a minute so we continue on. As we walk along Tor lightheartadely starts kicking a few of the bones along. But very shortly he starts to feel a bit nervousness deep down – like the bones might reach up and bite or grab at him if he doesn’t stop kicking them. Eldridth also starts to look pretty bad and soon collapses again. Melna helps her up and we continue on at a much slower pace.

The bones still keep appearing with no end in sight – and finally we have to stop and take a break. It seems like a good idea to clear the bones (Tor is especially fond of this idea) so Melna has the bright idea of using Thunder Wave. It’ll definitely get the job done…and that it does with a large explosion. Let’s hope there’s nothing unfriendly down here.

Eldridth is still unconscious so the rest of the group takes over her watch. Nothing too much happens during the night but we do notice that the random ambient noise (echoes and such) seem to be less down here. Nothing magical about it but kind of weird. Belthos and Tor provide the nights entertainment with some faint music from Belthos and a skull-puppet show by Tor. The rest of the party is a bit weirded out by it but let it slide.

In the “morning” Eldridth does wake up thankfully, and while still not in the greatest shape is good enough to walk on her own. One hearty meal of egg-flavored mushrooms later we continue on. It is noted that we only have about a days worth of food left and after a brief discussion the vote is to continue on with the hopes that something exciting happens soon.

And something exciting does happen in the form of the bones shifting under us and – surprise! – a bunch of skeletons start to form around us. Yaris mutters something about calling it as the party readies themselves…

Melna and Tor immediately team up to destroy one before it can even fully form – a mix of swords and fists dismantling it back into separate bones.

The skeletons finish forming and it soon becomes apparent that these particular skeletons have some nasty looking claws at the ends of their hands, which they immediately take to tearing into the more fleshy looking members of the party.

To top things off in the distance a large crunching sound echoes down the hall and quickly resolves it into the form of a large minotaur skeleton barreling down the hall holding a large great axe. Melna – thinking that this isn’t a good thing – makes a pulling motion and large grasping vines start pushing up through the bones to grab at the skele-taur and a skeleton. The skele-taur breaks free without too much trouble but the skeleton is completely enveloped.

Melna has had enough of Eldridth missing all the time so makes another grand gesture and immediately all of the skeletons light up in a bright green faerie fire. Tor and Belthos take full advantage of this and start the process of chopping the remaining skeletons back into their pieces. She also yells for everyone to move away so she can set up the bomb (Thunder Wave), and everyone frantically runs away. We all saw what happens with Thunder Wave…

Once everyone is clear she gathers up what power she can muster and lets loose a huge explosion of sound and bone shards. The two skeletons are completely obliterated, while the skeletaur is smashed to the side and trips over Tor. He dodges to the side and smashes it as it falls past, taking another hunk out of its bony body.

Upset by this turn of events the skeletaur lumbers up and takes a swing at Eldridth….which cuts her in half with a sickening crunch. Better than living a life of slavery I guess. Melna roars in anger at the death of an ally (despite our constant grumbling about her) and repays the skeletaur by chopping its head straight off, after which the rest of its body slowly crumbles apart in a shower of bones.

And thus this episode ends with the party standing victorious in a field of bones with the additional bones of their enemies scattered about them and the blood of a friend splashed across their faces. It could be worse…

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The One Where Tor Makes a Mushroom Hat

With half of the party unconscious, and everyone being definitely a little worse for the wear, Yaris and Tor decide that they should take a short rest and have Yaris go exploring the tunnels to see if there’s a better place to hide that isn’t quite so open. Eldrith also wakes up but still has a broken leg, which Melna takes a look at and uses her apparent wealth of medicinal knowledge to determine that the break isn’t life threatening and should heal in time (or just be magically healed).

Yaris wolfifies and wanders down the hallway to see if there’s a better place to hide. A little ways in he spies some mushrooms which he identifies as being not only edible but also a good source of water! It quickly becomes apparent as well that the tunnel system is quite complex, with branching paths all over the place. Satisfied that they will be able to find a place to hide and recover he heads back – stopping along the way to pick up some delicious mushrooms.

Heading deeper in the cave system the party finds a suitable place to rest and settle down for a long rest. This goes mostly uneventfully, except that Belthos wakes up in a cold sweat, having had some pretty terrible nightmares. Most likely involving getting paid too little for his singing and dancing routine.

The party awakens in a dark cave. Still. Melna solves half of that by producing a bit of flame and the party heads out to try and find a way out of this mess. The place gives off a general creepy, alien vibe with lots of weird echoes and formless shapes in the distance. There’s no sign of any intelligent life, the most is a few small critters and many varieties of fungi. The day (best we can tell) wears on with very little happening to indicate anything that seems like a way out.

After hours of nothing a sudden series of wails echoes down the hall – loud and piercing cries that may belong to some humanoid creature. The whole experience is very unsettling, with the voices seeming to come from a variety of sources. The party marches on while the voices continue to screech – they seem to be especially grating to Eldrith who starts to complain about the sounds and seems visibly nervous about them.

Lee continues to find us delicious mushrooms to eat (we are getting sick of goodberries). During this foraging he manages to find a large mushroom that can be harvested to provide a paper-like substance, as well as having a stalk that can be dried into a bread-like substance. After all this Tor realizes that one thing he’s really missing is a hat, and so he forages for a toadstool cap to use as a hat. And it even has orange and red stripes! He’s so excited by this he pulls the whole thing up by its roots – which releases a cloud of gas straight into his face. It doesn’t seem to have any noticable effect though. Until he starts wandering around aimlessly for a bit. This lasts for about 5 minutes with Tor seemingly being unable to head in any one direction, after which his head clears and he seems fine. And he still has his hat.

The End of the First Day.

The party wakes up mostly refreshed and continues on their dull journey through the cave system. As we’re trudging along though Yaris starts to notice a crudely drawn symbol on the wall. It’s about time to settle down so the party sets up camp while Melna stares at it for 10 minutes before figuring out that it was made magically but doesn’t seem to be harmful in any way.

The part members take turns keeping watch. During his watch (while polishing his amazing hat) he hears what sounds like a faint glorping sound, sort of like slimy footsteps headed towards the camp. Not being able to see in the dark he stumbles over and wakes Yaris up. “HEY YARIS! THERE’S A SLIME OR SOMETHING FOLLOWING US!” Yaris takes matters into his own hands and wakes up the rest of the party – who grumpily rouse themselves. Oddly enough though no one else can hear anything – and when Tor heads down the hallway a bit to investigate he can’t seem to figure out where it’s coming from.

He heads back to the group and Yaris, suspicious now, takes the hat off. Tor reaches for the hat to grab it back – but stops as the noise also disappears. Huh. That’s odd. “So, uh. Who wants to put on the hat?” asks Tor. “It’s for science!”. No one else seems interested though (pretty lame of them really), and in fact Yaris immediately attempts to set the hat on fire. Tor grabs the hat in time though and it only suffers minor singeing, after which he puts it back on. That was a close one. Belthos takes his turn and makes harmless tremors occur in the hat – which shakes Tor a bit. When suddenly a snail crawls out of the mushroom and drops to the floor! And after looking at it closely Tor is thrilled to discover that this is (somehow) the same snail that he found back in the city after their drunken adventures celebrating the return from the pocket dimension maze. Reunited at least the party settles down and finishes their night of rest.

Waking up to a breakfast of steak-flavored goodberries the party heads off again. After walking for a bit a terrible-smelling cloud of green gas quickly envelops the party. Everyone but Belthos starts retching and overall feeling pretty bad. And to make matters worse a horde of small, ape-like creatures come rushing out of the mist and start biting everything in site. Quite rude of them. Belthos is the first to recover by the surprise and waggles his fingers in an attempt to lull some of them to sleep. They’re too busy excitedely biting everything to pay attention though and continue doing what they do best.

The party commences to beating up the intruders. Tor punches one and Melna lights another one on fire. The usual. One of the other ones meanwhile jumps on Eldrith and rips and her neck – tearing out a hunk of skin and causing Eldrith to fall unconscious. It then turns to Melna – and with blood dripping down its chin jumps at her. As it’s leaping through the air it seems to realize that her hand is still on fire though – at which point it starts to panic a bit and unceremoniously crashes into the ground just short of shoving its face into a burning fist. Too bad – that would have been pretty great to see.

Belthos performs some neck-romancy and wipes his hand against her neck to get it well covered in blood – then speaks some demonic words and curses all the horrible monkey things with some terrible weakness. Eldrith is revived by Melna, and immediately grabs a sword and sets to chopping into these annoying little pests. Blows are exchanged but the mighty heroes triumph – with a series of suitably flashy finishing moves.

The gas disappears as the last creature falls. Eldrith is revived (again) with a handful of goodberries, but suddenly seems to lose focus and start muttering under her breath about not wanting to do something. She then collapses on the ground and remains immobile for around 15 minutes, muttering and shaking the whole time. She eventually recovers and ensures everyone that she’s fine now.

Continuing on down the passageways the casters began to start collecting some casting reagents such as sand, blood and micah. Tor spies another one of the orange and red striped mushrooms, but this one is even bigger and has brighter stripes! He rushes towards it and, being careful to cover his mouth this time, slices the top off and makes himself a brand new hat.

And thus ends yet another day in the dark depths below…

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The One With the Great Spider-Drow War of 888

Topsy, Turvy (halfling twins), Jimjar (betting gnome), Eldrith Feldrin (Earth Genasi) and Buppido (Darrow something or another. Not very talkative) are the NPCs still left with us. The rest of the NPCs are hiding like cowards in their little cell. Oh well, if they want to stay and be slaves then we shouldn’t be the ones to stop them. Being completely exhausted the party settles down for a short rest – which despite the elves still across the way we manage to actually accomplish. Feeling much better we take stock of the situation, with the topic of lighting a Quoggoth on fire and throwing him down to try and see if the waterfall in the cavern leads anywhere.

Whilst discussing options Buppido chimes in, “Don’t forget about the slime at the bottom”.

The party all stops and stares at him, “What was that?” Melna asks.

“The grey slime. It’s taken at least 5 drow since I’ve been here. So I’d suggest not going the route of the waterfall if I were you.”

With that plan put on the backburner Belthos creates some harmless tremors on the spiderweb to try and spook out some spiders. Which works. And shows us that they’re “large”. Quite large. Like, wolf large. What is it with this place and large, unfriendly beasts?

Yaris gets an evil look in his eye and throws a large flaming sphere down at one of the spiders. WHOOSH – the sphere hits the spider and then burns a hole straight through the webbing! The spider falls down into the river with a horrible clicking noise – which is answered by more chittering from all around. Uh-oh. The party readies for combat….

Not finished with his heroics Yaris pulls out his crossbow and shoots a quick shot at the other spider we saw, which grazes it slightly but doesn’t appear to cause any lasting harm. Jimjar steps up and takes a shot at the spider as well, but misses. Before Tor can make a smart remark a wad of spider webbing shoots out of the darkness and completely covers Jimjar. Ew. While the party takes a step back another wad of webbing shoots out and envelops Yaris as well. Double ew. Tor runs up and starts trying to hack him out, and while getting a few good whacks in doesn’t manage to quite break through.

It’s enough though, Yaris roars with rage and explodes out of the cocoon and then immediately turns into…duh duh duuuuuuuh a GIANT SPIDER! Hah, take a taste of your own medicine spiders! Melna and Eldrith turn their attention to Jimjar and slash him free (he’s quite thankful). We also make a cute little leash for Spider-Lee so we don’t kill him on accident. That’d be a shame.

One of the spiders scuttles off into the darkness towards the cage – which some of the party notices and informs Tor. He immediately runs off towards the cage and warns the rest of the people there of the danger and begs them to come over with the rest of the group (safety in numbers ya’know).

Spider-Lee drops down onto the web and using his amazing Spidey Sense is able to detect 10 other spiders on the web. Let’s hope they’re friendly. Feeling this information would be useful to the others he uses his amazing spider skills and attempts to write the number 10 on one of the nearby walls with his webbing. Melna and Belthos are mostly confused at what he’s trying to convey though.

At the cage Tor is still trying to convince the other prisoners to leave, when over the ledge climbs one of the spiders. It immediately scuttles towards Tor and skewers him with his mandibles for way too much damage. Tor is a bit pissed at this and immediately skewers the spider right back (CRIT BATTLE), but the spider is still standing. Thankfully Melna sees his predicament and throws a fireball at its face-area, singing it quite thouroughly but apart from a terrible screeching-skittering sound is still standing. As if in slow motion the spider takes a bite at Tor…but he deftly twists out of the way and avoids the poison covered mandibles. Close one! Using his amazing monk skills he maneuvers into a position under the spider and rams his sword into its head, then runs it down the length of its abdomen and completely disembowels the horrible thing. BRUTAL EXECUTION!

The crowd in the cage are quite impressed with this feat.

Back in spider land Spider-Lee spies the drow watching the party with interest, and decides they should join in on the fun. He skitters up the nearest stalagtite and grabs onto the nearest drow, dragging him back over the ledge into the web below.

Jimjar and Eldrith both manage to actually hit a spider with their crossbows, which is enough of a distraction to cause it to miss biting Belthos. Tor sees this and turns to attack…but slips on the spider guts so only manages to fall facefirst into the ground.

Spider-Lee mauls the Drow he dragged down, quickly dispatching it, then runs over for cover among the rest of the spiders while crossbow bolts rain down around (and into) him. As he does this more Drow start pouring into the room with the rest of them – but then suddenly a large amount of skittering comes from the darkness and a swarm of spiders rush up towards the Drow. Spider-Lee slinks away, his mission accomplished.

Belthos jumps up and pokes the spider standing over him in the eye. Then another eye. Then the last 6. It was dead after the first but he didn’t care. It’s really, really dead now.

Seeing no more spiders in the immediate area Belthos looks around for more things to kill. Peering over the ledge she spies a large spider clicking under her…but before she can shoot it she spies a stylish rope scarf tied around it’s neck. It’s Spider-Lee returned from instigating the Great Spider-Drow Battle of 888.

The party sits back and watches the pitched battle for a while, when suddenly a robed female figure appears. She speaks a commanding phrase in some other language and all the spiders and Drow immediately stop and back down.

The Drow then turns towards the party and yells “YOU WILL GET BACK IN YOUR CAGE. NOW!”

Silence ensues, until Tor speaks up “Wait. How about…how about YOU get in the cage and we stay out here? Yeah!”

She doesn’t seem happy with this and immediately starts speaking some spell – during which a steady droning sound of small wings gets steadily louder.

Melna angrily demands that she explain herself, but the only answer is a huge rush as a huge swarm of wasps fill the stalagtite. Melna, Tor and Belthos all succumb nearly immediately to the swarm and are knocked unconscious. Suddenly the wasp swarm completely dissapates – and with a swoosh of her cloak the cloaked figure walks away. “You have 5 minutes”.

The party argues for a bit but finally decides that the best option is to jump off the ledge (after Eldrith gets fed up and jumps down herself first) through the hole into the river below. Unfortunatley with Turvy and Jimjar unconscious we are forced to leave them and Topsy behind. After bidding a tearful fairwell the party jumps down one by one. Melna and Belthos hit the water hard and are immediately knocked unconscious – but the rest of the party manages to drag them out of the water onto the side of the river. Eldrith is already there but appears to be unconscious as well with a broken leg.

Yaris does a bit of scouting and finds a passageway a little ways off – he returns to Tor and between the two they manage to drag the three other members into the passageway where they settle down for what rest they can.

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The One With the (Somewhat) Great Escape! (Part 2)

….

CRASH! BAM! POW! Combat continues. Belthos continues trying to find some sand, something that is apparently quite difficult even though we’re in an underground cavern. Disgruntled he whispers mean things to one of the Drow who runs away (probably screaming). Then at a loss as to what else to do he checks on our good friend Ront – who now has a giant spider on top of him. Lovely. Tor runs over to the two unconscious allies (Jimjar and the genasi). Jimjar successfully wakes up (and after prompting lets Tor know that yes, he will get him his money). The Earth Genasi is unresponsive though so Tor calls over Melna to help…

The Quoggoth lumber towards the party and take swings at Melna and Yaris. Yaris fends his off successfully but Melna takes a hit, luckily her hardy half-orcish constitution kicks in and lets her hold onto consciousness (but just barely). Topsy and Turvy run over to the earth genasi and attempt to revive her with no apparent effect. Belthos, still on the search for sand, takes a peek around a corner only to find a den of sleepping Quoggoth. Because that doesn’t seem dangerous enough he attempts to sneak up close to see if the door is locked (Be vewy, vewy quiet…) The door squeeeeeeeeeeals open much to his dismay, but the sleeping quoggoth don’t seem to notice. Still a room full of Quoggoth isn’t something the party was looking to face at this momey so he immediately starts looking around for a way to lock the door.

Combat continues – one of the Quoggoth roars with anger as he’s bit again by Yaris. Thinking that this is probably not a good thing for keeping the sleeping Quoggoth sleeping Tor runs over and starts rummaging through the bodies of the guards to try and find some keys. He does managed to find a large iron key but only the one – it looks like the rest of the keys were kept somewhere else.

Yolo has learned some new tricks since last time (wait, something besides magic missle?) and after waving his fingers and mumbling a bit one of the Quoggoths turns green, starts retching and after a few seconds falls to the ground. Why hasn’t he ever done this before?!? But after that impressive display a lone crossbolt bolt nicks him and the poison knocks him into blissful unconsciousness as well.

Tor meanwhile finally remembers that he’s a sneaky monk now and has access to a few useful spells of his own – specifically creating a large sphere of darkness that he throws towards all the elves shooting at the group from above. Hah, let’s see them hit us with their stupid poison arrows now!

Melna lobs a healing spell at the earth genasi which, to the party’s surprise, actually works and the genasi groans and sits up. After a bit of disorientation she sees that the drow problem still hasn’t been solved and so gets right back to punching (Tor would be so proud). Melna is now trapped in the cage though due to the Quoggoth in the doorway, and having been poisoned earlier isn’t able to land any hits, much to her frustration.

3 Quoggoth from the den are awakened by the death roar of one of the other Quoggoth as Yaris mauls it into oblivion. Wish we had gotten that key a bit earlier…

They angrily lumber towards the party (and the giant wolf specifically) just as we take down the last of the initial set of Quoggoth. They set to tearing into Yaris, but thankfully they’ve been watching too many action movies lately and decide to attack in single file so Yaris only suffers a single slash across the snout.

Jimjar misses with his crossbow again. Why did we tell him to pick it up again? At the direction of the party Topsy and Turvy run over to the bridge and prepare an action to cut the bridge if they see any nasty elves stick their stupid pointy ears outside the sphere of darkness. We kind of hope they do too.

Belthos is finally fed up with the lack of any sand (or spells to cast) and so grabs a rock and starts getting to work smashing smaller rocks to see if he can make some himself. Let’s hope that magic isn’t too specific about exactly what “sand” is or how much.

While the rest of the party is locked in combat with the rest of the Quoggoth Belthos spends a while smashing stones together. He’s not the strongest so this takes a while, but eventually he hits success! With a triumphent flourish he throws it towards the Quoggoth and one of them immediately falls over and begins snoring.

Suddenly, in a shining beam of light with angels playing triumphent music behind him, Jimjar steps forward, takes careful aim with his crossbow and shoots the last one square between the issues. Boom, headshot.

Tor, as competitive as always, takes aim himself and also hits! While his doesn’t kill the Quoggoth outright the poison gets to work and it slumps down, slumbering peacefully. Yolo then walks over and hurls a ray of sickness straight into the sleeping Quoggoth’s face, turning him into a puddle of goo. The rest of the party closes in and commences to beating up the last Quoggoth.

Finally free of any immediate concerns the party turns to planning their next actions, noticing meanwhile that crossbow bolts hadn’t been firing from the stalagtite for quite a while now. That can’t be good. Yaris also checks on Ront and informs the party that he’s down there and appears to be wrapped up in silk – but unmoving. Without a way to get him out currently the party decides to try and secure the room the drow previously occupied so they can rest and/or find supplies (especially certain spell components). Yaris checks out the room and finding nothing, has Tor dispels the darkness and the rest of the party moves into the room. And there they find rope! And weapons! And armor! But mostly rope!

With Plan : Save Ront a go now that we have a way to get to him we first tie one of the ropes to the end of the bridge connecting this room to the other one with the door going up, then untie the bridge so it’s hanging down into the chasm. Next Tor is tied to the other rope and slowly lowered into the pit. He quickly runs to Ront and ties the rope around him, then both are quickly pulled up. Yaris cuts him out but sadly determines that Ront has passed. After a quiet moment for his bravery the party settles down for a short rest to catch their breath.

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The One With the (Somewhat) Great Escape!

Meanwhile, 2-3 days ago. Tor awakens to find himself in a dark, smelly cell. He shares this with a number of others :

Derro – talkative, but seems a little “off”. Rambles a lot and thinks very highly of himself. Doesn’t seem to fear the guards at all.
Eldeth – female earth genasi. Captured in a similar manner – joined monastery but found unsettling things she couldn’t explain. Went to sleep one night and woke up here
Jimjar – gnome #1. Caught trying to steal from monastery, thinks this is his punishment. Will bet on anything
Ront – Very abrasive. That’s all
Sarith – Very quiet – keeps to himself. Doesn’t seem to like the others
Shuushar – Froggy guy, speaks a lot about accepting fate, boasts about being a pacifist. Everything happens for a reason, blah blah. Typical hippy.
Stool – Mycinid. Don’t know much about him
Topsy and Turvy – gnome twins. Don’t talk about why they’re there, generally avoid questions about their background. Otherwise pleasent and willing to chat.

Outside of the cage there’s a couple of quoggoth (usually drow servants), as well as a couple of drow guards. Tor and the orc have a striking conversation in which the orc proves to be wonderfully useless. The quoggoth doesn’t even seem to speak Common. Kept in cavernous area that has a gate on it – single entrace, no windows. Typical underground dungeon. Outside there are some ridiculously large stalagtites (like, the drow live in them big). 2 guards outside at nearly all times – only very brief periods between shifts. And besides the guards there are a number of other drow walking about outside. No sign of any of the cultists.

Listening to the guards doesn’t prove useful as they only speak Undercommon. The keys to the cage are held by a female drow that seems like an officer of sorts. Tor asks around to see who is willing to try and escape, but only about half seem to want to escape. So Tor decides to just do it all himself (as usual). He waits until the guards aren’t really paying much attention then casts minor illusion to create an illusion of himself running away. The guards immediately shoot it and dispel the illusion but they’ve been distracted enough for Tor to cast Pass Without Trace and successfully hide (behind a box or something). So sneaky! Too bad he’s stuck in a small room. He finds a nice place under a bed but a guard eventually finds him – and so Tor punches him in the face. And misses. Hey, it’s pretty dark. The guard marches him to the rope ladder and points downwards (Tor attempts to escape here but we won’t go into that failure).

The guard geastures some more and then angrily grabs a crossbow bolt and stabs Tor with it. And of course it’s poisoned. One of the gnome prisoners yells for Tor to just stop resisting, after which a bit of thought Tor decides to heed. Below him some dark shapes scurry around on the darkness. Maybe a good thing he didn’t go down there…

The next day Tor asks the other prisoners more about the area they’re in, how the monastery is involved, etc. Generally it’s agreed that Drow are dicks and no one really has a good idea why they’re here. None of them have been there for more than a few days – but there were other prisoners elsewhere that got taken away. Tor also noticed there was a lift outside the cell seems to be the way out of there.

After a while the rest of the party arrives in a mostly unconscious fashion. Same deal with them – no gear of any kind and shackled. As an added bonus no spells work at all (even beast shape!) Tor passes the flint to Belthos who gets to work carving it into a more suitable lock picky type thing. Melna gets to work glaring at the male orc – who starts pacing angrily and swearing at her in orcish. Making friends the half-orc way!

After a bit of sitting around the female genasi gets up and walks over to the guards. As soon as she reaches the gate she quickly reaches through and grabs the head of one of the guards, smashing it against the bars. (Yup, she was a badass) The other guards immediately shoot her with crossbow bolts, after which she slumps to the floor.

The door opens and guards flood in – as soon as the doors open the party springs into action and makes a dash for the door. Surprisingly a number of the other prisoners follow – the 3 gnomes and the orc. Jimjar takes a bolt immediately (hey, he owed me money!) More bolts fly and Yaris falls asleep, poor guy. Belthos apparently has taken a feather out of the book of the blind chick and makes a fantastic leap over the heads of the surprised drows. Wonderous! And then he runs away. Live to fight another day or some such.

Melna roars and tackles the nearest Drow, picked him up over her shoulder, ran him to the ledge and proceeded to chuck him straight over it. Now THAT’S how it’s done. Tor sees this and decides that while it was all very impressive he probably can’t do the same. So instead he jumps onto the nearest Drow and tries to punch him…and misses horribly. Yolo realizes he’s pretty useless without magic so pulls one of the bolts out of Yaris and screams something unintelligible then attempts to stab the nearest Drow in the face. He learns that wizards aren’t the best at fighting though, so the confused Drow easily fends him off. Some other stuff happens but then Melna, not happy with killing just one Drow and looking to prove her badassery to Ront runs over to the nearest Drow and with a savage roar wraps her arms around his head and twists – snapping his neck with a most satisfying crunch.

Yolo flails around trying to stab something but no one notices.

Some more fighting happens, Tor punches a guy and pulls some organ out of a guys chest. The normal. Meanwhile some other Drow are come over a bridge from the other side of the cavern. Yolo lines up his sights and shoots some magic missles at the post of the bridge, nearly dislodging one. Melna, having run out of targets close by to destroy, runs over to Yaris and cures him of poison. Finally freed of his restful slumber he awakens the beast and tears into the nearest Quoggoth. Tor is curious whether the Drow are immune to their own poison so grabs the nearest crossbow and shoots one of the elves across the bridge, who immediately falls unconscious. That answers that question!

Suddenly time freezes, it seems that the results of this combat will have to wait until next time.

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The One Where We Actually Join a Cult

Current plan : Melna and Tor infiltrate monestary. Belthos sends a letter and waits for a response. Yaris will wait outside and provide backup. NOTHING COULD GO WRONG.

Tor and Melna enter the monastery and are led back into the center room where AotC greets them. They are informed that they will have to relinquish their possessions and given some initiate robes. They are led to a sleeping room full of cots and change into their new wardrobe, after which they are assigned their first chore! Sadly it’s cleaning the floor – and so they get to work. The remainder of the day passes by without incident – the monks about them don’t really do much exciting.

Belthos makes 6 copper with his solo rendition of a “Midsummers Night Hallucination” (written by the famed playwright Shakesword)

The next day continues mostly as the first, with Melna and Tor continue their scrubbing (finding nothing interesting in the kitchen)

Yaris prowls around – gathering food and keeping watch for any suspicious characters.

Tor meanwhile begins asking the other cultist members for some information, basic stuff like where they’re from and what kind of things they are doing. Turns out most of the lower initiates are simple folk – former bandits or just normal village folk who are looking for a calmer life. The monastery offers them protection in turn for fair work. The monastery has a pretty flat organizational structure – all the initiates are on basically the same level with AotC being the leader (but mostly just from a finance perspective – selling the pottery and whatnot)

Melna investigates a bit later that night and finds out that there are a number of Duergar (dark dwarves) patrolling the monastery late that night. They don’t seem to care that she’s walking around and other initiates seem to ignore her.

Tired of not getting a whole lot done Melna and Tor go out exploring at night – none of the other members of the monastery seem to have an issue with this. They find out a bunch of useful information. One of this is a couple of books about the elemental planes – which Tor pockets. Searching around a bit they do also find a scroll which Melna identifies as a scroll of Erupting Earth. Exciting! Tor quickly forges a rough imitation of a magic spell and puts it in the originals place which Melna pockets the scroll.

After discovering that one of the rooms is a distillery that produces some mediocre brandy (which Tor immediately starts drinking. Melna stops him quickly and pushes him out the door before anything too stupid can happen though). It’s getting late so they head back to sleep.

Outside Yaris has sent a response animal to the two inside to see what’s going on. He gets no response though (and the two inside do not receive any communication) so finds a bat to cast send message on again with hopes that it has better luck than the mouse. He then also casts Beast Sense on it to see what happens – only to find out that it did actually deliver the message to something vaguely resembling a half-orc. Too bad bats have terrible vision. Whoops. He’s going to try again in the morning with a bird.

The next day some of the initiates approach Tor and tell him that he is ready to begin the next stage – the long meditation. He is informed that he will be led to the room below the central chamber and blindfolded while meditating until he truly understands the ways of the stone or some nonsense.

Melna is a bit miffed about not being invited along as well – so spends her time finding another animal to send a message to Yaris with. Which Yaris actually recieves! The system works! He then also charms the mouse because having a pet mouse is awesome. Shut up.

Belthos continues to perform and wait for a letter response. Excitement abounds! (We can’t hardly wait)

Tor has some super secret stuff happen to him which is probably horrible but he can’t say.

Melna investigates the room where they took Tor and finds the stairs down blocked by a large wooden board. She tries to move it but is stopped by a cultist and told to leave. She comes back as a mouse but is unable to get through the door to the basement.

Later that night she goes to investigate more of the monastery and investigates one of the stairs that lead down. She goes downstairs to find a large room with a number of bones in it and a door leading to the west. The skeletons immediatley start to assemble themselves into something more able to kill her – not very nice at all. And so she runs back up the stairs, because fighting a horde of skeletons by ones self is typically not a good idea.

Escaping safely Melna sends a message to Yaris (and Belthos who has suddenly reappeared), which contains a plea for help. Yaris and Belthos then begin work on sneaking into the monastery themselves. Yaris finds a tiny bird to convince to fly around and get in – after a long journey through rooms it actually finds Melna and speaks one word. “K.” Hopefully she gets the point.

Melna is then approached by the culstists and offered the same deal as Tor. She accepts and is lead off to “meditate”. (Let’s hope she doesn’t die like Tor probably has)

Yaris and Belthos all meet up in the monastery at night (it’s dark!) and sneak around to try and find out what happened to poor ole’ Tor. They go back to the central room and try to move the board again, but are unable to do so without making a lot of noise. So that’s out (FOR NOW).

In the main chamber Yaris hears footsteps, so him and Belthos hide behind the statue. The footsteps enter and a booming voice rings out “Why don’t you just step out from there and save me the trouble?” Yaris responds with a cat-like meow. Nothing happens. Surprise. Well, nothing except for 2 dwarves popping into existence and immediately starting to grow. The usual.

After a short battle in which they are both beaten up quite badly, Yaris grabs Belthos (who has fainted) in his wolfy teeth and runs away as fast as he can. They don’t get too far though before AotC and another robed woman enter the room. AotC gestures and the floor rises up to create a wall – blocking the two in with the dwarves and woman. One of the dwarves has also managed to grapple Yaris, holding him in place for the time being.

The crazy blindfolded lady proceeds to beat the wolf into unconsciousness without much trouble. Jeez. Fade to black….

Meanwhile back to Melna she is taken down and left in a chamber. After a while a door closes and some footsteps leave, they were apparently there the whole time. Creepers. After a while she hears some heavy footsteps and a set of claws grabs her. She rips off the blindfold and finds herself face to face with an Umber Hulk, but falls unconscious after fighting briefly.

And so the day ends on a slightly down note…

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The One Where We Consider Joining a Cult

After a excellent rest (during which the party suddenly learned how to do many amazing things) we wander to the market to try and sell some of our loot. A couple of the smaller
items are sold for small amounts easily, but the armour is determined to be worth much more (~1500g more). The only person willing to entertain the concept is someone who offers
us 800g for both sets. We argue for a bit and get nowhere so we leave and try to find a place to store the armour while we are out adventuring. We find a safety deposit box for
a 50g deposit + 1g day which seems reasonable.

All the accounting business done we then head to the sheriffs office to report the bandits on the road. It turns out this has been happening a lot lately, so much that they
are going to be adding patrols on the roads. They recognize the symbol but have no further information about it since no one has been able to bring back any evidence until us.
The crimes are typically small, just stealing supplies and food from merchants on the roads.

We then head off on the road to Omford (the small port town) to find a ship to carry us to Bayford.

Not a couple of minutes out of town we heard a screeching call come from the sky. Looking up we see EXACTLY 10 winged creatures (basically humanoid eagles) diving towards us
at high speeds with javelins in hand. Epic music begins playing in the background and so the party prepares to fight….

Eager to try out his new spells, Belthos mumbles a bit and rolls some sand around in his hand then gestures at the wheeling groups. 2 of the bird-men go limp and hurtle to the ground,
hitting it at high speeds with a bone-shattering crunch.

Melna also has some new tricks, one of which is to summon the equivalent of a moonbeam orbital cannon. Two of the bird-men creatures are engulfed and squawk horribly as their
feathers begin to smoulder.

Yaris, not having a ranged attack, stomps over and cuts the head off of one of the downed bird-men. (Rule # 2 – Double-tap) He should really invest in a ranged weapon.

A couple of the bird-men dive down, one of them tackling Tor. He then rips off the pounch from Tor’s belt and throws it to the other ones, who rip it open and fish the handkerchief
from the contents. “Qwaah, where did you did get this?” queries the bird-man.

YOU COULD HAVE JUST ASKED!” Tor manages to spit out from under the smothering mass of the bird-man pinning him down. “And anyways, it’s not ours. We got it as part of an investigation
in Rorkhaven” Melna offers.

Before anyone gets a chance to respond a series of bolts flies from Yolo’s fingers – smashing into the side of the 4 bird-men on the ground. Their buddies in the sky cry
angrily and dive down upon the party, tackling both Belthos and Yolo to the ground.

Belthos leans in closely and whispers in the ear of the one grappling her – but it just shakes its head a bit but doesn’t seem otherwise affected.

Melna steps in the middle of everyone and at the top of her lungs yells “EVERYONE JUST STOP!”. The bird-men who aren’t grappling people right now put their spears down and glare
at Melna. “We didn’t come to fight you” continues Melna, “we’re on the trail of an Earth Cult that has been harassing us”. The bird-man grappling Tor lets him up, “You’re
fighting the Earth Cult?” he asks, “I hate those bastards! So where did you get the handkerchief then?”. We then explain our adventures for the past couple of days. When
we’re done the bird-men advise us to not carry any symbols of the earth or water cults around. Apparently people can sense stuff like that even though it’s not magical. We
let them burn the handkerchief and tear up the symbol of the earth cult that Lee had lying around. They then go on to explain that they are only here because there’s some
large planar alignment dealy going on right now and the air sect is just trying to keep the balance. The earth and water are destructive in nature, while they don’t know
what fire is up to.

(We also find out that they’re more like planar guardians, not necessarily followers or members of the sect)

We ask for help getting to Bayford, and while they don’t outright refuse they seem hesitant. But they do say that if we see their kind again it will be for help. So don’t
kill them next time. We also find out that they can actually die (whoops).

All that business concluded we bid farewell and they head off after picking up their two fallen comrades (whoops again).

Continuing on our way we finally make it to the small town of Omford. We travel to the docks and head toward a ship manned by 2 water Genasi and a halfing. “Greetings, we’re
looking for passage to Bayford” says Melna. “Well now, that we can provide. Assuming of course…that you have the coin to make it worth my while”. After some haggling we
come to an agreement for passage there and back for 3g, with the stipulation that he stay at least 1 day in the harbor to wait for us.

Belthos heads to the inn to perform, while everyone else heads out to explore the town to see if they can find anything interesting. Tor finds a rock but nothing else
of importance and so the party retires for the night. In the morning they wake up and head off.

Along the way Yaris spots a keep with some people inside (seem more like brigands in how they dress), a boat comes out from it and hails our boat. Our captain hails back
and we pass without incident. Asking the captain about it reveals that they are “protectors” of sort of the river, the captains pay them a bit of money and they keep watch on
the river to make sure nothing happens.

The rest of the trip goes without incident. Arriving in Bayford we ask the portmaster if he’s seen pottery like the bowl we have. Turns out it is made by a monastery
about a day and a half ride from the city. We saddle up and immediately head out. Arriving at the building we find that it’s located in a box canyon, but the place seems
mostly empty. Knocking on the door reveals a small slot, out of which a monk wearing a golden gargoyle mask peers out. We ask about the pottery and while they do indeed
make it here they are not currently selling any of it. Inquiring further we find out that they make the pottery to “get closer to Fendale”.

Tor finally remembers that he’s a monk and while he doesn’t know anything about this particular monestary still manages to find out that they’re part of the “Order of the
Sacred Stone”. Tor then asks if he could meet with the leader of this sect since he’s been sent on a diplomatic mission from his own temple to keep relations open between
the two orders. After a bit the door clicks open and we are welcomed in. Tor “suggests” that Yaris and Belthos stay outside, while the rest continue inside.

The party inside travels through a few short corridors and enter a small inner courtyard, at the north end of which there is a large pair of bronze doors emblazoned with
the earth cult symbol. Flanking the doors are a pair of gargoyles facing inside. Our guide leads us past the gargoyles. Tor asks about them and finds out that they are
revered here for being stoic beings that are usually used as guardians for important things or places (but the guide says they aren’t guarding anything specifically, they
just want to emulate that behavior)

Outside meanwhile Belthos causes trouble by first attempting to sneak in after the group, but Yaris grabs him by the scruff of the neck and holds him until the doors close.
Shortly after though he wiggles his way out of Yaris’ grip and bounds off to look for a way to get in. He discovers a servents entrance around the side. Yaris is following
him and when he sees him try to go for the entrance turns into a wolf and attempts to grapple him again. Belthos turns out and whispers angrily – but Yaris continues on
and bites a large chunk out of Belthos’ side. They continue to roll around (well, Yaris just finishes beating Belthos down). After knocking him unconscious Yaris then
tries to avoid further mishaps by tying Yaris up.

Back inside the party is led to a room with a man in the center, wearing robes that look familiar. Not only that but he seems oddly familiar himself…it turns out that it’s
our friend Asshole on the Ceiling! He doesn’t seem to recognize us as well. Tor and the leader talk about the monastaries for a bit – but AotC doesn’t seem to be interested
He does imply that Tor might be able to join the monestary though – and he even offers to extend the invitation to the others (who Tor says is his hired help) if they’re
dedicated enough. Yolo keeps blabbering on about pots which AotC doesn’t seem to like so he demands that the others leave. Going back and forth we finally agree that the
group will decide who is dedicated enough to join and will return once we have that figured out.

Tons of bickering later the party finally comes up with a plan. Tor, Melna and Yolo will attempt to infiltrate the monastery by joining the cult. Belthos will head back to
town to send a letter to Lazlowe’s informing them of everything we’ve learned about the earth cultists so far. Yaris will stay outside and keep watch – with the inside
people reporting to him as possible.

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