Shadowvale

Adventure Log for Session 6+
Death is at the Gate (rewrite)

I woke on the floor in a makeshift bed of skins. My last memory is of a goblin’s pock-marked sword roughly pushing into my abdomen. I know I screamed. Then? Then, I was here in Temple Hearthstone with Priest Drakehammer chanting over me. I’m writing these thoughts quickly, while we wait for Alexey to return. He is scouting around Hammer Hill to see if Konnor Hale needs any assistance.

The whole encounter, right at Hammer Hill’s front door, shocked us. We were at The Bludgeoning Ogre Inn. Drinks flowed nearly as freely as Alexey’s bold retelling of our various adventures. He held the entire inn rapt. During a dramatic pause, while waiting for the story worg to run up the hill at the hapless wizard, we suddenly heard the bell. It took several rings before we realized it was the town alarm.

Aimon and Alexey were first out the door. I followed immediately. Gledrick finished his ale, and Alexey’s, and my mead before coming out. We found Konner, and he directed us to the gate in the walled field. Several groups of guards made their ways to various positions to hold against an attack. As we set up in the field, the old iron gate burst off its hinges and flew into the field. Even the low light of dusk couldn’t mask the seven foot tall creature that charged down the path toward us with a howl. A bugbear, well-known for their incredible strength and ferocity. It brandished a crude morning star and shield, but its size was the true weapon.

As usual, the battle raged quickly. Four goblin warriors, two dogs, and the bugbear poured into the field – a small party merely meant to disrupt, not conquer. One swing of Gledrick’s hammer finished one of the dogs. That’s the third time I’ve seen him do that.

In quick succession, arrows from the right and left lodged deep into the bugbear’s hide. It shrieked and fell, and stirred no more.

A sharp yelp showed Ilirithil to be hit by an arrow. But, hastened by the sting, the great dog pounced and took down the goblin archer.

At last, my Dormireus spell was ready. I looked for my target, sensing Alexey’s misstep at the last minute, and sent my magic whisping toward a tall corn tassle beyond Gledrick. I tore the rose pedals through the middle, and two goblin warriors fell to the ground. Amid the chaos, I think I heard Gledrick say, “Damn wizard!”

Gledrick and Ilirithil flanked the last goblin dog, working in tandem to kill it.

This is when I let my guard down. I walked toward Gledrick, thinking the immediate threat was over. Suddenly, a goblin closed to within striking distance of me. I’m amazed at the speed of the mind during dire situations. Thoughts reeled through me. I can step back. I can duck. Alexey can take him down. Where is Aimon? I’m close to town and could limp back. Aimon can heal.

My panic led to no useful action. I stepped aside, trying to force the goblin to face Alexey, a bigger threat to his life. I swung my quarterstaff to knock out the goblin, but he deftly stepped aside. Aimon was suddenly there, and the goblin quickly dodged the lunging rapier. Then, it happened.

I first realized it when I felt my body double with pain. In slow motion, I looked down to see this pitted steel blade disappearing into my robes. The ground rushed up, but I didn’t feel it stop my fall. The dusk filled my eyes and cold seeped into my body. I saw nothing more.

And now, I’m here in the temple. Alive. Alive and wondering what else happened. Drakehammer told me he used a healing scroll. I shouldn’t be consuming town resources. I told the town council, I’m not a hero. I cannot even save myself. Maybe I should stick to magic research and let the others fight.

Alexey is coming back now. I hope he has good news.

View
Adventure Log for Session 6
Finding Our Way Back Home

Five days. Five long, tiring, wet days. That’s how long it took us to drag ourselves back to Hammer Hill from the northwest wilderness. Gledrick started off very slowly with frequent stops, but by the third day he moved normally. We chose to spend one full day of rest in a sheltered grove as the rains thundered down around us. Aimon hunted and gathered along the way. Alexey tended the fires and helped dry us out.

Just as we found The Lake of the Clouds and recognized some landforms, we met a small militia party from Hammer Hill. They seemed glad to see us, but then reeled with the news of the worgs and hobgoblin riders. I think they proceeded more cautiously as they disappeared again into the forest.

The beautiful sound of ringing hammers welcomed us to town several hours later. I was glad we didn’t arrive during Sun Pass. Tired and dirty as we felt, the town council and Burdic Chainsunder welcomed us with food and drink. We sated ourselves before getting to business. Gledrick’s appetite and thirst, however, seemed insatiable.

We relayed all the adventures of our journey to the northwest. Konnor Hale seemed very interested in the slaughter of the Otygh and the fight against the worg. Master Gamwich drove his point that the blessings of the wilderness sheltered us and enabled our safe return. I think we all felt that. Bella shared the results of interrogating the captive goblin. He claimed that a creature named Grunchek would topple Hammer Hill easily. Apparently, the goblin feared Grunchek more than Hammer Hill. No one had heard this name before. Is he a goblin king? A hobgoblin king? Something else?

At the end of our debriefing, Burdic offered me Master Vontaze‘s bedroom chamber for my own. I gladly accepted and have already started researching his notes. Burdic also told us that Vontaze’s body is resistant to receiving last rights. Volkeam Drakehammer is at a loss. With this unpleasant business out, I asked Bella if she could help research the name Kosmenoark. Any plan for avenging Master Vontaze’s brutal death hinges on this strange name.

View
Maximilian's Recruits
Boys

“They’re boys, Max! Give them time,” said Burdic Chainsunder.

Maximilian shook his head. “Ya didna give me time, Burdic. Ya want these…boys…out on the fields by the Harvest Moon. Look at ’em!”

The two dwarves looked at the recruits training in the yard. Human boys no older than thirteen swung wooden swords at each other, careful to always hit their opponents sword. Dwarves no older than 35 swung weighted hammers at bales of straw. Two young elves of 100 and 90 littered the ground with arrows. It was chaos.

Burdic grimaced while Maximilian’s back was turned. As Max looked back, a smile bloomed in Burdic’s face. “You’ve always succeeded before, Max. You’ll find a way.”

“But na with boys like these,” said Max. “They’re na fit fer trainin’.” He grabbed Burdic’s shoulder and squared him to the training yard. “Ya see the tall lad there? Tha’s Markus. He swings his sword like every stroke must cleave, but he always swings too tall and leaves ’imself open before the strike.”

Max pointed to a portly dwarf whose face was not yet fully committed to a beard. “Tha ones called Bram. When he sees someone swingin’ fer him, he tries to block the strike wit his head. Just look at all the dings in his helm. An thats from wooden swords.”

Max turned to the elves, but words failed him. Elyan gripped an arrow that had become lodged in a wooden post. Both his feet were planted against the post and his derriere bobbed in the air as he tugged. Arianis sat on the ground stroking the soft fletching of an arrow against his cheek and looked off dreamily.

Burdic turned his look from the yard to the pleading eyes of Max. “Thars got ta be a better answer, Burdic. I canna send these boys to face even a single goblin.”

A long sigh seeped from Burdick. “I wish there were a better answer, Max. If the caravan from ”/wikis/yolsk" class=“wiki-page-link”> Yolsk has truly gone missing, we’ll need those boys when harvest time comes. We can pair them with our regular guard, so they won’t be alone. But, this could be a battle for survival. An ill-timed goblin raid could lead to starvation this winter. I doubt the hapless goblins have a concept of our dependence on these crops, but with our luck lately…" Burdick sighed again. “You’ll find a way, Max. You’ve got to.”

View
Adventure Log for Session 5+
Pulling for Gledrick

Aimon’s distant voice cried with desperation. Could it be another worg? He called, and Ilirithil bolted down the slope, across a log, and up the opposite side. Gledrick grabbed his hammer and took off down the slope, splashing across the river. Alexey danced down, leaped onto the log, and nimbly vaulted up the other bank. All were out of sight before I could move.

My body cried for a break, but I forced myself to get up. It was for Aimon. There was no time to pick my way down the slope this time. I hopped down quickly, stood on the exact spot Alexey chose, and jumped for the log. For a split second, both feet were on the slippery log, then they were both in the air over my head. A rough tumble left me with a bruised body, several minor cuts and a broken finger. I was suspended between logs over the rushing waters of the river. My robes were fully tangled, and my attempts to extract myself only brought me snapping branches and The Cough.

Eventually, Alexey was summoned by my vociferous, hacking lungs. He graciously helped to extract me. I slid quickly into the river so that my robes would have a reason to be wet, and headed up the hill to join the party. What I found shocked me. Gledrick lay still with a cool gray tint on his skin and blood pooling around him. Aimon stooped over him working gravely with bandages and herbs. A few feet away lay a hobgoblin – about as tall as me, but with thick muscles and a yellow-gray skin. Aimon’s rapier still danced morbidly back and forth where it struck the final blow through a seam in the strange warrior’s armor.

Of course, we all knew of hobgoblins. Until now, they’d only been distant creatures that made war among their various tribes in the valleys beyond the Dragon Spine. What could it mean to find him here? We would search him, but for the moment all our attention was on Gledrick. Aimon seemed to stop the visible bleeding. Master Vontaze once lectured us on invisible bleeding, a wound in the body that can cause death just like an open wound. I worry about such a thing with Gledrick now. Aimon said we wouldn’t be able to move him. So, we made the dwarf comfortable, and I took first watch since sleep was a long way off.

The scavenged items from the hobgoblin asked more questions than they answered. Of course, we found the mundane things we can take back and sell: a light steel shield, a longbow and 10 arrows, a well-crafted long sword, 3gp, 12 sp, and an ornate snuff box in a small leather pouch. The hobgoblin wore some studded leather armor, but that is no longer salable, as Aimon cut out the emblem that was marked on the chest. Our hobgoblin belonged to some tribe or group or mission or…army?

The long sword had the letters TL clearly and professionally etched into the pommel. TL? Tienen Longbrow? He’s a local swordsmith in Hammer Hill.

The snuff box presented a problem as well. It is far to ornate to be made by hobgoblins. It’s known that they have good weapon smiths, but they aren’t known for having artisans. Besides, they aren’t agricultural enough to even grow tobacco or herbal snuff. It is more likely that this was booty of some sort. Possibly, this box and Tienen’s longsword were taken from the caravan. If that’s the case, at least some of the caravan never even made it to Yolsk. We’ll ask Tienen when we get back home.

One last item caused our minds to grasp for meaning. In the hobgoblin’ belt, we pulled a rolled piece of thin, soft leather. I copy it here so I don’t forget. We have some theories about the X marking the location of Hammer Hill. This will take more discussion before we unlock the secrets.

leather.jpg

Good news. Gledrick is stirring a little. Aimon said his eyes were open briefly and he even mumbled something about, “Damn hobgoblin.” Hopefully, we can get him on his feet and move toward home. This has been much more of a trip than I expected. I’m ashamed to say I don’t know that I have what it takes to be an adventurer. How can I rescue Hammer Hill, when I cannot rescue myself? Master Vontaze didn’t prepare me well enough. How could he?

Alexey is here for the watch. Sleep is here as well.

View
Adventure Log for Session 5
Survival

I’m writing this while taking first watch at the end of a long day. Even though I’m physically exhausted, I’m too jittery to actually sleep. I’ve allowed myself a candle for light, since I’m crouched behind some brush. Thankfully, a comforting quiet has ruled the night. Here, I relate the many happenings of our day.

The terror of the howls and the hunt chased us into unknown territory throughout the previous night. We paused at the top of a hill to breathe and get our bearings. None of the features of the land looked familiar. There was no sign of The Lake of the Clouds. Worse, the hunters were gaining on us.

Aimon pointed out that if our only tactic was to run, eventually we would succumb to the stamina and speed of the worgs. He proposed a plan to send Gledrick, Alexey and me down the hill toward a rushing stream while he created a false path continuing on for some distance. We all agreed and gave him some articles of clothing that contained our scents. I started climbing down before the others. The hill wasn’t overly steep, but footing was uncertain. With a half-bell head start, I was still the last one down. While I stepped cautiously, Alexey danced down, and Gledrick rolled. Upon reaching the bottom, we started to slowly move downstream. Ultimately, the water must take us to the lake. Right?

After Ilirithil and Gledrick plopped into the cold water of a small pool, I heard the sound we’d all been dreading. A long, deep howl, not from the top of the hill as we’d expected, but coming from downstream. It stirred us to immediate action. Alexey identified a rocky promontory as the most defensible place. We scurried breathlessly up the slope and looked back down into the river valley. I choked back The Cough and pulled some rose petals out of a pocket to prepare a Dormireus spell to take out the rider and hopefully confuse his mount.

I could see nothing in the brush and fog of the valley. Gledrick stood perfectly still next to me, another formidable stone in this rocky place. Only Alexey’s sharp eyes could pierce the blanket. The strained whisper of his bow foretold the snap that sent an arrow out of view. A roar followed. The next seconds were a blur. I picked the approximate target of the arrow and started my Dormireus spell. A worg burst from the underbrush and raced up the hill right at me. It was the fastest thing I’ve ever seen and I was dismayed to see there was no rider. Gledrick had barely enough time to step in front of it and swing his hammer for a glancing blow. Ilirithil flew in and dove wide of the worg.

Master Vontaze would have been proud. Somehow, with all those worg teeth and growls just two strides away, I maintained focus on my spell. “Spell first,” he used to pound into our heads. I picked out where the arrow disappeared, tore the petals, and reached my left hand toward the target – a perfect cast. If the rider had dismounted there, perhaps I’d laid a heavy sleep on him. I later learned there was no one there.

The worg flashed teeth in all directions. A snap at Gledrick. A bite for Ilirithil. A thrashing of claws. Finally, his fangs found purchase on the back of Ilirithil’s neck. The worg flung Ilirithil around like a child’s strawbaby, casting the big dog to the side with a gushing wound in his neck. Ilirithil didn’t get up, and I suspected he was done.

For the second time, I earned Vontaze’s smile today. He always stressed preparedness. He attempted to surprise his students at any turn, just to see how they prepared. I pulled out the scroll I wrote before this trek, read it aloud, and summoned a large viper next to the worg. Although I knew I could not hold it in the material plane for long, the snake might provide a needed distraction. Each second was critical.

My intended distraction was overly successful. Yes, I successfully summoned the viper from the celestial plane and, yes, it completely distracted the worg. However, I seem to have interrupted the dwarf’s plans as well. He threw aside his hammer, pulled his sword, jumped on his shield, and slid down the slope swinging wildly at the worg. His last second swerve away from the snake threw him off his expected path. His swinging sword missed the worg and found purchase on the slope below his streaking shield. This catapulted Gledrick several yards and sent him tumbling head-over-heels down the slope…(wait for it)…like a rolling stone. Even over the ferocious worg, I could hear the sputtered words, “Damn wizard!”

With the dwarf’s sudden disappearance, I completely panicked. There was nothing between me and the worg except my suddenly damp robes and the strong scent of ammonia. (Master Vontaze would not be pleased.) As soon as the viper dissolved back to it’s home plane, I would be fully exposed. I gripped Master Vontaze’s staff of Illusion, prepared to try a different distraction.

A silvery glow whisped over the viper and it began to mist away. It had lasted only seconds, and maybe did more harm than good. The worg looked at me, a wicked, unnatural knowing in it’s eye. My mind flashed wild, consumed only with the urge to live. I raised the staff. As it took a step forward, out of nowhere Ilirithil was suddenly at it’s neck. A vicious dance ensued. Ilirithil led, twisting and curling. The huge worg resisted, but followed the dog’s movements. Ultimately, the massive beast pulled one direction while Ilirithil put all his weight in the other. With a loud crack, the worg fell limp, the last few pathetic breaths leaking from its snout. Its wide yellow eyes menaced me even in death.

I collapsed in a pile of shaking fear and urine. I think I actually cried. Ilirithil fell as well. Gledrick began the climb back up the slope to retrieve his hammer and pride. Alexey scoured the river area for more signs of movement. We survived.

Then came the scream.

View
Hammer Hill Town Council
Planning for Death

Jenilla Winterlash, one of the assistants to the Hammer Hill City Council, checked in on Burdick Chainsunder one last time before turning in.

“Is there anything more you need, sir?”

Burdick looked up from his desk, his eyes veiled by deep thought. The lantern cast sharp shadows over his face. After a pause, he scrunched his eyes momentarily and cleared his throat.

“No, Jenilla. You brought me ale and bread. You fueled the lanterns. You placed spare quills and parchments on the desk. There’s nothing more you could do. Go on and get some rest.” He noted her hesitation, and added with great kindness, “Thank you, and good night.”

Jenilla nodded her head, lingered her eyes on him for a few beats and closed the door as she left. Burdick stared at the door for a moment before turning his eyes and mind back to the troubling figures on the parchment in front of him. Worst case, he told himself again. It’s worst case.

The parchment foretold a dire future.

crops 145 stone fish 86 stone hunt 40 stone stores 32 stone total food 303 stone last winter 418 stone (consumed)

With 430 residents in Hammer Hill, these numbers could mean that over 100 people may starve over the winter. Before sharing this with the rest of the Council, Burdick needed some contingencies.

He dipped his quill and wrote some thoughts:

1. Hargen says he can deliver 160 stone of crops if his luck holds and we can protect the fields from raids. He is working nearly around the clock in the fields.

2. The [[Adventure Log for Session 3+ | young adventurers may find and eliminate the source of the strange poison]]. If so, our fishermen could haul another 15 stone by working into mid-autumn. It is a potential ice risk to boats, but may be worth it.

3. If the snow is light to start the season, we can send out more hunters and take more game – perhaps another 10 stone if we are lucky.

With everything in our favor, and a winter that is not too harsh, we may make it through with only 50-60 deaths.

Burdick dropped his head onto the desk and moaned.

There were two options left. First, we bet on the caravan, which would have more than enough dried auroch and fruits to save the town. Or, second, we send a contingent of 10 guardsmen to escort 40-50 townspeople on the dangerous road to Yolsk. If the Council decided on option two, the travelers would have to leave no later than the first day of autumn, in about 3 weeks.

It will take time to determine who should go and who should stay. He would need to bring this topic up at the next council meeting.

View
Hargen's Fields
Another Risk

Birds, thought Hargen, the Master Grower of Hammer Hill. Birds were now the biggest threat to his crops, especially in the early morning before the children arrived. He scowled at several crows that took wing as he roamed his fields of beans, squash, melons, corn, onions, potatoes, and carrots. With the lack of news from the trade caravan to Yolsk, and the discovery of the dead fish in The Lake of the Clouds, Hargen felt pressure to deliver a record harvest. The town would need everything he could produce to survive the winter. Even so, he could never produce enough for everyone. Some would starve.

Burdic Chainsunder had given Hargen all the resources he needed. City guardsmen roamed the perimeter of the fields to keep the goblin raids at bay. Extra workers were assigned to tend the fields under Hargen’s precise instruction. Even the children of Hammer Hill helped…somewhat. Serving as moving scarecrows, groups of children scared the birds away before they could do much damage. In spite of the dire circumstances, Hargen grinned. Watching a mob of children scurry through the fields had brought a forgotten youth back to his mind. The mass of children carefully hopped over the rows of plants like a rolling wave, afraid of Hargen’s wrath should they trample a precious plant. He lamented the loss of even a single sprout.

Hargen surveyed his failed attempt to grow tomatoes in his small,test field. They wanted more sunlight and warmth than the Dragon’s Spine would permit. Their small, hard fruits soured his mouth, but they, too, would be gathered for the final harvest.

The children’s cries suddenly drew his attention. He stood and looked to the distant woods. Four guards walked calmly across the clearing between the fields and the forest, a strip of open land meant to discourage the goblins. The guards each carried something and the children squealed and shrieked and bounced as the men approached. Hargen pushed through the throng of bobbing children, trying and failing to redirect their interest toward the birds in an adjacent field.

Gorman, a middle-aged guardsman with most of his teeth and little hair proudly held up a huge, half-eaten rat, nearly as large as some of the children, who shrieked again and cowered back. He addressed Hargen, “We heard this foul beast hissing and shrilling in the woods early this morning. And…” he motioned to his companions. Each of the three guardsmen held up a half-starved, nearly hairless, goblin hound pup. Their heads hung at unnatural angles to their lifeless bodies. The mob of children burst into a chorus a noise. “These three,” continued Gorman, “hunted and killed the varmint. But,” he paused dramatically and continued in a low voice, “We took care of ’em.”

Hargen forgot the birds. This giant rat-thing could not be only one of its kind. They posed yet another threat to the crops and he may ask Burdic for additional guardsmen, especially at night. The goblin hounds were also unsettling. Andor had discovered that goblin’s abandoned all but the strongest two pups in each litter. In this way, the goblin hounds over the generations became larger and more fierce. Apparently, the smaller pups now inhabited some of the forest areas around Hammer Hill and had formed into small packs. Without the goblins training the hounds, they would possibly fear the human community and might actually help against the rats. There was no way to tell, and it was too much for Hargen to consider.

“Take those things to Burdic and tell him I’ll need more men if the rats become a problem,” he said with more calm than he felt. He turned to the children and pointed behind them. “Those birds are eating your winter food. Get them gone!” A yelling mass of energetic youth burst into motion, sending waves of bobbing heads over the fields and flocks of birds into the air.

View
Adventure Log for Session 4+
Hunted

While contemplating the puzzle of the strange beast imprisoned in the pool, I heard howls softly on the wind. I shushed the others and we all listened. Several long, low howls were heard downstream, between us and the lake. The howls were too long for a normal wolf or a goblin hound. These creatures sounded much larger, perhaps like a worg or a dire wolf. Gledrick said he picked out maybe eight different howls. We haven’t seen worg in our valley for a long time, but we know they roam the wilderness of the Dragon’s Spine Mountains. Once it was evident that the sounds were moving in our direction, we jumped into action. Aimon pointed us up an embankment, the fastest way out of the swamp. Alexey disappeared into shadow. Gledrick wrapped a blanked over his armor to try to stifle the sound. I grabbed a tail of the blanket and followed closely. This is how the chase started.

We ran, mostly uphill, for the first hour. Several times I had to stop and stifle The Cough. Aimon said he sighted one of them on a ridge, and that it looked like a worg with a rider. Worgs are too large for a goblin to ride, so something else is hunting us. I was unable to catch my breath and go on, until I heard a howl that was jarringly close. Then, we were off and running again. By the sounds, the worgs had spread out to search for us and now only three sounded close. Gledrick found some chamomile root for me to chew. He said it would help me keep The Cough at bay. Aimon found some bitter yarrow root to help give us the strength to keep going. They tasted awful. I’d have paid triple for a pint of honey mead to wash away the flavor, but I think they helped.

After another hour, even with Gledrick’s help, I fell to my hands and knees. I couldn’t go any further for the moment. Aimon thought he heard only one or two still behind us, more distant than before. We allowed ourselves a few minutes to recover our breath. My lungs ached with the effort and The Cough loomed. Far too soon, we started again. This time, I rode on Ilaerothil. He seemed willing, but it was a struggle since he was not used to bearing a rider. It was easier for my breathing, but difficult on my legs and arms as I tried to keep from tumbling off.

Finally, a dim morning began to creep into the forest. The howls still pursued us. There were definitely only two now. But, a worg is so strong I did not believe we could face even one with our fatigue. Although there was a little light, the fog was so thick I couldn’t make out any landmarks. I dismounted and looked around. I couldn’t even see the huge trees of this unknown forest until I could touch them with my staff. We were blind in the heavy, wet air.

I asked and was disheartened to hear that nobody really knew where we were. We knew we started off north and up from the swamp. But, following the contours of the land led us astray. Somewhere to the east, however far, lies The Lake of the Clouds. But, are there other worgs in that direction to cut us off? I admit that I’m frightened. Master Vontaze prepared me for sudden attacks and quick reactions. But, he never talked to me about a slow creeping doom that closes and threatens to overwhelm you.

View
Adventurer's Log for Session 4
More Questions Than Answers

The sounds of battle died with the wet crunch of Gledrick‘s hammer through the last goblin’s skull. We then turned our attention to the black pond – the source of the poison that killed the fish. The water from the stagnant pool spilled its offal over a log and into the stream that fed The Lake of the Clouds. A few sickly reeds poked out of the dark water, but most of the vegetation around the pool had withered. A sour, putrid smell hung in the heavy air, prompting me to swallow back The Cough. I was able to contain it with the help of some cloth wrapped around my nose and mouth.

Our immediate attention, however, was focused on the far side of the pool. Something out of sight beneath a pile of detritus grunted and splashed sending waves of foul blackness over the log and down the stream. For several minutes we inched forward, none of us wanting to get too close to the unknown danger. Ilaerothil growled and bared his teeth, but kept his distance as well. Maestra merely whimpered behind a bush. Finally, with a sound of wrenching metal and snapping wood a huge, horrifying beast burst from the water.

I’ve never witnessed nor heard of such an aberration. It had a pale gray-green body shaped like a monstrous, round stump with three short powerful legs and a gigantic mouth ringed with jagged teeth. Two long tentacles swung wildly in the air, each wielding sharp spikes. A third stalk with an eye bobbed over the top of the creature. It was a nightmare from another world.

My momentary shock was suddenly snapped as two arrows buried themselves deep into the creature’s hide and it howled with rage. Gledrick pushed through the brush to confront the creature. I couldn’t see him through the growth, but I saw the beast shuddered wildly and let out a long hiss. It grabbed the dwarf with one tentacle, lifting him into the air with ease. At the same time, it lashed out with the other, just missing Ilaerothil.

I panicked, and I’m rather embarrassed about my reaction. I stepped to the edge of the pond and cast an acid sphere. This is a weak spell Master Vontaze always taught his novice students. After learning the spell, the apprentices were forced to play the scarecrow, using the spell to kill the rats and rabbits that preyed on Vontaze’s extensive flower gardens. It was effective against the petty leaf thieves, but nearly worthless against this beast. I don’t know what else I could have done, but fear kept me well out of reach of those tentacles.

Gledrick’s face had turned quite red, when another volley of arrows from Aimon and Alexey finished off the creature. It shrieked and slumped into the water, nearly dragging Gledrick down with it.

In the minutes that followed, we discussed the strangeness of finding this creature here. It had been held in place with a chain, which it snapped just before we engaged it. It seemed to have long open wounds and scars along its back. The open wounds oozed with the black poison. Aimon, who must have some familiarity with the creature, noted that they are normally found deep underground (just like the Yellow Musk Creeper in Andor’s house). We found several broken casks that had the same black residue in them. The evidence suggests that this creature was being ‘milked’ for its poison. Were the goblins transporting the poison to a specific location? Were they really targeting the fish as a food source for Hammer Hill, or was that an accident? We all agreed that this level of planning is well beyond the capacity of most goblins. We contemplated these puzzling facts for several minutes.

View
Adventure Log for Session 3+
Goblins and . . .

I woke up well before first light, feeling anxious to start, to put Hammer HIll, and especially Master Vontaze, behind me. I studied my spells with a rigid focus, determined to be ready for an unpredictable day. I vow to always honor Master Vontaze’s memory by my preparedness.

After breaking my fast with black bread, an apple and dried fish, I packed, unpacked, and repacked. I arrived two bells early in the square, and waited for Gledrick, Aimon, and Alexey. Aimon was the first to arrive. Better to say, he was the first I saw. I think Alexey arrived earlier, but I didn’t see him until we were ready to set out. He was just suddenly there. We began the slow trek up the western shore of The Lake of the Clouds. Ilaerothil and Maestra led the way, clearly excited to be out of the city. I was amazed to see Ilaerothil already following some of Aimon’s hand signals, and Maestra trying to mimic the right actions.

After several hours, near the mouth of one of the larger streams, I was halted by… I cannot describe the sensation. It wasn’t a sound, but the breeze did bring a warning to my ear. It wasn’t a scent, but the calm, earthy tones of the nearby bog carried an unpleasantness. It was mostly a feeling that something in the direction of the bog didn’t want to be known, like an assassin behind the drapes. Although I couldn’t explain this sensation to the rest, they agreed to move into the bog to investigate. On the way, I caught a sliver of a voice shredded by the wind. We were right to come this way.

The terrain was very rugged and overgrown. I don’t understand how Alexey and Aimon moved so quietly through it. I struggled to take more than a couple steps without getting caught in the briars, or snapping twigs, or kicking small stones. I tried to be quiet for a little while. Then, I heard Gledrick pushing his way through the growth, clattering his shield against his armor, cursing, and even splashing through the stream. I figured I could be noisy, and nothing would hear me over him. Ilaerothil’s presence also emboldened me.

I don’t know whether Aimon’s arrow came first, or Gledrick’s splash, or the goblins’ charge. Chaos was suddenly everywhere. Aimon fired arrows, ultimately killing three or four. I lost sight of Gledrick across the stream, though I heard a telling ‘splat’ and grunt at one point. And, I never saw nor heard Alexey.

As for me, I experienced the greatest magical connection I have ever experienced. I used Master Vontaze’s staff to cast a Complete Illusion – a spell well beyond my capabilities. I decided to create the image and accompanying sounds of a large warrior coming through the brush. The staff channeled such energy, I could barely hold it. How can I describe it? It was the joy of drunkenness without any of the sourness or side effects. It was like the thrill of falling without the threat of landing. I felt power and control. Maybe this is the siren’s call that has corrupted the ear of Storin. If so, I understand his ambition, but not his lack of restraint.

I’m proud to say my illusion attracted the attention of one of the goblins. It approached, jumping and swinging it’s sword. I wanted the illusion to dodge back, and it did, arching his back and lifting his sword arm. I had hoped to learn more about moving and controlling the illusion, but I didn’t have the chance. Ilaerothil’s hatred for goblins could not be contained. He tore through the undergrowth, lunged, and took out the throat of the goblin in one bite. It was the most vicious attack I’ve ever seen.

My last image of the goblins, was of Gledrick dashing across the stream on a log and arching his hammer through the head of the last goblin. The wet, snapping sound was similar to when Hargen brings the first ripe melon from the field and drops it from the temple tower start the Harvest Festival.

With the goblins done, we now turn our attention to the sounds beyond the pond. I cannot tell what is out of view behind the debris at the far end of the pond, but it is large. By its growl, I expect that it is quite wild. I’m as prepared as Master Vontaze would have me and I’m close to Ilaerothil and Maestra. So, again, I’ll borrow courage from them.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.