At Andrew’s (Andrew, Gerry, Daz & Herb)
Written by Gerry
Cel sent Casi up to scout ahead and look for clearings or other obstacles. Casi flew off, taking Jaku with him after Jaku left his pack with Ed. Cel scouted ahead. Veering north, then north-west, then hooking back to the north-east, the path wound through the forest. Travelling about 150’, Cel looked back and could see the glow of the fire through the forest to the south. Rats ran past, and birds broke from their roosts and flew north.
Back in the clearing, the fire ignited the webbing in the pit, turning into a fireball as it rapidly combusted. A roiling yellow mist bubbled up out of the pit, bubbling where it touched the fire and extinguishing it as it spread. The team in the clearing headed north down the path and catching up with Cel who was waiting for them.
Cel moved ahead again, coming out to a clearing where the ground had fallen away. Ahead of him, he could see a brush covered hill that was oddly symmetrical. On the roof was a glowing stone, dropped by Jaku. On further inspection, it was the dome of what appeared to be an Elder house rising up out of the collapsed area. Heading back quietly to the remainder of the crew, he told them of what he’d found. They moved forward quietly.
In the clearing, on the same level and to the right, they could see ruins of what appeared to be one wing of the building. Creeping forward, Cel looked down into the fallen area, seeing the remainder of the building below him. A narrow path – more like a break in the wall of the cliff-face, worked its way down from the entry to the clearing to the building below. On closer inspection, Cel found tracks – a humanoid had exited and returned very recently to the building.
As Cel worked further round into the ruins to the right, he could see the rear of the dome was damaged, potentially from the fall. A slip from their current ground-level ran into the dome. A wisp of smoke curled up from a fireplace in the other wing below them, on the other side of the dome. The area appeared to be otherwise devoid of threat.
Casi circled above with Jaku. The party called Casi down, and Jaku rejoined the group on the ground. Casi flew back to inspect the fire and yellow mist to see whether the threat persisted, or had abated. Birds continued to fly north from time to time.
Moving over to the ruins on the right, the team gathered themselves and discussed options. Durathror used his last charge of the wand; the mask was very near, and he was pointed in the direction of the building. So near that it almost felt like he was looking through the mask. Anger began to boil inside him. Jaku said a prayer of healing, restoring the party to nearly full strength.
Cel moved further past the upper ruins to get a clearer look into the dome. It was darkened inside, but not unnaturally. He could see a dais, with a throne upon it, at the northern end of the domed room. A further wing of the building headed north, with Elderwood trees beyond, their canopies interlacing and lightly covering much of the clearing. Durathror prepared a ritual to detect magic. Once cast, nothing immediately declared itself to be magical in nature.
With Ed’s help, Cel dropped down a rope onto the steep slip, and quietly proceeded into the dome room. It appeared to have been used as a wolf den, but not recently – certainly not as recently as the footprints at the top of the fall. Bones and fur were strewn across the floor. Cel hid, waiting for Durathror to message him to coordinate their movements.
Casi reported back; the mist had grown up out of the pit, filling that clearing, and into the trees nearby but didn’t appear to be growing any further. The fire was out.
The remainder of the party moves back to the head of the path that descended down into the fall. They gingerly made their way down, with a couple of slips and slides, but made it in one piece. Durathror could now sense magic ahead in the building. Moving up to one of the slatted windows, they could hear movement. Looking through a slat that was slightly ajar, they could see some barrels. Ed boosted Durathror for a closer look; he noticed a small child’s chair, with what appeared to be a doll sitting on it. The doll glowed. It appeared to be an elven doll, clay, with long silver hair tied back in two ponytails.
By way of message, Durathror and Cel discussed the situation. Cel opened the door leading into the dome, removed a branch that pinned the doors closed from the inside. There was some scraping against the wall, but no-one appeared to respond to the sound. The party then entered the room that the doll was in, attempting to be as quiet as possible. Ed slipped in, followed by Emilia and Cel. A voice – the doll; ‘Master wasn’t expecting visitors…’ Ed replied, asking if they could make an appointment. ‘I don’t know…’ replied the doll. Cel noticed the mask on one of the desks in the room.
Assuming that ‘the Master’ had been alerted, the team broke through a nearby door into the next room; in there they found a young half elf, holding a staff, in another doorway. A pot, containing some form of stew, bubbled on a fire nearby. The half elf cast magic, a storm of wind beginning to swirl around him, his staff glowing. Ed charged up, buffeted and slowed by the wind, missing with the swing of his axe. The half elf struck back, badly injuring Ed. Emilia and Cel both moved in different directions into the room, and loosed arrows at their opponent. Durathror threw magical missiles, striking his assailant thrice. After Cel’s arrow struck, the half elf’s magical vortex failed, and he collapsed to the ground.
Jaku rushed up, stabilising him before he bled out, then proceeding to tie him up, blindfolding and gagging him. Durathror found a cog-shaped medallion on him. Moving into the next room to clear it, Cel and Ed found the a bed covered in old rugs and other materials. At the foot of the bed was a chest, the lock in the shape of an ivy leaf. Cel pulled out his lockpicks – successfully picking the lock after inspecting for traps, he found an old elven bow inside, its bowstring gone. A rotted quiver contained 13 arrows, made of fine wood with a light sheen upon them. The fletching was still intact. Durathror could sense magic upon them.
After determining that nothing else was to be found in the chest, the half-elf was tossed in, and the chest re-locked. Moving back through to the first room that they’d entered, the doll again spoke about the master not expecting visitors. The mask was still on the desk, but didn’t glow under Durathor’s detection of magic.
A number of papers were on the desk, written in Elvish. A quick scan by Durathror and Jaku found mention of ‘Zargath research’, notes on the grey-skinned humanoid creatures, found in the other ruins, mentioning their high resilience, of sacred sites ‘magnifying power’, and diagrams of dissected worms, with a label of ‘GRICK’.
Past the doll, a bookshelf contained something glowing. On inspection, a sai (or rapier) was located and handed to Jaku. Durathror also found a small glowing globe which he recognised as a drift globe. In the last room that hadn’t yet been entered, another desk with a few more papers. They included mention of ‘a movement’, and talk of organisation.
- Ed Brightaxe, male dwarf former soldier
- North Nordenwelt Wilds
- Zargath’s Fall
- Spider Haunt Woods
- Elder Hall Ruins
- Zargath’s Fall