At Andrew’s (Andrew, Daz, Gerry & Kadon)
Written by Gerry
Setting out from the Merchant’s Daughter, the party saw Benock Sul’raavea (the Bowyer) waiting on the front porch of his property. He called out “N’ehirrim” (outrider), and waved them over. Riding up, he spoke to Cel in elvish – “I hear you’re heading North. You know what’s in that direction?” He said that with some expectation that Cel would understand what he was intimating. After a brief exchange, Cel told the party to ride ahead while he spoke a little longer with Benock. Cel told Benock of their intentions, and that certain Elves, such as Nimbreh, knew of the investigation. Cel understood they were venturing into formerly Elvish territory; he also said that if he came across any indication of an Elvish aspect to the investigation, he’d consult with Elves, including Benock before taking further steps. Benock invited Cel to dinner that evening, which Cel accepted.
The party rode north roughly an hour and reached the logging camp. Riding on, they made their way down into Zargath’s Fall (the graben), descending through forest. After a short time, Cel heard some buzzing ahead, and then a larger noise as something made its way through the forest to their left towards the buzzing noise. The horses became agitated. Cel dismounted and moved ahead melting into the forest.
Durathror sent Clank up, and then telepathically viewed the surroundings through its eyes. He found a bear breaking open a beehive in a tree. Further on, Clank found a clearing and two small bears. The party then decided to take a wide circle to the right around the cubs, avoiding a potentially unfortunate encounter.
Descending to the bottom of the rift, the trees thinned. Continuing north, they made their way across the valley and approached the escarpment on the other side. Coming across the path and tracks of the human, they determined that they were a little way east of their destination. As they rode on, they encountered a number of large ruins, apparently large building turned to rubble during the Fall. About 11am, they came to the path below the cliff that they’d found yesterday.
Tying the horses up (with Cel’s warhorse left free) in the shelter of some of the ruins, they took their packs up to the cliff along with Ed’s shovel and pick. Ed and Cel dug the hole out further while Durathror sent Clank down the stairs, lit again by a stone thrown down the stairs. Flitting between sconces, observing, and then flying ahead, Clank made his way to the bottom of the stairs as Durathror again channeled his vision through Clank’s eyes. At the bottom of the stairs, Durathror could see the corridor extend 90 degrees to the right, ending 60’ at a door. Eroded mud, rubble and water lay about, with the water puddling, and channeling on a small stream towards the door. Again flitting between scones every 20’ or so, Clank flew up to observe the door. It appeared to be plain wood, reinforced with iron straps, and with a metal ring on the right side. Durathror then brought Clank back.
By then, Ed and Cel had dug out the hole further – tiring work, but not to the extend of being badly fatigued. Casi pointed East and flew off. With no indication as to what he was seeing or doing, they left him to his own devices. Entering, Cel first, they could see the eroded conditions in the stairs, more than just through foot traffic. Jaku cast Light on the top of Emilia’s bow. Cel pulled up the hood on his cloak, melting into the shadows, and made his way to the base of the stairs. Deciding it looked clear, he waved the others down. He then moved ahead. towards the door, looking for pitfalls or tripwires. Getting to the door, he listened – ‘creeeeak, clunk’, pausing for about 6 seconds, then repeating.
Listening for a minute or so, Cel decided that it was mechanical in nature, and not a noise made by a creature. He tossed a pebble back to the stairs, the signal that the party could move up. They came up to the door in quick order. Ed volunteered to turn the door handle while Emilia and Cel covered him with drawn bows. Ed silently counted – ‘one, two, three’ and opened the door into an apparently circular room, about 30’ diameter. Figures were lined up around the walls, with another figure on the ground, immediately to their right. They didn’t appear to be alive – maybe statues?
Moving into the room, they found eleven pairs of figures – wooden frames covered with cloaks and masks like that of the assailant along the walls. The masks were different though, vaguely depicted antelope, boars, deer, elks, hawks, moose, owls, rams, ravens, serpents, and unicorns. They appeared to be paired in diametric opposition to each other. Two cloaks, and one mask (the Elk mask worn by the assailant) were missing. The other missing cloak appeared to be that of a ram. While the party investigated, Cel went to the other door, which was the source of the creak-clunk, seemingly caught on the breeze. Cel tried to closed the door securely, but the latch appeared stuck. He held the door closed by wedging his dagger in the jab, so he could listen – again, he could hear some other sort of regular sound, repeating every 10 seconds, but it was muffled by the door.
The masks were made of Vallenwood – a naturally white wood – with white paint on the outside, and velvet lining the inside. Inscriptions were carved on each of the bases of the frames, again paired to the masks. Durathror wrote them down, while Cel took rubbings of them. Several masks and cloaks were taken by the party.
Attention was then turned to the other door. Repeating the previous procedure, Ed opened the door with Cel and Emilia covering him. Opposite them was a wall. Cel slipped through into the corridor. Looking left, he could see rubble 30’ away, fallen from a rent in the wall in the left of the corridor. 30’ to the right, a door. Moving to the right, Cel followed two sets of booted footprints to the door, no traps evident. The door was arched, and made of Vallenwood, A bas relief of a Vallenwood tree was carved as part of the door. As part of the tree motif, a leaf was carved to the right containing a possible keyhole. A branch of the tree extended and protruded as a wooden loop, presumably the door handle.
Cel returned to tell the party of what he could see. Ed and Emilia headed to the rubble to inspect it – beyond they could the corridor run further, ending in rubble. Ed could hear a splash, and some skittering. They returned to the rest of the group who were now gathered at the door. Cel inspected for traps, and finding none tried to pick the lock. No luck,
Durathror focused and threw magic, twice (Knock), against the door, but it refused to open. While that was happening, Cel withdrew to the door of the circular room to cover the rubble – he, too, could now hear splashing.
Jaku attempted to detect magic on the door, and found evidence of further magics still present. Unwilling to use more magic on the problem, the group came back down the corridor outside the circular room. A discussion ensued as to how to proceed. Any chance at stealth was abandoned due to the resounding noise generated by Durathror’s spells. Settling on advancing on the rubble, discussion turned to who should advance, Ed was assumed, but no-one seemed prepared to accompany him. As the discussion circled around Jaku just started heading down the corridor, Ed joined suit.
Approaching and climbing the rubble to the rent, all heard the splashing noise, Ed signaled back point down, and then started his silent “1, 2, 3” count down before jumping in. A cry, a splash, then silence. As the rest of the party advanced on the rent Jaku saw Ed reach into the water to fetch what he’d smited, but then cried out in pain. Pulling back, he drew forth what appeared to be a mangle, severed forearm, and hand, as he turned his own hand over another severed hand was attached to his arm. Flynn jumped in and knocked the hand away smashing against the wall, and going limp.
Peering in from the rubble, Cel saw a wake in the water moving towards Flynn and Ed. One arrow loosed, and the wake ended, dissipating out into the water, the arrow left sticking up in the air.
The room was 40’ by 50’, vertically offset against the level of the corridor – the roof of this new room as about 5’ above the corridor’s floor level, while the floor of the room was roughly 8’ below that of the corridor. Filled with about a foot of water, it had a rubble mound in the middle of the room, fallen from the ceiling above. A 10’ by 5’ altar stood to the left side of the room, from the party’s perspective. Behind the altar, a door. Diagonally opposite the altar on the other wall, another rent and rubble fallen to the floor. Cel could hear a low voice, speaking in a language he did not know, through that rent. Cel moved to the altar, finding vials – some with ancient elvish script on them – tongs, knives and other items.
More voices – on alert, they saw a hand reach through from the void and then something quickly flipped out and into the water. Standing up, it had dark, grey skin, and generic features – small eyes, barely a nose, holes for ears, and clad in rotten fabric. Cel loosed an arrow, hitting it squarely in the shoulder, but not doing as much damage as he expected.
As Ed and Flynn ran towards the creature, preparing for its attack, Cel shot true, striking the other shoulder, but again it seemed to shake it off. In an unfamiliar language it cried out, sounding something like ‘Oo kark gool dahn!’. The creature rips out the arrow in its left shoulder, then rushed forward, but Flynn struck first with his rapier, followed by dagger; on sinking his dagger into it, he gave it a cruel twist. The creature, screeching, fell down at the edge of the rubble island, apparently dead, its arm resting on the shore. A different screech returned from the void.
Ed stood his ground over the fallen creature, as Emilia jumped into the room. She joined Cel by the altar, but was wary of the void beyond the hole in the wall. Durathror remained in the corridor watching the water for unexpected movement.
Just then another of the figures leaped into the room. Ready for trouble Emilia fired on this new combatant, striking it in the torso, just as 2 crawling hands moved into the water from the hole in the far wall.
… (I need to fill in some blanks here) …
- Benock Sul’raavea , male elf bowyer
- North Nordenwelt Wilds
- Logging site
- Unknown elven ruins
- The Merchant’s Daughter (inn)