- Wickett, female human fighter
- Jillian, female human rogue
- Egg Fu, male human monk
- Doc, male human cleric of Kelemvor (formerly of Torm)
- Gideon, male human paladin of Torm
- Stump, male human barbarian
7 Uktar, 98 NR
Today’s XP: 1,700 each
After patching up Egg Fu’s injuries from the frenzied karradan attack, the adventurers continued their journey through the canyon. The next encounter proved to be rather… unexpected. (But then, aren’t most of them unexpected?)
An ancient, massive tree stood in the middle of the canyon floor. The titanic, apparently-dead tree stood well over 200 feet tall, and at its base the trunk had to be fully fifty feet in diameter.
Wrapped all the way around the base of the tree was a crudely-built wooden hut. Trails of smoke could be seen rising from holes in its thatched roof, and a single huge door appeared to be its only entrance. Roughly 30 feet from the door was a large brass bell, hanging from one of the bigger lower branches of the tree. And pacing around the hut was its guardian – a white-furred wolf, even larger than the one Stump had spotted the night before!
The wolf obviously spotted the party and halted, waiting. Gideon decided to try befriending the beast and tossed it a hunk of polar bear meat. The wolf enjoyed the snack, but still growled menacingly when the paladin tried to approach.
Meanwhile, Egg Fu and Jillian checked out the brass bell. The wolf seemed to ignore them, but once they rang the bell it got up and calmly walked off down the canyon! The adventurers looked at each other puzzledly, but then they heard a loud clunk from behind the hut’s door.
Gideon knocked at the door several times before finally pushing it open; a gravelly voice told them to come on in. A wizened, old figure sat on a thick mat inside the well-lit hut. The ugly old woman, wrapped in grungy black robes, identified herself as Batu Chaigatai the seer. She claimed she’d been expecting them for some time, and asked if they wanted their fortunes told.
Gideon, Stump and Doc were skeptical, but the others stepped up in their stead. Wickett was the first to pay the old half-orc, and Batu made a big show of preparing herself.
- Wickett: Thousands of swords hung in a frozen sky. The swords had to be broken to save the world and end the madness.
- Jillian: Three fires bring strength. Three rains bring sorrow. Three moons bring madness.
- Egg Fu: Batu saw much pain and betrayal in Egg’s future, and hard choices that would have to be made. A red axe would be a very important part of this.
- Stump (who finally decided to give it a try): Batu saw Stump standing beneath a spider the size of a house, and the spider breathed a wash of fire that engulfed the barbarian.
- Gideon (who tried to call the old woman a fraud): One very small man struggled to keep a giant set of scales from tipping one way or the other. This is too much for one man, and he would fail. His future will be filled with dread.
Doc flatly refused to allow the old woman to read his fortune in the flames.
With little else to discuss, the party left the hut.
As they left Batu called out to Doc, “Watch out for the blue lights…”
They forged ahead through the deepening snow, and right about dusk they finally spied the Talons of the Horned King. The canyon widened considerably, and just at the valley’s entrance the adventurers could see a glowing ball of blue light flitting back and forth about twenty feet overhead. The ball didn’t seem to react to their approach at all, but they were nearly taken by surprise when a strange creature burst from a close-by snowdrift. It was apparently made entirely of snow, in a vaguely humanoid shape, and it attacked ferociously. A second one jumped into the fight as well, but this one blasted the party with a burst of razor-sharp ice shards. Thankfully, neither had the chance to loose another icy blast before they were taken down by the party’s skillful swings and thrusts. Someone (I think it was Egg Fu, but I could be wrong) had heard a vague tale of aberrant creatures, called driftmen, that were made entirely of snow. These seemed to fit that description readily enough.
The blue light turned out to be harmless enough, even when Doc shot a crossbow bolt right through the heart of it (although the quarrel did get fried into ashes). Nobody wanted to try to touch it after that…
As the group approached the closest set of Talons, they spotted two flashes of firelight twinkling in the distance. One was off to the east; the other, to the northwest, was shining next to what appeared to be a huge red flag fluttering and snapping in the cold wind.
Also, they could see the face of the Horned King himself. The titanic face was several hundred feet across, and strange hundred-feet-tall spires that looked like the spikes of a crown jutted from the ground around the top of the head. Two groups of smaller spires, several hundred feet away, looked much like clawed hands trying to break free of the ground’s stony grasp.
And finally, they could see what appeared to be ruined walls, the crumbling remains of a good-sized building, far off to the east.
They decided to investigate the red flag first, and found the wreckage of what had to be Boris Rassylov’s flying machine. The “flag” turned out to be a gigantic, red silk balloon attached to what looked to be a metal carriage without any wheels. Both the carriage and the silk balloon were riddled with scorched holes, and though they found a bit of blood inside, there was no sign of Boris anywhere.
A flickering light still burned in a nearly-empty lantern, proving that there had been someone here within the last two hours…
The adventurers decided to check out the building ruins next, with a small detour to check out the other fire – it looked like a campfire – on the way there.
It did turn out to be a campfire, with a trio of orcs huddled around it. The party tried to approach peacefully, but the orc leader screamed obscenities and ordered her guards to attack. The orcs immediately drew their blades and charged, while their boss cast a strange ice-based defensive spell. Wickett was quick to respond, and moved to intercept the two orc warriors. She easily ducked a wild swing, then stepped inside the blow and delivered an awe-inspiring uppercut blow with her weapon. The unfortunate orc’s head came clean off! It sailed in a perfect arc over the astonished leader – spraying blood as it flew – and the two orcs’ eyes met in a brief moment of bewilderment!
Wickett too advantage of the other orc warrior’s momentary pause, and chopped him down with a deadly bash to the head. The orcs’ leader, face spattered with blood, decided to bail and tried to run through the snow. Stump outdistanced her easily and tackled her to the ground. They tied up the orc and dragged her over by the fire so they could get themselves warm while they questioned her.
She identified herself as Oghul. (Hey! We have a letter for you from Mukhur! We killed him!) Between the incriminating evidence in the letter and her own admissions, it’s pretty much been confirmed that Oghul and the rest of the Broken Moon tribe ain’t very nice people. Oghul and her guards were headed to the building ruins to scope them out as a possible new base of operations, but they hadn’t gotten there yet. The party didn’t want to kill the prisoner in cold blood, so they secured her hands (and mouth, since she IS a spellcaster) and brought her along.
The building ruin (the guide’s map had it marked as a monastery) is little more than a set of crumbling walls outlining where a building used to be. But in the center of what used to be the main building, they found something obviously new.
A stone obelisk, about ten feet high, held many carved images and words in several languages (including the Common tongue). Some of the symbols on the obelisk were faintly glowing, obvious in the moonlight. It appeared to be a rudimentary translation of the odd images they’d seen on the “fallen star,” the strange metal cylinder they’d found blocking the canyon that morning. Around the stone’s base words were carved, again in several languages. The words in Common read,
Free the twin swords from glass prisons
And the Horned King shall be healed at last.
After carefully copying down these images and words, the group moved on to investigate the rest of the ruins. But as they entered the next area, they were all startled to hear a strange whining noise followed by a deep THOOM! that they felt through their feet.
Gideon was the first to peek around a corner to see what made this strange sound; he looked, his eyes grew wide, and he quickly retreated back to the rest of the party. “BIG spider!” he whispered. Wickett decided to try hopping over the intervening wall to catch the spider by surprise; she landed right next to a strange mechanical spider far bigger than a horse! Thankfully it completely ignored her. At first.
The spider moved. The rest of the group looked up in horror as the HUGE automaton lifted its head over the crumbling wall and sprayed almost everyone in the party with a blast of flames!
Gideon pulled a vial of oil from his pack and threw it into the mechanical monster’s face, fortuitously covering its “eyes” with the viscous liquid and partially blinding it.
The spider got in its licks though, and gave almost as good as it got. It was far faster than anyone expected of an automaton or clockwork golem, and it very nearly killed several party members before Wickett finally bashed and broke something that caused the whole thing to collapse into a heap of scrap metal.
- End of Session. -
DM Notes: A good session, I think. Sorry this one took so long to get typed up, and congrats to all for surviving to your next character level!