Conquering the Barbarian Altanis: Session 24
|Sinai||Cleric level 3||White-robbed beduin, worshipper of Bukera, The Silent Scorpion.|
|Rhovar||Fighter level 2||A generic Nordic guy.|
|Adkin the Butcher||Fighter level 2||A hot headed warrior quick to fury trained by Marco Vitelli, retired quartermaster of the army of the Invincible Overlord.|
|Rad||Thief level 1||A young, short and malnourished rogue.|
|Amanda Hugencuise||Thief level 4||A new girl in town, claiming to be foreign exchange student, up for some “exciting missions” and enjoying the local cuisine.|
|Gon'd'elf||Elf level 2||“Surely magnificent, am I not?” is his favourite opener. Works every time, 40% of the time.|
Sinai's report linked at the end of the post.
Warmshade 6th, Airday
“Please, I keep dreaming him! I see him in a black, tar black hole. He is suffering! But it is not a dream! It is real! I know it is! I beg of you, please rescue him! Please!” a heavily distraught woman pleaded with Rad, a Hydra Company officer. “He is in a dark hole! Lost and scared! And there is this hairy creature with him... Oh, please, I beg of you!”
“Miss, please calm down. We will take care of it. Can you tell us more about his location or anything?” alas, the woman was getting more and more upset, and had little to offer except possibility to inspect her husband's workshop.
A month passed since she visited Rad, and she was overjoyed to receive his visit. The party rummaged through his belongings while she described her dear husband “Oh, he stands over six feet tall with long, gorgeous blond hair. A smile that melts peoples' hearts! Very wise and gifted man. We were so happy, but one day he decided that he wants more for us. He joined a band of adventurers who sorely needed his arcane talent. It went fine for some time, but then they went missing...”
Indeed, most of scroll and books were on arcane matters. They did find mentions of a “lost city” with a supposedly “vast library of long forgotten knowledge.” No maps could be found, although the entries indicated that the entrance might be where from “whence the Whitecrown Stream emerges.”
“Penelope, we will take care of your husband. But we must research more about his whereabouts.” Unfortunately no sage was to be found in all of Antil. They did learn about Drommo, a divination extraordinaire. Apparently, he visits Antil once a month.
“You know what? We could visit those peasants that sought our help as well. I mean, they are on our way anyway, right?”
And so the party consisting of Sinai and his three followers Herat, Phelim “The Scorpion”, and Norna “The Repulsive”; Rhovar, Adkin “The Butcher”, Rad, Amanda, and Gon'd'elf with his two trusty retainers Ariad and Ehrman, started preparing for their expedition.
Warmshade 8th, Earthday
What a sight to behold! Heavily armed and armoured party of twelve, ridding their magnificent steeds through the Gates of Antil! A banner depicting the purple, three-headed hydra, fluttered against the wind as they galloped along the coast of Romilion Sea. Fearless! Glorious! Unabated!
They scoffed at villagers of Kestizar; crossed the River Highcourse unchallenged; and rode to the heart of Bathdawn with gentleness of Great Thabrian Khans of Old. Peasants fled for their lives—some threw themselves into the wheat fields, others ran into their modest huts, and whomever remained soiled themselves.
“Fear not, we are here to help!” Adkin The Butcher announced striking the Hydra banner into the ground. An eternity later, two young—broad shouldered and red skinned—men walked out to face them. Both were visibly shaking, but tried their best to hide it.
“Y-You said you a-are here to h-h-help us?”
“D-Do you know Winslow? T-The fighter we asked for help in Antil?”
“I know not him; but he too was an office in our glorious company! We are here to offer our assistance with your problem!”
Colden, the cool one, and Eilif, the stuttering one, did their best in describing the happenings that have been plaguing them for months now. First, some cattle went missing. Then, people started going missing as well. They are all perplexed since there are no carcasses left. They did find some sort of sticky white residue from time to time, but it was so unfamiliar they've simply ignored it.
Whilst searching for his brother, Eilif found his armband close to the rocky banks of a small river in the hills. The trail disappeared down into a fissure in the limestone rock. He was too scared to go into the darkness... Hence they sought out warriors who'd be willing to help them.
“Take us there!”
Leaving Herat behind to guard the horses, the party followed a fast-running stream into the fissure... They traversed a narrow and uneven path, ever watching not to hit their head on the hanging stalactites, nor to slip on the treacherous floor. They were chilled by the fresh stream. After some half an hour, they found where it terminates—a waterfall.
Rad, secured with a rope around his waist, edged closer and closer. A fungal (or mossy?) overgrowth crusted on the southern cavern wall caught his attention. Alas, it was so interesting he slipped and lost footing. Waterfall was quick to pull him down, and gallons of ice-cold water poured down his back. Luckily, his friends quickly pulled him up.
Unsure how to proceed, the party spent an hour discussing different plans. “How about we build a dam?” “What about re-routing the stream and waiting for whatever is inside to come out?” “Maybe if we get a bunch of sheep and use them as bait?” “That moss is evil! We have to scrape or burn it!” “Anybody got climbing hooks? We can nail them to the ceiling and have one of the thieves traverse it from above?”
“Maybe I can take another peek?”
And so Rad approached the waterfall once more. Having learned his lesson, this time he went on all four, ensuring he doesn't slip. The crusted fungus looked like it sprawls down into the darkness. There seemed to be holes in it as well, as if for climbing. Another curiosity caught his attention as well. There was a wooden pipe, roughly five feet below the waterfall, that seemed to be fed by the flow of water. It hung in the air and followed the northern cave wall.
“Hold me guys, I'm going down!”
And down he went. A large, wet cavern it was. The stream continued south-east. Following it led him to a narrower tunnel flanked on both sides by an extraordinarily ugly plants. Both looked as if they were growing straight out of the rock. A group of tendril-like appendages hung from their bottom side. Rad took a shot at one; it responded by releasing some goo and flattening itself against the cave wall.
Unwilling to proceed further alone, Rad inspected the cavern once more. This time he found that the stream actually splits in two before reconnecting. The smaller flow seemed to run through a hand-made canal that has a small pool to the side. There he found a small wooden casket which contained a wooden key. He went straight back to inform other adventurers of his findings.
“Are we sure these plants are evil? I'm not willing to go around exterminating life on potentially erroneous assumptions.” Gon'd'elf offered. After some back and forth, Amanda decided to come closer and see if plants actually do anything. Indeed, as she came within ten feet of the northern plant, it attempted to lash out by flattening itself against the cavern wall, and then bouncing of it. Amanda was too quick and experienced to fall on such trick, and was quickly out of danger.
It didn't take long until both plants were filled with arrows.
Down the tunnel was yet another waterfall, but this time so wide there was no clear access point. There was a round wooden indentation on one side of the tunnel, and a small wooden box on the other side. The latter had a keyhole. Lo and behold, the key Rad found fit in perfectly.
Turning the key triggered the round door-like wooden indentation to come out and divert the flow of water to a narrow canal to the side, revealing natural looking wooden-rung ladder going down. After brief descent, the party ran into a four-way intersection. A large growth of the wood in the middle of the junction divided the stream into three parts, guiding them down the central channel of each tunnel. So far all the encountered wooden object seemed naturally grown.
Without any leads, the party decided to flow the west tunnel. Even without a dwarf they could feel they are descending. It was a long, winding tunnel. Nothing but the stream and their armour clanking could be heard. After some time they passed by a cavern whose entrance seemed blocked b ropy pillars of fungus growth. They moved on, following the stream.
Much to their surprise, they encountered a waterwheel connected to a large wooden box. A funnel fed into it. Clicking and creaking noise came from inside the box, as did a strong smell of fish. One of the members dared to open it, revealing some sort of mincing device producing a pinkish paste.
Proceeding further, they encountered a T-shaped junction. The southern tunnel continued visibly downward, and the stream seemed to speed up as well. Stalagmites covered the uneven ground, and stalactites were more numerous then so far. It looked quite difficult to descend. Hence they opted for the eastern tunnel.
They quickly found themselves at what seemed to be another large cave. Nine crooked trees in large earthenware pots were illuminated by bluish light from numerous strands of glowing moss hanging from the ceiling. The floor was grooved, creating three channels from the stream. Each was flowing under three pots.
Sinai felt something was horribly amiss. A feint, but constant, murmuring could be heard. It filled the chamber, and sounded like it was coming from every imaginable direction. The tree closest to them started shivering. Its branches descended down, as if they were arms, and it pulled itself out of the pot. Stretching its warped frame revealed its true size, towering nine feet tall.
Two more trees joined it. The hateful sounds became louder.
Player Session Reports
- Sinai's diary entry
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