Kathy - Vochma
Micah - Cardhu
Mark - Corlis
Ben - Drew
Liz - Quera
Joe - Moth
We began our adventures in Gebnick Glade by preparing for what we assumed would be a fierce fight with the trolls terrorizing the wood. Moth, the guide provided by Elias, joined us, and we divided up some of our previous spoils, made suitable donations to those in town that aided us, and purchased provisions and a stock of oil to roast the trolls with (as they recover quickly from other sorts of wounds). After spending half a day in preparation, we set out, making good time with Moth in the lead.
That night in camp, the guards were disturbed by a group of small humanoids (later identified as gnomes, who were apparently trying to sneak up on our camp. We confronted them, and they first vanished using some sort of spell, then, when we warned them off spoke in confused sentences. The language barrier got the better of us, and they eventually departed. The rest of the night passed quietly.
While traveling this day, we crossed paths with a group of orcs, engaged in some sort of sacrifice in one of the magical clearings in this enchanted wood. Moth suggested that we avoid the situation, which we did. We had bigger fish to fry than a few orcs sacrificing some of their own.
That afternoon, we crossed paths with a group of primitive humans, apparently a hunting party. One of their number was gravely injured, so Drew rendered aid. Impressed by this show of good will and power, the cavemen became fairly friendly, and after some questioning reveal that the elven village of Elmia has been completely wiped out! Since this was Moth's home, we elected to take a brief detour to Elmia, then take the cavemen up on their offer to show us where the survivors of the village had been taken. We agreed to meet then in two days near a particular blasted tree in the woods known to the cavemen and Moth.
We spent the day traveling towards Elmia (which lay almost on our course to the blasted tree and the troll's lair). We avoided an encounter with a group of fairies, and settled in that night for a well deserved rest. Towards morning, the group awakened to find Quera and Drew, who were supposed to be on watch, missing! We quickly mounted a search and discovered they had been kidnapped by leprechauns. After following their trail, finding one of the little fellows, and negotiating for our friends release - which cost us a good quantity of gold and a promise to return their king's ring if we should find it among the troll's loot - the leprechauns released our pair of missing guards. They also agreed to provide us some protection in the woods, managed to return Drew to his human form, and gave Quera an accurate map of Veldman's Needles. We continued our journey, both richer and poorer, reaching Elmia at dusk.
A quick search of the town revealed there were no survivors and, disturbingly, a large number of skeletal remains scattered through the village, perhaps indicating an army of the undead. We elected to spend the night in the town hall, though not without some debate.
That night each party member had a dream about an empty nest, rowing with one oar, and a burning oak tree. No one really had any idea about what this might mean.
The next morning, we explored the area immediately surrounding the village, and found a dying elf. He was one of an order known as Gardeners, who were tied to the Great Druidess. Sadly he was too wounded for us to aid. He did tell us of a chaos portal near the blasted tree, that the trolls were sacrificing villagers to it, and he mentioned the Triple Peaks as well.
After burying the Gardener with due honor, we made our way to the blasted tree and met our cavemen friends. They led us to their primitive village, and we spent the night there in reasonable safety.
Towards midnight, our sleep was disturbed by a group of halflings entering the village, carrying two of their number tied up. They told us about an attack on their shire by vampiric creatures, and showed us the bites on the two tied halflings, who were struggling to get away. Sadly, we dispatched the two transformed creatures, and the village crone treated the ashes of the burnt corpses to prevent their rising again. A quick search revealed that another of the halflings had been bitten, so we again performed the grisly task of slaying a vampiric creature. Once the night's work was complete, we returned to a broken night's sleep.
The next morning, the group, the three remaining halflings (who elected to join us on their own), and our three cavemen guides set out for the troll lair. We found the cave quite easily, and the cavemen took their leave. Cardhu elected to scout ahead into the cave entrance, and quickly encountered a magical ward, which nearly killed him and also set off an alarm within the cavern. We elected to retreat and reconsider our approach. We returned to the caveman village and spent a quite night, while Drew tended to Cardhu's wounds.
We returned to the cave bright and early this rainy day. Determining that further study of the traps was needed to pass them, Drew called up a spell which allowed him to view the traps. He quickly concluded the entrance itself was trapped with numerous undead skeletons scattered in the very earth, while the tunnel leading inward had several glyphs or wards similar to the one Carhdu set off placed along its length. Seeing no way to avoid the traps, Drew took it upon himself to set off the first, then, casting a spell of fire protection on me, allowed me to set of a few more, which did only minor damage. We then discovered a number of kobolds in a side chamber, torturing an elf. I killed one of the kobolds, and the rest quickly surrendered. We freed the elf, and then after a debate among the group members, freed the kobolds as well, warning them to return to their mountain homes and never to return.
The elf told us the sorrowful tale of the fall of Elmia. Apparently they were attacked by hundreds of skeletons accompanied by horned spirits. Before the town fell, their silver began to tarnish, and people seemed to grow weak of their own accord. He also said the kobolds kept asking him about "the eye".
We planned to send the elf back to the caveman village with the halflings, while we continued our exploration, however before they could leave and we could reenter the cave, a group of three trolls put in an appearance, and warned us to leave at once. Vochma used the scroll of fireballs and struck the creatures with two blasts of fire, but the trolls survived! Apparently these were no ordinary trolls. We withdrew to the nearby woods, and a brief time later an emissary from the trolls came out, bearing a message that the trolls would release the remaining prisoners from Elmia if we would leave the area and not return. Seeing the opportunity to free some people, we agreed to the bargain, fully intending to return despite our promise.
The trolls released two more elves, one catatonic, one incoherent, and we send the group on to the caveman village. One of the elves released mentioned white worms feeding on them. Just as we were about to enter the caves again, a group of 30-40 skeletons approached the entrance from the woods, with a number of goblin prisoners in tow. Drew turned some of the skeletons, but a huge white slug-like creature oozed forth from the cave and we elected to retreat rather than face the combined threat.
The skeletons dragged the prisoners into the caves, and a short time later returned and then dug themselves into the ground outside the entrance. After a few moments we began to hear screams from inside the caves.
Facing difficult choices, we elected to try and enter the caves again. We ended up in a pitched battle with a number of kobold archers inside the caverns and skeletons without. Eventually, we managed to clear a path through the skeletons, with all our party intact, though two were unconscious (Drew, pelted with arrows, and Vochma the victim of another poorly thrown oil flask), and Cardhu had his hand and leg stuck together with some sort of gooey spittle from the great white worm (which manifested itself even on the shadow plane). We retreated to the village to rest and reconsider. Perhaps these foes were beyond us.
When we returned to the village we discovered the halflings and elves never made it back. The only signs ever found were an empty boot and part of a head covering.
We spent the day in rest.
We began the day resting, but the old village crone came to us and told us the white worm was coming. The sky darkens, and we hear the strange humming song the worms produce. A number of horned spirits appear near the village and begin to move towards it. The old crone tells us we must leave to drive off the spirits, we agreed to leave, and as we left we could see the spirits retreating from the village. We elected to return to Kernan and see if we could gather some reinforcements.
On the way back, we passed through Elmia again, and were surprised to see Halor lurking in the ruined town. Without hesitation, Moth fired arrows at him, then ran him down and captured him. Apparently our earlier suspicions were correct, and Halor was a dealer of drugs, for Moth revealed that he has been selling swath to the villagers. We tied Halor up and left him for the next morning while we rested for the night.
When we arose the next morning, Moth cast a spell upon Halor which turned him quite friendly and helpful towards us. We asked him numerous questions and discovered that he had been dealing drugs with the trolls, that the humpbacked man in town was also involved, and he is an agent of Baron Stewart, he also wore one of the strange tarnishing amulets, and mentioned "the eye" again. His last words as we slew him were "The eye will take you " A search of his body revealed that Halor had the legs of a goat. We elected to burn the corpse outside of the village, and to destroy all the tarnishing amulets and the silver ring Halor wore as well, first smashing them with rocks, then burning them in the fire, then burying the remains. Moth was struck dumb by a piece of parchment in Halor's possession, which we also burned.
We set out for Kernan again, and the rest of the day passed uneventfully, as we were accompanied by a group of fairy folk who warded us against the dangers of the wood.
We spent this and several subsequent days in quiet travel.
We reached Kernan this day. Our first business was to restore Moth, which Walwyn did for a hefty fee. We next paid a visit to the Duke, and reported all that had transpired, including the death of Halor, the destruction of Elmia, our encounter with the trolls, their mention of the eye, and the appearance of the white worm.
The Duke had news as well. Apparently the King had declared martial law in the area, as he felt the Duke was not keeping the realm in order! Baron Stewart was even now on his way with a group of men-at-arms to enforce the King's will. We told the Duke about Halor and the implication of Baron Stewart in the local drug trade via the hunchback, and perhaps with the arming of the kobolds (the hunchback & Halor used the same gold bars that were stolen from the caravan wagon in a trade we witnessed earlier).
The Duke also told us that a long while ago when he was still and adventurous sort, he attempted to recover the eye from the fallen Temple of Lopnel. Apparently the eye was an artifact of power, and used to banish chaos creatures (the white worms) from our world. The Duke was planning to call a council of his advisors that afternoon, and asked us to return to discuss options the next day. We agree and head to Wanda's for some R&R.
When we reached Wanda's (complete with a newly constructed addition), we discover Felix and Smeely are in the bar. We approached them, and discussed terms for letting them copy our recently acquired map of the Needles (we wondered if this is a good idea, seeing they were agents of the King - or were they?)
We also found Elias, heartbroken at the destruction of Elmia. He released us from our vow to destroy the trolls, saying it is beyond our powers. He also told us a little more about the white worms, saying they were chaos creatures banned by the eye long ago. The eye was apparently made long ago in the Great Northern Empire and was tied somehow to Astregard the Black Worm. Leaving Elias to his mourning, we spoke with Wanda, who indicated that Rayward and Eric the Pious had been looking for us.
We sought out Rayward, and met Eric for the first time. He was most excited at our discovery of the altar cloth of Lopnel, and confirmed that it was the one true cloth. He also told us the gem of Lopnel had been stolen by the Lunars and taken far to the north to Farpoint. Also that the sword of Lopnel remained in the ruins of the temple to the north. He also indicated he believe the eye could be found in the same temple.
[we elected to break during this conversation to mull over what we had learned so far]
The party has (not including items distributed):
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