Kathy - Vochma
Micah - Cardhu
Mark - Corlis
Ben - Drew
Liz - Quera
Joe - Moth [out sick, but there in spirit]
Late evening. The party was tired from a long journey, so we set up camp not far from the beginnings of the Kobold Trail leading into Veldman's Needles and towards the Blasted Mountain. As we made a cold supper of trail rations, Quera noticed a pair of kobolds, heavily armed and armored, about a mile up the Trail, just at the top of narrow, rising canyon. We spent an uneasy night watching the trail, with our rest broken by three unusual events.
The first was the passage (just before dark) of a pair of wagons, both bearing the arrows and burns of a recent conflict. We were surprised to see the drovers were human, and one of them seemed to be wearing the all too familiar robes of a Brother of Balance. They turned up the Kobold Trail, and when they were stopped by the guards, they seemed to show some sort of pass, and were permitted to continue unmolested.
The second thing was the passage of a strange, gnarled looking humanoid bearing a huge stone. He too turned up the Kobold Trail, but when he reached the guarding kobolds it appeared they didn't try to stop him at all.
The final event of the night occurred just before dawn. We were awakened by the watch to the sounds of combat. Far down the trail we saw a group of kobolds fighting against a group of goblins. We watched for a time, content to let the two evil forces duke it out. Eventually the kobolds, with their superior arms and armor, defeated the goblins and too the remaining few prisoner.
At dawn we discussed our options and elected to rest and watch for a day to see what was what in the area. We were running short on time, as we had to find and destroy "that which shouldn't be" before the end of the season, but we were near our goal.
About mid morning, we noticed another group of creatures coming down the trail. It's a group of hobgoblins with a number of baboon people enslaved. Vochma immediately realized the spirit necklace given to her by the baboon shaman was reacting to their presence, and urged us to free them. We elected to do so, particularly when we noticed a Morakanth, a foul slaver creature with the head of a tapir, was leading the group. We set ourselves in ambush, and attacked when they drew close.
Alas, we didn't realize how dangerous a Morakanth can be. It quickly cast a number of spells that caused Vochma to flee into the woods. Moth was injured by a few lucky blows from the hobgoblins, while Drew's magical hammer had little effect on the Morakanth, who was protected by some sort of magical shield. They retreated so Drew could heal Moth. Meanwhile, Cardhu managed to ensnare a few of the hobgoblins in the magical rope, but collapsed unconscious when some summoned creature of air attacked him. Corlis was making his usual bloody mess of the minor minions, and Quera was in there stabbing away with her sword (and getting sorely hurt in the process).
Now as this was happening, a strange thing happened, a group of strangers appeared, and rode up the Kobold Trail. They attacked the guards, and continued up the way, but not before one of them cast a lightning bolt at the air creature, slaying it in an instant (we later discovered they were actually looking for us. Alas they passed us by).
Finally, with Cardhu unconscious, Quera seriously wounded and fleeing for her life, Moth returning to the scene, and Drew flying around invisible, and Vochma still running through the woods in panic, it came down to Corlis vs. the Morakanth. It was a bloody fight, with both contenders wounded and bleeding. Corlis, armed with Ichon and skill, managed to strike a blow that sundered the creature's magical protection, causing it to vanish in a cloud of stench-filled black smoke. The group gathered back at the scene of the fight and cut the chains from the baboon people, who quickly fled into the growing day.
As the party debated what to do and cleaned up the mess, two things happened. First they found a stone token engraved with a number of strange symbols. Thinking it might be a pass of some kind, they kept it. Second, another of the strange gnarled creatures approached, carrying another huge rock. We engaged the creature in conversation (after it drank most of Cardhu and Corlis' wine). It turned out to be a Spriggan. He claimed his people were building a large stone circle in the hills (having something to do with the coming conjunction). He also mentioned the kobolds and their allies were mining in the Blasted Mountain, and a creature with many eyes and mouths (most likely our target). We left him snoring gently near his large stone.
After some debate we elect to call it quits for the day.
Given our wounded state, we elected to rest for the day.
Early in the morning we set out up the trail. Using the token we found, we passed by the kobold guards, though not without a few wary looks back and forth. Continuing up the trail, we discovered a watchtower set along the trail. Just outside bow range we also discovered the corpse of a human in chain mail. Drew used some sort of magic spell that allowed him to speak with the dead man's spirit, and we learned that he was part of a group that had been sent to find us. Apparently the Lady Sernilina did not think we were making enough progress. He warned us of the tower ahead, claiming there were many orcs armed with bows inside.
After reviewing the scene, Drew cast a huge cloud of smoke over the tower, allowing us to pass by unseen (but not unnoticed it appears).
We continued onward, pressing forward now with haste. The season is drawing to an end. Ahead, we can see the outlines of the Blasted Mountain. A turn around the hillside, and the valley stretches before us. All around are signs of industry. Human smiths are forging mail for the kobolds, while slaves toil out of the mountain ahead bearing loads of strange ore. Closer observation revealed the slaves were actually mining a vast meteor, which is apparently the source of the Blasted Mountain's name.
Seeing as bold fakery had gotten us this far, we continued on our way as if we belonged there. Though we drew a few unusual looks (particularly from one Brother of Balance), we made our way to the entrance of the mountain, there we were confronted by two orcish guards. We showed them our pass, but it wasn't the right one apparently. Oh well, Corlis was getting rather tired of sneaking around anyhow. Time to slay a few orcs.
[It was here the group broke for the evening.]
The party has (not including items distributed):
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