The Chronicles of Etinerra

New and terrible revelations in the wilderlands
Excerpts from Kjeld's holy journal

Bless my beard, but we’ve had a rough time of it in the Eastern Borders of late. I daresay it will take the full strength of the gods, both old and new, to turn back the looming threat in the wilderness. Our outlook is even more dire after this most recent foray into the wilderness.

In the waning days of winter, I set out with Jorann, Dargellon, Oliphus, Treen and Mazlor to seek out Tangorin’s Shrine, from whence Jorann hoped to receive mystical visions. Heading east on the road — a mere trail of broken rocks through the dense forest, in truth — we avoided the troll bridge and came upon the abandoned wayfarers’ inn by the end of the day. It had been utterly destroyed, and footprints around the site pointed to the involvement of the dragon that has been menacing the skies of late. We wisely decided not to tarry, but continued our quest northeast toward Tangorin’s shrine.

Our next waypoint was a ruined manor house situated in the grasslands just east of the Darkwoods. We found a few trinkets of value here, which suggests that further exploration may be in order. We stayed but one night behind its collapsed walls before continuing northeast toward the shrine.

On our third day in the wilderness, a deep, frigid cold swept through the region, chilling us to the bone and hampering our progress through the grasslands. After a half-day’s journey northeast, we came upon a small thorpe — and beheld a crew of vicious orcs milling around in the central courtyard!

Suicidal bravado gripped our party, and we charged blindly into battle astride our noble steeds. I, along with Dargellon and Oliphus, met the enemy head on, but our charge was stymied by the cruel machinations of the orcs — they carried death-sticks that spat smoke and fire, chewing through armor and flesh alike. Unhorsed, I flung my enchanted warhammer through the air in a vain attempt to smite the fusiliers, but it was to no avail — a third volley of fire battered into me, and I fell insensate to the ground.

When I came to, the battle was over and my party was preparing to depart with all haste. I gathered that an orc had escaped — on mine own horse, no less! — and was doubtless on his way to rally reinforcements. In my weakened state, I could do little more than cling to the saddle was we headed west, toward the safety of Enonia.

One last detour remained before we returned. In the Darkwoods, we sought out the mysterious trollkin, who appeared and told us, in their childish ways, that the elves stationed at the abandoned mines had been slaughtered by the orcs. This troubled us deeply, as the mines were a mere half-day’s march from Enonia! Armed with this grim news, we hastened back to Enonia to inform the Marshall via Yinivax, his castellan.

We had intended to bring back both an orcish prisoner and two of the accursed death-sticks to show the marshal, but my faith got the better of me — Vanir, the Voice on the Northern Wind, appeared to me in a vision, cursing us for retrieving the death-sticks and ordering me to destroy them and to kill the prisoner at once. He revealed that the orcs — marked as they were with the sign of a great eyeball — served a dark god, just as I served Vanir. Thus they were certainly religious zealots who believed they were doing the dark work of their lord. We killed the prisoner and cast bless on the firearms, causing them to explode.

(((FOR PCs ONLY)))Back in Enonia, we got a shock whilst delivering our customary report to Yinivax. The castellan informed us that the marshal had suffered a breakdown and was no longer in command of either his own faculties nor of Enonia’s garrison. Yinivax himself held the frontier town together, and he intimated that he relied more and more on our reports from the dark wilderness.(((FOR PCs ONLY)))

We vowed to redouble our efforts in this, and set out after a week’s rest to investigate reports that the elves occupying the mines were indeed dead.

(((FOR PCs ONLY)))Alas, it was all too true. A well-built palisade in the clearing outside the mine entrance showed signs of a pitched battle, with slain horses and elves piled everywhere. No dead orcs were to be found anywhere. Perhaps they carried off their dead to perform unspeakable burial rites? Perhaps dead orcs turned to dust after sundown? We had no way of knowing. Indeed, after poking around the mines a bit more, we left with more questions than answers.(((FOR PCs ONLY)))

It appears that a storm is gathering over Enonia, and its strength and fury may prove to be the doom of us all.

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A dark trip to the Monastery
Treen's report as told to the Marshall

The group consisting of Alana, Irem, Mazlor, Oliphas, Teela and Treen headed for the Monastery to further explore the depths. As they passed the Northern homesteads they noticed any signs of life. Upon further investigation it seems the inhabitants had packed up and gone. This was not look like a hasty escape but a planned move. We noticed the tower was still present, but now there was a blue haze extending beneath it, we decided not to investigate this further. Some had met the Wizard and while definitely weird, he did not seem an immediate threat.

Reaching the ruins we discovered piles of bones all around. Carefully prodding a pile, it collapsed to reveal a humanoid skull with the mark of the 3 Fingers carved into the forehead. We moved on into the ruins, Mazlor and Alana noticed a definite darkness about the place and the walls seemed different. We headed towards the NE corner of the Monastery. As we moved through I could see blood oozing out of the walls and ceilings dripping onto us. I saw the others covered in boils, but they were all oblivious to this. I even poked Teela to prove it, she was not happy about this! We carried on and as we reached the double corridors there was the sound of something moving. We prepared to defend ourselves and soon a headless corpse came into view. After a long battle it was finally dispatched by Mazlor’s Silver Mace. We suspected that while our normal weapons seemed to impact the corpse they did no real damage. The fight had taken us to the room with the locked wooden door, others noticed that the headless body previously seen there was missing – we knew where he was. Clearly something bad was happening, something was raising the dead………

Mazlor and Alana went off to their special area leaving the rest of us in the room, in here none of the darkness or other effects or illusions were noticed. Unfortunately as we sat and waited four weird worms appeared and attacked us – they had human like faces, ugh. These were quickly killed and after Alana and Mazlor returned we decided to head to the south and the crevice. We quickly set it up and descended to the room below. Interestingly enough all the bones had gone. We headed to the cave where we had previously killed the Ogre to explore it properly. In there we were a little surprised to find the Ogre standing there looking rather mean. Worse still behind him was a strange creature covered in spikes that seemed to be summoning creatures from a pile of bones, there were three hideous things coming out of the ground. Teela and myself fired Magic Missile at the spiked creature and managed to take it down, it fell to the ground and started to burn. It was about this point poor Mazlor discovered that the Ogre’s attack had an added effect, it caused temporary paralysis. We also discovered normal weapons had little effect on these creatures, Holy Water, Oil and silver were all we could use. eventually we killed all the creatures. We noticed the spiked creature was still burning, we tried to put it out with water, nothing happened so we dug around Mazlor’s backpack for some Holy Water. This did the trick, the creature totally disappeared.

Exploring the cave further we saw that there were no other exits, dog size holes were found in the walls that looked like they led to small tunnels. Deciding there was nothing else here we decided to explore the strange tunnel were the water heads uphill. Our rope from the previous visit was still there. Irem went up and moved up the tunnel, suddenly two cross-bow bolts went flying over his head and two heads ducked back behind the corner ahead. Calling back he decided to charge before they could reload. The rest of came up the rope, Teela, Oliphas, myself, Mazlor and Alana. Irem went round the corner and found himself facing more than he bargained for, instead of two cross-bow men he found them guarded by four strange looking goblins with shields and swords. The battle was not too long and they were quickly killed, Teela’s dog Culo, even helped out. After destroying the the goblins’ weapons we moved down the tunnel. After what seemed an age we came to a cave full of stalagmites and stalactites. We move cautiously through these and about 30’ in we found a wide fast flowing river cutting across the middle of the cave. The river was itself about 30’. In the middle of the cave the river did look passable by using the stalactites as hand holds. The first attempt by Teela was quickly ended when she was attacked by two centipede type creatures that were wrapped around one of the stalactites. I cast sleep on them and Teela came back to be healed. The new plan was for Irem to go across with a rope that would help the rest of us, we shone a light on the stalactites around him to spot any more creatures before they bit him.

We were all soon across and about 30’ ahead of us was the cave wall. Two tunnels could be seen N and NE. We decided to take the N one. We had not gone very far when we tripped an alarm wire sound a crude alarm of rocks in cans! We moved back to the cave and decided to defend each of the entrances. We could here movement donw both. Out of the N one came 4 huge rats followed by about 3 strange looking goblins, then out of the NE tunnel came more of them. It quickly became apparent that there were more behind them in each tunnel. The ensuing battle was frightening. I cast sleep on the rats and the others battled the goblins fiercely, however, we seemed to be on the losing end as more kept appearing. Suddenly out of the NE tunnel came two huge goblins followed by an even larger one, carrying a staff. These large goblins were hideaous and covered in boils and sores. As we were beating a retreat I saw the largest goblin point his staff at me. The next thing I knew I was on the other side of the river surrounded by the rest of the group, all of us looking the worse for wear, Oliphas particularly. On the other side the goblins were shouting and jumping up and down. We headed back down the tunnel towards the opening. There were no signs of pursuit, but we didn’t want to take any chances. We made it back to the room under the crevice and climbed back up, as we left that room we did hear some shouting from back in the cavern. We quickly returned to Enonia, even though it was late, nobody wanted to stay outside the city that night.

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Strange days indeed
There’s dragons over Enonia, and I ain’t too surprised

[Jorann, Mazlor, Alana, Kee, Treen, Oliphas, Irem]

Tis been quite some time, that I hath ventured out of Enonia and St Eggyx’s Monastery not been my destination, but such was the case thrice these recent days. We requisitioned some riding horses for the entire company and equipped them fully.
[Adventurers only, not for the general public – Meantimes, Kee conversed with some elves, who expressed their concern over the Chaos beyond the Monastery Door and desire to examine it in person. While we respect their knowledge, we possess some mistrust of their ability to refrain from assuming a domineering role. We have taken their request into future consideration.]

On what was to be our first foray, the sky stormed and crackled with eerie, unnatural light, terrifying the populace and reminding all of the pyrotechnics preceding the Fall. We aborted our plan readily and remained entrenched in our (comparatively) warm and dry abodes.

Days hence, upon our actual exit, the horses grew steadily more unhappy as we made East down the road. I had held out slim hope that they were perturbed by the Trollkin shadowing us, but, alas, this was not the case. As we approached the clearing of the Inn, we halted and Irem scaled the mightiest tree available. He spied nothing, but claimed a disturbance in the air above. Our minds turned to the Dragon of Enonia and we determined not to chance our luck by proceeding into the open. Oliphas made claim that, as we turned tail and retreated West, he spotted the Dragon landing in the clearing. Whilst I would like to believe twas merely his imagination, my heart tells me it was not.

Yet again, we waited and made another effort. The horses were untroubled and we made to nearly the Inn without incident. There we heard a cacophony of squeaking and chirping, which sent us into the woods to circumvent it. We were relieved to be unmolested as we emerged from the forest and headed Northwest. Near day’s end, we came to an abandoned road, leading to a structure. We detoured into a patch of woods for the night and advanced in the morn.
It was a crumbling remain of perhaps a villa, with tall grasses all ‘round. Our approach startled some silent humanoids in rags, who fled back into the rubble. Despite being wary of The Damned, we hailed our peaceful intent, and with much caution, eventually made our way into their midst. A few of the poor wretches managed to explain that they were refugees from an orcish camp to the southeast! The main points of their sad and halting narrative were that they were grossly mistreated slaves. The orcs were doing much building and planning. There is something that the orcs feared, and during a battle with it/them, these brave souls made their escape.
We tended to them as best we could, binding wounds and lending spare clothing. Most of all, they ate and drank in a fashion that would make a brood sow look finicky and trepidatious by comparison. In a few days, we had escorted them back to the civilization of Enonia.
We arrived just in time to join in the tail end of a raging battle. A creature, looking for all the world like a garden slug grown the size of a small house, was surrounded by guardsmen. It was gutted not long after our arrival. None volunteered to explore the tunnel from whence it had burst out.

Our third excursion took us back to the villa rubble, where hours of diligent searching rewarded us with some trinkets of modest value. We reckoned it relatively safe, given the refugees’ survival, so we bedded there, travelling to the holy place Jorann sought in the morn.
It was another nearly demolished structure, but for a lone, tall intact tower remaining. Nothing of note was to be found, save for a great quantity of broken glass upon the ground and an altar at the pinnacle. Jorann gathered some lights and performed some rituals the next day and was granted with vision of a few local features – primarily two small hamlets and a mountain range.
On the return, we peeked into the Inn clearing for hints of the earlier noise, and found desiccated carcasses of cattle, one with a melted stump in stead of a head. We pondered whether perhaps the Dragon had brought them here or the goblins inhabiting the Inn had supplied them, deliberately or otherwise. No matter the case, the Inn becoming a way station for the Dragon would be a most inopportune development.
I also sounded a call on the tin whistle and received what seemed a match in the far distance. We were not of a mind to travel that far, nor did the Trollkin intercept us as we returned to Enonia.

[Personal journal only – I am of conflicted feelings about the final portion of our adventure. Certes, I have no doubt that the Light is true and good. Tangorin represents a competing faith, which could draw worshipers away from the Light. Yet, we know not the True Nature of the Light or from whence its power springs. Perhaps all which is true and good is shined upon by the Light, and individual gods, when righteous, merely represent another way in which the Light reveals itself? I shall meditate considerably upon this point.]

Mazlor,
Beacon of the Light

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A trip out East
(Treen's tale)

A trip out East

Five brave adventurers, Jorann, Kee, Alana, Oliphas and Treen (along with as couple of hirelings and followers) traveled east in search of Jorann’s Holy area. There was also hope of finding the elusive Gold Mine. After stocking up on supplies we headed off braving the sleet and wind. At the end of the first day we found ourselves West of the Inn and made camp in the woods. Two-and-a-half days out of Enonia Oliphas noticed signs of activity on the road and we moved off the road to the South, still heading East. Smoke could be seen rising into the air much further along the road and as dusk fell an orange glow could be seen. In the still air there were some faint sounds heard to the North East.

The next day we came across signs of a battle. Initially, there were small burnt patches, in them pieces of broken pottery. As we moved forward we could see the battle must have grown. Now the charred areas had remains of bodies in them. Investigating these more we found the remains were both Human and Orc, clearly something was odd. Kee and Oliphas went and scouted ahead. They came back and Kee was looking very pale. They described the scene they found some 20 minutes ahead. There was a wall of bodies, several layers deep, forming an arc. Again the bodies were Human and Orc. Kee described them as being as though they were climbing on top of each other. Beyond the wall were random bodies just lying in the grass, Oliphas and Kee suspected they were Damned. Oliphas also determined from the tracks that a large party had been heading East, but then turned
West in a hurry. From the number of bodies seen this was not a case of a couple of patrols running into each other, or something else, this was a large scale encounter.

Deciding this area was not a good place to be we moved onwards. Jorann asked his God’s for guidance and it seemed whichever way we went there would be trouble! Keeping away from the road we followed it and towards the end of the day we found some abandoned farmsteads. We decided to stay in one that looked reasonably safe. During Alana’s watch she saw some creatures lurking around the building. They turned out to be wild dogs who were not particularly afraid of us but did keep their distance. As we where all up by now we thought we could get an early start, however, before we left we investigated the well. As we lowered a container into the darkness it was snatched from our hands and as we moved backwards an ugly spider came quickly out of the well. We raced back to the house looking to back to see there were now two spiders after us. We made it inside Kee and Alana fighting them at the door, Jorann and Oliphas attacking from the windows. Two more spiders appeared from the well and raced to the house. I cast sleep and successfully stopped all of them, allowing the others to finish them off.

Having recovered from the battle, we went back to the well for one last look. Cautiously throwing in a torch and looking in Kee saw something sticking out of the wall. Eventually Kee was persuaded to go down and look more. She brought back a chest, which contained some coins and a book. The book was a diary belonging to the owner of the farmstead. The last entry was two months after Doom. The diary talked about walking dead and the burning of Irecia. The plan for the farmer had been to pack up his family and leave the area, given the skeletons in the yard, we suspected he had been too late. We started out and by noon were in the suburbs of Irecia, in the
distance we could see the towers of the city.

We went from house to house to see what was in them, most of them were empty. Time was moving along and we decided not to go further that day, instead find a place to stay for the night. We found a house that had some fire damage, but was otherwise intact. As we entered we were in a foyer with doors to the North, East and South. The North door led to a living room and what ay have been a study beyond that. This part of the house was open to the outside because of the fire damage the house had taken, The door to the East led to a courtyard and the clerics immediately felt a chill. The courtyard had a dark, dank pool in the middle and stairs leading up to a balcony running around the second floor.

The door to the south led to the dining room and kitchen. In the foyer and dining room we found packed crates. Opening these up we found normal household items but importantly some silverware. We took the three large knives and two forks to for future use. As night fell we decided to make camp in the dining room, barricading the doors. That night we did not get a lot of sleep! Soon there were strange wailing sounds and ice began to creep up the walls to the North and East. A loud banging came from the direction of the foyer and the ice crept up the door. The door shattered and these two creatures, devoid of all light, came into the room. Pointing fingers and wailing they came towards us. It seemed nothing we did could hurt them. Jorann’s hammer appeared to be sucked into the body when he struck them. Oliphas’ brave henchmen struck at them with the long silver forks and these did appear to cause some damage. Oliphas had a mishap with a Molotov cocktail and ended up burning himself. He launched himself at one of the creatures hoping to cause some damage, but the flames we extinguished on contact with the creature. Jorann finally through some Holy Water at one of them and this had the effect of driving it screaming out of the room. Alana followed suit and sent the other one away. Unfortunately Oliphas’ hirelings died. Each was clawed by a creature and while the wounds did not look too bad, it was as though their life flowed out of them, a touch from these creatures is instant death.

We found another house that did not cause any strange feelings in our Clerics and spent the rest of the night there. Next morning we headed towards the gates of Irecia. As we approached we saw that they were open and there was damage to the walls and towers. Smoke or mist was rising from the city. There were bodies everywhere, with piles of them by the walls. Some were just sat propped against the walls and gates, looking a lot like the Damned. Having seen this we turned around and headed West, back to Enonia. This was not a good time to enter the city.

The journey back was relatively uneventful. This time we kept to the North of the road around the area of the glow and battle. The last night we stayed in the woods and Kee had a visit from what we think was a Wood Spirit, but she seems OK, after all it was just a kiss!

We returned to Enonia and when challenged by the guard told him of our journey to Irecia, his eyes got a bit big and his jaw dropped a little! Obviously time for a chat with the Marshall.

Treen

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The journey to Irecia
Birthplace of the Damned
Jorann, Priest to the wise and benificent God Tangorin, having consulted with her god had learnt that a holy area was off to the east. Thus she assembled a group of brave adventurers to accompany her on her holy quest, and search for a lost gold mine on the way. The brave troop led by Jorann consisted of a cleric of the light named Alana, a Tennage elven fighter named Kee, a magic user named Treen, A ranger named Oliphus (and his 2 henchmen) and 2 brave followers of Tangorin. Together we set forth into the sleet of winter.

Many days did we head east each evening I consulted my god who warned of danger ahead.
on the 3rd day we saw large fires ahead and having decided it was probably the orcs, chose to detour southeast. There we came upon a battlefield littered with dead orcs and humans as we continued on we found a semi-circular wall of corpses which looked like they had climbed into place and died. The faces of the orcs were clawed. We were mightily disturbed by this and the elf was sick. We decided that this was too much for us and headed back northeast to continue our search.
The next day we began to come across varius homesteads, mostly emptied. we spent the night in one and were discovered by a pack of feral dogs. However the real adventure began when the elf went to get some water from the well and 5 giant spiders attacked us. But we slew them with no injuries to ourselves.
As we continued on the homesteads became more and more common as well as becoming clearly more prosperous. And ahead we could see the white towers of Irecia. Onward my stalwart companions and I went towards Irecia. We searched a few houses, all had been abandoned until we were within 2 miles of Irecia. There we found a partially burnt house that had not been abandoned and decided to spend the night. after searching through the lowere level we came upon a courtyard which led to a stairway to the upper floor. However, night was Upon us and Alana and I both felt somthing horrible in the courtyard.
So, we barricaded the courtyard enterence and spiked and barricaded ourselves into a room. Soon after we heard an unearthly scream, shattering glass and the pounding of something upon the courtyard barricade. Then the spiked door began to ice up and the pounding began on it. The spikes shattered and the doorway gave way to reveal 2 undead figures unlike anything we had ever seen before. I tried to turn them to no effect. We tried to burn them, to no effect (except that Oliphus dropped his molotov cocktail on his head). Normal weapons had no effect, yet we found some silver utensils in the house and these were effective upon them. Both of Oliphus’s henchmen died from a single touch of these horrid creatures. Luckily, Alana and Kee both had holy water which they used on the creatures. This made them scream and run away!
So we fled this house and spent the rest of the night elsewhere. In the morning we went on to Irecia. We came within a quarter mile of Irecia, but the damned were laying, sitting or standing all around. There was a strange mist or smoke coming from several areas, but we dared not get any closer. And so we chose to return home and tell of our adventure.

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The Bowels of the Earth

8/15/2010
Treen, Oliphas (+henchmen?), Alana, Mazlor, Hamgrin
[Monastery]

For adventurers only – not the general public | Whilst in town we discovered that a contingent of elves was visiting. Inquiries determined that they were communicating their plans to seal parts of the Dwarven Mine. Unfortunately, Roen indicated they were not inclined to join with humanity in a joint effort against the orcish horde.

Soon after we traversed to our frequent destination, the Monastery of the late St Eggyx. The tower was low in the air, but we had no interest in another visit therein. We made our way to the Altar Room and deployed our wooden ‘rope and pulley constructs’. Stout little Hamgrin scouted for us and spied a large pile of bodies beneath our ropes. I sprinkled some Holy Water as a precaution against any Living Dead, but we saw no wicked ones stung by its purity, and so we made to descend. While they may not have been possessed by vile spirits, they most assuredly were possessed of a vile stench, which quite upended my stomach. The corpses were that of unusually deformed goblins, and we supposed these to be the failed transformations.
A passage led out unto a cavern of immense proportions. We circled round its perimeter as water circles a drainage hole, searching for exits. Rock formations and minor opening were found, but none such as could support a human’s girth, until we had gone quite a ways. We forced our way in and proceeded not far until a thing like a heavy blanket landed and enveloped a hired hand. Dispatching the thing without doing the same to the man within was no easy task, but with the aid of the Light’s healing grace, the man fared less poorly than the thing and escaped with his life.

The passage opened into a low chamber, with a sunken indentation and a chest therein. After numerous precautions, Hamgrin raised the lid only to be assaulted by a squadron of animated woodcarvings. Their diminutive stature and our desire to not harm the littling greatly vexed our attempts to target them, and forced us to take drastic measures. Hamgrin was doused in oil, protected by the strength of the Light, then set ablaze. The devilish dolls were turned to cinders whist Hamgrin was left unharmed. What coin we could carry was taken home.

Reports on our journey were made and we enjoyed the Town Festival while mending. In less than a hand’s worth of days we returned for the last of the coin, circling the opposed way as before. We then backtracked to a curious puddle we had spotted the sojourn previous. Summoning the glow of the Light, we found a hole in the ceiling. Using grapnel, we scaled and investigated. A wet, winding tunnel led away. We followed to a point of wonder – the trickle of water was flowing uphill at us! Still, with nothing of obvious import in sight and the footing treacherous, we chose to pay our caution more heed than our curiosity and retreat.

Next explored was the shallow pool in the center of the Great Cavern. Nothing of note could be found. This left us but with one wide tunnel leaving the cavern to test. It led to a ledge down. Seeing nothing, the littling led the way down a rope. To our collective horror, he was immediately beset by a swarm of fiery beetles, who rent him apart before he could ascend again. We delivered harm on the beetles from above, but there was naught to be done for poor Hamgrin.

Further along, we heard and smelled a great ogre. Still stinging with anger, we merely crept in and assaulted the hapless beast into oblivion. He wore a medallion and was covered in dreadful sores and protested mightily our treatment of him, insisting that he had served loyally. But as life escaped him, he whispered thanks for delivering him from what must have been a tortured existence.

As a postscript to this entry:
Though I hath gone on many travels of grave danger, I have seen firsthand blessedly little death come to pass on our side – but a few mercenary sell-swords. Tis the first full, experienced member of our band I have had the misfortune to witness fall, and a gloomy experience it is. Fare thee well, brave Hamgrin. The Light will glow a bit brighter for your contributions to the world.

Mazlor, beacon of the Light

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Who Watches the Watchers?
Discoveries of a Great River and a Dwarf

We reached the foot of the Great Stairway without incident and were left to choose ‘twixt a door in the statue room or the rough passway guarded by organized goblins. Selecting the former, we found ourselves in a deformed garden of sorts, with bramble ‘walls’, giant brown plants, and a winding walkway. Following it, we were led to a thorny ‘tunnel’, where small figures above it fired their usual crossbows at us. We exchanged fire briefly, then ran into the tunnel. The ceiling was solid enough that we were temporarily shielded. Having determined that the vegetation would not support our weight, we did our utmost to set fire to the tunnel and flee. We watched some minor burning from a distance, before the creatures launched an ambush volley from the side walls whilst Irem attempted more pyrotechnics. To our surprise, these were not the typical deformed goblins (if such unnatural monstrosities can be called ‘typical’), but, rather, fat, bloated, bird-legged things, seemingly suited for perching upon the plants of the chamber. Realizing we were subject to fire almost anywhere, unenamoured with our chances in a missile war, and unable to find a way to engage the bird-creatures in melee, we retreated and sealed the door behind us, but not before sadly noting that our fires seemed extinguished without noteworthy effect.

Passing the library, we succumbed to its temptation, and entered for a quick perusal. I called upon the Light to help me find enchantments, but found only disappointment. Still, Teela did find one bit of writing she suspected of being an incantation, and pocketed it.

Next we girded ourselves for another foray into the perpetually defended rough corridor. Charging in, we splintered their lines with relatively little difficulty this time, but our success was tainted by two of them escaping, screeching for reinforcements all the while. We pursued to an intersection of four, hesitating at the obvious potential for ambush and crossfire. Indeed, we felt the pinch of flanking fire, but there were not many reinforcements, and without enough ranks to protect them, the bowmen were easier prey.

None escaped our wrath this time and we continued forward, until reaching what would seem to be a guard chamber. Three stools, a few crossbows, and a slew of bolts populated the cavern. The stools were not of wood, but of some other mysterious plant fiber. The far end was open to an underground river, so large that the opposite shore could not be sighted. We acquainted the store of armaments with the river, and they drifted away into the darkness.

Left from the fork, we discovered another chamber adjacent to the river. Here, though, was a dock, 2 rafts, and poles, all made from the same odd flora as before. Rafting the river was both an intriguing and daunting idea, but for now the right fork awaited.

In that direction we found what would seem to be a living room, adorned with sleeping furs, a fire pit, and what presumably passes for comestibles. Less mundane was the stack of rocks in one corner, sealing off a passageway.

We debated what the goblins might fear or be feeding, then sent some of our company to learn. What was discovered was the corpse of a Dwarf who had left this world quite some time ago. His diamond medallion and short sword seemed to have aged much better than his person, though, sadly, they were absent of dweomer. A wire and bell were cleverly rigged to alert him of intruders and a chest with a few solid bars of gold made fine compensation for our day’s effort. The most intriguing find was a tapestry, telling a tale of the Dwarves – their enslavement to the Dark Ones, how some (like this fellow) escaped and became Watchers, scattered about, ever vigilant for the return of the Dark Ones, after their original overthrow. This may indeed be the first actual Dwarf seen in decades, if not centuries!

Liking not the prospects of traversing home and back, nor the idea of re-experiencing the Darkness of the library area, we bedded down right in the corridor, just before the intersection.

Our first interruption came when the watch spotted the slowly creeping bloodsuckers, of which Dargellon had spoken of encountering in the countryside a dozen or so days back. Most were dispatched quickly, although one succeeded in making a fine meal of Dargellon for a bit, before being burst like a giant wineskin under a wagon wheel.

Precious few hours passed before we had to be roused again. This time the watch heard goblins yelping and cursing as they approached from the docks – the red devils had found the caltrops Irem had left behind!
Those who had armouring such that one could drift off to sleep within it went charging into battle, while those of us who sleep in no more than cloth were less enthusiastic and might rather have used the warning to retreat. Still, after our comrades plunged in, we followed. Again, the telling point in the fight was the Elven warrior Teela rendering goblins comatose with her mystical power for the second time this sojourn.

Depleted of spells and despairing of getting rejuvenated here, we trudged home in the light of the morn, to rekindle our vitality in the tranquility of our own beds.

Mazlor, beacon of the Light

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Getting the Lay of the Land

So I finally get away from the “civilized” world and land in this run-down town in the middle of nowhere called Enonia. I figure I’m home free and can take my time, grab a drink or two and then see about heading out to the woods to see how the huntin’ is; get the lay of the land. Nothin’ to worry about out here, right?

I’m sippin’ on some ale, thinking about going out to land some game the next morning, when I overhear a group of folks arguing about where they’re going tomorrow in the woods. And what’s IN the woods. An old monastery overrun with critters? A tower that was used by some scumbag spellflinger full of traps? An inn that’s been turned into some sort of goblin fort? Terrific.

So, I walk over to ‘em and say, "Hi, name’s Dargellon. I take it the huntin’s not exactly safe around here." Then I really start to hear about what’s out there; kinda wish I hadn’t. Trolls under bridges are bad enough, but a flamin’ SPELLFLINGER troll? I’m takin’ that thing out if it’s the last thing I do.

Finally, one of the holy warrior-types at the table, Jorann, mentions something about a lost gold mine, and we agree to head out together to look for it. It’s only later I find out that it’s just a rumor overheard (with much drinking involved) by some fancy character in the group dressed like a fop that goes by the name of Irem. Ah well, at least it’ll be a chance to check out those woods and see what’s really out there.

So we stock up and head out the next day. All seems pretty normal, except for this big patch of scorched earth we pass. No vegetation in there, or wildlife, bugs.. nothin’. A quiet girl named Kallista pulls out some seeds and starts to plant ‘em on the spot. Seems kinda shifty, plantin’ seeds where nothing’s growing… I’ll have to keep an eye on her.

Next day, with the hoods of our cloaks up to keep off the rain that’s started to fall, we trudge on. Jorann’s got himself a hired hand named Fred to help keep his armor all shined up; must be nice. I’m a little worried about the littleling in the group though, Content Not Found: 80379. He says he’s ready to fight, but he looks too small to be of much use if we get into a scrap.

We spot some smoke rising in the distance, and when we check it out, we find out it’s a pile of human bodies piled on some burning coals. Plenty of signs of a battle, and clues to what the other side’s about: Wicked arrows in the bodies, and trails into the woods that suggest marching by ranks. An organized enemy – not good. We decide to leave the site far behind, but not long after, the other holy warrior-type, Kjeld, starts to twitch.

Now I’m not much for religion; I figure super-powerful deities and such have their own games to play and I’d just as soon not get involved with ‘em. I also figured that if Kjeld and Jorann could get along, following different gods as they do, that we’d all get along just fine, but I never expected the preacher to say a prayer and hear “FIND ME” back as an answer.

So Day 3 had us searching the woods for a god. And we found one. Sort of. We came to an ancient pile of stones and boom! Kjeld gets this ecstatic look on his face and starts talking to us with the voice of a god. If it wasn’t some spellflinger trick, it had to be the genuine article; nobody could fake that. He tells us to “remove the scourge” in the area, and afterwords Kjeld is so excited he starts askin’ if folks want to join his faith. I tell him I’ll think about it. We head for the plains north of the main road.

That night, I’m about done with my turn on watch when I hear somebody walkin’ in the grass out of range of the light given off by the campfire. I kick awake Kjeld and we get everyone up and alert, then head off towards where I heard the sound. Still can’t see a thing, even with Kallista’s hooded lantern at the edge of the campsite. That’s when the arrows started to rain in on us.

Now, my studded leather’s easy enough to sleep in if you don’t mind a few lumps, but some of the folks in the camp were caught in their smallclothes, and to make matters worse, while Fred was helpin’ Jorann get into the heavy stuff, 5 orcs charged in from the other side of camp, nasty scimitars drawn and ready to kill with ‘em. I fire off a few bow shots as they rush the camp but don’t hit a thing, and with arrows startin’ to punch into my armor and flesh from a spot out in the other direction I can’t see, I figure I’m done for. So I decide take a few out with me.

I toss away my bow and pull the halberd off my back and run into the fray, where the others have already started fighting back. Kjeld yells out an order to “Die!” and one of ‘em drops to the ground and I’m thinking, “Hey, why don’t you just say that to all of ’em?” I manage to take the head off one with the axe blade of the halberd but those scimitars are starting to draw blood from folks, myself included, and those damn arrows are still flying in.

That’s when Hamgrin showed us how much guts he had; the little guy was the only one that could see in the dark, and he ran out to go take on the archers alone. The arrow attacks stopped soon after, and we were able to take out the rest of the orcs we could see, but not before one of ’em whacked Fred. Rest in peace, Fred. I ran out screaming into the dark, hating the thought of what those orcs might have done to Hamgrin and hoping to maybe scare the remaining ones off.

When I was out of range of the campfire light, in complete dark, I dropped to one knee to let my eyes adjust. Couldn’t see, hear, or smell any sign of ’em… until my eyes focused just in time to see the shape of an orc rushing me with his scimitar. I thrust up the halberd at him.

I don’t know if was just dumb luck, or some god taking a hand, but I felt the sudden impact as the spike end of the halberd drove clear through the orc’s back, with the axe blade half-buried in it’s belly.

Letting him drop, I looked up and could just make out 4 shapes in the dark – was Hamgrin in there? I couldn’t leave him, and besides, with the fire in my blood, I figured one on four was a fair fight. I charged. I felt a sharp pain, started to scream, and that’s when the light really went out.

When I woke up, it was morning, and for a wonder the rest were all alive. Seems they managed to take out the last of the orcs, with the help of Kjeld doing some sort of trick with his war hammer that I wish I’d seen. Another strange thing.. the last 2 orcs committed mutual suicide at the end, driving each other through with scimitars. The preachers did a hell of a job patching me up; must have used every spare bit of cloth they could find. They say it’ll probably leave a nasty scar.

We made way for town the next morning and got back ok by the end of the week. We made a report at the Enonia Keep and got, well, let’s just say a nice reward. We decided we’re going to need to take over that inn that the goblins are holed up in to the east, so we can have shelter from which to fight back the orcs. No more camping out on the open plain! As we were making plans, something clicked in my head about all this.. Kjeld’s contact with that deity and his instructions, the organization and strange behavior of those orcs.. I’ve just landed in the middle of a flamin’ holy war.

Why did I come to this town again? Oh, yeah.. better huntin’. I’m beginning to learn that just when you’re starting to feel safe, you may have just gone from the frying pan to the fire.

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The Monastery Revisited

On this day, we re-assembled much the same personages as our last foray, losing only Tistislium and Inlaw, and adding a pair of newcomers to the region in their stead – a wizard named Selwyn, and Oliphas, an outdoorsman.

We entered the Monastery and descended into the Otherworld without incident.
Upon arrival, we discovered that the remains of our slain mud-demons seemed to have dissolved…or been deliberately cleansed and removed.

Our party quickly headed in the direction of the previous banging noises, leading to a chamber of cruelty, where a crew of the bestial goblins held and had been torturing a handful of the regular goblins. In short order, the Red Ones were disposed of. A few implements were pocketed, to see about resale value. The victims were left temporarily, for we could not possibly escort them about through this outpost.

Opposite the torture room, Irem heard noises, and we massed before flinging the door…only to be greeted by a painful volley of sharp bolts. I closed the door and we considered our response. It took the form of oil lobbed through a slight crack in the door, followed by a mass charge. This overwhelmed the majority of our foes, though a few squirmed free and ran for it. We pursued briefly, until being forced to admit but a few of us were too laden to keep pace.

Guards were set at the passage unto which they had disappeared, while the remnant of our number investigated the room we had conquered. It was a singular area, to be sure. The place contained portraits on the wall, veiled by draperies. Most of the ‘portraits’ – perhaps ‘gateways’ would be more accurate – seemed to lead to or contain one the four elements of matter. One, however, led into what seemed to be a storage room of wizardly and alchemical implements. We gathered what we could of value, interrupted briefly in our task by local vermin, and returned to Enonia, being rather wounded at the time. In our haste to be gone before reinforcements arrived and carry away as much as we could, we left behind the prisoners, for which we received a scolding from Averin, upon our return.

After waiting out a terrible deluge of rain lasting days, we went North and Below again.
In a new direction, we found a huge hallway, lined with statues of stone. Adventurer’s Paranoia produced fears of medusae or animated statues. To worsen our fears, the statues were in poses of horror and terror, rendered in stark detail. And further still, the main bodies of the statues were ascertained to be of clearly different material than the bases to which they were attached. Our nerve crumbled – nay, disintegrated – and we proceeded in this direction no further.

We returned to the main entry hall and selected the third, and only unexplored, branch – the direction the savage goblins had fled. There existed a strange flickering quality not far in this direction. Though we considered and probed for traps and delusional magic, naught was discovered. Continuing along, the walls became rough natural stone, contrasting with the smooth, worked surfaces encountered previous. With this evidence, we theorized the flickering to be an imperfect spatial linkage to another place.

Our lofty thoughts were soon interrupted by yet another barrage of pointed shafts launched by the accursed red goblins. Belying their beastly appearance, they have proven to be progressively more and more organized and militaristic in nature. With their formations and powerful crossbows, the battle was viscous and desperate. Several in our front ranks were hurt greatly, spells were employed, oil lobbed, and formations charged, before we emerged victorious. After this great clash, we quickly retreated home, chastened by how dangerous goblins can be, with order and numbers on their side.

The Crystal Tower appears to be advancing slowly or not at all, of late. I have naught to guide this feeling but instinct, yet I find this comforting, somehow.

Mazlor, beacon of the Light

[OOC: I don’t recall some of the order and details too well. Feel free to correct anything and I’ll edit. In the portrait room, I have 6. But if 4 were elements and 1 was the lab, what was the other? And what attacked us while we searched the lab?]

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The Monastery and Beyond
St Eggyx Points the Way

I report herein upon events both glorious and sobering for followers of the Light and, indeed, all of Enonia’s peoples.

My long-delayed desire to return to the Monastery of St Eggyx and address unfinished business there was finally fulfilled. To aid in this matter, a robust company of 10 was fashioned. Myself and Alana were the official representatives of the Light. While not of the order, elven warrior Kee has been a devout follower of the Light, too, and is rarely far from Alana. The rest, I knew only through indirect references, and the second and third hand rumors that swirl through a small town with much intrigue – Inlaw, Jorann (a priest of another belief) and her two hirelings, Irem, Tistislium (with mule in tow), and Hamgrin (yet another of the Little Folk).

When word of our intentions reached Averin’s ears, we were summoned for an audience with her. She spoke of fears for what the arrival of the Crystal Tower might mean, and of a desire that sacred items of the Light not fall into malevolent hands. And so we were tasked with retrieval of a Holy item of St Eggyx.

We passed the aforementioned Tower as we and it headed north to the Monastery. The surface was clear, as expected, and we descended without incident. Lacking detailed diagrams, we were guided mostly by vague recollection. We first encountered a handful of the neo-goblins picking through trash and dispatched them with ease.

Next our wanderings found us in the barracks room with the lesser of the crevasses. We saw a small cluster of large rats – on this point, and indeed on all parts of this incident, we are unquestionably in agreement, having compared our individual perceptions most thoroughly afterwards. As we began to assault the nasty little things, an unthinkable quantity of them began gushing out of the hole and towards us, as if a dam had burst. We fended off the first of the onslaught as best we could, but quickly saw that the situation was untenable. Just as we were making plans for retreat, even more quickly than they had appeared, the rodents vanished without a trace. Had someone deliberately set a delusional enchantment here? Did the noxious gasses wafting upwards have a hallucinogenic quality to them? Unfocussed excess magic and evil from below producing nightmares? Fine theories, but questions without answers they remain, for now.

We arrived next at the Fountain Room. We set to work carefully burning away the offending mold/slime that marred this otherwise tranquil place. As the job was finished, our main body found that our rear guard had been overrun by giant arachnids, and we made haste to assist. The fight went quite poorly until fire and oil turned the tide. Even so, two of our company were felled with bites that swelled and discolored disturbingly. We put our recently purchased antivenom to use, and they pulled through, however.

Our attentions returned to the fountain, and we did our utmost to purify it – we used fire and oil to burn away slime, poured holy water into the fountain, and blessed and re-consecrated it. Our efforts were rewarded with pure Light streaming in from above and the appearance of the Holy item we sought. Quickly we returned home that night to rouse Averin and display our find. She was pleased, but felt that it might be of assistance to us, and declined to keep it.

We rested and returned the following morn. A special place within the Monastery seemed to give me a sign that St Eggyx wanted us to unseal the Warded Door and proceed. Still, we feared the consequences of such an action, and delayed to search for the Temple. When we arrived, the bodies of the two creatures I had heard so many months ago were there, felled by others sometime in the interval. The altar had been treated most foully, but there was naught to be done about it. We turned our attention to the large crevasse here. Hamgrin may only be half the size of a human, but he contains twice the courage, for he volunteered to be lowered into the dark alone, which was done. He reported a large, cavernous area, but nothing of note and no signs of life.

With nowhere else to go, we had to choose between descending into the crevasse and the great Door. The majority opted to heed the sign, and thus the Door was unsealed.

Beyond it was pure, thick blackness. After a few cautious experiments, there seemed to be nothing to do but to chance crossing the threshold, and so was it done (although not without spiking the Door open first, nor without considerable coaxing and bribery where the hirelings were concerned).

We emerged…elsewhere, huddled on a freestanding platform, with stairs descending further than the reaches of even the most keen-sighted. Again, with little alternative, we pressed on. At some point, we became aware that the stairs were twisting and corkscrewing gradually, but gravity’s orientation seemed to match the stairs, for we held to the stairs like a bug underneath a table. We also took note of some growing specks in the distance. Our hope of reaching ‘bottom’ before they arrived was in vain, as was any hope that they would be benign. The giant mosquito-bats swarmed us and feasted well upon Irem and a hireling before being driven off. The former was salvaged, but latter was last seen tumbling into space.

Blessedly, the stairs did not spiral about infinitely, but deposited us in a hall of pillars and blackness. The carvings depicted atrocities, reminding one somewhat of the tortured souls in the Dwarven Mine carvings.

Whist we examined the room, a duo of blobbish things formed from nowhere. We defeated them without incurring significant harm, but the battle was of note on two counts. Firstly, some attacks, however well aimed, seemed not to have the desired effect. There is cause for concern about invulnerabilities. Secondly, the chief means of their defeat was via a sword Kee had long possessed. The blobs brought it to life, claiming itself to be “DemonBane”, a name it soon well earned. DemonBane covered itself in frost and, under Kee’s stewardship, split both creatures (which I ne’er would have recognized as demons) in twain.

Though we were intrigued by the banging sounds of metalwork in the distance (which put us in the mind of Dwarves again), we retreated to report back to Averin and contemplate our next moves. We discovered, to our great relief, that the Door re-sealed itself behind us, ensuring that the Evil below will only be encountered at a time of our own choosing.

Mazlor, beacon of the Light

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