Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Session 4 - Diamond Lake

Godsday, Readying 11th, 595 cy (cont.)

The group, with the remains of Alastor Land carried in Bolero's pack, made to exit the chamber just as the light spell on the red lantern began to fade. The door to the tunnel was slowly grinding shut. Everyone dashed for the exit, but Snuffy did not make it and became trapped in the chamber behind the face with the ghost. The wind began to howl as they made their way to the chain down. Not having time to lower Rowdy down, Ash grabbed the dog and jumped down with the ring of feather falling, receiving a less than warm thanks from the wild dog. All managed to make it down safely, and waited for the wind to go away.

Inside the chamber, the ghost began whispering to Snuffy. Alastor questioned his trust in his companions, who could easily just leave him here to die. Snuffy was less than concerned, stating that all they had to do was relight the lanterns to let him out. Alastor, after several minutes, revealed to Snuffy that he could see them indeed lighting the lanterns.

Outside in the other chamber, the group noticed that the sarchopagus was back in its original position, pointing towards the orange lantern. Using more light spells, Ardynn lit the lanterns and Snuffy was out. Instead of exploring the cairn further, the group decided it would be best to return Alastor's remains to his family, and possibly re-provision in town.

The sun was setting when they finally made it to Diamond Lake. Ardynn made to The Rusty Bucket to get materials for a meal from an associate, Rudder the cook, while the others made their way to Taggin's general store. Taggin was polite and helpful, and the party walked away with a some needed supplies, including a ton of oil to keep the lanterns in the cairn lit.

Snuffy sought out the alchemist Banazel, who had a shop built into the Free City Foundry by the lakeside to reequip his alchemist's fire, then went to find some more snuff. On his way to the Emporium, one of the town's vice dens, he passed close to the The Feral Dog, a rough-and-Tumble tavern that attracted Diamond Lake's worst, and was spotted by a huge, albino half-orc with a tattoo on his forehead. Noticing the dwarf, he asked him if his name was Snuffy Hammerfist. Snuffy fled while the orc was distracted. he made his way to the Emporium, and after an exchange with the annoying doorman, payed the cover charge and went upstairs to the Veiled Corridor, the festhall and gambling din of the Emporium. Though not warmly received (Snuffy was a little less classy than the establishment's usual clientèle), Snuffy finally managed to purchase a large amount of their less-than-prime chewing snuff. While he waited, he bumped into an unusual character, Shag Solomin, a quaggoth dressed as if a noble aristocrat who spoke with great eloquence. While they were making introductions, Balabar Smeck wandered past, so Snuffy quickly introduced himself as Archibald, grabbed his purchase, and fled the Emporium with all haste.

The sun had set but Bolero wanted to try one more stop-The Captain's Blade, a weapon shop owned by Tyrol Ebberly. Tyrol was locking up when they arrived and was less than pleased to open back up, but Bolero promised to make it worth his while. Tyrol revealed several special items he had behind the counter. When asked about ranged weapons, Tyrol growled in disgust and suggested he go to Vellene's, but to make sure he took plenty of coin...he was going to need it. Bolero gave him gold for his trouble and left without purchasing anything.

The group met up at Ardynn's home, little more than a lakeside shack that was practically falling apart. Snuffy offered to fix her roof, but Ardynn seemed indifferent. She did not seem to care for living so close to the townfolk and only frequented this house when she needed her alchemist supplies or to take shelter from particularly bad storms.

Waterday, Readying 12th, 595 cy

Ardynn woke up early to go meet with her teacher, a sage and wizard by the name of Allustan, while the others sought out the Land farm. Not knowing the area particularly well, Bolero went to the shrine of Heironeous, located inside the tower of the Greyhawk Garrison, to ask High Priest Valkus Dun for aid. When they arrived, they found the soldiers going through weapon drills in the yard. In their midst was a woman. She introduced herself as Malende, a paladin of Heironeous, and after discovering Ashbourn was a Twilight Monk, challenged him to a friendly duel. Snuffy stayed to watch while Bolero continued on find Dun.

Ash and Malende fought fiercely, but the monk came out the victor. This brought some poorly hidden glares from a few of the garrison, but a smile from the paladin, who did not seem to mind being bested by someone she thought a competent and honorable warrior.

Valkus Dun was unable to help, but directed Bolero to Chief-Cartographer of Diamond Lake Dietrik Cicaeda. Dietrik looked through his old maps and land deeds until he found the Land Farm, only a short walk outside of town, but the last owners had died of the Red Death, a magical plague that swept the region two decades ago. Bolero thanked him and left to get the others, finding the kindly old cleric Velias Childramun healing the beaten Malende. The woman paladin expressed her desire to challenge Ash again some time, to which the monk agreed.

Ardynn met with Allustan, telling him their magic lesson would have to wait for today. When he asked why, she told him of the Whispering Cairn. Intrigued, Allustan asked her to bring her new companions by for a talk and told her to be careful...adventuring was a very dangerous profession to take up. They hugged and she departed, making her way to where she thought the Land farm to be.

They met up at the Land family's personal graveyard only to discover the the graves of Alastor's family dug up and the remains stolen. The ground was cold and hard, but the graves were freshly dug, so the group looked for tracks and found booted prints heading up the hill to the ruins of the Land farmstead. Heading up to the house, they found it to be the lair of a wounded and very angry owlbear, and had no choice but to slay it to save themselves. Inside they discovered the remains of another dead owlbear and signs of a bloody battle. It appeared the owlbears had been protecting their nest, and their single cub, now orphaned. Ardynn calmed the creature, and it seemed to attach itself to her like she was its mother. They also found the severed arm of a human. It was marked with a tattoo, which Snuffy had seen just the previous night...on the head of the albino half-orc that was looking for him...