The Age of Worms

Prologue
In Which the Beginnings are Humble

It all started with a brawl in the Feral Dog Tavern.

Freeday night, the miners crawl en mass out of their holes in the earth, weekly pay in hand and liquor on the brain. Freeday night, the night when even Dourstone, the damned dwarven bastard, let his workers get some well–needed diversion. The night when nothing could be heard down the Veiled Corridor but the creaking of bedsprings and the screaming of Zalamandra’s whores, from dusk to dawn. Freeday night, the roughest, most dangerous night in Diamond Lake, where the average resident was just as likely to kick you in the teeth as say “hello.” Freeday night, the big night for the dog fights in the Feral Dog pit: the night when the wolf “Fury” was let out to play.

Gods, that she–bitch could take on anything: one, two, even three dogs at a time; wolverines; brown bears; and, on one memorable occasion, a spriggan captured outside of town. She was unstoppable, wild, savage. She was unbeaten. And hells, Scar–Eater looked forward to watching her do her thing. The teenager, all muscle and shredded flesh, all rage and bile, saw himself in the scrappy bitch: a survivor, friendless, alone, hanging onto life by the teeth. Since he’d been booted out of the garrison for “behavior unbecoming,” Scar–Eater had practically lived in the Feral Dog. Sure, he bedded down in Jalek’s flophouse with the rest of the indigents when he absolutely needed to crash, but the rest of his time had been spent in the Feral Dog, blowing his severance, contemplating revenge on fucking Tollivar Trask, the garrison commander, and pondering the most painful way he could get himself killed. ‘Cuz he sure as hells wasn’t going to end up down in the mines with the rest of the lowlifes of Diamond Lake.

Freeday night, and across the green, business was slow over in Lazare’s. Few people wanted to sit around and play dragonchess and discuss Greyhawk politics that night. Riddle gave up trying to make himself look busy and was hanging out listening to one of the newcomers to town: Khelleck, of the Ashborn. The pompous, scrawny–assed wizard was holding court with miner managers Chaum Gansworth and Luzane Parrin, regaling them with stories of his accomplishments in the field of archeological recovery. The wily jerk was obviously – at least it was obvious to Riddle – trying to pry the names and locations of more local tombs from the unlikely lovers, all while assuring them his team’s attentions were focused on the Stirgenest Cairn. Riddle contemplated the Whispering Cairn once more and kept his mouth shut. Lazare was probably going to let him off early, business was so slow. What would he do with his night? He couldn’t go back to his mother’s room over at Zalamandra’s – “home” was off limits completely on Freeday nights: mommy dearest was getting her brains fucked out by drunken miners for twelve straight hours. He couldn’t go upstairs and see what Lazare’s daughter was doing – Lazare had finally forbidden him from talking to her. “You know I think well of you, boy, but my girl will not be falling for the son of a whore.” Maybe Riddle would head over to the Feral Dog. Tirra, one of Khelleck’s partners in the Ashborn party, was probably there. That elven girl was freaking hot, and she seemed to have no problem flirting with a whore’s son…

Meanwhile, Tyrrell skulked through the alleys of town beneath the shit–smellingest garment he’d ever encountered in his life. He regretted having to steal it from ol’ Crudheel (as the grizzled miner was called), but when he saw the poor guy passed out in the mud behind Jalek’s, still wearing his standard–issue Dourstone hooded burlap poncho–thing, Tyrrell knew he couldn’t pass up such a brilliant disguise. Beneath the heavy cowl, no one would recognize him, especially none of Smenk’s guys. And it was vitally important that nobody let Kullen know that he was back in town. He just needed money, see. And, well, food. He’d thought that hunting would be easy, but after several days living out of the abandoned mining office up in the hills, he’d never managed to catch himself anything. Now, Tyrrell was killer–good in a close fight, a brawl, a rowdy rough–n’–tumble… but it turned out that hunting rabbits just wasn’t his strong suit. And he sure as hells didn’t know which fucking plants were safe to eat up there. That hadn’t been part of his “education,” such as it had been, at the heels of albino half–orc, head enforcer, local terror Kullen Crushskull. Tyrell needed cash. He needed food. And he was going to have to get right amongst the Diamond Lake populace to do a little pickpocketing on the drunkest night of the week. Just in order to survive, of course.

So, to speed things along, fate worked its magic, the stars aligned, blah blah blah, and by a little after 1am, three nineteen–year–old boys all found themselves in the common room of the Feral Dog tavern on Freeday night. (Well, Starday morning, anyhow.) Despite the fact that they were the only kids their age in town (the Red Plague had swept through the region during the year of their birth and killed all the babies but them), they didn’t really know each other. They, of course, knew who the others were. They knew names and faces and general worth… or lack thereof (smallish town, you know), but they’d never really hung out. Scar–Eater, orphan and loner, had spent his formative years sequestered with the stay–out–of–local–politics–and–affairs soldiers in the garrison. Until he’d been booted out last week, of course. And Tyrrell, son of a worthless boozer known far and wide as “Punching Bag” had spent his years as lackey and runner for Balabar Smenk’s chief enforcer Kullen. Until something happened last week and now Skutch, Kullen’s best friend, was dead and Kullen wanted Tyrrell’s head on a pike. And while everyone in town knew Riddle, whore’s son who worked in hoity–toity Lazare’s pub, did odd jobs for the mayor’s brother, Allustan – a reclusive wizard of dubious and mysterious past – and generally could be found everywhere, with his nose in everyone’s business… no one actually knew him. For someone so present, the kid sure was a cipher.

It was Freeday night, so things got a bit crazy. The ale flowed freely. The testosterone roared. The air reeked of smoke and sweat and a dismal lack of self–worth. The dog fights raged. Fury bested every foe pitted against her. It was a rough and ugly night, but it was business as usual. Then entered Kullen. And Rastophan. And Todrik. And Bask. The whole crew. And in a foul temper. They’d all been in a foul temper since Skutch died, bleeding to death in the mud of the commons after his arm had been torn off by gods–knew–what. Kullen entered and the albino half-orc cried for whiskey.

And more whiskey.

And more.

And more.

And soon he was calling for a “real fight” down in the dog pit. “Fury against ‘em all!” he cried. “The she–bitch on a dozen!” The crowd roared its approval. Not Tyrell, of course, under his cloak – he was trying to sneak out the door before Kullen spotted him. Not Riddle either – he was too busy talking–up a fetching young elf playing at dagger–tossing in the corner. And definitely not Scar–Eater. He loved that fucking wolf and wasn’t about to see her torn apart in the most unfair fight he could imagine. As a matter of fact, Scar–Eater stood up to Kullen.

That’s right. You heard me. The kid stood up to the meanest, nastiest enforcer in town.

Everything stopped. Tempers flared. Insults were hurled. It got ugly. So ugly that the Fury–versus–pack–of–dogs fight went on. And Scar–Eater was thrown down into the middle of it. Blood and fur and flesh flew. The crowd screamed and roared.

Riddle had no particular love for Scar–Eater, but he wasn’t about to stand by and watch what was about to happen. He knew what could stop it. He charged at Kullen.

Meanwhile, Tyrell had the same thought. He knew the risk, but he also knew that Scar–Eater didn’t deserve to be torn apart. And fucking Kullen had it coming.

Both boys smashed into the half–orc’s back at the same time, intending to bowl him over into the pit. If Kullen went down there, his crew would call the whole thing off. They knew it.

But…

Things didn’t quite go down that way.

Kullen toppled over… but damn, that bastard was quick. Almost as if he sensed the boys coming, his hands lashed out at the last second and pulled Riddle and Tyrell down with him.

What followed was a riot. Tyrell evaded Kullen while evading dogs who were rampaging over everyone as Riddle tried to pull Scar–Eater out of the pit who wouldn’t leave without the she–bitch. Upstairs, the miners went insane. Punches were thrown. Along with bottles. And furniture. And bodies. Sweaty, bloody men rained down into the pit. The screams and howls were deafening.

Long story short, somehow, someway the three boys managed to cling together and escape the nightmare scene, slipping through, under and past the rest of the mob. Dragging Fury as they went. Bloodied and battered almost to death, they needed a place to hole up. Tyrell, acting on impulse, offered his den – an abandoned mining shack outside of town. The boys followed. And there they crashed. And to their surprise, when the raging, foaming, savage Fury finally slipped into unconsciousness… the she–bitch was no wolf. She was a young girl. A human girl. A girl their age.

A long night and day and night passed as the four teens healed, helped each other, and marveled in the bizarre connection that had been formed between them. The four loners suddenly found themselves a part of… dare they call it a burgeoning “family?” Perhaps that was a word too lofty for what they felt. But they definitely felt something. As they rested in the rotted–out shack amongst the high trees of the low hills, they shared little pieces of their lives.

Tyrell talked about the rift that had formed so suddenly between him and Kullen’s crew. Seems that a “friend” of Balabar Smenk’s had come into town about a week back and Smenk had assigned Kullen and his boys to do a job for him. Tyrell came along to the meet–‘n–greet and left a changed young man. This friend was named Filge and he was truly repulsive. Pasty skinned, lisping, foul. And there was this sense of derangement hovering about him. Now, Tyrell had been involved in plenty of not–so–nice dealings while working for Smenk: thuggery, some battery, blah blah blah. But the victims had all been bad men themselves. And the violence had been more “rough stuff” than anything else, plus some sneaking about and spying. These things Tyrell could handle. However, the sense of truly repulsive Evil that oozed from Filge’s pores actually turned Tyrell’s stomach. Filge wore a necklace of bloody sinew around his neck, capped on each end by lidless eyeballs. This necklace was alive. It twitched and shimmied in the air and it stared at everything. “My little hunter–seeker,” Filge called it. And Filge had a second pet: a man–shaped, doll–sized conglomeration of oozing, pussing organs and flesh. “My little fetcher–gatherer,” Filge called it. Tyrell was disturbed enough, but when an offhand remark between Filge and Smenk made it clear to Tyrell that he had been promised to Filge as a “boy–toy” when the mission was done, Tyrell knew his days with that crew were done. He never showed to the job the next morning. Kullen’s best friend Skutch took his spot. No one knows for sure what went down, but everyone in town knew the result: Skutch dying in the mud on the green with Kullen howling Tyrell’s name to the stars in rage.

Jane, in halting Common, shared what little of her story she understood and remembered. She’d had parents once, and a sister, too, she believed. They died when she was a toddler, leaving her alone in the family hovel in the woods outside of Diamond Lake. The vague memories she had of crying on the floor of her parent’s home are the last memories she had of being human. Somehow, she was found by a wolf pack that took her in. As a wolf. She can’t remember when she had changed – perhaps at the first sight of the other creatures, perhaps after months of living with them – but she stayed a wolf ever since. For years she hunted with her pack mates and grew strong and stealthy. A while back, she felt a strange calling deep in her psyche that she couldn’t ignore. She followed a trail of moonlight to a grove and circle of menhir stones and there became the animal companion to a Druid called Norgoz, a member of the Bronzewood Lodge community. For years she lived among the Druids there, as a wolf, learning – through osmosis – their languages and their ways, hunting for them and protecting them with her life. Then there was an attack: lizardfolk from the swamps to the south. Her master was slain and she ran off… only to be caught by a trapper and sold to the Feral Dog as a savage fighting she-bitch. The rest was history.

Riddle told the party about a crew of adventurers and loreseekers who’d recently come to town: the Ashborn. Tirra, an elven minx hitting up folks in the Feral Dog and Lazare’s for any info they’d spill; Auric, the devastatingly handsome gladiator holding court in all of the alehouses in town – again, hitting people up for information; and the obvious leader of the outfit, a Wizard named Khelleck, a wry bastard prying minds over dragonchess in Lazare’s parlor. They’d come to town to hunt for treasure in the Cairn Hills – a notion that the locals laughed at originally, ‘cuz they all knew the local tombs had been cleaned out centuries ago. However, Riddle knew there was a reason Khelleck thought he had come to the right place. Riddle managed to catch a snatch of conversation between the wizard and the elf, something about a Divination that had been bestowed upon Khelleck:

_In the dying days of the Age of Empires,
Near the sparkling stone in the hills of death,
The children’s tomb, still sealed after ages,
Coughs forth its ancient, dying breath.

The outsiders shall venture in,
Treasures lost will thus be found,
Some seeming small shall save the earth,
Carried by seekers’ hands from the ground._

Well, Khelleck had come to town convinced that the “sparkling stone in the hills of death” was Diamond Lake – a reasonable assumption, Riddle thought. And an off–hand question to Allustan after a day of raking leaves verified for Riddle that the current era was known as the Age of Empires. But where Khelleck had had things wrong was his guess about which tomb was the “children’s tomb.” The Ashborn, after arriving in town, had immediately stormed a tomb called the Stirgenest Cairn, believed to have once housed the ten children of an ancient, long–forgotten baron. They came up empty–handed. And, in the case of Khelleck, furious. Ever since (for over two weeks), they’d been camped out in Diamond Lake, reading old books, prying locals for answers, still hunting for this mysterious “children’s tomb.”

The thing was… Riddle thought he knew what the “children’s tomb” was. There was this place, this hole in a hill in the middle of nowhere. A place, for generations, that only the local kids knew about. It was a special place, a magical place that seemed – somehow – to slip from the minds of locals once they’d come of age. A dark hole, filled with hollow voices called the Whispering Cairn. For gods knew how long, local teenagers would dare each other to enter, to spend the night, to see how far into the earth they dared to go before running out with their tails between their legs. This tradition had stopped when Riddle, Tyrell and Scar–Eater were about 12 or 13 – a local girl had died in there. The adults in town never found the body, and the kids in town kept their mouths shut. Six years passed and it seemed like the Whispering Cairn might just slip out of all knowledge.

Except that Riddle couldn’t forget it. And the mysterious magic that made it evade the communal memory of the Diamond Lake adult townsfolk made Riddle think that perhaps this tomb might be the “children’s tomb” in Khelleck’s divination.

And the more the new friends talked about it, the more they hungered to check it out. They could certainly be “the outsiders” of the poem, just as easily as the Ashborn could. And now that the teenagers had nearly burned all ties with any life in Diamond Lake, they had to look towards the future. Perhaps there was treasure to be found in the Whispering Cairn. Perhaps enough to start new lives with. To move on…

To leave Diamond Lake forever.

They agreed they would investigate.

Riddle and Tyrell snuck back into Diamond Lake to buy and steal some supplies – especially clothes, armor and gear for poor Jane, who owned not a stitch of clothing or anything. And once they were outfitted, once they were healed, the new party climbed up into the Cairn Hills. And at 8am on Moonday morning, the 8th day of the month of Patchwall, autumn in the Flanaess, they found themselves staring at the mouth of the Whispering Cairn… and perhaps, their Future.

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Session One

Waterday, 5 Patchwall CY 595

Brawl in the Feral Dog Tavern

The adventurers – Riddle, Scar-Eater, Tyrrell, and Jane – meet

Starday, 8 Patchwall CY 595

Entered Whispering Cairn

Discovered broken portal and strange sigils

Battled three wolves and found heavy triangular tile in their den

Rested in entryway of Whispering Cairn

Sunday, 9 Patchwall CY 595

Re-entered Whispering Cairn and approached wall of webbing at end of entry hall

Deadly battle vs giant spider (Jane killed it in one blow!) and 2 spider swarms

Party was poisoned and needed to recover

Rested in entryway of Whispering Cairn

Moonday, 10 Patchwall – Godsday, 11 Patchwall CY 595

Rested in entryway of Whispering Cairn

Waterday, 12 Patchwall CY 595

Re-entered cairn and explored the large tomb chamber with rainbow hallways

Uncovered secret of “elevators” to lower levels

Explored underground hallway and battled viper

Due to Jane’s nigh-deadly poisoning by viper, party rested in entryway of Whispering Cairn

Earthday, 13 Patchwall – Starday, 15 Patchwall CY 595

Rested in entryway of Whispering Cairn

Sunday, 16 Patchwall CY 595

Returned to lower level and discovered mysterious arcane workshop of Nadroc the Architect of the Tomb. Inside the lab, we found a masterwork staff that could be divided into seven pieces (which Allustan later said he believed to be a replica of the Rod of Law).

Riddle touched by a divine presence…?

Tyrrell found a cache of magical items outside workshop

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Session Two

Sunday, 16 Patchwall CY 595 (continued)

Strange animated egg battle

Rested in entryway of Whispering Cairn

Moonday, 17 Patchwall CY 595

Rested in entryway of Whispering Cairn

Godsday, 18 Patchwall CY 595

Riddle discovers he can understand the voices in the Cairn now

Party travels down the other “elevator” to more utilitarian, less artistic, but similarly laid out hallway

Acid beetle and swarm battle

3 Seeker corpses found

Tyrrell acquires a set of Seeker armor and all others take a Seeker symbol

Underground water-filled chambers discovered

Water elemental battle

Rested in entryway of Whispering Cairn

Waterday, 19 Patchwall CY 595

In underwater chamber, discovery of missing tile to operate rainbow chamber devices

Travel up a 200’ “elevator” shaft from sarcophagus in rainbow chamber

Entry into the ball room with the scary ghost child

Battle with the worm lurking amongst the balls

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Session Three

Waterday, 19 Patchwall CY 595 (continued)

Discourse with the ghost child reveals him to be Alistor Land and he died a long time ago

GhostAlistor says he will get us through the opposite door if he buries his bones next to those of his family

Slight difficulty getting out of the ball room

Party left the Whispering Cairn and took back trails to the Land farm

Party spotted the gravestones of the Land family – as well as their five open graves

Party also discovered many tracks – humanoid and wheelbarrow – around the Farm, looks like lots of people digging up bodies

Return to the abandoned mining shack to rest

Earthday, 20 Patchwall CY 595

Return to the Land farm

Battle with owlbear

Jane soothed the owlbear cub and convinced it she was his mother

Party discovered Skutch’s tattooed arm amongst the owlbear nest

Rested at the Land farmhouse

Freeday, 21 Patchwall CY 595

Jane and Scar-Eater remained at the Land farm while Riddle and Tyrrell (in poor disguise) returned to Diamond Lake for information

Riddle learned his mother was gang-raped and murdered by Kullen’s gang

Riddle learned that the garrison had sealed itself off from Diamond Lake

Riddle learned that the bowmaker and the alchemist were on the take from the Ashborn

Allustan told them about the Wind Dukes/ the Rod of Law/ the Rod of Seven Parts

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Session Four

Freeday, 21 Patchwall CY 595 (continued)

Riddle and Tyrrell returned to the farm

Jane went to Diamond Lake to arrange for the sale of the owlbear cub and met Shag Solomon

Jane returned to the Land farm with Bogodor and three teenagers who took the owlbear cub and paid the party 200 platinum pieces

Party inspected the abandoned Deepspike Mine, a place they believed Smenk used for…disposal

Starday, 22 Patchwall CY 595

Fury, with Tyrrell’s necklace in her mouth, waited for Kullen’s toadies Todrik and Merovinn at a crossroads, and baited them into chasing her to where Tyrrell waited to lead them further into ambush

Todrik and Merovinn were taken prisoner and brought to the Deepspike Mine for questioning
Merovinn told the party that Filge was living at the Old Observatory creating a “feast of zombies”

Merovinn was knocked out and Todrik questioned

Tyrrell dropped Todrik’s masterwork guisarme down the pit

Riddle pushed Todrik down the pit, causing some consternation from the party, particularly Jane, and not so particularly Scar-Eater

Merovinn was left in the Deepspike Mine with food but no means to be heard.

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Session Five

Starday, 22 Patchwall CY 595 (continued)

The party cased the observatory and began to formulate a plan of attack

Riddle and Jane went to the boneyard to see if the Cult of the Green Lady had any information to offer, only to find the four acolytes slaughtered and no sign of the priestess Amariss. They also discovered some disturbed graves in the boneyard

Tyrrell and Scar-Eater went to investigate the closing of the garrison at the Midnight Salute and the Spinning Giant, but before they could do that, they were confronted by Jierian Wierus and his followers and enthralled. Wierus then delivered what sounded like a prophecy before marking Tyrrell with some strange green light, which left a scar even Riddle’s magical healing could not remove. After finding the two garrison taverns locked and unresponsive, Tyrrell and Scar-Eater met back up with Jane and Riddle

The party decided to try to talk to Allustan again before going to the Observatory, but were detained by the sighting of a figure at the old menhir stones. They turned off to investigate, but could not follow the creature when it dashed into the woods

The party headed to the Observatory and while investigating the shed below the stairs, Tyrrell encountered Filge’s “Fetcher/Gatherer”. They destroyed it before it could warn others of their arrival, but no sooner had it been put down than the “Hunter/Seeker” caught sight of them. Jane destroyed it but Filge’s plans were already in motion.

After a treacherous battle with the necromancer and his “beautiful monstrosities” that almost destroyed the whole party, Filge surrendered rather than risk another blow from Riddle or Tyrrell.

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Session Six

Starday, 22 Patchwall CY 595 (continued)

Riddle and Tyrrell questioned Filge about what he’s doing in Diamond Lake. Filge turned over the bones of the Land Family and allowed us to destroy the other undead in the Observatory without resistance. Filge revealed that he had been invited to Diamond Lake by Balabar Smenk for the purpose of helping Smenk figure out how to deal with what has been happening in the Dourstone Mine. He also mentioned Kyuss worms and the Cult of the Ebon Triad, who are apparently concerned with creating Spawn of Kyuss. Filge was alternately hostile (especially after Tyrrell read his diary containing ravings against the Greyhawk Guild of Wizards, which rejected him for admission, and someone named Godfrey, a lover who had jilted him) and subservient, begging Riddle to take him along with the party when they went seeking secrets about Vecna.

While the others questioned Filge, Fury kept an eye out at the bottom of the stairs in Filge’s bedroom, and she heard approaching footfalls from the roof where the party had entered. She was surprised to see her old companion Long Fist, and immediately lay down at his feet.

The party left Filge without his Feast of Zombies to handle Smenk on his own and to continue his research into the Kyuss worms. They returned to their mining shack to hear Long Fist’s story, eventually inviting him to join the party. Long Fist accepted.

Sunday, 23 Patchwall CY 595

Jane treated Tyrrell for the corpsebloat he contracted from one of Filge’s homonculi, and Riddle treated Jane for the same.

Moonday, 24 Patchwall CY 595

Jane continued her treatment of Tyrrell, but he still suffered some Strength damage from the disease, while Riddle successfully helped rid the disease from Jane.

Godsday, 25 Patchwall CY 595

Jane succeeds in helping Tyrrell rid the disease from his body.

In the evening, the party buried the bones they had recovered from Filge with those of Alistor Land. Wet and tired, they returned to the Whispering Cairn and spent the night in the entryway.

Waterday, 26 Patchwall CY 595

The party made their way through to the previously unopened door to find it ajar. Upon entering they were confronted by two elemental creatures called wind warriors in armor and carrying swords, and four large murals that came to life when bathed in jets of steam. After a fierce battle, the party defeated both warriors.

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Session Six-Point-Five

Waterday, 26 Patchwall CY 595 (continued)

The party traveled up the central wind tunnel to the final chamber of the Whispering Cairn, Zosiel’s sarcophagus, where they found some items that appeared to be ones depicted in the murals below, including the red-tipped horns of a demon that killed Zosiel, the small adamantine loop and handle device (identified as a talisman of the sphere) the demon used to control the sphere of annihilation that did so, and Zosiel’s diadem itself. Riddle put on the diadem and a new glyph was revealed upon it. A plan was hatched to head back into town and for Jane and Long Fist to check on Merovinn and sell items while Riddle, Tyrrell, and Scar-Eater talked to Allustan.

Earthday, 27 Patchwall CY 595

The party returned to town by way of the Observatory in an effort to find out if Filge had discovered anything useful about the worms before items were purchased. They found the Observatory with Filge’s black curtains all taken down and three of Cubbin’s deputies patrolling the area. Jane and Long Fist headed to check on Bask and the others went in search of the wizard.

Jane and Long Fist encountered garrison troops outside the Deepspike Mine, who reported that the garrison had commandeered the mine in the name of Greyhawk pending resulotion of what was found inside: Todrik’s corpse and the tortured Bask, whose tongue had been cut out. Long Fist offered tracking services but found only evidence of two booted humanoids dragging something heavy out of the mine 2 or 3 days earlier. The guards wouldn’t say anything about what was going on at the Observatory, but they warned Jane and Long Fist about the religious rabble in the streets of town, and against “a bunch of teenaged kids swinging steel” who were wanted for questioning. They specifically mentioned only young men. From there, Jane and Long Fist shopped at Osgood’s and the Captain’s Blade, selling and purchasing armor and weapons, though they chose to buy weapons only for Scar-Eater and Long Fist, and not Riddle, lest they align themselves with the hunted-for teenaged kids in Tyrol Ebberly’s mind. Their last stop was to see Velias Childramun at the garrison temple to Heironeous for potions. They overheard bits of news at the garrison, and Long Fist was invited to spend the evening there.

Meanwhile, the other three boys visited Allustan, finding him at home. The wizard was deeply disappointed in the boys for putting him in “an impossible position” with his brother, but Riddle and Tyrrell explained their side of things, putting Allustan at ease. Allustan shared a great deal of information about local events, the Wind Dukes, the Spawn of Kyuss/ Cult of the Ebon Triad, and Dourstone’s operation. He also found new insight into the interpretation of an old prophecy he acquired from a former High Priest at the garrison. They learned that Smenk had been quietly putting the word out that he sought a sit-down with Tyrrell. Allustan, concerned about Smenk’s reports of unkillable zombies in the southern hills, sent word to his friend Marzena Brevyns at Blackwall Keep to see if she had any more information.

The party reconnected and shared all they had learned from their separate missions.

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Session Seven

Earthday, 27 Patchwall CY 595 (continued)

The party decides to accept Smenk’s offer of a sit-down and determine that Long Fist should spend the night at the garrison in the hopes of getting more information from Velias Childramun.

Freeday, 28 Patchwall CY 595

The party reconnects at the Land farm early in the morning and sends a message to Smenk via the feather token, instructing him to meet them in twenty minutes, and to bring no more than three people with him. Fury races ahead to ensure that Smenk is complying with the instructions and returns to tell the others that he is, but that there also seemed to be much more to Smenk than met the eye at first – the fat old man is surprisingly agile for one of his girth.

Smenk parleys with Tyrrell while the others watch from various places. He offers peace between the party and his gang in exchange for evidence against Ragnolin Dourstone that Smenk coan use to shut down the dwarf’s operations. He provides a map of an area 400’ below the surface in the Dourstone Mine known as the Black Cathedral, where the Cult of the Ebon Triad performs their research, ceremonies, and atrocities. Smenk reports having seen terrible things there, and also that he was now bleeding money providing supplies for the Cult’s activities, as they have stopped paying and killed his chief administrator when he tried to cut back on the supplies. To ensure that Kullen Crushskull will not take matters of revenge against the party into his own hands, Smenk offers to have the albino half-orc jailed for one week. Smenk goes on his way and later that day, Jane delivers a message to him through Zalamandra (who makes it clear it was the last favor she will do for Riddle), saying, “Offer accepted. Deliver the package to the Sheriff.”

Fury and Tyrrell scout out the Dourstone Mine and soon determine that getting in was not going to be easy.

Ready’reat

Starday, 1 Ready’reat CY 595

Riddle and Long Fist spend a day working in the Dourstone Mine. Long Fist is exhausted at the end of the day, Riddle merely fatigued. Not much learned.

Sunday, 2 Ready’reat CY 595

Just before midnight, Jane casts mass camouflage on the party and a fog cloud on the yard at the Dourstone Mine entrance. Riddle updrafts everyone into the yard. There is a close call when Riddle makes a terrible amount of noise and draws the attention of the guard, but a quick-thinking Tyrrell imitates the rasping, lisping voice he heard Smenk describe from his trip below: “Thisss isss not your affair…” and the guard stands down.

Moonday, 3 Ready’reat CY 595

The party enters the darkness of the Dourstone Mine. They quickly find the boarded up entrance to the left of the entryway and make their way in, down a long, sloping passage to the lift described by Smenk. They climb in and ride their way down to the Black Cathedral, where it is pitch black and only Long Fist can see. He spots two guards with thick strange tails, wearing tabards of Erythnul, at the right corridor, and though it seems like they would not attack if Long Fist just didn’t attempt to go that way, his aggressive stance causes them to prepare for an attack, activate some kind of darkness spell in the chamber, and sound an alarm. Long Fist destroys a few skeletons and Riddle sets off an obscuring mist to attempt to aid Long Fist in the fight, while the rest of the party scrambles around for light. Scar-Eater runs to the top platform of the Black Cathedral (above the roiling pit of black goo) to retrieve two objects lying there – a small leather pouch, and a silver idol of a ferocious beast like creature.

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Session Eight
Or, the Session Jane Missed

Moonday, 3 Ready’reat CY 595 (continued)

The fight continues in the Temple of HextorLong Fist dies, the elevator shaft to the surface is destroyed, and things look grim.

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