Still Day 2 (December 5th, 2015)
We finally got to sleep – maintaining a watch and tending to wounds. Again we are disturbed by an early morning knock on the door. We of course are a little more cautious than usual after the mid-night activities. We tossed open the door and Kuora grabbed the intruder. Gerald Roy was alone at the door. He is an average looking human with a graying reddish beard and average clothing. He looks like he does his best not to stand out in a crowd.
I get the distinct impression that we may have some of the same skills. He claims he is searching us out to offer use a job. He had already heard about our night time visitors and thought since we survived that we might be able to help get some information for him. He wants to know what is causing the problems in town. He gives us some background on the town. It seems he has been here for a number of years and knows all of the residents of the town.
He was drawn to stay here a few years ago because the town was friendly and welcoming. He helps people locate special goods as well as buying and selling items that people can’t sell at normal establishments. Everything was great until the goblins arrived a few weeks ago. Since then it has been getting worse and worse. People are scared, hiding in their homes and fearful for their friends and loved ones. The goblins have been seen dragging people out of the homes at all hours of the day and night to hold them prisoner in the barracks.
At night people have seen the goblins dragging the townsfolk into the woods where they are never seen returning. There are currently 2 people in the barracks; Preva the barmaid and Uhra a local farmer. In total the goblins consist of about 20 members strong; 15 that patrol around the town and then 5 that stick close to the Barracks, as well as Kagen and his Bugbear guard.
Gerald said he could get us a rough layout of the inside of the barracks in a couple of days. We asked him about the adventuring party we are searching and he recognized 2 of the 5, but he hasn’t seen them since they went into the forest just before the goblins arrived in town. He would gladly help us with supplies and such and when we have any information he can generally be found at the “Groggy Ale”. We also mentioned that we had a prisoner that we didn’t know what to do with. Gerald agreed to take him off our hands.
Sometimes it is better not to know what happens when people leave. What to do next – we have so many different paths we can take and tasks to accomplish that it was close to coming to blows amongst the group on which lead we should follow-up on first. I do secretly enjoy Kuora getting frustrated – you can almost see her heartbeat in the veins in her neck. Carrik also a lot to say, but he mainly clenches his fists until his knuckles get almost snow white.
I like to watch them get riled up and at the same time am very appreciative that they are my friends and allies and not my enemies. We agreed to perform the ritual book to update the
journal of what has happened so far. We think we did everything right, but no reward appeared – guess we have to do more – even though it seems we have done a lot in the last two days. We decide to meet up with Nenus the priest of Nikia and hunt the creature that we have given the nickname of “The Handy Man”.
Nenus doesn’t know what the creature looks like either, but he has felt the evil. We figure that the goblins may be dragging people off as a sacrifice to the Handy Man so it might be best to take out that evil first.
We packed up our gear, met up with Nenus and start to head north out of town. As we came to a fork in the road we noticed smoke rising up through the trees to the west. We all agree to head towards the smoke. As we get close to the smoke Persephone and myself sneak up quietly to the source to see what is going on. It looks like a caravan was attacked – there is a mound of what looks like freshly filled graves, a large fire that even has some broken wagon parts burning in it. The remaining carriages and wagon form a ring around the survivors.
We counted about 16 humanoids – human orc and goblin sentries, 9 skittish horses are in a makeshift corral and a bunch of tents – some intact, others appearing collapsed and trampled. We head back to the group and tell them what we have found. The group approached the carnage and reassures the guards that we are not a threat.
Juckin is the leader of the caravan. He is a half elf that obviously helped protect the caravan as he has some well-defined bruises and a variety of cuts. He tells us how he was actually attacked twice. A large number of the people in the caravan fell ill just before the first lizard men attacked and many died or still remain ill. A second attack came shortly after but this time was a group of goblins who attacked the caravan and left as they chased after the remaining lizard men.
He said he was escorting an emissary by the name of Voltarath who was travelling with 2 women. They had dumped all the dead attackers into a large pit which included lizardmen, goblins and a bugbear. Juckin said a majority of their horses ran off in the attack and the 9 they recovered are too skittish to ride or pull wagons. Voltarath’s was riding in one of the three carriages that we searched finding a small jade idol of Zahir in an ornate box as well as ritual scroll of heartflow.
One of Voltarath’s female companions died in the fight from what appeared to be a fatal wound from a small edged weapon – the other woman is missing. The description of the missing woman matches that of the one we have of Tressa. When searching the remaining wagons we find some tracks and a puddle of noxious fluid. The puddle is under a wagon that looks like it had a hidden compartment that contained the poison that caused the sickness.
We questioned Juckin further and he said that this wasn’t his fault – he is just a servant. He admitted he knew Tressa and that she ran away with Voltarath. She hates him, but needs him for her ritual. Tressa is in league with the lizardmen and was shocked when the goblins appeared with what we can only assume was the Handy Man. Voltarath works for a scholarly organization in the Capital.
Tressa took off to the west towards the “Island”. The caravan was just escorting Voltarath with the main goal of going to Chesshin for trade.
Nenus tells us a legend about the Island that is a magical place NW through the forest.
Nenus also tells us that Tressa left the town when she was young to study in Deadland. We head off in the search of the Handy Man and are surprised by a radiant light in the distance. It is the translucent shape of a man in armor with a sword and shield. The half elven male nods to us and looking at him we realize it is the ghost of the town Mayor.
He leads us into the forest to a clearing that has a small shrine to Nikia (goddess of wilderness, sea and wild places). The shrine has been desecrated with what appears to be blood from a sacrifice. The shrine has been defaced so that it now honors Veckna (god of undead and secrets). Nenus and Drago refuse to leave before purifying the shrine consecrating it to once again honor Nikia.
The ghost appears pleased with our actions and points into a thicker part of the forest which we of course head in that direction. The ghost directs us through the woods where we come to a glade with two humans standing there. The say their names are Joseph and Tara. They claim to have been stranded here for a few days after their caravan was attacked. Something doesn’t seem right about them. Their clothing is clean and neat unlikely that they have been stranded in the forest for days. We spot an old camp in the trees with a torn tent, and well used fire pit.
We immediately start to question the couple and demand they tell us the truth. They are actually grave robbers that sell dead bodies for money. They show us the bodies they currently have collected. They said that the contact at the catacombs was someone named Bearivin and they get paid 200gp per body they delivered there. When searching through the bodies we find a journal and a cogniscience crystal. The journal seems to be missing some pages but what we can decipher it belonged to the crystal compass party.
Crystal Compass Journal – The parts of the journal we understood were that they were journeying through the forest and were attacked by orcs and goblins and that is when Micha died. At the Hamlet they escaped by using disguises to appear human. They did get the artifact but were ambushed on the way back. Only Wella and Helga were the only ones that made it out alive. They expect Gerell of treachery.
The bodies that Tara and Joseph had piled up included those of Wella and Helga. Their bodies were shredded and had puncture wounds through their bodies as well as their heads. Their skin also had a strange green tint. Against some of the groups wishes we let Joseph and Tara leave. The ghost reappears and we head off to follow the directions of the ghost. The forest starts to turn swampy and we maneuver around pools of water. The ghost continues into the swamp and we continue to blindly follow him.
Suddenly the ghost stops and stretches his arms wide, shimmers and disappears. Beyond where he stopped we see an island. The island looks like it has a storm covering it. Large bolts of lightning crack across the sky, and there are lots of large birds of prey swooping over the sandy shore that encircles the island. The birds are huge and seem to be flying almost in packs that are hunting or searching the island.
As we stand transfixed by the storm and birds we realize we are being watched. There are these small humanoid creatures that are in the trees watching us. Carrik and Nanami think they are fey creatures. Wilden that are from the fey wild. We explain we mean them no harm. They are very hesitant to let us go towards the island as there are other bad people that have come before us. With much convincing we talk our way onto the island.
They tell us that there is two different groups on the island. Azar has been there for a long time and he is the lord of the island. He stays near the peak of the island where the majority of the lightning is found. The second group is new and is corrupting the island. They describe Tressa and another female that has enthralled their leader whom they refer to as the Great Ancient. It is with the commitment that we will find and protect their elder that they point us in the direction of Tressa. We follow their directions and head through the forest.
The area quickly becomes just swamp that stops at the edge of the trees in a sandy beach. We cross the beach to find a strange circular structure that looks to be made out of large white feathers. We see snow white peacocks wandering around the structure with a small pile of clothing and bedrolls. The walls of the structure are not completely solid and through the gaps we see a completely naked wilden female and three very large beasts chained up inside. The beasts are an ape, a bear and a tiger. We also see an old wilden male that we realize is the Great Ancient.
As much as we tried to get to the female without harming the elder or the beasts the female used them against us and we had to slay the beasts to get to her. We were able to subdue the ancient without harming him too badly and thankfully Nanami with her catlike speed was able to catch the female as she darted beyond the trees. The ancient was under her spell and when Nanami finished her the magical disguise dropped and she reverted to the body of a fey spring nymph. The ancient introduced himself as Secquir and he was grateful but embarrassed at the same time to have been fooled by the nymph.
He tells us that Tressa has a camp to the west near the water. She is a selfish evil woman that came here and confronted Azar (whom he describes as a half bird half lion creature). While Azar is deceitful and not trustworthy he has not caused the damage and corruption that started on the island after Tressa arrived. He gives us his thanks once again and requests that we quickly complete our task of getting rid of Tressa and then leave the island. His people need him and with that he leaves. I gather up some feathers as we search the area and realize that there are no birds flying over this beach clearing.