Monday, December 21, 2009

The Story So Far VIII


3rd day, Greenheart the 17th, 1845

The party ventured into the Ivy Forest to find the wizard Gormoon’s ruined tower in hope of capturing the sapphire that the elf Rumil spoke of. They found the forest to be quite spacious with numerous clearings and groves. The only trails through the forest seemed to be made by animals or possibly by the monsters that dwell within.

Rather quickly, the party ran into some trouble. As they entered a grove, six gnolls (evil hyena-headed humanoid monsters) broke from the brush on the other side and rushed to attack our heroes. The creatures were defeated after a battle that left the party wounded and their henchman Tursan unconscious. They were healed by Fionnula’s clerical healing magic. Gjord took the head of the largest ugliest gnoll as a trophy.

As they continued to travel deeper into the woods the adventurers noticed that it seemed like they were being followed. They kept hearing random sounds as if something was moving in the brush and leaves about them. Svarnos sent his familiar Jarvis to investigate. The cat reported that there was the sound of many small creatures moving about them. The party prepared for a possible conflict and Jarvis ran back to the side of his master. Suddenly a seemingly disembodied high-toned voice spoke from somewhere in front of the group. The voice wanted to know what the party was doing in the forest. While the party decided what to say, Martijn boldly answered with the truth, he stated that they sought the ruined tower. The voice then asked if they were friends or foes of those that dwelled within. Martijn answered foes and Gjord produced the head of the gnoll and held it out before him.

All of a sudden, a one-foot tall creature appeared before them. The creature had the torso of a fey-looking humanoid creature with antennae growing from its head; its hindquarters were those of a grasshopper however. A dozen more of these strange beings appeared and surrounded the party. They called themselves Grigs and said that they were enemies of the gnolls as well. They were armed with tiny daggers and darts and one had a miniature fiddle. Their leaders name was Murrr’k’k and after they were given some of the elven Feywine (reluctantly by Lono) they seemed quite comfortable with the party and became friendly. They told the adventurers that they would lead them to the ruined tower if they would defeat the menacing creatures within. They informed the party that gnolls and bugbears (large hairy goblinoid creatures with short snouts somewhat resembling a bears) were the main denizens of the dungeon. They also knew of a tunnel that might lead into the dungeon under the ruins but it was the lair of some dangerous giant spiders.

So, the party was taken to the ruined tower. All that was standing was a single curved wall with a section of stone stairs leading nowhere jutting up into the sky. The ruin was situated on a tree crowned hill and the Grigs showed a place hidden in the side of the rise that was the entrance to the spider lair. The heroes decided to rest before going any further and the Grigs kept watch for them throughout the night.

4th day, Greenheart the 18th, 1845

The party ventured into the dungeon the following day after Murrr’k’k gave them a tiny bottle of green liquid that he said was a healing potion. The natural cavern lair was infested with the foul spiders and the party had a hard time fighting them. They defeated the spiders but the creatures poison paralyzed Galifynakus and Gjord. Inside the lair of the spiders they found one room that had a spring of clear water and they also found an old rusted doorway behind a thick wall of webbing.

This doorway led into what appeared to be the dungeon underneath the tower. The party investigated some halls and rooms beyond the door and they even found some valuables. They did not take any of these as they thought this might alert their presence to the creatures that lived there. They also came across a room with four statues of griffins in the corners facing toward the center of the room, which bore an inscription in Draconic (which Svarnos can read) that read, “Courage is the mastery of fear, not the absence of it.” When the party tried to cross the room the inscription glimmered briefly and some of the adventurers were overcome by an overwhelming fear. They ran screaming from the room back the way they came. Luckily, the effects of this spell were temporary but the party decided to leave the dungeon anyway as they were still weakened by their battle with the spiders. They dragged the paralyzed forms of Galifynakus and Gjord out of the dungeon and spent another night in the forest under the watch of the Grigs.

5th day, Greenheart the 19th, 1845

By morning the paralyzing poison wore off and the party was ready to reenter the dungeon.

Inside, they came face to face with the gnolls and in a series of battles they even found and defeated the ferocious gnoll leader. They also found the portcullis barred main entrance to the dungeon.

After slaying the gnolls they met a captured halfling that was dressed as an adventurer in leather armor. He had sandy blonde hair and hazel eyes and the party noticed right away that he seemed to have a somewhat arrogant personality. He hardly thanked them for his rescue and told them he probably would have escaped anyway. He told the party that he was traveling alone to Sulthe when the gnolls ambushed and captured him. The halfling said his name was Devinal and from what the party could tell he was probably a thief by profession. Devinal offered to join the party as long as he got a fair share of the treasure found. They found Devinal’s equipment in the hall where they encountered the gnoll leader.

As the adventurers were slaying the female gnolls of the leaders harem (with Fionulla and Martijn watching with distain) Devinal began to search the bodies of the fallen gnoll guards. When the party caught him doing this he said that he found nothing and that they should continue their search of the dungeon. No one believed this and the Halfling was accosted by the party (Lono even drew his dirk on him). Under protest Devinal coughed up the coins he found on the gnolls. The party began to really reconsider their association with the thief.

They party withdrew from the dungeon again as they were greatly weakened after the conflict with the gnolls. Before doing so Gjord cut the heads from the slain gnolls and lined them up in the hall leading to the main entrance to the dungeon. Gjiord explained that this would serve to unnerve any other denizens of the dungeon.

They went looking for the Grigs that have proved to be such trust-worthy guards. As soon as they encountered them however both the Grigs and Devinal drew weapons and prepared to fight. The party intervened and asked what was going on. Apparently, Devinal had attacked the Grigs when he encountered them earlier. Devinal said that they were just monsters that had questioned him and his party when they came into the forest, and that they deserved to be attacked. This revealed a lie that Devinal had told earlier, as he told the party that he was traveling alone.

The heroes had had enough and they told Devinal to leave. Devinal said he wouldn’t because he knew that the Grigs would attempt to kill him if he went alone into the forest. This was confirmed by the Grigs. Devinal threw himself on the mercy of Fionulla and Martijn and asked for their protection. It seemed that they were stuck with the Halfling thief, at least for the time being. So, the party settled down for another night in the forest with a surly halfling smoking his pipe and eyeing the Grigs.

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