Rolemaster - Shadycreek

Ancient Ruminants

The demonic spider now defeated, the party set to exploring the great cavern floor. There is a sickly green glow at the base of the chamber that lights the cavern and the party can make out that the stone walls are worked and smooth. To the north is a strange sight, a pure-black “hole”, floating just above the ground, with wavering, luminous edges. In addition, a large symbol is carved into the floor on the western side of the cave: a two-tiered, inverted ziggurat, black in colour, with a flaming sun etched above it. Rising from the middle of the cave, a pillar supports the black-and-violet mass of the enormous obelisk on whose surface the characters recently stood. On the other side of the cavern, water spills from above and collects into a pool.

Examining the symbol, Walter is unable to recognise what it represents, and decides that it will require further research to determine its meaning (Rumour: What is the symbol?).

The characters turn their attention to the pillar. Impossible though it seems, the huge obelisk comes to a very narrow point that is balanced atop this 30-foot-high pillar. The pillar has been carved from the rock itself and appears to be quite solid. Iron rungs, mostly free of corrosion, have been hammered into it, allowing anyone to climb to the point where pillar meets obelisk. Intrigued, Sisu climbs the pillar and finds that a the point where the pillar meets the bottom of the obelisk, a unknown purple-coloured gem rest between the two. Sisu tentatively reaches forward to touch the gem and as he does, the rest of the characters see his body grow ridged, even to the point where he no longer breaths.

(Sisu) – Sisu finds himself in a perfectly spherical room of black walls with purple veins. No light is present, but even without darkvision, Sisu finds that he can “see” within the darkness here. Then he finds himself elsewhere:
The catacombs lie quiet and abandoned, clay urns broken and scattered about the floor, the ashes of the dead spilling out from their final resting place. Meryel crouches before you frantically sifting through the ashes of the dead with her bare hands. “Where is it? I know its here somewhere.” She looks back over her shoulder at you, her eyes glazed and bloodshot. “The Moonstone, where did you put the Moonstone?” Then a deep, ominous voice rumbles from the shadows of the catacombs. “You will not find it here. Look to the sky, where the land touches the clouds.” With that the image fades and you find yourself once again perched on the top of the iron rungs beneath the towering obelisk.

Concerned for Sisu’s safety, Halvard climbs the pillar and manages to rip the rogues hand from the gem and they both climb down to the safety of the cavern floor, Sisu visible shaken, as he recounts what he had seen. Intrigued, Walter decides to climb up to the gem, although they take precaution to tie a guide-rope to him, and Sisu climbs with him to hold him secure at the top of the ladder. Walter touches the gem in an attempt to attune to it, but is unable to sense what power is within the gem, realising that he will need to give it a week of contemplation before even attempting the attunement again. As he touches the gem his body freezes, like happened with Sisu.

(Walter) – Walter finds himself in a perfectly spherical room of black walls with purple veins. No light is present, but even without darkvision, Sisu finds that he can “see” within the darkness here. Then he finds himself elsewhere:
The entrance archway into the University of Magarnist towers above you, the buildings of the Conclave of Jalesh’rah’s place of learning dominated by the Tower of Souls at the campus’ centre. You stand, forlornly peering into where you had hope to nurture your talent, but had been rejected so often. And before you, a group of High Mages laugh and point at you. “You were never fit to grace these halls”, one mage states, his words tumbling out with the laughter. “Perhaps you should find the Moonstone? Look to the sky, where the land touches the clouds.” Then the mages face contorts, the flesh burning away to leave only the skull, a crown of gold upon his head and the image fades and you find yourself once again perched on the top of the iron rungs beneath the towering obelisk.

The party discuss what Walter and Sisu saw and are intrigue about finding the “Moonstone where the land touches the clouds” (Rumour: Finding the Moonstone).

The group proceed to examine the stone arch that nestles against the eastern wall of the cavern. The large arched stone doorway has an inner metallic ring. Strange runes decorate the surface of the arch, what appears to be part writing and part pictorial representations of fauna and flora. The lower-right side of the stone arch has a smooth area with a receptacle, about an inch across and three inches deep. Scattered about the floor in front of the archway is a pile of gold coins, a spear, a shield, and a strange crystal which would appear to be the same size as the receptacle in the arch. Intrigue, Sisu slots the crystal into the slot, at which the archway shimmers and a oily film appears, covering the inner section of the archway. As the portal shimmers into life, Walter notices that the stream of energy that linked the black rift with the obelisk seems to dim somewhat, but before he can study this further, four skeletons, shrouded in mist that seeps from their ice-shrouded bones, lower from the obelisk and attack the party.

Defeating the Ice Skeletons, the party finally examine the archway, deciding that it must be a portal, as it is possible to just make out a room beyond. Halvard and Sisu decide to step through and find themselves in a towering, circular chamber, balconies spiralling upwards against the walls, each level filled with bookshelves and writing tables. The room is filled with the sound of a cacophony of whispered voices and as Halvard and Sisu stare at the spectacle, the sound of two talking individuals approach the chamber. Grabbing a book nearby, they step back through the portal and return to the natural cavern, removing the crystal from the archway to close the portal. Discussing what they had seen, Walter realises that the room they described was the Tower of Souls at the centre of the University of Magarnist, in Alstrum.

Deciding not to activate the portal again, the party turn their attention to the black rift. The two-dimensional black hole is about 15’ in diameter, and is relatively immobile. The “hole” appears the same from all vantage points, but from any one direction it appears two-dimensional (flat, face-on). This creates a disquieting effect for beings with depth-perception vision like humanoids. Walter is certain that this is the portal to the Arachnia Demonic Plane, but cannot determine how to close the rift. Tolan decides to experiment and ties a bone to his rope, tossing it into the rift. The rope goes taut and with a struggle Tolan manages to pull it back. The bone and rope are covered in cobwebs.

Deciding they can do little more, the group decide to return to Shadycreek Town with the intention of returning got close the rift at a latter date, once Walter has researched this some more. After three days travel they finally arrive back in the small walled town and escorting Rulias back to her home, they find that the herb was delivered and has cured her father. Alicela informs Halvard that two Northman had come asking about him a couple of days back, the rumour being that a ship from the Skaros Islands somehow managed to make it though the mist to dock at Alstrum (Rumour: Skaros Islanders). Halvard is pleased to see his bear cub is doing well and is encourage to see that it is please to see him.

Return to the Moathouse

Returning to the fey queen, the party are rewarded for their endeavours and are each given a leaf broach that the fey queen tells them will allow them access to the path to the valley. She also puts the word out to the traders of the village who provide the characters with a discount on goods. They also find Gleinien, who it would appear, has found a home where he has found solice in his grief.

Air-day the 25th day of the second season of Orhan 831 SE.

The group decide to return to the Moathouse to search for the remaining magical writings. Passing a couple of locked doors they finally discover Simyrons study and the final arcane spell lists. They also find a library of magical books, as well as writings on ancient Xhorhas. Within the library is a large socophacus with a strange misty glass-like lid. The room is guarded by another construct but as the group do not touch the coffin, the construct does not animate.

Continuing to expore the dungeon, the party find a shaft heading down into a large natural cavern with a huge foci that emenates magic and recharges the used power points of the spell users in the party. Heading down into the chamber on a platform, the party lower themselves onto the top of the foci, then take another platform to the floor of the cavern. During the second descent, a large demonic spider attacks, using magic and invisibility to ambush the party. Fighting the beast, as Sisu continues to lower the platform, the party finally defeat the spider, who’s body disappears after the killing blow, but Walter was poisoned by the beast.

Orcs within Time

Crossing the bridge, the party face up to the dire wolves and soon the orc commander and an orc shaman join the fray. During the fight a Time Spider appears behind Walter but luckily for the Archmage, the vicious-looking bite did little harm. Eventually defeating the combatants, the party find that the spiders body has diaapeared and Walters believes it is extra-planar so can only be defeated on its own plane, the Time Plane.

The group allow the orc commander to surrender and he gives up his arms to the group. Questioning him, the characters discover that he has no recent memory and it appears that he had his mind dominated by the Time Spider. Due to this, he is unable to inform the party of how their orc raiding party made it into the fey Valley.

Searching the fissures the party discover a recently opened gash in the rock, sloping down into the darkness. They allow the orc commander to leave via the cave and decide to return to the fey village, intending to return to explore the cave at a later date.

The Fey Queen

Water-day the 23rd day of the second season of Orhan 831 SE. Afternoon.

Having found the herb, the party return to the nearby campsite to speak to Gleinien about the news on his family. The elf takes it surprisingly well, explaining that he feared as much. they also present Gleinien with the magical javelin and he chokes back a tear as he accepts it. As they are talking a group of elves step out from the edge of the forest clearing and approach the party with a gesture of peace. They are led by an animist with a fine oaken staff, as well as a small fey, standing barely two feet in height.

The animist introduces himself as Findire Yraudhen, and he explains that he comes from the Fey Queen who wishes to extend her hospitality to the party. Findire goes onto apologies for the actions of some of the fey who attacked the party a couple of days ago, as he explains that some of their number believe that violence is acceptable to keep the man-folk from the forest.

The party agree to go with the elves and are led for an hour down a path that seems to materialise out of the forest in front and just as quickly disappears behind them. When the hidden valley comes into sight the party sees that the dense forest has given way to pleasantly rolling grassland with scattered woodland and a large sparkling lake at its centre.

The party are led through the valley to a small settlement, which Findire introduces as the fey village of Pelaskinarco. Nestled up against the northern shore of the lake, Pelaskinarco consists of graceful, elegant curved architecture of the elven buildings scattered between which are stumpy like hollows and humps, and garlanded trees and bushes. The nearby woods close in around the settlement, but this is in no way ominous, rather compliments the graceful architecture.

The fey of the valley form a noble Court ruled over by the fair elf Fey Queen, Elwindith Sharndalan, an ancient druid of the Earthmother. She resides in a graceful wood and stone structure built around, and curling up, a huge oak tree that towers several hundred feet above the village. It is here that the party are led, and after entering a large domed roof chamber cut into the base of the huge oak, they are introduced to the Fey Queen. Elwindith is a female fair-elf druid, with long, curled, golden-blond hair, blue eyes and her pale skin has a slight green tinge to it. She is tall and extremely thin, standing 6’ 7" in height, but barely ten stone. She has a square, innocent looking face, with several piercings on her lips, ears, and nose. She is garbed in long flowing white robes of silk, thin and wispy, in places clinging and extenuating her slender body. Her hair is decorated with leaves, twigs and mosses.

She offers food and rest, and after initial uncertainly about the fruits and nuts offered, the party partake. After some pleasantries, Elwindith offers to have her owl take the herb to Rulias’ mother, saving them more than three days of travel back to the town. After some debate and uncertainty, it is agreed to do this. The Fey Queen then goes on to ask the party for help.

At the head of the valley lies an ancient temple to the Earthmother. Not only would the fey feel unease at climbing the steps up to the temple, they are forbidden from doing so, for in the Earthmother’s doctrine an axiom dictates that it is a place reserved for the rare occasions when an immortal fey who has accepted the Earthmother dies. The body is brought to the valley and laid to rest at the base of the Endless Steps, which lead up to the temple above. The fey’s soul is then said to travel the stairs to find peach in the Earthmother’s embrace. The Keeper’s of the Steps are elves who are charged with maintaining the Garden of Remembrance that stands at the foot of the stairs that lead to the temple above.

Of late, orcs have been harrowing the Keepers of the Steps at the base of the rock carved staircase leading up to the temple. Despite the Fey Queen increasing patrols in the vicinity, the orcs have continued to be a problem, retreating up the Endless Steps when the fey warriors approach in any large numbers. As the fey are forbidden from entering the temple, the Fey Queen asks the characters if they will force the orcs from the temple (Quest: Orcs and the Temple). Sisu is surprised that the orcs were able to find the hidden valley and asks Elwindith how this happened. The Fey Queen is unsure and is just as surprised herself (Rumour: How’d the Orcs enter the Valley). As a reward she offers access to the valley for the characters in the future, although she insists that its location is kept a secret.

Earth-day the 24th day of the second season of Orhan 831 SE.

The day is cold, and a light rain persists throughout, with a light breeze (5mph) rustling the leaves of the trees.

After sleeping in the most comfortable beds that they have ever experienced and being healed by the village healers, the party leave early for the Endless Steps and the temple that lies at the their top. Assessing the cliffs, it is decided that the stairs are the only option, as the climb would otherwise be long and dangerous. Gleinien is absence when they leave, but the party decide that they cannot wait for him.

Reaching the top of the Endless Steps safely, the party find that the temple has long since crumbled, with all that remains being low stone walls and debris strewn flagstone floors. Surrounding the ruins is a deep fissure, as if the very rock was ripped apart to leave the temple standing on a rock island. Beyond the initial structure, a crumbling bridge spans a gapping chasm, a fissure that drops forty feet below the temple ruins. Beyond the bridge is what appears once to have been a large circular structure, now crumbled to no more than low stone walls and rubble scattered flagstones.

As the party cautiously enter the crumbling ruin they encounter a group of powerful orcs and battle ensues. Early on in the fight a large fog erupts from the inner temple area, shrouding the bridge and beyond in thick white mist, but the party ignore this and finally defeat the orc warriors and approach the fog-shrouded bridge. They can hear arguing going on from out of the mist, but unable to understand orcish, they cannot determined what is being said. But suddenly, a voice in Walter’s head begins to translate the words and explains that they are arguing about whether to join the fight or not, and a commanding voice insists that they don’t. Confused, Walter strikes up a conversation with the voice, who introduces herself as Jaspel, but chastises Walter and tells him to get back to the fight. At the far end of the bridge they see two huge wolves prowling and snarling at them from across the chasm. Sisu determines that the structure is safe so the party prepare to cross.

Further into the Moathouse Dungeon

Water-day the 23rd day of the second season of Orhan 831 SE.

Three hour into exploring the Moathouse.

Struggling to fight off the swarm of spiders, the party finally defeat them and proceed to explore the decrepit crypt. A small tunnel leads into a chamber that appears to have been clawed out of the dirt by a human-sized creature(s). Further onwards the dirt tunnel has collapsed blocking the way onwards.

The party decide to return to the initial junction they encountered when first entering the lower dungeon and follow the side corridor to discover a chamber that was clearly used as a workshop to create artifical beings. Two work desks are scattered with crafting materials and a fine set of tools. Down a nearby side chamber the party see a suit of plate armour that is being supported by a wooden stand. Having been warned that a construct protects Simyron’s tools, Halvard uses his spear to sweep some of the materials and tools off one of the work desks.

At this point the small flying goblin creature appears from the side chamber and Tolan recognises it as a homolculus. The small creature darts forward and reaches out for the tools on the table, doing so activating the construct that lumbers forward to attack the party. The homolculus then flees.

The fight is tough and several of the characters receive severe wounds. Eventually, Walter manages to dispel the magic that is animating the construct, and the party pummel the motionless being to utterly distroy it. They then decide to retreat from the Moathouse and search for the herb in the courtyard outside. After two hours Rulias finds one of the rare creeping plant and the group decide to return to Shadycreek with the herb, with the intention of returning to the Moathouse at a later date to search for the arcane artefacts.

The Dead Laid to Rest

Water-day the 23rd day of the second season of Orhan 831 SE.

One hour into exploring the Moathouse.

Halvard is eager to rush off and lay Simyron’s wife and daughters to rest, but as he goes to leave the chamber the archmage’s ghost calls him back, scoulding the bear tribeman. “Wait, do you always rush off into battle without first seeking knowledge on your foe? That is a sure fine way to find yourself dead on the battlefield. You should learn from the Demon Hunter’s of Roedon, they study their foes so that nothing surprises them.”

Sisu encourages the party to hear him out. “My wife, her death came from flame. Her corrupted spirit has manifested as a Firephantom, a burning figure whose touch can drain your life force, and her presence will burned your flesh. I remember a village not to far from the edge of the forest, where they burned a suspected witch at the stake. Her spirit returned as a Firephantom and now the village lies blackened and charred, its occupants no more than charred remains (Rumour: The Burned Village). My daughters are simple ghosts but their presence will drain out your life force. Both they and my wife have no corporeal form, so no mundane weapons will harm them either.”

Simyron also mentions that he has an enchanted javelin upstairs that he had made for his son, but never got the chance to give it to him (Quest: A son’s gift). He offers it to the party, so they head upstairs and find the javelin propped up by a locked desk. Breaking into the desk draw they also find a leather-bound tome with the arcane spell list, Bladerunes, inside, which Walter gleefully acquires.

Halvard has the surprise that his axe talks to him and he discovers that the spirit of a Spree named Remmize is inside the blade, who proceeds to inform Halvard of the powers that he wields and can potentially wield.

Returning to the dungeon, the party proceed to enter what was clearly once the prison and torture chamber of whatever ancient structure this dungeon was originally built for. Here they encounter the two daughters and during the fight that ensues, the mother, a burning phantom, causing havoc for Walter, and if not for Rulias, he would have fallen unconscious at the very least. With the intelligent use of buckets of water the party find in a side chamber and the use of a shield as a water scoop, they manage to defeat the Firephantom and two ghostly sisters.

Returning to Simyron, he reveals that they are not dead, as the ectoplasmic remains of the ghosts need to be burned, which they proceed to do, after which Simyron’s spirit starts to leave for the Messenger plane. Before he finally leaves the prime material plane he warns the party that a lower dungeon exists behind a secret door, and below they will find his construct, charged with protecting Simyron’s equipment. He also informs Walter that the three further arcane list are in his personal study within the lower dungeon. He further reveals that just prior to his death, he found a huge cavern below the lower dungeon and inside was an Essænce Foci, a source of great power. But he fears that a recent Essænce storm has torn a rift to some Demonic plane below. With that his spirit dissipates.

Finding the secret door the party moves down into the lower dungeon following maze-like corridors and choosing the southern way on a junction. They encounter a strange flying goblin-like creature who flees back the way that the party came from, but they chose not to follow. Instead the party continues south past a door, after which they find the corridors covered in cobwebs. After passing two more junctions, one heading down some stairs from where the sound of falling water can be heard, and finally arrive in a decrepit ancient crypt, where the Sarcophagi are all smashed and broken. As they start to examine the room a swarm of spiders ambush them from the rubble and webs that cover the place.

A Mournful Son

Moon-day the 21st day of the second season of Orhan 831 SE – Afternoon.

The freezing weather continues into the afternoon, but thankfully remains dry and calm.

After resting, the rest of the days travel is uneventful. Halvard keeps his eyes open for herbs and finds several doses worth of Berterin, a single dose enough to preserve a bodies worth of organic material. Meanwhile, Sisu keeps an eye on the local wildlife, but other than the normal squirrels, rodents, and bird life, nothing seems out of the ordinary.

Fire-day the 22nd day of the second season of Orhan 831 SE.

The day is pleasantly fresh, the freezing weather of yesterday gone. But, to temper the pleasure of warmer weather, a fresh gale has blown in from the coast, with twigs and small branches breaking from the canopy above and falling like confetti to the forest floor below.

The days travel sees an unsuccessful forage for Halvard, but as the day draws to a close, Sisu notices the that the plentiful wildlife of the forest is becoming less noticeable. As the dusk light of early evening sets in the characters hear the sound of mournful sobbing coming from the path ahead. Sisu stalks forward and observes the pitiful sight of a crouched figure crying and wailing in the dusk. Being cautious, Sisu returns to his companions to approach as a group.

As the party approaches the weeping elf, he turns and calls out in a breaking voice, “I do not have the will to fight anymore. Do what you must, I have little of value to make your violence worthwhile.” Sisu assures the elf that their intention is not banditry, and he relaxes somewhat, introducing himself as Gleinien Aalseergard, and he has an intriguing tale to tell.

“I fought with every ounce of my being when I was held in the Ice Witches dread fortress above Cairnmourn Pass, knowing that if I was to escape I would be able to return to my family. But now I am here, I finally understand what her curse meant, she said I would never again be with my blood, and it is true, for some dark force prevents me getting home.
"Its hard to say for sure when my woes began. You could argue that it was with the strange meeting I had with a wandering Great Man, Doran Ashglade.
"Doran spoke to me about a mighty artefact called a Moonstone, buried within an ancient sealed Xhorhasian crypt high up in the Dragoncrest Mountains, near the dread Cairnmourn Fortress. The crypt was rumoured to lie on a high plateau, sheer drops on three sides and a sheer cliff towering above, within which stood the entrance to the crypt. On the plateau ledge a granite stone circle stands. (Personal Quest Halvard: The Mountain Circle)
"Doran spoke of an ancient evil that was also looking for the Moonstone, and that he would seek out the crypt himself, but for him it was forbidden.
"Intrigued and concerned with Doran’s words, I left for the Dragoncrest Mountains with a small band of companions, intending to seek out the ancient crypt and take the Moonstone to safety, so whatever evil that Doran spoke off could not get its hand on the powerful artefact.
"When searching the heights of the great mountain range, we were set upon by Demons from the Ice Witches citadel, and all fell except for me. I was carried off by the dark troops to be brought before the Ice Witch herself.
"The Ice Witch seemed to have knowledge of why I was in the area, and insisted that I tell her about the lost crypt and its location. But I resisted telling her what little I knew and endured days of horrendous torture. In a rage, the Ice Witch screamed out a curse at me, ‘I bring my wrath upon your family, they will tear at their kin’s flesh and feed upon the flesh of the living. And you will never again be with your own flesh and blood.’
"After this, I was flung into a dark cell, deep beneath the great fortress, and there I lay, barely fed and watered, and systematically brought before the Ice Witch to endure more torture and questions. And so it was for eighteen long years.
“Then the Ice Witch let me go. I was both shocked and surprised by this, but even more so, relieved that my ordeal was over. I have no idea why she let me go, but I had one wish only, to return to my fathers home in the Moathouse of Shadycreek Forest, to once again see my Father, mother, and two sisters.” (Rumour: The Moonstone) & (Rumour: The Ice Witch of Cairnmourn Pass)

With the parties destination the Moathouse, they inform Gleinien of the rumours of his families demise, but agree to search his old home to confirm that this is the case. They experiment with dragging Gleinien down the path and through any barrier that may be blocking his way, but this leads to pain burning through the elf’s mind. (Quest: In Search of Family)

The Moathouse is only about an hour away, but the party decide to camp, as the forest has fallen into darkness with the onset of night. While camping Walter and Tolan become aware of a shadowy form in the nearby forest but are unable to get more than a glimpse of the shadow. the next morning small tracks are discovered in the area, and Gleinien uses some earth magic to determined that small, shoeless folk, possibly fey, passed here last night.

Water-day the 23rd day of the second season of Orhan 831 SE.

The wind has dropped to a gentle breeze compared to the gales of yesterday, but the temperature has also fallen, hovering around freezing. The day is thankfully dry.

The party push on to the Moathouse, agreeing to meet Gleinien at the campsite later that day. They find the Moathouse to be a small crumbling fortress, little more than a stone manor and a walled courtyard with a tower, now collapsed. There are remnants of an even older structure, with ancient stonework and overgrown foundations beyond the Moathouse’s perimeter. The upper story of the manor has fallen in entirely. It was apparently made mostly of wood, and only smashed and charred timbers remain. The condition of the manor’s interior is questionable. All is quiet other than the buzzing of flies, and distant chirping of birds, since little life makes its presence known around the Moathouse itself.

The party decide to enter where the wall has crumbled away, rather than using the front gate that lies broken on the floor of the courtyard beyond. Avoiding poisonous spore mushrooms, they scramble inside and explore the interior encountering first, a lone giant spider, and then several more, led by a larger spider, with strangely humanoid-like facial expressions. During the fight, Walter and Tolan realise that their spells require less power to cast, and Walter suspects that the area is within an Earthnode. Defeating the spiders, they find a secret stairway leading down into the dungeon.

In the Moathouse dungeon they encounter a ghost of the long dead Archmage, Simyron Aalseergard, the father of Gleinien. He tells a story of the horrific events that unfolded in the forest fortress eighteen years earlier. “The curse came as hideous dreams. I managed to resist, but my family and staff were not so lucky. My wife, my daughters and the staff, all became enraged and bloodthirsty – it was a slaughter. I had a choice, either kill them or hide. I could not make myself do the former, so I fled to the dungeon. But my wife and daughters followed and as they tore at my flesh, I decided I would rather have death, than lay a violent hand on those I love so dearly.”

Simyron goes on to tell Walter that there is indeed an Earthnode on this location, which is why he built the Moathouse here, and just before the horrific events, he had unearthed a secret cavern below the lower dungeon that contain some further source of great power, but he had not had the time to determine more about this. He also tempts Walter with the knowledge that he has tomes with the four arcane spell lists in, and he offers them to the party if they will finally put his wife and daughter to rest. They are tainted souls that have been corrupted and now haunted the dungeon nearby. (Quest: Families Rest)

Into a Dark Forest

Wind-day the 20th day of the second season of Orhan 831 SE – Afternoon

The freezing weather continues into the afternoon, but thankfully remains dry, with no more than a gentle breeze.

Before the one remaining bandit leaves, he asks if he can take his unconscious friend with him and the party notice that one of the fallen opponents is still breathing. The rough-looking rogue goes to take two of their horses, but Halvard insists that they only need one. As the bandit leads his fallen comrade away on the horse, he turns and shouts out, “You know Raknar will hear about this, and he’ll not be happy!”

Concerned with the bandit’s words, Halvard heaves his spear and launches it at the fast retreating rogue, delivering a vicious, bleeding wound. As the bandit drifts towards unconsciousness, they demand to know who Raknar is, but the whimpering bandit expires.

Between Rulias and Walter, they describe the self-proclaimed Bandit “King”, an ogre who came to the area almost two decades ago, and how he brought together the miss-match, disorganised bandits of the region, and by the spring of 816 of the second era, had settled in the ancient Xhorhas ruins on Shadowcreep Hill. Over the next ten years, the ruins expanded to become a tented and mud-hut settlement. In the summer of 814 SE, a paladin from Shadycreek took a contingent of town militia to the bandit settlement, but never returned, and since that time Raknar has demanded a monthly tithe of the town and his banditry goes unchecked (Rumour: The Bandit “King”).

After burying the bodies under stone cairns and tying the horses up by the river, so they have food and water, the party continue on their journey along the river towards Shadycreek Forest.

As the ground begins to slope upwards towards the Scorpion Ridge Mountains, Shadycreek forest, a mix of oak and birch trees, clings to the rugged, undulating terrain, comes into view. Where the forest meets the lowland plains of Shadycreek Vale, cliffs mark the boundary, and down this 200-foot cliff tumbles and slides Shadycreek Falls. A narrow path doglegs it way up the cliff beside the falls. The area around the base of the falls was once a prominent logging camp, and the old rusted and broken tools lie scattered about the ruins of the dilapidated logging buildings. A scattering of small huts and lean-to’s, now in a terrible state of disrepair, tells a tale of a once prosperous operation.

The party encounter a group of trapper’s setting up camp in the ruins of the logging buildings. Initially cautious, the party soon realise that the Wildmen are welcoming and offer to share fire and food. They tell the party of the dangers of the forest and that, of late, giant spiders have been seen in the vicinity of the old Moathouse. They also ask the parties aid, as a comrade has gone missing in the forest and they intend to set out to search for him come first light. The characters offer to escort them as far as they can, but informed the trapper’s that they do not have time, for fear that Rulias’ father will pass away before they can get the life-saving herb to him (Rumour: The Missing Trapper).

Moon-day the 21st day of the second season of Orhan 831 SE – Morning.

The morning is cold, around freezing, but thankfully not as cold as the previous day. The day is calm with barely a breeze to rustle the trees of the forest.

Escorting the trapper’s to the top of the falls, the party then leaves them to search for their missing friend. After four hours of travel and as the party are looking for a place to lunch, they are attacked by bow wielding fey and Halvard suffers a serious wound to his leg. Rulias uses her magic, and a single dose of a rare herb to heal the muscle damage, but she explains that she only had a single dose of this powerful remedy.

Of Bears and Cures

Sun-day the 19th day of the second season of Orhan – Morning

The day is fresh and cool with no sign of rain, and a moderate breeze that causes the leaves to dance up from the ground and small branches to move gently in the trees.

Halvard Brandrbjorn had been on the caravan since Esthoe, paying his way as a guard on the dangerous road. Throughout the journey, refugees had attached themselves to the caravan, fearful to turn back, and glad of the protection that the caravan gave. Passing over the Cairnmourn Pass, a high passage across the Dragoncrest Mountains that bordered the Shadycreek Vale to the north and the southern Plains of Sethryn, the caravan encountered a contingent of scouts, who introduce themselves as the Ranger’s of Haskal. They have been ordered to watch the border, fearful that the fog that now blanketed several miles inland on the lowland Plains would turn in the vales direction.

The rough roadway drops out of the high pass, the caravan regulars glancing nervously back towards a black stone citadel perched high above the snow-covered pass, giving blessings to various gods that the Ice Witch did not cast her gaze upon them (Rumour: The Ice Witch of Cairnmourn Pass). It was when the caravan was traversing the pleasant grassland vale that Sisu bel Sidek joined, and Halvard and the dark-skinned southerner discover they have a mutual destination in mind, Shadycreek.

Finally, it came time to leave the caravan wagons, as a trail led north towards Shadycreek, while the caravan’s destination was the coastal city of Alstrum. Halvard and Sisu decide to share the road together and soon come across two more travellers heading for Shadycreek, Walter the Cursed and Tolan of the Russ.

So it was that as a group of four, they came across a young elven lady who was being threatened by a small black bear. She had stumbled into the vicinity of a den, where two bear cubs were nestled up against their dead father, the mother angrily wary of anyone nearby. Shaken and bloodied, the elf stubble upon the characters, who proceeded to kill the bear. The elven lady introduced herself as Rulias Da’Sorialzia, and led the characters to the two bear cubs. One fled, but Halvard was drawn to the remaining bear and managed to coax it to eat out of his hand, and then bundled it into a sack. Sisu was curious what had killed the father, but could find no wounds on its body, only a slight discolouration to an exposed patch of skin (Rumour: What killed the bear).

Escorting Rulias back to Shadycreek, the group find the gates of the walled town are in disrepair, yet still appear relatively sturdy. There did not appear to be much cheer around the place, and a general malaise sat about the people. The little labour that could be heard was the bang of a distant blacksmiths hammer and the occasional cry from a forlorn looking street trader. Sat by the river were several abandoned logging sheds, no sign that any work has occurred there for a while now. Sisu was curious as to the general malaise of the population, but reckoned it is down to the decline of the town (Rumour: The towns malaise).

Rulias led the group to her home, a small thatched stone cottage near the towns defensive north wall, the interior snug, yet dimly lit. They are introduced to Rulias’ mother, Alicela Da’Sorialzia, and are told that her husband, Legomos, has been struck down by a rare and potentially deadly disease – Elgas Fever – that is slowly wasting away at his muscles, the injuries resilient to any magic that either Alicela or Rulias, who are both ley healers, are able to cast. Having conversed with the local Animist, he has indicated that a possible cure may lie with a rare herb, Mossvalis, that he knows to only grow in one place within the Shadycreek region, the old Moathouse in Shadycreek Forest. Alicela informs the characters that she would normally turn to the Ranger’s of Haskal for help finding the herb in the dangerous forest, but unfortunately they have been tasked with watching the southern border for fear of the fog encroaching on the vale. She asks the characters if they will agree to escort her daughter to the Moathouse to find the rare herb. The party agree (Quest: The Moathouse herb).

Wind-day the 20th day of the second season of Orhan

The party wake to a freezing morning, but thankfully dry, with no more than a gentle breeze.

Leaving Halvard’s new-found bear cub with Alicela, the morning finds the party paddling north-west along Shadycreek River in two small canoes. The morning is uneventful, but as they are nearing time to pull over for a lunch break, the party come across a camp of bandits, and the encounter soon leads to bloodshed. One bandit survives and the party allow him to flee.

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You came to Shadycreek on one of the last caravans to successfully make the journey. Lucky you didn’t take the coastal road, as stories reached you of the strange fog drifting inland and bringing with it unseen creatures who, as the fog blanketed the towns and villages, slaughtered the populations. These stories came from refugees fleeing the coast areas, all hope drained from their haggard, pathetic faces. So it is that you arrive in Shadycreek vale, not knowing what to expect but thankful that the fog has remained offshore here.


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