Our cast of characters…
Dracon, human initiate of Obad Hai & Beastmaster of the Wegwier;
Kalik, halfling initiate of Avoreen;
Kendradell, female half-elf bard & initiate of Lydia;
Marcus, half-elf initiate of Heironeous;
Milik, halfling sorcerer;
Murray, human wizard <absent>;
Nikolai, Suloise human initiate of Lendor;
Sabian, gnome thief;
Tarqualan, high elf mystic (Vesve Forest)
We picked up where we left off last week, at the entrance to a valley guarded by gnomes. After explaining their presence to the sentries, they were permitted passage to the valley. As they progressed downwards, Murray stubbed his toe and was told by the gnomish chirugeons that he would require several days of bed rest before continuing onwards. That night, Nikolai and Kendradell huddled with the gnomish graybeards, seeking more information on Tsojcanth, Iggwilv, and the black ziggurat of Marcus’ vision, and were saddened to learn that while the gnomes knew of Iggwilv’s cavern, they knew nothing of the ziggurat the party spoke of. They did say, however, that Iggwilv was obsessed with knowledge, so her libraries might contain information concerning such an edifice, if it indeed existed within these mountains. They also offered the services of a guide to the cave that was once the seat of Iggwilv’s power.
Not wanting to waste any more time, they set out the next morning, and soon stood before the fanged cavern Iggwilv had once called home. Dracon’s wolf familiar was left behind to guard the horses, as the party ventured down into the depths. When they finally reached the chamber at the end of the stair, they found a cavern with six exits, guarded by six distorted carvings. Talking to these carvings seemed to produce no effect (“Hello?” “Hi Face!”, etc.) though an attempt at fetching out one of the gems they could see glimmering at the back of one of the mouths cost them a perfectly good stick.
The first tunnel they explored twisted around and about, and the party was fine until they brought a lit torch into a room that was currently a nesting area for hundreds of bats. Once the barrage of panicked animals came to an end, a troll appeared at the mouth of a side passage, called out to his fellows, and soon engaged the party in melee.
In the course of this melee, both Sabian and Nikolai were sorely injured, but the party gave as good as they got, Tarqualan turning one of the trolls into a giant mackerel, while the others hacked the rest into shreds. The bodies were soon dragged into a side chamber and burned, while the party searched their lair for treasure. While most of their horde was useless junk, several items proved to bear some enchantment, and were distributed through the party.
The next tunnel explored proved to curve and twist sharply upwards, and sounds like chisels and a strange twittering laughter could be heard from the stairs above. Sabian’s attempts at sneaking up on the creatures ahead only served to alert them to his presence, so he rejoined the group and they began to approach the miners up ahead.
About halfway up the stair, a lone creature stood before them, looking for all the world to be a brown skinned heavily wrinkled human baby the size of a small elf. Though it spoke in a language none of the party comprehended, Kendradell found that she could understand (and be understood) by it perfectly. It told the party that they would progress no further upon the stair, and that he and his kind had no wish to deal with them in any fashion. (At one point during the conversation, several members of the group witnessed what appeared to be an eye open on its left shoulder (in one of the wrinkles of flesh)). Questioning this being (who called itself Blufgaruut, and identified his people as the Mirinogire) they learned that the “old woman” who had brought them here was long since gone, and that the faces in the place they had left could guide them along their way. (Kendradell’s sudden language skill was uniformly attributed to the necklace she had claimed from the troll’s lair).
So they returned to the chamber they had just left, and finally began asking the faces questions, which was rewarded by each face claiming “I guard the only way!”. Since each face looked towards the center of the room, trapdoors were searched for, and some discussion was held about the possibility that the faces themselves serving as some sort of portal, but in the end the group continued it’s counterclockwise search of the tunnels.
Eventually their explorations led them to another room with a face in the far wall, but when approached it revealed that it was connected to a large body comprised of clay and began flailing away at Marcus, who had been first to enter. He promptly buried his ax deep within the golem’s body, but even his magically enhanced strength was insufficient to pull it free once more. The rest of the group’s efforts soon brought it down (though it was the lightning cast by the ax trapped within the golem’s body that finally slew it. Tarqualan’s keen eyesight spotted a dagger compressed into the foot of the golem, which he kept for later examination.
Elsewhere in the same caverns, Nikolai and Marcus nearly became lunch for a Lurker, but eventually their explorations led them to yet another cavern full of bats, where a small tunnel several feet off the ground brought the sound of running water. Investigation of this tunnel revealed the underground river, and a small beach just slightly upriver from their current position.
Dracon used his magic to fly across the river, and while pounding an iron piton into the wall near the beach (to moor a rope to, so the others could cross) his hammer fell suddenly silent, as a large creature (which I described as resembling the Rancor from Star Wars) grabbed him and tried to rip off his head. Quick thinking (and good rolls) allowed him to escape the creature which held him, teleporting him back to the ledge where most of the party sat wondering what was happening. As the rancor stepped into the river, several members of the group loosed arrows (which only made it mad) and when last we saw our intrepid band, they were gathered in the bat cave, watching the steely claws of the beast rake deep furrows into the stone on their side of the tunnel…
Until next week…