The Hard Price of a Night’s Work
July 27, 2012
Zuzu – Half-Troll Ranger
Kravesh – Half-Orc Ranger
Travok – Dwarven Fighter
Squee – Goblin Ninja
James – Half-Elf Fighter
Chapter 1 – A Bounty Unclaimed
We pick up where we left off, our adventurers covered in blood with the Rusty Dwarf Inn completely trashed. Upon searching the woman, Zuzu finds a wanted poster in her possession that they did not see on the board. The picture is of a dwarf who looks exactly like the man who killed Gedric. Zuzu quickly hides the poster in his pocket, hoping that it can be used to find his father’s murderer. The old barkeep who has been huddled behind the bar this entire time stricken with fear, decides to slowly make his way toward the door. As he inches closer, the door opens, two men who are clearly members of the town militia standing on the other side. Their attention immediately falls on the condition of the inn. Scattered tables and chairs, a terrified barkeep on his hands and knees, and the blood covered recruits who they were sent to pick up. Before they can even question the reasoning behind the blood and the body of the dwarven woman sprawled out across the floor, Travok quickly grasps the wanted poster, showing it to them and begins to explain the situation. Taken aback by the fact that a bunch of new recruits managed to take down a wanted criminal, the two militia relayed the message that they were to meet up at the barracks, but that the recruits needed to get themselves and the inn cleaned up first. After twenty minutes or so, the former mercenaries exited the inn and parted ways with Sara outside. It had just turned night, and the city streets were still quite busy. Travok and James caught numerous peculiar looks as they hauled the corpse of the dwarven woman toward the barracks. Reaching the barracks after a short walk, the party filed in the door lowering the corpse to the floor. The captain of the militia immediately walked up, questioning them as to why they had dropped a body on his floor. Travok explained in the same manner as he had done previously to the two militia at the inn. Nodding his head, the captain delivered the bad news to the group that the bounty on Katee Laupold had recently been done away with under orders of Merchant Lord Tyndas. Dismayed to find out that their effort would not be rewarded, the group decided to dispose of the body in the Trolfegor River, right outside of the barracks. The river emptied into the Sea of Suffering and the body would no doubt be washed away, never to be found again. After doing so, they returned to the barracks and the captain issued their duties for the night. The captain explained the recent loss of manpower in the militia and that something terrifying was happening in the city. He knew that if they were able to dispatch Katee Laupold, then they might be better equipped to handle something of this magnitude than the rest of the militia.
Chapter 2 – What Lies Beneath
A dark cult had recently rooted itself in the city. Little information is known about the cult, except that they believe by sacrificing many lives they can bring back the dark god that once commanded them. Several of the cultists have been killed and it’s members all wear a silver pendant with a dragon’s head upon it’s surface. The captain promises payment for each pendant delivered and tasks the group with eradicating the dark cult from Zarl. The group is told that last night a young girl was seen being dragged by a robed figure into the cemetery outside of the northern gate. After agreeing to take the task on, the captain led everyone to the armory of the barracks and they were allowed to gear up with any weapons and armor they needed. They were then led to the northern gate by a couple members of the militia and pointed in the correct direction. Travok thought it best they scope the cemetery out from a distance. The rest of the group agreed and as they watched on, Zuzu spotted a robed figure slip into the giant mausoleum on the hill. Discussing their next course of action, they decided to send Squee up the hill to see what he could spot. Squee’s tiny frame skillfully darted from tombstone to tombstone as he made his way up the hill, blending into the darkness and concealing his presence as if he was a shadow himself. Noticing that the giant stone door to the mausoleum was open and no one was in sight, he motioned for the rest of the group to ascend the hill. They all followed up, taking the same path Squee had taken. However, Travok tripped, crashing into a tombstone and destroying it. The loud sound of the dwarf barreling into the stone marker was enough to wake even the dead from their slumber. His pride hurt and the stealthy approach of the group now in question, Travok dusted himself off and they made their way up to the door of the mausoleum. Travok and James pushed the heavy stone door open enough for the entire group to fit through, and they sent Squee out in front yet again. The darkness in the mausoleum was thick, and the members of the group who had the benefit of darkvision began to realize that they were unable to see in this blackness. Travok pulled a torch from his backpack and lit it, throwing the torch into the mausoleum. The darkness flocked to the fire, putting it out almost as if it were attacking the flame. Squee reached for a sunrod and the light generated from the rod cut through the darkness, providing the light that the group needed. Descending down the eerie steps of the mausoleum, trailing a bit behind Squee the group came to the first bend in the structure. A giant statue stood in the corner, the craftsmanship quite shoddy and the features of the face unable to be made out. Getting a suspicious feeling, Squee approached the statue but was unable to move in time as a giant burst of flame shot out from the stone trap. Only James and Zuzu were able to avoid the flame, narrowly getting out of harm’s way. Travok and Squee fell to the ground, rolling around aflame, screaming and trying to put the fire out. James pulled a blanket from his backpack, wrapping it around Travok and putting the fire out. Zuzu pulled his waterskin from his belt, emptying the contents of the skin over Squee. The water was enough to put the flames out that decorated the tiny goblin. After a few moments of resting and tending to the burn wounds, they decided to continue descending into the depths of the mausoleum.
Chapter 3 – Spiders….Why’d It Have To Be Spiders!?
Strangely enough, they were met with no resistance descending into the mausoleum, even after all of the noise they had caused. Despite his close encounter, Squee decided to venture out in front of the group again to assess potential dangers. Entering a large chamber in the depths of the mausoleum, Squee became fixated on the floor. Sections of the floor were covered in a thick black material and they were moving in different directions. Unable to determine what the material was or why the floor was moving, Squee edged further into the room, now with piqued curiosity. Inching closer to one of the patches of blackness, Squee recognized why the floor was moving. The floor was covered in hundreds of spiders. The goblin shrieked, swatted at the pool of spiders with his sunrod. The group of spiders moved in unison, overrunning Squee and covering his body. Travok, Zuzu, and James spread out around the room as several other blotches of spiders moved toward them. Zuzu charged across the room, swiping at the spiders with his shortbow and stomping his foot down upon any that came close. James ran to assist Squee, covering his hands in cloth and swatting spiders off of Squee before stomping them as they skittered toward him. Travok was not as adept at spider swatting, as many made their way to him and began crawling up his body. Travok felt dozens of spider fangs dig their way into the flesh on his lower body. Zuzu and James fought off the remaining spiders, with Zuzu suffering some devastating spider bites in the process. Pulling the poor goblin to his feet once more, the group began to feel the potential affects of the spider’s toxin. Shaking it off, Zuzu, James, and Travok decided to venture onward but Squee was at his limit. The goblin had had enough. First it was being toasted like a marshmallow and now he was swarmed by spiders as they crawled over him digging their fangs into his skin. What would be in store for him next? He had no interest in finding out, and he turned heading toward the stairs that would lead him back up to the cemetery. Not aware that Squee had left, Travok led Zuzu and James into a connecting room of the mausoleum. Without the clever goblin there to guide them, they walked into a well placed trap, as a cage folded up around them leaving the three trapped and helpless. Meanwhile, Squee had made his way back to the cemetery and after setting up a small fire he began to cook some food in a pot.
Chapter 4 – Kravesh of The Grim Hand
The food in the pot began to boil, and Squee’s attention was caught by a burly half-orc making his way up the hill. Once close enough to Squee, he identified himself as Kravesh, a recruit of The Grim Hand. He told Squee that he was under employment of the captain of the militia and that he was here to help with the eradication of the dark cult. Squee pointed toward the door of the mausoleum and told Kravesh that if he wanted to die a fool’s death then he could join up with the rest. Kravesh nodded and ventured down into the mausoleum. The path the group had taken was easy for Kravesh to trace and in no time he found the cage where everyone was being held, in a very cluttered manner. Travok pleaded with Kravesh to free them, and explained the details of what had happened. Kravesh searched around before finding a lever, which he used to release the cage and set the three adventurers free. The venomous toxin of the spiders had begun circulating through Zuzu’s body and his condition was evident. Helping Zuzu along, they made their way back up to the cemetery where Squee was waiting. Upon an explanation of what had happened and Zuzu’s condition, Squee increased the size of the meal he was making and added some liquid from a flask that was in his backpack to the food. Once the food was done, they all took portions and began to eat. It was some of the best stew anyone had eaten, and Zuzu could feel all of his strength return after eating the contents of the bowl. Everyone officially introduced themselves to Kravesh, and they all decided to make their way back down into the mausoleum to finish the job they had started. Retracing their way back down into the crypt, they finally came in contact with a couple of cultists. The cultists were garbed from head to toe in black robe and they appeared to wield no weapons of any kind. Zuzu knocked an arrow, and everyone else drew their weapons. Seeing this, the cultists began to chant a spell of some unidentifiable nature and two giant waves of water rose from the ground. The water formed the shape of a creature, and held that form with the current inside rushing violently. The water beings surged forward heading straight for the adventurers, an arrow flying from Zuzu’s bow made contact with the water. The arrow’s trajectory was aimed straight at the cultist, but the violent current of the water changed the arrow’s course and sent it into one of the stone walls, breaking on impact. One of the water beings collided with James, the force of the impact sending him backwards into Squee. Kravesh, focused on the cultists and let out a bestial roar. The roar was loud and menacing, almost as if it had come from some fierce creature. Shaken, the cultists dropped to their knees, as the water, no longer able to hold form on it’s own, dispersed. In a flash of steel, the group cut down the cultists and claimed the pendants around their necks.
Chapter 5 – Ambushed in the Depths
The group was thoroughly impressed with their new addition, Kravesh and it looked as if this task set before them would present little trouble. Travok studied the architecture of the mausoleum and determined that the burial chamber was close. Following Travok’s lead, the group descended into the darkness further until they came to an extremely large room. The room separated into three smaller sections. To the left there was a rickety bridge overlooking a chasm that lead to a series of coffins. On the right, more coffins and crates. Directly ahead of the group was a very narrow tunnel that curved around. Travok could tell that this would lead to the inner chamber of the burial room. Travok and Zuzu passed through the narrow tunnel that could only fit one person at a time while James, Kravesh, and Squee remained in the main chamber. Travok and Zuzu passed through the narrow tunnel and into the inner chamber, just as a cultist drove a knife into the chest of a young unconscious girl. In the central chamber James spun around quickly, alerted by the sounds of something moving. Out from behind the coffins and crates came figures dressed in black garb. They surrounded James, Squee, and Kravesh on all sides and clearly had the advantage in numbers. Glancing toward the rickety bridge, Squee noticed a woman adorned in black dress with a glowing scepter in her hand. Beside her stood a figure cloaked in black, and an armored man with a crossbow. The woman grinned devilishly and slammed the pommel of the scepter onto the ground. Ghostlike beings flew from the coffins behind her and across the bridge toward the group. Kravesh let out a yell as he charged across the room toward the apparitions, “To arms, defend yourselves!” James and Squee focused on the armed cultists, their blades making contact with those of the deranged fanatics. The apparitions floated around Kravesh, surrounding him. They struck out at him as they passed, but he skillfully dodged their shadowy grasps. Kravesh’s blade sliced through the apparitions one by one, and as it made contact with each one they disappeared into the darkness. Shwooosh! A crossbow bolt cut through the air, finding it’s mark in Kravesh’s shoulder. In the inner chamber, Zuzu and Travok faced off against several watery beings that the cultist had summoned. Each time they cut one of the cultist’s creations down it would reform and another would surge forward refreshing the ranks. Several of the water creatures charged forward, colliding with Travok. The dwarf’s body was enveloped with water and he was tossed around violently inside of their bodies. Travok’s fear of the water, as a boy who never learned to swim, gripped him and he thrashed around recklessly trying to get out of the water. Water flowed freely into Travok’s open mouth and as he lost consciousness, he was slammed against a nearby wall. Zuzu, who had been keeping the cultist on the defensive through a series of well aimed arrows and his sword, turned and rushed to Travok giving the cultist the opening he was looking for. With a wicked laugh, the cultist’s body was consumed by shadows and he disappeared. The cultist reappeared in the central chamber, to witness Squee impaling the man with the crossbow on his katana. All of the armed cultist lay lifeless in front of James and Kravesh. The cultist, seemingly enraged by the death of his followers, began to throw large orbs of magical energy around the room. Kravesh, James, and Squee dodged what they could but the cultist’s barrage of magic was too much and it began to overwhelm them. Zuzu and Travok appeared from the narrow tunnel ready to join the fight as they pressed the attack against the cultist from all sides. The woman in black, who had summoned the apparitions to assault Kravesh motioned toward the figure in the black cloak and he began to walk slowly across the rickety bridge. Laughing maniacally, the cultist continued to barrage the party with strange magic, a stray bolt of energy streaking across the room toward the man in the black cloak. With catlike reflexes, he drew a blade from the confines of his cloak and deflected the bolt of energy down into the chasm beneath the bridge. Darting across the room, he drove his blade through the cultist’s back and out his stomach, pulling it out quickly and dropping the cultist to the floor. He lowered his hood, showing his face to the group. He was a human male and he appeared to be quite young, his face covered in intricate tattoos, the design of which was unrecognizable. He spoke to the group, “None who have seen my face, have lived long enough to remember it. Take your last breath slowly, and know what it is like to stare upon death”. As he finished speaking, he drew another blade in his left hand. This blade was half the size of the one in his right but both were made of a black metal and adorned with glowing red runes. He dashed forward, his blades connecting with those of Squee and James. Travok charged forward, while Zuzu knocked an arrow. The man parried Squee and James’ blades to the side in time to block Travok’s attack. Zuzu’s arrow flew through the air, but pushing Travok back, the man flipped through the air slicing through Zuzu’s arrow. The instant his feet touched the ground, his blade was locked with Kravesh’. Squee, James, and Travok made simultaneous strikes at their occupied assailant. Kravesh caught a boot to the stomach, before the man spun, his cloak cutting through the air and masking the trajectory of his blades. What followed was the sound of metal cutting through flesh, and blood splattering onto stone. Squee, James, and Travok fell to the ground. His blades at found their home, cutting through all three of the adventurers. With a dash, he was quickly upon Zuzu, who had not even had time to loose another arrow from his bow. His arms flew outward in a crosslash, both blades connecting with Zuzu and sending him to the ground as well. He turned again, to finish Kravesh but he wasn’t fast enough. Kravesh buried his blade into the man’s stomach, forcing him to his knees. Blood trickled down the blade, as the cloaked man continued to lose drop after drop of his very life. He looked up at Kravesh, as a smile crossed his face. “You are a fool. You’ll die for this, now hurry and kill me. If you don’t….she will”. Squee, badly injured, saw this as an opportunity to obtain information and he staggered to his feet. “Who will kill you? Who sent you?” The goblin rattled off several questions, coughing up some of his own blood in the process. The cloaked man simply kept repeating, “Kill me” before finally drawing his last breath, the smile still across his face.
Our adventurers have lived through the night. They have struck a blow at the cultists terrorizing the civilians of Zarl, but at what cost? Who is the woman that this cloaked man spoke of? Have the former members of the Band of the Wolf drawn closer to finding Gedric’s killer? Perhaps we will find the answers to these questions soon.