Session Fourteen
Look What We Found

When we last left our heroes, a horde of rats was about to descend upon them. Horrace and Yenamros lay a blacket out along the floor to block the path, douse it with oil, and light it up. This keep the majority of the rats at bay but many of them spill out from over the sides.

They bite at the party. Some try grabbing and throwing them off, others try hitting them, and others try less manual means. Eventually, the party successfully fends off the rats. Afterwards, Horrace says how he wants to head back up out of the tunnels and the rest of the party agrees.

They return to the area of the temple containing the sleeping quarters and find Priestess Lulu. They then inform her about secret tunnels under the temple, and an evil one eyed creature (Chiku produces the head of the one they killed as an example). Lulu becomes very curt with them and says that they will handle it and that she thinks it’s best if they leave.

Chiku finds a chest and calls Digitalis to open it. Then she creates a scene to draw attention to herself (which ends with pooing in a bucket). Digitalis finds the chest unlocked and that there is a severed hand inside.

Lulu has no gathered more Sabanti clergy to her and is insistent that the party leaves. Reluctantly, the party agrees and they make their way up the narrow stairway to the outside.

Session Thirteen
Where Was That Ugly Pond?

*Out of chronological order – a “what if” Horrace, Digitalis, and Yenamros checked out the alternate path from Fitulgan to Kline instead of directly heading south to the Tiana shrine.

Horrace, Digitalis, and Yenamros scout ahead of the party to investigate the path leading east from Fitulgan, rumored to contain Brownies. While traveling through the forest, one by one the adventures feel a light prickling along the back of their necks. Although initially harmless to Digitalis and Yenamros, Horrace feels great pain from “something.” Horrace gets weaker as the party searches for the culprit until they notice a dark green moss hanging in the trees that grows a brighter green the weaker Horrace feels.

The party quickly learn that burned the moss from afar is the only safe way to pass. Burning them causes the moss to drop to the ground and ooze out what appears to be blood.

Further down, they see an odd creature and then find themselves in a different place and they can no longer see the road. The small “brownie” creatures have donned themselves in vines and leaves. They wield small black daggers. Yenamros makes short work of several of the creatures while Digitalis holds his own. Finally only 1 of the creatures remain. They corner it and find that it can speak.

It asks why they invade their home and explains how his kind came from the north, but then there was no food so they came south to “harvest.” He explains that the weapons the party took off of his dead companions are called “night daggers.” He also talks about how they dump whatever baubles they find into an “ugly pond.” The creature wants them to leave and says he will show them the way to the road but they must leave now. The party agrees. When they come to the road, the small creature and odd woods are gone. Their injuries also are mysteriously healed.

They may not have found the ugly pond, but they did get pretty vials.

Session Twelve
Secrets Beneath

After speaking with the Head Priestess, the party heads towards the temple of Sabanti. There they meet Priestess Lulu, who eventually explains that she has great respect for the Head Priestess. She shows them a stairway that leads underneath the primary open temple area. It is evening, and many of the other clergy members are asleep. She shows the party a large obsidian statue to Sabanti. The party finds a symbol to Ballin carved into the base. The priestess has the symbol chiseled out and it is given to the wizard (he latter shatters it against a wall causing nearly everyone in the room to fall to their knees from the resulting pulse).

The Head Priestess’s bedroom is here, although Lulu said she hadn’t used it for awhile. There are letters the Head Priestess Leah wrote to Lulu where she professes her love for Roland but says that she fears letting her emotions be known by the populous for fear that they may think she’s being influenced by the assassin’s guild. The letters also show that Leah believed the prior leader of Kline was killed by followers of Ballin.

After finding a secret room, the party finds hidden tunnels leading further down and are clearly older than the temple above. The find themselves in a room with three doors: one of iron, one of wood, and one of gold. Yenamros uses his ranger skills to determine that the iron door has been recently used. He finds faint tracks and follows them through the tunnels. They turn to an area that continues forward or leads to a dead end where some strange small creature is digging through rags.

The creature is about two feet tall, wearing clothes, with a single large eye and tall ears. Beollimadus casts dectect evil and after finding the creature is evil, rushes forward to attack. It begins to make a high pitch wail. After a few swings, Beollimadus cuts the creature down. It is then the party realizes that the call has attracted rats… a horde of rats are advancing on them.

Session Eleven
Gifts Given

The investigation continues and the party finds themselves at the Minstrel Inn on the western side of town. Digitalis recognizes one of the patrons as the woman of the wealthy older couple. The party makes a few awkward attempts to speak with her. Chiku, with the assistance of her tiger, intimidates the woman and she runs frightened out of the inn and toward the authorities.

Calamira intercepts from outside and speaks gently, calming the woman down. They chat for awhile and the woman explains that her name is Colleen. She came with her husband, Arbor, to Kline in look for work but her husband has been missing since that morning. The last she heard, he was going to meet someone at the Sabanti temple and then never returned.

Meanwhile back inside the inn, Digitalis and Horrace gain information from the bartender that a young girl matching the description they gave of the girl with the pendant had rented a room for a few days but he hadn’t seen her recently. With a bit of coin, the bartender gives them the key to the room she last stayed in and said that her name was Selena. In the room, the party finds a hidden scroll of “desecrated ground.”

It is around this time that Hanan says that all of this doesn’t concern her and she’ll be waiting for when they are ready to continue the journey up north.

The party returns to Head Priestess Leah with the scroll and information that Ballin might be involved. The Head Priestess takes the scroll from them. She then says that they found more than she suspected they would. Given that they have demonstrated they weren’t completely worthless, she decided to help them with a few gifts (obviously the party liked the gifts, if not the attitude). Several items were granted to the party included the “Eye of Sabanti,” a dark red gemstone that when cupped in one’s hand allows the wielder to know whether another they can see is a true follower of Sabanti or not.

Session Ten
Who Killed the Killer?

After the height of the ceremony to Sabanti, and after Leah unsuccessfully attempted to restore Roland to the living, the Head Priestess Leah orders his body burnt and the killers found.

Guards, previously unseen, come rushing into the courtyard. Anyone who speaks or tries to walk about is taken away (this includes Digitalis and Horrace). The guards attempt to question everyone with the ineffective approach of “who are you and why are you in Kline?” After Beollimadus shows a guard (yes, this would be Mr. Fucster) a document, the party is gathered together and brought to Leah on the second floor of the estate. The guard leaves them alone with her, and it appears as if only the Head Priestess and the party is present in the room.

She explains to them that her own guards are useless in finding Roland’s killer. Although she has others searching as well under her own authority, she thinks that the party may be able to help given that they represent a “different” authority (she specifically refers to Beollimadus). She says that she suspects who is responsible, but will not provide specifics.

The investigation begins!

Facts and Folks

Head Priestess Leah – was present when Roland, her lover, was killed (she was conducting a ceremony to Sabanti which drew everyone’s attention upward). A note was found in Roland’s secret study showing that an official from the Solt clergy in the capital was insisting that she not only stop ruling Kline, but to also step down as Head Priestess. Clergy from Solt have been arriving in Kline and are currently staying at the Sabanti temple.

Clyde Oxblood – currently tasked with assisting the party in their investigation, he was been ordered by Leah to not directly investigate himself. He clearly resents this. The party could travel freely about with him and speak to anyone (except the two who directly handled Roland’s body and put it on the makeshift pyre). The fletcher in town told the party that Clyde was the Arbiter for Kline and is in love with Leah. He said that Clyde used to be a General at one of the passes before becoming Arbiter. He referred to him as the “murder expert” and was clearly afraid of him. Horrace directly asked Clyde if he was in love with Leah, to which he replied that was once the case but no longer.

Tholtiss – the only person who openly speaks against Roland and is pleased that he’s dead. Tholtiss is currently poised to take over the assassin’s guild (as is Hilda). He is clearly confident of his own abilities and believes he is the best leader for the guild. He also complained about how Roland had stopped accepting contracts because Leah told him so and the assassin’s guild hadn’t really been doing any assassinations of late – a situation he intends to rectify. Tholtiss referred to Clyde as Leah’s “pet.” Chiku told Leah that she thinks Tholtiss is involved, to which Leah told her that Tholtiss is an idiot.

Hilda – she was Roland’s favorite, according to Clyde, and would have been named successor if Roland ever got around to naming one. She openly calls Tholtiss the killer but says that she lacks proof of his involvement. She intends to take over the assassin’s guild. Hilda tells the party that Roland was a skilled magic user (and that he gave little yellow stones to different people with different effects). He always had magical forms of protection. She says that other than Leah, she knew him best and that they traveled together. She believes a member of the assassin’s guild could be the only person to kill Roland because only they knew of all the security for the evening.

Girl with Pin – Digitalis noticed a girl who stood out and openly wore a pin similar to the Sabanti pin everyone wore, although this one had a strange symbol. She told a guard that she was the fletcher’s niece and had just arrived to town. When the party questioned the fletcher (at around 4am) he said that he didn’t have a niece. His home seemed to reflect that.

Wealthy Older Couple – Digitalis also noticed a finely dressed couple speaking in a secret sign language. Hilda said that it’s a language used by sailors. When he spoke to the couple, they said that they had been to many places and found no trouble on the roads.

Other Points

-Calamira noticed a wound on Roland’s chest but can’t identify what caused it. It’s something thin in diameter (less than 1/2 inch wide). No one questioned seemed to know what it was.

-Leah had Roland stop the assassin’s guild from doing assassinations in order to appease the High Priest of Solt.

-All clergy to Sabanti were permitted to carry ritual daggers during the party.

-A poem written in a Salbik tongue, located in Roland’s study, was translated by Horrace and spoke something about the dead rising, end of days, and a holy child that cries. With Horrace’s expertise as a printing apprentice, he noticed that the poem was written with fresh ink on new parchment (only a few days old). The wording is reminiscent of the god Ballin.

-A list of names was also found in Roland’s study; Tholtiss was the only name that the party recognized. Clyde said that he knew most of the names and some were assassins and others were not.

-Digitalis demonstrated to the party what happens if you touch stuff in Roland’s study (although he doesn’t seem to remember).

-There is a chest in Roland’s room and in the secret study. They both appear to be empty.

-Chiku’s tiger smelled only Leah and Roland in his “actual” bedchamber.

Session Nine
Under the Eye of Sabanti

After entering the inn, our heroes come across Hanan who is as chipper as ever. She greets everyone, including Yenamros. She then hands everyone a sack of 100 gold. She says she has another present, and gives everyone save Lady Alma a scroll of parchment with a blue ribbon and a wax seal. It is an invitation to the home of the Nameless Elf, leader of the assassin’s guild. It’s for the festival to Sabanti and the lunar eclipse is to occur that night. The party will be proceeded over by the Head Priestess Leah.

The invitation states that weapons are forbidden. As are backbacks, sacks, coats, cloaks, and anything with excessive pockets.

After Calamira discreetly casts Detect Evil and determines that there is only faint traces of evil in the Inn, and none when traveling with Hanan away from the Inn. The party goes out shopping, and Digitalis and Calamira help convince a pushy sales lady at a book store to ease up on the price of a dusty volume supposedly from Salbik called “the legend of the tower.” Of course, it was after Digitalis succeeded in reading the odd text (the strange abilities of “winky priests”) that he insisted they needed to purchase it.

The party then went to the temple of Sabanti to the east of town. Throngs of merry worshipers were making their way as well. Many were carrying baskets containing offerings of food or flowers. The temple itself contained no true ceiling. The floors were made of mosaics of dark hues and murals along the walls of the night sky with stars. It clearly has been repainted many times. They talk to a priestess who tells them that most will be attending service at the temple during the lunar eclipse but that a few individuals get to celebrate with the Head Priestess at Renald’s party (a name commonly used for the Nameless Elf).

The group then heads to Renald’s estate (after dropping off their belongings at the inn with Lady Alma). The first row of security consists of silent figures in plain black attire that check each invitation. They pat down Digitalis (who changed into clean Lunatan clergy robes that he “acquired” from the Bendalla Caverns). They then let him pass, and after harassing Chiku’s tiger and seeing the tiger react calmly they let her pass as well.

At the second check line are silent figures dressed in plain black that peal open the invitation (the parchment was too thin to know that it was two pieces) and a mark is in each one. Once inside, the party notices how sparsely decorated everything is. Some people are milling about in fine clothing and others in everyday clothes. After sometime, the party notices that the floors are made out of inlaid pieces of petrified wood in intricate patterns. It’s difficult to steal floors.

The party then makes their way to the central courtyard that is open to the night sky. To the far side are two thrones made of white interlaced vines. On the larger one sits a human woman with jet black hair, green eyes, midnight clergy robes, and a silver necklace with the symbol of Sabanti. She is the Head Priestess Leah, and she greets Hanan as the party approaches. At her feet are bowls of offerings, similar as at the Sabanti temple. She greets everyone. Later, Hanan drags Renald about and introduces him to everyone. Chiku is the most suspicious because “he kills people.” Renald offers her a yellow stone. She lets it drop, eventually takes it and gives it to Digitalis.

As the sun begins to drop below the horizon, the party truly begins. Harp music gives way to flutes which in time is replaced by drumming. When the lunar eclipse begins, everyone falls quiet and the Head Priestess Leah gives a moving sermon of the freedom that Sabanti grants everyone. She turns upward, and everyone turns to face her gaze as the moon is eclipsed by a red ring and the bonfires at the edges of the courtyard go out. When the moon starts to emerge again, the fires are lit.

A scream pierces through the night air. It was Leah who screamed as she stands above Renald’s motionless body lying on the ground in a pool of blood. She calls to the goddess to bring back her great follower, but nothing happens. She tries the ritual again calling out to Sabanti on her most holy of nights… but Renald does not stir.

Leah then calls for his body to be burned and the killers found.

Session Eight
Off to Kline

After a good night’s rest, the party finds Lady Alma. She tells them that Hanan was on her way to Kline, but she was going to try to “deal” with Folger along the way.

Yenamros, a ranger, tells the party that the best path to Kline is down south to the Tiana shrine and then to the east. The party agreed and bypassed the areas that were rumored to contain brownies or bandits. Beollimadus has peculiar visions at the Tiana shrine, but does not share much at this time.

They camp along the way. Beollimadus casts wyvern watch and Yenamros sets up snares to further secure the area while the party sleeps.

In the morning, they get to Kline, a city of thieves and assassins. The guards here have no issues with the party carrying weapons or of Chiku’s tiger (who is free to wander). Once inside, Digitalis and Calamira go to sell the armor that the party took off from Gulrak’s body while the rest of the party goes to the inn to look for Hanan. Digitalis has some difficulty selling the armor for what is a proper price, but eventually they reach an agreement. Meanwhile, the rest of the party doesn’t find Hanan but they hear something about a festival.

Beollimadus goes to put his horse Andy in the stables. He stopped along the way by a man in an official guard uniform with a sash. He explains to Beollimadus that if he isn’t intending to sell the animal, then he must get a permit from the customs officer to ensure that he’s able to leave town with it. Simply protocol, and leads him to a plush office. The man behind the desk mentions some absurd price, at which point Beollimadus shows him a particular piece of parchment, at which point the man immediately explains that he will fill out all the paper work free of charge and instructs the man with the sash to show him the location of the stables.

Beollimadus returns to the rest of the party along with Digitalis and Calamira. They travel across town passing various shops and festive people who talk about a “party” while clanking mugs of ale.

The next inn appears to be well secured, and they are let in after a bit of difficulty.

Session Seven
Dark Deals

Sitgar talks to the priest for a bit, but then he calls to Ku-lo. She is a flind and is wearing animal skin and a necklace made of bones from various creatures.

Ku-low talks to the priest about how they are looking for a fighter. She offers him a “gift” to become like a brother to the gnolls. In says that as a brother, he must bring them the “Eelynn”. She describes the Ei-linn as a demon and a traitor. She says that the Ei-linn is “like him” while pointing to his Elven ears and saying that he travels with the Ei-linn.

After frustrating Ku-lo with his garrulousness, she finally says with exasperation that he can have his friend (Chiku) and any prisoners that are capable of walking without assistance provided that he agrees to become their brother. Beollimadus agrees and is led to what appears to be a table for sacrifice. As he makes his way, Chiku from across the room tries to warn him to stop (during her captivity, she was given the offer to become a sister but she refused).

Ku-lo directs the priest to sit on the table. She then pulls out a ritual dagger and cuts open his hand, then blows on it some sort of powder that immediately disappears. Chiku is released and all prisoners that can walk are permitted to go. Their belongings are tossed on the floor and the survivors sort through it taking what is theirs.

The party then helps everyone out of the caverns and make their way to the Temple of Solt where they receive medical treatment and can rest. Calamira heals as many as she can, and befriends one of the freed prisoners named Yenamros. He says that he would be interested in joining the party, so she introduces him to everyone.

Exausted, the party gets some well deserved rest. For Beollimadus, nothing seems to be different… at least not yet.

Session Five and Six
Cavern Crawling

The party begins to enter into the caverns and discovers that there is a permeating darkness that torchlight cannot penetrate. Calamira casts light, but that cannot overcome the spell in the caverns. Digitalis attempts to climb the walls in darkness but after some progress, everyone hears a blaring alarm, and shortly a few gnolls have appeared. Outside, Horrace reads from a magic scroll and casts a stronger version of light on the end of his staff. This does cut through the darkness and now the party has a beacon it can follow.

Shortly in, Hanan disappears and shortly Folger is also no where to be seen.

Digitalis agrees to go with the gnolls provided that one remains behind with the rest of the party. Calamira is her charming Lunatan self and befriends Garg the guard. She convinces him to guide them through the caverns to Sitgar, whom Garg claims is their leader.

Meanwhile, Digitalis is brought to a room that contains rotting naked bodies in a pile. Other piles are in the room containing clothing and other items. There are no weapons or armor. After a bit, Digitalis says he needs to use the facilities and the gnoll takes him to a different room that has another gnoll. Here, body parts are piled in different parts and another pile contains innards. He is directed to the pile. Digitalis does his business and takes a handful of… well you get the idea.

Back at the first room, he successfully distracts the guard and stabs him in the back. He takes some gold off of the bodies, holy symbols and clergy robes for Lunata and Holgard.

The party continues through the caverns, led by Garg. Eventually they come to their old friend… the flind in the black armor along with four of his gnoll friends. Calamira attempts to befriend him and explains that there is no need to fight. This doesns’t seem to sit well with the gnolls so they attack.

Garg looks confused and is still, but the wizard stabs him anyway and then runs away as a brave wizard should.

Chiku’s tiger takes a beating going against the flind in black armor while the rest of the party wails on the remaining gnolls (except the wizard which is trying not to get killed by Garg). Calamira eventually calms Garg down, and Beollimadus takes down the main guy.

The rest of the gnolls surrender and Calaria tells Garg that he is free, so he runs away. The party tells them that it’s over because they killed their leader, at which point they learn that the guy in armor isn’t the leader; he isn’t Sitgar.

The party continues down the hall, with their captive gnolls, and come to a massive room (looks like it was at one point an underground lake before it dried up). There are ten archers in a semi-circle pointed at them and on the far side of the room, they see Chiku.

The party wisely makes the surrender gesture of going to their knees. Everyone except the priest who demands to be taken to Sitgar. He is led past a large fighting pit and can clearly see Chiku in the distance along with cages made of bone containing prisoners. Sitgar is a flind and is wearing armor that is obviously well cared for, which is in contrast to the rest of his kin.

Sitgar asks if he killed Gulrak, if he “is fighter.” When the priest says it was him, Sitgar replied, “good, we need fighter.”

Session Four
Chiku the Prisoner

As the apparent leader of the band of gnolls runs off with Chiku the hafling-warrior (who is currently held and cannot move), the rest of our party is in pursuit. The 2 surviving archer gnolls drop their bows and pull out short swords. For the first time the party sees Lady Alma do something interesting: electrocute the shit out of a gnoll by touching him. Beollimadus takes out the other and then battles it out with the heftier leader (who has tucked the hafling under his arm like a halfling-football while his other hand is smashing with a club). After a few crushing blows, Beollimadus tries to grab Chiku, but the leader holds on. As the battle wears on, Beollimadus falls. Digitalis quickly comes to his rescue, carrying him to the Solt temple. Our remaining fighters decide that perhaps 2 wizards and a priest are not the best answer to this brute at the time and understand that discretion is the better part of valor (run away!).

Gerren prays over Beollimadus and asks for his brother, Digitalis (who claims to be a priest of Solt – proper attire included), to pray with him. Digitalis, who doesn’t actually know what to do successfully convinces Gerren that he is too distaught over the death of his friend and can’t do the prayer’s. Gerren says “of course brother.” and then resurrects Beollimadus. Now alive, he realizes he feels somewhat weaker than before (modifier of -1 con) and knows that some priests do not know the ways of Solt as much as those in Ashadome and that a journey there would likely cure him of any remaining ills.

Meanwhile, the party informs Hanan of what has transpired. Hanan agrees that it’s best to get Chiku back and explains that the party ran into creatures called Gnolls, creatures that hail from Salbik. Digitalis then goes in search of a potential new ally. He approaches Folger, an inquisitor for the church of Solt, to see if he will help the party find and rescue Chiku. Folger explains that it is a crime to impersonate a priest of Solt. He then says that he could overlook such a crime if he were pursuing a more serious crime. Folger then directly tells Digitalis that either he helps him in arresting Hanan as a Salbik spy, or he will arrest Digitalis and possibly mete out “justice” without having to bother any of the other authorities.

Digitalis agrees, and then runs to Hanan and tells her everything. For now, they will accept Folger’s help and then turn on him if needed once Chiku is safe.

During this time, Horrace uses his bookbinding and forgery skills to turn a travel book into what appears to be a more official document about the region (having removed any actual relevant information). Hanan explained that gnolls like “information,” so Horrace creates the book to trade for Chiku.

In the morning, everyone except Lady Alma who remains at the Inn, goes out in search of Chiku. Folger easily follows the tracks left by the gnolls. They lead eventually to Leola, Chiku’s tiger, who is in a tree. Leola leads them to Chiku… or at least to a cave. Beollimadus knows that the Bendalla Caverns are natural caves and that parts of it were going to be used for mining, but the rock was too hard.

What will our brave heroes do? Will they successfully rescue Chiku while Folger gets eaten by gnolls? Will Chiku get eaten by gnolls while Folger uses Digitilas for target practice? Will the gnolls perform a dance number called “Forever Love my Gnoll?”

Stay tuned!


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