No, really, the heroes really are seeking Cynric’s Folly…they just keep getting caught up in other things.
In our last session, the heroes returned back to Swallowfeld to deliver Berangar to the authorities and to make various preparations for seeking out Cynric’s Folly after having gained some additional clues as to its location from the elderly priest, Godric. However, nothing is ever quite that simple. Instead, various hijinks ensued that ultimately resulted in Thalimor engaging in some cross-dressing and expressing a strong interest in an alternate sexuality to avoid, well, an engagement. After all that hilarity, Pounder was woken early the following morning by a pounding on his door and someone shouting, “The children are gone!”
And that is where we pick up after the break.
I’m going to add a little something that I haven’t done before with the session recap. I’m going to add the days that the action takes place. Things are now getting to the point that I need to keep track of the calendar or it will get a bit too confusing for me. So, I had to come up with a calendar for the setting. It is a 13-month lunar based calendar with four weeks per month and seven days per week. Each month starts on the full moon. The campaign is currently in the month of Plognath or Plow Moon in the old language (Elderspraech or Reorde) of the Thioda, the Thaeden cultural ancestors. The days of the month are notated not by a number like we do nowadays but as the first, second, third, or fourth Haelfdag (or whichever day it is) of Plognath (or whichever month it is).
So with that all out of the way…
3rd Haelvdag of Plognath
Pounder opened his door to find Caeddan, Swallowfeld’s resident priest, standing their, obviously distressed. He shouted again that the children were missing and begged for Pounder to do something…to go and save the children like he had before. A note had been left as well and he handed that to the paladin. The held the following message, written in a rather small and cramped hand.
“The fool Thalimor has something that belongs to me! Now I have three things that he wants or I assume that you and his soft-hearted friends will at least want the children back. Thalimor must bring my knife back to me or I will kill all three of my captives. It would be such a shame as I and my minions have so enjoyed tormenting the one I took earlier.
I asked the fool nicely before and he sent troops against me. They have all died most painfully. Send more and they will all die and I will then send my forces to your village to take what is mine!”
The other heroes were roused by all this and set about with some initial investigations and preparations.
Pounder led a group to Fellowship Hall to investigate which included Bay and Osric. At the Hall, there were no signs of struggles in the children’s room and no sign of forced entry. The shutter over the only window in the room was open. Outside the window, there were numerous tracks on the ground. They were small but clearly more than just two children could leave.
Meanwhile, Isenthorne, Magnus, and Thalimor all headed to the Trading Post to finish some business before they set out to find the children [priorities…priorities]. The shop was not open quite yet but a couple of the guards were outside taking up their positions. They gave Thalimor some definite ribbing about the prior night’s revelations but let them know that they’ll have to wait until after Teza has and some breakfast and is ready to open for business. Thalimor eventually shared that they were actually in a hurry because the two children, Kettilwig and Dagelric, had been abducted again and that changed everything.
The guard hurried off and quickly returned with Teza who expressed grave concern at the news of the children’s abduction. Thalimor asks if he can sell her the rubies he had brought for her to look at the prior day and purchase some healing potions. She, however, had none for sale. So instead, Thalimor asked if she could still get them some ruby dust [50gp worth to be exact] and she agreed to take the rubies to the jeweler in Wolverton to get the dust. She and Thalimor agreed that she would deduct the fees from the price of the remaining ruby and the return the rest to him.
Thalimor then offered to pay Teza for the bracelet she had given him the day before as the engagement with Ardor had been broken off. Teza seemed a bit insulted by this and insisted that the bracelet had been a gift. She would accept no payment for it.
The two groups then met back at Fellowship Hall so Isenthorne [the group’s most accomplished tracker] could look at the tracks before they were stomped over. She immediately identified them as being goblin tracks [one of her favored enemies]. The tracks led directly from the Hall to the nearby woods in the shortest distance possible. She found, however, no sign of the children’s tracks and so the heroes assumed that the goblins must have been carrying them.
Pounder and Isenthorne headed to Wardseld Keep. The paladin thought it appropriate to inform the authorities of what had happened and what they were planning on doing as well as to caution them from sending more troops. They met with the Wulfnoth, Warden of the Lonely Coast, and he was not very happy the information being shared or that they had been responsible for releasing a demon on the lands he was tasked with protecting. He demanded to see the letter that was the source of so much of this information. They explained that Thalimor had it and so guards were sent to “fetch” the rest of the their companions.
When the others arrived, the Warden read the note and then asked Thalimor about the referenced knife. Although the bard admitted that it was on his person, he refused to turn it over. Guards seized Thalimor and then searched his belongings. The knife was not found as it was still inside the magic box. When asked again about the knife, the bard let his opinion of authority figures guide his response. He angrily pointed out that only HE could produce the knife and only HE could exchange it for the children and so HE needed to go.
The Warden agreed that Thalimor would go and had the bard manacled. The others were informed that they could remain Swallowfeld at either the inn or they could stay in his stockade instead. They, of course, elected for the inn and left. Instead of heading to the inn, they went to Fellowship Hall and set off to follow the goblin tracks into the woods with the intent to disobey the Warden and go after the children. As they slipped into the woods, a couple of the Warden’s men were noticed heading for the inn…presumably to check on them…and so they hustled on their way.
The tracks led a short distance into the woods and then turned to the east, the direction of the ruins some four or five miles away. The goblins obviously had no fear of being followed as they had made no attempt whatsoever to hide their tracks. In fact, it was almost like they had made them easy to follow. There were even fresh goblin signs carved on the trees along the way. The trail left the woods after a shot bit and traveled through the farmlands along the Cliffway. Very unusual.
Meanwhile, the Warden, Feng, and dozen soldiers all departed Wardseld Keep with Thalimor in two. Literally, in tow. A rope had been tied to his manacles and Feng held the other end. Only the Warden and Feng were mounted. Before leaving, Thalimor was gagged and a hood placed over his head. Apparently, his continuous chatter was a bit too annoying for the Warden and his Sergeant.
After a couple of miles of traveling like this, the troops stopped and Thalimor’s hood was removed. They were somewhere along the Cliffway. The Warden again asked Thalimor about the knife. The bard mumbled an answer through his gag, perhaps trying to make a point about the level of intelligence of someone asking a gagged person questions. The gag was removed and Thalimor said that the knife was in the box but only he could open the box. It could only be opened at the ruins by reading the magical incantations on the walls therein.
Feng set the box on the ground and tried to break it open with a powerful blow with his massive axe. When the axe hit the box, the box was unharmed but the axe blade shattered.
This proved to be a bit too much for Sergeant Feng and his orcish heritage perhaps got the best of him. He scooped up the bard and marched directly to the edge of the coastal cliffs as the Warden called after him. Feng lifted Thalimor above his head and told him to turn over the knife or he’d toss him off the cliff. Thalimor started to offer his same explanation and the half-orc tossed him off the cliff!
[I’m not sure if anyone thought that I’d actually do it but I did it. 😉
The cliffs were about one-hundred and fifty feet high and ended in waves crashing up against rocks. I think Thomas actually thought that Thalimor was dead.]
After falling about fifteen feet, Thalimor was jerked to a sudden stop and then slammed into the face of the cliff. The rope! Feng reeled him back up. He was asked again about the knife and reiterated the claim that he had to open it at the ruins. Feng punched him in the face and Thalimor lost consciousness.
The rest of the heroes had arrived in the area of the charcoalers’ small settlement. Rather than follow the goblin tracks, they decided to backtrack a bit and approach from a different direction. As they did so, they realized that the Warden’s troops were arriving in the area and so they moved more quickly to reach the ruins. Isenthorne didn’t actually see any goblin scouts but she was quite sure that she spotted and heard some movement that most likely was such a scout.
They reached the entrance to the ruins with no incident and found that the entrance was no longer blocked. The debris that they had piled in front of the entrance had been moved. Inside the entry chamber, someone had drawn the word, “Kidz,” with an arrow pointing down on hallway. They decided to head that way.
Magnus, however, elected to go back and warn the approaching troops about the goblins. Given that he had spent most of his life in the city, it was a brave choice. As he wandered through the woods, it quickly became clear that there were quite a few goblins about. It wasn’t long before they started to take shots at the cleric and so Magnus hightailed it back to the ruins. He arrived just before he was surrounded by about a dozen goblins.
[To be honest, I missed a real opportunity to complicate the lives of the PCs. I let Magnus get away. If I had thought of it at the time, I may have tried to have the goblins take him captive. Then they’d have Thalimor held by the Warden, Magnus captured by goblins, and the children–presumably–held in the ruins by Aerlium. Wouldn’t that have been a hoot?!?]
Inside the ruins, the rest of the heroes had hustled along, quickly checking the various chambers. One chamber that had contained “prison pits,” had a few such pits with various body parts tossed inside but yhey found nothing until they reached the deepest rooms. In the room with the altar and bowl holding the Foul Mother’s Water, the word “Kidz” was again marked on the floor with an arrow pointing towards the double doors leading to the final room. The word “Drink” had also been marked on the floor with an arrow pointing towards the bowl on the altar but none of the heroes elected to follow the instruction.
Opening the double doors, they found Malvenos nailed to two beams of wood in an x-shape, the nails having been pounded right through his hands. Aerlium was standing on the raised area at the far end of the room and the two children, Kettilwig and Dagelric, are slumped on the floor to either side of him. They had hoods over their heads so it was impossible to tell if they were alive or not. Four of the bizarre aberrations that they had encountered before were also in the room, slavering with anger and straining against some sort of unseen leash that held them at bay.
Aerlium asked for Thalimor and his knife. Pounder tried to explain that Thalimor was coming with the knife but that the Warden had insisted on bringing the bard with some more troops. Aerlium disappeared from sight.
Not wanting to fight all four of the creatures at once and not really sure what else to do, the heroes headed back to the entrance and encountered Magnus along the way. Although they had also closed the doors behind them, two of the creatures opened them and followed. At the entrance, they could see two more of the creatures. They decided to see if they could fight their way out and a battle ensued. The heroes retreated into the ruins to avoid being targets of the goblins fire but the two creatures followed them in and attacked. In addition, the two that had been following them from deeper in the complex also attacked.
The battle, however, seemed significantly easier than the prior fights against such creatures. [The heroes had leveled up a couple of times since then.] All four were defeated without too much damage to the heroes. They headed back to the “temple” chamber and found the remaining two creatures had shifted position. One each was now standing on the raised area holding a child each. With their long, disgusting tongues, they were licking the throats of the children. Since they couldn’t risk attacking without losing the children, they headed back outside.
Since the way looked clear, they headed out to the sound of a horn sounding nearby and the sounds of battle. Heading in that direction, they were ambushed by a large group of goblins, including one that was quite large and had three arms. Each arm was holding a weapon and the one of most interest was a longsword of a sickly greenish hue that was dripping some sort of noxious liquid. This goblin spit a large gob of similar looking noxious liquid as it closed to attack.
The goblins’ numbers seemed to put them at a significant advantage but Magnus called down a holy radiance that burned nearly all of them to a crisp. The rest were easily taken out by the heroes, including the mutant. Osric tried to pick up the strange sword but the liquid from it burned his hand and so he quickly dropped it. As they hustled away to reach the troops (assuming them to be the source of the horn and sounds of battle), Bay held back just slightly. He felt a strange and very strong attraction to the sword. Unable to resist, he picked the sword up but he was unharmed by the liquid dripping from it. He then set about following his companions.
When the heroes reached the edge of the woods, they found that there had indeed been a short battle. A number of goblin bodies were scattered about the ground and a few of the soldiers also looked to have been killed. Thalimor was also lying on the ground. Both the Warden and Sergeant Feng were standing over him, looking down at his body. From where they stood, it was unclear if Thalimor was hurt or even if he was alive or dead!
[And that is where we stopped.
I’m going to leave it up to the group to post the beer notes this week. I’m a bit behind on posting this and I need to start getting ready for tonight’s session. ;)]