Return to Castleford (25th June 2014)
Bow – Ranger
Cormac – Fighter
Johan – Cleric
Maximillian – Thief
Tarquin - Fighter
Theoderic - Fighter
Vox – Magic User
The Return of Maximillian and the Arrival of Tarquin - Moonday 22nd Hextember (day 83) – late morning
The late summer morning sun swiftly burned off the morning mists from the Imeryds Run as the exhausted party headed out of Nulb on their new found steeds. Vox had finally recovered from his magical efforts and was ready to travel again.
The road back to Castleford was sparsely occupied so the party made good time, despite the fact that only the fighters knew how to ride. The destruction of the pirate gang masters and their accomplices from Nulb and Castleford had made the roads much safer for travellers and caravans to travel upon in recent weeks. The torrent of bandit raids just a short time ago had dried up to a trickle now that their main headquarters at the moat house in the fens had also been destroyed.
The sullen guard at the South Gate of Castleford nodded the party through after the party explained that they were there to return their fallen comrade to life. They led their horses to the stables at the Talehangers’ Inn where they were met with great enthusiasm; Bow had spent a fortune here over the last few weeks and the pot boys and ostlers were eager to earn more tips for their services.
Once the horses had been stabled, the party headed for the main tap room to wash the dust from their parched throats. The bar was quite packed for the time of day and several groups of merchants and other adventuring types were present all around. The inn-keeper spotted the party straight away and attended to their every need; reserving the best rooms for Bow and his comrades, whilst putting Gull’s body in a place of honour in a side room.
Just as the party settled down to a hearty lunch, they spotted the arrival of one of their old companions; the thief Maximillian. They called him over and they caught up on old times whilst they made introductions between party members who had not met before. He explained that he had become a little jaded with small town Guild matters and needed a short break away from the stuffy confines of Abiswick.
On the far side of the room, a well-armed and armoured individual rose from his seat and made his way across to the party’s table. He introduced himself as Tarquin and that he was a sword for hire looking for adventure and treasure. The party eyed him warily but invited him to join them none-the-less.
Each of the party members had errands to run, so this was a good time for them to carry them out before they left for the Temple again the following day; an extra sword would be useful if they encountered any more combat. Bow whistled for the inn keeper and booked a room for their two new companions.
After he had paid over the necessary coins, Bow left the inn, grabbed his horse from the stable and set about town in order to see what he could achieve on his personal list of things to do. He sold the horse to Ernest, the horse merchant whom they rescued from the moat house, at a good price and enquired after a variety of other artisans and merchants who may be able to help him with his list of items. Ernest offered him the best advice he could and Bow went upon his way. He found the wizard that Ernest proposed and was able to get a few more of the party’s magical items Identified. Once he had completed these tasks he headed back to the Talehanger’s Inn in time for supper, an evening of heavy drinking and, after a luxurious bath a nice comfortable bed.
Cormac spent most of the day trudging around the town in pursuit of a particular type of magical sword; unfortunately there were none of that type of rare weapon to be found in this town. One or two merchants offered to look out for this particular type of sword for him and said they would contact him at the inn if they came across one.
Johan, after he had finished his lunch, took the body of Gull to the Temple of Woden in the artisan’s quarter. He asked whether the high priest could raise his companion from the dead and he was told that this was indeed possible. The priest of Woden was able to bring Gull back from the netherworlds but the cost was most of the contents of his coin purse. However, the thief still had several trinkets worth many a year’s work left on his person. When he came round from his ordeal he thanked Johan for his concern and said that he wanted to spend some time with his family to contemplate his future. He had died or been close to death on several occasions and had come to realise, rather belatedly, that adventuring was a dangerous pursuit. He said that he may join the party at a later date if he rediscovered his zest for danger. The cleric and thief shook hands and parted their ways.
When Johan returned to the inn he was greeted by the sounds of challenge from Vox. As he entered the courtyard he saw the little mage ducking and weaving away from a great sword held by the new fellow that had joined their party earlier that day. As Vox caught sight of the cleric, his attention wavered and he was clouted by the flat of Tarquin’s blade. Vox grumbled under his breath that clerics always seemed to ruin everything but realised that he was bleeding quite profusely so he scampered into the inn and declared to Tarquin as he passed him that he was good enough to join the party in his humble opinion.
The Old Crone - Tirsday 23rd Hextember (day 84) – mid morning
The party rose late the following day and slowly ate a large breakfast as they loaded their packs for the next stage of the adventure. Vox nursed a big headache and sported a large scab from the cut he got from Tarquin’s blade the evening before. Johan’s offer of aid was rejected by the suspicious magic user.
After all of their preparations had been made, those that had horses mounted up and followed their companions on foot towards the town gates. Just before they reached the end of the road, an old lady stepped out from the shadows of a nearby building and called for them to halt.
Cormac recognised the old crone as the one whom he had met in Nulb. Bow and Vox chose to ignore her and carried on travelling towards the gates; the rest of the adventuring party trailed on after them. The doughty fighter, however, chose to stop and see what she wanted.
After she had thanked him for stopping, she proceeded to offer him information about their quest if their intention was to head back to the Temple. She had been informed by the High Priest of the Temple of Sol Invictus in Castleford that the amulet they had gathered from Lareth, who had commanded the moat house until the party’s timely arrival, and stored safely under magical glyphs had been stolen. It would take a mighty mage or superb thief to manage that task. If past disturbances were anything to go by, then that third amulet would be used to open the third set of magically locked Temple doors at the next new moon in just five days’ time.
She then went on to mention that the fourth amulet was to be found within the Temple confines three levels down in a crypt that was consecrated in honour of Sol Invictus and was protected by strong dweomers. She also mentioned that the Golden Orb was also on the third level down but in a small side section of the dungeon. This was well protected by elements of the Temple but may be easier to find as it was listed on the map that the party had found in the tower within the Temple grounds.
Finally, she advised that, in a few days’ time, the Castleford garrison would be called out again to strike the final blow against the Temple in the hope that the upper levels could be cleared and the third amulet reclaimed.
Cormac thanked her for the information and rode to catch up with the rest of his companions who were by then out of the gates and had travelled past the leper colony in the cluster of hovels just outside the town walls. When he passed on all that he had learned, the party decided to get in before the Thuringians raided the Temple in order that they did not miss out on any potential treasure.
Return to the Temple – early afternoon
The party passed through Nulb on their journey back to the Temple via Nulb. The five horses between them carried those who wanted to ride and their heavy packs, but Bow decided to walk with Max and Tarquin now that he had sold his.
They made good time and after a brief break in their journey to water the horses they debated what they should do next. Johan and Tarquin suggested that they should go to fetch the Golden Orb first as it was contained within just a small part of the dungeon and most likely easy to find, but Bow argued that maybe they should plough on through the rest of the dungeon to get the fourth amulet and pick up as much treasure as possible before the Thuringians got their hands on it. A show of hands decided that they would continue on with the rest of the dungeon to grab the fourth amulet.
Reanimated Dead – late afternoon
Once they arrived back at the overgrown entrance to the Temple grounds, the party retraced their steps back to the elemental room. All along the way they saw the after effects of their actions above ground but there did not seem to be any other signs of movement from anyone or anything else other than carrion eaters.
They cautiously re-entered the Temple building above ground but again noticed that there were no signs of anyone having been there other than themselves.
They descended the wide stone steps down to the pyramid dais room of the earth elementals in combat readiness but encountered no resistance. It was only when they had crossed the chamber and spread out that they noticed that the bodies of the bugbears and gnolls they had dispatched a few days earlier had gone; but the bloodstains in the earth remained.
This caused a ripple of fear to spread throughout the party, so they readjusted their weapons and made ready for an imminent attack. Bow, braver than the rest, strode to the curtain beyond which the bugbears initially came and twitched it aside. The movement he encountered when the curtain was moved made him pull the drapery back further to reveal the reanimated corpses of those humanoids that they had previously killed. A rough growl from one of the bugbears showed which one was in charge as the zombies stumbled forward to engage the interlopers.
Tarquin, eager to impress his new found compatriots, made a bee-line for the living bugbear commander whilst Johan called upon the mighty powers of Balder to destroy the minions of evil. Two or three of the shambling corpses dropped to the floor again, bereft of their controlling shades, whilst the other fighters engaged in combat.
Again, the fact that the party had encountered these types of beings previously held no fear for them and they soon dispatched the zombies and their living bugbear commander with only a few scratches between them. Johan checked those that were injured for grey ooze that may have invaded their wounds, but no-one seemed to be infected.
Meanwhile, Maximillian, who was always keen to explore but avoid trouble, headed over to the other curtain. He was closely followed by Vox, whose curiosity was piqued. Max flicked a small glass marble beyond the curtain but only heard it ricochet off the far wall and ping around like a normal marble would upon a flagstone floor. Unsure whether he should pass beyond the curtain, he instead decided to set a small firetrap on the curtain. He warned the young mage, who was now breathing down his neck in his keenness, to avoid the curtain if he did not want to get hurt.
Just as Johan finished checking over the wounds of the others he looked up from his handiwork and noticed at the far end of the dark corridor the approach of a torch. Somebody had heard the earlier commotion and was coming to investigate.