After slaying the goblins in their makeshift living quarters, the party was able to take a short rest and decide what direction they would head next. This allowed Varis ample opportunity to identify the totem he found as a Pure Spirit Totem +1.
The party decided to head west through double doors since the pits that layed to the north may pose quite a threat to some. The group took formation and proceeded through the doors. As they rounded a corner to the right they saw a large room up ahead and the apparent source of the crackling noise that Sven heard through the doors. The room was illuminated in blue hues from an image the crackled with magical energy. The image was of sinister looking castle in the middle of a swamp. The party searched around the room for any dangers before inspecting the glowing image.
Then Sven approached the image and reached out with his hand…
To Sven’s surprise, his hand went right through the image. The image flowed away from Sven’s outreached arm, like ripples upon a pond’s surface, and slowly revealed the room behind the image. Sven removed his arm, which was unaffected by the prodding, and the image slowly reconstituted back to its original form. Murmurs from the rest of the group remarked “What is it?” and “Is that a portal?”.
A few seconds later their questions were answered…
Out from the image came a large, jelly-like creature. Varis recognized it as an ooze, an Ochre Jelly to be exact. It sensed the closest creature (Thor Manfoot) and flowed its way to him. But the heroes were no match for the ooze as they quickly took half its lifeforce with a few blows. Then the jelly spluttered and split into two creatures. The heroes wasted no time in dispatching the ooze and finished the battle unscathed.
But the battle was not over…
Suddenly, Varis and Sven felt an aura of cold about them. This chilling presence made them feel like their defenses were weakened. As they turned to confront their aggressors there was no one in sight. However, both Sven and Varis had ample senses to know the whereabouts of at least one of their assailants.
The battle commenced and the opportunistic specters found they were in an unwinnable battle. Sven, calling upon the divine strength within him, laid one specter to rest with a devastating radiant blow. The other specter was slain before it even had a chance to retreat.
With the battle finally over the heroes took formation again and headed through a pair of double doors to the west. They rounded another corner and found themselves within a dark room lined with alcoves. The skeletal remains from within the alcoves had been strewed across the floor from apparent looting.
Suddenly, the north door of the room flew open…
The party took formation and wondered what would cause the door to open. After a few intense seconds, two fiery scorpion-like creatures appeared in the middle of the room. Shrazkil, from his arcane training, knew these creatures to be called magma claws. The fiery, magical creatures were no match for the mighty heroes. However, just as the creatures were put to death, the party was attacked by crossbows from the shadows.
“Gnomes! What are they doing in a goblin hideout!”, exclaimed Varis.
The heroes had two sneaky gnomes on their hands that were using thier natural stealthy abilities to perplex the party. But two small fey creatures were no match for five maturing heroes, and the gnomes were slain in the most horrible of fashion. Thor Manfoot, in a display of raw strength, picked up on gnome and snapped its body in two.
The party searched the remains of the alcoves and looked around the room for clues as to where any prisoners may have been taken. Alas, the search for footprints or any other telltale signs turned up nothing. However, one of the gnomes did carry with him an iron key.
The party had two choices on its hands – two routes that traveled north – one to the west and one to the east. They decided on the western route and took it down some stairs into another dark, dant room. As they approached the room they heard shouts of “Help! Get me out of here!.” When they arrived they found an older human man locked with a cell. They tried the iron key they found and click! it opened the cell.
The heroes had found Sertanian.
Sertanian introduced himself to the party as the castellan of the Great Hall of Valor. He mentioned he had been kept with Kartenix and the cook a short while ago. He feared for both and hoped the party would start up the search very quickly. And they did just that.
The party made their way back to the alcove room and now took the eastern route north. They proceeded up a flight of stairs and found themselves on a landing that was completely filled with spidery webs. Within the webbing were three spider-like creatures, guarding the passages beyond.
Varis called upon his knowledge of nature to remarkably recite just about every facet of knowledge about these creatures, called ettercaps – their kinship with spiders, their use of poisons, their freedom of movement within webs – the list went on and on.
The battle commenced and an ettercap in the back used its webbing to immobilize the heroes and keep them pinned within the entrance of the room while the two spidery creatures in the front attacked with fercious blows from their greataxes. Thor and Thales, the two frontliners for the party, took many blow from these creatures until they were finally able to kill one. This allowed the other heroes a chance to reach the ettercap in the back. One by one the ettercaps dropped until the heroes were once again victorious. This fight, and the difficult terrain caused by the webbing within the room, posed a more difficult challenge than the rest, but the party of heroes were becoming a force to be reckoned with.
They searched the webbed room and cut down the webbing as they went. After several minutes they found a gruesome sight: a human male wrapped in webs, his face pale and eyes bulged. Sertanian knew the human well.
The heroes had found Kartenix.
Sertanian had feared for Kartenix, for the captain of the Brindol guard had hatched a plan to overtake his captors. For some reason Sertanian surmised that his foolhardy plan resulted in his current predictament.
The heroes also found a couple sacks next to the dead body – one filled with residuum and another filed with gold coins.
Another decision as to the direction of travel: to the west up a flight of stairs, or north through a pair of double doors. The party decided to continue north through the doors.
The heroes could feel within their bones that the hour grew late. Thier day had indeed been long and many hours passed since they were awoken by Geoffery. But they had a task at hand, and the lives of innocent townfolk were at stake. The heroes pressed further.
Once through the doors the party came into a dark hall that stretched far to the east. As they took formation within the hall their sunrods lit up the room ahead and the guardians within – a hobgoblin and drake. The hobgoblin acted quickly and retreated to the unseen shadows of the room ahead, leaving the drake alone to fend for itself. The heroes assailed the lone drake and shread it to pieces within a few seconds. Then they assaulted the well-armored hobgoblin which fought back with all it had.
Then the sound of footsteps began to echo within the room has the spiral staircase reverberated with sound. Reinforcements were arriving from above!
Varis sensed the danger and directed his spirit companion to block the lower part of the stairs, effectively preventing any reinforcement from entering the room. Meanwhile, the hobgoblin was able to injure Thales with relentless strikes from its flail. But it was outnumbered and soon became bloodied itself. The draconic sorcerer Shrazkil, sensing the battle was soon over, belted out a mighty roar and commanded the goblin to drop all arms and succom to his will. The creature’s will had been broken by Shrazkil and it dropped his flail at the sorcerer’s feet and tried to flee from its impending capture. But it could not escape the agile Sven who caught up with the beast and slayed it before it escaped.
With the reinforcements now retreating back above and the hobgoblin and drake dead, the heroes had another victory at hand. They quickly searched around the room – another makeshift living quarters for the goblinoids. Within the mess they found more gold coins, a potion and a pair of black boots graced with the image of a stalking panther.
It was late, and the string of vitories started to take their toll upon the heroes. They decided they needed an extended rest – but rest where?