Jump to content

The Scarred Lands - Broken Lands and Forgotten Treasures


Recommended Posts

This had not been the band's best idea.

They had been recuperating in Leoni, one of the few permanent settlements the manticora had established, and the spiritual center of the Manticora Confederacy, a loose association of manticoras from the Bleak Savannah, the Haggard Hills, and the Blood Steppes. While primitive compared to other great cities of Ghelspad, Leoni has plenty of charm and spirit. Many of the buildings are simple wood or mud huts with thatched roofs, materials well suited to a burgeoning city of semi-nomadic people.

Kora had been pleased to spend time among her people and to speak with her mentor, Akarle. Sigurn had imposed herself upon the hospitality of a Calastian trader she knew, Teuce, who was in Leoni looking to establish himself in the burgeoning settlement. Siwan found interest in the Hunter's Library sitting in the shadow of the Pridestone, a monument devoted to Tanil the Huntress and the only structure made of stone and brick in Leoni.

The library is equal parts zoo and archive, a “study herd,” as the manticora call it. The library’s purpose is to catalogue all the rare and exotic fauna and flora on Ghelspad and provide firsthand accounts of hunting and survival techniques. As a result, a new tradition has been established by the semi-nomadic lionfolk of collecting new specimens to bring back to the Hunter’s Library. To that end, even some nearby groups of humans in the northern savannah and in the Haggard Hills have assisted the manticora, and occasionally the caretakers of the Hunter's library even hired adventurers to collect specimens and share their experiences.

Even Zai, the uncanny girl in their care seemed grateful to be in a settlement, even if it was far from what she would call a city, being from decadent Shelzar in the South. Even better, she didn't seem inclined to stretch out her quick and sticky fingers into the pouches of the bestial, if friendly and social, lionfolk. It was a good several days for the Band.

That time had come to an end when Sigurn's exasperated host grew tired and scared of her presence and bribed her with a map to go away. He had intended it to be a big score for him, but it was too dangerous of a trek for him to make on his own, and any adventurers he hired would demand to large of a portion of what they found. But the map had peaked Sigurn's interest and he had readily given it to her as a gift, if she would just go out and follow it.

The map marked the location of an outpost of the Empire of the Wheel, an empire founded by renegade male Albadian sorcerers over the fallen remains of the greatest Empire Ghelspad had ever known, the Empire of Lede. Not knowing her own father, a supposed sorcerer himself, she might learn something of what Albadian sorcerers were like.

What added extra incentive to pursue the location on the map was a sigil marked on it. An arcane sigil that matched one on a fragment of one of the True Rituals recovered from the Dar al Annot coven over a year ago. Perhaps they could find the lore to make out the purpose of the terrible ritual and discover what the twisted Hag had intended for Zai.

And of course, ancient ruins had their dangers, but often, they could have their rewards as well. Further, the lands of the former sorcerous empire were a desolate and cursed place. The Hunter's Library would appreciate anything they could learn of its flora, fauna, and dangers.

And so, the band of women found themselves trudging across the Perforated Plains. Once a land of fished-fill rivers and fertile, green fields, now it is riven, barren rock interrupted by stunted weed-trees, hardy and bitter scrub grass and stagnant pools of water, populated by dangerous beasts and titanspawn and scarce and skittish game.

What made travel through the Perforated Plains even more difficult were the plethora of treacherous sinkholes and large craters that had to circled and made it easy to lose their way. Perhaps no place in all Ghelspad had been as devastated by the Divine War as had the place now called the Perforated Plains.

Though far less than the Empire of Lede that had preceded it, the Empire of the Wheel had been powerful in its own right, thanks to the might of its Sorcerer Kings, many formidable summoners, and elite warrior forces. But its end began just before the onset of the Divine War.

Yngolf the Witchblooded, the High King of Albadia declared war against the Empire of the Wheel, and this time, it was no mere raid, but a full invasion. For the first time, the tattooed witches of the Helliann rode to war with their barbarian warrior. The Witchwar, as it became known, lasted for twelve years, ending only with the destruction of Mesos. With arcane magic becoming wild and unpredictable, the Witchwar ended rapidly.

But the Divine War had just started. A cabal among the Sorcerer-Kings decided to side with the Titans, and by the time the rest of the Sorcerer-Kings learned of their perfidy, it was too late. The Empire of the Wheel was considered a haven of the Titans and the armies of Madriel, Tanil, and Vangal laid siege to it.

As they closed upon the capital city of Aurimar, the gods strode onto the field and turned the full force of their wrath upon the city, sinking it into the ground and laying waste to the remnants of the empire. That site was now known at the Sinkhole of Non, with the Pillar of Non at its center, upon which remained the last remnants of Aurimar. From it tolled the cursed Bells of Non, which could be heard miles away and warned all those who came too close.

What sealed the final demise of the land was the destruction of the Gluttonous Titan Gaurak. As the gods pulled his teeth and cast them away, they crashed onto these plains as a hail of mighty stones and boulders, up to the size of hills and mountains. The land withered under the miasma of Gaurak's endless hunger.

Only slowly has the land finally started to recover. The band had been walking through the desolation for near a week, and Kora's and Siwan's skill were barely been sufficient to keep them fed, their rations growing lower than they would prefer. Game was scarce and wary of anything on two legs, or four. And the roots and berries they found were more often than not greasy, bitter, unpalatable. Even kinds that were safe in other lands could turn out to be poisonous in the Perforated Plains.

Their journey had not been without incident. The women had fended off a small pack of the leonine centaur-like Proud, eternal enemies of the Manticora, who had turned away from their Titan maker, Hrinruuk. A hidden sinkhole had crumbled beneath their feet, rousing a pair of gauntlings, failed spawn of Gaurak who stood half again as tall as a man, skeletal thin with nearly transparent skin who knew only endless and unrelieved hunger.

But now, looking at the map, Siwan believed they were close to their goal, perhaps reaching their goal very late tonight or sometime in the morning. The sun was a baleful orange ball on the horizon and the heat of the day was already starting to give way to the chill of the night.

Slim shoulders slumped, Zai shuffled along close on Sigurn's heels, already beginning to pull her cloak close against the cold. Though they had seen no sign of them yet, the experienced travelers could sense they were being tracked, for the last day, Kora catching a hint of them on the dry wind, though she could not tell if they were more Proud or some other denizens of this cursed land.

"Are we almost there yet?" Zai asked in a soft, plaintive voice as they passed through the worn down ruins of a village - little more than partial walls and foundations - that likely dated back to the Ledean Empire.

Spoiler

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me in chat or in the OOC thread and I'll answer as swiftly as I can. You guys have taken wounds during your journey, and it has been a trial, but at the moment, you are at full health/spells, etc. You guys picked up a bit of loot along the way, which I'll determine later (mostly just a few coins or crude bits of jewelry).

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Siwan motioned for a halt as Zai's voice came to her from where she rode near Sigrun. "A I have told you the last four times you have asked that question, we will get there when we get there." She pulls the stopper from her water skin and takes a good drink, then pours some into her hand for the raven on her shoulder to drink.

"But we are closer I think. We could make it tonight if we pushed, but I think it best to find camp and wait until morning.

Also," She looks back at Kora with a questioning glance, "If we are being followed still, I would rather face those gnolls before we arrive at our destination and find something else as bad or worse. I don't like the thought of enemies at our front and back.

What say you Sigurn, Kora?"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Having acquit herself well against the Proud was a mark of pride for Kora in her heart.   The rivalry and hatred there was something that would never falter or cool.   Still, this trek had been more difficult than others, and seldom had her skills as a huntress been so tested by the terrain.   "I agree.   It is safe to say they know we're searching for something, or on a journey with a specific end in mind.   I'd rather face them now than later, when we have other issues to contend with.  I've been noting our surroundings, and looking for the best place to ambush them, if that is what we choose."   Unlike many, she had her honor, but by that same token, her survival and that of her friends, carried more import.  

"They will be on guard, more than human bandits, simply because they know I can smell them, It will take planning and thought to bring them in, or stupidity and desperation on their part."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Siwan studied the Mantacoran ranger a moment, then whispered to Llygaid , her raven familiar, to fly back carefully and see if the gnolls still followed.

With a flutter of wings the large black bird takes flight from her shoulder and climbs into the dark deepening sky heading back whence they had come.

The druid dismounted and stretched, "It will be dark soon that old building there, with the three walls still mostly standing, that is the obvious place for a camp.

Sigurn can you make it appear that we are camped here, I will cast the hut ritual over there when you are all ready, it will let us watch the approaches for the gnolls from safety, if they deem to attack.

Zai! see if there is any wood for a fire. I don't want to eat cold food tonight if we can help it."

Instructions given Siwan rummages in her saddle bags retrieving the old book written in a hand not hers. the books cover worn and torn in places still bore the stains of it's previous owners blood, and that of his killers as well. Carefully she picks her way through the ruins leading her horse and mule, to the area she had indicated where she figured the magic dome would be best to set up.

As the others set about they're own activities and tasks she began to prepare the place for her spell.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Zai gave the tall Keltai druid a meek nod and scampered off, her soft boots not even a whisper on the broken ground, her colorless clothes fading into the growing gloom. The band of taller women had taught her - a city girl and street rat from Shelzar - what to look for but she was still wary being out in the wild and made sure she always had line of sight to at least one of them. There wasn't much, mostly thorny vines and roots, dry branches from a small, stunted tree, and the crumbling remains of doors and furniture that fell apart at a touch, but it might be enough for a small fire.

At least starting a fire wasn't hard, the girl-woman thought with a small, tight grin as she wiggled her fingers and small blue-white flame appeared in her hand. The grin faded as she felt the magic burn in her blood and a hint of memory of what had been done to her flashed before her eyes.

~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~

The spirit in the shape of a raven through the air, Llygaid's pitiless, black eyes searching for his mistress' hunters. He found one, armed with spear and bow, about a quarter mile away, jogging down a jagged rise on the plains from which the gnoll must've have been watching the women before the shadows had grown too long. The raven followed it for more than half a mile on silent wings, until it met the rest of the hunting pack.

Llygaid's avian gaze was immediately drawn to the largest of the gnolls, a hulking grey-furred beast, dried blood streaking its eyes and arms like warpaint, a pair of crude gold armlets around its biceps. It wore rusty grey-brown chainmail and in its hand it carried a flail, a terrible weapon with three chain tails, the heads made from screaming skulls with baleful, red glowing eyes trail grey-black smoke.

At its side stood two smaller gnolls, wiry and yellows eyes bright with hunger and bloodlust. They were armed with a pair of shortswords and armored in coarse leathers, the fading light gleaming off their sharp teeth. One of the gnolls snapped at the returning watcher while the other continued gnawing on a small lizard. The gnolls began speaking in a foul language of growls, yips, and yowls.

A whistling thrum cut through the air and the raven squawked as an arrow narrowly missed his wings. Llygaid twisted around and climbed, seeing the fifth gnoll flanking the rest of the pack, longbow in its clawed hands as he flew back towards his mistress. He was the only raven the women had seen on the Perforated Plains and it seemed the gnolls had realized it too.

Spoiler

Experienced Adventurers and Hunters that you are, you believe the gnolls will probably attack during the night, to take advantage of their darkvision and the thirsty ferocity their Pack Leader is evoking in them.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sigurn dismounted and looked around from where she stood, listening to the others. She picked up Hilsi from the back of the horse and held him in her arms, petting and scritching the Albadian snow cat.

"My illusions are best at night. Shadow and darkness are my friends." she reminded with a faint, lopsided grin on her lips and an almost unhinged sparkle in her eyes, something that her fellows had learned was her own way of expressing mirth.

"Unfortunately, my illusions are somewhat fleeting, lingering for minutes, not hours. I will do what I can do though, before these vermin draw too near. In the time 'tween here and then though, I shall ensorcell some arrows for us, the best for Kora, of course, so that we may strike as if many more our number." she said as she reached into her quiver and withdrew not only her elven razor bow, but a half dozen arrows to enchant.

"So we set false camp, lure them into it and ambush them from without. The camp, horses, sounds and smells, but real and illusionary, should bring them in." Sigurn took a seat on a broken wall, counting out the arrows in her hand as Skirra, her dread spider familiar, cam skittering onto her shoulder.

"That, or we take the fight to them." she added with a shrug as she began to enchant the arrows.

 

Spoiler

Unless there is a change of plans, Sigurn will use both of her 4th level spells slots to cast Multiple Missile on 2 arrows for Kora (so 5 extra damage dice each AND Advantage on the attack) and will uses two 1st level slots to cast Multiple Missile on a single arrow for herself and Siwan (so 2 extra damage dice AND Advantage on the attack). After that, she will see about crafting illusions, likely a mix of Silent Image and Prestidigitation.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The party of women made their plans with the fall of night. Balsemeth's moon was a waning crescent and the shadows grew deep and thick. The Perforated Plains was a hostile, dangerous land and it was eerily quiet, with few of the night sounds the experienced wanderers were used to. Sigurn, Kora, and Zai took care of their mounts and set up their false camp while Siwan enacted her rituals, a pair of warning spells and dome of mystic force she coloured in shades of grey, blue and black, rendering it nearly invisible in the night.

While making a meal of bitter-tasting lizards Kora had caught and some sour tubers Siwan found - Kora having determined they were not actually poisonous - the Albadian skald enchanted several arrows for their ambush and spun them tales to encourage them in the battle to come. They did not have much time before Siwan's alarms sent her a mental warning.

The first one warned of seven approaching man-sized creatures and the second, the furthest from their true camp warned her of two more several moments later. It was nearly twice the number they were expecting, but their plan was a good one. They could complete their preparations, and if they determined it was too much, they could probably slip away, though it would cost them their mounts.

From where they planned to make their initial attack, a series of broken walls that formed natural crenelations and gave them a clear view of their false camp, Sigurn spun her illusion of the women huddled about their fire, one of their number standing watch, but too close so that the flames would ruin her nightsight. The shadows seemed to coil about Sigurn and add a dark verisimilitude her illusion, the murmur of their voices and the scent of roasting lizard particularly realistic and poignant.

Zai disappeared into the shadows on top of the highest section of wall as only a street rat could while Siwan traced Kora's quiver with her finger, leaving behind faint runes that glowed like embers. Then they waited in tense silence for their hunters to fall into their trap.

She might not have been as perceptive as the two tribal women, but Zai's uncanny indigo eyes seemed to care not for darkness. She lightly touched Siwan on the neck to catch her attention, her fingers almost feverishly warm with the arcane energies inside her, then signed that she saw three of the gnolls Llygaid had described and now four others. Kora caught their musky odor and then a new one, rank but dry. A moment later, they could all hear the gnolls' cautious advance.

Suddenly, two arrows passed through the illusory Kora from the far side of the camp! Sigurn made her companion fashioned of shadows and magic crumple in great gouts of blood, but then vicious, crazed howls came from the darkness as the rest of the gnolls charged in. Sigurn barely had time to make any of the other illusions react before the gnolls attacked.

The pair of gnolls armed with twin shortswords pounced on mock Siwan and Zai, stabbing and biting with a rapist's ferocity and hunger, while the hulking, grey-furred beast with the evil eyes swung its terrible, three-headed flail through the illusory Sigurn with both hands, tearing the illusion to tatters. In their wake came four skeletal gnolls, covered in dry strips of sinew, flames flickering through bones that seemed gnawed, wielding spined, bone clubs which they brought down illusions already attacked, one of them gouging the flank of a horse.

The big gnoll with its skull-flail yowled in fury at the trick, fiendish red eyes blazing, its smaller brethren echoing him. The undead gnolls made hungry, clattering yips.

Spoiler

Will add some additional details in a combat thread, where we'll roll initiative.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Siwan steps forward staff raised and in the sacred language of the druids intones a spell to smite her enemies!

"Earth Mother, Denev, your children are in peril! I call upon the very ground to Rise up! Smash and hinder our foes!"

And the ground did, as though eager to vent its anger at it ruination, riven rock and barren dirt reaching up in explosive strength. Their horses neighed in distress and tried to bolt, but their hobbles impeded them as three of the undead gnoll witherlings and one of living sword-wielding gnolls were buried by churned earth. The other gnoll flesh gnawer clambered free, but weakly, one arm hanging limp. The furious leader was battered but kicked it legs free of the debris, undeterred.

Letting herself fall into the familiar trance of a huntress, Kora staked her claim upon her prey, the leader of the gnoll, hoping to take out their leader quickly. Choosing her arrows carefully she knocked the first, a standard arrow to test his reactions, and left fly.  It struck the bestial humanoid in the shoulder, whose bark sounded suspiciously like cruel laughter, fire light glinting off yellowed teeth, unconcerned about such a minor wound as it took another step forward.

With the smooth grace and efficiency born of endless practice, Kora knocked the second arrow, one of the special ones prepared for her, and let fly in a single motion, watching as the arrow became a veritable swarm of flaming projectiles stabbing into her foe. This the gnoll Flind was not so sanguine about. It yowled in pain, the skull heads of its demonic flail seeming to yowl with it. The hulking gnoll glared at the manticora in red-eyed fury, snapping its teeth and point, its intentions unmistakable - You are next, and you are food.

Sigurn crouched with her razor bow across her lap, and one of her ensorcelled arrows nocked. She watched as the gnolls fell for their trick with a smile. She tried to make the illusions react fast enough, but the ambush was swift, and soon the gnolls were in confusion and a moment later struck with the realization at their predicament. Sigurn rose up, shrugging off her wolfskin mantel, and using what was left of an earthen wall for partial cover, she drew her arrow back, and adjusted her aim.

She released the arrow which, in mid-flight, divided into a small volley to rain down on the gnoll armed with the flail. Before the arrows struck though, she had drawn, nocked and released her second arrow, which also divided, adding to the hail of arrows falling into the false camp, hopefully killing the gnoll leader. or making the others believe they were outnumbered and outmaneuvered. 

The leader of the hunting pack staggered to a knee, bleeding from a dozen arrow wounds though only four remained piercing its crude chainmail. From the darkness ahead and to the left of the false camp, Kora could just make out Zai at the limits of her feline sight as twin beams of fiery blue-white light struck at something beyond the camp that gave a choked off howl of pain.

The last living gnoll in sight decided it had had enough and began to retreat, but it passed to close to the gnoll Flind. With one long-clawed hand, it picked up its minion, pulled it close and bit out its throat then tossed it aside. As the erstwhile gnoll gurgled it last, the gnoll pack leader howled. It was not the majestic, mournful howl of a wolf, but one full of aching fury and endless hunger. And this time, the skulls of the cursed flail definitely howled in unison.

The eyes of the skull glowed an unnatural, unwholesome green and so to did those the gnoll. A sulfuric mist of crimson and charcoal rose from the other gnolls, seemed to be inhaled by skulls of the flail and then flow into the leader, invigorating it. This was no mere Flind pack leader, but one that had gorged deep on the power of the Titan Gaurak, the Ravenous One, whose falling teeth had given the Perforated Plains their name, and so now could feed on the power of death and the dying itself.

Many wounds on the Titan-empowered gnoll knitted close as it seemed to swell with a fiendish might, it mangy fur now more red than grey. Its claws grew even longer, muscles knotted and heavy, and its teeth grew so long and profuse the couldn't possibly fully close its maw any longer. There was a  yowling scream to the north and the gnoll lacking a throat stopped gurgling as the flow of mist ceased. The last undead gnoll fell apart into a cloud of ash.

Though it still had suppurating wounds, the fiendish Flind had still had much fight in it, and looked even more dangerous. Indeed, by the voracious verdant light in its eyes, its titanic hunger and fury would compel it to attack until it or they were dead. It took a step forward, clawed foot gouging the broken ground and began swinging its flail, the skulls still making an uncanny howl.

Behind the fiendish Flind, the two once living gnolls staggered to their feet, their death wounds still clear and obvious. The zombies shuffled after the horrendous, Titan-empowered Gnoll, though it seemed unaware of their presence.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sigurn smiled as the ground opened up beneath the gnolls and the hail of arrows from Kora's and her own bows struck the massive Gnoll. In the chaos of the ambush, one had tried to flee and the huge gnoll even dispatched him.

Things were going well.

And then the beastman summoned forth some foul sorcery, drawing power from the dead and animating two of his fallen pack. The already large gnoll seemed to grow in size, possibly rivaling her sister in stature.

'Hmm..'  she thought to herself as she slipped her bow into her quiver, defying all space and logic. She then placed a hand on the wall and hopped it.

Sigurn's feet moved swiftly as soon as they touched the ground, moving her through the debris and ruins of the small settlement, ever closer to the enemy and without fear.

As she drew close she slowed to a meander walk her head tilted down just a hair, her eyes barely squinting as she looked up to him with a nearly predatory gaze while her crooked smile played across her lips. Calling on some of the teachings of her mother that she had adapted, Sigurn gestured at the Flind and the two undead behind it, muttering a curse, taught to Sigurn by her mother, at the trio.

The hulking Flind shivered as though cold as the curse settled upon him, the zombie-gnolls staggering back a step before they continued slowly shuffling forward. The Flind snarled in blood-thirsty exaltation. It's prey had been no easy meat, luring them into ambush, but finally it had one of the females in reach, though one surprisingly unfearful. It yearned to devour its tender and torn flesh.

The Flind charged towards Sigurn swinging its terrible flail, the skulls screaming in eagerness, chain links popping, bursting from mail now too small. The first skull struck true, but was deflected by a sudden glowing shield of mystic energy. The second skull wrapped around the edge of the magic shield, pounding into Sigurn's shoulder with punishing force, then wracking her with throat-clenching, unnatural pain. She barely had time to recover when the last skull of the flail struck, its eyes an almost blinding green, but again, Sigurn's eldritch shield interposed itself, saving her from another blow.

The Flind growled in frustration. It had expected the soft female with the unholy eyes to be broken and quivering at its feet, yet still, it stood.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Siwan crouched as the earth battered the gnolls and the arrows flew, she studied what she saw and didn't much care for it. the Big Gnoll with the obviously magic flail still stood and what was worse a red mist crept from the beast and at it's touch the ones felled by earth and arrow rose again as undead. Siwan cursed The Flind truly was Titanspawn. To her left Sigurn was casting and in that moment Siwan had her path before her.

Standing abruptly she took off running toward the Flind drawing her scimitar as she took her first steps. Sword in right hand staff in left she ran gaining speed, then her back seemed to bulge upwards, the weapons in her hands seemed to melt into her arms which were growing longer. Her neck stretches her head growing as well  she ran faster falling to all fours her shape no longer human.

The great elk, majestic and full of Fury, charged at the gnolls' monstrous leader. Head lowered, antlers aimed, hooves crashing, Siwan went to battle.

Siwan passed right by Sigurn's and slammed into the Flind straight on, her antlers goring its chest and the power and mass of her animal form knocking the Flind right off its feet, tainted strength or no.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Eschewing her bow once the Flind went down, Kora donned her cat's claws and leapt upon her foe, tearing into it with a fury only a Manticora can manage without being a barbarian, slicing and tearing with a throaty growl that could remind others she wasn't human.  She didn't suffer those who hurt her companions.

Flanking Sigurn on her other side, Kora's first slash cut the Flind deep across the ribs, her second opened the forearm it used to defend herself. Under the Flind's flailing arm, Kora raked down with her off-hand, the glinting tines of her Cats Claws ripping into its thigh, and opening an artery. The Flind barked a wet, blood-flecked cough, it's reddish fur growing even darker and more matted with fresh, thick blood as it weakly tried to find its feet.

From over the crumbling walls they had placed their false camp against, the band saw a pair of hands and then Zai's head poke up as she scrambled up. Her eyes were wide and bright as she held herself in place with one hand and braced feet while the fingers of her free-hand wove a mystic gesture before releasing two more beams of arcane energy at the closest zombie. The first one hit it in the chest with such force it knocked it back ten feet, its ragged leathers beginning to smolder. The second blast took off its head.

The last Zombie continued forward, unthinkingly following its last command.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sigurn had expected Siwan's arrival sooner, before the massive gnoll could ready an attack. So when she saw the howling skulls of of his dead flail screaming through the air at her, she only one recourse and called on the spell she had stored within on of her tattoos to save her. The ink glowed and flashed for a moment as the ethereal shield was struck each time. 

For it's part, the spell had mostly protected her from such a vicious onslaught, but the skull that did hit wracked her body with pain. Sigurn, instead of cowering from the pain, turned into it, accepting and seemingly reveling in it, gritting her teeth and letting out a snarling moan. 

Kora has savaged the gnoll with her claws and Siwan, in her form of a great elk, had finally tackled and trampled the huge, gnoll, moving past it, leaving him coughing, contorting and holing in pain on the ground.

"This 'meat' has teeth." Sigurn snarled, actually bearing her teeth at the gnoll as she drew her Witchaxe and stalked over to the writing creature, with her eyes dark and crooked grin.

Gripping the witchaxe with both hands, Sigurn raised the wicked looking axe over her head and brought it down on the gnoll, the blade biting incredibly deep into his clavicle and past, hitting his upper ribs and sending forth a crimson spray. Sigurn placed her boot on the gnoll's shoulder and pushed, extricating her witchaxe from his flesh to raise it up once more.

"I will show you a mercy that would not have shown us, wretch." she told the beastman before bringing her axe down again, on his neck this time, severing his spine and putting him out of the misery of suffocating on his own blood. For as much as Sigurn enjoyed instilling fear in others, she rarely had the taste for suffering, even of such a foul, heartless foe.

The scion of Gaurak slain, its enslaved undead were easy to dispatch, the zombies slow and clumsy. Sigurn called upon the magic stored in her tattoos once more to deflect a hard fist, while Siwan took a blow to the flank when a pulped head didn't seem to incapacitate the zombie. While Siwan and Kora rounded up their scattered mounts, Sigurn and Zai dragged the bodies of the hyena-men into a pile to burn, taking a moment to give them a cursory search.

One an experienced adventurer, the other a gutter rat from the harsh streets of the Shelzar, neither were squeamish about pilfering from the dead. They found a few pierced coins strung on thongs on the lesser gnolls. On their leader, they found a crude, heavy armlet made of melted coins encircling each bicep. And of course, there was the terrible flail.

The miasma of Titanic power lingered about it like the odor of a rotting carcass. The smoke had stopped flowing from the rictus grins of the skulls, the eyes only emitting the dimmest of glows. Just approaching it filled one with a ravenous and indiscriminate hunger, the suggestion of a voice offering promises of power in the air. Zai couldn't seem to look away from the flail, her breaths coming in short, ragged gasps, until Sigurn scooped it into a sack using a blanket, wary of any curses laid upon the Titan-touched weapon.

Considering their options, the women decided to set up a new camp at least a mile away, despite the darkness. They led their horses and found a place not too distant in the lee of a collapsed sinkhole, a sloping track of sand, dirt, and rock leading to the bottom. Not as good a spot as the ruins of the ancient village, but it would do, though it lacked anything to burn.

Spoiler

Sigurn has used another use of Shield from her Tattoo, resisting a hit from a zombie. Siwan took 4 damage from being hit by another zombie.

You found 9cp, 13sp, and 8gp in coins. Each of the gold armlets from the Flind are worth 250gp, due to their weight.

The gnolls have a bit of normal, common equipment, though it is of crude manufacture or worn and battered, so not really worth lugging around for what you can get for it, unless you want to grab a few arrows.

You guys can assume you can get a Long Rest without interruption. Post as you will.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Sigurn ties the sack closed and wrapped the blanket around the flail, tying it with some rope.

"You want nothing to do with this, little one. That which is touched by the Titans, carry curses with them, that you want no part of." she warned Zai, her gaze stern and her voice serious.

Sigurn secured the bundle near her bedroll. She gathered the arrows from the gnolls and replaced some of the arrows in her own quiver with them. One never knew when it would be helpful to disguise the source of a shot or lay blame at the feet of others.

"Replaced any arrows you used if you like, Kora. The last arrow I gave you will be mundane again by morning if not used." Sigurn said, tossing the arrows she removed from her quiver into a pile.

"Any reaming from that pile, we can burn for cook fire. I have a spare spear we can burn as well, if is is needed." she offered as they set about setting up the new camp.

As they set about setting up the new camp, Sigurn began to sing an old Albadian song, often heard in mead halls late at night, or sung by women while soothing their children, interlacing the song with her magic, soothing the wounds and bruises of Siwan and the others as she petted and scratched Hillsi idly.

After the meal, Sigurn would accept any healing from her companions, topping it off with her own spells.

 

Before bed she placed her hand on her shoulder, collecting Skirra, her dead spider familiar, and gave the spider a small kiss on the thorax before placing it on the floor.

< Find a good spot to keep your eyes on the cursed flail, in case it's call becomes too much for Zai. If she or anybody else disturbs it, wake me.> she told her familiar telepathically.

 

 

Spoiler

Song of Rest restores 1d6 hp
1D6 => 2

Siwan is a healer she can use a healers kit and it will heal you for 1d6+4 + 1 per your hitdice which is 8 so that becomes 12
1D6+12 => 15

Sigurn uses one of her lvl 2 spell slots to cast Cure Wounds on herself for 2d8+6
2D8+6 => 10

In total, Sigurn regains 27 hp, so she is only down 1 hp when they go to sleep.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Siwan had time to think during the cleanup and the finding of a new camp. That the Flind had been hunting them was one thing, to discover it connection to a titan was another.

Siwan believed in many things but coincidence was not one of them.

Once they arrived at a new camp site She hastily recast the ritual to set up their Tiny Hut. Then taking her bag of herbs salves and bandages, she treated Sigurn, who have taken a heavy blow from the cursed weapon. While treating the wound she made sure there was no mystical damage that was lasting. Once finished she treated her own little cut.

“We did well in that battle. Zai you performed admirably and didn't lose your head. I have to wonder though abound the creatures dogged pursuit. Desolate as this plain may be there must have been easier prey. That things unholy curse has me worried. I don't like coincidence like this.

In the morning I wish to examine the Flind's weapon magically to see if we can learn more about it.”

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Zai straightened her slender shoulders at Siwan's praise, a pleased grin on her face. She hadn't panicked this time - it wasn't always the case, especially when out in the wilderness. Her smile faded when her eyes fell upon the bundle the Flail was wrapped in and she quickly glanced away with a shiver. It was a terrible weapon, yet it called to her.

The night was uneventful, remarkably quiet in this desolate land. All that was seen while the women each took their watch inside the mystic dome with the unsleeping fey girl was a banded snake and what looked like a rat with quills like a porcupine that they had to shoo away from the horses. Though it had not woken her during the night, Skirra revealed to Sigurn that Zai's luminescent eyes had lingered on the cursed flail more than once during the night.

In morning, while the rest of the band cooked a quick meal and picked up camp, Siwan steeled herself against the foul aura of the flail as she passed a pearl over it casting a divinatory ritual to reveal its properties. As suspected, the Flail of Hunger's Demand was indeed infused with Gaurak's power and in fact, it's enchantment was only active in the hands of a dedicated follower of the Titan of Gluttony. In sibilant, tripartite voices, the Flail promised it could consecrate one to Gaurak the Voracious and unlock the full powers of the Flail.

The quality of the Flail had been magically enhanced. As well, each head had its own property that it inflicted on those it hit, Madness, Pain, or Paralysis, though it took specialized training to determine with head struck when the Flail was swung. During the ritual, Siwan felt an insatiable hunger and had to eat a second meal after the ritual was complete and the flail was once more wrapped into a blanket.

While as long as the Flail was in their possession it would be a concern at least they had ended the threat posed by their hunters. And now, Siwan believed they should reach their destination before mid day, if the map was accurate.

Spoiler

FLAIL OF HUNGER'S DEMAND
Weapon (flail), rare (requires attunement)
You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon. On a hit, roll 1d3 to determine with head you hit with.

1 - Flail of Madness - Hit: 1d10 + Str Mod bludgeoning damage, and the target must make a DC 11 + Str Mod Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, the target must make a melee attack against a random target within its reach on its next turn. If it has no targets within its reach even after moving, it loses its action on that turn.

2- Flail of Pain - Hit: 1d10 + Str Mod bludgeoning damage plus 4dl0 psychic damage. Target may make a DC 11 + Str Mod Constitution save for half damage.

3 - Flail of Paralysis - Hit: 1d10 + Str Mod bludgeoning damage, and the target must succeed on a DC 11 + Str Mod Constitution saving throw or be paralyzed until the end of its next turn.

When you attune yourself to the Flail of Hunger's Demand, your alignment slides one step closer to Evil, you cannot voluntarily break your attunement and your patron becomes Gaurak. Clerics lose access to their spells and Channel Divinity power, Druids receive their spells from the Titan. More powers are accessible as one commits acts in Gaurak's name, dependent on the acts and the individual.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kora had slept as the others had, but taken the first watch, since she'd not really been hit during the fights.  She had noted Zai's attraction to the flail, and been ready to intervene should it be needed.  "Is it safe to keep that with us?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Siwan shook her head, "No not really, but we lack any way to destroy it here and i would not leave it to fall into other hands where corruption would be most assured."

She look around to the far horizons, "We shall carry it with us and destroy it when we may. But I think just to be safe we should rotate it among the three of us so none are overly exposed to its influence."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Safe? Doubtful." Sigurn replied with a shrug. 

"But safer with us I think. Otherwise, what would you have us do? Leave it here so some other gnolls can find it, succumb to it's curse, and use it against others? Even buried, it would call out." Sigurn asked.

"So 'tis best with us 'til such time we can break the enchantment and rid it of the Titan's touch, or destroy it."

Sigurn shook her head at Siwan's suggestion.

"Rotating it just risks spreading it's touch around and allowing it to maybe find one who it can influence. I can hold onto it for now. I am no stranger to curses and sorcery, being witch-blooded myself."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The disposition of the accursed flail settled on for the moment, the band continued on their journey, eating a meal of tack and dried meat in the saddle. If the map was correct, they should reach their goal by noon. With their hunters dispatched, the women rode a bit more at ease, though it did not lessen there wariness. They avoided any danger or engagements, save for one battle with a giant scorpion when they passed too close to where it lay concealed beneath a patch of gravel.

They dispatched the immense scorpion readily enough, though not without one of them being caught in its pincers and one of the horses being stung. Its poison was virulent, but the magic of the Albadian Bard and Keltai Druid managed to save it. They spent a few minutes recovering, Siwan using her physician arts to bandage their wounds, then moved on.

As the sun approached its zenith, the rode up an incline littered with the crumbled and broken remains of a town or city, the top of a tower just visible on the crown. But when they reached the top of the rise, they found it was a broad, open, old sinkhole, its sides hardened by weather and age. Shadows wreathed the bottom of the deep hole, more ruins visible, if perhaps more intact than those they passed through on the rise.

From off center, about a third of the way around the crater, thrust a tower, sixty feet tall or a bit more. It listed somewhat to a side, so a gaping window or balcony lay ten feet away from the lip of the crater. Siwan checked the map again. As best she could determine, thanks to the notations about a tower, this was what they had been looking for.

Spoiler

Not going to roll out the fight with the scorpion. Just assume Siwan used another two uses from her Healer's Kit to patch people up, Sigurn used a charge from her Dancing Tattoo for Shield, and they each used a 1st spell slot to save the Horse with Cure Wounds.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Siwan sat still upon her mare journal in one hand pencil in the other. She sketched the crater and the leaning tower. Not a great work of art by any means but passable enough. Along the sides she made notations, the scholars would want to know and they were the eyes those learned men needed in places , like this, where they would never see themselves.

" Llygaid I want a closer view of what is in the crater, but caution little friend, any sign of danger and you retreat. No heroics." She whispered to her familiarm before signaling that she was ready to the rest of the group.

"We should check the tower first of course but keep an eye out for a way down into the crater. Those ruins are well preserved for something that fell into the earth. I think we will want to go down there if we can find a way down."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"We can either jump it, or one of us can jump it with a rope to tie off for the others to use." Sigurn said as assessed the crater and the tower within.

The Albadian Skald then looked around the crater, scanning all the way to the horizon all around them for anything of note or potential hazards. Satisfied, reached up to pet Skirra, perched on her shoulder, with a lone finger.

"We rode all morning and ate in the saddle. So I say we dismount, rest, eat, and prepare, so we can go in fresh and ready." Sigurn suggested. 

"We're finally here and the tower is going nowhere." she added with a shrug.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kora nodded.  "I agree both with your proposed method of surrmounting the crater, and that we should be fully prepared before we do this."   Kora was generally very taciturn, despite her voice being relatively pleasant, if a bit husky for someone her size.  She smiled.  'I'd even be willing to allow you to lower me down as opposed to simply jumping.  The two of you should be more than capable of supporting my weight.   If not that, I could simply climb down it, with a rope of course."  She held up a hand, the well-cared for ebony black claws tipping her fingers catching the sunlight.   "Not like we're not equipped for it."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As the raven flew a spiraling path down into the crater, Zai walked up to the edge with a seeming lack of concern to the height, either due to the sense of immortality that commonly inflicted the young or a familiarity and facility with heights and climbing. She looked down at the side of the crater, noting they were inclined inversely, forming a slight overhang.

She studied the wall a bit longer then frowned. The slim girl whispered an arcane word she hardly understood, a hand made a mystic gesture, and as she went to lay down on her front, leaning slightly over the edge of the crater, her longknife slipped from its sheath in the grip of unseen force. The side looked solid enough though pitted and it didn't seem right to her, like poor mud bricks.

Zai waggled her fingers and ten feet below the lip of the crater, her longknife swung out then slammed into the side of the crater with the pommel. Once, then twice. There was a grating shiver, then a thin facing on the interior side of the crater sloughed away and broke apart into dust and silt. Zai stood back up and dusted herself off as her knife flew back into the sheath far back on her hip.

The girl looked at Kora shaking her head and pointing at the crater. Her meaning was clear. Though not impossible, scaling the inside of the crater wasn't safe.

Flying inside the crater, Llygaid was not happy. There was a haze of dust and silt hanging in the air that irritated his eyes and grated on his feathers, perhaps from a faint skirling of wind, and added to by the Titan-tainted girl. He saw what he could then flew back to his perch on his mistress' shoulder, preening as he relayed what he saw.

The structures, all no more than a story or two tall, save for the tower were more intact than would have been expected from falling through a sinkhole. That is not to say there were not damaged, most were cracked here or there, often with slate roofs caved in or bare of thatch, many resting uneven from ground that had heaved at some point in the pass. Some of the buildings, bit of corner or one wall, appeared to emerge from the side of the crater as if totally buried.

The bottom of the tower was visible, as was the gaping entrance to it, though the entire level was foreshortened by a layer of dirt and and debris, as if partially sunken into the ground. They would have to crouch to pass through the doorway.

It gave the small town the appearance of having been buried or swallowed by the ground rather than having fallen into a sinkhole. Perhaps the sinkhole had come later, exposing it to the world above once more. In the constantly shifting and billowing haze of dust and silt, there were not any clear tracks, though there was a muted furrow of something quite large, something with either no legs or too many.

Spoiler

I forgot to mention, the tower isn't what you guys are actually looking for. It was more of a marker. On the map is a glyph for a specific magic school or arcane manufactory, 'The House of the Iron Wheel' when translated from Ancient Ledean, which the map claims is marked prominently on one of the buildings.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Siwan whispers instructions for watching the mounts to Llygaid, then moves to the edge of the crater across from the opening in the tower. The angle and lack of light reveals little.

"All I see is a dirty stone floor, that is a pretty long jump at a small target at a bad angle. I'm not sure it is worth the risk."

She turns back to her friends, "I can shift and fly the rope over it would be safer but also limit my ability for later use. What do you think?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sigurn shook her head at Siwan.

"No need to waste abilities such as that." she said as she tired one end of the rope to her horses saddle for the moment.

"Tis a but a jump." she added, tying the other end of the rope around her waist, making it evident what she was planning.

They all knew that Sigurn, though not exactly impatient or overly impulsive, was not fan of overly long debate, or at least such as it was in her eyes. She shrugged off her fur mantel and took several steps back, aligning herself with the hole and then, without warning, took off running toward the tower. As she reached the crater's edge she gave a mighty leap, easily having the distance while a grace and comfort with climbing and jumping from doing so much of it growing in the mountains and forests of Albadia, allowed her to make the jump with a near feline grace.

The Skald landed, tumbled and came up into a crouch, surveying the room, looking and listening for any dangers, as well as a place to tie off the rope as she sniffed at the air.

<See anything?> she thought to her familiar, perched on her shoulder, knowing her darkvision could reveal more, shifting her own sight to that of the spider's.

Once confident in her relative safety, Sigurn rose and collected Skirra from her shoulder, placing her high on a wall.

"See? T'was but a simple thing." she called back out to her friends with a grin as she untied the rope from her waist and tied it off so she could use it to cross back to them and finish their preparations.

 

Spoiler

"For jumping, with a 10 foot running start, you can clear a number of feet equal to your strength. But thanks to the angle and dirt on the ground, you will have to make a DC 10 (Acrobatics) check or fall prone and possibly risk falling." ~ Asa

Sigurn has Strength 14, so that means 14' horizontal jump with a 10' running start. 

Sigurn has +5 Acrobatics

1D20+5 => (13+5) = 18

 

Sigurn will look for a place to tie off the rope. Any place she finds she will test with some might tugs on the rope. If she cannot find a good place, she will pull out one or both spears from her quiver and them to tie to, with the spear(s) spanning the hole and rope tied to the middle or anywhere else it might work.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Using her own eyes and those of her familiar, Sigurn saw no danger... or much of anything. The circular room was over twenty feet across, with another opening on the far side. From the carved frame around the opening, she suspected it led to a balcony or terrace that encircled the tower, though if so, the balcony had broken off long ago.

To the left, about a quarter of the way around the room, was an opening with railess stairs leading down. Though the tower was made of well-fitted stone, the stairs appeared to have been constructed of iron, now rusted and pitted. They creaked and released flakes at Sigurn's prodding, but seemed solid enough. With the listing of the tower, moving about felt slightly unnatural or off kilter. 

Otherwise, the room was bare, not even any remnants of old furniture laying about, though there were old scuffs and trails through the grit suggesting someone or something had passed through here at one time or another. If this room had once held anything, it had been scavenged or plundered long since.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Once back across Sigurn let Zai secure the rope with one of her piton, or however she saw fit, rather than leaving it tied to her saddle, and then saw to her preparations for the coming exploration for the crater.

"Llygaid can keep watch. We can leave the horses tied loosely or tied together. If something dangerous comes, Llygaid can possibly lead them away or they can pull free, but should remain in the area." Sigurn suggested as she checked her gear.

"I'll leave Hilsi as well. I think Skirra would be helpful to us though, so I will bring her along. She awaits us in the tower, standing watch over the iron staircase." she added.

 

 

At the end of their rest, with a fresh meal in her belly and her gear in order, Sigurn focused on the tattoo that graced the inside of her left forearm. It was a fine tattoo, in the style of the elves and was a saying in elvish, 'Not all who wander are lost.' Once more as she drew upon her arcane knowledge an placed within it her Shield spell once more, causing the tattoo to glow faintly for a moment as the spell lay dormant within the ink, ready to spring forth and protect her.

 

Spoiler

Sigurn is recasting Shield to store in her tattoo with a lvl 1 spell slot, putting it back at 6 castings, since she was down to 3.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Siwan shook her head but smiled at her brash friends leap across the chasm. After Sigurn's return and while the camp was prepared for their absence Siwan went off by herself for several minutes to pray and meditate as she prepared spells locking them in her memory for casting.

After giving Llygaid his final instructions she joined Kora, Zai, and Sigurn as waited her turn to cross the rope.

Spoiler

PREPARED SPELLS
1
st Create or Destroy Water, Detect Magic, Faerie Fire, Fog Cloud, Healing Word, Cure Wounds

2nd Erupting Earth, Flame Arrows,

3rd Call Lightning, Dispel Magic,

4th Lightning Shield, Ice Storm

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As Siwan stepped off, Sigurn focused on another tattoo for several minutes, activating the magic within it. She finally opened her eyes and looked around for Hilsi. She picked up the cat and cradled him in her arms, on his back (something he allowed only her to do). She scratched his chin, chest and belly as she spoke to him.

"You need to stay behind here and help Llygaid watch the horses. No heroics. Just keep a sharp eye out, if you can keep from sleeping too much." she spoke to the cat with a genuinely playful smile.

"It is so boring here." the cat complained back to her, though it was nothing more that a series of meows to the others' ears.

"I know. Just don't try pouncing Llygaid, even if you are 'just playing'. Understood?" she told him.

"Fine." the cat relented.

Sigurn put down Hilsi and walked over to the horses, petting her horse as she looked them over.

"If danger comes, follow the raven. It will keep you safe. We will return, but we know not when. We will return though." she said to the horses, giving her own a final pat and kiss on the nose.

With the instructions left for the animals, Sigurn gathered her gear and walked to the rope.

<Seen anything?> she asked Skirra in her thoughts, though she was sure the spider would have told her if anything of note had bee spotted.

"There is a iron staircase in the tower, leading down. It is old, but seems stable enough. It may be wise to traverse it one at a time though. I can send Skirra down the walls to scout ahead of us." she explained before crossing over, guarding the room while the others crossed.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kora waited her turn to cross, and had busied herself with preparing the camp, and tying the horses.   She closed her eyes once inside and then opened them, giving them a moment to adjust to the lighting and smiling.   "I could also climb down if it is needed,."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

<Go down and have a look ahead of us. You shouldn't draw much attention. If the staircase ends or you see something, let me know.> Sigurn thought to Skirra as the others crossed over the rope, letting the fairly innocuous spider scout ahead for them, though doubtful it would find anything.

The dread spider left the web it had made in the corner while the others had prepared outside and scurried down the wall along the staircase to the floor below and disappeared from view. If word was received that the next floor was free of danger, Sigurn would not to Kora. 

"Lead the way. Skirra should stay a floor or two ahead." she offered to her companion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

While the other began their decent Siwan looked closely for any clues as to the purpose of the tower. She looked long at the walls, floors, and ceilings for any symbols, emblems or writings. When it was her time to descend she kept up her observations knowing that her companions would be watchful for threats while she remained alert for knowledge.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Zai tightened her pack against her back then the slight girl leapt across the gap to the tower deftly, her feet sure and soft on the stone flooring. She stood close to the others, then took a step back when Kora gave her an annoyed look. Skirra voicing no sign of threat below, they proceeded down the iron stairs one at a time. The stairs creaked and groaned with each step, rust flaking to the floor below.

Siwan looked around the tower as they proceeded, but found it rather utilitarian with few signs of embellishment or interior carving. The top floor of the tower had a circular opening in the ceiling about three feet across and some crystalline slivers on the ground mixed in with the dirt and grit. The circular opening was bordered by a rusted frame with two points that may have served to support something and Siwan guessed may have been able to spin at one time, but held nothing to suggest its purpose.

The next floor down was almost as bare as the floor above. There were no large openings in the walls on this floor, only small ones at regular intervals that were clearly arrows slits. At as exposed to the weather, the wooden furnishings radiating in from the walls were not quite as decayed, though they had collapsed under their own weight long ago. Studying them, picking out pieces from the various clusters and noting frayed bits of fabric and rope, Siwan conjectured they were the remnants of beds, likely bunks.

Opposite the stairs they had descended from was another set of iron stairs leading down. From a cursory glance, these stairs didn't look as secure as the first set they had navigated, definitely angling more towards the center of the tower. Skirra skittered down the stairs. It wasn't aware of any threat below them, but could tell the room was not open like the two above, divided by stone walls.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

With Skirra skittering ahead and Kora in the lead, the party navigated to the next floor below, taking special care on the stairs, the old, pitted bolts securing it rattling loudly with each step they took. This level of the tower was divided by stone walls. One half of the floor was an open room, while a hallway leading to the stairs bisected the other half.

The large room held high, stone troughs on one side, empty, with several holes at their base, presumably for draining. Next to the troughs was a plain stone block or altar, a different stone from the rest of the tower they have seen, a rust red basalt that looked oddly smooth. The women did not touch the odd stone shelf to determine its actual textual, for its top radiated a palpable heat.

Moving down the hall, Kora noted openings into a pair of rooms that accounted for about a quarter of the floor each. One was almost conspicuous in how barren it was. The other had a bent, rusted pieces of metal in the doorway that once may have been a latch. Inside, there were the remains of mildly curved slats of petrified wood, sundered hoops of metals. There was a dark, spreading stain on the floor and the scent of stale mold in the air.

Reaching the opening to the floor below, Kora found that here, the stairs had not remained secured. Vision adapted to see in little to no light, she could see the remnants of the iron stairs, twisted and broken, on the floor, about ten feet below them. Faint streaks marred the floor, where the broken stairs had shifted some over time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kora relayed the state of the stairs and Siwan swung her pack off her back, "We will have to climb down," she pulled her coiled rope from where it was tied to the outside of the stout leather pack and passed it to Sigurn. "Zai, help me lash some of these slats together to make a brace. We can attache the rope and set it in the arrow slit as an anchor for the rope, we will need it when we come back to climb up."

The women worked quickly and efficiently  And once they were satisfied the positioned the anchor in the nearest arrow slit to the collapsed stair.

The rope in place, Kora climbed down followed by Siwan, then Zai with Sigurn coming down last.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was only about ten feet to the floor below but the secured rope allowed them to lower themselves without worry of twisting an ankle or suffering some other injury due to the debris of the stair case. It would almost make escalating back up the tower much easier. This floor of the tower was once more an open design, faint light filtering in from the arrow slits. A pair of shallow alcoves opposite each other appeared once to have been privies, judging by the stone benches pierced by circular openings, though there were no signs of basins or chamber-pots.

This floor of the tower was unusually warm, but no more than two minutes later, it grew cool, chill even, enough that the breath of the women plumed the air. On the wall between the alcoves was a mosaic of a stylized flame made of what looked to be red glass of various shades, some of the tiles missing. Opposite it was another mosaic, this one of an abstract snowflake made of blue tiles. Approaching the latter, the chill grew even more fierce, while the coolness was absent by the image of the flame.

A minute later, the temperature rose once more, enough to threaten sweat. Pooling their arcane knowledge, Siwan and Sigurn guessed it must've been some eldritch device to control the temperature in the tower, though it seemed the enchantment had been damaged. It appeared magic was most prevalent in the Empire of the Wheel, and not only restricted to the hands of the Sorcerer-Kings, though Siwan did not believe this was typical to the Empire. Perhaps it was due to the presence of the Arcane Manufactory.

Spoiler

Everyone, please make a Wisdom (Perception) roll.

Sigurn's familiar skittered along the wall, pausing above the stairs to stare down at the level below with multifaceted eyes. The stairs here looked to be perfectly intact and secure, only discolored some by rust. Skirra climbed down the stairs. A moment after it was out of sight, the women noticed a brief flicker of light from the opening to the floor below, followed by a thump, and Sigurn felt the destruction of the corporeal form of her familiar, Skirra's spirit fleeing back from whence it came with a mental cry of <Aiee! Arrows of light!>

Link to comment
Share on other sites

perception check

Roll(1d20)+7:
10,+7
Total:17

 Kora had spoken little beyond communicating the surroundings to the other, and focused on keeping them all safe.   Not trained to disable most traps, a failing she resolved to rectify one day, She noticed many often enough to prevent them from triggering them.   So far they'd been lucky in that there really hadn't been any so far.   Still she kept alert in case that were to change.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Siwan ,studying the mosaics closely, had her attention averted by the flash of light which she caught with her peripheral vision, turning to for a better look, she saw Sigurn flinch and her face pale a little.

"Sigurn, what is wrong?"

Siwan stepped toward her friend when she saw that she was holding some sort of medallion, "Are you alright?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Sigurn held up a hand towards Siwan, stopping her as she collected herself. She took a breath, then straightened her shoulders. "Skirra was struck by some manner of eldritch power, I believe," the Albadian woman informed the band. "She has been sent back to the spirit world until I can evoke the ritual to summon her back to this plane once more."

Sigurn showed Siwan the medallion. "It is a symbol of the Empire of the Wheel, each spoke representing one of the major schools of magic. Though I cannot be certain, I believe it may hold some manner of dweomer."

By the stairs, the slight girl they had taken in hand stretched out on the floor, trying to get a view into the floor below without crossing the threshold into it, less she trigger an arcane trap, if that was what had assailed Sigurn's familiar. Both she and Siwan had said the Perforated Plains had once belonged to an empire of sorcerers. Presumably there were magical traps all over the place. The domiciles of the wealthy in Shelzar were often protected with magical - as well as mundane - means.

Her uncanny eyes not impeded by darkness, Zai looked for what she could, despite the poor angle. From what she could see, the floor below seemed to be largely open, though there was something in the center of the room. "I can see, I don't know, a weird pedestal or table or some such in the center of the room," she said in her faint, accented voice. "There looks to be a smooth round ball embedded into it - it might be able to fit in a hand. It looks to be made of shiny stone, maybe crystal or glass, but I can't tell from here in this light. There's scratchings on the surface of the table or pedestal or whatever it is, maybe its writing, but I can't read it." She glanced back over her shoulder at the other older, more experienced women. "Do you want me to sneak down there and take a look. I'm sneakier than that spooky spider."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Siwan was looking over the medallion that Sigurn had found when Zai made her observations about the other room. She passed the medallion back to Sigurn, 'We can look at it closer when we have settled at camp, best put it away for now."

She moved over to the stairs by Zai and crouched down beside her laying a hand on her shoulder to both show her approval and to keep her from moving down the stairs before thy were sure it was safe. She had lain her torch aside and was trying to pierce the darkness with very little light. She could see nothing.

"Kora, do you hear or scent anything living down there?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...