Sunday, February 26, 2006

Marpenoth 4-17: Side Quest Over, Druid is Dead

Marpenoth 4 - Continued

While Talin hung by a thread, Chrissy grabbed a rope and tied it to the grate so that Talin could grab on and lower himself down into the room followed  by the remainder of the party.  I watched this all from my back, in too much pain to move.  Eventually I could stand and could see the incredibly hard item that had broken my fall, and nearly my back.  The only item in the room was a single iron sarcophagus which had metal beads along the side which could be moved into a pattern.  Working together as a team, Talin and I discovered the pattern which caused the iron plates to fall away revealing a smooth stone coffin within.  Aramil came down once we had determined that things were safe, and examining the coffin, he discovered two locking mechanisms, one hidden much better than the second.  Next to the well hidden mechanism was magical writing reading - Beware the obvious trick, For often 'tis a truth revealed, For truth is oft a lie revealed, From whence no being is proof.  

I decided that Talin should pick the well hidden mechanism (which he did) and a gap appeared between the top and bottom of the coffin.  Talin and I struggled mightily to open the coffin and inside found the dead remains of a female - dressed in rotting robes and gold jewelry.  There were toe rings set with precious stones - one a ruby and the other a sapphire.  Also a platinum collar and a necklace set with a pearl.  Additionally we found a spellbook which we turned over to Aramil.  

Upon leaving the tombs Galton approached me with a plea for the sapphire ring as his choice of the treasure.  I didn’t have any issue with that (fool!), however Aramil didn't like it.  But there wasn't much to say - Galton appeared to be loyal throughout and the Band of the Hand did approve of giving him some of the treasure.  The disappointing bit about this was trip was that we had seen signs of the necromancer Stugon, but not Stugon himself.  I proclaimed that we should go take on the enormous lions and see about finding what's in the cave marked as point A on the map - the Band agreed.  

We found the pair of cave lions to be a tough match - two party members down, and a third barely hanging on - the lions were finally destroyed by well placed shot from Aramil between the second lion's eyes.  Aramil is turning out to be quite a contributor to the party.  He may not be able to take much punishment, but he has been coming through in the clutch.  Although his thinking skills might be in doubt (very smart but not too wise), his actions on the battlefield are becoming stuff of legends.  Using all of the magic healing potions as well as Chrissy’s abilities, we limped back over to the mushroom cave to rest for the evening.  

Marpenoth 5

The following day we entered the cave which had been guarded by the lions.  We found scattered bones everywhere with a slight path to the back of the cave.  The path ended at a badly disguised set of boulders acting as a secret door and within minutes were pulled down to reveal a small chamber which had a horrific scene of a dozen human skeletons.  Each skeleton had its hands and feet crushed - must have been Stugon's method of tormenting and killing his victims which he used as experiments in the lab.  Searching around revealed nothing more and Talin climbed up into the alcove where the lions slept.  Lowering a rope down to others he sensed an alchemical smell coming from a crevice.  Once I arrived up on the ledge ready to do battle, we instead dragged out the dissected body of a man in black robes which matched the description of Stugon.  

Apparently the lions mauled him up pretty well, but couldn't get over the smell of the body to actually eat him.  Further investigation of the body produced a silver key, a potion of cure moderate wounds, a signet ring identifying him as Stugon, a masterwork dagger,  and a pouch of coins and gems worth 150gp.  

Upon exiting the caves, I thought it would be a fine time to ask Galton to be in the service of the house of Einen.  I need a valet, and I now have the funds to pay for one.   We had a nice chat where Galton asked quite a bit about me, my family, my family's estates, and my friends.  I was proud to describe it all (not in too much depth, thank Torm, but enough to impress the young Galton).  

Galton said he would think about it as he was very impressed at which time I asked Galton if there were any other locations on his treasure map.  Galton's reply was, “Treasure map?  What treasure map?  Oh, let me see…”  I showed him the map.  At this point Aramil, who had been keeping an eye out on Galton since giving him the ring, became suspicious and asked to see the ring in order to cast a detect magic.  At this time Galton feigned surprise, “What ring?”.

This irked me, and so I demanded to see the ring (as the agreement was that I would give Galton the ring as long as it was not magical, and that since Detect Magic was not currently Aramil's repertoire, we reserved the right to cast it later on demand).  At this order, Galton dug into his pockets and produced the ring - however the sapphire gemstone was missing.  And with a laugh he flew up into the air.  

Clearly deceived, Talin and I took swipes at Galton with our weapons - both missing from the sudden action.  Galton then proclaimed, “I am Thulsara - fools you are - I really wanted to learn more about you - it has been a long time since I've last strolled this planet - and for your punishment …”.  With that he (or is it she?) spread open his arms and his hands and commanded from the clouds above a storm of ice which wounded all party members (Aramil within an inch of his life) and then vanished.  We then returned to town.

Marpenoth 6

On this day we cashed in most of the treasure and made a few purchases, such as a scroll with Continual Flame and a locking gauntlet for me.  Over the next few days Aramil put that spell into his spell book and cast it on my locking gauntlet and on Chrissy’s holy item of Tyr.  No more stupid sunrods to worry about!  We also met with the Magister to find out how/who we could arrange training.  He agreed to teach Aramil and Chrissy, and sent me to the Sheriff.

Marpenoth 7-10

Aramil, Chrissy, and I spent this time training.  I’m not sure what Talin did.

Marpenoth 11

We traveled to the Druid’s home on this day.  They prepared a feast for us and we were well entertained for the evening.  I even made an arrangement with them to send me a case of their extraordinary wine once per year, at a cost of 120gp per case.  We discussed the evil Druid and his evil tree, as well as the stick men loosed upon the world.  They asked us to return with one of these stick men, but that the killing of the Druid was up to us.

Marpenoth 12-15

Talin was trained by one of the Druids on these days, while Chrissy and I spent some time reminiscing about our childhood and taking long walks in the forest.  I’m not sure what Aramil did, but I think he cast a few more Continuous Flame spells on items for him and Talin.

Marpenoth 16

We spent this day returning to the place we now call the Sunless Citadel.  

Marpenoth 17

We destroyed the Druid and his tree this day.  The battle was harder than we expected, but we were victorious.  There was no saving those who had fallen to the tree, however, and the daughter, Urky, and the former Paladin all had to be killed as well.  It saddened me to have to put Urky down.  He had been a stalwart companion while he adventured with us, and I shall mourn his loss.  Additionally, we were forced to kill the tree lest another deranged madman fall prey to its lure.  This act means there will be no fruit for my father to save him from his illness.  We must search elsewhere for that cure.  

It has been many days since we first left my home on this quest for my missing brother.  I believe we now are almost ready to finish this trek to Waterdeep.