Wonders and Legends

Session 3: 13th - 15th Kythona 4711: Oathday, Fireday, Starday

The Fallen Fortress: There and back again

13th Kythona 4711, Oathday
Noon, somewhere in the Cairnlands

Dear Diary,

it's been extremely exciting leaving the city. Walking out of those gates, I felt suddenly giddy, as if the road might rush out beneath my feet and lead me anywhere – maybe west to Diobel, or even across the sea to Taldor or Andoran. I'll admit that, foot-sore and tired a few hours later, I rather wished that the road would carry me to where we're going. We've stopped for a brief rest and some water, which has given me the chance to write a little. The countryside around Absalom city is hot and dry, and the grass is yellowed. The road is strewn with the debris of troubled times – rotted leather and rusted armor bear witness to all the assaults on Absalom staged from these plains.

I left a note for my family on my bed explaining that I was "off for an adventure. I'll be back on Sunday." I didn't want to get into a 'discussion' with my Dad about this. I'm sure he'll be fine…

I hope he doesn't freak out…

********

Night, Cairnthorpe Village Hall, Island of Kortos. 

We didn't see anyone else on the road except a patrol of the Eagle Guard, scouting the extended lands around Absalom for trouble. They warned us of some "aggressive individuals" in the area, but nothing else. You can see the Fallen Fortress – that's what the villagers of Cairnthorpe call it – from the road. It's up a hill, and looks rather forbidding.

Cairnthorpe itself is a quiet little village, organized round a village green, and with a large hall in the middle. The people here are jolly and chatty – there seem to about about 10 extended family groups with members of all ages. They were very happy and appreciative when I gave them a song. 

The village is run by a sheriff, Gilmore Farsword. He seems sensible and agreeable enough, and gave us his hospitality in exchange for a small potion from Lini which will, apparently, solve a rather embarrassing problem for him in his trouserly regions. His father, Sir Gilmott Farsword, is the lord of this and several other villages in the area. 

We heard word from the villagers that Ballanar had come through the village 2 days earlier, before heading up to the Fallen Fortress. Two days seems a long time if he's wounded. If there is something nefarious in the fortress, we may be looking for a body. On the other hand, maybe the thing is long abandoned, and instead he's been preoccupied catagorising the architecture and sketching out the murals.

Tomorrow'll be a long and exciting one (my first mission!), so I guess I'd best go to bed.  

********

14th Kythona 4711, Fireday
Dusk, Cairnthorpe Village Hall, Isle of Kortos

Dear Diary,

this day has all been higglety-pigglety - good and bad, and difficult and SO AWESOME! I woke up with Drugami licking my face (that wasn't so bad) and in no time at all, we had breakfast (berry porridge – still not too bad) and were off. 

The Fallen Fortress is a beautifully masoned quatrefoil tower without external doors or windows, crafted from white, local stone. At least it used to be – the eastern room on the ground floor has largely collapsed due to recent earthquake activity, which gives us an entrance in. In fact, the damage extends minimally up to the floors above on the eastern side, and only the topmost level, 80 feet up, is unscathed. 

However, we had only just approached it when 3 ravenous wild dogs emerged from the shadows behind the tower, prowling and circling. Fortunately we managed to dispatch 2 of them, and the other ran away in fright. 

That wasn't the only rude shock. As we walked through the ground floor rooms, we approached enormous cobwebs, from which scuttled a man-sized spider. The damn thing stuck me to the floor with its web, and it was only with Kyra's help that I managed to get free. I was very happy when I finally dispatched the horrible creature. The other rooms of the ground floor are, at the time of writing, empty, and the west room is also partially collapsed and filled with rubble and debris.

A winding staircase leads to the first floor, but no sooner had we stepped into the west room than a foul smell (we're talking rotton eggs combined with open sewer) washed over us, making us all feel sick: Troglodytes – from the Darklands. I'd read about them, but I wasn't ready for how disgusting they smelled – or looked! They're like fishy snakes, and they were brandishing spears. They attacked and were very unreasonable, but we finally managed to get rid of them.

The other thing to note about this tower is that there are traps in several of the doors. Like the one I tried to open next. Traps like large, spring-loaded javelins. Javelins which can easily impale your shoulder. I'm damn lucky that Kyra was there to patch me up with the power of Sarenrae (a goddess who, by the way, is growing on me increasingly as the hours pass).

The south room was abandoned – nothing but a fine layer of dust – but the east room, which was quite destroyed, was collapsed in such a way that it was possible to climb up to the second floor. 

The final room on the first floor, the north room, was clearly once a store room. At what point, and for what reason, it was decided that an electrocuting lizard should be stored there is beyond me, but it fried the crap out of me before we managed to put the thing down. Savraiki souvlaiki…

We tried climbing up the staircase, but the door to the 2nd floor was locked. Of course, we could have just kept climbing, and checked for a door which was open, but we were trying to avoid being surrounded from above and beneath, in a tower that seemed marginally more densely occupied than the Red Hook on a Fireday night. Bruised and battered, we climbed up the tumbled-down wall onto the 2nd level. The north and east rooms were filled with the strong smell of ammonia and the ceiling moved like a living fabric. And that was when the bats attacked. Maybe I should note that these bat-stards had red eyes and seemed hungry for blood. We're not talking cute-mice-with-wings here. We're talking bat-outta-hell…

If anyone ever reads this, they might be curious to know quite how difficult it is to attack a bat with a rapier. It's like trying to stab a fart. I ran to the walls and searched for some kind of door, but couldn't find anything. At last, the Bat-stards dissipated and flew off.

********

At this point, it became clear that we couldn't make any more headway without some kind of locks expert. It's a shame they didn't teach that at the Young Ladies' Finishing School in Absalom – life there would have been so much more fun with access to Madame Mignon's liquor cabinet. We reluctantly headed back to the village to look for a locksmith. The cheery sheriff pointed us towards the blacksmith, an elderly but muscular man (who seems well beyond his 60th year) by the name of Killian. 

Killian is scarred, experienced and capable. He's good with locks, by all accounts. But he's more jaded than a Tian ornament, and about as sociable. After agreeing on a price (5gp per lock) we set back off to the Fallen Fortress. We ascended back up the ground we'd already covered (Killian recognized the Troglodytes by smell alone, and we found out later that he used to be a famous adventurer) and soon we were in the chamber where the bats had been. Killian found a secret door without difficulty, and picked the lock.

The door opened up into a double room of the south and east portions of the tower. Even as we took the room in, two flaming skeletons attacked us. Kyra obliterated them – it was terrifying and amazing to watch. Once we could examine the room, we realized that it's a temple to Nithis, with blessings snaking along the walls in Draconic. There are two altars at the poles of the room – one black and one white – and two charred troglodytes on the floor. It seems like they came later and had nothing to do with the original purpose of the tower, since they didn't know the dangers of this room. The flaming skeletons were probably just protecting the altars.

Having written that, I almost feel bad about the fact that we took the silver altar services (about 200gp, I'd say), 2 silver holy symbols of Nithis, and 2 magical scrolls from the altars. Let's hope that Nithis is the forgiving sort…

We ascended the stairs to the third level, and found yet more stinking troglodytes. These ones, though, appeared to have brought an enormous friend, a six-foot troglodyte momma with a large club. The big one, once I felled it (it was pretty awesome – I rushed up to it, made a leaping lunge, and sent it crashing to the ground) yielded a pair of keys. Those opened up a chest and a cell, in which there was a manacled, prone human – Ballanar. It's almost a shame I found him – his rapier is way nicer than mine and I was rather tempted to keep it…

The fourth and final floor is a single, large room, dimly lit with daylight, but straight away I could see the last troglodyte - bigger than the others and with an albino crocodile at his side – staring out the window towards Absalom. Making eyes at my city.

The fight was messy and long – we were all hurt, and the damn creature kept conjuring extra monsters to fight for him – yet more bats and even a giant centipede, which seemed unnecessary. At last we brought him to his knees. By this point, I don't mind admitting, I was a little testy – tired and injured. It seemed like a long walk home, and Killian disappeared as soon as we'd paid him for his work (I added a 20% tip, even though he'd done nothing to help with the fighting – hopefully he'll remember that if we're ever passing this way). It's worth noting here that Ballanar said the tower is on an entrance to the Underdark, hence the Troglydytes. Ugh – even the thought of that gives me the shivers.

I definitely feel better for having had a bath, though, and washed the blood out of my hair and off my armour. Ballanar Forsend - that's the bard's full name – managed to find a few other bits and pieces – like a beautiful shield emblazoned with a leaping dolphin and a banner emblazoned with a phoenix. The Phoenix Banner is an item of particular cultural significance – it denotes a famous hunting lodge from the Age of Blades, and Ezran's commissioner should have a field day with it. That works out fine, as we can split the rest of the finds between us. But that's thought for tomorrow. It's time for food and wine. Particularly wine, I think…

********

Night.

Dear Diary - Ballaner is a bloody goo' guy – bloody goodand ver smart. Wiv knowing stuff. Inna head. Brains and sexyness face and… thing. Wine. gnite

********

15th Kythona 4711, Starday
Morning, Cairnthorpe Village Hall, Isle of Kortos

Dear Diary,

perhaps I drank more than was strictly necessary last night, but I'm feeling alright this morning. That's a sure sign that I didn't overdo it too badly. It was interesting talking with Ballanar last night. He's from the Coins Quarter in Absalom – grew up there, though his mom walked out on him and his dad when he was a kid. That seems heartless – the worst way to lose a parent. 

We discussed more about the Underdark – the first level is called "Nar-voth". Ballanar has been training as a Pathfinder for 4 years – he looks like he's in his early 20s, maybe 5 years older than me, with a typical Absalom complexion – brown eyes, brown hair, fair skin. He's well built, enough, and definitely not bad looking, particularly once the food and wine were flowing. But I don't think I'm his type some how. He didn't make a move, I mean. Honestly, we were so tired, I guess neither of us could keep our eyes open in any case.

********

Noon, the Cairnlands outside Absalom, Isle of Kortos

We're about half way back to Absalom, but we're walking slowly  - everyone's feeling a bit tired and battered still after yesterday. So, we stopped for a bit of lunch, and I've been trying to sort out the distribution of stuff from the fortress. Ballanar forfeited his portion, as he says that saving him from the Troglodytes was enough. I still can't figure out exactly why they were holding him captive (unless they planned to eat him), but it's fortunate that they did. Anyway, Ezran's done a little research on the magical items and I've appraised the non-magical ones (just like my dear Daddy taught me) so this is how it stands. Because of Dad's golden rule "you can only sell it second hand for half its worth" I've used the opportunity to buy items from the party at a reduced rate. That way, I get the benefit of the second-hand exchange prices, rather than some nameless weapons-shop in the alleys. 

<u>Fallen Fortress Items Distribution:</u>

  • EZRAN


    • 1 scrolls (shatter) (150gp),
    • 1 scroll (shield) (25gp
    • 1 wand (summon monster – 9 charges) (810 GP)
  • KYRA

    • Bone scimitar M/W (315 GP)
    • (OWED 343gp by group)
  • LINI

    • 15 cold iron shurikens (9GP),
    • 2 flasks (acid), (20gp), 
    • 1 potion (cats grace), (300gp),
    • 1 potion (lesser restoration),  (300gp)
    • (OWED 185 by group
  • MELCloak of Resistance +1 (1000GP): 

    • (Debt to group – 309 gp) -M/W short sword (310 GP) - MW light steel shield (309gp) - 

LOOT TOTAL: 3870

Therefore about 1000gp of items for each person or 500gp of coin

ITEMS TO SELL:

  • MW silver dagger (22gp)
  • 2 holy symbols nethis (200gp total),
  • Silver services (100gp total)

PLUS: Each member takes a share of the coins found:

  • COINS: assorted coins (c. 235GP)
  • 1 amethyst (c. 100gp worth)

********

Night, the Angelou Estate, The Docklands Quarter, Absalom

So when I got home, Dad was sitting by the door. Literally sitting by the door. Seems like the poor guy has been out of his mind with worry. In a way, that's stupid – I mean, I can handle myself, and I wouldn't go into something over my head. But, I do understand. He loves me, and he wants me to be safe – even though this thing I want to do is by no means safe.

We chatted for a long time, and again over dinner. He does seem genuinely proud of me, under all the fear. He was talking me up to my brothers. And Giorgos says he might know a locksmith, which would mean that i could get into Mom's chest. I must remember to set him up with Kyra, too…

I'll think about all that tomorrow, though. I took a bath before dinner and I'm half blue, not to mention the fact that I think I've a cracked rib from one of those unwieldy clubs. Damn, adventuring is hard! But it's well worth it, in my opinion…

********

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Note on my bed:

"Dear Family,

Off for an adventure. I'll be back on Sunday.  

Mel xxx"

Meet the guys, leave the city.

Arrive in the Cairnlands by midday. Hot! With a warm salty wind. Yellowed grass. Movement in the lower grasses far away. Road is scattered with discarded armour and shields, going mouldy or rusting away. 

****

After 8 hours, Hamlet – 5 horsemen and three people on foot leaving the village and approaching us. Eagle guard – city militia – advanced scouts of the city. 

Can see the crumbling tower already. 

Cairnthorpe. Sightings of aggressive individuals in the area. Village green. Village hall – wide, young individual in a throne-like chair. We can stay in the hall. Offered something in exchange. Lini and Drugami come into the hall. People seem jolly, chatty, talkative – people are all ages. 10 distinct groups of people – families or extended families. 

Ballanar – came by 2 days ago. Fallen Fortress. Lord of the Village – Gilmore Farsword, Sheriff of Cairnthorpe. 

Son of Sir Gilmott Farsword (Lord of the village).

Go to bed. 

*

Fireday – Kythona 14th

Something wet on my face. Drugami – scroffly loving. Wash.

Fallen fortress – no doors or windows. Quadrofoil tower. Eastern wing has largely collapsed. Topmost level only seems whole. The Eastern portion hangs precariously over the mountain. At ground level an open whole is evident. Tower – 80 feet tall, masonry is of very high quality. Stones are white and around a foot square, and fit together closely. Local stone. 

Growling sound of dogs approaching

Shodows at the back fo the tower. 3 ravenous wild dogs appraoch – prowling and circling. 

15 feet high – 2nd floor. Cobwebs everywhere – single archway stands open in the SW shaft. Spider the size of the man – funnel shaped men. 

Winding staircase:

<u>1st floor</u> -

West room: Weapons racks – foul smell (rotton eggs combine with open sewer). Horrendous terrifying creatures – serpent-like fish holding big spears with scaly armour natural all over their body. Troglodytes – from the Darklands. 

South Octagonal room – fine layer of dust. Abandoned. 

East Broken room – could climb up this way.

North: Octagonal room – store room (cells lining the walls). Crack in the northern wal has let in rain water, large puddles. Large lizard eagerly approaching me (S creature). Electric!

<u>2nd Level:</u>

North room – ammonia – living fabric. BATS

___________

Head back to the village – looking for a locksmith. Try the blacksmith

Elderly man (over 60) – Killian 

<u>Level 2 - </u>

<u>South and east quadrafoils of the room – 1 big chamber:</u>

Writing snaking along the walls – blessings to Nithis (probably? Draconic)

2 altars – black and white

2 flaming skeletons

burnt corpses of 2 troglydytes

Altars to Nithis – god of magic (n) 

Altar still contains the silver altar services worth about 100 gold pieces each, and 2 holy symbols (silver) of Nithis. 1 scroll on top of the white altar. 

<u>3rd Level</u>

Western Room – Crude bunks, Troglydyte smell. Lit with torches. Three Troglydyte guards. Key chain with 2 keys. 

Southern Room – brazier - 

East Room – human tied with manacles and gagged. Ballanar. 

<u>4th Level</u>

Dimly lit with daylight. One large room composed of all 4 quadrafoils. Red carpet. 

Troglydyte bigger than the others. Carrying a massive staff with a bone skull shape on the top. He seems to be looking towards Absalom with longing eyes. An albino cave crocodile. 

ITEMS:

  • EZRAN:1 scrolls (shatter) (150gp), 1 scroll (shield) (25gp) 1 wand (summon monster – 9 charges) (810 GP)
  • KYRA: Bone scimitar M/W (315 GP) (OWED 343gp by group)
  • LINI: 15 cold iron shurikens (9GP), 2 flasks (acid), (20gp), 1 potion (cats grace), (300gp), 1 potion (lesser restoration),  (300gp) (OWED 185 by group)
  • MEL: Cloak of Resistance +1 (1000GP), (Debt to group – 309 gp) -M/W short sword (310 GP) - MW light steel shield (309gp) - 

LOOT TOTAL: 3870

Therefore about 1000gp of items for each person or 500gp of coin

ITEMS TO SELL:

  • MW silver dagger (22gp)
  • 2 holy symbols nethis (200gp total),
  • Silver services (100gp total)

COINS: assorted coins (c. 235GP)

1 amethyst (c. 100gp worth)

Ballanar Forsend – pathfinder, bard.

  • Masterwork shield, (emblazoned with a leaping dolphin), banner depicting a bird made of living flame
  • Phoenix- banner from a famous hunting lodge from the Age of the Blades.

Bottom of the tower leads to the Underdark. 

 

Walk back to the village of Cairnthorpe. Meet the Sheriff. Given our own room and a brazier. 

Main hall – made of rough stone wall and wooden frame – probably built on top of something much older. Swimming pool sized pool (for the ladies). Water is warmed by the forge. 

 

ITEMS:

  • EZRAN:1 scrolls (shatter) (150gp), 1 scroll (shield) (25gp) 1 wand (summon monster – 9 charges) (810 GP)
  • KYRA: Bone scimitar M/W (315 GP) (OWED 343gp by group)
  • LINI: 15 cold iron shurikens (9GP), 2 flasks (acid), (20gp), 1 potion (cats grace), (300gp), 1 potion (lesser restoration),  (300gp) (OWED 185 by group)
  • MEL: Cloak of Resistance +1 (1000GP), (Debt to group – 309 gp) -M/W short sword (310 GP) - MW light steel shield (309gp) - 

LOOT TOTAL: 3870

Therefore about 1000gp of items for each person or 500gp of coin

ITEMS TO SELL:

  • MW silver dagger (22gp)
  • 2 holy symbols nethis (200gp total),
  • Silver services (100gp total)

COINS: assorted coins (c. 235GP)

1 amethyst (c. 100gp worth)

****

XP: 1160 + 250 for role playing +350 for Session 2 diary

****

1st level of the Underdark – "Nar-voth". Pathfinder training  - 4 years. early 20s. Brown eyes, brown hair. Fair skin. well built. Not bad looking. Eat delicious deer. 

Drink quite a lot…

*******

14th Kythona 4711, – Fireday

Village Hall, Cainlands

In Bed – write diary. Go and breathe in the countryside air. Head back to the city.

Head out – sort out loot over lunch. 

Home! Talk with dad. Ask family – someone who's good with locks?

Cracked rib! bashing and bruising. 

**********

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