Rudi's Notes 08-12-16
5th of Seranith (Cont.)
As The Stag Lord breathes his last, and the battle comes to an end, the party members sag in exhaustion. Rudi plunks down on the ground, and with his free hand puts his hand on a hard, flat object. As it’s uncovered, he finds a small buckler made from a strange metal. Leather is stretched over it’s surfaces, surprisingly uncut, and with a pair of dragons pressed into it’s surface. Sear picks up a severed finger with a clear, watery ring on it. He plucks it free, and slides it onto his finger, looking less exhausted as he does so.
Akiros, healed by *Glod*’s last burst, props himself up on an elbow.
“Did you work for him?” Cassius asked.
“I did. And what are you going to do with me.”
“You have no need to fear us. Have you committed crimes?”
“Many… And at first, I thought I would be making up for past mistakes. But the longer I stayed, the more I realized I was digging myself in deeper and deeper with the sins of The Stag Lord. When your assault began, I saw the opportunity to break free and begin my atonement.”
“Remember Cassius, shades of gray…” Sear interjected.
“Yes, Sear. Everyone has a chance for redemption, and it will be remembered when you are tried for your crimes.”
“Tried?” Akiros asked.
“You have my word you will be fine,” Sear said, staring at Cassius.
“You’re no prisoner,” He said, handing his sword to the former bandit. “But you said it yourself, you’ve committed crimes.”
“Except he did help us, and was attacking The Stag Lord, which proves he’s on our side,” Rudi said.
“Which should be considered, but does not exonerate him for his prior crimes committed while under his rule.”
“Rudi, you said one got away.” Sear asked, changing the topic.
“Yeah, the one with the tattoos and dark clothes.” Rudi muttered.
“What can you tell us of him?” Sear asked Akiros.
“That would be Dovan from Nisroch. He’s the worst of the lot, matching The Stag Lord for cruelty and depravity.”
“And our friend?” Sear asked, a question Glod had been repeating up until this point. Faderean, dazed, in a more or less catatonic state, had just stood mutely. Akiros, having witnessed the chaos, led the rest of the party to the collapsed tower that had buried Pirec. Pools of blood and feathers are scattered around the felled timber and felled bandits. With some effort, they manage to pull him free and get him back to his feet, leaving him dazed and confused in the immediate aftermath.
Meanwhile, the party gets to exploring the derelict ruins and collecting loot from the cooling bodies.
As the party gathers the useful gear into a pile, and removes The Stag Lord’s helmet, they see a face badly burned and scarred, like it had caught fire and was put out with a knife.
The rest of The Stag Lord’s fort has thick stone walls, different from the wooden palisade constructed on and around it. It looks the bandits repurposed ruins, using it’s stone corpse to build a more secure position to launch their raids from.
Upstairs, the roof is in the process of falling in on itself. Grass sprouts above, with roots dangling through gaps here and there. A bed roll lies in the center, with toy knights arrayed beside it, little men at arms prepared to do battle.
“Not a safe place for kids, is it.”
“I think this’s Auchs’s bedroom. Remember when he was dying? He wanted to protect his toys.
“I thought that he was talking about the Owl Bears,” He said, and kicked them over, sending some skittering through the gap to the first floor below.
“That’s not way to treat a man’s dying request.” Cassius said, carefully gathering the painted miniatures from the floor and stowing them in his pack.
Down on the first floor they continue the tour. They find a cavelike room full of hay, feathers, and droppings. In another, hides hung and partitioning the only corner that still has a roof. Rummaging through barrels, they find an assortment of weapons and tools.
Beyond that, they find what passed for a kitchen, more of a roasting pit for large animals like the wild boar inhabiting the region. Rubble lines one of the walls, interrupted by a large plank of wood that Hydrastis notices.
Akiros mentions that the cellar is where most of the goods are kept. However, a strange old man stays down there. He helped care for the wounded, but instilled fear in them, so much so the men would nearly let thing become gangrenous before mentioning it.
After some resistance from Glod, the rest of the party pressure him into going down with them. They start to head left, weaving through sacks of weapons, gold, and jewels. Cassius calls out for the old man to turn himself in, while Sear starts looking for magical energy, when massive rats start pouring from the room, easily 2’ long . They attack, bouncing off armor, swarming up to try and gnaw through their armor with yellowed incisors nearly the size of Rudi’s forearm. They skewer, hack, and slice, with Cassius especially making a show of dicing and eviscerating the critters.
“See Glod?” Rudi asked, forcing a casualness to the butchery, suspicions about the dwarf. “Nothing to it.”
“Yeah, yeah well where’s the old man?” He responded, as Cassius slowly crept forward into the cellar…
The wall behind Sear and Glod explodes as glowing gem eyes set in a stony face pushes Glod, with the other hitting Sear. Others come through the floors, assaulting Rudi, Cassius, and Hydrastis. Invisible spikes poke from the
“To the right! Magic ot the right!” Sear shouts as they try to clear the stone creatures from the room. Cassius, in a display of strength, swings through one, and kills another next to it before pushing through the pain in his legs and following Sear’s directions. Rudi tries to follow, by trying to climb up and over Sear, an act the brooding sorcerer doesn’t appreciate.
“NO!” He shouted, rebuffing his attempts until the halfling finally gave up. Instead, he turns to help Hydrastis and Glod,
Sear meanwhile keeps searching for the source of the magic, trying to pinpoint the druid’s location. The seconds drag by in the heat of battle, until he’s drawn directly into the corner. “There! In the corner!”
Cassius stares around himself hopelessly, looking at a tangle of rope, straw, and other random bits of dampy, decaying fibers clinging to the walls and floor. The stone beneath him turns soft, and his feet sink into the liquid rock before hardening again. Trapped, he turns his attention to his feet where he tries to hack his way free.
“Where! Right in fro-!” His directions are cut short as another rat pops from the ground, and strikes him down. Without knowing what to do, he starts hacking at the nest. Hydrastis and Glod dispatch the rat, freeing Rudi to push through the nails stabbing through his boots and runs to join Cassius. Drawing from his arcane pool, he reaches out with a burning hand and the damp fibers smoulder, and eventually start to burn. Before he could end up trapped like Cassius, he pivots and runs back.
His feet stop, as he stares in horror at the scene playing out in front of him. Sear’s blood pools underneath him, his form still not moving. With a crack and thunder, the ceiling collapses on top of Hydrastis and Glod. He watches a stonelike wolverine slips from the wall, claws dragging Glod to the ground. A swam or rats appears through the hole above, washing over Hydrastis as she disappears beneath the writhing mass.
He grabs the potion he took from The Stag Lord, gritting his teeth as he runs back over the spiked floor and forces the potion down his throat. The sorcerer sputters, and slaps at Rudi as he steals one of Sear’s potions, but he’s alive, and he’s trying to make sure his other friends are. He takes a few more steps, and throws the trident at the wolverine trying to draw it’s attention as he moves towards Glod and Hydrastis, trying to ensure there is someone to save..
Then, out of nowhere, Akiros charges down the stairs, swinging his sword at the wolverine with Pirec above. Pirec who had been in a daze since being rescued seemed to shake it. He interrogated Akiros, finding out his companions journeyed into the basement, and inspired him to join the fray just in time. Standing at the edge of the hole that had just formed, he aimed his short bow and shot an arrow that pierced his skull. The wolverine swayed on his feet, slowly shifting back to the form an elderly human with stringy gray hair. Not wasting any more time, he whips his sword free and plunges into the breach. Catching the old man on the point of his sword, he rides the body to the ground to the sound of squelching guts and cracking bones, skidding on the body as he smeared across the rough flagstone.
Akiros claims he didn’t want to interfere, as they pull the unconscious friends up from the cellar. Once they’re safe, they’re able to poke through the crates, finding dried goods, pelts, furs, tobaccos, weapons, trade tools and adventuring tools. They find the bandit’s spoils – copper, silver, gold, platinum, and bags of jewelry.
While the pair recuperate, the others finish the tour, finally finding The Stag Lord’s bedchambers. The stench of stale alcohol permeates the animal hides and worn silks adorning the room. Three chests lay about the room, fallen soldiers lined up on the surface, the empty bottles clanking as they’re pushed aside.
“He was a drunk,” Cassius said with a sneer. “Takes away a bit of the victory.” Still, the goods are theirs.
6th of Seranith
The next day dawns full of promise. Loading up what they could on the wagon, they are set to head up.
“There’s no question about the quality of your mettle sir,” Cassius said to Akiros before setting out. “I ask you to watch over this keep for us in our absence. And if someone approaches saying the phrase ‘I followed the path’ to let them in, now matter who or what manner of creature.”
With the adventure coming to a close, the party makes their journey back to Oleg’s. They stop off at Nettle’s Crossing to fulfill the ghost’s wish. As they dump the headless corpse of The Stag Lord into the river, the ghost appears again, and with a single nod he steps away, dissipating into nothing. As they wait, a long spear washes up on the store, two curved blades flanking the main point of the masterfully crafted Ranseur.
When they finally roll back into Oleg’s, cart laden with all the quest items and other treasures. Oleg cavorts with the Tatzlwyrm heads, stringing them from the rafters. The Free Irregulars pull the mildewing corpse of Falgrim Sneeg from the wagon bed. Kesten Garess takes the maimed head of The Stag Lord and spikes it out front of Oleg’s, near the dessicated remains of Happs Bydon still hanging from the walls.
A succulent feast is carted out, with much drinking and merriment being had. And as the night wears on the parties exploits are shared and celebrated, their treasures examined and gaped at, Oleg only interrupts once to read a proclamation from King Surtova bestowing the party with claims to the land along with the right to rule and the promise of a generous amount of funds from Restov and Brevoy to speed along the process…