Carrolwood

From Ardrana

On a cloudy and damp early fall day, Emi and Rin, Rakeor and Shale, Alvin and Siege, and Dalva arrived in the coastal city of Gascar and made their way to the west gate of Castle Telva property. They were sent to one of the servants' residences therein and greeted by Genevieve, who presented them to the hiring manager of the Carrolwood Project, Baxter. He learned that each had skills suitable for hiring and told them to meet with Gairevander, their team leader, who had arrived a couple days earlier, in the dining room at 5 o'clock that evening.

Everyone met at the appointed time and Gairevander, after introducing himself, told them that their job would be to explore a number of ruined buildings in the Red Forest south of the city, and to evict any inhabitants that posed a threat to the land to be developed by the Carrolwood Project. He also informed the group that they would be given a task the next morning, on which they would be evaluated. Although he had no information on what it would involve, he suspected it would impact their assignments in the future.

Baxter then joined the group briefly, and Alvin asked about the party's compensation. This seemed to irk Baxter, but Gaire was able to defuse the situation. Siege took the opportunity to present Baxter with a clock he had made, and the gift seemed to please him. The group chatted for a while, making tentative plans to go to Morgan's, a local pub, to celebrate should they be successful in their task.

Trial run

The next day dawned bright and sunny with deep autumn blue skies. At breakfast, Gaire told them their first task: clearing out a building of some sort of pests that were too difficult for the day laborers to deal with. He got a rundown of the group members' preparations and then they suited up and met in the foyer. Baxter gave Gaire a set of keys to access the warehouse area and affected building, then everyone on the team received white name tags with the symbol of Carrolwood's parent organization, known as Yensid, emblazoned on them.

The group set out for the warehouses, located along the Laburnum River to the west. Arriving at the sandy area which held the compromised building, the group split up and explored the outside of the structure. They found some empty crates at the back of the building, but when Siege moved them they found nothing suspicious. Meanwhile, Gaire attempted to use the second key to open the front door of the building with no success, so Emi picked the lock and the group headed inside.

Gaire instructed the Elves to look for hidden doors on the floor. Taking Alvin's advice, he checked the ceiling, but saw no holes. The two Dwarves were about to open some crates when Dalva spotted droppings and food bits toward the back right area of the building. A closer look revealed rodent tracks in the dust. Emi looked between the crates at the tracks' end with a torch, and she saw a shape shrink back from the flame and another dart behind the crates. Upon describing them to Dalva, the ranger confirmed them to be giant rats.

The group moved the crates at the back of the room to encourage the beasties to funnel out towards the center, which proved to be somewhat successful; several rats tried to escape, but were quickly dealt with. The majority of the rest escaped down a hole in the floor at the back corner of the building. Once it was determined that the last of the rats had departed, the crates were moved and the inside of the building was swept clean. Siege replaced the damaged floor board to prevent further intrusions while Gaire, Emi and Dalva walked around the outside of the building to see if there was any more that could be done. They saw a couple of rats that had escaped scurrying away and a hole was discovered under the foundation of the building. Empty crates were stacked in front of the hole to block it.

Reporting in

The group returned to the servants' residence to clean up and have some lunch. Baxter joined them and listened to their tale of the morning's events but had little reaction. After the meal, Genevieve gave them directions to Eblen's General Store, where they could make their purchases, and the group headed out to explore the city. The group found Morgan's along Mellon's Road through town, and Alvin purchased a map from at the shop of Aras Bugloss in the Harbormaster's Building. After making their purchases at Eblen's, they went back home for dinner.

Upon arriving, Gaire was summoned to speak with Baxter, who gave him the party's contracts for each to sign, including the specifics of their weekly salary, along with a map of the ruins. After dinner was done, Gaire laid out the map, which was compared with Alvin's. The map had red markings on the eastern end of the ruins to indicate trouble spots that the military had noted that the group should focus on. There were a fair number of organized structures on the map as well which seemed to suggest a settlement, but Gaire had been given no additional information. He told the group that Baxter wanted any unusual items found in the ruins brought to his attention, especially those of a magical or historical nature.

With nothing else to discuss, the group headed out for Morgan's. The group met the proprietor, Sir Morgan Wallister, and stayed for the first set of the bardic quartet before departing early so they could be ready to start work in earnest the next morning. The relaxed tone of the evening was cut short when they shrieks and howls in the distance as walked along the Shore Road. The sound got louder as they went, and the group soon found itself under attack by a group of gibberlings. Dalva and Shale were injured in the skirmish, but the group was able to waylay the gibberlings long enough for Gascar's military to get things under control.

The next morning, the group met with Eisner, the man overseeing the project, along with Baxter and Burwell, the project's liaison with the city's White Army garrison, regarding concerns about the gibberling attack, as well as the potential future attacks on the city. Eisner told everyone that the part of the ruins in question would be restricted until further notice in order to deal with any further gibberling issues, and that the group should start its exploration a bit further south, in the northern part of the Red Forest.

The temples

Neptune's temple

Exploration

After the meeting, the group set out for the ruins. They followed an overgrown path up a short embankment and, after passing through the line of trees in full fall foliage, beheld a large building made of bluish-white stone and columns with stone steps leading up to an open entrance in the front. Dalva noted some humanoid footprints in the area, so the outside of the structure was checked for intruders before the group headed inside. They crossed through a front room and an archway into a dark chamber where the sound of trickling water could be heard. The decomposing body of a kobold was discovered, and Dalva pointed out that since they usually buried their dead, the group should be on high alert. Emi explored the area in front of her using a 10-foot pole, and the sound of it hitting something hard echoed throughout the room. Dalva's lantern revealed a font with water coming out of pipes which extended from a fist-sized gem on a dais at its center. Nothing else of significance was found in the chamber, so the group decided to investigate the room beyond another archway behind the font. It was empty but for the crumbling remains of a stone bench along the back wall and an opening which led to a lower level.

Rope was secured to the font and the group made their way down, then down the hall below. The sound of gentle flowing water currents was heard in the hall, which made it difficult to pick out any other sounds. Rin speculated that this sound was magical in nature, and Siege posited that it came from the font above. Dalva's lantern beam illuminated a doorway on the left, and Emi and Siege went inside to investigate. They found nothing but a pile of red and orange rags in the corner emitting a noticeable stench. Dalva seemed uneasy at the find, and upon taking a closer look she recognices the scent as that of kobolds. With Siege at her side, she prodded the rags with the 10-foot pole, uncovering a pouch containing copper pieces.

When they emerged, Rin discovered a group of symbols beneath a torch bracket she'd found and began to copy them. Emi and Siege pressed forward and found a second room with two old cots and a wooden dresser. Behind the dresser, Emi located a loose stone block, and Shale and Siege pried it out. Shale pulled out a blue box and a scroll case from the resulting opening. Rin found additional symbols under the torch bracket on the opposite wall, drawing them as well before the group continued onward.

They came upon a larger room with an eerie, glowing, rectangular object on the rear wall, which seemed to be some sort of water-related device. Upon further investigation, even more odd symbols were discovered along the outside of the structure. Rin cast detect magic on the box and scroll case, which had similar symbols to that on the wall. Although the scroll did not respond, the box glowed with magic from within, and a silver trident was discovred inside. Dalva wanted to do further research on the watery structure by going into it, but Alvin advised against it as the water inside might be released into the room. With no further data to be gathered, the group returned the same way they came in.

Back at the other end of the hall, The party began to climb the rope while Rin listened more carefully to the sounds of the waves. Siege had just poked his head through the hole when Emi let out a startled shriek from the room above. Two goblins had come through the archway and battle commenced. Siege was attacked by some sort of magical field shaped like a fish, which briefly knocked him unconscious by some sort of magical fish that came "swimming" over the font. Rin, deeming the fish an "ewegs" (for "evil water elemental ghost shark") used a cure light wounds spell to revive him. Dalva and Rakeor also sustained injuries, but the battle was soon over. as Gaire took down the last of the foes. Shale, unhappy at missing out on the battle, tended to the other injuries whilethe group looted the the bodies. Gaire removed an amulet that looked like the jaws of a shark from around the neck of the last foe, and the party headed for the exit.

Before leaving the premises, Gaire suggested hitting the gem in the center of the font to see if it could be knocked off and then taken back with them. Rin gathered some loose pieces of stone from the crumbling bench in the back room and used her sling to make a direct hit, which caused a zap and flash of light to issue forth. The gem remained in place, however. With this knowledge, the group made one last search of the area before leaving the ruins for the day.

Aftermath

At dinner, Alvin informed Genevieve that there were severely wounded among them which briefly caused some tense moments, but Shale later reassured Eisner that the situation was under control and that she would make all reports on the party's health in the future.

Later that evening, Emi and Rin went to the temple of Losyera and presented the fish symbols document and painting that Rin created as an offering to the priest on duty, a Human named Alfred Tennishu. He said he would seek the goddess' insight and asked them to return tomorrow. They proceeded to the market area, where Rin purchased an umbrella while Emi procured a crowbar. When they returned, Gaire was the only one still awake. He'd found a note from Baxter absolving them of having to go to the ruins the following day, and the message was passed along.

The next morning, Alvin cast armor on himself while Rin healed Siege. During the post-breakfast meeting, the group recounted their experiences in the temple and showed Baxter the items they'd found. They mentioned the possibility of keeping the amulet, so Baxter suggested that they submit a proposal to Eisner to request they be allowed to do so, although if that should happen any related research costs would be their responsibility. Gaire charged Shale with this task and Baxter said he'd draw up a document for her to take to Bassik's temple in order to have the other two items investigated.

After Shale healed Rakeor, the group went their separate ways to perform various errands in the city. Emi and Rin returned to Losyera's temple, where Rin received a note informing her that the fish symbol document was related to the god of the temple, a foreign deity called Neptune. Shale and Alvin brought Baxter's document to the temple of Bassik and spoke with the High Priest, Hydralanus. He told them that the deity of the temple might be another aspect of Bassik or perhaps another trying to usurp control from the Lord of the Waves. He advised them that, once he had concluded his research on the items in a day or two, a message would be sent to Yensid with the results. Siege and Dalva sold the goblin weapons at Bolio's Weaponry, a shop near the docks. Finally, Gaire and Rakeor went shopping for supplies, then spoke with Morgan regarding a lead for the mages' guild until their companions arrived.

After returning to the servant's house for dinner, the group reviewed the map of the ruins and decided to explore the building to the west of the water temple the next day. Meanwhile, the proposal regarding the fish-head amulet was drafted with the intention of submitting it the next morning. Siege spent the rest of the day carving out a club into a fish to give as an offering when next they visited Bassik’s temple, and Shale cast restful sleep on Dalva before she went to bed. The next morning, the proposal was presented to Baxter, who said he’d give them Eisner's answer after his review.

The bird statue building

Exploration

After breakfast, the group returned to the ruins to find military personnel removing wheelbarrows full of rubble from the restricted area, creating a lot of noise. Rin's casting of speak with birds met with limited success, as the blackbird she spoke to confirmed the presence of creatures in the woods south of the ruins, but couldn't say how many. Dalva’s keen eye picked up the trail of a man-sized humanoid dragging a dead animal along the path leading past the building the group intended to explore, but there was no further sign of it.

Emi checked the rough white wall of the building for secret doors while Rin, Dalva and Siege kept an eye out for possible attackers. The task proved painful, and Rin cast remove pain upon Emi's hands so she could complete it. Rin also cast magic sense to no avail, so the foursome returned to the others and they all went on to then check the opposite side of the building. The Dwarves couldn't identify the material used in the building's construction, but Shale suspected it to have been artificially created. Gaire suggested taking a sample of the material back to Baxter for study, so Rakeor chipped off a two-inch square of the material.

When the loud noise failed to bring anything down onto them, the group went up the set of stone stairs at the back end of the building. One of the double doors at the top was ajar, but it was heavy enough to require the combined efforts of Rakeor, Siege and Shale to open it enough to enter. Rin noted that both doors bore a carving of three birds' heads, and informed the group that she suspected this was a temple to an air god.

At last, the group entered the building, with Dalva standing vigil outside. They found themselves in a large room with a filthy floor and three openings in the ceiling at the far end. Below these were three four-foot tall stone platforms with two-foot tall statues of birds at their centers, with alcoves beyond each containing a door. A balcony ran along the back and partway along the left and right sides of the room. After Rin and Shale used clean orisons to get a better look at the statues, Rin confirmed that the clay statues matched the stylized peacock, eagle and owl heads carved into the front doors. A close examination also revealed that each statue had its eyes removed, which Rin surmised had been stolen as they were probably gems of some sort.

After checking the doors within the alcoves, Emi let everyone know that they also had birds' head carvings in them. She was unable to open the eagle door and peacock door, so Gaire suggested that there might be something hidden that might do the trick. To that end, Siege began lifting the statues off of the platforms, but nothing happened. However, Rin discovered a pattern of eagles in flight on the floor leading from the base of the center platform toward the front doors. Using spikes tied to the bottoms of her boots to sweep away the debris around the pattern, her keen eye caught sight of something blue, which she pocketed.

Meanwhile, Siege cleared more of the debris away from the owl door so it could be opened. He led all but Emi and Gaire into the room beyond, which contained a long wooden counter at the front with an owl carved into it and several desks with owl-footed legs. Dalva discovered an archway along the left wall, and her lantern's beam revealed a room with a platform in the center of the floor and a second archway on the other side. She went to investigate the platform while Emi and Shale did a more thorough search of the first room.

After a moment, Dalva noticed the light level in the center room increasing until it was equal to that of a sunrise. Rin joined her and noted another counter, this one with an eagle carved into its front. and then she and Dalva set their sights on the third room. Back in the first room -- or "owl room" -- Emi and Shale found an old broken abacus and scroll case with a scroll in the drawers of a cabinet at the back of the room, and a paper with columns of figures in one of the drawers.

In the center room -- or "eagle room" -- Alvin noted a similar cabinet along with desks that had eagle's talons for feet. In one of the desk drawers he found an old pad of paper. He attempted to restore one of its sheets with the use of dampen and dry cantrips, but it was too much for the old material, which crumbled. He took another sheet and stowed it in his pack. Meanwhile, Shale discovered an unmarked flask of milky liquid in the cabinet.

The third room -- or "peacock room" -- had a peacock-bedecked counter along with two tall pink walls similar to the walls of the building in its center. A clay vase stood at one end of each wall, with the rims decorated with heart and star patterns on the left and right vase respectively. Dalva found the remnants of three colored symbols on the floor between the walls which resembled peacock feather-fans in a triangular pattern. Rin posited a connection between the pink and blue color on the left and right symbol she saw on the vases. With no other clues, they were joined by Gaire to investigate the cabinet that also laid at the back of this room. There, they found an old book, cord and bag of heart, star and ring-shaped trinkets.

Everyone assembled in the eagle room to focus their efforts on the cloud-motif platform and matching opening above it. Emi had just begun to check its outside for traps when she heard a scratching sound and several large rats emerged. The group did their best to deal with them, but several somehow eluded them by turning into wisps of vapor and disappeared from view. Once the group checked the area for additional creatures and found none, Emi found and opened a panel at the center of the platform, revealing an eagle-emblazoned tarnished copper basin suspended from iron hooks within, partially filled with a white residue. After removing the basin, Gaire suggested putting desks on top of the platform so that someone could climb onto them to look up through the opening. Despite Rin's concern about damaging the platform's artwork, Siege began a wobbly ascent. A visibly upset Rin then drew a likeness of the artwork and left. Dalva and Emi pursued her and she told them she was taking the painting she'd made to her temple for posterity. They accompanied her to the road and then returned to the building.

Once he could see through the hole in the ceiling, Siege saw two long wooden tables and a tall structure resembling a judge's bench in the room above. As he descended, a loud crack, so the group decided to look for another way up. While Siege removed the desks, the others noticed a large opening on the balcony above the front room. Gaire lifted Emi onto the balcony, and she secured Shale's rope to allow Siege, Alvin and Dalva to join her. The upper room appeared to be a meeting room, with three tiers of long tables and high-backed chairs with tattered blue upholstery. Dalva noted a similarly-colored, badly frayed carpet on the floor. Emi found an broken eagle-adorned mallet in the drawer of the judge's bench. The group took this, along with one of the chairs which had eagle's claws for feet, back down to the first floor.

As the group started for the exit carrying the chair, one of the vases, and the eagle statue from its platform and head back to the guest house, they were confronted by a pseudodragon, which swooped in and telepathically demanded that Dalva put back the eagle statue. After some discussion between the two, Dalva explained to the rest of the party that the creature, named Hickory, was the guardian of this building and that it could not leave so long as the statues remained. Dalva tried to explain that there would be people coming to destroy the building and that she could save the statues, but the creature was insistent that the statues guarded the building and must stay. Gaire attempted to mediate, and it was eventually agreed that Dalva would talk to the people from Carrolwood. If they promised to give the creature and the statues a good home, Hickory would be willing to leave its post. The statue was returned to its platform and the group headed back to the guest house.

Aftermath

At dinner that evening, the group was introduced to Lady Cleo Cragganmore, a storm mage who had been assigned to the Carrolwood Project by her mother, Karan, the head of the local mages' guild. Baxter explained that, while she was primarily assigned to demolition, the party could request her assistance if they felt her skills were particularly needed in their tasks. Cleo expressed her displeasure with the arrangement and departed before dinner was served, but not before it became clear that she and Gaire were acquainted with each other.

After dinner, the group headed to Morgan's, where they saw a Halfling throwing knives. Gaire said he'd been told that the fellow was trying to earn money, as he'd been robbed on his way into Gascar. Rin said she'd seen him performing in the marketplace earlier that day and had given him a coin as she appreciated his rainbow effect. After some prodding, Alvin introduced himself and brought the fellow, a diviner named Dudex, to the group's table. The Halfling explained that he had been on his way to Gascar to join the Carrolwood Project, but while approaching the city along Mellon's Road he was knocked out and his spellbook was stolen, and without his spells he would have no chance to be hired. The group agreed that his skills would be useful, so they would discuss the matter with their superiors and return tomorrow night with the outcome. A relieved Dudex departed, and the group returned to the guest house for the night.

The next morning, Lady Cragganmore joined the group at breakfast and, thanks to Gaire's tact, the meal went somewhat more smoothly. Cleo said that she was asked to be present at the meeting this morning as an observer at Baxter's request. She departed shortly before the appointed time and, before the rest of the group headed out, Rin gave Alvin a piece of parchment with a picture of a cloud with a very realistic-looking lightning bolt that appeared to be coming right at him. Shale posited that it might be a magical rune that released electricity, but the others weren't convinced.

At the meeting, Dalva and Gaire relayed the tale of the encounter with the pseudodragon. Cleo said she'd see if her mother knew of any in the mages' guild who might take the creature as a familiar and departed. As an alternative, Baxter suggested Magic Journeys, a local inn whose owner, Mason Segers, had a strong affinity for animals. The group then described the various unusual items they'd found as well as the unusual material from which the outside of the building was made. Shale was curious if such a building would be cheaper to refurbish, but Baxter replied that Yensid was not interested in preserving the buildings, only in ensuring that there were no impediments to building Carrolwood.

Alvin then told Baxter about Dudex and asked if Baxter would be willing to aid in the recovery of his spellbook. Baxter felt that the addition of a diviner would be of benefit, but more information about the individual would be needed before he would take any action. As a compromise, Baxter offered a locate object scroll to aid the group in finding the book, but that if they were unsuccessful the group would be responsible for the cost. Gaire said the group would discuss the matter and let Baxter know their decision later. After leaving the basin, flask, miscellaneous papers, and book in Baxter's office, the group headed to Magic Journeys. On the way, they decided to do some additional checking before meeting with him this evening.

Upon arriving, the group beheld the various statues of animals on the front lawn, many of which the group had never seen before. Mason Segers then came out to invite them inside. The group chatted with Mason for a bit before he invited Dalva and Gaire to look at the area behind the building where some of the animal guests resided. They were joined by his wife, Aoleone, and the trio discussed the matter of care and maintenance with her before returning to the others, where they presented the proposal regarding the pseudodragon to Mason and Aoleone. They agreed to house the creature, and could be prepared for its arrival by tomorrow afternoon. Plans were made to have Mason meet the group at the guest house tomorrow afternoon before heading out to the ruins.

After lunch back at the guest house, several members headed into town to see what they could learn about Dudex and inquire about selling the chair and vase. Rakeor and Gaire went for a drink at Morgan's while Rin headed to her temple. Dalva spotted Dudex performing for a small group of people, but he didn't seem to notice her or Emi. They watched him for a while and then perused a nearby stall with knick-knacks of odd creatures. They had just moved away from a display of plates with images of pig-cats with bows on their heads when Dudex joined them. They reminded him of their meeting this evening at Morgan's, then headed to the docks to meet Rin. When they arrived, Rin gave Dalva her share of the money from the sale of the magical cord.

Back at the guest house, Rin distributed the rest of the money from the sale of the cord as well as the group's first pay pouches from Baxter. With the group having had no luck selling the other items, Gaire suggested bringing back the remaining chairs from the ruins and trying to sell them as a set. Since the chairs had an animal motif, they identified Mr. Segers as a potential buyer. On the way to Baxter's office, they ran into him on his way to attend to an urgent matter involving the ruins at the temple of Morelen. Gaire and Dalva filled him in on the pseudodragon situation, and Baxter agreed to send a message to Segers to confirm whether additional guards would be necessary to accompany him to the ruins. He also informed them of Eisner's support for procuring a diviner, and that a crystal ball would be made available for the attempt at locating the spellbook, so he urged them to be sure they had a detailed description of the book. Before departing, he told them he'd need a day to prepare once they'd confirmed things with Dudex.

The group headed to Morgan's after dinner, where they discussed the increased number of military they had seen on the way. After Emi canted for her to keep her ears open, Rin overheard talk of another attack last evening. Dudex eventually arrived with Reynaldo Piaccelli, the Halfling with whom he'd been staying in tow. Alvin filled him in on Baxter's offer, but Dudex himself had no news, but corroborated Rin's tale of another robbery last night. Rin then added that the people she heard the tale from sitting a couple of tables over mentioned something about water zombies, but she wasn't sure how reliable this bit of information was. Shale was also skeptical and chalked it up to rumors, especially after Emi said she hadn't heard of such a story before coming to Gascar. The topic turned to possible creatures that attacked Dudex and things got a little strange for him with feral pig-cats being carried by EWEGS, and he quickly took his leave soon afterwards.

The group stayed at Morgan's for a while, and eventually Shale had to ask Morgan for an alcohol-neutralizing aid for an intoxicated Alvin. Rin and Emi then left to visit the temple of Losyera again while the rest stayed behind to keep an eye on Alvin and a still-occupied Gaire. Once Shale administered the brew, Siege guided Alvin outside and the rest followed. Emi and Rin caught up to the rest, and once everyone was gathered in the sitting room they relayed the information they learned, that a group of merchants had been attacked west of town last night, and a lone goblin body was found along the roadside. The discussion was interrupted by Alvin hallucinating a dead goblin in the doorway, so Siege helped him to their room. It was decided that they would see if there was any new tracks in the ruins tomorrow afternoon, and Emi and Dalva would make a trip into town in the morning to get more details on the incident while the rest prepared to deal with the pseudodragon meeting after lunch.

The next morning, everyone but Alvin was at breakfast. Siege told them he didn't think Alvin would be awake until much later so Gaire, Emi, Rin, Dalva, and Siege decided to go into town to gather information and try again to sell some of the recovered items. Shale informed Baxter that they'd like to have the crystal ball scrying done and he said he'd have it scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. Cleo let Shale know that there were several mages interested in the pseudodragon, and they would begin visiting the creature within a few days.

Dalva and Emi went to search the area along Mellon's Road west of town, but found nothing conclusive. The others sold the owl-head beads at a trinket shop, but Gaire was less fortunate when he tried to sell the vase to the pig-cat vendor. Further efforts were more promising, as Gaire met with a seller of glasswork named Everitt who showed interest in the vase. It turned out that he had been one of the victims of the previous evening's bandit attack, and that his wife, Pamela, had suffered injuries while another wagon was seized along with its drivers and cargo. He recommended that Gaire return when his wife had recovered.

Alvin cast read magic on the scroll Shale had found and learned that it was a spell similar to unseen servant, but its abilities were limited to accounting tasks. He gave the scroll back to Shale for possible later trade. Once the others returned and related their exploits after lunch, it was decided to deal with the pseudodragon matter before taking any further action involving the attacks.

Segers arrived with two assistants and everyone headed back to the ruins. After Dalva had a brief chat with a sprite, the pseudodragon was summoned. It was rather demanding, only allowing Siege, Rin and Segers to enter the building and retrieve the statues. Siege took the opportunity to grab the second vase which delayed his exiting the building with the third statue which agitated the pseudodragon, but it did eventually agree to relocate to Magic Journeys. On the way back, the group saw two of Bassik's priests carrying out the font pedestal from the water god's temple and load it onto a waiting cart. Shale inquired if it was okay to pursue some tracks south of the building and the priests seemed unconcerned and went about their task. With the pseudodragon getting impatient atop Dalva's head, the group then made their way back to Magic Journeys.

The marketplace

The search for Dudex's spellbook

After the group returned to the guest house, Baxter told them to have Dudex arrive at 1 o'clock for the scrying. It was decided that they'd visit Everitt's booth in the morning, deal with the crystal ball scrying and then return to the ruins to attempt to locate goblinoid tracks afterwards. Alvin brought up the subject of the magical scroll and Shale said that, if she gave it to him to trade, she'd expect a favor in return. Alvin was hesitant, so the matter was dropped. The group then went to Morgan's, where Alvin inquired about a magely contact with the guild other than Cleo to discuss the trade of a scroll. Morgan said he'd pass the information on to Khay Gativa, a former adventuring companion of his who would be arriving in town in a few days, then get back to Alvin. Alvin spent the rest of the evening trying to deal with the advances of a dark-haired girl named Norri, but was able to pass the details for the scrying on to Dudex before the night's entertainment began.

The next morning, Emi, Dalva, Gaire, Rin, and Siege returned to the marketplace with the two vases. They spoke with Pamela and, although she could not provide numbers, she did give enough information to allow Dalva to determine that the attackers were likely goblinoid. Rin drew pictures of the occupants of the other wagon as Pamela described them, and the vases were sold. Gaire said they'd return if they had any further updates. On the way back to the guest house, they discussed the vague nature of Pamela's story and Emi said she'd take Rin's second drawing and do a little checking on her and her husband.

The group returned to the guest house, where the scrying took place after lunch. The images displayed within the crystal ball seemed to indicate that the missing spellbook was somewhere inside a white, windowless, ivy-covered building within the ruins and from the sounds Dalva heard, she suspected goblins might be in the vicinity. While Rin completed her drawing of the building's exterior, the rest of the group reviewed the map of the ruins and set out for a reconnaissance mission before the impending rain began in earnest. With the aid of a speak with birds spell, Emi and Rin were able to locate the building, but while Dalva found a couple of humanoid prints of different sizes, there was no clear trail. She and Siege were momentarily startled by movement in the brush and Siege took a shot at something, but whatever it was fled the area.

The two groups reunited and headed back to the guesthouse as the rain picked up in intensity and filled in the rest after drying off. The group wondered whether the thing in the bushes was a goblin or something else that happened to wander too close. They agreed that extreme caution would be necessary and that Shale and Rin should consult their deities for insight into whether to delay returning to the ruins. After dinner, Gaire had a short meeting with Baxter, and reported to the group that instead of reporting to him, they would now be reporting directly to Cleo. Given her personality, this didn't sit too well with everyone, but they agreed to make the best of it.

The next day dawned rather chilly, but there was no sign of rain. Shale was encouraged by her prayers to Perasin and informed the group that she suspected there would be combat occurring today, and the group headed out. While the waited near the back of the ivy-covered building, Dalva and Siege explored the exterior. There, they came across several carcasses and refuse, confirming the ranger's suspicions of goblinoid inhabitants within, and two possible entrances. Upon their return to the group, Siege informed the others of their findings, while Dalva returned with Emi to the trash-laden west end of the building to take a closer look at the entrances. Something growled at them from within as they approached, and Dalva suspected it was a worg, which goblins commonly used as guards. After reporting this to the others, Emi crawled along the roof to see if she could get a better view and gauge the number of potential foes inside, but with no success.

With the element of surprise lost, the group decided to meet the foe head on and proceeded to the entrance. Finding that Dalva's suspicion was correct, Alvin quickly cast a sleep spell, and Shale finished the worg off with her axe. As the group began discussed the value of bringing the carcass back with them, Rin cast a know history spell on the building, then collected the worg's blood and began drawing a claw on a paper she'd pinned to Rakeor’s chest. Just then, Dalva warned the group that she heard more growling from within, and a second worg attacked, but was quickly dispatched.

The group continued through an archway opposite the entrance into a long hallway with a room on either side, with Alvin remaining hidden in the front room to warn of any danger. Dalva, Shale, Rakeor and Gaire entered the left-hand room and discovered a number of 5-foot square alcoves with crumbling stone benches along the length of the wall. There were discolorations in the stone walls above these seats, and Rakeor found a tarnished hook that he was able to match to the discolorations. Dalva found a second door at the far end of the room with its knob missing. Gaire and Shale thought the room might have been a holding area but, after examining the hook, Siege suspected that the room might have been used for changing clothes.

The right-hand room turned out to be the same as the left, but a shaft of daylight from the ceiling revealed a round skylight at its center. Alvin alerted the group when he saw a silhouette briefly make an appearance in the doorway, and the interior exploration was temporarily halted while Emi took a look around outside. She found no evidence of other creatures near the building, so the group moved on to the next hallway with its two rooms.

Dalva remained outside this time, using the concealment of the ivy to keep an eye on things. Shale, Rakeor, Gaire and Siege found nothing of significance in the right-hand room and Emi had no luck opening the first door into the left, so the group decided to head toward the marble steps at the end of the hall, where they found disfigured statues to either side. They got about halfway down said hallway when two spears came hurtling at them from the room at the top of the steps. Emi ran outside to get Dalva while the two Dwarves, Gaire and Siege pressed forward. Emi remained outside while Dalva, after joining Alvin, returned to the location where a confrontation with several goblins had already begun.

The goblins were bested, but not before Shale, Rakeor and Gaire were injured. Rin was able to revive Shale and she, in turn, partially healed Rakeor's wounds. The rest of the group explored the large room, which had an area partitioned off by high walls that contained a large, rectangular pit, and additional lower walls to the left and right. A sack was found at the bottom of the pit, inside of which was a large number of copper coins, a quiver of arrows and a light-colored, polished gem. The goblins' bodies were also searched, but no spellbook was found.

Emi noted an exit at the back of the room with a thick branch barring it, and began checking the area for traps while the two Dwarves stood guard at the top of the steps. Emi and Gaire decided that the thick branch would take too much effort to remove so they began exploring the rest of the room. Emi found a sack behind one of the low walls, but injured her elbow while retrieving it. After remove pain was cast, Emi gave the sack to Gaire and proceeded to work on the second locked door in the hall at the bottom of the stairs while Dalva and Siege took another look around outside. Gaire discovered that the sack had more space within it than it appeared, and concluded that it was likely a bag of holding. From within, he pulled out two new-looking swords, a fist-sized pearl, and, finally, Dudex's spellbook.

The group looked in the room Emi had unlocked and found it to be quite warm inside, but no further foes emerged. A lit brazier stood at the far end, and Rakeor confirmed that it was bolted to the floor. Rin used a chill orison to cool the coals within the brazier and took them for future use and the group returned to the guest house. As they walked, they discussed what they'd seen within the building and it was agreed upon that this was some sort of bathing facility.

Nature in flux

At dinner that night, Cleo offered her advice to Alvin on how to use his armor spell in the future and reviewed the group's magical capabilities. Rin informed the group the results of her know history spell: that the name of the city whose ruins they were investigating was called Senepoli, and that several hundred years ago it was devastated by a tidal wave that flooded the area. After dinner, Dudex cast detect magic on the items the group found, and arrows and the cloth sack glowed. Rakeor took a closer look at the yellow-brown gem, but still couldn't make heads or tails of it while Alvin and Siege counted out the coppers.

Rakeor, Gaire, Dalva and Shale then headed to Morgan's, while the rest went to the temple of Losyera. Morgan told Gaire that Khay would be arriving in town in the next day or so, and Gaire said he'd let Alvin know. Rin, Emi, Alvin and Siege arrived at the temple during the intermission of Queen Vavra, a play being presented as part of Theatre Night. Once Rin presented her offerings, Emi adjourned to Morgan's immediately while the others followed after watching the rest of the play.

The next morning, Shale used two cure light wounds spells on herself and Rakeor while Alvin cast armor on Rin before she got dressed, which caused quite the commotion. After breakfast, Alvin and Dudex went to another room to exchange spells and begin work on identifying the arrows the group had found. Gaire got directions to Bannetyne Jewelers from Genevieve, where they hoped to be able to sell the two gems and the pearl, and the group also decided to bring the bag of coppers to Morgan's so they could set up a tab.

After departing, the majority of the group headed for Tiller's Ferry. Meanwhile, Shale and Rakeor chose the land route into town, bound for Bolio's Weaponry to sell the short sword and arrows. At Bolio's they were able to sell the short sword to the salesman, Thorm, but the arrows were unusual enough that he advised them to wait for the shop owner to return that afternoon before selling them.

The salesperson at the jewelers, Clement Worthington, told them it would take a day for a full evaluation of the three stones, so Gaire took a receipt from him and the group then split to take care of their various errands. Alvin and Siege went to the mages' guild, where Alvin paid for his first month of membership, and he later received his identification pin. Gaire made arrangements for the drink fund at Morgan's, while Emi and Dalva visited with the pseudodragon at Magic Journeys. Rin purchased supplies the group needed at Eblen's and then visited her temple to make an offering.

Back at the guest house, it was decided that the Dwarves would wait to sell the non-magical arrows until after Dudex's identification, so they accompanied Gaire and Siege to the White Army's archery range to test-fire the arrows. Meanwhile, Emi, Rin and Dalva visited the marketplace and came upon Pamela and Everitt's booth. Everitt was involved in another glass-blowing demonstration, but Pam seemed to be having a rather animated discussion with a black-robed, hooded fellow. Rin concealed herself and cast personal reading on Everitt while Dalva and Emi tried to get closer to listen in on the conversation. None had any luck with their efforts, but when Rin cast an empathy spell, she sensed fear, despair, and ultimately a bit of anger from Pamela as the hooded man departed and she made an effort to compose herself. Emi trailed the retreating figure north along Center Street and, after a few moments of observation of Pam and Everitt's tense conversation, Dalva and Rin went to the temple of Losyera to see if they might have heard of Everitt as an artisan. Rin gave a picture of the couple to Sister Angelou to pass around and offered to take over the teaching of the painting class currently in progress in exchange while Dalva returned to the guest house.

Dudex completed his identify spell just before dinner, and due to the ensuing weakness the Dwarves carried him to his room. When Alvin brought his dinner, he told the Human mage that the arrows had a minor enchantment that increased their chance of striking their targets. After the meal, the group went to Morgan's, where Alvin was introduced to Morgan's friend Khay and her two companions, Tsun and Yan. He sold the spell scroll from the bird building to her, and she mentioned that she'd be staying at Chervil Manor if he needed to contact her for further business. The three newcomers also mentioned that thee ship on which they had traveled from Rogariel had been forced to change course to avoid a pirate ship, which piqued Alvin's interest. Meanwhile, the group concluded that their decision regarding returning to the ruins tomorrow would wait until after Shale's morning communion with Perasin.

First foray

The next day dawned gray and chilly. Shale told the group that Perasin had urged her seize the opportunity for battle, so the group decided to go into the ruins that day. Emi told everyone that she'd overheard that the dark-hooded fellow they encountered in the marketplace yesterday had been seen talking to the pig-cat stall owner as well as several others, but nothing about the topics of discussion. On the way to the ruins the group was joined by Baxter, who seemed pleased at their previous mission's success. They saw two gray-skinned, 15-foot tall, gaunt humanoids with sunken eyes carrying huge clubs standing just outside the ruins area and Baxter introduced them as the demolition crew. As they parted company, Dalva took note of the excited activity of the animals in the area. Rin cast speak with birds and learned that creatures with snouts had been in the bathhouse building within the past day, as well as an impending storm.

Before continuing their exploration, Emi and Dalva made a quick perimeter check of the bathhouse. Dalva noted the absence of the carcass outside of the bathhouse, then noted a trail of dried blood, making it appear that the worg's body had been dragged up the front steps and into the grass by heavy-footed humanoids. The group decided to follow the trail, but ended up having to stop the investigation when Gaire was suddenly knocked out by a spray of pollen from a yellow lily-like flower along the path. Alvin used his frost fingers spell to freeze one of the plant's pods, which was put into one of Rin’s sacks for later identification. After all attempts to awaken him failed, the two Dwarves and Siege carried the still unresponsive Gaire into the bathhouse.

Emi and Dalva continued to follow the trail and found goblin carcasses in an overgrown area behind the third building. Back at the bathhouse, Siege looked for possible signs of life, but found none. Emi and Dalva returned, noting the deteriorating weather conditions. As the group discussed their next move, Emi heard the sound of a branch crack outside and went to the doorway to investigate. She had just stepped out when a spear came hurtling at her, and she spotted a large number of creatures heading for the building. Retreating inside, she relayed the information, and the group hastened to prepare for the impending confrontation. Siege barely had time enough to loose an arrow at the onrushing creatures, now obviously orcs, before they came barreling through the front door.

The battle raged for several minutes, and both Shale and Rakeor found themselves knocked out at various points. Dalva's lantern was toppled, briefly causing part of the area to become engulfed in flames and limiting the party's movement, and Rin accidentally struck Shale with a stone from her sling. Although several members of the party were seriously wounded, the party eventually turned the tide with the help of a finally-risen Gaire, and the orcs retreated as one one of their number cast a wall of fog, jeering at the group as he departed. Once the party regrouped, Siege counted seven dead orcs on the floor. Emi and Alvin went to the back of the bathhouse to discover that the log had been removed from the doors. Rin was very insistent that the group depart and Dalva's report of the impending storm further intensified the urgency of the situation, so the group left with Siege, Gaire and Rin supporting the unconscious Shale. Emi ran ahead and was able to flag down two military personnel, who carried Shale the rest of the way back to the guest house as the skies opened up.

Regrouping

The group arrived at the guest house at a little past noon, and the group set to cleaning up and bandaging their wounds. Cleo arrived with Broggie, Carrolwood's Staff Healer, who quickly revived Shale. Cleo was not exactly pleased with Alvin's report of the day's events, but Gaire's support of the group's efforts seemed to mollify her. She took the flower pod and then departed. Alvin cast a dry cantrip on Shale to counter the effects of the rain, and as the group discussed the mission, Gaire told them that while he was asleep, he experienced a dream in which a small, white-haired, female figure told him to leave her forest. That, together with the odd idea that the orcs would leave the goblin bodies behind the building, raised suspicions that the whole thing had been a trap of some kind.

As the group gathered for lunch, a morose Rin apologized to Shale, explaining that the stone that hit her was from Neptune's temple. She went on to describe other signs of Neptune's anger, including the impending storm, and said she should have realized that using that stone was inviting bad luck, or that it might even have been cursed. Shale tried to ease her mind by telling Rin that the pattern she connected couldn't be proven, but it only served to upset Rin further and Emi had to help Rin out of the room. Dudex joined the group, which lightened the mood a little, and Gaire suggested putting the topic aside until they had more to go on. The group learned from Genevieve that they had access to the military's indoor and outdoor training facilities so they could hone their skills. With the storm still raging outside, the group settled in, intending to make a trip into town the next day. That evening, Siege began constructing a torch stand from the skeleton of an umbrella, hoping to avoid the lantern issue from the previous battle.

The next morning was marked by gloomy grey skies and a damp chill in the air, but the group headed into town on its various errands anyway. After they'd crossed the bridge over the Laburnum on the Shore Road, they spotted a crowd of people gathered near a sign which indicated that an appeasement offering was being collected by Neptune House. Its owner, an olive-skinned man named Kyriakis, was selling fried fish cakes to those gathered and, after a brief chat with one of the appointed guards, Gaius Lentulus, Alvin learned that the establishment was not a temple to the foreign God of the Sea, but a local restaurant. Rin spoke with the man frying the fish cakes and learned that the offering would be released in a boat into the Golden Ocean at sunset. Several members of the group purchased cakes, and as they were chatting Dalva accidentally tossed a pouch into some nearby bushes, where it was grabbed by a drunkard who was squatting in them. Emi attempted to retrieve it and started squabbling with the man, but Gaius interceded, identifying him as a local by the name of Cardgage. The party then went their separate ways on their various errands.

Alvin and Gaire went to the jeweler's and got the payment for the gems. Alvin took his share and headed for the mages' guild, where he bought a Murdock's Feathery Flyer scroll with the rather unfocused assistance of an intern, Connie. He also spoke to the librarian, Delino Simms, who told him about monthly events held by the guild for the purpose of exchanging magical items among the members. The two Dwarves and Siege sold the non-magical arrows at Bolio's, where they learned that they would need a certification from the mages' guild before he would be willing to purchase the magical arrows. Emi and Rin went to the temple of Bassik where Rin and one of the priestesses, Waverlee, spoke briefly about the relationship between Neptune and the Lord of the Wave, but Waverlee said that High Priest Hydralanus would have more information. Dalva bought supplies at Eblen's and Gaire made arrangements with Milton, a local tailor, to have a nice set of clothes made. Everyone met at Morgan's, where they learned that Dynke Abbard, an up-and-coming bardic star, would be performing there this evening, and that Khay would be in town for the next week.

After lunch, Alvin copied his new spell into his spell book before returning to the mages' guild with Siege to look into the certification procedure for the magical arrows. The two Dwarves and Gaire went to The Armorer, where Gaire started the process of getting a fitted suit of chain mail. Shale and Rakeor looked into Firestone, a nearby blacksmith, but its proprietor, Kilner, was not interested in anyone else working in his forge. The three women went clothes shopping, visiting Baramma's Boutique among other shops. At dinner, Cleo reported that the flower they'd brought back was an amber lotus and advised that they take precautions to avoid breathing in its pollen, which puts people to sleep for several hours. Siege demonstrated his makeshift torch stand, but it was decided that further testing would be needed before it could be deployed in actual combat. Shale used a spell to create some temporary healing potions, and then the group left for Morgan's. Before Dynke began playing, Rin finally met High Priestess Azuryn from Losyera's temple, who was at Morgan's with a fellow painter, Renoiris. Alvin spoke briefly with Khay and was introduced to Isabella Valentino, a halfling who worked for the Chervil household. The party spent the rest of the evening enjoying the entertainment.

The north market building

The next morning, Alvin cast armor on Emi, and the group received magical pay pouches from Cleo at breakfast. They then headed back to the ruins, where Rin learned from a bird that he'd seen someone of short stature with a tall, sharp stick in the woods that might be a druid. Dalva and Emi said they'd visit the pseudodragon tomorrow to see if she could confirm his or her identity. The group then set to exploring the first marketplace building, which they discovered comprised four chambers which were open on the side facing the bathhouse. Rin and Shale cleaned several windows on the back side of the building, and when Emi and Dalva looked in the westernmost window they saw a red and white cabinet that lit up when they approached it. The rest of the group went to the easternmost chamber, where Gaire spotted a large, dark, unidentifiable shape, and called the others back in case it was a creature. Instead, it turned out to be a forge, which according to Shale looked like it had been used recently. Dalva discovered bootprints on the filthy floor, and Rin drew their image for future reference while Shale disabled the forge everyone moved on to explore the rest of the building.

The next two rooms held nothing of significance, so the group set to investigating the red and white box. After trying a number of things, Emi noted some markings that looked like coins, and so inserted two silver pieces. In response, the box dispensed a cylindrical metallic object, colored similarly to the box and filled. Alvin repeated Emi's routine while Siege took the first cylinder outside and shot an arrow into the side of it. A sticky, caramel-colored liquid splattered onto the wall of the building as well as the grassy ground which presently attracted some curious bees and ants. Inside the chamber, Emi discovered a raised notch by the wall behind the granite counter. When Rin threw a stone at it, the wall opened, revealing a room with shelves carved into the wall. On the shelves were a large, leather pouch containing a funnel and a tube with a valve at one end, and a metal box with five fat vials with various colored liquids in them. While the vials were labeled, nobody could read them, so they were brought back to the guest house.

When the group returned, Cleo informed them that she'd be unavailable for the rest of the weekend, so during that time they would once again report to Baxter. Dudex cast detect magic on the items the group brought back, and the liquid in each of the five vials glowed. He then took three of the vials and returned to the office to attempt to identify them. Emi was able to translate the runes on the cylindrical object as "Kookie Cola", which meant nothing to the group, so they decided to take the object to an apothecary in town.

Having found the forge in the ruins, the group wondered anew about the brand-new swords they'd found in the bathhouse. While Gaire went to The Armorer for another fitting, the two Dwarves went to Firestone to make an inquiry about the subject. The assistant said that it was not made in his shop, pointing out that the weapon's identifying marking had been sanded down. He suggested that Shale check with Bolio as he refurbished many used weapons. The Dwarves took their leave and, after meeting Gaire at Morgan's, proceeded to Bolio's Weaponry. Thorm informed them that the markings on the sword appeared to be the crest belonging to the nobility of the island of Hensoji. On the way back to the guesthouse, they asked at the military garrison about a room to test Siege's torch holder, and Lt. Burwell told Gaire he could arrange something with a day's notice to set aside the area.

Rin, Alvin and Siege went to Snyder's Apothecary where they arranged to have the substance from the cylinder identified and Rin purchased some sunburn ointment. Alvin asked the proprietor, Samarin, to send a note to Gaire with the results. Meanwhile, Emi and Dalva visited the glass-blower's booth to purchase more trinkets to entice the pseudodragon. On the way, Emi noted the presence of the pig-cat seller's booth, apparently exactly as it had been before disappearing on their previous visit. Dalva bought a couple of baubles from a nervous Pamela before moving on to Magic Journeys. Dalva was able to persuade Hickory to accompany them to the ruins tomorrow to find the druid. The pseudodragon was not happy about having to deal with her pet, which she described as a creature similar in appearance to herself, but who thought it was King of the Hill, but agreed if Dalva would give it the second bauble she brought. Hickory told Dalva that she might be relocating to a wealthy nobleman's home soon, and then Emi and Dalva took their leave after Emi recovered her wits upon seeing the 15-foot long snake Aoleone called Sissero get a little too close for comfort.

After dinner, the group paid a visit to Morgan's, where Alvin asked Khay what she knew about the local druid, but learned nothing. Gaire suggested checking with Mason Segers at Magic Journeys due to his knowledge of animals, as well as with the Chervil family since they had an herb farm. Back at the guest house, a note from the apothecary was waiting for Gaire, reading that the substance within the cylinder was potentially fatal to drink, but that it was once used for treating indigestion. Also, Dudex told them he was able to identify one of the three potions as a potion of elemental breathing. The next morning, Gaire received a summons from Baxter, at which he was told that the mission supervisor was not happy with how Carrolwood had been represented at the apothecary and was reminded of their orders regarding items found in the ruins. Baxter also mentioned that the group should seek out information about the pirates to the north, and that they should focus on preventing any additional creatures from entering the bathhouse as it would not be demolished for a few days.

The bathhouse revisited

After Gaire passed that information on to the party at breakfast, the group left for the days errands, intending to meet at a pile of rocks on the way to the ruins. Alvin, Emi and Rin returned to the apothecary only to discover a dead man in the alley behind the shop with one of the red cylinders in his hand, at which point they quickly departed from the scene. Gaire paid a visit to the Chervil estate to make inquiries about the pirates and the druid. There he met with Lady Chervil's husband, Tosthen, who told him of his wife's impression of the druid, a white-haired Gnome with a reputation for aggressive protection of the forest.

As the group gathered at the meeting place, Rin spotted a creature with red, somewhat reflective coloring flying over their heads in a northerly direction. The creature seemed to upset Hickory, who identified it as the druid's pet she had mentioned previously. Dalva coaxed Hickory to fly ahead in order locate the druid and bring her to the meeting place. Once half an hour had passed, the group grew restless and had started off toward the ruins when Hickory returned in an agitated state, saying that the druid refused to come and her pet encouraged her to leave, as she was no longer welcome in the woods. Dalva gave Hickory the bauble as promised and the pseudodragon took to the air, headed back to Magic Journeys.

The group proceeded into the ruins, where they procured a couple of meeting tables that had been tossed outside of the bird building and brought them back to the bathhouse, intending to use them to barricade the door. Emi and Siege went into the front room, only to come running out a few moments later, telling the group they'd seen a nine-foot long worm crawling down the wall towards them inside. After a lengthy discussion of their next move, Emi and Shale re-entered the bathhouse from the rear and got a better look at the creature. Shale went in a second time to cast analyze opponent and learned of the creature's paralysis ability and the greater protection around its head. With this information, the plan of attack was finalized: Alvin would cast sleep to subdue the creature and then the group would move in to kill it before it woke up. Rin cast infrainvisible on Alvin and Shale cast Dwarven zeal on Rakeor before the two Dwarves led the way back into the building.

Once inside, Shale spotted the worm moving towards her and damaged it with her fist of faith just before the creature paralyzed her with its tentacles. Rakeor called out to those outside, then got in the killing blow before any aid arrived. Rin reported that Shale was alive but would be unable to move for some time, so Siege and Rakeor prepared to take her out of the bathhouse. This operation was halted when Emi reported that she saw bears approaching from the south. Dalva observed that they were acting oddly and went to get a closer look. Emi emerged from her hiding place and took up a position slightly behind the ranger. A scythe came into view behind the two bears being wielded by a white-haired Gnome who identified herself as this forest's druid. She asked about the "crawlers" that were in the building, and had a short exchange with Dalva and Emi as the group noted the red creature -- which the druid called Kaabou -- circling overhead. Growing impatient, the druid charged the group with disposing of the orc bodies inside the bathhouse as well as conveying her displeasure to Carrolwood about destroying her forest before departing with the two bears, saying that this was the last warning she would give. Kaabou then took up a position on the bathhouse roof above the front entrance.

Shale was at last carried outside, and the paralysis wore off shortly thereafter. Emi and Dalva searched the building for other crawlers but found none, so the group set to building a pyre to burn the orc and crawler bodies still remaining while Siege cobbled together a bar to put across the back doors of the building from the tables taken from outside the bird building.

After the front entrance was blocked, the group set to investigating the building south of the bathhouse. Emi discovered another sack buried in a hole behind the structure containing three swords, an ornate, trident-shaped brooch and a ring with a light green stone on it inside. Shale examined the weapons while Emi and Dalva completed their circuit of the building and noted the same markings on the two short swords with identical tampering. The saber's hilt had no markings. Evidence was found that someone had stayed in one of the four rooms within the past week or so. The group returned to the guest house where Dudex cast detect magic on the items found. The ring, brooch and one of the swords glowed. He also told them that he'd been able to identify the two potions Gaire had given him that morning.

Cast of characters

Below is a list of characters who were involved at one point or another in this adventure:

Adventure timeline

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In Search of the Unknown
-and-
Into the Borderlands
Carrolwood Redbeard's Lair