The Chronicles of Caledain

6th of Thawing- Further continued

Having rested briefly, the comrades, still carrying an unconscious Konrad, moved on. They passed an alcove containing a iron brazier very much like the ones they’d seen in the Sleshite temple beneath Highwatch, and in the high elf fortress beneath Redpool. They came to a rune-covered door, and when they tried to open it, three more of the demon creatures appeared and attacked them. However, with Vanator wielding the Sword of Ashcaelil, these mindless monsters were soon defeated. Shortly after this, Konrad regained consciousness.

Through the door was a luxuriously furnished sleeping chamber, which they searched thoroughly. As well as various scrolls in the high elven language, Konrad dicovered a run-carved short-sword in the bottom of a wardrobe, while Mirann took a small knife from a writing desk. However, there was no way forward, so they retraced their steps. They passed what seemed to be some sort of dormitory, and searched this as well, taking several amulets in the shape of elvish symbols.

Taking a southern corridor they were yet to explore, they came across a guard room, in which were four armoured elves. A vicious and desperate battle followed. Mirann was knocked unconscious by a blow to the head from a sword, while Konrad was stabbed, and also fell, bleeding heavily, but not before stunning one of the elves with his warhammer. With half the party out of action, Vanator and Rib fought valiantly, finally defeating the elves. Rib was able to bind Mirann’s wounds, but they found that Konrad had bled to death while they fought.

Carrying the still unconscious Mirann, they moved on. They found another 2 elves inspecting harness and other equipment for the ant-hounds that the high elves made use of. They slew these, but Rib, already wounded and weak, was felled by a blow. vanator was able to bind his wounds, and stop him bleeding to death, but was unable to carry both Rib and Mirann. Fortunately though, Mirann now came round. However, she was still incredbly weak.

Continuing onwards, they discovered a prison-pit, in which were a large number of human women. Here, Vanator sneaked up on a guard, and killed him from behind. Through a doorway was another prison pit, in which a number of human men were being kept.

Since it seemed likely that these were potential sacrifices to fuel the magical storm pinning down Kurdesh’s host, Vanator and Mirann agreed to try and rescue them, helping them climb out of the pits by way of a rope kept on the walkway above the pits, presumably for that very purpose.

With a large number of unarmed prisoners in tow, the adventurers were left to think of some way of escaping the high elf stronghold.

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6th of Thawing- Continued further

Mirann scouted out a tunnel leading out of the temple to the west. She soon came to a door covered in runes, but upon trying to open it, the runes began to glow, and a figure started to coalesce. Mirann did the sensible thing and fled.

In the temple, Rib’s amulet had started to glow, and it became brighter and hotter as Mirann burst back itno the temple, with the hideous humanoid creature at her heels. Rib wounded it with a holy bolt, and Vanator, wielding the Sword of Ashcaelil, finished it off.

Carrying the unconscious Konrad between them, they then headed back down the tunnel, and through the now inert door. They found themselves in a richly furnished room, in which they came across a female elf.

They attempted to talk to her, but she didn’t understand their language. While they were trying to decide what to do with her, another elf, a richly dressed male, appeared. Vanator attacked him, but was thrown clean across the room by a spell, but Mirann was able to wound him in the arm.

The elf, who was able to speak Frey, sought to negotiate, buying time to heal his arm. In reality, he attempted to cast a spell on Vanator to compel him to attack Rib. Vanator was able to resist, and attacked the elf instead. Despite defending himself with his magic, the elf was swiftly killed, while Mirann slew the female.

The companions now paused to rest.

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6th of Thawing- Continued

With Konrad badly injured, he attempted to use his magic to heal himself, but distracted by the pain of his injury, badly miscast the spell, wracking his body with energy, knocking him unconscious.

Rib was able to restore him to consciousness, and they pushed on through the High Elf complex. Passing through several rooms, and finding no other elves, found themselves passing through corridors decorated with intricate carvings, portraying the subterranean elves living beneath the feet of the burgeoning human civilisation. Following the galleries, the carvings began to show the elves bursting forth and slaughtering the humans, and further on still, of human enslaved, or fed to a bloated female figure, faceless except for a mouth filled with razor-sharp teeth.

Passing through a bronze double-door, they found themselves in a temple, in which three elves were praying to a statue, portraying the same horrible being, whom the adventurers guessed to be Mistress Chaos, Mother of Demons.

A brief battle followed, in which the elves were despatched, but not before Konrad was once more injured, and slipped into unconsciousness. Rib was able to save him from dying, but they were left battered and with little magic, deep in enemy territory.

Mirann volunteered to go on a scouting mission alone, while the others rested in the temple.

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6th of Thawing

Having passed the night without further incident, the companions woke, and set about investigating the village of Creely. They found little, save a few abandoned tools and other mining supplies.

Having searched thoroughly, they now turned their attention to the mine. Approaching the entrance however, they were ambushed and surrounded by 8 black armoured elves, armed with crossbows and swords. Rib and Konrad attempted to negotiate, but the elf leader was suspicious. Throwing caution to the wind, they attacked.

The elves, taken entirely by surprise fired a volley with their crossbows, but only succeeded in wounding Rib. Konrad cut the elf leader down in seconds, with Rib leaping to attack alongside him.

A brief but frantic skirmish followed, during which the elves, still stunned by the suddeness of the attack failed to do much damage to the adventurers. All but 2 of them were cut down, but these 2 were able to flee back into the mine.

Taking a little time to recover and search the bodies of the fallen, the comrades descended into the mines. Trusting to Rib and Vanator’s memories of their first visit here, they took a turning from the main shaft, and soon encountered a blank wall. Their memory did not play them false, and they discovered an illusion spell concealing an entrance into a narrower tunnel heading steeply down.

They followed this down to the broad subterranean highway where they had first encountered the high elves. Choosing to go the opposite way to before they travelled for some time, before Rib heard activity from one of the many side tunnels. The adventurers had barely enough time to hide before a large contingent of elvish warriors appeared, hurrying back the way they had just come. Once they had gone, the companions went down the tunnel the elves had just left, discovering a gateway.

They passed through, but fell foul of a pair of guards. Konrad charged them, but unused to the confines of the narrow passageway, left himself vulnerable, and received a grievous leg injury, permanently crippling him. They were able to finish the elves off, and stopped to rest while they planned thei next move.

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4th-5th of Thawing

With the mercenaries and their priestly masters defeated, the companions, helped by Hobb and his men, set about freeing the captives in the wagons. They turned out to be about 80 peasants and workers from villages and farms throughout southern Freymont.

While the prisoners were being freed, Konrad used a few spells to try and help Rib, although he could do nothing for the halfling’s arm. Rib regained consciousness, but was still in pain.

It was agreed that Hobb and his men would take the prisoners back to the forest, leaving the adventurers to continue their journey alone, since they were now only a day or so from their destination. They spent the night in a reasonably sheltered spot away from the camp, in case the mercenaries returned. The night passed without incident, and the next morning they pushed onwards.

Towards evening of that day, they arrived at Creely, having crossed the border into Casterland. Vanator searched for tracks, and found what he thought to be signs of a large number of people marching out of the village, and the mines that it protected. Disturbed by this, and with night drawing on, the companions decided to spend the night outside and enter the mines the next day.

They found a suitable place to camp in a fissure between two rocky outcrops. However, they had only been here a short time when they found themselves surrounded by the ant-like hound creatures of the high elves. Thinking quickly, Rib pulled out the jar of foul smelling liquid that he’d taken from the high elves below Redpool so long before.

The adventurers smeared this on themselves even as the ant-hounds advanced, and immediately the creatures lost interest, turning away and going back the way they came.

With immense relief, the companions settled down for the night.

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4th of Thawing

Attempting to hide, Mirann was unable to avoid being seen by the alerted guard. Seeing that they’d been spotted, Vanator, Hobb and his two men all shot at the guard but only lightly injured him.

Konrad, realising that the game was up began to retreat, while Mirann clambered to the top of the wagon to try and deal with the guard. Unfortunately, this didn;t prevent him from raising the alarm and waking the camp.

Konrad continued to retreat, and Rib started to follow. As the mercenaries rushed out of the camp towards them, one of the black-robed priests summoned rank weeds from the ground which wrapped around Mirann’s legs, trapping her. She was unable to free herself, but Rib called on Ulna’s power, and dispelled them, much to the priest’s irritation.

Unfortunately now the mercenaries were close enough to attack and a frantic, vicious battle ensued. Mirann and Rib were hard-pressed. Seeing this, Konrad rushed back into the fray, while Vanator, Hobb and his followers kept up a volley of arrows which, in the dark were of only limited effect.

Konrad struck down a number of foes, but not before Rib was seriously injured, his left arm severed above the elbow. The three black-robed priests prepared to use further magic, but it seemed that whatever dark patron they served had abandoned them, for none of their spells seemed to work.

Vanator now joined the melee. With half their number fallen and their priests apparently unable to help, the mercenaries lost heart and fled, leaving the comrades in possession of the camp and the wagons, but battered and tired, and with Rib very sorely injured.

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35th of Winterdeep - 4th of Thawing

Having defeated the demon and convinced Hobb of the truth of their story, he agreed to take them through the Weirdwood and into the Hollow Hills.

The party decided to start their search at the village of Creely, just over the Casterish Border, where they had first encountered the High Elves. Hobb knew of it, and agreed to to lead them their.

He and two of his men escorted them through the forest, the journey taking 3 days, before they reached the edge of the woods, and the beginning of the hills. Travelling into them, on the first night they heard the howling of wolves, and in the morning could see their tracks, alongside others that Vanator recognised as being made by the ant-like hunting animals of the High Elves.

The second night in the hills, they were once more plagued by wolves, but were not attacked, although they saw them lurking in the darkness. During the night, they heard snarling and yelping, and in the morning found a dead wolf, alongside more ant-hound tracks.

The next, the third in the hills, they came across a road heading westwards. On it was a caravan of enclosed wooden carts, lead by a group of black-robed priests and guarded by a band of a dozen mercenaries. Hobb told the adventurers that these were some of the priests who had appeared since the king ‘went mad’, and who had been taking people, who were probably locked inside the carts.

After some deliberation, the adventurers decided to try and free the prisoners, waiting until nightfall. The carts were pulled into a defensive circle. Mirann, Rib and Konrad sneaked down to the carts, while Vanator, Hobb and his men held back with their bows.

Mirann managed to pick the lock of one of the chains holding the carts together, but one of the guards appeared to have heard something, and moved towards where Mirann was hiding.

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34th of Winterdeep

The demon burst forth and immediately attacked the adventurers. It was obviously extremely powerful, wielding magic and an burning sword with equal ferocity.

In the first moments, Vanator was wounded, and the companions’ first attacks passed through the creature like smoke. Konrad and Rib both realised that it was immne to mundane weaponry, but not before Vanator was once more grievously wounded.

The adventurers now started to work together: Rib stayed back and used his divine magic to counter the demon’s spells, almost certainly saving Konrad’s life; Vanator, badly wounded, hung back, ready to get a shot in with his blessed bow; Mirann dodged, parried and tried to distract the demon and draw his attacks, while Konrad, armed with the enchanted Sword of Ashcaelil, laid into it, seriously damaging it.

Eventually, under this combined defence and attack, the demon’s body was destroyed.

Shocked, and now completely convinced, Hobb Dryden agreed to help them, and lead them through the forest to the Hollow Hills.

Weary and battered, the companions spent the rest of the day resting and recovering, before falling asleep in the security of the camp.

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31st-34th of Winterdeep

Having escaped from the Freyish patrol, the party headed southwest, staying off the roads and avoiding any pursuit.

They travelled for another three days, skirting the town of Weirmarch and circling to the south. They reached the edge of the Weirwood, and after a little discussion, pushed onwards in its depths.

After several hours of walking, they found their way barred by a single halfling, who ordered them to stop. However, this proved to be merely a distraction for the band of outlaws behind them, who ambushed them and took the adventurers prisoner. Their leader, Hobb Dryden decided to take them back to his camp to decide whether they were spies of the king of Freymont. On the way, he told them that almost everyone in the region had either been drafted into the army, taken as slaves for the mines, or fallen into the hands of mysterious priests acting on behalf of the king. Hobb and his band had become the nucleus of a growing number of people fleeing into the forests to avoid the recruiters and slavers, and had helped to disrupt the activities of the king’s men.

Having reached the camp, in reality a small but growing village, Rib told Hobb the entire story. Hobb was sceptical, but inclined to let them go. At this point, Rib’s amulet began to glow. One of Hobb’s men was returning with a group of refugees, and as they approached the amulet grew brighter and warmer.

Hobb and the party met them as they entered the camp, and Hobb sceptically challenged them. His henchmen swore that none of the refugees were demons, before revealing that is was himself. The demon, a 7-foot tall, winged monstrosity then burst out of the man’s skin and prepared to attack.

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28th-31st of Winterdeep

Pushing on into Freymont, the adventurers encountered a Freyish patrol, led by a young knight. Most of the party managed to take cover, but Rib was caught in the open, and captured.

The patrol were planning to take him back to Weirmarch with them, but when they camped in a fortified manor, Rib escaped.

Unfortunately, the others, outside the manor were unaware of this, and hatched a plan to rescue Rib. Konrad managed to scale the walls, and cut the throat of the sentry, while Rib was climbing down the walls to freedom. He met Mirann, and they were able to attract the attention of Konrad and Vanator, and were all able to escape to continue their journey.

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