Session 7: A Farewell to Corruption
The mid afternoon sun does little to dispel the chill in the air. A flock of Blue Rockwings passes overhead, coming down early from their summer perches in the mountains. They stop at the first leafless tree they come to and disturb a family of Birch Warblers as they land in the branches. The indignant cries of the warblers carry across the rocky, brackish strip which serves as a border between the Southern Grove and the Tormad Range.
The birdsong draws the attention of a Crestwood Forest Cat that was hunting mice between the boulders. It studies the tree line for a moment before returning to its quarry. A gust of wind drives the chill deeper into the cave and rustles what leaves remain. The bare trees dance in the wind.
The Grove is at peace.
Cast of Characters
- Morina Stormsbane played by Jolene
- Salvine played by Cody
- Baeren Torunn played by Brad
- Alzaren played by Dave
- Koda Oakmoss foreman of the Griffondale logging operations and childhood friend of Teak of the Bear
- Sunbark The last of the Grove Guardians
- Urzal lung the Warden of Griffondale
- Ta’ak Urzal’s deputy
- Cobb lover of music and proprietor of Briar’s Blossom
- Marcus Soldier at Fort Rawlins
- Knight Captain Ildren Ekis In charge of operations at Fort Rawlins
- Hawkbury Sorcerer working at Fort Rawlins
- [Name Unknown] Fort Rawlins Quartermaster
- Orin Greaves Gull Lake ferry driver
- Henrietta Fallenaire widow with two sons
- Gretta Stormhollow good natured proprietor of the Rubbing Goose Tavern
- One-eyed Mac Hopper thug who hangs out in Goodhearth
- Gretta Shalefist Goodhearth blacksmith known for ornate weapons.
- Gwendol Arrolis snobbish proprietor of the Pinerock Inn
Gone, But not Forgotten
After gathering what is to be had, the party decided to retrieve the buried shards and return to Griffondale to collect their rewards. Kalkukhan, having lived up to his end of the deal, headed off to the north, in search of Darius and other stories.
Before setting out, several of the party noticed a peculiar detail of the Hags. They all had a black, viscous ichor on their left hand. After investigating for a bit, they discovered that there was a portal of some kind, leading to what appeared to be the Jungles of Särpak. The portal could be opened with a left hand print covered in the ichor. They had more pressing matters however and left that mystery for another day.
Travelling back across the rocky field, the party returned to where Baeren buried the shards only to discover they had been exhumed. Searching the immediate area, Baeren locked onto an owl, who took flight once being noticed. The party pursued the owl in the direction it flew until they encountered Sunbark.
Sunbark, who had been scrying on the party during their conflict with the hags, greeted them warmly. Alzaren explained the situation with the lost shards and asked the guardian for council. Sunbark thought that the shards were dangerous, but without the book Alzaren carried, not a pressing threat. Before they left, Sunbark bound the residual spirit of Oakhurst into Baeren’s axe to extend the life of the magic in Baeren’s axe.
Part 2: An Afternoon in Griffondale
The party left Sunbark where they encountered him, and with Koda Oakmoss in tow, struck out for Griffondale. When they passed through the logging camp, Koda took his leave.
Back in Griffondale again, Baeren, Alzaren, and Morina talked with Urzal Lung about retrieving their reward for clearing out the hags. He paid them 100 gold scepters for the ears of the hags and thanked them for solving the town’s hag problem.
Meanwhile, Salvine entered a nearby toy store, the Gnome’s Whisker and purchased several large, wooden figurines. He returned to the party as they crossed the street on the way to the Briar’s Blossom and presented them each with one.
Continuing into the Briar’s Blossom, Alzaren presented Cobb with his lost songbook. The satyr was so grateful, he promised to aid the party in any matter they asked.
Part 3: Not my Fort Rawlins
The following morning, after resting at Briar’s Blossom, the party struck out for Fort Rawlins. The journey was uneventful. Upon arriving at the fort, Baeren was disgusted by the lack of upkeep and regimentation in the outpost. No soldiers were present outside, so the party passed the overstuffed report box and entered the main tower. Here there were also no soldiers and the lack of staff enraged Baeren. He stormed up the stairs and attempted to kick in the door to the second floor. The door held. Shortly after the kick, a soldier threw it open and attacked. He was no match for Baeren, who disarmed the soldier and pinned him to the ground.
Alzaren stepped in and calmed the situation, and soon the soldier led them to the commanding officer, Ildren Ekis. The party told the Knight Captain that they had come to claim a 30 year old bounty on Eln of the Willow. The Knight Captain sent for the fort’s sorcerer, Hawkbury, to verify the trophy was authentic. Hawkbury did as she was asked and verified the head the party presented was, in fact, a real head that was not being disguised as something else.
Satisfied that the head was authentic, the Knight Captain issued a requisition order for 500 gold scepters and presented it to the party. He told them it could be claimed at the quartermaster in the barracks and asked if they were interested in other opportunities. When the party indicated they were, he told them of several issues he and his men were unable to see to:
- A ghost haunting the merchant district of Shieldcrest
- Vetting the security of a carnival full of allegedly dangerous animals in Goodhearth
- Finding out the truth about a body left in the docks in Shieldcrest
The party left the Knight Captain’s office in search of the quartermaster. They found him in the barracks, lazily napping with a book on his chest. Baeren was severely annoyed by the lax nature of the quartermaster and berated him. Alzaren and Morina interjected before things got too heated and asked the quartermaster questions about the region before presenting him with the requisition order.
The quartermaster informed the party that the fort did not have that kind of coin and they’d have to redeem the voucher in the capital. During the conversation with the quartermaster, Morina stole one of the books from a pile the dwarf was reading called The Plural of Vaul.
Frustrated by the lack of inventory at the fort, the party set out for Goodhearth to tie up more loose ends. They flagged down the Gull Lake ferry as it passed and rode with Orin Greaves to the shores of Goodhearth. Orin, the aged ferryman, asked Baeren for assistance rowing the skiff, but Morina volunteered instead.
The ferry landed at the Goodhearth docks and the party disembarked. They travelled through the fields north of Goodhearth and into the town’s central square. They found a group of townsfolk huddled around a shrine erected to several children in town who were recently murdered. Curious about the new development, the party asked a nearby woman what had happened. She told them that Eunis Breakwater, a local shopkeeper, had fallen upon the children while they were playing in the town’s square and killed them. He was captured, but escaped after assaulting one of the soldiers from the fort. He was last seen heading east into the Charred Forest.
This tale of murder intrigued the adventurers, who decided it might be useful to poke around Breakwater’s store and find what clues they could. Salvine remembered the store as one he and Darius visited on their last trip to Goodhearth and after a quick search Baeren found a mortar and pestle and an empty cup with powdery residue in it. With the information he gleaned from Darius after their shopping trip and a puzzling conversation with Salvine, Baeren formed a theory. He believed that Darius had traded one of the Tauxith teeth the group had recovered to the merchant as a virility supplement. The merchant took it, was driven insane, and that caused him to murder the children.
Meanwhile, Alzaren poked around the storefront and discovered a letter from someone named Matthis. The letter informed Eunis that the author had met someone and wished to end their strained romantic relationship. Morina, using her magically enhanced senses, found several unused pieces of the Tauxith tooth Darius had given the shopkeeper and retrieved them for safekeeping.
Unsure of what to do, the party discussed the moral quandary before them: present this evidence to the authorities to aid in the capture of the fugitive murderer but risk incriminating themselves, or remain silent to maintain distance between themselves and the murders. Eventually they decided to provide the evidence that they had discovered to the authorities and attempt to obfuscate their indirect involvement in the incident.
After presenting the Mayor of Goodhearth with the remaining Tauxith tooth fragments, the party travelled to the western district to check on Baeren’s blacksmith order. It was ready, and Morina placed her own order for a more elegant warhammer and shield while they were there.
The party returned to the Rubbing Goose inn where Alzaren settled his debt with the bar. They arranged rooms and settled in for a much earned evening of revelry. One of the regulars took offense to Baeren’s shield that bears the symbol of Lisell, a unicorn on the shore of a lake, and attempted to pick a fight. Morina, a native of Lisell, joined Baeren in the confrontation until Alzaren stepped in and suggested a less violent solution. Baeren and a brawny human who called himself One-eyed Mac, despite having two working eyes, arm wrestled to see who was the strongest. The contest was over when Baeren defeated his opponent so violently that he flew from his stool and slid across the tavern floor. The crowd was impressed. Morina, who had taken bets on the match, made off with 50g in winnings. She used the winnings to buy everyone a round of drinks.
Shieldcrest by Morning
The next morning, after a hearty breakfast, the party returned to Orin and the ferry to travel across Gull Lake to Shieldcrest. Alzaren asked the ferryman if he’d seen anything suspicious recently and he mentioned a higher volume of smugglers trying their luck in Gull Island and the ruins and that many of the travellers who use his ferry have been armed. Alzaren asked Orrin to let him know if he sees anything else of note.
After surveying the docks briefly, the party travelled inland to the Pinerock Inn. The owner, a snooty silver dragonborn named Gwendol, served Alzaren and Morina wine. They asked her about the mysterious gnome Rene, who turned out the be a regular of the Pinerock. Gwendol told the party that Rene lived in Shieldcrest, but she did not know the exact location, and that he liked to travel across the lake to drink with the “savages” in Goodhearth.
After their conversation with Gwendol, the party decided to find more modest accommodations before continuing their search for Rene and looking into the ghost reported to haunt Moontower’s Fantastic Goods Emporium.