22 Month of Gifts 4228 AE, Late Morning
Sharwyn looked up at the party, trying to hold back her tears. “What’s the plan? Are we leaving the citadel?”
As the group debated what to do, the ground started to rumble. An earthquake was starting! Rocks started to fall from the walls and roof of the cavern as the earth shook more and more violently. Zorrik shouted at everyone to not use magic, and they all started running. It was hard to move quickly through the grove, but they made it back to the entrance just as the quake started to subside. The wall to Belak’s study had collapsed. As they made their way through the hallway, an aftershock started, and more debris was falling all around them. They ultimately made it back to the large garden to climb the vines back up to the upper level. As they were climbing, another aftershock hit. They ran through the citadel back to the entrance, navigating around more collapsed walls and fallen stone as a third aftershock struck. On the way, they noticed the door to the dragon’s room was in pieces on the floor, as though the wyrmling had broken through it.
Zorrik tripped over a rope that was pulled taut across the doorway to the entrance chamber. Ianos and Sir Braford fell on top of him. Stax attempted a flip but landed poorly on some fallen rock. They saw Durian standing there, holding an unconscious Meepo in his arms. The lower half of Meepo’s right leg and the end of his tail had been turned to ice, and a blast of frost coated the floor and wall across the room. Durian said that the dragon attacked Meepo and then fled the Citadel. Two boulders now blocked the exit.
Four of the group pushing together were able to move the top boulder, and they climbed over the remaining rock one by one to exit. A fourth and final aftershock struck, and debris fell behind them. They climbed the stairs in the cliff face and then ascended the rope to the top of the chasm.
It was late morning, and very hot, so Meepo’s leg and tail were quickly melting away. The group made their way to Croprot to find the gnome that knew about kobolds. Durian was carrying Meepo on his back, and he and Stax ran ahead of the group to get to the village as quickly as possible. They arrived around midday. Durian went to the temple, where the priest knew nothing of a gnome. Stax went to the tavern, and the young man there had not seen a gnome recently, either. The rest of the group arrived, and they soon realized that the gnome had been in Orhall, not in Croprot. Since Meepo was stable (though his leg and tail were almost completely melted away by now), they wanted to stay for a meal. Unfortunately, the barkeep wanted them all out, because he didn’t want tieflings and a kobold hanging around. He agreed to give Ianos one meager ration and kicked them out.
They walked back to Orhall. The ice had melted, and Meepo was left with cauterized stumps on his right leg and tail. He was still unconscious. They drew stares from everyone who saw them on the road. As the party approached the watchtower outside the town, they saw a tiny figure in bright blue clothing walking their way. It was the gnome, Gilly Primspindle! He told them he was on his way to the citadel, and they asked him to look at Meepo. He examined his wounds, feeling very sorry for the kobold. He said the damage could be reversed by a skilled enough healer. When Durian asked him if he knew a place Meepo might be safe, Gilly thought for a moment, then said he had the perfect place in mind—but he wanted to ask Meepo first.
They took Meepo off of Durian’s back and woke him up. He was grimacing in pain, and asked to be taken out of the sunlight. Stax covered Meepo with his own cloak. Gilly knelt down next to Meepo, and Durian asked Meepo if he remembered him—he did. Gilly started whispering in Meepo’s ear, and Meepo’s face lit up. He was suddenly very excited. Meepo very much wanted to go with the gnome. When questioned, Gilly would not share the destination. He swore that Meepo would be safe, and promised to get a message to them all when they were settled in or when Meepo was healed (whichever came first). Meepo was eager, and the gnome seemed genuine, so the party agreed to let Meepo go. Gilly took a small wooden box out of his bag, put it on the ground, and said, “Avantio!” The box unfolded itself into a cart. They loaded Meepo into the cart, and Gilly covered him with orange silk, returning Stax’s cloak. The old gnome then lifted the cart by himself, and set off to the south.
The party continued into Orhall. By now it was early evening, and the tavern was half full with people enjoying their dinner. When they got Moira’s attention, she rushed over and immediately embraced Sharwyn. “Oh my, you’re alive!” She went to get Kerowyn, bringing her up from the rooms in the cellar. Kerowyn ran to her daughter, holding her tightly in her arms. After a minute, Kerowyn asked Sharwyn about her brother, Talgen. Sharwyn went to hand his signet ring to her mother, when she suddenly collapsed on the floor, dead. Sir Braford collapsed at the same time. While Kerowyn was weeping over her daughter’s corpse, Ianos mentioned their reward. This quickly drew Kerowyn’s wrath, and while she promised them their reward for the signet rings, she would not speak to them further.
The party had some dinner and retired to their rooms for the night.
23 Month of Gifts 4228 AE
The next morning, they collected their rewards, which Kerowyn had left with Moira. They headed to the marketplace to spend their newly earned gold and sell some of the trinkets and excess equipment they’d looted from the Citadel. They commissioned upgrades to their leather armor, bought new armor and weapons, and picked up supplies, balking at the price of the healing potions. The tanner modified the leather strap of Stax’s antler crown so it would fit his head perfectly, and she made him a new sling from some leather scraps.
After lunch, the party made their way to the Temple of Knowledge to speak to the sage that had examined Sharwyn and Sir Braford’s bodies. After hearing about the Gulthias Tree from the group, he hurried off, returning with an open book. A Gulthias Tree grew from a stake pushed through a vampire’s heart, and one had been documented a few centuries prior. Once the tree died, any supplicants it had taken were doomed to die as soon as their remaining energy ran out. There was nothing anyone could have done to save Sharwyn and Sir Braford, after all. Next, Zorrik inquired about the Shadow the group encountered in the citadel, and the weakness he’d been feeling since he was attacked. The sage rushed off for another book, and came back with the answer: Zorrik was cursed, and a remove curse spell would do the trick. The sage was able to perform the spell himself, and Zorrik was healed.
Ianos inquired about help with “performance,” and the sage mentioned there was a temple for the God of Pleasure across town.
The party returned to the tavern to talk to Moira about where they might be needed next. She mentioned there was a man through town two days prior who had mentioned a blight near Faraday, where the land went dead rather suddenly and decimated a farming village, just like what happened to Croprot hundreds of years ago. There was a green dragon giving people trouble at the outskirts of the Dark Forest northeast of the capitol. Far south, the orcs had been leaving the Orclands more and more to raid villages and towns outside their territory. North of Orhall, about two days’ travel, was the town of Osley, a large trading hub that had an adventurer’s guild office. If they wanted something to do in the immediate area, that guild office would be the place to go for leads. (She also mentioned that Osley had a killer Midsummer Feast, which would be happening in about a week.)
That night, Ianos entertained the tavern in exchange for a free room. Zorrik and Durian decided to share a room. Stax had dinner with the group but left afterwards, and Zari was nowhere to be found. Ianos and Zorrik got drunk (especially Zorrik) off an entire bottle of elven wine.
24 Month of Gifts 4228 AE
When everyone awoke the next morning, Ianos and Zorrik discovered their leather armor was missing. They saw Stax sitting in the tavern’s dining room in his new studded leather armor. When confronted, he said the tanner had told him she had an opening to rush all their armor, and that he’d talked to Zorrik and Ianos about it the night before. They dragged Stax to the tanner by his collar, and she confirmed his story. Zorrik and Ianos weren’t sure what to think. The tanner said their armor would be ready by this afternoon.
Back at the tavern, Zari showed up eating an apple. The party decided their next move would be going north to Osley, though Ianos and Stax seemed rather reluctant to do so. We left off with the group eating their breakfast.
Note: A few of you will be getting character-specific updates next week. You’ll get an email notification when they’re posted.