Lights in the Darkness

The Frog Caverns
Sessions 25 to 30

Upon reaching the town of Carlton the group quickly locates the local Maker’s House to get rid of the curses currently hanging over Osric and Urien in exchange for the destruction of some of the unholy jewelry the group has found.
After that Osric allows himself a short respite while sitting outside of a tavern, enjoying a refreshing watered down ale and watching the townsfolk pass by while writing into his diary.

“We discovered tracks near the tunnel exit leading away from the monastery but we had to rest and recover first. Besides this gives our men a chance to celebrate and me a chance to preach the Makers word. I have to admit that I was surprised about how many attended the mass and some even thanked me afterwards, maybe not all is lost for Taglyes End.

We followed the tracks from hidden tunnel northwards and ended up at Rish Hill with an somewhat hidden entrance into the depth. There we spotted some strange figures in the bushes. We boldly confronted them and they quickly retreated. We couldn’t follow their tracks in the thick underbrush of the hills so we went back to the gaping hole where the footprints of the cultist led us. Its not far from a thorpe called Rishton and I guess we will see if they were not aligned with these vile demon worshipers and on their way to get reinforcements. So far so good but be have to hurry.

The steps leading down into the hole looked treacherous so we tried to advance slowly but our torches gave us away and they were prepared. Vicious incantations assailed our senses while we had troubles getting footage on these slippery steps. Only after our own mages called in ancient warriors we could advance into the cavern where a bloody battle began. Even one of these four armed giant was fighting for the cult but we managed to put him down thanks to a spell and slay him before he could cause any serious damage. We did our best to keep up the pressure as even more emerged from below. I could barely hold the line with these visions visions but thanks to some well placed shots these mages could be kept in check and we barely managed to keep the upper hand after entangling some armored frog monstrosity. We managed to kill most of them in the end but some of them escaped and Boguslaw ended up badly hurt.

We took from from them what we could scavenge but didn’t dare to pursue them deeper into their tunnels. We went back to the Monastery to recover but I left Emyr back to spy on them for before heading back to the monastery as well. I trust that he will bring back vital information’s about the coming and going.

We decided to go to Carlton to get rid of the curses but before we could depart two messengers arrived at our gates. The owner of the large mansion on the other other side of the road apparently wanted to have a chat with us. We not only seemed to share a large amount of caution but also a common goal in the eradication of the cult. The thane Garnier seem to be a seasoned warrior who clashed blades with the cult before but injuries, age and dwindling resources seem to put a dampener on his efforts to oppose the cult. His report of the cults influence dampened my mood considerably though, apparently the Cult spread into other nearby villages already! The only hope now is to strike hard and try to scatter and weaken them by destroying their main sanctuary under the hills before rebuilding a strong presence of our faith in Taygles End to act as a beacon of hope. This should give us some time to hunt down the remnants and drive this perverse frog idolatry deep into the swamp again. This is not something that can be left for others to sort out though, that is something I have to do myself! I have to take over the parish of Taygles End and secure the support of Lady Ostrid for that. We will see if Garnier will show support for that as well but for now he generously gave us some old artifacts for the promise to remove the cult from Taygles End. With them we departed finally to Carlton.

Our next assault ended with more bloodshed then I hoped Urien was slain by the cultistsand poor XXX was crushed b, a huge snake when trying to rescue Emyr who got bitten as well. We foumd fake doors guarded by slime, a storage room, two underground lakes (one with huge but so far peaceful frogs that we could cross with a raft), more cultists, widdig converts and a boy from the next village who was a slave of a cultist mage who has treated him very badly. His name is XXX and he wanted to accompany us to point out the mage when we encounter him. We also found stairs that go further down but ultimately we had to withdraw. I pray that the captives are still alive and well but pressing on might be our doom so we went back to the monastery to recover.

The Tychite Monastery
Sessions 22 to 24

Osric finds a moment to pen a few words into his journal while Zephyros still discusses matters with Lady Osthryds household guards. “The Lady seems to be missing for quite a while now too and where much friendlier this time, probably also more desperate as they seem to know about the cult. Still, its a bit suspicious that they didn’t allow us to inspect all of their remaining soldiers…
The study didn’t hold any clues to where we could find our missing brethren and the lady but we found another statue of this foul frog abomination hidden away like a cowardly thief in a small side room of Cowalls abode. No religious texts could be found anywhere but we found a book with weird scribbling in it that makes ones head hurt.
There still seem to be some of the possessed in the town but they keep still for now after we clobbered their leaders and fellow cultists. The rest of the residents don’t seem to be too friendly either but I think not all hope is lost for this place. With a strong guidance and hard work this community could very well become a beacon of hope in this vile swamp. We will visit the monastery next and by the Maker, lets hope we find some holy water there.”

After massaging his bruised shoulder Osric continues his entry:
“More cultists was all that awaited us in the monastery.
At first everything seemed abandoned just recently as we made our way through the outbuildings. We found more of these mad scribbling in the study and copy rooms, the cult must have been busy here for a while it seems. We then were forced to scale the walls to gain access to the main building as the remaining cultists dared to show their face. Despite our disadvantaged position we managed to drive them back and get onto the roof without any loss. Climbing down into the cultist held garden seemed unwise so we bashed a hole into the roof to enter.
This was where the remaining cultists decided to press an attack and it was some righteous slaughter as we had to stand on the fallen to fight the crazed followers of the frog daemon! Most of them were ill equipped so we only sustained some bloody bruises while they were vanquished and hunted down to the last man.
We have not seen any traces of the monks so we have to search this whole place thoroughly for any clues.”

“We finally cleansed the monastery but this place opens up more questions then it does solve.”
Osric takes a deep breath while gazing into a candle flame thinking about what happened in the hours prior.
The monastery turned up more of these vile books and statues but no hints to the missing wardens, rulers or monks. After a long search a secret tunnel was found that wasn’t very deep but very long with many dug out rooms to each side. Some reminded him of animal pens and others were like empty storage rooms but there also was a grizzly hall full of tables with corpses. It must have been some sort of laboratory as many corpses showed signs of experimentation and amputations. The dead also decided to rise to nobody’s surprise but the resulting battle was a bloody affair.
The undead surrounded the group quicker then holy symbols could drive them back forcing the whole group to retreat and spike the doors after Osric held them off as long as he could. A counter attack was prepared and many a berserkers were called back from the other side to aid. Again the undead proved to be more then a match and only the clever use of an old scroll and the Makers holy might saved the day from becoming an utter disaster. Only Eirik the Axiomar suffered a grievous wound as one of the zombies torn his hand to shreds.
“I slowly wonder if these monks are not the ones to blame for this whole mess. I suspect that these books were used to convert or at least influence the people studying here before they were shipped off to the caves. The escape tunnel coupled with the experimentation chamber also makes one think. Was it a route to get out of the monastery in case of an emergency or was it to secretly enter without anyone else noticing? Who or what else was living down there?”

Cultist Showdown in Taglye's End
Sessions 19 to 21

After the cellar was secured and the cultists were littering the ground bleeding, Osric finds some time to write into his journal:
Cowal and his cronies suffered a righteous defeat at our hands today! If the Maker wills it he will survive the journey back to Hewflore for further questioning…
At first t didn’t look too good, The self appointed teacher played it smart and tried to paint himself a humble servant that took up things in his own hands when noticing an empty study here in Taygle’s End. The infirmary and church didnt present us with any obvious signs and while he wasn’t too firm with his prayers he at least was more hospitable then the last time, probably because due to the armed men that were with us this time. I couldn’t find any hints that would reveal his true colors but luckily his fellow cultists weren’t so clever. They attacked my comrades in the tavern after trying to poison them and therefore sealing their own fate. Once I joined up to take a closer look at the Inn we also found a captured merchant (Who turned out to be a member of the frog cult) and an Axiomar named Eirikir before were attacked by Cowal and his goons in full force. Many of the guards, the smith and some other shady looking guys were trying to corner in the cellar while some frog-men abominations tried to rush out of the cavernous parts below.
While I was holding back theses foul beasts with the Makers might my brothers-in-arms butchered the rest of the cultists.
Unfortunately brother Cuthbert lost his arm in the scuffle.
With that done we had some time to explore the hidden parts of the cellar more closely. The only resistance we found were some of these frog abominations that we could keep from attacking us with the Makers might and a giant snake. I still have the feeling that some of the frogs managed to escape but even our elven and dwarven companions couldn’t find any secret hiding places or doors. The most important and terrifying thing we found was the statue of this frog daemon these madmen call their master. It was difficult even looking at it and had a large gem in its head. We lacked any tools to destroy this unholy sanctum so we have to see if we can get any holy water from the monastery or Froxhall.
After all that we were lucky to also capture the wife of the innkeeper. Eirikir sensed none of the infernal hatred that was abundant on the other cultists on her so Zephyros convinced her to cooperate with us. Seems like the cult drags potential members and captives down to some watery cave near the river where the influence of the daemon is strong enough to either posses or kill the new recruits. Maybe it takes a while before the cult can be sure if the newest members loyalty, at least this would explain why the merchant was still bound in one of the rooms of the inn. I really doubt this charade was some sort of ruse to trust him as we would have no reason to find him before we defeated the cultists in the inn.
Or next plan is to get the troops into the town and search the Study for any clues. We have to hurry though, not just because Warden Gee & Deacon Tostig might still be in the cults clutches but also because Lady Osthryd seems to have been captured and brought down to the caverns.

From Hewflore to Taygle's End
Session 18

After a long break Osric picks up his journal again, flips to a fresh page and starts writing down:
Yric mentioned that two brothers who were investigating Taygles End have vanished. I bet this fake teacher there is responsible. We will put an end to that!
I visited the local Magonine friary today. I am surprised how young elder Bede is and wonder what deeds he done in the Makers name to already lead a friary at his age. We talked briefly and he was rather reserved but one of his position probably ends up with many hidden adversaries so I won’t hold that against him. It seems the death cult Fraegr mentioned is worshipping the daemon called “Orcus”, this swamp truly is a hive of scum and devilry!
I paid the sculptor a visit as well to see how the statue for the Study of Saint Tibba is progressing and instructed them to work on a few features some more. Saint Magos needs to looks as impressive as his deeds.

Osric continues writes into his journal while crossing the lake:
We departed from Hewflore to find evidence of the frog cult in Taygle’s End. With my mercenaries I doubt we will encounter any problems with the local lord. I have to admit that I look forward to hunt cultists again and cleaning out this rotten village will be a great first step to bring the Makers judgement into this foul swamp.
I should not forget to also find a chance to get more information about that Orcus cult. Maybe Colbert knows something? Maybe we can Visit Froxhall without resting there for a night, the prices they charge there should be considered robbery! I will better check up on Fraegr once we are back in Hewflore too, I haven’t seen him since he was with Zephyros and Xenocrates when we came back from our last expedition. I think he might know more about the cult.

Chronicles of Zephyros - Chapter 4
The Trouble with Frogmen

As it turns out it was a good thing we decided not to torch the inn. As we investigated the upstairs we came across a couple prisoners. Eirikr was drugged similar to us in the same inn. As an Axiomar of The Maker, he’s a welcome addition to the company. The other gentleman claimed to be a merchant, but after trying to make his escape and evading our questions, we believe he is associated with the cult. The eyes seem to give it away. We decided to tie him up for now, perhaps he’ll end up being useful later. Anyways, we liberated quite a bit of loot in a few chests scattered across the inn and during our search we uncovered a trap door leading to the basement of the inn. Poor Dudda may need to find another profession, his ability to sniff out traps is in question after tripping two separate traps. Fortunately he is still alive. As for the trap door, I would have hesitated to enter such a place, but considering Osric and his followers met us at the inn, we figured we were strong enough to face whatever might be down there.

We went down a set of stairs into the basement and Orhan noticed footprints leading to a secret door on the far wall. Henryk and Ansger made short work of the door which led us to what appears to be several freshly dug shafts going several directions. The corridors are quite narrow and winding making it difficult to see very far. Henryk led the way to the far left passage and it wasn’t long before we came across the first horror. Three Frogmen were in a small chamber, they behaved almost like zombies. They had human bodies with a frog head. Their fingers ended in sharpened bone points and on their head there were two metallic plugs on either side which writhed in energy. They mouths had hundreds of sharp teeth. They had a furious attack which at one point caught Henryk off guard and seemed to paralyze him. Fortunately Eirikr was able to drag him to safety allowing Ansger to step in front of Osric and dispatch the front Frogman. Osric managed to summon the power of The Maker to keep the two Frogmen from advancing. When in this state they clasped the metallic plugs on either side of their head and howled. Ansger and Eirikr used this opportunity to dispatch the remaining Frogmen. I thought to myself, “Who is responsible for these abominations? Whoever he is, he is far more powerful than us and therefore we must be very careful how much further we venture into this place.”

We decided to retreat back to the secret room before the tunnels and rethink our situation. Plans were made to secure our position by defending the entrance through the basement. Dudda and a few others hid near the stairway into the basement. Meanwhile me and my men would hold up within the secret room itself, while Osric and a few others explored the tunnels. This way we could bar up the tunnels and only have to defend ourselves from one direction at a time or so we thought. As soon as Osric opened the door to the tunnels the prisoner screamed out something to his master giving Orhan just the excuse he needed to fill him with arrows.. Moments later the hatch to the basement opened and men with torches appeared. We were quiet as several of the men descended the staircase and entered the room. I motioned for Henryk and Ansger to charge. They quickly dispatched a couple of the men, but more were filling in behind them. I prepared a spell while I noticed commotion where Osric was entering the tunnels, apparently he had company. I completed the Summon Berserkers spell which allowed us to fill in our ranks within the basement. Similarly, Orhan raised a zombie using the scroll that was discovered recently. It was soon after that we realized that we were facing Cowel and his men. Henryk, Ansger, Eirikr, Boguslaw, Dudda, Cuthbert, the Berserkers and the zombie were cutting the enemy down. However, just as the tide seemed to be going entirely in our favor, Cuthbert met with Cowel only to be blinded by his magic, he then twisted around and was cut down by one of his sergeants. Orhan finished a sleep spell soon after allowing us to finish what they started and prior to that whatever creatures were assaulting Osric retreated back into the tunnels.

Osric’s men treated Cuthbert to the best of their ability, but he would never be the same. We immediately after sent the zombie in pursuit of the creatures in the tunnels, it was the last we would see of him. Moments later we assembled the bersekers with torches and sent them into the tunnel system ahead of Orhan and Eirikr. They came across a large constrictor type snake, that devastated several of our berserkers. Luckily they were able to finish the creature off. As they traveled further down the tunnel system we found evidence of the zombie’s last stand along with a dead giant viper. However, we were unable to locate where the frogmen had retreated to. The only unique object we came across was a large frogman statue that has a precious gem embedded into the head of the creature. Considering Eirikr sensed that it was evil, we must be cautious with what we do with this discovery.

Chronicles of Zephyros - Chapter 3
The Welcoming Committee of Taygle's End

The people of Taygle’s End are not known for their hospitality. They were cold the last time we passed through and now that we are back, little has changed. As soon as our company departed from the riverboats we were not surprisingly greeted with shuttered windows, barking dogs, and distant stares. I couldn’t believe that we were in the same town that we visited a couple months back, so much more decay, boarded up doors, broken windows and burned down buildings…something is amiss, perhaps there is something to this cult rumor.

After making our way to the church with a huge entourage of mercenaries, perhaps we could have been more tactful, we came to the door of the church courtyard which was barred. Orhan of course still a student of human cultural norms, jumped the fence and opened the door just in time for us to hear, “Halt!” We were met by the town watch and shortly thereafter Cowal appeared from the rectory. Not surprisingly, Osric did not hide his reason for being here and so the game was on, so we would learn. Words were exchanged and Cowal eventually settled Osric down and we behaved according to their plan when our company decided to split up, with our mercenary troop and a few of our trusted followers setting up camp in the caravan yard to the North of town. Osric and the other Makerite clergy would enjoy dinner with Cowal, while Orhan and I would enjoy dinner at one of the inns. Did we fall for the bait, or did they?

The inn was nice enough, while I found it unusual that the innkeeper was as polite as he was, considering the welcome we had just received. It was also strange that there were so many locals present, with the town so run down and obviously on hard times how can these folk afford to eat at the inn? The pieces were fitting into the puzzle. I was part way into my fish dinner, which was lovely by the way, when my vision narrowed and I felt ill. I looked around the rest of the table and puzzled looks were on everyone, as Dudda plowed his face into the plate of quail. Poison was coursing through our veins…knowing the trap was sprung, I rose up and demanded to see the cook, who was observing us from the doorway into the kitchen. The innkeeper rushed towards us and insisted that the rest of the patrons help us, that was when I started muttering the incantations for a spell that would entice them all into slumber. Xenocrates and Orhan mirrored my actions while Henryk raised his axe and Anger drew his sword, what would fate decide?

All at the same time three townsfolk assaulted me, I avoided their blows as I finished the final syllable of my sleep spell. The room dimmed as a vaporous horn appeared in front of me, I blew into it as a cloud of smoke drifted into the crowd of commoners. Six collapsed into sleep, but not before one struck Xenocrates. He finished his incantation simaltaniously, a swirling opaque fog appeared just in front of him and a Brimman horn could be heard all around us, figures appeared in the fog, screaming battle cries as they charged forth. At the same moment Orhan was struck by the cook opening a light wound in his arm disrupting his spell. Ansger made a double swing removing the arm of a farmer that was assaulting me and followed through with a deep gash into the cook. Not to be outdone Henryk disemboweled the innkeeper and with a step forward removed the head off the cook. “Well that escalated quickly,” I thought to myself as Xenocretes ordered the berserkers to finish off the sleeping townsfolk.

I gave orders to bar the doors and prepare oil to burn down the inn. This would be the distraction we need to disrupt the town and save our friends at the church. Henryk barred the front door first and then moved through the kitchen to secure the rear door. Orhan checked the bodies of the fallen, noting the cook’s dagger appeared to be of fine make and was carrying a poison on the blade. Ansger attended to Dudda making sure he was going to be alright, he began to vomit, which was a good sign. I began to pull oil from my pack.

Orhan, the level headed one said, “Hold fast! We know not who is upstairs, the men we are looking for could be up there for all we know.”

“The doors are barred!” exclaimed Henryk.

“You’re right Orhan, let’s search the rest of the inn. Ansger and Henryk form up! Xenocrates get the berskerkers in formation. We’re sticking together.” I thought to myself, “I hope Osric and the others aren’t in peril, we have to get to them quickly.” The warriors formed up and we began pressing upstairs…

Chronicles of Zephyros - Chapter 2
Rest and Relaxation in Hewflore

It was so relaxing to be able to take up residence in Hewflore for the last month. Xenocrates and I have spent most of the time studying new spells. I could have easily made it two months had I the resources. It would seem we are well prepared for our next adventure. I need to find another apprentice soon, as I have capacity to help another learn the craft. I will keep an eye out for someone that shows promise.

The idea of ridding the pirate menace in the area does appeal to Orhan and I, but that doesn’t appear to be the root cause of the economic decay in the area and perhaps it is best that we don’t help out too much, too fast. That is until we are able to capitalize on the opportunity ourselves. After all with the pirates gone, who has the most to gain? Not us. In order to capitalize on the opportunity we must have our own trade network established and now is a good time to do that with the pirates being in the way. Perhaps we can not only create new trade, but can also collect the bounties. What if these pirates are nothing more then retired traders gone rogue due to the economic decline. I wonder if they will go back to their old ways if given the opportunity to do so? Maybe some of them would be willing to do so for us?

Even though I said some strong words to him, I do feel some obligation to help Osric out on his mission in Taygle’s End. After all, he’s been such a fine and trusted companion and to have the church sweeten the deal by help identifying the purpose of the Rod of Chains, well that was most unexpected. There is something that is curious to me about this cultist phenomenon, how deep does it go? Are we meddling with the affairs of some very powerful people? We best be careful and that word is not in Osric’s vocabulary, it is a good thing I am accompanying him.

Although I am sad to see Guilbert go, it brings a smile to my face to know that he will have a secure future keeping our residence in Hewflore. Looking back on it a lot has changed since our beginnings. Tibalt left some time ago, I wonder what he is up to? Maurice met his fate in the Widdigmen Lair, such a brave lad. And now Oswald is leaving to pursue other interests. Some old friends have returned to seek riches with us including Ansger and Dudda. We also have some fresh faces including Cuthbert, Boguslaw, Fionnbharr and Wilburg, that have decided to join the company. So, all in all, I am excited about our prospects, but I feel we could use a commander for our warriors, with Maurice and Oswald now departed. Perhaps Henryk or Ansger will fill that role in time?

We’ll tomorrow we’ll be on a boat to Taygle’s End, what could possibly go wrong?

Return from the Widdigman's Lair
Session 17

Urien writes in his diary:

“We made it out alive and packed with treasure, but Mauger is dead and many of our mercenaries were killed by a zombie attack. But, one after the other:

After we returned with Strongarm’s head to the big hall, Mauger told us that we owed him a full share of the treasure. This led to some discussion because Zephyros apparently promised that to him before we were nearly overrun in the mirror room. The discussion was heated but led to a compromise everybody could accept.

Then, they talked with Agapetos. The horse-headed beastman seems to hail from an enslaved village of his kind that is still under control of the green, four-armed giants. It certainly would be the Maker’s work to lead them out of bondage, but the giants are quite powerful as we have seen…

Osric and Oswald went into the water below the destroyed bridge to find more treasure, but they found a dangerous water snake first! It bit Osric and Mauger but Osric survived. Maybe the Maker is still holding His hand over him. I at least hope that is the reason… I never heard Osric recite the Makers words with such a lack of passion and concentration. Maybe it was the bite of the snake or this swan-winged devil. Who knows?

After that, we managed to open the big chest, nearly killing Oswald with acid. It looked worse than it actually was at the end, though, and the soap washed away most of the corrosive agent on his face. Inside, there were quite a few expensive things, some lead toy soldiers, and raunchy paintings on wood. The former lifted a mystery from the blue pool, but even after solving the child’s riddle, we were confronted by a vision of a weird aparatus: a long tube with a round middle part and a flat end. We finally gave up trying to understand it and decided to call it a day and go out of this Hellhole once and for all.

The remaining widdigmen were indeed waiting outside, but between the trophy of Strongarm’s head and the hailing of two new widdigman kings, Strongsmell and Splitclaw, we managed to slip away without further problems, taking the boats the captured caravan guards told us about."

Osric talks to Agapetos through a translator:
“I know that your people are suffering, and that you need all the help you can get. But we are only a few! We cannot wade into a village of these giants and slay them all to free your kin. We need more information and more men! We will return to Hewflore now but it may be that you cannot join us. We may have to meet again after we hire more mercenaries. Even then, we need a plan and good information on where we can strike best to free some more of you.”

In Hewflore, Urien continues his journal entries:
“I found a teacher — Ralf d’Arcy — who was willing to speak to Osric and examine the mace. When I brought Osric to him, he looked a bit odd, but he told me he wouldn’t ask any further questions. It might require some trickery to do this, but I am convinced I can find a way…

The curse is undone! The teacher was swift and Osric rather befuddled as he threw the mace from him like an iron pot too long on the fire. With great care, Brother Ralf took the mace to the Maker’s House of Hewflore where the canons there destroyed it on the altar. The power of the foul demoness Turana broken, they assured me that the metal would be used for alms.

Glory to the Maker!

The East Wing of the Ratman Stronghold and the End of Bigarm
Sessions 13 to 16

Urien writes into his diary:

We pushed into the right-hand part of the lair after a short skirmish with the creatures who emerged from that side just when we finished our rest.

We found another statue of the swan lady and a trap that made us fall asleep when crossing the room. Luckily, no ambush followed, and we moved forward till we came to a chasm with a bridge guarded by a handful of the creatures.

We charged across the bridge as they tried to cut the rope. They were no match for our warriors, and the other side was secured quickly, but then they used a hidden entrance in a side room for a foray against our rear. Maurice and one of the giants drove them back quickly, but they were too eager and pushed too far resulting in both of them being separated from us when the door closed.

It took us too long to figure out how to twist the three pairs of statues to face their mates. When we finally stormed into the chamber beyond, our companions were already defeated, and we couldn’t do anything to save them. It must have been quite a shock for Osric. I saw the anger in his eyes: he was very proud of his strong friendship with Maurice. The Muscle will be missed.

We were chasing the creatures away when we were attacked by an animated drop-front desk and a candlestick holder! The rest of the room was just as strange. Two cauldrons were in the room’s center: one flaming brightly as it emitted an oppressive heat and another filled with a clear fluid in which floated sparkling motes of light. When we dropped something into the flaming cauldron, the whole room darkened in a strange way. When we did the same with the clear one, a strange chest appeared above the pool. We then rested a bit and found many destroyed books and a heavy chest under something that must have been Bigarm’s ragged throne. We decided to rest soon, but wished to first secure the next room.

It was a bad mistake! They were waiting for us. Guilbert and our only remaining giant fell in the resulting fight. We successfully withdrew and managed to hole up in the big room again.

Something about Osric concerns me. He was not healing our wounded in the morning and was rather evasive when I asked him about that. I wonder what happened? Is the Maker angry with him? But why?

We moved out again and destroyed the bridge, cutting the bridge on our side before returning to the weird chamber. We encountered no opposition in the next room where Guilbert fell. It must have been some magical laboratory with a weird glass bell or dome suspended under the ceiling, a mirror on rails (that we covered up just in case), and lots of strange runes on the wall. The remaining exit led us through a secret door into the former crypt of the temple complex, it seems. There still were many “traps” where people were put under strange spells, but we figured that out only later after the final fight agains the remaining warriors and Bigarm himself.

Bigarm and his last band of followers ambushed us in the tunnels, employing these “stored” magical effects to attack us while trying to place a wedge between the front of the party and the rear using small side passages. Xenocrates and Haakon fell in the ensuing battle, and horse-headed Agapetos nearly lost one of his eyes. In the end, we managed to kill them all though! Fraegr and Mauger even fought at the front this time, quite a surprise for otherwise rather shifty individuals.

We cleaned out much of the remaining complex now and certainly will continue tomorrow as well. We now have to think of how we can move all these goods over the treacherous swamp back to our camp on the island to the north. We will see if the Widdigmen who stayed outside will attempt anything, but maybe we can work out something with “Strongsmell” and “Splitclaw,” the two Widdigman warriors that we freed in the prison.

I am slowly beginning to suspect that something is wrong with Osric. He fights differently than before, much more recklessly! Might it be the sacrificial mace we found, and that he took from Maurice? I don’t think anything else has changed otherwise. Thinking of it, I heard no prayer or verse from Osric since we lost the last giant, but it was pretty chaotic so maybe I just missed it. I pray we go back to Hewflore soon.

The Statue and Prison of the Ratman Stronghold
Session 11 & 12

“The rats indeed came back for more!” Osric adds to the journal with a little smile on lips before continuing to write down the events that followed.

“These rat-men really dared to disturb our rest but were spotted just in time. The fight was swift and brutal, and Maurice engaged half a dozen on his own before I joined him in the righteous punishment of these sniveling little beasts. The other front towards the large hall was dominated by our four-armed assistants and Zephyros, but it took a while to get them out of all the little hiding places before silence once again spread through these noisome halls. We decided to pull back a bit into the large room after we made sure there was nothing more valuable on the recently slain.

While we cleaned up the larger hall a bit to barricade us in, we got the chance to take a closer look at the large statue. It depicts a woman sitting with staff and pomegranate in hand. From her back, a set of swan wings are visible and there are also swans to her feet making her look rather regal for a heathen goddess. In front of her was a blackened altar, and behind that we found the remains of a woman. She might have died here fighting, but we cannot say for sure. It didn’t look like a sacrifice of some sort, at least, but closer inspection of her belongings netted us a small vial filled with a magical oil of some sort. After rummaging through the rest of the room, pushing the brazier over, closing all the large doors and removing the rather solid, staff from the statue, we eventually found a hidden stash and drainage under the altar. There we found three silver sacrificial weapons: two curvy daggers and a pomegranate mace that seems to be of wondrous make! Quite a find I have to say; I am sure Maurice will make good use of this weapon. "

And with that Osric put the journal away to prepare for another, hopefully undisturbed, rest.

More then an hour later Osric finds some time to write into the journal once more.:

“The rats came back just as we were preparing for another foray. Their ambush was short-lived as the group ran away after the first died by a well placed arrow in his ugly little face. They were even gracious enough to leave a hostage behind for us to interrogate!

The western door, where we encountered the giant ironback before, leads to a prison of sorts where the enemies of Bigarm are held. Apparently, some of these little cowards were holed up in there as well, so we stormed the narrow tunnels without aid of the large giants. It wasn’t much of a battle, but there was one enemy of note: the witch doctor. This nasty little creature had an aura of doubt and disgust about him with his sickly green glowing eyes, making it hard face him directly, but the Maker made me see right through his foul magic! The second hit with my mace broke his skull, and he ceased to whisper his sorcerous blasphemy immediately.

There was a range of prisoners: two caravan guards, a canon and his man-servant, a Dwergar soldier, a weird-looking beastman with a horse’s head, and two widdigmen who say they are enemies of Bigarm. Moreover, there was a plethora of females with their young who apparently tried to seek shelter in the cells.

We swiftly went back into the large hall and I had a brief talk with Godric the canon before we decided to tackle the eastern doors next."


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