Die in Battle, Do Us Proud

Session 4: Grinding Meat

After some discussion about how to handle the two captured goblins, it was decided that Fenton would lead them out into the forest and set them free. We can only assume that that’s exactly what he did.

Crown in hand, the adventurers returned to Kaladon. By the time they reached the city, the sun had set and the gate was closed, They set up camp near the edge of the woods so as to not be too near the elven encampment. The next morning, the gate opened and the adventurers followed a lumber cart into the city.

They headed to the address that Perrin Featherly had given them: a third-floor apartment in the Castle View district. There, they were admitted by his human wife, Mara Featherly. They sat down with Perrin. He told them how grateful he was to see them, especially after having learned that The Copper Cask had burned down. When the adventurers offered him the crown they had discovered, his disappointment was apparent. It was not the crown he was looking for. He thanked the group for the efforts and told them they were welcome to keep the advance, but he seemed to feel that their business together was concluded. They were not to be so easily dissuaded, and they offered to further explore the ruined mansion, in case there was anything they had missed. After some questioning, Perrin explained his interest in the Oakleaf Crown.

Perrin is actually the uncle of the current Elfking of the Shriekwood, a post elected by the heads of the eight elven tribes of the Shriekwood. From the time of the founding of the city-state, Perrin served as the elven ambassador to Kaladon. However, twenty years ago, when he fell in love with and married a human woman, the Elfking banished him from Oakleaf Tower and stripped him of his title. Perrin hopes that if he recovers the Oakleaf Crown, his people’s ancient symbol of power, he will regain his lost honor and be reinstated as ambassador.

Because of the Elfking’s repeated concessions to the Kaladonians regarding lumber rites in the Shriekwood, many of the Shriekwood elves are growing dissatisfied with their liege. Perrin fears that the situation is headed quickly towards a boiling point, and believes that his expertise is needed in order to ease tensions.

After two days of rest and shopping, the adventurers once again left Kaladon. On their way out of the city, they were accosted by three elves, who demanded to know their business with Perrin, whom they called “The Outcast.” They were satisfied (and even a little impressed) by Fenton’s claim that they were goblin hunters, and that Perrin Featherly was their patron.

Back in the Mansion of the Silver-Faced Wizard, they followed a secret passage to a room that contained a pool of clear liquid, at the bottom of which rested a single red gem. Experimentation revealed the liquid to be a powerful acid. Fenton and Noid constructed a spatula-shaped tool from some dislodged stone, and used it to scoop the gem from the pool.

Further exploration led them to a decrepit, abandoned office. In an old desk on the verge of collapse, Shoshana discoversed a wrought-iron key and an old letter. It told of a library hidden in the caves beneath Littlefang Mountain, and of a ritual to summon something called “The Elfsbane,” a creature the letter’s author cautioned was not to be trusted.

The adventurers came to a door upon which a message was carved in Goblin. Since no one could read Goblin, Noid opened the door, stepped through into the hallway beyond…and vanished, with a yelp. Bracing himself in the doorway, Brick leaned his head in. He found himself not in a hallway at all, but at the top of a deep shaft. At the bottom were several sharp metal spikes. The spikes impaled the skeletons of several goblins, and also, sadly, the corpse of Noid. He stared up at Brick with a look of utter shock on his frozen face.

They pressed on. Shoshanna’s key opened a door to a room with a large domed ceiling. Every inch of the wall was covered with skulls, running from the floor all the way up to the dome’s apex. The flickering of the torch caught a metal glint all the way up at the top. A large stone hand rested in the center of the floor. A human-like mouth was carved into its palm. Shoshanna took a seat on the hand, and the mouth immediately animated.

“Greetings, Master,” it said.

It explained that it can lift her up to the top of the dome, but that first she must answer one question: “What secret is hidden by the Silver Mask?”

“Human?” she guessed.

The hand squeezed shut, bursting Shoshanna like a jelly packet. When it reopened, the mouth was no longer animate. Fenton used his sword to fish through the pulverized bone and flesh to retrieve his comrade’s valuables.

With half their party gone, Fenton and Brick decided to return to the city.

They stopped for a drink to plot their next move and to recover from the day’s horrors. Across the room, Brick spotted a familiar face: Expertise, an old nemesis from his school days. She had recently arrived in Kaladon with her ex-husband and adventuring companion, the dwarf Farley, in search of work. After some tense, almost hostile negotiations, Brick and Fenton offered Expertise and Farley positions in the party. The next day, the four of them set out once again for the Mansion of the Silver-Faced Wizard.

This time, they descended into the caverns beneath the mansion’s basement. They discovered a flock of strange birds with mosquito probosces instead of beaks, and drove them off with arrows. In the center of the cavern floor, someone had painted a pentagram and several strange runes, and surrounded the whole thing with candles. Nearby lay a skeleton wearing ragged white robes and a silver plague mask. Fenton took the mask and noted that the skull that it covered was that of an elf.

One tunnel led to a pool bubbling with glowing blue liquid. Fenton filled a waterskin. Another tunnel led to a small chamber. A creature perched upon a ledge above them. It was enormous, ten feet tall at least, and though humanoid, had the skin and face of a salamander. An extra pair of arms hung off its torso, and a stripe of white hair ran from the top of its head all the way down its back. When they entered the chamber, the creature stared ahead, its eyes milky and blank, and gave no sign of having noticed of the visitors.

The adventurers began to back out of the room, but they didn’t make it far before Fenton fired an arrow at the creature. He missed, but it woke up anyway. Farley launched an arrow as well, and his found its mark. In return, the creature beat him to death. It turned its attentions to Fenton and Brick (Expertise had ducked back into the tunnel), but they managed to cleave it in half.

The survivors left the mansion.

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