Campaign of the Month: September 2018

Shadows of the Rift

Rage and Raven: Beneath the Skin (Part Five)

Part Five


3 Illumination 508

The four companions bring the bodies of the hobgoblins into the guard room. Tag listens at each of the doors, but hears nothing beyond them. He opens the north door and finds a bed, barrels, and shelves containing various jars of pickled meat. He determines that the barrels contain beer. Checking the other door, he finds a privy.

Throughout this thorough search, Rhain impatiently states repeatedly that he wants to check the hall. Finally, when Tag is done, they decide to follow Rhain’s suggestion.

Going down the hall, they come to another central room with alcoves, which is thoroughly searched. Nothing of interest is found—though Tag is fascinated by a locked, but empty, weapons rack. Why would they lock an empty rack? There must be something there, he reasons. Try as he might, he finds nothing there. Regna detects no magic there either. Nevertheless, he decides to keep the padlock he takes from the rack, just in case it’s important.

Listening at the doors that lie in each direction here, Tag hears muffled noise coming from beyond the eastern door. He opens the door and starts exploring. The others hang back, far more cautious.

The door opens into a corridor lined with cell doors. He can now tell that the noise he heard was a voice, female, with the lilt of a Valish accent, demanding that they be fed. The voice is coming from the furthest door. Tag returns to the others to report what he’s discovered.

This puts the group into a quandary. No one likes the idea of leaving a prisoner to the hobgoblins (though Rhain seems fairly indifferent), everyone recognizes how much more difficult getting out of the keep stealthily it will be lugging a prisoner around. They decide to leave it for now and come back to her when they find the horn.

Checking the western door, they find a relatively clean room with old implements of torture on the walls. They find a door with a passage leading up into the south wing of the keep—a “prince’s exit” from the dungeon. They return to the dungeon and explore the south corridor from the central hub. There they find two solitary cells and what they assume to be a “VIP” cell. Tag opens them all and searches them, but finds nothing of interest.

Finally, they open one door that is not a cell and find a staircase heading down. While Tag and Regna linger above to search out the cells, Lenoria and Rhain head downstairs. Rhain and Lenoria enter an anteroom with murals depicting a thin man in long robes with a staff holding a balance on them, and murals of a large black bull. Lenoria can’t place their significance and Rhain is indifferent. They continue onward to find a larger room with more murals and a winding staircase heading down. These murals depict more of the thin man with the balance and staff and the black bull, but also depict a kingly man, a white stallion, a white heron, and beautiful Southron woman. Lenoria finally places it as the various aspects of Azumazran, Azumartuk, and Azunapath, the main deities of the Acheran religion. They are depicted as guiding souls into the Acheran paradise, Bethaizu.

Lenoria goes to the fetch the other two adventurers, while Rhain, tired of waiting on them, heads down the staircase. Eventually, the others catch up to him, as the staircase is long and winding.

The staircase finally ends in an enormous chamber, decorated in bas relief carvings of the Acheran deities in various aspects. There are four smaller chambers on each side of the long mall area, each with a stone sarcophagus. The long chamber ends in a narrow alcove.

The party cautiously makes its way down the main chamber. Tag lingers behind, checking out the bas relief carvings to see if they yield any treasures. It is he who notices a shadowy form move out from one of the antechambers toward the party. He calls out a warning, allowing Lenoria to have her guard up as a wraith attacks her. Rhain takes the opportunity to attack as it crosses the room to get to the cleric of Imtiau. Tag runs to Regna with a vial of Oil of Magic Weapon. Regna moves in toward the incorporeal undead creature with her newly-ensorcelled weapon. Tag heads to another alcove to see if there is another wraith coming. Rhain re-positions for a flanking maneuver. The wraith tries for Lenoria again, but misses. Lenoria tries to attack the wraith, but misses. Tag tries to open a sarcophagus, but fails. Regna tries to hit the wraith, but fails.

Lenoria goes for another hit, but misses Then Rhain swings and connects with the wraith. The wraith tries to touch Lenoria again but misses. Tag keeps trying to open the sarcophagus, but fails. Regna misses the wraith again. Rhain hits the wraith again. This gets the wraith’s attention and hits Rhain, draining him of strength! Regna misses again and Rhain hits it for a final time, making it dissipate.

Meanwhile, Tag is still trying to open the sarcophagus. Regna goes over and helps him and they get the lid off. Rhain stands watch and Lenoria stands with him.

Tag jumps into the sarcophagus feet first and looks for its “secrets”. Inside is the tattered remains of an Acheran soldier and various weapons and armor—some masterwork and magic. They go to each of the antechambers and open the sarcophagi and let Tag jump inside. In each, they find an assortment of magic and masterwork weapons and armor of Acheran style, but no horn. They do find a couple of secret passages that lead around behind the antechambers, but nothing more.

Stymied by the lack of the horn, they thoroughly search the main room. They find nothing. Rhain gets bored and starts to take a nap. Everyone is getting frustrated but they can’t seem to find the tomb of the commander that is reputed to have the horn. And the hobgoblins are going to be rising soon.

They decide to leave and come back. Maybe with all of their leaders slaughtered, the remaining hobs will decide to leave this place and they can search again later. They head to the cell where they heard the prisoner, checking the other cells along the way. They are all empty. Now they hear a second voice in the cell with the first, telling her to pipe down before the hobs decide to get violent.

Tag is moving forward to see what is going on, but can’t see through the window in the door. Rhain moves forward and takes charge. He peeks inside and sees eight people inside a large holding cell: several humans, a half-elf, an elf, a dwarf, and a halfling. Tag notices that the lock is filled with junk. After speaking briefly with them, he determines that they are all slaves of the hobgoblins. The halfling, Joia, is happy to provide information, though one of the humans, who identifies himself as Waylund, cuts to the chase and tells Rhain that if he helps get them out of there, he will pay them 500 gold when he gets back home to Osandar. That gets Rhain’s attention, but he insists that if he lets them out that he’s in charge that they better do what he says. They all promise to do so.

Tag manages to unclutter the lock without ruining his tools and they all set off out of the keep. They all carry as much of the loot they can manage and get it on to the hobgoblin’s horses and lead them out of the keep. Then they all head east toward Osandar as the sun sinks into the western horizon.

4 Illumination 508

The following day, after an uneventful night in which everyone took part in guard shifts, a review of the food situation reveals that they are going to be short before they get to the city. They decide to have Lenoria and Waylund ride ahead and bring food back from Osandar for the rest of the group. Waylund indicates that he has to resources to make this happen.

After Lenoria and Waylund ride off, Tag needles Dayla, the elf, incessantly about Waylund. She works for him as a cook, but she will reveal nothing about the man and it is driving Tag to the brink. He also talks to Joia, being a fellow halfling and traveler, such as himself. Dayla finally breaks and reveals that Waylund is actually Lord Rollo Waylund of Red Wyvern Manor in Osandar. He didn’t want to reveal himself in case the party wanted to try and ransom him for more money. Tag thinks that “Rollo” is a funny name, but is intrigued by the fact that they rescued a lord and the promise of glory that will bring.

While the rest of the party waits on relief from Lenoria and Waylund, they spend half of their days allowing Talinel, the half-elf, to hunt to supplement their meager supplies.

5 Illumination 508

Meanwhile, Lenoria and Waylund make it into Osandar and to Red Wyveryn Manor, where they get cleaned up and Lord Waylund orders his men to make a wagon full of supplies ready to ride out at first opportunity. Lenoria asks about his family and Lord Waylund says that he lives alone with his ailing mother. The two ride out with the wagon and four other guards.

7 Illumination 508

Lenoria and Waylund catch back up to the party with their wagon full of food. The party is very happy to see them, as Talinel’s hunts have barely sustained them. Fortunately, there has been no sign of pursuit from the hobgoblins.

10 Illumination 508

The entire entourage arrives at the gates of the city of Osandar. Lord Waylund pays the gate fees for all and they make their way to Red Wyvern Manor. It is a modest manor in the city—the grounds are by no means extensive, but are well-maintained.

Tag has already been talking up to the others the idea of a party to celebrate their liberation and so they all manage to talk Lord Waylund into throwing one. He says it will take a bit of planning but he will throw one on the 15th of Illumination. He also welcomes them to modest accommodations in his home—he doesn’t have enough guest rooms for everyone, but he does have a small ballroom where people could bunk and two guest rooms that could be shared.

Tag wanders the house and finds the small ballroom—as well as a bedroom housing a bedridden old woman. He leaves that one alone.

Rhain is taken aside to an office by Lord Waylund and given a sum of 50 platinum pieces.

Over the course of the next few days, the party sell off items, separate magical treasures, and Rhain goes to a temple and gets his strength restored.


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