10 Longday 508
Morning comes after the night’s battle and the party loads up to head further into the mountains. Savaric, as usual, leads the way, keeping his eyes out for dragon-sign. Through the day, Savaric manages to make up some time lost from being off-track the day before. The rest of the troupe follows en masse.
Late that afternoon, as they continue to trek through the Et’tir Mountains, the troupe comes upon what looks to be a pass. Surm and Savaric notice, buried in the remains of a past landslide, a post and a board—perhaps some sort of sign. The two manage to dig it out of the debris and see that it is a sign that reads, in Tradespeak, “Trespassers Beware.” Rilka and Savaric determine that the pass does not look particularly treacherous as far as landslides are concerned. Savaric determines through tracking that there has been activity on the pass in the past week. The troupe turns and takes the pass. Rilka looks for paths and boltholes in the rock walls surrounding the pass.
Savaric takes a significant lead from the troupe, going out a mile ahead of the group. Mõrvar ventures a within sight of Savaric ahead of the troupe with Tarben acting as a runner. Before leaving, Mõrvar turns to Alasir and tells him to “take care of my brother.”
Savaric sticks to the side of the pass and ventures forth, looking for evidence of a temple. As he ventures, a few miles up ahead, he finds a tripwire crossing the width of the pass. Savaric takes two arrows and places them near the tripwire cross-wise and then writes in the earth, in Tradespeak, “Tripwire.” He then steps over the wire and continues on.
Mõrvar, coming along behind Savaric, encounters the crossed arrows and the message written in the earth regarding the tripwire. Neither he nor Tarben can see the wire itself. The two decide to stay there and try to find the wire. Mõrvar attempts to send a magical message to Savaric telling him that they are looking for the wire and to respond if he hears the message; however, Savaric is too far away to hear the message.
The sun begins to set. Savaric estimates that they’ve probably traveled about five miles down the pass. Savaric holds his position to let the rest of the group catch up. Meanwhile, Mõrvar and Tarben finally spot the wire and step over it and start hustling toward Savaric.
The rest of troupe comes upon Savaric’s note about the tripwire. Surm investigates and finds the tripwire. The trap is mechanical in nature. Surm investigates further to try and determine what the trap does. It appears to be connected to a fulcrum of some sort that will swing across the pass. Surm announces that he’s going to try and disable the trap. The troupe moves back, but Rilka stays close to Surm, hoping to ensure that Surm doesn’t get hit. Surm tries to keep low to the ground to avoid any swinging death. Surm manages to avoid setting off the trap, but doesn’t disable it either. He tries again. A snap is heard and a large log swings down across the path and narrowly misses both of them.
Mõrvar has caught up to Savaric and asks why he stopped. Savaric explains that the sun is going down and they’ll need to make camp. Mõrvar has Tarben move back to the troupe and let them know about the tripwire and the stop ahead.
Surm announces that he has disabled the trap and that the troupe can move forward. The troupe begins to move when Tarben approaches from the pass ahead. “Master Savaric and Master Mõrvar are half a mile ahead.” Surm asks if we’re stopping and Tarben says yes. The troupe catches up to the others and reunites.
Surm warns everyone to keep a watchful eye on their guard shifts, as the temple of Jörn is not far. Mõrvar wants to split all of the half-orcs amongst the guard shifts so that they can see in the dark. Since the porters are not paid to guard, they decide to put Rilka and Savaric and Mirka on two of the middle shifts. Mõrvar approaches the half-orc priestess of Ulfethinn about helping with the guard shifts. She acquiesces. He then approaches Alasir to make the changes to the guard shifts. Mõrvar also adds himself to the first shift. Alasir makes the arrangements.
Mõrvar goes back to Surm and says, “I think it would be a good idea if Sigurd, being the leader of this group, took the last shift to give an extra body with Alasir and Sorcha. It would be good to have an extra set of eyes. So if you could talk to him, I’d appreciate it.”
“You want me to talk to him?” Surm asks.
“He trusts everything you say,” Mõrvar responds.
“I don’t think your request is unreasonable, but I can ask him.”
Surm makes the suggestion to Sigurd, who complies. Alasir is told and he makes a note of the change.
Camp is made in the narrow pass. It is decided that they will use campfires. They decide to try and shield the light from being seen by making tents, lean-to style, in the direction of the temple.
The night passes without incident.
11 Longday 508
The group breaks camp and continues down the pass. They continue in the same fashion as the previous day, with Savaric venturing a mile from the troupe and Mõrvar following just within sight with Tarben acting as a runner.
Savaric is traveling down the pass, looking for signs of the temple or guards when he hears a twang, followed by the grinding sound of stone upon stone, followed by a rolling sound. A boulder comes rolling down the pass, narrowly missing the ranger. It continues down the pass, missing Mõrvar, but striking Tarben in its path. He cries in pain as his leg is crushed by the boulder. It comes to a bend in the pass and stops. Mõrvar sees that Tarben is unconscious. Mõrvar sends Savaric a magical message to come back. The ranger does, sees the fallen guard, and attempts to stabilize him. Mõrvar tries as well, managing to stabilize Tarben.
The boulder effectively blocks the pass. People could climb over it, but the mule will have a much harder time.
Meanwhile, Rilka hears a faint rumbling up ahead of the troupe. She speculates that it could be another landslide. The troupe moves forward cautiously, no knowing what to expect up ahead.
Savaric moves a hundred yards further up the pass and hides, in case anyone comes from the temple to investigate. Mõrvar sticks with the unconscious Tarben.
The main group finally comes up to the bend in the pass blocked by the boulder. Surm speculates that they could leave their gear behind here and climb over the boulder. Meanwhile, Mõrvar hears the troupe approach and climbs the rock from his side.
“Tarben’s been severely hurt,” Mõrvar announces. “I’ve got him stabilize.”
“What happened?” Surm asks.
“I guess Savaric tripped another tripwire. Sent this boulder rolling down our path. Savaric got out of the way. I got out of the way. Tarben didn’t. I thought he wasn’t going to make it, but I got him stabilized. He’s in pretty bad shape.”
“Getting over this boulder is a pretty hard climb,” Surm speculates.
“It’s not easy,” Mõrvar says. “If we had a way to move it or break it up… So far I don’t think anyone else has heard, at least nobody has shown up. Savaric is keeping watch down the pass,”
They all then try to formulate a plan to get the troupe either over or around the boulder. They decide to throw up a couple of ropes to use and climb over. Mõrvar helps to secure the ropes on top of the rock. They decide to leave the mule, the porters, Mahgnus, and four of the guards (including Tarben) on the far side. The priests may be able to heal Tarben enough for him to climb over to the join the porters.
Everyone climbs the rope and scrambles over the boulder. The priests assess Tarben and Holga performs some healing prayers to get him conscious. As far as his leg, both she and Ivarin believe that they could help him with his leg in the morning. Mõrvar actually expresses fear on behalf of Tarben and concern for his condition. Alasir switches him out with Leif and Tarben scrambles over the boulder.
The troupe continues on, with Surm announcing that the main group will stop in four miles. Alasir assigns Sigrid to run for Mõrvar and he and the guard continue down the pass. Savaric emerges from his hiding place and Mõrvar catches him up on what’s going on. Savaric takes the lead again with Mõrvar and Sigrid staying behind within “messaging” distance.
As he makes his way down the pass, Savaric finds another tripwire. He marks it in the same fashion as the first one and then waves Mõrvar and Sigrid over to him and points it out. They step over the wire and continue down the pass.
Eventually, Savaric rounds a bend in the pass and comes to a steep-sloped approach leading up to an arched doorway built into the side of the mountain. Two rain-barrels sit outside the door. Savaric backs up and waits for Mõrvar and Sigrid to catch up. He tells them what he sees. Mõrvar sends Sigrid back to tell the main troupe what Savaric found.
Meanwhile, the main group comes upon Savaric’s note and arrows indicating the tripwire. Once again, the troupe backs off as Rilka and Surm stay and Surm attempts to disable the trap. He fails, springs the trap, and arrows spring out, criss-crossing the pass. Mirka heals Surm and Rilka is healed by Ivarin. The main troupe regroups and continues down the pass, stopping at the four-mile mark.
Sigrid catches up to the main group and reports to Surm that Mõrvar and Savaric are up ahead and that they have found an arched doorway in the side of the mountain. Surm calls for a scouting party. Ivarin volunteers. Rilka does as well. So Surm, Rilka, Sigrid, and Ivarin venture ahead to meet up with Mõrvar and Savaric.
At the bend in the pass, Surm and Rilka assess the situation, deciding that there isn’t any other way in. They also speculate that the priests must have some other water source deeper inside. They all discuss their various possible approaches to the arched doorway. They finally decide to send Savaric ahead, with Ilona making him invisible, to investigate the doorway. Surm casts mage armor on Savaric to help protect him. This doesn’t appear to phase Ivarin, who only gives Surm an assessing look. Savaric casts aspect of the falcon on himself, making him sprout feathers on his neck and head, but giving him more perceptive powers. He then asks Ilona to make him invisible and begins his approach to the doorway.
When Savaric gets to the rain barrels, he begins searching in earnest for traps and such. He finds no traps and determines that the rain-barrels are as they appear. He also sees within the doorway with his darkvision a figure. He wears a simple robe. He appears to be looking out of the doorway. He returns to the others and makes his report. Consulting with the others, the robes were not marked in any way to indicate rank or religious significance.
Mõrvar wants to capture the man and force information from him. Perhaps they can lure him out and Savaric sneak up behind him. Surm disagrees—he wants to get the others and have Sigurd make his demands, as Holga understood their plan to be. Perhaps Savaric could then take that opportunity to sneak inside. Surm tries to explain to Mõrvar that there is a right and wrong way to do things, but Mõrvar doesn’t take it to heart. Ivarin offers to accompany Savaric, as he can remain invisible for a short time as well.
Surm and Mõrvar go back to talk to Sigurd and approach the main group. He goes to Sigurd and says “We need to have a meeting.” The other priests and Alasir are brought in and Surm explains the situation and the plan. Holga frowns at the idea of the clandestine infiltration by Ivarin and Savaric. Surm explains that they are in a death-trap situation with their escape blocked with a boulder. Holga seems to accept this.
Sigurd confirms that the idea is for him to make his formal demand in order to lure the man out of the passageway. He will do some from a distance for safety and to force the man out. Mirka asks, “What about the rest of us?” Surm answers that everyone else will stay around the bend in the pass to shield their numbers and for safety. Mirka confirms that the range on the channeling of energy would be thirty feet, so they will stay at least that far away. Holga volunteers to go forward with Sigurd to protect him.
The main group moves forward toward the bend. They begin to plan their approach in earnest. In the course of the planning, they reconsider Ivarin’s offer to approach invisibly with Savaric as Ivarin can only go invisible the one time for a few minutes while Savaric can be invisible longer. Savaric prepares himself and leaves his snake companion behind. Mõrvar establishes a message spell with Surm.
Savaric makes himself invisible and heads up the approach first. He then sneaks his way to the entrance and hides behind a rain-barrel. Then Holga, Sigurd, and Surm make the approach. They make their way to fifty feet from the entrance. As they come forward, Surm asks Sigurd if he could do the talking to make them seem more impressive. Sigurd agrees.
When they come up and stop, the figure emerges from the archway. Savaric stealthily makes his way around the figure and into the archway. He finds himself in a narrow passageway. He continues through the hallway, looking for traps and another place to go.
The figure that emerges is an older man in simple robes. He calls out in Tradespeak, “Hail travelers. What brings you to this hermitage?”
Surm announces that this is Sigurd Danulfsson bringing grievances to the high priest of Jörn.
“We are a simple hermitage to all of the pantheon. You must take your grievance elsewhere,” the man says.
Sigurd and Holga look at each other as if to say, “This is unexpected.”
Surm says, “I would have expected a better cover from The Sly One. Enough of this stalling and send out your high priest to hear our grievances.”
The figure says, “We have no high priest here, but I am the abbot of this hermitage.”
Surm asks Holga, “Are you satisfied? I mean, they’re even rejecting who they are. They are certainly not going to pay weregeld.” Surm continues to explain the situation sotto voce to Mõrvar. Then he continues with Holga. “Clearly, unless you think the head of the temple was just standing in the door, he’s clearly not going to send out the man in charge. So we can make a demand of weregild from this guy who’s just going to deny their the temple at all. So in order to get any kind of satisfaction, we’re going to have to get rough.”
Surm turns to Sigurd, “Do you want me to make a formal demand from this ‘abbot’?”
Sigurd says, “Yes.”
Surm then turns back to the figure at the head of the rise. “Very well, underling. If you refuse to get your master, then let them know that Sigurd Danulfsson is here to collect weregild for the assassination of King Dunig and as the corruptors of Leglaf, you will pay.”
“I am afraid you have come in error. Be gone from this place,” the man says.
Everyone looks at each other with consternation.
“Then you refuse to pay?” Surm asks.
“I will not pay that which is not owed,” the figure says.
Surm asks Holga again if she is satisfied. She nods. “Is there anything you can do, because we kind of need to nab this guy for some formal interrogation.”
Surm messages to Mõrvar, “You got a bow?”
“Get it loaded.”
Mõrvar casts true strike on himself and readies his bow. Rilka gets ready to charge around the corner.
Holga indicates that she can cast a beam of light at the figure that will hurt him. Surm counts off to three.
Mõrvar whips around the bend and fires his bow, hitting the abbot. Holga fires a beam of light from hand toward the figure and hits him dead center. He shrieks in pain. Rilka charges out from around the corner and hustles up the approach past Mõrvar. Then the abbot turns and goes back inside the passageway. Surm gets behind Sigurd and they move forward toward the doorway.
Meanwhile, Savaric is making his way down the corridor looking for traps. He can hear the conversation going on outside through the passageway. He comes upon a door to this right or he can continue down the passage. The door is not locked. He opens the door a crack and peers inside. He sees a series of wooden seats placed around the large room. A simple table sits in the center of the room. Tapestries hang on the wall depicting Northron men and women in poses of contemplation. He sees no people, so he moves back into the corridor and follows it around a bend and to where it ends in a locked door. He hears nothing beyond the door. He draws his longsword and takes position at the bend in the corridor, prepared to deal with anything that may come out of the locked door. He hears a shriek of pain from down the corridor. He peers around the corner and sees the abbot, his hand glowing in a light spell, go to the unlocked door and go inside. Savaric follows.
Rilka runs up the approach and arrives near the entry point.
Savaric stealthily opens the door to the room and heads inside after the abbot. The abbot goes behind one of the tapestries, manipulates a panel, and opens a secret door. Savaric follows.
Sigurd arrives inside the entryway and Surm casts dancing lights to light up the area. They are in a five-foot-wide corridor. Mõrvar runs up to the entry point to join the others. Holga approaches the entry way as well. The rest of the troupe begins charging up the approach.
Savaric arrives at the panel and attempts to maneuver the panel in the same fashion as the abbot. Suddenly a small conflagration envelops the area. Thanks to his quick reflexes, Savaric manages to mitigate some of the damage he would have taken otherwise. The panel is open, however. It opens into a lit room containing four men, one of them being the abbot. Savaric whips back around to the side of the panel and prepares to attack anyone coming through that panel.
As Savaric waits for the coming attack, he hears a step in the panel’s threshold. He activates Edgefrost. Suddenly, a man with studded leather appears beside him, stabbing at him with a dagger, missing. The man stabs again and misses. Savaric attacks two-handedly with Edgefrost and hits the man. He then attacks again, hitting the man again with the cold weapon. The man stabs at Savaric again, but fails to connect. Savaric attacks again and scores an ugly wound on the man. The man falls. Savaric finishes him off.
Meanwhile, at the entry point, Mõrvar tells everyone to stand aside and let him take the lead. He casts light upon his sword and continues down the corridor. Rilka makes her way behind Mõrvar. Word is passed from the rear from Alasir asking if Surm wishes the guards to hold position at the entry point or to enter. Surm has the guards hold position at the entry point.
Mõrvar continues down the corridor and comes to the door on the right. It is open. Peering in he sees the table and series of chairs as well as the tapestries. He also sees Savaric finishing off someone in studded armor. Mõrvar moves in and asks “Where did he go?”
Savaric says, “There’s a secret door behind this tapestry. This guy just came back through it, invisibly, and attacked me. There’s at least three more guys still in there. And they know we’re here.”
Rilka checks the downed man for a symbol of Jörn. He is holding a masterwork dagger with a ring of flame motif etched upon it—the symbol of Jörn. He has a light mace on his belt. Rilka searches him, but finds little. Savaric is recruited to try while Rilka and Mõrvar take up positions on either side of the tapestry. Savaric finds a pouch on him with two vials of some oily substance. He also has five pellets of some sort. Savaric finds five other daggers secreted upon his person as well as a bronze holy symbol of Jörn. This they give to Holga. All the priests and volunteers have arrived and filled the room.
Surm casts mage armor on Rilka and Mõrvar. He then asks is Sigurd wants to charge in there. Sigurd says “Yes”, so Surm also casts the spell upon him, advising him to third. He also tells the volunteers to watch the door. He tells Nodwick specifically to watch and see if anyone comes down that corridor behind them. He can also get word to Alasir about the ambush. Kalthin and Sadwina are to take up positions on either side of the door.
Mõrvar will go in first and break left, Rilka will follow and break right. Sigurd will follow through the door. Savaric will go in after Sigurd, followed by the priests.
Mõrvar rushes in, with his sword lit. He finds himself in a sparse room with a few chairs. The walls are bare. A door is at the opposite end of the room and an open arched doorway in the corner of the room. No one else is in the room.
Savaric is brought forward to track the injured abbot on his blood trail. Savaric finds a trail leading to the closed door. He checks the door for traps and doesn’t find any. He opens the door into a five-foot wide corridor. Savaric goes down the hall, looking for traps, finds none, and comes to a closed door. Mõrvar comes forward and opens the door. A dagger flies into Mõrvar, thrown from a crouched man. Mõrvar charges. Savaric moves out of Rilka’s way and then follows her in.
Surm takes Kalthin and sets him up to guard the open archway.
Mõrvar is wracked in pain as several courses of negative energy flow through him. He notes that there are six figures in the room. The abbot is one of them.
Suddenly, all of the attackers feel bursts of positive energy, healing them, coming from the troupe’s priests.
Mõrvar charges toward the abbot and attacks, scoring a hit on the man. Rilka enters, veers right, and attacks one of the other men in the room, and hits with a heroic effort. Savaric also goes right and attacks another priest. Sigurd enters and attacks one of the men, swinging a pair of hand-axes. He hits.
Sigurd attacks again with his axes, scoring hits against his foe. Savaric continues to swing against his adversary, striking him with Edgefrost. Mõrvar swings at the abbot, and his swing cleaves through and hits the next man. The abbot falls. Rilka attacks her foe and hits mightily, but fails to take him down. Ivarin casts a spell, but nothing happens. Furfur flies about the room. The party then feels the blessing of Saemundil descend upon them. Mirka enters the room and smacks a priest with her warhammer. Rilka’s foe attacks her, but misses. Savaric’s foe attacks as well, but fails. Mõrvar is missed as well as Sigurd and Mirka.
Sigurd attacks his foe, hitting him with his axes. Mõrvar attacks his foe with a powerful blow and fells him. Rilka attacks and hits her foe again, causing him to start staggering. Mirka attacks and knocks the breath out of her foe. Negative energy begins bursting through the room as the evil priests channel. Savaric then attacks his foe, and chops off a finger. The man falls.
Sigurd attacks his opponent, striking him hard with his axes. Mõrvar runs the two that he fell through, to make sure they don’t get back up. Then he takes a step toward his next foe. Rilka attacks again and kills her foe. She then positions herself to help Sigurd. More negative energy bursts within the room and Mõrvar goes down. Savaric moves to help Mirka and attacks her foe. He his, but the man does not go down. Holga runs into the room and prays over Mõrvar, healing him. He rises. Holga is attacked by the priest, but is missed. Ivarin fires a shortbow into the room and misses.
Meanwhile, Surm pulls the guards in and has two of the guards sit with Nodwick and Sadwina and then assigns the others to guard the archway. Looking through the arched doorway, Surm can see that the corridor turns. He looks further and finds that it turns again, doubling back toward the room.
Sigurd misses against his foe. Mõrvar then attacks from the ground against the priest on Mirka and Savaric, dealing a mighty blow and felling the man. The last priest, who is fighting Sigurd, suddenly has a second priest appear beside him that also attacks at Sigurd. This opens up an opportunity for Rilka to attack. He falls an the second priest fades away. Mõrvar runs all but the last priest to fall through.
Savaric starts searching the bodies and Mõrvar announces that he wants to question the last man. Savaric finds, on each of the priests that are not the abbot, a pouch with two vials of an oily substance and five pellets of some sort. Each of them has a masterwork dagger with a ring-of-flame motif and five other, regular daggers hidden on their person. They each wear studded leather and have a light mace. The also each have a bronze holy symbol of Jörn. Each of the masterwork daggers have an oily substance upon it. Each pouch has a sum of gold, the total being two hundred and seventy six pieces. The abbot has a masterwork light mace with the flame motif on it. He also has a masterwork dagger with an some substance on the blade. Under his robes is a suit of masterwork studded leather. He has five other daggers on his person. He is wearing a silver holy symbol of Jörn. He also has a pouch with two vials with some substance inside them, different than the oily substance in the other vials. The abbot also had a thunderstone and two hundred gold pieces.