15 Illumination 508 (10:00 am)
The line of folks waiting to pass through the gates at Jenna is quite substantial as it is Market Day. Wagons laden with wares to be sold crowd the road and horses jostle pedestrians who await their turn to pay the gate taxes. Finally, after waiting a couple of hours in line, the group make their way through the gates, pay their way, and arrive inside the city.
Saren leads them through the city toward his sister livery station where they will drop off the rental horses. Rilka asks if he has any suggestions for inns and he points out that they are passing the Whistling Hunter as they go through the eastside of the city and that the Dusty Cartwright is in the market district, near the livery stable. Rilka thanks him for the information. Finally they arrive at the stable and the party collects their gear and thanks Saren for his services. They then decide to haul their gear to the nearby Dusty Cartwright for rooms. Mõrvar and the half-orcs throw intimidating glares at people who cross their path as they haul their many belongings across the busy streets.
At the Dusty Cartwright, they discover that the inn only has two rooms available—it being Market Day, accommodations are scarce. The group decides to take the rooms and double up. The innkeep will provide cots for the extra person in each room. Once everyone settles into their rooms, they decide to meet together in one room to discuss their next plan of action—namely, what goods will be sold at market.
After the discussion, the group heads out into the market place to begin selling their wares. Surm asks the innkeep if he knows of any vendors of exotic ivory or gemstones and he replies that they are in luck, with it being Market Day and all, such a vendor is in town and not far from the inn. The innkeep gives them a couple a names and sends them on their way.
At the ivory dealer, Surm tries to talk up the price of the Slurk tusks that they had collected in the mountains, but the dealer would only give them their market value. They next make their way to a dealer in clockwork devices to sell off some excess mechanical gears, a key, and a music box they found. Then they make their way to the gemologist to receive coin for some gemstones that they had acquired. The gemologist is fair dealer and gives them what they had appraised the stones for.
By this point the sun has begun to set, but vendors have begun to put out torches and continue to do business into the night. The group now make their way to Scribner’s Hill and begin to inquire of its citizens about who to see about curse removal—the concern is the hat that seems to have permanently attached itself to Rilka’s head. They are given the name of Brunhild Corth a wizard who is associated with the University. In fact, she has rooms near that institution where she can be found.
They follow the directions that they are given and arrive at a narrow building in a crowded neighborhood. Surm knocks and the door is answered by a slightly disheveled woman in robes with spectacles worn at the end of her nose. “Yes?” she asks. “Can I help you?” Surm explains that they are there because they were told that she could remove curses. The woman avows that she has performed that spell from time to time and invites them inside to discuss it.
Inside her home they see that it is cluttered with papers and books but also contains a large perch on which sits a formidable hawk which watches them as they enter. She sits them down and they further explain that the curse appears to be on the hat that Rilka is wearing. “Ah,” Corth says. “I will be able to remove the curse enough to remove the hat, but not permanently. Do not place the hat on your head again once it is removed,” she explains. She also states that she will need to review the spell as she has not cast it for a while and will be available in the morning. So the group says that they will return then to actually have the curse removed. For the service, Brunhild will charge 280 gold pieces—upon delivery of the service, of course.
Before leaving, Surm asks for recommendations for purveyors of magical wares. Brunhild recommends a Danu Berstrom for magical potions and trinkets and a Aethel Troos for magical arms and armor. Both are colleagues of hers and fair dealers. She gives them directions to their shops in the market district and bids them good luck.
Walking along the well-lit streets of the market district, the group make their way to the shop of Danu Berstrom. First they ask to sell off some of their more magical wares, namely a scroll in their possession. Danu offers to see them in his office, if they leave their weapons with his associate. The group agrees and leaves their formidable armory with the associate. It turns out that the scroll is of flaming sphere. But, Danu gives them a fair price and a deal is struck. They inquire after items that can improve attributes or offer protection. Danu says that he has nothing that can help in that regard, but he can help on the front of protection. He has rings that offer protection of various degrees. He also has a brooch that can offer protection specifically from magical missiles if that is a concern. After hearing the prices for such trinkets, the group decides to wait and see what sort of armors the group can afford with their newfound wealth. They bid Danu goodnight and say that they may return.
They then head to the shop of Aethel Troos to see what sort of weapons and armor she has to offer. Rilka inquires after a falchion and, as luck would have it, she does have a magical falchion (+ 1) that glows with the light of torch. They also inquire after armor that reduces the arcane failure chances for those that cast magical spells. The best that Troos can offer is mithral armor, that is more lightweight than regular armor and thus offers a reduction in that regard. She has a magical mithral chain shirt and regular mithral chain shirt to offer. Savaric inquires after a magical composite longbow. She does have one in stock that he can purchase. In the end, the group purchases all of these items.
The group then returns to Danu Berstrom’s shop where they pay him to identify some of the potions that they have acquired, as well as a wand. The wand Is wand of cure light wounds, though it has been heavily used—many of the charges have been used. The potions are of mirror image and true strike. The group decides to keep all of these items and not sell them to the dealer. They ask Danu for advice as to acquiring something to raise attributes and he suggests talking to a sage.
At this point the group decides to return to the Dusty Cartwright for a meal and to turn in for the evening.
16 Illumination 508
First thing in the morning, the group returns to the home of Brunhild Corth to get Rilka’s hat removed. Brunhild lets the group in bright and early in the morning and sets Rilka down on a stool and gets to work. She waves her hands over the half-orc’s head and says a few words and reaches down and lifts the hat off of her head. Happy to have the cursed item off, the group pays the wizard. Surm inquires about sages in the area and Brunhild puts them onto the path of Cuthmund Weldwyn. He has an office on Scribner’s Hill.
The group heads to the office of Cuthmund Weldwyn. They find his shop high on the hill, near the University grounds. They open the door and a bell rings revealing a cluttered office and a young woman working at a desk. She looks up, distracted, and welcomes them. Surm asks if she is Cuthmund Weldwyn and she says that she is not. Surm states that they have been sent by Brunhild Corth to see him. The young woman says that she will announce them. She then heads to a back office for a few moments and then returns and says that Master Weldwyn will see them.
Cuthmund Weldwyn is an older man with long hair and large sideburns. He welcomes the group into his cluttered office warmly and bids them welcome. He does mention that is not often that he has those of the " Urkhani persuasion " in his office, indicating Rilka and Savaric. Rilka responds that it is not often that they meet with scribes—meaning sages, but accidentally insulting the man with the wrong title. Surm acts quickly to try and recover the situation and get to the point of their visit. He explains that they are looking for some magical means to increase strength, and perhaps find hordes of treasure along with it. Weldwyn seems to catch his meaning and says that he can perform these researches for the fee of 15 gold pieces per day. He will, of course, attempt to be expeditious in his endeavors. If they are staying here in the city, he can send word to them when he finds something of interest. A deal is struck and introductions are made all around.
As the group is leaving, they decide to look for something to occupy their time while they wait for the sage to find their information. They ask about and discover that there a couple of bounties being sought for local bandits to be brought to the authorities alive. One is being sought for 30 gold pieces, the other for 50. Names and descriptions are provided. They also discover that a local farmer named Fenrik that is seeking help with a beast that is slaughtering his livestock. They decide to pursue this option.
The group is dressed in their “Captain Rilka” uniforms (as their other clothes are currently being laundered), so they go with this persona. As they approach the land to which their information led them, they see a group of farmers gathered around something in a field near the edge of the forest. Surm begins calling out “Make way for Captain Rilka! Make way!” This gets everyone’s attention and a path is cleared, revealing the torn remains of a draft horse.
As Savaric begins to assess the area for tracks, Rilka begins asking questions about the attacks. Apparently over the past five nights livestock have been attacked out in the fields. Fenrik hasn’t been able to figure out what’s doing it so he’s sought help. Whatever it is it’s large. Savaric confirms this with the size of the tracks, though he can’t discern too much else. He can, however, pick up a trail that leads into the forest. Also, whatever this is it has torn apart the horse with tooth and claw and has eaten the meat. Surm declares that Captain Rilka and her crew will hunt this creature down, much to the delight of Farmer Fenrik.
Savaric follows the tracks through the woods to a moss-covered hill with a large cleft cracking its outer face. The half-orc has now determined that the tracks are definitely canine and large and a quadruped—the assumption is that this is probably a dire wolf. The group pauses before approaching the cave to form a plan. They decide that Savaric and Surm will sneak into the cave and try to take the beast unawares. Rilka and Mõrvar will wait just outside the cleft, on either side of the opening, ready to strike in case the creature comes out.
Savaric and Surm approach quietly through the cleft in the hill’s face. Surm stops once he runs out of light but the half-orc continues on into the darkness, aided by his darkvision. Both can hear the soft snores of some creature sleeping soundly. Savaric can see a large wolf, its head propped up on its paws, snoring soundly. The half-orc draws his longsword quietly and approaches, careful not to wake the great beast. Closer and closer. Quietly, he takes a deep breath and plunges his blade deep into helpless creature, over and again, killing it. Announcing that its safe, he then begins the work of taking the creature’s pelt and teeth.
“Make way for Captain Rilka!” Surm cries as the group returns to the group of farmers who are still congregating around the horse carcass. “What’s this?” Farmer Fenrik says as Savaric presents him with the pelt and teeth from the dire wolf. And then Surm then entertains the farmers with the story of the how they encountered a much more lively dire wolf and vanquished it. The farmers are enraptured by the story and by the pelt that comes with it. Fenrik says that he doesn’t have much in the way of gold to repay them for their service. Surm assures him that it is not necessary, that someday Captain Rilka may call upon him for a favor one day and that will be repayment enough, to remember the story of the red-eyed dire wolf. The farmer then bids them all farewell and “may the gods smile upon you!”
The group then returns to the city and pick up their laundry and return to the Dusty Cartwright. There they recount to all who will listen the story of the dire wolf. Mõrvar also finds companionship in the form of a young woman named Seela, who seems very impressed with the group as a whole and Mõrvar in particular.
17 Illumination 508
The next finds the group hanging out at the Dusty Cartwright for a while. Seela joins them, much to Mõrvar’s delight and Surm’s consternation. He worries that Seela is not only diseased but also after their money. However, as far as he can tell, she only seems impressed with the group and taken with his brother. Unknown to Surm, Mõrvar has asked Seela to find a friend to accompany his brother, perhaps loosen him up a bit. Seela responds that she’ll see what she can do. After a while, the group decide to leave the inn’s common room for a while and look for something else to do.
At Rilka’s request, they look into finding a shrine to Bruni. Unfortunately, none can be found—most people respond that they don’t even know who that Northron deity is. Savaric decides that he wants to fight, so Surm decides to accommodate him by looking for some sort of underground fighting ring. He asks about and finds out that one exists in a dive bar on the west side of town called Graywolf’s. He’s to ask for someone named Rollgut when he gets there.
Graywolf’s lives up to its reputation as a dive. All manner of scum are sharing drinks here. The place looks rowdy and dirty. The barkeep polishes mugs with a dirty cloth. They ask about a “Rollgut” and the barkeep indicates a half-orc sitting in the back corner of the room. The group approaches. “What do you want?” he says.
Surm says that his boy here (indicating Savaric) is looking for a fight and that he heard this is place for it. Rollgut asks the other half-orc if he’s ever been in a fight. Savaric nods. Bare-knuckled? Savaric nods again. Seemingly satisfied, Rollgut offers to lead them downstairs, apparently where the fighting takes place.
Down in the basement, there is a gathering around a fight in progress. A makeshift booth has been erected to take bets. Rollgut leaves the group and gets into a discussion with another man, apparently about Savaric. He returns and says that the kid can fight and, as he’s a newcomer, he’s got 3 to 1 odds. He’ll be fighting that man—the half-orc points out a large man who is stretching In a corner of the basement. From the size of him, he could be a Northron.
While Surm and Mõrvar place bets at the booth, Rollgut explains to Savaric that no armor or weapons or magic is allowed in the fight. Savaric says he understands. The others return and help strip Savaric of his armor and weapons—and Surm surreptitiously casts a mage armor spell on him in the confusion. Meanwhile, the other fight ends and Savaric and the other man—who is apparently named Wulfgar—are lead to the fight area.
The fight is announced by a halfling with an amazingly full-voice. As soon as he exits the ring, the fight is on. The two exchange a series a hard punches and near-misses—even with the mage armor, it appears that the two are well-matched. However, then Savaric deals a crushing blow that leaves the other man reeling on his feet, staggered. It’s apparent some real damage has been done. Surm calls out for Savaric to back off and he does. Wulfgar puts up his hands in surrender and the halfling comes forward yelling “Wulfgar has forfeited! Wulfgar has forfeited!” A companion of the big man comes forward and pulls him away from the ring. Savaric’s companion’s go to join see if they can help—except for Mõrvar, who goes to collect their winnings.
Surm offers to assess the damage done to the man, as he has skills in healing. Wulfgar’s companion lets him. He has suffered internal bleeding but it appears to have stabilized. He has also, obviously, been pummeled pretty well. He offers his “Northern brother” a potion to help with the healing—Wulfgar takes it. Its helps with the pummeling damage but not with the internal bleeding (that would take a lesser restoration). Surm tells him that they are at the Dusty Cartwright if they want to look them up for a drink. They do not get to see many of their northern brethren these days. It turns out that Wulfgar is one of the Ros tribesmen of that region. Wulfgar reaches up and shakes hands with Savaric. Before they go, he notes Rilka’s symbol of Bruni and says that he is an “honorable god”, though he is not a worshipper.
The group take their winnings and head back to the Dusty Cartwright. There Seela is waiting for them with a friend—Kaydra, whom she introduces specifically to Surm. Rilka buys a bottle of good wine and Surm decides to go to bed. Kaydra is decidedly put out, but Mõrvar manages to entertain both women through the evening, ending the night once again in Seela’s bed.
18 Illumination 508
The following morning, Cuthmund Weldwyn’s assistant is awaiting them in the common room of the Dusty Cartwright. “Master Weldwyn has some information that may be of interest to you.” The party all accompany her back to Scribner’s Hill. There they are met by the sage who greets them warmly, but gets right to business.
He has found some journal fragments from an Eacenian cleric of Ithya, Cwenwyth Coulstan. She traveled with a band of explorers who had traveled to the Isle of Salvi to map the ruined city there. Coulstan was the sole survivor of the expedition and her journal fragment from a hundred years ago is the only remaining relic. The expedition was made up of two warriors, Aine and Fenalla Morren, sisters from Leilior; Caldriel Woodspring, an Elven scout; Matyas of Otori, a Kuskar Wizard; and Cwenwyth.
According to the journal fragment, Aine bore a belt that granted her “great strength, belying a woman of her size.” Also of interest:
- Fenalla is described as wielding a sword named Edgefrost that “bathed itself in ice."
- Caldriel bore a suit of chainmail that he claimed belonged to once to a celestial.
- Matyas is described as bearing a ring that allowed him to slip away from conflicts when the need arose. This ring is also described, interestingly, as being a “companion” to Matyas.
The expedition met its end exploring a tower in the ruined city of Salvi. Cwenwyth escaped and made her way back to Eacenia and retired from adventuring, according to the library’s records. She had barely made it out of the city with her life, much less with the intact journal. According to the record—she wanted to remember her friends but forget their violent ends.
The sage also provides a copy of the actual journal fragments in question, detailing some of what the group encountered in the haunted city. Based on the findings of the journal, which described shadowy forms that sucked the life force and vitality from its victims, the party decided it would be in its best interest to find a priest to accompany them on the expedition. They decide to approach a priest of Halor, Lord Sun, for this particular journey.
From Master Weldwyn’s office they head across the city to the religious district to approach a priest of Halor with their offer. The temple to Halor is an open air affair with a large obelisk that acts as a sundial. Priests in red robes, trimmed in white, roam the area, speaking with worshippers and counseling those that seeking the god’s healing light. The party approach one such priest and ask to see if there is a priest among their number that quests. As a matter of fact, there is one, Brother Thorne, who has just recently returned from such an outing. Brother Thorne is pointed out to them and the party approaches him. After confirming his identity and that he does, in fact, conduct quests on behalf of the church, he offers to speak with them away from the temple. He takes them to a small office area away from the main shrine.
Surm describes the gist of the quest and the terms—a share of the treasure outside of the four main magical items. They essentially want a priest to help protect them while they are treasure hunting. The city is probably too big to eradicate all of the “evil” within, but this they can, perhaps, do. Brother Thorne is in. Introductions are made all around. They will be leaving within the next couple of days, so provisions will need to be bought soon. Brother Thorne will do so.
The party leaves the temple to go buy their own provisions in the marketplace. Afterwards, they then head to the harbor and meet with the harbormaster to find a ship that is slated to go to Tipoli, the nearest port city to Salvi. The Blackmore Lady puts out the next day. The group then heads out to meet with the captain of the ship to negotiate the price of passage. They find the ship, meet with Captain Danwulf Heldane, and make the arrangements. They also make clear that there is a fifth member of their party who will be meeting them tomorrow. So long as they pay, Captain Heldane has no issues.
The group then heads back to the temple of Halor to find Brother Thorne to tell him that they will be leaving in the morning. He seems surprised but says that he can make those preparations. He will meet them at The Blackmore Lady in the morning.
They then return to the Dusty Cartwright. There, once again, Seela is waiting for them. That night Mõrvar tells her that they are going on a quest and they will be leaving in the morning and that he hopes to see her again when they pass through Jenna again.
19 Illumination 508
The next morning, Mõrvar says goodbye to Seela. Then everyone hauls all of their belongings out to the docks to meet The Blackmore Lady. Sure enough, Brother Thorne meets them at the docks in front of the ship. The group boards the ship and the priest pays his way. Soon after, the ship sets out from the harbor toward Tipoli.
The day’s journey is largely uneventful, though it seems particularly hard on Surm, who spends most of the day feeling ill and fatigued.
20 Illumination 508
On this day Surm is feeling much better and seeks an audience with the captain. He wants to know if the captain knows of any who would be willing to sail directly them to Salvi. Captain Heldane says he doesn’t know too many mad enough to travel to a haunted island. But that he might be willing to, if the price is right. The two enter into negotiation and arrive at a deal. For fifty additional gold pieces, the Captain will put off at a reasonable distance from the island and have the first mate row the party out to the island where they will make a base camp. After ten days, the ship will come back. If there is no signal fire, the ship will come back in another ten days. If there is still no signal fire, then the Captain can assume the party isn’t coming back. But if there is a signal fire, the Captain will send the first mate out again with the dinghy to fetch them. The group also purchases 10 more days of rations from the ship’s stores for Brother Thorne.
21 Illumination 508
About ten in the morning, land is spotted and a hush falls over the crew. The Captain tells the group that the first mate is ready. Everyone gathers their gear and gets lowered into the dinghy and into the water.
The island is eerily quiet. So is the first mate. She rows silently toward the island. No sound is made but the oars through the water. Finally, landfall is made on a wide beach and base camp is made. The first mate wishes them luck and crawls back into the dinghy and begins rowing back toward The Blackmore Lady. Soon, the party is alone on the island.
Or are they?