7 Illumination 508 (continued)
Examining their new finds, Surm and Mõrvar determine that the scrolls are for the spells Detect Undead and Color Spray. Surm also examines the music box for traps, but finds none. Rilka opens the music box to find a padded lid with the mechanism inside it. If the small key on the side is turned, it plays a lullaby. She then dons the jaunty hat before joining the others in re-exploring the previous room.
As Rilka watches for intruders, the party re-searches this room, finding nothing further. They then move back to the kitchen, where they had previously encountered the angry spirit. They search out the room under the half-orc’s watchful gaze but find nothing out of the ordinary.
Next they check the larder next door to the kitchen. Surm checks the door for any unexpected traps laid by the Jinkins, but finds none. Inside is a great deal of mold and fungus draped over opened barrels and crates. A door leads out of the room. Surm, Mõrvar, and Savaric check out the room while Rilka waits in the kitchen. Savaric finds an unopened barrel and goes to check it out when he hears a “pfftt” sound and a spray of spores flies past him from the mold that covers the barrel. Suddenly, a tendril springs forth from the mass and attempts to hit the ranger. Everyone moves out of the larder and back into the kitchen to regroup.
After a series of experiments with the mold, they determine that it can fire a narrow stream of spores about 30’ from its core at the center of the larder—including through the open kitchen doorway. It seems to be able to detect movement more than sight. Mõrvar uses his magic to pick up a fork in the kitchen, enshroud it in light, and then drops it in the center of the larder. The mold lashes out at the fork while Savaric fires an arrow into the mold. It penetrates the plant, seeming to anger it as its tendril lashes about in agitation. His shot not only pierced the mold, but embedded the arrow into the barrel, which develops of slow leak of whatever it contained. By the smell of it, probably mead. Savaric continues to fire at the creeper from outside the range of its spores (which Surm has determined are probably used to lure its prey closer using some form of hypnosis). Finally, the creature stops its agitated movement and all is quiet in the larder.
The party then searches the larder again and finds nothing but a now-empty barrel of mead and more mold and fungus. Surm makes a show of checking the door for traps and opens it, revealing a staircase heading down.
The party follows the staircase down into a cavern chamber filled with mushrooms of various sizes, from the tiny to the twenty-feet-high variety. Savaric senses movement in the mushrooms. The party continues forward, but warily. Finally, Rilka senses movement as well as one of the mushrooms rushes forward to attack. It has a huge, bulbous purple head and four lashing tendrils that it uses to attack. After a brief fight, the fungus goes down and the party begins to search the chamber in earnest. Savaric finds some skeletal remains wearing a chain shirt that is in good repair and a small, grey prism-shaped stone. When he picks up the stone, it seems to flare into flame and begins floating in a circle around his head! The flame gives off light, but no heat. He clasps the floating stone again, which douses the light and ceases its orbit. Surm reveals that the item is probably a ioun torch, a burnt-out ioun stone with minimal power. In the discussion that follows, Surm ends up with the ioun torch and his brother, Mõrvar with the chain shirt. He decides to carry his scale mail. There is another tunnel leading out of the room, which the party decides to follow.
This tunnel leads back into the mushroom-filled chamber that was seen below the catacombs they had found earlier. Surm and Rilka hang back while Savaric and Mõrvar decide to search out the chamber. As Savaric explores one of the clusters of mushrooms, he, once again, senses movement. He turns to see a creature that looks like a lumpy albino toad, the size of a man,, with long tusks. A slurk! It leaps toward him, its mouth opened wide. Savaric engages with the creature while Mõrvar comes to his aid. Rilka and Surm start coming closer to the battle, careful not to run too fast on the slick, mold-covered floor. As the half-orc engages with the enemy, Surm arrives before Rilka and casts a magic missile, felling the foul beast. Afterwards, after a party discussion of the relative worth of ivory and bone, Savaric decides to de-tusk the creature in hopes of selling the bones.
The party makes their way back into the complex and back to the room where they had encountered the Leshy before. It still seems to be guarding the northern door, frantically waving its tendrils as people come closer to it. After a brief discussion over the merits of possibly fighting the Leshy for access to that door, the party decides to leave it and move on.
They return to the large marketplace room where they had first arrived. From here, they go through the other set of double doors into a cavern tunnel. They follow the cavern tunnel to its end, where they encounter a suspended mine car on a steel zipline leading to a receptacle far below. They check out the gear box of the line, determining that there must be some sort of controls for the mine car. Mõrvar goes to check out the actual car when he is forced to jump back as the car suddenly goes careening down the line and crashing into the receptacle below. Apparently, there were no brakes. . .
The party returns to the marketplace and decide to begin their ascent out of the ruins. When they climb out and to the other side of the rock slide that brought them into the complex, they find that it is evening time. They decide that it would be better to camp back below than out in the open pass, so they once again descend into the marketplace.
8 Illumination 508
After an uneventful night, the party climbs out, once again, onto the pass. After traveling for most of the day along the passes, higher and higher into the mountains, with the air getting thinner with each step, Savaric find signs of griffons inhabiting the area. He determines that they are probably a bit higher up than where the party is now. He collects the feathers, leaves the spoor, and leads on. After a short time, they find a steep trail leading higher into the mountains. Mõrvar once again uses his magic to handle the rope and grapple, securing the grapple at the top of the trail to aid in the climbing. Savaric leads the way, heading up the trail.
The trail ends in at a steep cliff, about 10’ high. At the top of the cliff is a nest with two griffons tending it. They shriek in anger as Savaric hurriedly heads down the trail to warn the others. The two griffons take to the air and swoop down upon the both sides of the party at the pass below. Mõrvar manages to dose two arrows with the sleep poison secured at the alchemist shop in Riverton. He fires one at the griffons on their initial approach and misses. The griffons attack with beak and talon, fierce in their anger and indignation. Mõrvar manages to get another shot off with the second dosed arrow, hitting one of the griffons. However, as the poison needs time to work, it is hard to tell if it will be effective before the fight is done. Finally, Rilka manages to slay one of the beasts, its body falling far down below into the lower passes. The others concentrate on the one remaining, finally allowing it to meet the same fate as its mate. “So much for the griffon’s mane,” someone quips.
Rilka follows the narrow trail and climbs up the cliff into the nest to retrieve a single griffon egg. She places it in the specially-made satchel, gathers more feathers for Savaric, and makes her way back to the others.
By the end of the day, the party has made it back to the hole where they fell into the dwarven ruins. They decide to make another camp there that night as well before leaving in the morning, hopefully figuring out how to get past the natural slide that took them into the ruins in the first place. Mõrvar comes up with a plan to create a secure platform across the hole so that they can climb up the slide without falling through the hole. They decide to use the workbenches from the smithy down below to make the platform. With both Rilka’s and Mõrvar’s engineering know-how, they should be able to pull it off.
Once they climb below again, they make their way to the smithy, passing the still agitated Leshy along the way. They leave the Leshy alone and stop only to gather the large workbenches, dragging them back to the first marketplace room. There they make their camp for the night.
During the night, Savaric notices movement in the room. He wakes the others and can see where one of the doors leading out of the room has been shut. They all go to check out the next room to see who it was, but find no other sign of passing. Other than that, their night passes without incident.
9 Illumination 508
That morning is a lot work, hauling equipment and themselves up through the hole, then the workbenches as well. They manage to secure the workbenches and create the platform, according to Mõrvar’s plan, and make their way up the slide. By this time, it is afternoon. They continue down the pass toward Lord Coln’s lodge.
10 Illumination 508
After a cold, but uneventful night, the party continues down the pass. Finally, in the afternoon, they arrive at the make-shift bridge they had built out of pitons and rope. Only one of the two mules they left behind remains. There are signs of a struggle and blood. Everyone crosses the bridge successfully, passing the equipment over as well. After collecting “Pack”, they move on.
Shortly before making camp that evening, the party comes across the site of the battle they had with the female ogre on the way up the pass. Nothing much seems to have changed at the site.
Breathing begins to get easier as the party leaves the higher passes by noon this day. That afternoon finds them on the outskirts of Lord Coln’s lands. Here they are greeted by guardsmen who escort them into the estate. At the door of the lodge, they are met by Leofric, who has them wait in the entry way for his lord (the party is quite dirty and bloody and moldy). Lord Coln himself meets them and congratulates them on their success, leading them into the parlor for a bit of celebration. He invites them to have a drink and sit and he goes to fetch them the payment that was promised. He returns with a leather sack containing 350 platinum pieces and places it on the table for the party to take. Savaric gives the Lord a griffon feather as a souvenir. They tell him the story of what they found and how they vanquished the pair of griffons—he pays rapt attention to the tale. Surm, after Lord Coln brings up that they were every bit as good as their recommendation, asks the nobleman for his own letter of recommendation, which Lord Coln says he will draw up. He also offers to allow them to stay in his home tonight and bathe.
That night, the party is treated to a sumptuous dinner and drinks in Lord Coln’s dining hall. Afterwards, they have more drinks in the study. Surm, who has been studiously watching his own alcohol intake this evening, then approaches the nobleman about purchasing the slurk “ivory”. Between the alcohol and Lord Coln’s own disposition, he acquiesces to buy two of the tusks at 300 gold pieces each. He pays the party in a red garnet and a violet garnet, stating that he is low on coin at the moment due to a certain purchase he has just made.