Campaign of the Month: September 2018

Shadows of the Rift

Session Eighty-Seven

Red Harvest

neothelid.jpg

4 Harvest 509

After the battle, in which the Crimson Cord has slain a roper and not one, but two, dragons, they sift through the hoards for useful items and plan their next course of action.

Some of the hoard items are distributed to cohorts for their improvement. It is decided to keep the dragon egg—Savaric places it securely in his backpack. They also combine the two hoards into one in the hoard chamber.

Having sorted that issue, they send Savaric to continue exploring the caverns. He starts sneaking deeper into the cavern, taking one turn and coming upon a large pit dugout in the floor of the tunnel, almost as is something had tunneled up from deeper below. He doesn’t approach very close to the pit, but instead backtracks and takes a different turn.

These new tunnels seem to be largely empty—until he comes into chamber in which the shimmering blue form of a dwarf, armored and with his mouth open in a silent scream materializes. Savaric bolts, with the Nemhain chasing him down the corridor back to his friends.

Surm and Rilka, having heard Savaric’s warning yell, take up positions to face the Nemhain. Savaric runs in and takes up a position near Surm, while Rilka strides forward, with courage, and thrusts the talisman toward the Nemhain—and it dissipates into a blue mist before disappearing completely. The talisman worked!

Continuing down this corridor, the group finds the chamber with the Cassite. They backtrack to the dragon chamber and regroup. After a brief discussion, they decide to check out the pit, just to be thorough.

This time they bring the guards and the cohorts and head up the corridor. Savaric ventures ahead and peers into the pit—and is met with by a gargantuan gaping maw with four tongue-like tentacles surrounding it! A huge, worm emerges from the pit and grabs Savaric with one of its tentacles!

Rilka ventures forth to face the creature and it spews a cone of acid, covering her and Savaric with the stuff. Luckily, Savaric takes no damage from the onslaught, evading it, while Rilka manages to fend off part of it herself. Surm and Gwyn lob spells at the beast while Rilka slashes at it with her falchion and Savaric tries to break free. Uther manages to get close enough to channel energy for the two Cord members in the lead and jog back to the others. The creature attacks both Rilka and Savaric’s minds, though they mostly manage to fight off this onslaught. Surm casts black tentacles which help grapple the beast, but it manages to produce another cone of acid, which takes Savaric out and drenches Rilka. Surm finally pulls out a scroll of power word: stun and stuns the creature, allowing Rilka to remove the beast’s head in a triumphant stroke. The remainder of the worm’s body slides back down into the pit.

Rilka revives Savaric with the healing power of Bruni, along with Uther’s healing from Cereth. Both Savaric and Surm gaze down the hole—Savaric with his sixty feet of darkvision and Surm with a dancing lights spell. After two-hundred and sixty feet, neither can see the bottom of the pit or the body of the worm. They all decide to leave this as a problem for the dwarves.

Savaric begins skinning the dragons while Surm studies the cassite chamber as a point to teleport to. Then he, Gwyn, Rilka, Garth, and Sorcha teleport back to Khazak-Ur to conduct some business. They find a taxidermist in the upper city named Koeltha Stonehide who might be willing to preserve the head of the worm and take the dragon hides that Savaric is working on. As she’s heard of the Crimson Cord, they arrange to meet again on the following day, giving Koeltha time to find a buyer more interested in the hides. She will take the worm head, however. Surm calls it a “tentacle worm” and Koeltha accepts that as its name.

They also head to the marketplace and purchase a large bag of holding at “Sundries by Silverpike.”

Finally, they meet with Tasvian Hammerfall, reporting their success. She assures them that the Conclave will work quickly to acquire enough cassite for their spearhead and then they can begin on the Ysarian Steel shaft. She says she will meet with the Conclave and then see them the following afternoon, after their appointment with Koeltha.

The small party teleports back to the cassite chamber and then help load the hoard into the bag of holding.

They take the newly-skinned dragon hides and the hoard to the abandoned campsite and camp for night. The night passes quietly.

5 Harvest 509

Rilka and Tarben start the day with obediences to Bruni and the entire entourage prepares to travel back to Khazak-Ur.

Around noontime, Surm, Leif, Halvor, Savaric and Rilka teleport to the “House of Warship”, their inn in the city to prepare to visit the taxidermist, Koeltha Stonehide. There, they pick up Mahgnus and head to the upper city.

At Koeltha’s shop, they are met by another dwarf who is introduced as Targus Splitaxe. He is an armorer interested in the dragon hides. He offers 950 gold pieces for the hides, which Savaric accepts. He sells the teeth and claws to Koeltha for another 200 gold. Targus offers to let them see the suits of armor he’s going to build from the dragon hide and tells them that his shop lies in the lower city, two streets over from the Lonely Throne.

After their business is done, the party heads back to the inn where Rilka gets groomed. Savaric, for his part, is growing a beard. They head to the common room for dinner and dismiss Leif and Halvor to their own devices.

Over dinner, Mahgnus describes the information he found. Apparently a man wearing that strange Aedonii symbol was seen in Jenna about two months ago, raising havoc, killing random people. Then, he disappeared. Apparently he was there before heading off to the Saelfsidhedal (or “the elf-lands”). There has been no word on Mõrvar Ulrich—and Surm makes a point of insisting that Mahgnus not refer to him as “Master Mõrvar.”

After dinner, they head to Tasvian’s forge. She reassures them that she has met with the Conclave and work is beginning on refining the cassite for the spear head—it should be ready in about a week and half. But, until the Cord releases all of the information on the Ysarian Steel, then she can’t know how long the spear will take. Surm says that he’s ready to divulge that information and Tasvian takes them to Darius, the Recorder for the Conclave. But before they leave, she hands him a bag of 250 platinum pieces as a bonus from the Conclave for taking on the worm (which Tasvian identifies as a neothelid) and an extra dragon.

At Darius’ home, which is near Tasvian’s forge, Surm recites the secret of Ysarian Steel while Darius eagerly records it in a leather-bound journal. After about an hour, the Conclave has the information they need. Tasvian estimates that the shaft will take about fifteen days to forge.

The party returns to the House of Warship and sends to Alasir via the Agent’s Clasp to get an idea of where the rest of the party is. Alasir informs him that they have just entered the city and are making their way to the House of Warship. The party gets an additional suite for the cohorts to stay in and learn that the soldiery has been staying at the Thane’s Decree, while Alasir, Leif, and Sorcha are at the Three Wells Inn—there was not enough room for everyone at the Thane’s Decree.

The troops arrive and have a joyful reuniting of the troupe. Rilka makes plans to visit Kortash later, though he is staying in the common room at the Thane’s Decree. After the reunion, everyone heads to their separate rooms for the night in anticipation of waiting out the forging of the spear.

8 Harvest 509

Over the past few days, the Cord has been waiting for the forging of the pieces of the spear—the Cassite head and the Ysarian Steel shaft. Rilka makes arranges to have her magical headband upgraded. Savaric spends his time watching the forging process—but is sworn to secrecy by Tasvian—the Conclave doesn’t want any trade secrets getting out. Surm asks Bragara if she is familiar with “The Heart of the World”—she does not.

So on this day, Surm goes to Tasvian and takes her aside. He asks her if she has heard of the Heart of the World. She seems shocked to be asked and admits that, yes, she knows of it, though she’s not supposed to. When pressed by Surm, she reveals that it is an extremely rare mineral found in the deep wells beneath the city. At least, it was. She knows of only two sources now. One, she knows that the temple of Skondir has about 10 ounces of the stuff that is revered almost like a holy relic. The second, she has heard rumor of a vein from a drunk old miner named Koram Flintspire who frequents the Lucky Cup. The source isn’t very reliable though. When Surm asks if the temple might be persuaded to part with their Heart of the World, Tasvian laughs that off—a non-dwarf who shouldn’t even know of the material’s existence, much less it’s location? No, they would not part with it for him.

After talking with Tasvian, Surm takes Mahgnus and the cohorts to the Lucky Cup. The Lucky Cup is a ramshackle dive of an inn. There are a handful of dwarves, some humans, and even a couple of half-orcs sitting at tables about the room. Surm and the others, in their clean clothes and finery, make quite an entrance.

After a brief exchange with the bartender, whom Surm manages to charm with his personality and a bit of coin, they learn that Koram is indeed here. The barkeep points to an unconscious, white-haired dwarf lying face-first on one of the tables. Surm and the others go to join him and Mahgnus wakes the dwarf.

The dwarf, with unkempt beard, long hair, and horrible breath, comes to. He has a wide gap between his teeth and blinks about, asking who they are. Surm asks if he’s Koram Flintspire and he affirms that he is. Surm then whispers to him that he wants to ask him about the Heart of the World and that he was told Koram was the man to talk to.

The old dwarf blinks in surprise and says that they can’t talk about that down here in the common room. Surm gets a room in the inn, free for an hour from the barkeep so that they can talk in privacy. They all head up to the room and they can all see that Koram has a distinct limp.

When they get up in the room, Surm gets the dwarf to tell his story. Apparently he was a part of a mining outfit funded by the nephew of a Thane. The nephew’s name is Rolgar Graniteshard. While they were in one of the deep caverns beneath the city, Koram saw that they had opened up a vein of the beautiful mineral known as the Heart of the World. But before they could mine it, the tunnel wall was opened up by a Ghorazagh, a monstrous, many legged horror of the deep caverns. It nearly took Koram’s leg off as he tried to get away…the others were not so lucky. No one in the expedition survived except for him.

The nephew sent two adventuring parties down into the shaft to clear out the Ghorazagh—neither returned. Now no one will take the job. So the rare mineral lies un-mined down in the deep, guarded by aberrations of the deep.

Surm indicates he wants Koram to lead them to the shaft. Koram laughs at that—he isn’t going back down there. He nearly died and friends he knew did die. He prioritizes his life over gold and glory. He does tell them where to find Rolgar Graniteshard, though.

Surm pays the man five gold for his time and he, Mahgnus, and the cohorts return to the House of Warship to report to the others.

14 Harvest 509

Surm teleports to Kalimsport with Mahgnus, Rilka, and Savaric to spend the day establishing their building projects in the city.

15 Harvest 509

Surm has been spending his time teleporting back and forth from Almathriel, visiting with Lord Springvale. Lord Springvale is fascinated by the tales of adventure Surm brings back, and by Surm himself. He asks Springvale if he would be interested in the dragon egg that they found. The elven lord demurs, saying that he is more interested in antiquities. But he does offer to ask about and find someone who does.

During one of Surm’s subsequent visits, Springvale tells him that he thinks he knows someone who might be interested in the egg—a lecturer at the Spire of Magic named Valerian Tarsinia. She is interested in such things in her studies and was a classmate of the Princess of the Moon. Lord Springvale can arrange a meeting if Surm wishes—and Surm indicates that he does.

The following day, Springvale informs Surm that dinner has been arranged for the 15th. Surm asks if the others in the Cord are welcome, and Springvale says “Of course!”

The party arrives for the dinner and Springvale is gracious and welcoming. He indicates that Valerian is already here. He leads them all into the dining room where an attractive elf female with long brown hair, that shimmers like gold in the light, stands by the sideboard with a glass of wine. Her lavender gown is exquisite.

Introductions are made and Valerian is reserved, but polite. Dinner of roast goose with vegetables is brought out and everyone takes their seats. Lord Springvale tells Valerian of the Crimson Cord’s exploits, almost as if he is showing off that he knows such illustrious adventurers. Valerian seems to be interested in the story, but is still very reserved and not very demonstrative. Polite, but quiet.

Finally, she brings up that Paranthiel spoke of an egg. Surm takes up the story and describes the egg. Then he has Savaric present it. Savaric brings it out of the backpack—and notices a slight throb in the egg. Just once. He lets Valerian touch the egg and she notes how warm it is to the touch. She seems genuinely fascinated and asks to examine it. Savaric acquiesces.

About this time, dessert if brought out—custard with fruit. As everyone is enjoying their desserts, Valerian says that she will consider the matter of the egg and send word to Paranthiel if she is willing to purchase. This is amenable to all involved.

Valerian takes her leave and Rilka comments on her reserve. Springvale indicates that it probably due to all of her dealings in the court—one must maintain ones reserve there or have one’s desires and wants used against them. Rilka, and only Rilka, hears a hint of bitterness in the lord’s voice when speaking of the court.

Springvale is willing to hold the egg until Valerian makes an offer, though he jokes about the possibility of it hatching on his watch. With this, the Crimson Cord takes their leave.

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