Day 54, continued:
The party takes on a ranger named Robin as a guide, introduced to us by Clementine. Suddenly, Pieter collapses. Investigating, the arcane PCs can sense that he has travelled through time somehow and upon checking for injury we discover that he has a large, jagged scar across his chest, bubbling with acid. Some sort of intervention from Bahamut is apparently keeping the wound at bay, but it is not healing. The wound appears to have been caused by a dragon’s claw. Pieter awakes, and says that the dragon knows he is coming. We set off after Rakanx in a hurry.
The new hunter assists us with the tracks. Rakanx appears to be just a few hours ahead, and a little after noon we pass through Bayard. The villagers there say they saw a small boy riding a huge horse through town, and Robin locates tracks to match heading in the right direction. About 6 hours later we arrive in the foothills of the mountains where the griffon outpost is located. Night is falling and we’re getting hungry, so we make camp. We find a defensible clearing, but there are what appear to be orc statues all around. Fearing basilisks, we set up a watch throughout the night. Some noises are heard, but nothing disturbs out rest.
We wake early and try to pick up the trail. We come across a large horse unattended and untethered, with tracks from small footprints nearby that the ranger estimates to be about 18 hours old. The path from here is rocky and uneven, so we tie up the horses and continue on foot.
Barely an hour in the path is blocked by rubble from a rock slide. While climbing through, Théorn prompts a further rock slide which leaves him and Napoleon trapped under boulders. It takes some time to free them, and in the process the Sword of Gales is snapped whilst being used as a lever. The party decides to rest for an hour to allow Hollan to repair the weapon.
Once we pick up the pace again, the trail starts to drop off sharply to one side so we make our way carefully but as quickly as we can. By midday we come to a chasm. There is a rope bridge attached to the other side, but it has been cut on our side. With a combination of teleporting and firing arrows attached to ropes we are able to secure the bridge temporarily and somewhat shakily for a few crossings, but the knots fail and Théorn tumbles to the bottom of the chasm. He survives and is able to climb up, but is not in good shape.
These problems have delayed us by about 4 hours now, but we find the trail again. After a short way, the small footprints shift to large clawed dragonborn prints. A sharp smell is also apparent, and along the path we find a basilisk corpse. It’s been cut in half and poison is dripping from the wounds. We can also hear more basilisk noises around the corner in a slightly wider section of the route, so we move into position and attack pre-emptively (Encounter 1).
Continuing past the basilisk encounter, we start to see creatures flying a long way above us that we suspect are griffons. As we get closer Hollan senses the power of an arcane ritual getting close to completion ahead, so we begin to run. This isn’t without its problems, as Napoleon and Pieter fall behind and the latter nearly slips over the side of the cliff path, but we arrive before the ritual has been finished.
At the top of the mountain we find a clearing of sorts with some stables. Outside, we are shocked to see the small boy who guided Pennyworth to the barn for his meeting with Fyodor conducting the ritual with the aid of scrolls and a set of candles. When he sees us he changes shape, into a large dragonborn. Four griffons circle nearby. Rakanx whistles and a drake lands next to him. Pieter recognises both the portal drake and Rakanx, whom he identifies as one of Shivastri’s lieutenants, from his past. Rakanx offers to let Robin depart, as she isn’t involved. In response she fires an arrow at the portal drake, missing but prompting the start of a fight (Encounter 2) which includes Hollan putting out the candles and disrupting the ritual, and Napoleon seeming to tame The Best Griffon Ever.
The battle results in the death of Rakanx, so after the fight Napoleon takes The Best Griffon Ever to the stable to feed it and calm it down while the rest of the party uses a scroll of raise dead to bring Rakanx back to life for interrogation. During the questioning, Pieter shows his wound and reveals that he was present at the razing of the Temple of the Clear Springs.
After some bluster, where he reveals that a great duergar smith named Ganash forged his sword, and has also forged other weapons for Shivastri’s minions, we learn that Rakanx is not afraid of death, as he believes he can serve Tiamat in the afterlife. So we threaten him instead with ? (Don’t remember. Pennyworth eating his soul?) and he promises to answer three questions in return for a clean death.
Firstly we ask what Shivastri’s intentions were towards this area, and why. It transpires that her sisters are displeased with her relationship with Kagil, the beholder, and so Shivastri is wanting to relocate. To this end she sent Rakanx as her agent to take control of appropriate business, people and places as necessary to give her a power base when she arrived so that she could begin breeding without interference or distraction.
Next we asked where he was planning to go once he had acquired a griffon mount, and what his plans were. Sadly this tells us little, as he was just heading back to Shivastri’s lair to report in and get further orders.
Finally we seek information about the location of Shivastri’s lair and surroundings, including what forces we might encounter. Rakanx tells us that her lair lies to the south in a dormant volcano called Mount Balash, and that her territory extends north of this volcano over a swamp named the Slough of Despond up to the town of Fontaine. This town doesn’t actually know they are in Shivastri’s territory yet, but other local populations include elf remnants, bullywug tribes, lizardfolk lands, underground duergar dwellings and some dragonborn worhippers of Tiamat.
As we promised, we grant Rakanx a swift, clean death. Napoleon then sets The Best Griffon Ever free and the party makes its way at a more leisurely pace back to Ravensburgh. Along the way groups of gnolls are sighted, but they run off when they see us.
Back in Ravensburgh we go to Thena to see if she has maps of the area to the south. Unfortunately she does not, and would be grateful if we could bring any back with us, but she does know that Fontaine is one stop along a river trade route. It’s a town where humans and bullywugs come together to trade.
Théorn asks Thena if she knows of the shifter legends of Kalashnakash. She knows a little, thanks to an eladrin friend from university called Etheriel. Kalashnakash apparently wasn’t from this area, and wielded a sword called “Elf-Killer” that destroys the souls of fey creatures. This makes him unpopular with eladrin, and they call him “the beast with one long claw”.
The party decides that as we suspect there to be a portal in nearby forests (Session 04) we are better off pursuing this avenue of investigation before making the long trip south to deal with Shivastri. Théorn enquires of Thena whether she sells scrolls to open portals to the feywild. She says she can reopen existing portals, but that she would have to come along herself to perform the ritual. We pay her in advance using loot acquired from defeating Rakanx and go about making preparations for departure.
Hollan talks to Garn Gunderson to ask if he is able to further enhance magical weapons. He is only able to forge mundane items though. The magical armour he produced as a prize for Goblinfest 25 was enchanted by a mage called Merlua, but she usually lives in a village in Affen. He gives Hollan the location, though.
Robin is sent to buy a scroll of raise dead from Pastor Waverley. He discovers that she can’t read and sells her a scroll, along with some pipeweed, that we later determine to be his laundry list. When the rest of the party accompanies her back to get it replaced, he apologises for the clerical error and blames it on Albar. Whilst fetching the correct scroll he mentions that he is pushing to have to the town of Ravensburgh renamed “Waverley”.
The party rests for the night, then in the morning collects Thena and we head east to the forest. As we approach the feywild portal area we feel our senses heightened, colours are brighter and nature seems more vivid. Once we arrive in at the oak tree Thena performs the ritual. Whilst staring at the tree, most of the party transitions into the feywild. However, once we’ve arrived we discover that Thena, Pennyworth and Max have vanished.
Day 1 in the Feywild:
The remainder of the party, finding themselves in the feywild with no real idea where they are, decide to go searching for people by trying to find a river to follow. Robin finds evidence suggesting water to the north so we head in that direction. Thick undergrowth causes some difficulties for our horses, but we are able to progress. The noises of the forest are louder here in the feywild.
We come to a small stream and follow it downstream to the west. Two hours later we still haven’t departed the forest that would have been long behind us in the normal realm. We hear a hunting horn ahead of us and approaching, followed shortly after by a loud, bellowing laugh. The stream kinks ahead a little, so we ride up to the corner to get a better view. There were see a couple of eladrin knights on horseback, along with two centaurs, hunting a shifter of a type we do not recognise with a pack of hounds.
We hail the group and everyone stops in confusion. One of the knights bows and introduces himself as Kellerin Miheil, the other eladrin as Lellerian and the two centaurs as Carl and Barl. He asks why we have interrupted his sport and trespassed on his hunting grounds. Théorn tries to stick up for the shifter and he demands that we be put to death and leads the others in an attack against us (Encounter 3).
After the battle, and with all of the rest of his party dead, Kellerin surrenders and asks what we want, complaining that we would not have been successful if he had his magic blade with him. We enquire about this and are confident that it is not the “Elf-killer” blade we’re searching for, though he knows of the stories of Kalashnakash. Kellerin thinks that we’ve been sent by one of his enemies, perhaps from House Dejarin or House Fallael, but refuses to speak to “animals” (e.g. Théorn).
Character status at end of session:
|Character||Hit Points||Healing Surges||Daily Powers used||Experience Points|
|Hollan||?||? remaining||?||19,448 (9)|
|Max||?||? remaining||?||20,032 (9)|
|Napoleon||57||6 remaining||Couteurs of Second Chance, Knock Them Down||19,647 (9)|
|Pennyworth||?||? remaining||?||19,268 (9)|
|Pieter||?||10 remaining||Lay on Hands (1), Hallowed Circle||19,821 (9)|
|Théorn||54||10 remaining||Combat Surge, Frost Wolf Rage||19,528 (9)|