First Forays

Towards the Pillar of Night
Report from Berenger

We reprovisioned at the commandery of my order as best we could, and left with the order mage an attuned coffer. He will put into it such supplies and equipment as he thinks we may need, in case I summon it to me. If I do summon it, I will put my compiled reports in the chest before I return it, that the Order may learn what has befallen us thus far.

None of our brothers volunteered to accompany me on this mission. This probably shows good judgement on their part.

Note: check with Hammerfall authorities on whether there is a bounty for a tiefling warlock named Hunger; I should be surprised to find out that there is not.
And Arradon is probably wanted for larceny in every jurisdiction he has been in. He even had the effrontry to steal a dagger from one of the confreres within the commandery itself. He did return it to me…which makes me wonder whether that was just badly misplaced high spirits, or what else has he stolen and not returned?
I have my doubts about Galindrann as well; his appearance is that of an eladrin, but he has a pair of projections on his forehead which keep making me think of demon horns.
Stonebreaker has an almost childish glee about killing whatever happens to be directly in front of him.
The human Talias seem inoffensive thus far—except for the human habit of attracting pests. The fleas are one thing, but this one has also acquired a pet gnome. Humans being what they are, I am trying not to imagine the idea of half-gnomes.
One bright note: the half human bard Audrie has shown no signs of homicidal tendences, demonic possession, or general corruption and moral decay. Although, for a bard, she has been rather quiet. One might almost say, suspiciously quiet….
I suspect that even if we don’t succeed in our primary mission, I will have accomplished something for the greater good by simply getting this motley band of desperadoes away from civilization, and by pointing them at things they can legitimately kill.

We proceeded west northwest, towards what we believe to be the location of the Pillar of Night. It seems cultists have appeared to the west, allied with the spider host; the cultists are attacking and destroying the little villages and hamlets in the hills. The people of these villages are given a choice of joining the cult, or being killed. And if they join, they must themselves go attack the next village over, and put to the sword any of their neighbors who refuse the cult.

We have also found a small band of warriors, calling themselves the Order of the Sun’s Light, who are (or claim to be) opposed to the cult. They say that a paladin, Jaerun, and three followers set out to find the Pillar, six or seven months ago. We headed west, and seem to have been following in this Jaerun’s footsteps. Today, however, we came to a village which had been destroyed—presumably by the cultists—and their tracks led north. We are pursuing them.

from the diary of Shiru Whitefield
days 1-2

Day 1

I’m starting a new diary, because spiders ate the last one. At least that’s what I think happened to it. Long story. Luckily these monks at the Order of Forestwardens or whoever were very courteous and thoughtful and helped me score some stock up on important, legitimate supplies like travel rations and this journal. Well, I’ll explain that later.

So, where was I? Well, actually I was riding on the road west from Iridia to Nentir Vale, when there was this unexpected and completely unreasonable stampede of spiders. That’s right – giant spiders. I realize that humans people tell me I’m short and can’t really judge, but these actually were giant spiders by anyone’s standards! Anyway, they completely swamped poor Sky in spider legs and web-spitty stuff webbing, so he went poof, and I was just left there on the road. Or I would have been if they hadn’t grabbed me in this cocoon sort of thing! I was unconscious after that… Well, based on the magic traces I think I might have actually been petrified, turned to stone or something, but what I can say for sure is I wasn’t conscious for what must have been several hours, until I woke up in the temple. So I’m actually calling that Day 1 – it might not be the same day – and this is sort of prelude.

Anyhow, I woke up and it was a sort of ruin carved partly out from stone – like a cave that had been improved and renovated? And with all these cocoons all around the walls – definitely dozens, maybe hundreds! Of course, I was also stuck in a cocoon from the neck down, but I had enough room to wriggle move around and eventually grab my staff. Around this time there was a big noise from the other side of the room and I could tell that a fight was going on. One side was a rather diverse group of people, several of whom from their clothing and attitude just screamed “adventurer.” And then the other side was mostly metal golems of some kind, and one human who looked sort of mean. So I figured that if the adventurer types were fighting them, then those were probably the bad guys, or something.

By the time I got my bearings and had a firm grip on my staff, the adventuring group had downed a few of the metal golems (who I later learned were called warforged) but there were still several others holding out, including the mean-looking human guy. That’s when I had the idea – I’d help these heroes out, and in exchange they’d cut me free of the spider webs! So of course I cast a few noise cantrips to distract the mean-looking guy and then threw a Force Orb at him. It’s not my fault that I missed! The spiderwebbing was completely screwing with my aim! And then the human whistled or something and started to ride a spider, which meant he was totally on my “to kill” list if he hadn’t been already, given how the spiders had killed banished my horse and greatly pi inconvenienced me.

Still, he was kind of away from the fight and didn’t look like he’d be much of a danger, so I threw a Magic Missile at one of the metal guys and managed to down him. I wish I could take credit, but the hero types had gotten him down to more or less his last legs at that point anyway. (Yes, they had legs. They’re more or less humaniform golems.) And by then there was only one warforged left and the adventurers had started moving on to the mean human anyway, so I blasted him with a Magic Missile too. Boom, headshot! I don’t mean to brag, but I knocked him right off the obnoxious giant spider and he didn’t get up after that.

So during all of that, they were all on the other side of the room and didn’t really know I was there, what with dozens of cocoons all around and everything. So I called them with Ghost Sound spells until they were close enough to talk to directly. A nice human warrior named Talias cut me free of the spiderweb, and then they started going around the room. It turned out that a lot of the people in spiderwebs were bandits from something called the Iron Hand or whatever, so the adventurers were interrogating them. But after all that they ended up letting the rest of the people, the innocent bystanders, go. I decided to stick with these guys since they could obviously use the help, so I introduced myself and got to know the rest of them.

The leader is an eladrin named Berenger, who it turned out had organized the adventuring party together. He’s stuffy and a bit arrogant. Also, I might be imagining this, but he didn’t seem to like gnomes very much, as hard as that is to believe. I mean, gnomes and eladrin are practically third or fourth cousins! But it seems like prejudice is still out there and not all eladrin are good and sensible and reliable. Oh, and Berenger is a Forestwarden and got us set up to be supplied (for free!) at this monastery so he’s not all bad, but that’s how he came across at the time…

Talias is the human warrior who set me free from that spiderweb by thing. You wouldn’t know it to look at him but he’s actually a swordmage. There’s also Galinndan, an eladrin who fights with a sword and is a kind of mage, a bladesinger, although technically I think those are wizards and not swordmages. The duty of a scholar is precision! So I know about swordmagery and wizardry and not to confuse the two. Galinndan’s magic is a lot more obvious, with bright flashes and such coming from his sword as he fights, so I was surprised to find out that Talias was actually using magic too.

Stonebreaker is a warforged – like the guys they had been fighting – but he’s definitely on the same team as the adventurers. I think those guys had betrayed him or cast him out or something? Anyway, he really seemed to have it in for them. Or maybe it’s just he gets mad a lot when he fights. He doesn’t really talk that much so I’m not sure. I heard most of this from Arradon, an elf who fights with a shortsword. It looks like the two of them have been adventuring together for a while, and they joined Berenger when he was recruiting hero types adventurers to fight for justice.

There’s also a tiefling named Hunger who doesn’t really talk much. I know he’s a warlock, bound to some power, but I don’t think I asked him the details. A pact with an archfey isn’t all that creepy, but tieflings are better known for having pacts with devils… Well, I shouldn’t leap to conclusions before I even know the guy. I’m sure he’’s perfectly fine and wouldn’t sacrifice any innocent people to dark gods at least while anyone’s watching. There was also one woman, an elf named… Ithinkthat’severyonebuttherewereabunch so I mighthaveforgotten one..

Anyway, it turned out the mean-looking human on the spider-mount was actually the feudal lord of this region, named Lord Bethlehem. He’d been up to some vague unspecified evil, or something (I didn’t ask), so the heroes here came to get rid of him. They were also investigating some planar incursion of some kind, so after we cleared out the bandits and wimps innocent bystanders, we searched the cave and found a lake that had a portal to the Abyss. Shadowfell

Then we went to search the other room which hasd some good stuff in it. There were magic ritual scrolls, and a few magic weapons and other enchanted gear, and, oh, a mountain of gold. I didn’t want to impose so I didn’t ask to look at any of the magic items, but I did start packing some of the gold in Sky’s saddlebags as the just and deserved compensation for my awesome headshot performance back there beating Lord Bethel whatsit ehem. Even then, Berenger got mad at me for some reason! He made me put the gold back, and then he sorted through and counted it, and took almost all of it to stow in his enchanted cloak (although he said he was only carrying the others’ shares for them) and only then would he give me my share! It was as if he didn’t trust me not to take the whole thing! Some people are so unreasonable.

After all that was taken care of, Berenger said something about sealing the Abyssal portal, so a bunch of us went back to the underground lake. He must have done something, because it started shaking and quaking like crazy! But then the lake cleared up of magic and the earthquake stopped. Berenger said that he hadn’t even done any magic, just “reconsecrated” the temple, whatever that means. Well, I’m not an expert on religious rites but it sounded a little fishy to me. For a minute there I’d been worried he was going to bury us all just to seal the portal! It wouldn’t have surprised me with the way he’d acted to that point but I’m glad I was wrong about that. (Having to jump into another plane just to avoid being buried alive would stink!)

Anyway, we all regrouped after that and then went to the nearby village of Cravensfeld, which it turned out was mostly a tent city, but had one actual house which was where Betheleheck ruled his fief. We told the townsfolk they were free and that mean lord wouldn’t be coming back, but they didn’t seem all that happy! Actually they acted like they were afraid of us… I guess that Bethelheimer guy really did a number on them. Well, it did mean we got to sleep inside when all the townsfolk were too nervous to take advantage of the decent accomodations, so it in some ways worked out for us.

Day 2

Today we went off to follow Berenger to report to his Order of Forest Monks or Forestwardens or whatever he said it was. They welcomed us into this monastery which looked very well stocked and well defended. I got this journal and they were very kind in helping me replace all the rest of the things that the spiders had damaged. They also helped me stoock up on food for the journey ahead. Berenger said we’re going to something called the old Temple of Pelor next, which is probably the same as The Pillar of Night, evidently the base of the spider cult that Bethelhoo that mean old human lord worked for. Our working theory is that they took the old temple and corrupted it too their dark goddess, like had been done to the Temple of Avandra from where we’d just come. So the monks hosted and provendered us, but with the understanding that we’d do this quest for them, and probably not return empty-handed. I don’t really mind – I’ve had a perfect one-to-zero win/loss record so far with these guys and I’ve got no reason to think that perfect trend won’t continue!

So we went traveling up northwards a ways and we came to a village full of refugees. Evidently the whole surrounding countryside (to the west at least) has had cult problems, so a bunch of people are hiding out at this place which is further east than the bandits cultists usually come. But it turned out, some cultists did come here chasing some refugees. That was kind of unreasonable of them, so I dropped them in a Phantom Chasm while the others sliced them up and lopped some heads and limbs off.

They had one caster, and we saved him to interrogate and hopefully find out where they were based. Talias knows first aid, so he brought the guy back to consciousness, and we asked him reasonable and quite polite questions. (Under the circumstances just letting him live this long was already very polite.) But the guy claimed not to have seen their base and to have just joined the cult two days ago. He said they chased the other woman from his village in order to prove that he was willing to kill for the cultists (since that was their rule foor anyone who wanted to stay alive). I thought this was fishy since the guy obviously knew magic, so I asked him about it, but he said he’d known that since before the cultists came. It still sounded fishy… and then guess what happened? He took the opportunity to show off his magic by casting a Magic Missile at us! Naturally the group did not take well to this, and he ended up badly wounded and knocked unconscious again. (Actually this was the third or fourth time we knocked him down… He’d not been that cooperative so we were trying to demonstrate that telling us what we deserved to know was the best way to make the hurting stop.

Even so, he didn’t seem to get the picture. That’s why I asked him if he’d been chewed to death by sprites before. He just gave me this weird look as if he didn’t understand the question. I said, “It’s a simple question, have you been bitten to death by sprites before?” He just babbled some things that didn’t make sense and stammered a bit. So I said that if he hadn’t, he was in for an exciting new experience, and cast Winged Horde on him. I should have tried this before – that spell is sooo much more fun when the enemy is helpless and knows what’s coming! It’s almost a pity that the others couldn’t see the sprites eating his flesh… but he squirmed and screamed enough that I think they got the picture. Anyway, I’d thought he’d be more willing to cooperate after that, but the others thought that leaving it at “to death” was probably closer to what the guy deserved, so we didn’t revive him another time.

Tomorrow we’re going to set out west to find that cult. I’m excited!

Cleansing the Temple of Avandra
Report from Berenger

The spiders having left, I slipped inside the building, entered a tunnel and made my way to a large cavern where the captives lay enwebbed. Lord Bethlehem, his four warforged guards and a couple of spiders were there as well, questioning prisoners. Warforgeds are known for having a personal sigil on their brow; these, however, bore the sign of Lolth.

One or two of our people managed to free themselves from the web coccoons and—rather recklessly, without waiting for the others to get work themselves loose or get ready—attacked the warforgeds. Fortunately most of them were able to free themselves, or got assistance from others, before the rest of the warforged guards joined the fray. The guards hit hard, but were outnumbered by nearly two to one, and were defeated. Lord Bethlehem attempted to escape on a spider mount, but my magics put the spider in an enchanted sleep, and Stonebreaker and Arradon finished him off—with a little help from some gnome magician who had also been captured by the spiders, couldn’t get herself loose, and contributed quite a bit of babbling and a few magic missiles
With the area secured, we released the local folk who had been captured, and questioned one of the Iron Circle men who was willing to cooperate. We gave him a letter describing the spider plague and its instigators, a few details on driders and such, and let him go.

Two tunnels led from the cavern. One had seen heavy use late, by the spiders; it went to a cave chamber where there was what appeared to be a black lake. Said lake was actually a planar portal to the Shadowfell. The other tunnel led into the chambers of the Temple of Avandra, including an altar sanctum which the impious Bethleham had been using as an office and treasure store. We recovered a bit of gold and a few useful items, including Bethlehem’s journal. I reconsecrated the altar, using the Lesser Rite; when possible, it should be fully consecrated, but the inital ritual proved enough to close the shadow portal.

According to Bethlehem’s journal, it would appear that the source of the spider plague is a place the document called the Pillar of Night. The description makes it clear that this Pillar is at least in the vicinity of the Temple of Pelor, and may be the temple itself; no doubt the Spider Queen would be amused by corrupting the sun god’s temple into a source of darkness.

We have returned to Bethlehem’s plantation, bearing his head, to inform the serfs there that they are released from bondage. We will stay here until the others are fully recuperated from the spiders’ venom; then we will come west to the chapter house of the Order, on the way to the Pillar of Night..

Report from Berenger

The purpose of the bandit bridge still eludes me, but at least there was a trail east from it, which we followed with hope of finding more bandits. In the morning, our hopes were rewarded, for around the shoulder of a mountain we spied a crude fort; our trail led toward it, although first it joined a larger road bearing traffice from the south. It not being tactically sound to go pound on the gates without information, I arranged an ambush with the human swordmage, Talias, as bait, and the rest of us arrayed in the wood along the roadside.
We lured an Iron Circle patrol—a captain, an adept, four men and a tar devil or two—into investigating, then sprang the trap. We were aided in our fight by an eladrin and a half human who had previously hidden themselves in the woods near the ambush spot, evidently with the same intent as our own. Galindann and Audrie were their names—not that we had time for properly civil introductions in the midst of combat. Audrie is a bardic archer and, conveniently, a healer; her efforts should allow me to conserve my mystic energies for better purposes than repairing impetuous oafs. Galindann has an air about him I do not much like—if he were a human, the word “seedy” might apply, although of course with him being eladrin it does not—nonetheless, I sense he has not had a proper upbringing and he should be watched. If he survived.
For we had defeated our foe, and the warforged chased their captain nearly back to the fortress gates, when behold, many Iron Circle men came fleeing out the gates, and behind them a hundred giant spiders, or more, and they overcame the Iron Circle men, and pursued Stonebreaker back to the midst of us. We withdrew, but the spiders were swifter, and one by one my companions fell to the spiders’ venom. I alone escaped, which I attribute to sound tactics, quick wit, and my armor, which is proof against such poisons. The spiders bound their victiims—the Iron Circle men, and mine—in webbing, and carried them off, as if trophies on parade.
I shadowed them for many hours, until at last they marched to the site of the ancient temple dedicated to Avandra. There is now a great wooden structure over it, clumsily built as a barn. The spiders are, as I write, trooping through it, carrying their captives in, but not out. When all the spiders have emerged, I shall enter the fane and see what befell my compatriots.

Escape from Hammerfast
Report from Berenger

On consideration, I judged that the swordmage Keyleth and the lizardborn were not sufficiently experienced; I can train striplings into warriors, if need be, but not while clearing the temples. I recommended that they find employment in the city. I also gave Keyleth the tracking scroll. The drider will presumably see that the scroll is moving around in the city, and think that we remain with it.
Meanwhile, I recruited another swordmage, Talias Grey—this one, regrettably, human instead of elvish—and a tiefling binder, hight Hunger. One must make do with what is available.
As the Hammerfall gates were to remain closed until the dwarves settled their foolish political quarrels, and as dwarves raise mulish obstinancy almost to a crude art form, I decided that we should leave the city in a manner less formal than waiting for the gates to reopen. We determined that a toiwer of the Hammerfast wall was unoccupied—the reason why is unknown—and made our way up that tower, over the wall and across the river.
From the city, we traveled south along the river, looking for a bridge, ford or ferry by which we could cross to the east bank. A bridge we found, although no road led to it and it was guarded by a few Iron Circle bandits. They seemed to be recent recruits, and we were unable to extract any useful information from them before we slew them. We will watch for further signs of the brigands as we travel toward the hidden temples.

Report from Berenger

As ordered, I proceeded along Hammerfast Road until I found Sir Abinur and the party he was escorting—a few wagons with passengers, guards and merchandise. The merchant himself, named McDuff , had been kidnapped the day before during an attack by a Iron Circle bandits. Sir Abinur and the guards slew most of the bandits, but during the attack, a spy travelling with the group made off wih McDuff. How the spy subdued or carried him is not known. The leader—named “John”, apparently not experienced enough to have earned an epithet—escaped and Sir Abinur believes him to have fled south. The ambush site is marked on the appended map, and Sir Abinur blazed a tree at the site with the usual sign.
These guards were indeed the same as had cleared the Temple of Melora. They are Arradon, elf; Stonebreaker, warforged; and Rothgar, a young lizardborn. They appear not to have had any previous connection with McDuff, although they had fought Iron Circle bandits previously. They were also unaware of the other temples which have been defiled.
From there we proceeded toward Hammerfast. About fiv miles out, we were attacked by deathjump spiders. A drider (with at least three hobgoblin guards) was observing from a nearby hilltop, and the obvious conclusion is that he orchestrated the attack. Several of the party found themselves in dire straits from the deathjumps, and I was careful to conceal a few of my more potent spells; the drider left, apparently believing that his minions would defeat us without his aid. He was mistaken, although it was a close run thing. There was a benefit: the sting of their wounds seems to have motivated my young charges to pay attention when I instructed them in the rudiments of tactics, of which they had previously been entirely unaware.
It seems likely that the party was attacked because the warforged had, in ignorance, been carrying a scroll with a locator spell. Said scroll carried a message in the dwarven scratching, referencing Lord Bethlehem. I gather the adventurers had had some enounter with him or his guards, although the details are not clear to me; the shortlived seem unable to focus long enough to assemble a clear and coherent narrative. We still have the scroll with us, although I am considering sending it downriver or otherwise using it to lead the drider astray.
We are now inside Hammerfast.

Journal of Arradon Part Eight
Wow, that was CRAZY!

Day Ten
We spent the night with some merchants on the road. However, they were heading the other way. We continued to travel, and came upon some merchants who were attacked by some goblins.
While one of the merchants died, we saved the other two from the goblins. The men told us that the goblins came from a nearby tower. We decided to check it out and clear the goblins.
Actually, Stonebreaker decided that, running off toward the tower, and we followed to keep him from making foolish mistakes.
When we arrived at the tower, Stoney knocked on the door. The door opened a bit, with a goblin peeking through. Stoney roared at it, and the goblin ran away screaming. Then we busted through the door. I asked, “who wants to surrender?” The little goblin Stonebreaker scared actually rose its hand in a room filled with many many goblins. Unfortunately, none of the others thought this was a good idea. So, we entered battle.
It was insane. We were certainly outnumbered. We worked our way through the first floor and many goblins fell to our blades. Stonebreaker’s axe smashed the face of a goblin. Keyleth was able kill three goblins at once with her fiery sword. Pinecone surprised a goblin who merely thought that he was using a toothpick, until a scimitar went through his chest. I even jumped off the stairs to get behind a goblin. Finally, the final giant goblin was killed by a close up brisket-ing by Rhogar’s fire breath.
Then we went upstairs. There we were attacked by several archers. The floor did not look right. Then Stonebreaker tried to run across to kill the archers. Unfortunately, the floor collapsed and he fell down to the floor below. This meant that we were forced to go around along the walls. It took us a while to kill the archers. I actually climbed on the walls in order to get to the sorcerer helping the archer faster. That was a mistake, I was blinded. I did my best to take enemies down, but I am pretty sure that I heard my companions kill more enemies than I did. After a few minutes, we were able to make our way up to the roof.
It was a hellacious fight that we found on the roof. First off, the roof was not the roof. It had obviously been another floor of the tower at one time. However, the walls had collapsed. The floor was actually gone in one area. There was a throne where a large goblin-esque creature sat. He ordered his compatriots to kill us. I noticed that a ten by ten section of the floor in front of us did not look right. Suspecting a trap, I told the others to watch out. We fought hard, but the two guys were way more strong than we were used to. I am talking about Rhogar times Stonebreaker strong. Stonebreaker tried to bull rush the one guy off the roof. It worked but the guy was able to catch himself. Later, the leader did the same to Stoney. Stoney did not fall of the tower (yet). We were able to kill the compatriot and the leader, but the leader drove Rhogar onto the ten by ten area. The floor collapsed and Rhogar fell a few feet into a giant spider’s web. Thankfully, we killed the bad guys and Rhogar asked for our help.
Knowing that they others could handle it, I swiped the leader’s mail armor. I had barely get the mail off the guy when Stonebreaker picked up the body and threw it down onto the spider. Then, the web broke. Rhogar, the corpse, and the spider fell three stories down to the first floor. Rhogar did not look good, and we could see that the spider was still alive. Keyleth immediately ran for the stairs to try to get to the downstairs. Pinecone yelled, “WHAT DO WE DO?!” I found the rope in my kit. I looked around and could not find a good place to secure the rope, so I tried to give the rope end to Stonebreaker.
“Here hold this,” I said, expecting the construct to help me climb down.
“No,” Stoney replied, “I have an idea.”
Before Pinecone or I could respond, Stonebreaker stepped over the edge of the hole and plummeted down.
It was incredible. I just stood there holding the rope to the empty air. Pinecone was speechless (I did not think that was possible)
We watched as the six and a half foot tall stone and wood construct just fell through the air. He looked like he was aiming to hit the spider with his axe.
However, he landed next to the monstrous arachnid.
Actually, it was more of a crash.
Okay, so it was a mighty SPLA-CRACK! He actually left a crater and the entire tower shook.
A few seconds later, his axe slammed into the head area of the spider and it collapsed dead.
When we got back to the ground floor, Stoney looked very pleased with himself.
We decided to spend the night in the tower so that Stonebreaker could fix his legs, and Rhogar could recover from the three story fall.

It rained. Screw this. We stayed inside. I found a bunch of gold and gems that I pocketed. And I found a nice cloak that I gave to Rhogar. It made the youngling feel better.

We finally emerged from the filthy tower. Note to self, even when the bodies are moved out of the room you want to sleep it, GOBLINS STINK! My god, that stench was horrible.
I was thrilled to be in the fresh air again and get back on the road.
We found a merchant, MacDuff, who was also on the road to the Nentir Vale. We told him that we had cleared the tower, so he agreed to let us ride with him.
We found ourselves in the company of MacDuff, his two drivers (a man and a woman), his inept scout, the rear guard, and the passengers. The passengers consisted of a mother and son who really should never have left their home because they kept complaining about everything from the smell of our cloaks (remember, goblins) to the color of the leaves on the trees (they’re green, what’s the problem) and the Dwarf. The Dwarf is okay. He seems to know a lot about many different things, but he is obsessed with his flowers. I don’t know why.

On the road again. Nothing happened today. What I wouldn’t give to be ambushed. I need something to do. What if I tried to steal the flowers? No, that Dwarf has eyes in the back of his head. Maybe, the kid. The mother would never notice. I could keep him as a pet. No, what would I do with a pet human?

Journal of Arradon part 7
On the road again...

Day Six (con’t)
Okay, the last chamber was really weird. The floor was set out in a grid with squares of two different colors. Across the room stood several statues: three armed men, a knight upon a horse, an elephant with a siege tower, and a regal queen. As we entered the room, some of us were thrown around as we tried to move. Eventually, Pinecone realized what happened. He yelled out, “We’re chess pieces!” That was a bit of luck because I had already figured that traveling along diagonals was safe after seeing Pinecone do that.
After we destroyed the statues, which was not easy, the others decided to check out one of the rooms. I decided to move back through the maze and pick up an axe that the bugbear had dropped. When I returned to the others, I noticed that the identifying sign on Stonebreaker’s forehead had changed from two opposing arrows to a curvy design. I’ll have to check that out.
Then we left the Temple and headed back to Cravensfeld to get a map to the Nentir Vale and Cairngorm Peaks. Thankfully, Debbie was still waiting for me, and I regaled her with our adventures inside the temple. Keyleth was glad to ride Oliver on the way back.

Day Seven
Arrived in Cravensfeld. Bought map.
Spent night at the inn and Pinecone entertained the guests, making a bunch of fans. Meanwhile I kept up my practice an picked a pocket.

Day Eight
Left for the west.
When we camped for the night, we were able to get some real talking down and get to know each other. I have only known these people for about a week, but they don’t seem too bad to me.

Day Nine
Passed through a weird town today. As we approached Kikiro, we saw many people working in the fields. They would look at us, then immediately get back to work. An overseer jumped down from a wagon and bowed before Stonebreaker. She offered a lot of money to him and asked him if he was bringing prisoners to Lord Lucius Bethlehem.
We moved on into the “town”. Really it was a bunch of tents centered around a house. We decided to find out about this Lord Bethlehem. We also noticed some war-forged constructs on one side of the house. We first approached the kitchen area. The ladies there were very rude, so I stole a fork from their workspace.
At the front, we were confronted by three war-forged. It was a bit of a shock. We enquired about the people and Lord Bethlehem. We met another war-forged that Stonebreaker recognized as the great Hammer, and a slimy greasy little man who turned out to be Lord Bethlehem. He claimed that the people were working for him in order to work the fields of flowers, the town’s main export. The Lord said that the people pay their taxes and prepare the flowers for the other cities in the area.
We move on through the town, stopping a bit of the way outside of town. There we debated whether we should do something about the town. Pinecone and I were in favor of leaving. Stonebreaker, Keyleth, and Rhogar wanted to stay and do something. After arguing, I approached another taskmaster, this one was a self-important looking little man. He was very complementary to Lord Bethlehem and Hammer. But when we started on our way back, he yelled at the workers in very demeaning ways. Stonebreaker, angry, swung his axe at the taskmaster’s wagon. The taskmaster yelled that we would be wanted men for this. I yelled back that “No bounty under 1000 gold would get anyone to chase me.” It is a bluff, of course, the highest bounty I have ever warranted is 100 gold, but I have been able to kill or maim any bounty hunter who tried to take me. I would think that the tales would spread and hunter would not want to chase me.
Well, we’ll see what we do. Go back and deal with war-forged and a slimy nobleman or move on to the mountains and deal with an evil sorceress in command of driders and giant spiders.

Tales of High Adventure
Out of seclusion

Many years have passed since Stonebreaker fled into the wilderness. However, the Solitude of the forest could not quench Stonebreakers restless nature. He became curious about the world around him. He yearned for knowledge and adventure. He left the seclusion of the wilderness and ventured into a nearby elf village. He sought to learn more about the world from the elder race. With the fair folk he learned the ways of men and elves and they taught him how to use weapons of war. Stonebreaker learned how to fight with many weapons but he found an affinity with the great axe and sword.

The Journal of Arradon pt 6
What the hell have I signed up for?

Day Five (con’t) (con’t)
Okay, so I think that I have calmed down a little. We took a short break and I led our little band down the darkened hallway Rhogar told us was behind the doors. After a few yards, we found another set of doors.
I opened them and saw a pretty large chamber with ugly statuary and four humans, well we thought they were humans. The one I took on single-handedly turned out to be a doppelganger. I would say that she was an excellent opponent, but when she fell, I could not help but be dazzled. I have heard of doppelgangers but I never thought to actually encounter one.
The others fought well and killed the other three with little trouble.
Then we started down the hallway we knew led back to the Tiefling.
Opening that door was probably the most stressful opening I have ever done in my life.
There he was, still standing behind his table. The skeletons were gone, and the ogre was standing in the double doorway that Stonebreaker had barricaded earlier, his back to us.
We all rushed the Tiefling. He retaliated and I felt a pain in my side as it went numb. Found out later that he had temporarily killed my liver. It’s fine now, but damn was it inconvenient. Anyway, I showed him, jumping over the table to slash at him. It wasn’t strictly necessary, but everyone else had already crowed him and started hacking and slashing.
Thankfully, Keyleth remembered her reason and shouted that we needed him alive.
Unfortunately, I think that that was what alerted the ogre to our presence. Or perhaps it was Rhogar breathing fire over the table to try and burn the Tiefling.
That Ogre packs a wallop I can tell you. His swing glanced me, but it still hurt where the club grazed my armor.
Finally, the Tiefling fell and the Ogre was not far behind.
Unfortunately, that was when the skeletons decided to arrive.
As the others engaged the skeletons, and the regenerated ogre, (Oh yeah, he was dead maybe a second before he jumped right back up and tried to kill us again) I dragged the Tiefling away from the main combat and grabbed his staff, throwing across the room. I am not taking any chances because this guy is not really dead.
But I didn’t leave my friends to fight alone. I joined back in.
Stonebreaker took the ogre’s refusal to stay dead personally and hacked away at the thing mercilessly. Pinecone even tried the new trick he had been working on during the carriage ride. He threw his voice, distracting the ogre and making him chase a sound that wasn’t really there. Then Stoney smashed the ogre, dropping him to the ground again. Not one to take chances, Stonebreaker slammed his axe through the undead thing’s throat
A few seconds after that, Rhogar and Keyleth were able to shatter the skeletons with a little help from yours truly and Pinecone.
After everything was felled, a really weird cloud started coming out of the Tiefling, formed the face of elven woman, and flew away at great speed.
The Tiefling stood carefully to his feet. Once Stonebreaker ascertained that he was no longer a threat, we learned that he was once in the service of Melora, the original goddess of the temple. However, Lolth’s sorceress had taken control over him. He told us that the sorceress was responsible for a vast campaign to take Melora’s realms for Lolth. He also told us that the sorceress was in the Cairngorm Mountains near the Nentir Vale. When asked if we would have to kill him for the dragon, Farralax, he said that Farralax would accept his staff as proof that all was well in the temple. With that, I grabbed the staff that I had thrown away and started on the way to the Dragon.
I was shortly joined by the others. Farralax accepted the staff and he thanked us for helping. However, he mentioned that there were still some problems in the area. So we agreed to take care of those problems, but we needed some good rest first.

Day Six

Woke up in the chamber of Erethis. It was a nice rest, I feel really invigorated. We decided to make an early start of the day. Unfortunately, without a window, or skylight I guess, we don’t really know the time.
We set off through the doorway off of the chamber of Pelor. Found a short hallway that widened into a bigger room. Like the rest of the Temple, it appeared to be transitioning from general dankness and filth to a more healthy growth. Still, there was a goblin training his bow at us and rat chewing on a rug nearby.
I noticed that something was off with part of the floor covered by the rug. I said, “avoid the rug” as I made my way to the rat, and slashed the beast. The goblin was about to shoot his arrow when Stonebreaker rushed him and splatted him to nothing. I won’t lie, Stoney seemed surprised at the ease, but I concerned myself with the rat. Keyleth joined me, and Pinecone actually did his little ventriloquist trick again and the rat triggered the trap under the carpet.
At about that moment, the door next to Stonebreaker opened and a Goblin appeared with his bow and arrow to fire. Unfortunately for him, Stonebreakers ax connected to his neck before he could even get through the door. His arrow went wild as his body slumped to the ground.
We were able to make short work of the remaining bad guys in the area. Keyleth jumped down and dispatched the rat. I slashed one of the goblins as I rushed into his room, spotting the fourth and last goblin. Stonebreaker followed me and smashed the last of the goblins against the wall. I heard Pinecone and Rhogar fighting something, but they seemed to have everything in hand, so I went to see Keyleth in the hole. Playfully, I said, “Give me one good reason to help you out of the hole”. I think she took me seriously because she sputtered something about money before realizing that she is also an elf and climbed out of the hole.
The others are checking out some of the rooms we just cleared as I sit here dangling my feet over the edge of the hole.
I don’t know what lies in this last chamber, but I think that we should be okay.


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