The party arrives at the Hostel of the Sacred Stone, a popular establishment and one of the few places to escape from the lighless, cheerless Underdark.
Hearty food and invigorating drink fuel the lively and freindly atmosphere. Boisterous tales of past adventure can be heard at every table, and it seems as though each patron competes to tell the most daring account of their greatest quest.
A young drow, barely more than a boy, sings tales of glory and lost love, accompanying his voice with an exquisite lyre. He draws a mixed reaction from the crowd, and a hurled mug from the surly duergar.
You notice a large drow and his entourage moving slowly and confidently among the crowds of the inn. He is broad-shouldered and has long hair with a small blue gem circling his head. At his side is a sheathed silvered sword with a magnificently crafterd hilt. On his back he wears a rugged bearskin cload that is intricately decorated with silver threads. The locals treat him with thte same deference and respect they would offer to a king.
THis man approaches you and introduces himself as Kalander Hornhand HE offeres to buy you all a round of drinks if you are willing to listen to his simple offer.
“I and my men will launch from the docks tomorrow at four on the clock. I captain the lightning, which brings supplies to the fortified port of Langmuir or the island of Moray. We will travel quickly over Mistborne Lake and will return carrying a boatload of ore taken from the mines on the island. I need you as marines for this upcoming trip.”
I will offer you each 150 gold, to be paid upon our return. You will be expected to keep the cargo secure en route and in port and to protect the crew and cargo should the need arise. Unless you have any questions, can I count on you?"
Well the party did have a lot of questions: The supplies were mainly food, medicine, and alchemical supplies to a “mostly” barren island. What the island does apparently have is a werecreature and undead problem. Historically, 2 of 3 forts on the islands are currently ruins. The ship, the crew, the ships mage, and the area all check out and the PC’s anxiously accept the offer. “Very well then! We leave in the morning, find the Lightning at the Black Peir in the Docks District. With any luck, you will be back in these chairs in one week, adventuring permit in hand.”
The party and the crew board the Lightning and ship off to Mistborne Lake. The longboat silently navigates he treacherous lake and makes good time toward Langmuir. It is early morning as you near the southern shore of Moray. THe fog has grown unnervingly thick. Although no one can see land, the crew trusts the captain’s bearings.
A commotion arises between the captain and the ships mage. The mage is animated but speaking very softly but you can overhear Captain Hornhand saying: "What do you mean the beacon is gone? That can’t just happen! Are you telling me we have no eyes? Ugh! So what are you doing? Well… go and do it!
Suddenly the ship lurches to a halt and the unmistakable din of shattering timbers can mean onlly one thing: the Lighning has run afoul of the treacherous rocks off the coast of Moray. With a loud CRACK? The Lightning breaks into a thousand pieces, dropping you, the crew and all the cargo into the fog-covered water below. The sailors try to swim or hang onto pieces of debris.
The wizard and rogue have difficulty reaching shore, but the crew seems to be in worse condition. Most of the sailors made it to shore, but many are hurt. The Ships wizard is nowhere to be seen. Kalander comes to you. "Try and salvage the most caluable cargo – the alchemical equpment. We’ll burn the rest; I wont leave it for scavengers to steal. But make sure you save everything you can.
The mist is thinner right here at the shore, but the crew doesnt look like they care much. The cargo is drifting to the shore, mixed with the shattered wreck of the lightning. The first mate approaches Kalander, and after a quick discussion Kalander saya: “IF you can recover anyones body from the water, do so as well. Beter to burn on the shore than to rise again the mist. I will gather my men. WE must not stay here too long.” HE looks at the dark caves near the shore nervously.
Lucky for Kalander the team launches into action around the Duergar and wizard. After doing the robot dance, An searches for survivors and pulls some valuable cargo out of the surf. The rogue moves among the crates on the shore and the avenger helps identify who needs healing and who is beyond help. Latching the gear to a sled the team takes off into the swamp.
Navigation through the swamp proves easy for the heros as they make their way toward the walls of Langmuir. Hiding their tracks, helping out the crew, the team finds a path through the swamp (with only a small stopoff to point out a mob of rampaging undead.
Finding a weather-beaten road is the last clue the team needs and Kalander roars “YES! Well done boys and girls, now lets get behind those walls! Double Quick!”
The crew takes heart in being on the right path and the mist is even letting up a little.
After about an hour at the brisk pace, the high walls of Langmuir fade into view as you top the last rise before the coast. Set on a small hill, the lights in the windows are a much welcomed sight. The gates are drawn and two guards stand ready in heavy armor.
As you near the gate one guard steps forward noisily and declares “By order of the council, who goes there? Declare yourselves!”
Kalander pushes his way forward muttering “I will deal with this.” The guards noticeably relax as Kalander seems to be well known to them.
The guard produces a small steel dagger from his belt and offers it to Kalander, “Even for you, all who wish to enter must cut themselves and show the blood. Daily we fight the Black Bloods outside our walls, and woe is the day when we fight them inside as well.”
Kalander nods solemnly and runs the knife over his open palm. Wincing only a little, he shows the red blood welling in his palm. “C’mon lads, no fear and no trouble will come to you.” He hands the dagger off to his crew for them to do the same. With only a little noise, the party is admitted.
Once inside Kalander points to the Once Dry Inn and says “that’s where we can rest and recover, and that is going to take a lot of beef and a lot of beer! It is all covered, rooms too.”
The crew sends up a cheer, and patting you on the back, they pour inside.
The inside of the Once Dry Inn is warm and inviting. Few windows line the outside, and the smoky fire in the hearth sheds more light and heat than you have seen for days. Nearly every table and chair has been piled in the corner to make way for a press of bodies. Over a dozen men and a few women loudly argue over a map splayed across the one central table.
One of the men, clad in a short red cape wearing a heavy pummeled sword, approaches and embraced Kalander with a shout of “Uncle! How great it is you made it! We feared you would be lost once we lost the light of the beacon.” Kalander eyes his nephew warily and smiles, “If not for our marines, we would be nothing more than another missing crew. We wrecked on the rocks well outside the city and dragged our sorry butts through the swamp to get here. It has been days with cold food, no drink, and little sleep. Get me one of those tables and a chair for these old bones, and get me something from the kitchen! We can deal with your beacon after.”
Kalander turns to you and introduces the man as “Daffyd Lyrr, member of the Travellers Guild and my own nephew. Daffyd here was to return with us on the Lightning, before … things changed. So tell me, what happened to the Beacon, where is Carrik, and what the hell is going on here?”
Daffyd takes a deep breath before beginning his tale: “The Black Blood tribe of werecreatures has been terrorizing the area for the last few months. Recently a particularly vicious werewolf named Bloodeye has been attacking caravans and ore shipments with increasing boldness and success. Three days ago, Bloodeye took over the Beacon before extinguishing the signal it sends. The council sent a group of militiamen headed by Carrik to the beacon. They failed to return and are feared dead.
Without the beacon, Langmuir will not receive shipments of food and water, the mines will go unworked, and the town will cease to exist. The council is in charge here (you notice him roll his eyes and nod towards the commotion behind him), but they are split about what to do. Half want to send the remaining militia to take out Bloodeye and recapture the beacon. The rest want to stay and defend the town. Both sides make good arguments but both know time is running short. Keeron says…”
Bursting through the door of the Inn, the guardsman from the front gate looks frantically around, and spotting Daffyd, runs over to him and speaks quickly. “Scouts have spotted a large band of Black Bloods on the hilltop west of the village. From that hill, they could set up war machines that could attack the town.”
This news sends the council into further uproar until Daffyd pounds the pommel of his sword on the table for quiet.
The councilmen argue: “Bloodeye is using the beacon to lure the defenses of the town away so he can attack without opposition”
“The beast is trying to weaken all of Moray by destroying the beacon, and so he has us pinned in our town while he achieves his true goal”
“The Black Bloods wont just destroy the beacon, they could fortify their position and use it as a base to attack Langmuir and the local mines”
Daffyd, Kalander, and some of the councilmen try to discuss some plan, moving among the inn trying to gain consensus.
Finally, Keeron, the most senior councilman stands, and raises his hands for quiet. “We all agree that the militia must stay within Langmuir. But at the same time, we all agree that we cannot stay idle while this half-beast fortifies and readies his forces for an attack on our city and region. Kalander, you said your men were at our disposal? Adventurers, Langmuir is in dire need of assistance. Your captain has offered your services to us. Where would you strike first, at this war band or at the beacon itself? The decision is yours.”
The party decides the closest threat is the most important one, and prepares to attack the warband before they can launch an assault on the walls of the city. The militia are confined to the city, but the party convinces three miners to accompany the Duergar during the attack.
The roar of the Fighter springs the ambush and the Avenger, Bard, Rogue and Wizard launch a devastating assault on the creatures massed on the hilltop; followed shortly by the Duergar and miners. One enemy dissolves into a pile of filty vermin and manages to bite and infect the Warforged Bard. The other enemies offer little resistance and are slaughtered with little effort.
Victorious, the party turns its attention to the diseased An, and to the other threats brought by the Black Blood Tribe.
shoulda taken a picture. darn. and that is way too much info for one update. dont expect that!