Episode 5

Garvin was quite disturbed to realize that the grounds of the convent were a graveyard. Intimidated by the large monuments, he encouraged the others to leave. Not exactly thrilled about being on ground consecrated to a god of death, Lodivico and Tomas were quick to agree. Yazzi didn’t seem to understand what all the fuss was about.

Then Lodivico realized that they’d left the girl with alcolytes of a god of death, and that the Mother Superior had promised she “would know peace”, which sounded oddly euphemistic. He stopped a woman and cast a truth spell upon her. Her vow of silence interfered somewhat with clear communication, and some exaggerated gesturing followed. It seemed she indicated that the girl would not be killed. Reassured, Lodivico allowed himself to be led forth.

As they were leaving, Gavin noticed that a monument he passed by was for Manfreid Higgenbotham, and that this was far from the largest monument on the grounds. But he was not inclined to investigate further.

They camped just outside the convent wall, and got some sleep. They left as the sun was setting. The sister at the gate did not see them go.

They followed the road towards Stonegate, a nearby border castle. It was dark, and the wind was shrieking across the moor. The moon was four days from full, but still hours away from rising.

Then they felt something odd underfoot. Slippery and making moist sounds when trod upon. Garvin reached down to feel, and felt something warm and rope-like. His hand came away wet and sticky. They cautiously backed away from the spot, and Lodivico cast a light spell on Garvin’s drawn sword. A scene of slaughter was revealed. The remains of an entire orc raiding party lay in front of them, torn to bits. Also present were the bodies of some beautiful women, naked, with a silver symbol of a ewer hanging from around their necks, and pierced by many arrows. Gavin froze at the sight. All around them, the cry went up Iä! Iä! Aoooooooooooooo! And the Chosen of Kyre descended upon them.

The battle was brief and bloody, lasting only 6 seconds. Lodivico and Tomas almost died. Gavin held his own, but only just. Yazzi saved them.
Even so, had the Chosen not already been injured and their numbers diminished, it would have been certain death for our erstwhile heroes.

They could see flames from torches on the castle wall, and limped towards the safe haven, only to find the gates closed and barred. Garvin hailed the sentry atop the wall, gave his name and lineage, stated that they had just survived a bloody fight, and requested entry.
The guard informed the party that the Lord of the castle had ordered that none be admitted until his Lady and her attendants returned from their religious observances.
Garvin started to argue, but Lodivico quickly shushed him and drug him away.
They got out of sight, and then off the road, going uphill to the South until they encountered the ley-line. Lodivico took advantage of the stream of magic to largely heal the hurts the group had suffered. Then they bedded down for a few hours rest.

Not terribly long after dawn, they spied a heavily-armed group of horsemen making haste down the road in the direction that the party had been travelling. They took this as their cue to depart, and started South-East across the mountains, reasonably sure that the rough terrain would make tracking and catching them more difficult.

In the late afternoon, they started looking for a sheltered place to spend the night. They found a small cave. On the wall of the cave was scratched:
At the sound of the drum
Out of their holes they come
They come
The party unanimously agreed that maybe they should travel farther that day.

That night, shortly after dark, they heard drums. Drums in the deep. Even though the source was a league or more behind them, the sound seemed to shake the very mountains. Drifting on the wind, they were able to hear the faint sound of screams. The rest of the night passed uneventfully, but sleep was somewhat less than restful.

On the twelfth of Tinianmonth they continued to trek through the mountains. They found a meadow full of dropweed, which absorbs magic and releases poisonous gasses when crushed underfoot. Most of the party deliberately walked around the meadow, but Gavin wanted to pick one of the pretty purple flowers. His sinuses do not thank him for the decision. Later that afternoon, the party was chased by a boulder that seemed to be sentient. It was trying to crush Yazzi to death (and having some success) when Lodivico levitated it to a spot that it could not roll out of. The night passed peacefully.

The next day, they passed into a high-magic zone about mid-morning, and the mountains gave way to a green valley, extending miles in every direction, surrounded by mountains, and obviously well-populated. None of the party had ever heard of such a place, and Lodivico immediately concluded that it was a secret gnomish bastion. He has unequivocally declared that he will not set foot in the valley, as he does not believe doing so is worth his life.

And so we pick up. It is mid-morning on the 13th of Tinianmonth. Autumn is underway. The nights are getting colder, and the trees have begun changing colours. The mountains continue to the East-South-East and to the West, with the valley sitting astride any more Southern route of travel.



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