Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Colony - Turn 27 - Beach Party

With potentially valuable, but fragile, scrolls in hand and no way to protect them from rough handling, the party decides to make a fast trip back to town.

Start Date: August 1, morning
Start Status: Home again
Start Location: The lizard caves (hex 39 27)

The Turn

"Before we leave, let me see that dagger for a minute, says Kessel. He takes it over to the stone panels and then the obelisk, moves it around a bit, then touches it to the strange stone surfaces. "Nothing. Well then..." Before the others can react, he slices open his forearm and, with a surprised look on his face, sticks it into one of the holes in the side of the obelisk!

A deep THRUMMM sounds in the room, a few small fragments of stone fall from the ceiling in the stairway, and the yellow veins in the obelisk pulse with faint light. Kessel gives a shout of pain and pulls his arm out of the hole.

"That was incredibly dumb," observes Sim.

Kessel nods. "It was, but I didn't plan on sticking my hand in there. Something took control of my arm for a moment. At least now we know something we didn't before, and no great harm do... Hmm." He looks at his arm, which the others can see is free of blood. "Yeah, it was dumb," he continues, holding out his arm. The cut that should have been there is gone. In its place, there is a 6-inch long twisted scar in the exact shape of the rune on the side of the obelisk. "OK, I'm done." He hands the dagger back to Mendel, who stows it away, and the party heads back up the tunnel.

When they reach the lizard room, the group discovers some of the worms have returned to their grisly meal. Moving as quietly as possible, they edge their way along the south side of the cave and eventually reach the exit tunnel without issue. Once outside, they take a moment to organize gear and pack away the delicate scrolls as best they can. When everyone ready, they head for New Kavlin at a quick pace. It takes just over an hour to reach Oakfell, and once on the road their speed increases. They get to the city gates shortly after noon.

Aaron and Rennard head out immediately to ask Lieutenant Valdea Durhel about other obelisks that have been discovered in the area.

Zenobe pays a visit to his church to make a donation and speak with the senior priest if he's available [what is he going to say?].

Mendel, Xon, and Sim relate events to other. When they get to the bit about Kessel and the dagger, Maarek practically drags his brother from the room and down the basement stairs. The rest of the group hears raised voices and a few solid thuds that sound suspiciously like fist blows. The shouting and noise go on for some time. Eventually, a sheepish Kessel and an angry Maarek come back upstairs. "Kessel will be staying here for the next leg of this trip. I'm taking his place," says the cleric.

Jinx is the first of the travelers to note the absence of Nogg. "Where is the big fellow?"

"He took a job keeping the church graveyard tidy," says Javiera. "And," she adds, "he's not the only one who's found a job. I've joined the Guild of Scribes and will be setting up a shop in Silverforge. I'll be staying here for a while, but once things are settled, I'll probably move in upstairs. The adventurer's life is not for me."

"Apparently, I'm not going either," says Sim, looking up from the note he found on his bed when he dropped off his gear. "This is from the head of my order, and she wants to see me as soon as possible."

The group's mood is subdued as they break up, and those with errands and shopping to do head out. As the sun sets a frustrated-looking Rennard and a calmer Aaron return to the Tulip. "Any luck?" asks Xon.

Rennard shakes his head. "The lieutenant was unavailable, and we couldn't find any other officer willing to talk to us. I wonder if they're hiding something. We left a message for Durhel and will try to see her again tomorrow."

Javiera agrees to cast read languages tomorrow to try and discover what the scrolls the party recovered say. However, she won't identify the dagger. "I have work to do tomorrow and casting that spell is quite debilitating. Perhaps another time."

Hagan heads out to the Calico Cat for his usual nightcap. Javiera goes with him.

August 2

Adventuring: Rennard, Jinx, Mendel, Aaron, Maarek, Xon
Staying at the Tulip: Adrienne, Brigg, Hagan, Kessel, Smoke, Zenobe

Most of the group is up and about early preparing for departure. Aaron and Rennard head up the hill to meet the Lieutenant (they hope) and several party members see Sim off on his trip to Maple Vale. Rennard and Aaron are back within an hour with two bits of news. First, there is another obelisk somewhere in Sour Marsh to the south, although its exact location is vague. Second, there's a rumor that there's an obelisk beneath Raven Rock right here in the city.

It's late morning by the time everyone is back, organized, and ready to depart. The group heads for its first goal, the red obelisk, at a fast pace and reaches the site in the afternoon. While Xon keeps watch, the others search the surrounding area carefully using a variety of mundane and magical means. Mendel uses detect magic and detect traps, and Aaron attempts to use locate object to find another dagger similar to the one from the Lizard Cave, but marked with the rune found on this obelisk. These time-consuming efforts produce no results. By the time everyone is done, the sun is lowering. The group finds a campsite and sets their watches.

August 3

After a quiet and pleasant night's rest, the group heads northeast into previously explored territory. They cross the grasslands without incident and head into the dry waste that marks the coastline here. It's slow going as the soft ground, deep sand with patches of loose gravel and crumbly dirt drags at boots and sticks to sweaty skin. By the time they reach the shore, everyone is hot and irritated. The coastline is, shockingly, a sandy beach, marked here and there by piles of driftwood and rotten kelp. Huge waves pound the shore, and there is no cover to speak of. The group spreads out and wanders up and down the coast a while. The only item of interest they find is a crude lean-to half-buried by a dune – the home of a hermit or a wreck survivor, perhaps. Dozens of small notches in one of the supports indicate whoever it was stayed here for a long time. A quick search reveals nothing of value.

Following the shore, the group heads north and west, eventually putting the sandy waste behind them. The dense grassland ahead is much like that they've passed through before: tall grass that obscures vision, occasional rock outcroppings that rise out of the damp, sandy soil, and a profusion of small noisy animals and birds hiding in the grass. Nightfall finds them wandering in a sea of grass. They make an uncomfortable camp with a tiny fire and spend an unpleasant night listening to wildlife and the wind hissing through the grass.

August 4

The next morning, the skies are cloudy and gray, and the party makes an early start after a cold meal. They head west-southwest into hilly scrubland, covering about half the new territory before Xon spots a structure of some kind in the distance. It proves to be a broken-down palisade surrounding some small stone buildings and a single larger structure. The party takes cover and studies the site for an hour. "I think it's abandoned," says Maarek, "but I see some figures outside the palisade that haven't moved. Statues maybe?"

"I don't think they're statues; they shift a bit in the wind. Should we go see?" asks Rennard.


The scrolls:

The first scroll contains no text, so there is nothing to translate.

The second scroll is a prayer of praise dedicated to someone/something named Cruchinex, who is called at various times the Queen of the Skies and the Mother of the Winged Ones. It is a typical example of this sort of writing that probably even rhymes in its original language. It mentions other names: Choku the Bloodletter, who is apparently an enemy that Cruchinex defeated, and Uluvax, who is either a brother or spouse. The prayer ends with a call for Cruchinex to return to the world and raise her people back to their position of dominance in the world.

The third scroll is a ritual incantation entitled Raising the Claw. There are several invocations that request assistance in the form of the Blood of Cruchinex, a separate incantation to be performed while sacrificing a pure symbol of desire, and a final invocation to be spoken by each person doing the ritual as they cut their arms and insert them in the obelisk.

The fourth scroll is almost unreadable, but it seems to recount one or more past events. One fragment describes how Choku killed all the inhabitants of a village because they disobeyed his order. A subsequent paragraph tells how Cruchinex and her 'six furious mounts' cast Choku from a high peak and drove him into the wastes. The last legible text tells of a great battle with an unnamed being from another world. Cruchinex and Uluvax, along with their fellow 'great ones' Shkeel and Matu fought for many days, but, in the end, they were defeated and driven into a realm of 'crystal darkness and vine-wrapped screams.'


  1. 'crystal darkness and vine-wrapped screams.' - Very cool!

    1. And there's no way that's foreshadowing a trip for the party. No. Way.


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