The Wilds Await

Demonic trip to Death's Landscape

First game GM'd by Rigo

Present:
Amber, Dwarf Druid, lvl 3 (Luchi)
Andreth, Human Cleric 1/Warlock 4 (Niko)
Entity, Colossi Fighter 1/Warlock 3/Sorcerer 2 (Simon I.)
Ida, Human Cleric 3 (Jimmy)
Scarlock, Wood Elf Ranger 4 (VRH)
 
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Report of the events of the first official journey to Dordon, from the 36th to the 39th of Sunmar, year 1186, under the banner of Lord Westingford’s Men by Andreth Norian, deacon in the Church of Kastus in Santaur, Westmarch.
 
To my beloved temple brothers and sisters.
As it is becoming common practice, I was called by the the Earl’s Company to join an expedition. Our destination was an uncharted realm reachable by one of the flying skulls. It was my hope that with both mine and the Lord Earl’s champion’s presence our initial contact with natives of the area could proceed without unnecessary conflict. Though that came true I caught Entity’s demeanor having shifted for the less patient since I saw him last.
Having left in the dim glow of the morning sun it was not yet midday when the jaw of our transport vessel closed behind us. The travel took less time in this occasion. Something I was disappointed by for the things’ dweomer seems to calm the frequent aches in my bones. We landed on a mountainside which provided great vision of the surroundings. The peaks of the mountain range continued farther south than we could see and a few miles north of us glimmered a rather large lake, a sea perhaps. To the west there were plains with little obvious features to take note of. Leading east was a path leading to a what our guide discerned to be a fishing village. Hoping to acquire information from the inhabitants we headed forth and before long a sentry tower in the fields caught our sight. A boy not more than 15 summers old greeted us and questioned our origin as well as intent. After landing an arrow beside Scarloc’s foot as a warning. We later learned the lad’s name to be Garf. His features were of a human though his presence emanated flowing water in colour and sound. He informed us of the hideous dwarves of the mountains and the elves in the south who war against each other. He took Amber to be one of these dwarves and wondered how she managed to make her way here. To his people the dwarves were a loathed race with whom they had warred in the past and wish now to stay far from. Luckily our explanation of our journey on the skull changed his attitude somewhat to the side of curiosity rather than agitated. My guess is that Amber lacking the dreadful stench of these mountain dwellers also played a part. Lastly he enlightened us of the many tattoos on his covering his body and a lone “skull walker” who had arrived here not too long ago. Skull walker was the name his kin gave to anyone who arrived via these relics which their believe believe to be cursed. As for the tattoos; they are each a mark of beneficial or great deed for their clan. We were told it would be grossly against tradition for any outsider to possess one. Much of this knowledge was confirmed and added to in the village by Horath, one of the elders. He was a man who barely had any room left for additional marks of glory on him. Horath warned us of the savage wildlife on the river’s eastern side. Animals there had begun to grow to huge proportions over time and very few have the courage to hunt there anymore. Also he taught us to not eat most plants as they remain poisonous even when cooked. We received friendly enough treatment and I would have liked to prolong our stay and engage in even longer conversation but the elder’s subtle hints directed us to get on our way. From what I gathered the previous visitor, “skull walker” had somehow disgraced the villager’s deity’s, Ichie’s, shrine. Ichie’s name aptly means “provider of water” in Aquan. If a suitable time arrives, I believe it would be valuable to make a trip to this holy place of theirs and correct any wrongs which the traveler might have done. Us and him are similar enough in the villagers’ eyes to cause worry. We expressed our with to meet this man and were pointed to follow the river one and a half days south.
By the river we found tracks of giant, larger than man frogs as well as well as reptile creatures which stood upright who we had also been made knowing of by Horath. Scarloc located an old bear cave for us to camp in around before the darkness set in. Roughly two hours before the break of dawn our ranger roused us to help stave off a pack of nine lizardmen who had crawled up from the nearby stream. The creatures quickly made their intentions clear with battle cries in a Draconic tongue and we took position. Dispatching them was a simple task. Their gear was crudely made and none we encountered had unnatural powers at their possession. Like in Zuralex before, Ida proved her ability in close combat and held the enemy back alongside Amber, who in this occasion took the form of a great and ferocious canine. Nobody suffered harsh injuries and soon enough the first rays of sunlight beckoned us to continue our travel.
After midday we came across a ruin of a fortress. An older man who looks told of a long trek made welcomed to his camp. He was very forthcoming and helpful for us though gave us only a vague descriptions of his intent or purpose. He was indeed the skull walker the villager’s told us about and had come from our realm. Much of the area’s stonework was covered in script in a language of which only Entity could interpret by the effect of one of its spells. After hearing of this the man tells us of a dream he had seen where a serpent breathing thunder and lightning had came down from the skies. Angels had tried to keep it at bay but to no avail. So they had asked for fell demons for assistance and a deal of some kind had been struck. That was as much as he had seen. Our detection spells also had revealed a small wooden case hidden in under one of the partially collapsed towers. My suspicions of the man’s druidic nature were affirmed as the performed a ritual to hold the falling rocks in place for a brief minute, allowing my associates to retrieve the buried item. The box’s contents were three gemstones, an emerald, a ruby and a sapphire. In different capacity each were connected to the demons the writings told were about, especially the ruby. After hearing of this the druid informed us of a cult possibly attempting a summoning ritual and connected to the stones less than a day’s travel south. For safety’s sake we dared not bring the most foul gem with us there and left it behind. Amber was against this at first eventually however agreeing to forget her greedy needs.
The path to the vile sect’s hold was through a forest. We had been instructed to exercise caution in the wood but the inhabitants proved too deft at hiding. With only a few miles left we were ambushed. Had it not been for Scarloc’s excellent wit our situation would have been grave indeed. He spotted the elves’ trap a moment before they jumped us and even drew some of their archers fire to protect us. This time Amber took the fierce form of a bear. The elven skirmishers wielded strange bent pieces of wood which they hurled through the air at us. The weapons would make a turn and arrive back to the thrower in the case they missed. One elf had magic which turn an area into a terrible mess of vegetation that bound me in place for some time. In the end we managed to capture an archer to hopefully extract knowledge from and in the best scenario, let go. Turned out he had no intention to let us learn anything. During the clash Ida had been knocked down and anger over this made many of my allies lose their cool. I had some difficulty quelling their lust for revenge yet was able to have everyone agree on allowing to spare his life. We were in no condition to face a hostile cult that day and so made camp. Our stronger members helped Scarloc to bury the elves in the traditional style, leaving all their belongings alone and the corpses on a raised platform for the scavengers to feed on.
We had to make brisk pace the next day to get our captive to a place of relative safety and still make it to the supposed summoning site. The druid agreed to hold onto him for a moment as long he brought no additional trouble. My legs and feet felt like they might fall off any moment by the time our destination finally came into view. It was a stone built of dark stone and etched with hundreds of dweomer imbued runes. A loud and repeated chant echoed from within. Our ever skillful tracker estimated there to be ten members joining the mantra. A few young birches provided us enough cover to approach without being detected. I kept to the back and so had little vision of what transpired next as well as being distracted by a soon following assault on my mind. Entity had stepped forward into the vision of a guard before the tower and following a denial of entry promptly blasted the person to smithereens. Many small hints pointed that the place was indeed home of sinister intention and so others joined the battle, everyone but me. As soon as the man had been felled a fiendish presence began stabbing my consciousness with invisible needles and flung my senses into disarray. I could feel a battle taking place not far from my now writhing body and a dreadful sense of helplessness in my inability to protect my companions. It felt as if I was trapped in pit of blades which sliced away at my being each one slightly deeper than the previous, keeping  the sensation fresh and rewarding for the torturer. Truly the thoughts that slipped their way into my own mind were the most horrid aspect of it.
I recall the first sound I heard after coming to my senses to have been some man’s death throes. I scrambled up and headed to assist. I was relieved to find my party in good health and last of the enemy fleeing into a stairwell. Ida yelled for us to retreat – she was going to bring down the building. Two well aimed incantations later a support pillar gave in and made the place’s insides collapse. The dust cloud had hardly begun to settle when a glowing red hue crashed down from the skies. Out from the half-smashed building emerged with haughty gestures a incredibly tall red skinned and winged thing, a demon. Entity hastily tried to blast it, for little to no effect. It was obvious we could not defeat such a thing and luckily it did not have a desire to tear us to shreds either. No doubt we had done it a favor, it told us. The cult members had planned to enslave him like celestials in the days of old. I remember the surprise on our faces when he begun to tell the story but not much more after that. I was later informed that he was somewhat displeased with myself stealing an important piece of a body on the altar before it became part of him during the ritual. Surely a misunderstanding as I was on the ground fighting for my sanity when the fight took place. A fact the others have indeed confirmed true. They tried telling me repeatedly how I was acting unnaturally while there. They claimed I was charmed. Something I had at the time denied but now know to be true. My memory and clear vision came back to me once we arrived back in our realm. Be the thing a demon or whatnot; even its might doesn’t carry through the mysts.

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