Receding Floodwaters Report in Legends of Elohey | World Anvil

Receding Floodwaters

General Summary

Chapter 1:



Ranger Bruthazmus of Falcon's Rangers could not persuade young Dacio Bicchieri to stay safe in Aquitaine while he healed up, but his attempt succeeded in convincing Chef , currently a member of SNAFU Guild.
And Chef has special persuasive tools at his disposal:
  1. an entire cauldron full of nourishing soup;
  2. half an hour of oversight in the Rusty Dragon Inn while all other adult humanoids gather rescue supplies elsewhere;
  3. a sturdy, thickly constructed soup ladle, with which he can bonk the goblin boy on the forehead until Dacio complies.
Soon the party heads out perpendicular to the Warden Road, across the Longgrass Plains. Travel by cart, converted beerwagon, and paddy wagon takes several days, even with only brief breaks to swap out animal teams and drivers. The late summer grass gradually gets shorter, the land dryer, as they hurry toward their destination. The smart thing to do is to stop when at the edge of Oatman Canyon, get some rest for people and critters, then head in fresh in the morning.
But Miro Teague points out that while the rescuers are resting, the people they mean to rescue may be dying.
The sun sets as they arrive at a strange scene:
The original surface of the road -- a clearing in the grass, really, an old farm courtyard overgrown, where there was still a rusty old well pump; this is why the Bicchieri Caravan usually stopped here for a night so they could arrive fresh in the morning -- still exists in a perfect oval about 60 feet across north to south at its center, 90 feet long from eastern end to western end. The ground around it was scraped down by gale-force winds, going several feet to the underlying bedrock. Then that absent dirt mixed with driving rain to form a river of mud, flowing around the outside of the oval and filling the trench back up to a distance two feet below the lip of the campsite's surface.
It looks like a mesa in miniature.
The sun of the past week has baked the mud river dry while the adventurers traveled to this point, but it is still soft and slick in many points.
Inside the oval, backlit by the setting sun, the adventurers can see a lot of rubble and lumps. They have to get closer to make any more sense of the shapes.
The horses and ponies can climb up okay, but Bruthazmus has to boost the wagons and cart to get them up onto the oval. The sun finishes dropping below the horizon as Bruthazmus shoves the last cart wheel up onto the mesa. They park near the stone-lined cookfire pit in the center, which will have to be emptied of detritus before it can be used for the evening meal. Around the perimeter of the oval, the remains of the caravan wagons are mostly here. An arc of protective fires had been built in to the eastern edge of this camp area, with enough space between them for a caravan wagon in each gap. The fires had burned for days, based on the marks you can find in deep-buried rocks, before the entire thing was blown apart by strong northward winds. Glaringly obvious are 4 spots, not any of them on the western end, where wagons obviously used to be but have been removed.
The remaining debris could be 5 wagons, 9 "watchfires", the handle of the old well pump (which was ripped forcibly out of the ground) and other smashed cookery supplies dumped into the cookfire basin, a temporary paddock with fence posts and colorful rags knotted together to make "wires", and -- as people start to examine the mess more closely in the dying light -- some thigh bones. The skull of a donkey. Three tents, ripped to shreds.
Hmm. Looking at this thigh bone, I'm thinking about scavengers. Did anything gnaw on one end of it?
— the party finds out that something tried to bite this thigh bones using extremely sharp canines. Or possibly needle-type teeth?
Chef, inspired, picks up one of the thigh bones. He looks at the marks on one end. He switches to the other end. He bites it, hard. After a few seconds, he lets go, and compares his marks to the prior gnaw marks.
Chef has bigger mouth! MORE TEETH!
Chef is one extremely pleased reptile
What a smart idea. Bruthazmus acknowledges that his less cultured distant relatives might be suspect here as well. He picks up another thigh bone, following Chef's example.
Chef sulks over the discovery that Bruthazmus has a larger bite
From here, the party branches out to answer many questions.

A selection of clues gleaned via expert investigation:


Studies of the NATURAL

  • While scouting ahead, before the party had crested the eastern ridge to see the Bicchieri Caravan campsite, Wrong Way the Giant Bee found a useful piece of information.
    Rather literally.
    (Wrong Way is a literal-minded bee, after all!)
    Wrong Way made his forward scouting loop. When he swooped back, onto Jesse's lap he dropped a bloody rabbit ear.
Things that Jesse deduced from the ear, and relayed to the party:
  1. This is in fact a Grassland jackrabbit ear, not a domestic bunny.
  2. This is an ear whose fur has been slow-smoked with a mix of eleven herbs and spices.
  3. This ear was chewed off by something with only needle-style fangs and/or teeth.
  4. The only blood is on the outside.
  5. It does not SMELL like undead flesh!
  6. It is not as muddy as it should have been if it got left behind during the storm.
  • The animal companions of rangers and druid
  • Rowtag
  • Wrong Way
  • Xifeng
  • were at varyingly strong levels of adamant that their chosen humanoid stay right here on the campsite. Or go south, that's okay. Or go east, that's probably okay. None of the animals wanted to go north, or have their people go north. None could communicate the shape of their unease. Xifeng was particularly disturbed to the point of nipping her Harpy's shoulder if Sephia so much as took a step too close to the northern grass.
  • Although it surely rained at least as hard in this area over the past several weeks as it rained in Aquitaine, this area did not flood. It should have. It should still be three feet of sloshy mud. The area south of here is a better match for a naturalist's expectations of natural phenomena than north of here, which is still a better match than right here at the caravan camp.
  • According to Sephia's expertise on land that has survived the passage of a hurricane, and Jesse's expertise on living the fine line between chaos and order: Most of the debris from this area should be to the north, but the tallest items and the lightest items might have gone *south* instead. Any person searching this area would have already looked north.
  • Bruthazmus, casting a little wider into the grass, thinks someone was trying to take advantage of the thicker grass. He found strangely heavy hoof marks from the north-northwest; but only back hooves. Never forehooves. They're too heavy to be what he would expect of unicorns. Maybe they were fat unicorns? Even stranger: lurch-and-drag marks to the west, coming and wandering around through the wreckage and then going again, as if whatever their foot shapes, they had wrapped themselves in loose sackcloth and stuffed it with wads of whatever they could find.
  • Searching the eastern edge of the campground for shallow graves, or a note in a bottle, or anywhere else sentients deliberately buried something, Jesse finds crates stamped "Bicchieri Caravan" and buried partially under the edges of the trail, each crate packed with mostly intact glassware containing balls of dried wicks, or jam, or liquor, or cigars, or seeds, or herbs.
  • While checking the grass for wagon tracks (and discouraging further nips from Xifeng), Sephia continues to check the debris strewn to the north. She sees some debris up here. she spots see bits of cloth draped over bushes. The last dying sunlight of the day glints off tumbleweeds with bottles wedged into them. She notices a crossbow in one shrub, and some busted axes in another area. She even finds a half keg. (Used to be a whole keg, probably smashed after rolling and bouncing several time.)

Studies of the SUPERNATURAL

starring Miro Teague, Esquire
  • Based on the residual magic still -- even now, more than a week afterward -- gently fading in the surface dirt of the campsite, this was the eye of the hurricane!
  • Miro Teague, Stormborn, knows hurricanes.
  • The eye of the hurricane was too small by an order of magnitude -- a thousand yards or less instead of twenty nautical miles. That is not how hurricanes work. Also it was stationary for days, driving a visible mark into the world at its perimeter. That is NOT how hurricanes work!
  • Yup, the eastern edge of the eye of the storm was here at the caravan camp for a long time. Look how the soil is fluffed upward from the low pressure! Look how the rock face around the edges is raw and scored, as if that part of the ancient river bed was carved out of what has been flat dirt for a long time! And just outside the perimeter -- this is an oval about half a mile across -- the ground is scoured away to a depth of several feet, the grass and shrubbery and few trees have been ripped up, the only stuff to stay rooted in the soil is that patch over there of cabbages, which are growing more or less at random.

Studies of the Campsite Rubble

starring Chef, mostly, while his Master Lee Chung is busy overseeing the others
  • The people of this caravan removed their stock from the wagons at one point in the siege. They moved the glassware to the eastern edge, to either side of the road, and buried it -- not deep enough to truly hide it, but perhaps their intention was to keep the glassware from being shattered and added to the storm winds?
  • The people of this caravan either died or were captured once their defenses were exhausted. For Dacio's sake, Chef hopes most of them were captured. It is never safe to be a lone reptile with no Clan at all. In either case, Chef expected to find some bodies not far away, and possibly some of their smashed wares. But Chef finds only more of these thigh bones from cows and donkeys. And the donkey skull, which will maybe make okay broth but is not going to be much good for any other use.
  • And for that matter: what happened to the caravan animals? Where are the donkeys? Where are the caravan guard dogs? These were conscientious people, they would have done something for their creatures.
  • Meanwhile, between inquiries doled out to the others and reports received, Lee examines the pattern of the debris within the campsite. He searches for a hidden note from the lost Bicchieri Caravan. He determines that the debris has been disturbed more than once since this caravan was destroyed. Perhaps five times in all before the SNAFU Guild arrived. If Dacio Bicchieri truly traveled for nine or ten days to get help and his people were alive enough to put up a ruckus of a distraction as he fled, and it took the Snafu Guild seven days to hurry here, that means this campsite has been investigated approximately once per two days since the earliest it could have been breached? Which suggests more than one "someone" is still looking for something important! And maybe they found a note. Or ... maybe Lee Chung should dig somewhere else?
By this time, full night has fallen. The sky out west of the Warden Road is thick with stars. Eerie, low moans roll over the chilly hills.
(Those are probably the lowing of a cow. Or of a few cattle, calling to one another.)
Chef and Miro halt in their search eastward from the campsite. Chef thinks that he is onto something in the pattern of what caravan supplies wound up where. Miro is not leaving the little guy alone. All thoughts of the search abandon the kobold's mind as


The fight may have only taken thirty seconds of actual time, but it sure felt like almost two hours of violent clash!
Now it is late, and we are all weary. The waft of scorched hell-cow-with-rosemary makes people long for their bedrolls. The adventurers might even be prone to seeing things.
Such as ... Blood-sucking Cabbages consuming the infernal remains of the cow.
Unanimous agreement floods around: Head back to the campsite. Get a really good campfire going in that central spot. Get some shut-eye. Deal with things in the morning!
Sunrise on the 8th of Grolm promises another scorcher of a day. Lee Chung and Chef scramble up a fine breakfast for all. Lee Chung wants to go check over the combat site one more time. No one else is completely sure they want to leave the tea kettle for that. After a moment, Bruthazmus calls to Rowtag and ambles after the monk.
The carcass of the Hell Bovine looks deflated, as if it were mummified in a peat bog or a salt flat. The ground underneath it and for a foot radius around each outflung part is not just dead, it's lifeless -- as if the ground had been scorched, acidified, and salted. Even the vultures that tried to clean up the leavings are now dead on the ground nearby.
Also present is the outline of the Hell Bovine's halberd. The ground where it had lain, and a foot around it in all directions, is equally lifeless. The halberd itself, however, is not present.
Nope: not touching any of that! Certainly not going to bury that carcass, that likely would just make things worse. Lee wants to stake it in the heart "just in case", but does not want to get close enough to touch it. Wise.
By the time Lee gets back to the campground, the rest of the party is cleaning up and packing for travel to Purgatory Gulch. Lee reports the findings makes one more rummage through the rubble for hints or clues.
Under one pile of former Cuali caravan wagon, Lee finds a battered remnant of a felt hat.
Dacio Bicchieri did say that the folks of Purgatory Gulch consider a hat to be the outward marker of self-sufficient adulthood. Everyone still gathered around the breakfast dishes compares their hat status:
  • Birds and bees don't wear hats.
  • Miro, busy using his Stormborn talents to mend the hat by pretending that it is sailcloth in need of magical patching, does not mention the beanie-with-propeller that may be in one of his pockets.
  • Lee wears a sarok along with the rest of his monk's outfit.
  • Chef wears of course! the Hat of Chef. Always. Chef hat, maybe chef apron, probably also Chef Belt of Tool Holding. Occasionally also wears "Oven Mitt of +3 No Burn Talons Nor Drop Pie", which is an important Tool of Becoming a Master Chef.
  • Jesse has an excellent leather hat.
  • Sephia notes that she is a woman of taste and distinction, and this object which has been well-mended by Miro continues to be a spotted, stained, and above all mud-brown hat.
"I'll dice you for it," suggests Miro.
Sephia agrees. She rolls a 1 on 1d4. "Beat that!" she challenges with distaste.
And then I reach into my pocket, and I get a natural 20 on my Sleight of Hand skill, which means my roll result is a six....
— Miro's player cheats to make Sephia wear the hat
That reminds all: one head was missing from that hat count. Who last saw Bruthazmus?
He was with Lee at the battle site.
Miro sends Spiro to scout around for Bruthazmus. As a familiar, Spiro confirms his "received requests" by sending a vague mental image of a teddy bear, wiggling ears at the top and a bow in hand, accompanied by an impression of curiosity.
Spiro zooms off. He flies over the battle site. He flies past it. He keeps going. Soon he is out of sight completely.
Crickets chirp.
"He sees some smoke...." Miro mutters within the party's hearing.
Whatever mental impression Spiro sent to his sorcerer next (an almost cartoonish scorpion, and then a set of fork and knife) has Miro trotting off in the direction of his missing familiar.
"Fine," Zhang Sephia says in exasperation. She flies as close to straight up as she can, trying to get a good view of Miro and Spiro and Bruthazmus and ... just ... everything. There's still a LOT of turbulence up at altitude, in the wake of the hurricane. Even a week later.
But Sephia does see a town which has maybe two bonfire-size smoke sources in it, to the campsite's west. She sees a few smaller smoke sources to the north and south of that town, probably no more than a half day's walk away from the edges of the town.
In the distance to the south and particularly the southwest, she can see tiny signs of distant ranch houses, mostly because they have smoke sources also at this hour of the morning.
On the ground, Bruthazmus contributes to the conversation in progress about where Miro might have gone.
Where have you been all this time?!?
— Lee and Jesse and probably Chef to Bruthazmus
Bruthazmus has been looking for the night's tracks: where the cabbages went, whether any of the other Hell Bovines we heard were close to us, whether anything else came through.
Someone was spyin' on us, part of the night. Shooed the vampire cabbages away to the northwest.
— Bruthazmus to the party
Jesse and Lee explain to Bruthazmus that Miro took off to try to find Bruthazmus. Okay, sure, Bruthazmus looks around for subtle signs of halfling with a natural static electricity charge passing through knee-high late summer grass.
Spiraling on the thermal uplift, Sephia sees that the land to the northeast of the campsite grows greener until it reaches the small lake.
No matter which way she turns, where she follows the rising warm current, Sephia sees no cows at this time.
Finally she spots Miro, a short ways northeast in the grass. Spiro has just landed in Miro's arms. Sephia signals to the party and they move to join the Stormborn.
Excited Spiro has an angry live suslik in his mouth. Miro talks about getting a tortilla or a cracker, maybe some ketchup, and fixing this meal right up for his extraplanar fire lizard.
Two hours later, the team rolls into the eastern end of Purgatory Gulch. The first building in sight is the church for Rhea the Lightgiver at the eastern end of town, as is traditional. Also visible on the main (only?) street in this little town:
It's wise to settle the wagons and associated animals before we begin to search the town for clues as to the missing caravan! Everyone travels through the length of Main Street to park in front of Oat Livery. Jesse, as a party representative wearing a hat, heads into the first building with Miro to negotiate stabling.
A Goblin man named Frederico Bianchi turns out to be hard at work caring for the animals in this stable. He sets his terms, decides he likes the way Jesse and Miro respond, and agrees to the deal.
From here, the party decides to

split up

and explore the town.

Rewards Granted

  • One muddy brown Oatman Hat, found by Lee, repaired by Miro's sailor's magic, worn by Sephia Zhang despite the fact that it is stained and smelly and absolutely does not go with her outfit. Its hat band has a wavy pattern inherent to whatever this material may be.

Character(s) interacted with



On the Longgrass Plains, heading west:


Purgatory Gulch


Join us next episode!

The Bows of Purgatory Gulch
Lee Chung
-Level Monk 6
Jesse Devonshire
6-Level Druid
Zhang Sephia
6-Level Ranger
Bruthazmus Kele
Nodin Bugbear
6-Level Ranger
Miro Teague
7-Level Sorcerer
Player Journals
20200411 Purgatory Gulch by Jesse Devonshire
20200101 Jesse's Ancient History by Jesse Devonshire
A Storm and a Half by Bruthazmus Kele
Report Date
11 Apr 2020
Primary Location
Secondary Location

Cover image: by CB Ash


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