ASFTD: Session III Report in Ulskandar | World Anvil

ASFTD: Session III

A Shadow from the Deep

General Summary

I’ve seen bones like his before….
  As Rain was beginning to stride away to continue following the tracks along the Mountain line, Zakeel’s words froze stopped him in his tracks and he turned to see what the creature meant. Having regained his attention, Zakeel took to the air so that he could be level with Rain’s face, and studied the Half-Orc’s face and head intently. After several minutes, Zakeel declared that he had a skull in his collection that was strikingly similar to Rain’s own, and that he would return to the plane of existence from whence he had come to find it, the idea being that Rain and Zakeel could strike a deal so that Rain could learn what information Zakeel felt was of interest to him. Before Rain could refuse, Zakeel placed a painful black mark on Rain’s arm, saying that it would help him to find Rain again. With that, Zakeel disappeared into thin air, leaving the party alone once more.   With Zakeel gone, a confused Rain revealed that he had long lost contact with his family tribe, who used to roam the savannah of the ‘Free States’. Feeling that he was somehow different from the rest of his tribe, Rain had travelled to a peak in the Eira-Gwyn Mountains, held to be sacred by his tribe to seek answers as to why he was able to wield magic, whilst the rest of his family could not. However, by the time he returned to where his tribe had been camping, they had disappeared, leaving no sign as to where they had gone, with Rain being forced to turn to a life of lonely wandering. As the portents of Zakeel’s appearance and conversation began to sink in, Rain declared to the group that this was clearly a personal quest of great importance to him and as ‘leader’ of the group he looked forward to leading them to success on their onward journey. With the rest of the party tactfully agreeing with the Half-Orc, the four companions set off once again to follow the trail left by the Shadow Elf slavers and their captives.   After several more hours of walking along the foot of the mountains, the trail veered off and vanished into the mouth of a tunnel leading below the Felsspitze Mountains. Wanting to ensure that this was not some kind of trap, or ploy, Elijah scanned the surrounding area, but could find no alternative route that the Slavers had taken. Instead, he discovered three sets of larger, fresher footprints moving down from the mountain side above the tunnel entrance and entering the tunnel themselves. With weapons ready, the party set off underground, following the Slaver’s tracks and the three sets of mystery footprints.   As the only member of the party unable to see underground, Flintwick was soon rendered almost completely blind in the oppressive darkness of the tunnel, and was guided by the sounds of Rain and Elijah before him, and the much more unsubtle movement of Thorwald behind him, who was clearly enjoying being back underground again. With all concept of time and distance stripped away from them in the dark, the party pushed on down the tunnel, that maintained a relatively level course beneath the mountains, until they came across a small cave naturally cut into the side of the tunnel. Inside this cave were the remains of a fire, whose embers were still glowing, and the remnants of a deer that had been butchered, cooked and eaten not long before the party arrived. As the rest of the party remained on guard by the cave, Elijah padded softly down the tunnel, which began to curve to the right up ahead, to see whether there was any signs of whoever had rested in the cavern. Approaching the bend in the tunnel, Elijah became aware of the distant sound of tools picking and scraping against the rock, but also became aware of a presence lurking in the darkness of to his left. Thankfully, Elijah was able to spot the Bugbear’s attack as it attempted to take him by surprise, as were the rest of the party as two other Bugbears emerged from the shadows behind them. Acting quickly, Thorwald illuminated the tunnel with a ball of sacred flame, which although it did not wound any of the Bugbears, temporarily blinded one and gave Flintwick enough light to get a bead on one target. Soon the tunnel echoed to the sounds of blade, Warhammer and the explosive percussion of blackpowder. With the Bugbears dead, the party searched the bodies and found a tabard bearing the same coat of arms that Arno and the other slain guards at the raided merchant caravan had be wearing (see image in side bar). Moving swiftly on through the tunnel, the party came closer and closer to the source of the tool and work sounds, until the tunnel they were travelling through terminated in a much larger caver, that was ringing to the sound of people mining out of sight up a small slope.   In the cavern, the tracks that they had been following had become muddled and indistinguishable from a myriad of other footprints criss-crossing back and forth through the cavern, which prompted Elijah to move further into the cavern to assess the situation. Creeping up the slope, Elijah was presented with the sight of at least 20 pairs of miners excavating the sides of the cavern, one using a pick axe to extract ore and rock from the rock face, the other using a shovel to transfer the material into large baskets. Beyond the miners were two guards, both wearing the crest of the Barony of Hohensten, lounging by a ladder that presumably led to one of the upper levels of the mine. Having relayed this information to the rest of the group, Flintwick began to stride up the slope, telling his companions to wait there for five minutes as he had a plan for how to move forward. Confidently striding up the slope, through the pairs of miners and up to the guards, Flintwick addressed the two guards, posing as an inspector that had been sent down into the tunnels by the Mine’s Overseer (who herself reports directly into Baron Theobald Hohensten). The confused guards, fearing that this was some kind of ruse concocted by their superiors to check if they were slacking allowed Flintwick to pass, and he began to ascend the network of ladders to the pit-head above. Emerging above ground, Flintwick found the pit-head of the mine of Ormur before him and identifying the barracks building up against the wall of the mine’s protective palisade, made a beeline for the building. Once inside, Flintwick managed to convince the man working in the mess area to give him two portions of rations to take down to the two guards in the mine who had let him pass through, though his attempts to get their gruel jazzed up with any spices or herbs that the man might have simply caused confusion, as ‘this is a barracks not an eatery’.   Meanwhile, down in the mine Elijah, Rain and Thorwald, who had been waiting for at least 15 minutes began to grow restless and worried (just a tiny bit) about what might have become of Flintwick. Moving up within sight of the miners, Elijah approached two Half-Elves that were working together as a pair at the edge of the group and with Thorwald accompanying him, engaged them in conversation. The two learned that the miners working in Ormur were not slaves, but free people attracted to the mine from all over by the prospect of work, though in reality they were worked very hard, for pay that is constantly being docked for use of tools, the bunkhouses and food. When asked if they had noticed anything strange moving through the mine over the past few days, the two replied that a naked man had been discovered not two days ago in the bottom section of the mine they were ow working in. The man had been out of his mind apparently, and he had words carved into the flesh of his back. On his discovery he was hurriedly taken up to the surface by the guards and all talk of him has since been rigorously silenced by the guards on the orders of the Overseer, though it is rumoured that he is still in the mine, being held in the top of the barracks. They further added that the best place to hear rumours about the man was the tavern in the village above. Believing that the tabard (that Flintwick had taken) might belong to this man, Elijah and Thorwald described the coat of arms to the miners, one of whom said it sounded like the crest of Linde Frankesen, a merchant based out of Kleinhaupt. Whilst engaged in this conversation, a much more unsubtle Rain had been wandering around exchanging pleasantries with the other miners, who were becoming increasingly confused as to why a heavily armed and armoured, albeit friendly Half-Orc had appeared in the mine. When Rain approached the two guards, they were also very confused about where these mystery people were coming from, to the point that they were not even sure if Rain was real, with the two of them discussing in hushed tones tales of guards and mineworkers that had been driven insane by spending too long underground. Capitalising on their confusion, Rain called over Elijah and Thorwald and they began to ascend to the surface.   On reaching the surface, Rain, Elijah and Thorwald encountered Flintwick who had been making his way back to the mine-shafts, with his two meals in hand with which to bribe the guards, meals that were swiftly abandoned when it was realised that the sad looking grey gruel was not needed. Keen to find more information on the man discovered in the mine, the party made their way out of the pit-head into the small village of Ormur proper and set a course for the Crossed Picks Inn at the heart of the community. Inside the rather rough and ready tavern, overseen by the imposing Goliath barman, they found Wynstan and Arno sitting in one corner, awaiting their arrival. Sitting down over a tankard of ale (several in Rain’s case) Wynstan and Arno confirmed that they too had heard the rumours about the man, and furthermore had heard that the Baron himself was sending men to question the man and bring him back to Kleinhaupt and that the only person who was allowed access to him was the village’s herbalist, Kai who tended to his wounds. As well as this, the party realised that Arno wore the same tabard that they had found in the tunnel below ground, and hypothesised that Arno might know the man and be able to extract information from him. With that, Thorwald and Flintwick left to visit the herbalist, Arno in toe leaving Elijah and Rain to enjoy the rugged delights of the inn. Moving swiftly to the other side of the village, Thorwald and Flintwick entered the herbalist’s shop and engage Kai in conversation. There they learned that Kai went in to change the dressings on the man’s back every night at sundown, and that the wounds themselves showed no signs of healing, regardless of what she tried. Showing Kai his holy symbol, Thorwald asked if she would like assistance trying to heal the man, to which Kai agreed, grateful to have a second opinion, though wary that she would only be able to justify getting Thorwald admittance to the room with her.   Meanwhile, back in the Crossed Pick, Elijah and Rain’s attention was drawn to a bar game that the establishments other patrons were being drawn to, which involved throwing small, hand-axe sized picks at a large wooden target on the wall, with the aim being to get the pick to land closer to the centre than your opponent. Both decided to try their hand at the game, challenging a Dwarven patron to a match, who they quickly discovered was much more accomplished at this than they were. In an attempt to swing the match in their favour, Rain summoned a not so stealthy Mage Hand to guide this pick straight into the centre of the board, which was directly followed by an accusation of cheating from the Dwarf. Rain and Elijah valiantly attempted to negotiate with the Dwarf for all of 5 seconds, before Elijah threw caution to the winds and punched the Dwarf in the face. The brawl that followed between Rain, Elijah, the Dwarf and two of his companions saw Rain and Elijah emerge victorious, albeit bruised, and they returned to the table Wynstan was sat at to toast their victory.
Report Date
11 Oct 2018
Primary Location
Secondary Location

Cover image: by Chris Pyrah


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