ASFTD: Session IV

A Shadow from the Deep

General Summary

Having finished their conversation with Kai, Thorwald and Flintwick made their way back to the Crossed Picks Inn to meet up with their two companions, to update them with the information they had learned and to work out their best course of action. Hoping to be able to extract whatever information they could quickly and discreetly, Thorwald proposed that they should proceed as Kai had suggested, and that he would accompany the herbalist into the barracks so that he could gain access to the injured man being held there, and attempt to extract information from him, whilst trying to heal his wounds. With the others agreeing and proposing to stand watch within the village of Ormur in case anything untoward began to happen, the party decided to take a rest in the tavern and enjoy a few home comforts before sundown.   Whilst the others rested in the tavern, Flintwick set out to explore Ormur and see if he could make a few trades. Having collected a number of weapons, taken from raided caravan site and brought to Ormur by Wynstan at his request, Flintwick made his way to the village’s blacksmith to see if he would be able to sell the weapons. Approaching the workshop, Flintwick found the Dwarven blacksmith repairing tools that had been brought down from the mine, and was able to sell the weapons to him for an acceptable amount of gold. Following this transaction, Flintwick decided to try and convince the blacksmith to be his representative in the area, and sell his stock of palm pistols on his behalf. With the blacksmith becoming increasingly suspect of the goods, especially as Flintwick started to push the sell, Flintwick decided to act slightly more forcefully in his negotiations, culminating in a demonstration of the palm pistol inside the workshop and only inches away from the blacksmiths face. The shocked, but still reluctant blacksmith decided to make a deal with Flintwick, instead of parting with more gold for the pistol, and traded him a well-crafted buckler for the item. Just about satisfied with the arrangement, Flintwick left the blacksmith.   Meanwhile, back in the Crossed Picks Inn, Elijah in an overt display of altruism, slips the Goliath barman several gold pieces, and asks him to provide a drink to everyone in the Inn on him. As the surly, previously fairly suspicious patrons of the establishment begin to warm up to him, Elijah began to circulate round the Inn, stepping into conversations and listening out for any interesting bits of knowledge that might prove useful. Whilst circulating through the Inn, Elijah learns that little has been heard about the man that was found naked and wounded in the bottom of the mine shaft since he was taken to the barracks, and that the guards have been given orders to suppress any conversations they overhear about him. In addition, a miner who has newly arrived in Ormur for work is overheard saying that this is not the first instance he has heard of this kind of thing happening, but that a man was found several weeks ago near the Brüllend Falls and was taken by the Baron’s agents, never to be heard from again.   Making his way back to their table, Elijah overhears a snippet of conversation between three guards in the corner of the inn and decides to go across to investigate. Having procured the guardsmen a round of drinks, Elijah slips into their conversation and listens to a distinctly distressed guardsman, named Konrad relating why he is so upset. Konrad had fallen in love with a girl in Kleinhaupt, and after a long courtship he asked her to marry him. However, the girl’s father, a well-respected member of the community, with connections to the Baron flatly refused, and would not give in to any pleading by either party. Distraught at losing his love, and knowing that he could not support her without the help and consent of her father on his meagre soldier’s wages, he came up with a plan. Konrad had travelled to the Sumpf marshes to find the hag there, known as Hulda. There he asked her to cast a spell on the girl so that she would forget about him, and thereby be able to live a happy life, find another love and not be dragged into poverty by marrying him. The hag Hulda granted this boon, but she demanded much more than Konrad was able to pay her. Hulda then insisted that Konrad must return with more gold, or she will lift the spell she has placed on the girl, and curse him so that she does not recognise him. Having already used all of his leave to make his journey to the Sumpf, and with weeks to go until he is transferred back from Ormur to duties in Kleinhaupt, Konrad cannot see a way of getting any extra money to Hulda without risking being charged with desertion and potentially executed. Having listened to this, Elijah proposes a deal, whereby the party will help Konrad out, and take extra money to the Sumpf for him, in exchange for him helping Thorwald get into the injured man’s room smoothly and without incident.   At sundown, Thorwald leaves the Crossed Picks Inn with the  guardsman, Konrad, and meeting up with Kai in the centre of the village, they begin to make their way up towards the barracks building inside the mine’s compound. With Konrad acting as their escort, Thorwald and Kai are able to make it into the barracks without issue, pausing only once so that Thorwald can prepare himself as best he can to heal the man locked away on the barrack’s top floor. Having performed a ritual to ensure he can quickly identify any potential poisons or disease afflicting the man, they make their way up to the top floor of the barracks, and are granted admittance to the room the man is being held in. The room itself was almost pitch-black, with Thorwald and Kai needing candles to properly see what they were doing. In the corner of the room, the man was squatting on the floor, wearing baggy, ill-fitting trousers over his legs, and a blanket around his shoulders, stained with blood. Moving closer to inspect the man’s wounds, Thorwald could hear him whispering constantly under his breath ‘I can still see them….’ As he gently prised the blanket away, Thorwald could sense that there was some sort of poison lingering in the wound beneath. The wound, or more precisely wounds spread across the entirety of the man’s back, and had been carefully cut into his flesh to spell out in Common Speech ‘Your time is running out….’ The poison in the wounds, Thorwald deduced was not in itself designed to be lethal, but was instead meant to keep the wounds open and fresh, so that the message could be clearly read. Summoning the power of his patron deity, Gwenhyfryd-y-Gwaedlyd, Thorwald began to cure the man’s wounds, with the divine energy he summoned managing to overcome the poison, and close up the wounds. With much of the pain from his back relieved, Thorwald was able to question the man as to what had happened to him, and he related a patchy tale of having been led through the tunnels of the Underdark by the Shadow Elf slavers, ending up in a cavern deep below the ground in which there was a city that echoed to the cries and wails that came from its immense slave market. As the others that had been serving with him in the caravan were sold around him, he was picked to be stripped, mutilated and was taken back towards the surface, and was dumped in the mining tunnels. Seeing that the man had recovered some of his mental capacity, but was still clearly suffering, Thorwald decided that the dark, cell-like room was no place to keep an invalid, and started to move to get the man out. As the guards outside moved to open the door, Thorwald used Thaumaturgy to cause a distraction in a room further down the corridor, and as the two guards began to move away, he emerged from the room, and convinced Konrad to help him smuggle the man out of the building.   As this was going on the three other members of the party were waiting outside the mine compound. Elijah had decided to sit down and enjoy whatever poor quality of meal the Crossed Picks Inn could rustle up, Rain was waiting at the threshold of the Inn, hoping that he would spot a fight in which he could get involved in kicking off within the mine compound, whilst Flintwick had taken himself off into a nearby alleyway to enjoy some peace and quiet. As they waited, Flintwick and then Rain became aware of the sound of several horses moving swiftly towards Ormur. Moving into the lights of the village, both of them saw four horsemen, dressed all in black making their way quickly up towards the mining compound. Both Flintwick and Rain began to follow the riders to the compound’s palisade wall, with Flintwick deliberately keeping himself hidden from Rain, lest the less than stealthy Half-Orc blow his cover. As Rain stopped at the gate of the compound to inspect what was going on, Flintwick slipped into step behind a group of miners returning from the inn and entered the compound. Inside, the four riders could be seen hitching their horses outside of the blocky two-storey building that they had been informed earlier was the Mine Overseer’s office. As the figures disappeared inside, Flintwick crept in at a safe distance behind them and, making his way to the bottom of a staircase, from which he could hear scraps of the conversation from upstairs, he tried to eavesdrop. During this conversation, he learnt that the hooded and cloaked figures wanted to see the man found in the mine as soon as possible, and that they were looking to take him back to Kleinhaupt.   Outside the compound, Rain, deducing that something was afoot, collected Elijah from the tavern and the two of them headed back up to the mine workings. Rain then decided to cause a distraction so that Elijah could sneak into the compound and try to discover what was going on. Striding through the gates, with a trail of guardsmen attempting to turn him back, albeit peaceably, Rain began to spout to all that were in earshot about the great and wondrous works of ‘our lady and saviour Mother Hubbard’. Using the cover provided by Rain, Elijah was able to creep up to the Overseer’s Office, and attempted to climb up to an open window on the first floor, from which a light could be seen. However, Rain began to add more and more embellishments to his charade in order to keep the increasingly impatient guards occupied for as long as possible, and he began to conjure bursts of flame in the air to cause further distraction. However, this display of magic led to the guards threatening to arrest him, or worse if he did not move immediately, prompting Rain to make a slow retreat back to the gate. In one final flourish he produced a last burst of flame, that flew off at a rather wild trajectory, and perfectly illuminated Elijah, clinging to the side of the building stonework as it went past. As the guards did a double take, Elijah dropped to the ground and bolted for the shadow of a nearby building where he was able to hide.   Oblivious to the commotion going on outside, the four baronial agents emerged from the Overseer’s office and began to make their way down the stairs. Flintwick, who had managed to hide beneath a nearby desk watched them make their way out of the building, in the direction of the barracks, with Flintwick tailing them to the threshold of the building. From outside, Rain noticed the figures making their way between the two buildings, and decided that he needed to act fast. Moving back up to where the guards were at the gate, he attempted to persuade his way past them, but when this failed he turned to intimidation, before resorting to head-butting one of the guards. Fearful that this would lead to an open brawl, Flintwick acted on instinct, drew his pistol and fired, shooting Rain in the leg in an attempt to bring him to the ground, and reduce the amount of a scene he was making. This was shortly followed by Elijah crossing back over to the Overseer’s office and releasing the agents’ horses, who spooked by the noise of the gunfire bolted for the palisade’s gate. Not only did the mini stampede plough down two of the guards that had been confronting Rain, it also drew away two of the agents, who began to pursue their horses. As Elijah and Rain made a move towards the barracks to support Thorwald, whose actual status they still were not sure of, Flintwick moved into the town to try and secure one of the agent’s horses.   Inside the barracks, Thorwald and Konrad had been moving the injured man away from the room he was being held in, using the distraction that he had conjured in the nearby room to lure the other guards into it. However, drawing level with the room, the guards became aware of what Thorwald was attempting and moved to confront him. Telling Konrad to bundle the man down the stairs, Thorwald turned to the guards, cast Command on one and instructed him to restrain the other. As the spell took effect, Thorwald moved forward and knocked the struggling guard out, and then did the same to the guard he had bewitched. Moving down the stairs, Thorwald could see Konrad and the wounded man standing stock still in the middle of the barrack bunk room below, as the two baronial agents made their way up from the stairs below. Moving swiftly to them, Thorwald attempted to make it look as if he was tending to a drunk soldier, but as the baronial agents made their way past, they noticed the bloodstained blanket that the injured man was still wearing, and putting two and two together, one of them lashed out at Thorwald, sword drawn.
Report Date
18 Oct 2018
Primary Location

Cover image: by Chris Pyrah


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