Daggerford

The Shaking Earth
12 Eleasis 1491 DR

The captain of the militia brings disappointing news, no horses are available to the adventurers as they are not on official militia business. Sherlen mentions two options to travel to Julkoun. By road or by river. She leads the group in a tour across the walls, to show them the surrounding region. At the most northeastern point, the highest point in town the group debates on how to travel. Blaze likes to try to sail upriver by boat until Tilliach reminds him he is afraid of water. After they realise no one has any experience on a boat they decide to travel by road.
As they are making their way back down, suddenly they feel the earth moving under their feet. Sections of the wall buckle with the posts pointing upward at strange angles, but the binding holds and the wall stays together. The catwalk behind the wall breaks off in a couple of places. The shaking is so violent that Daardendrian can’t manage to stay on his feet.
The north wall shakes, with mortar and loose stone flying everywhere. Slowly, inexorably, a part of the north wall collapses as they watch. Its supports give way, and as it falls, workers can be seen caught under the wall. Continuing screams can be heard as the dust settles.

The group rushes down to help the trapped and injured workers. They hear groans and curses in Dwarven. Daardendrian tries to lift one of the stones but fails, only to injure one of the workers even more. He quickly heals his wounds using his divine powers. Archibald gets his crowbar and together with Daardendrian they succeed in lifting the enormous rocks. Tilliach and Gloria drag the wounded from underneath and provide first aid. The part of the wall that had collapsed was being reinforced by Derval Ironeater’s brother, Dervin Stonecarver and his two sons. After their rescue they are  very happy and thank the adventurers for saving them. Dervin also promises them favors from the Ironeater clan, though nothing is immediately forthcoming. After inquiring, the group learns that this was actually the first earthquake to have ever occurred in Daggerford. Although they see it as an ill omen, the group has had enough drama in Daggerford in the day-and-a-half they had been back. With no patience to wait for more information about the earthquake they head out for Julkoun shortly after noon.

Nearing the end of the afternoon, close to the hamlet of Enfield, the ground starts shaking again. Less volatile than before, but still enough to alarm our heroes. Next to the road, the grass breaks open and a huge segmented insect with slender legs, each ending in a sharp claw, emerges from the ground in a burst of rock and dirt. A tough chitinous brown shell covers its entire body, and glistening black eyes stare out from above powerful mandibles. The battle that ensued was over in seconds. Daardendrian charged forward uttering his vow of enmity against the creature. He then called Bahamut to smite the foul beast and struck true. A tremendous blow cracked the armor of the insect and drew blood. The creature reeled when he was hit by Archibald’s thunder cannon, but it didn’t fall. It attacked with its mandibles nearly severing the dragonborn’s limbs. Daardendrian was stuck and with little regard to his safety Blaze aimed one of his chromatic orbs at the beast. A bright flash and the tiny ball of fire struck the monster between the eyes. The insect died and Daardendrian was free again, although quite injured. Combat was over before Tilliach even had a chance to react.

So close to a safe place for the night, they decided to head on to Enfield before resting. Upon arrival, they notice the hamlet is deserted. Doors and windows are nailed down and not a single living soul is to be seen. Blaze tries to open up one of the doors and discussion erupts. Tilliach is uneasy with breaking into people’s homes, even if they left it. Blaze doesn’t want to listen and Tilliach leaves, trying to lure one of the ankheg’s (as the giant insects are called) by ploughing some of the dirt with his dagger. In the meanwhile, Blaze uses Archibald’s crowbar to break open the door of a farmhouse, Although he destroys most of the door post while doing so. Archibald then picks the door’s lock and behind it they find a nearly empty home. Both Blaze and Archibald decide to stay inside during the night. Daardendrian and Tilliach take up residence at the nearby barn, both sleeping in their bedrolls on the floor.

Even though there were enough signs the roads aren’t as safe as they’ve used to be anymore, nobody bothers to stand watch that night. A choice they might regret in hindsight. Just before sunrise, the ground trembles again, waking Tilliach. With just enough time to stand up two more ankhegs rise out of the dirt. Tilliach has no doubts of what to do and casts arms of hadar before running outside. Daardendrian, still in his bedroll gets surprised by one of the creatures and is seriously injured. 
Noise of battle wake up Blaze and Archibald who run outside. Daardendrian retaliates with his breath weapon, setting half of the shed on fire. One of the ankheg’s now targets Blaze, who uses his shield  to prevent being bitten. Tilliach uses one of his voodoo curses and grabs a curious looking sort of doll. Archibald charges in with Dragonthumper, striking the ankheg, before casting sanctuary on himself. Daardendrian casts wrathful smite but misses his subsequent attack. Blaze uses shield once more to save himself. Daardendrian gets grappled by the mandibles, but retains his concentration. Tilliach cheers as he thinks he has blinded one of the ankhegs. Archibald tells him the creatures have tremorsense, so the effect of the curse will be little. Blaze’s burning hands then kills the ankheg. 
As more of the barn is consumed by the now large fire, Archibald drops his mace and shield and tries a shot at the ankheg. He just misses Daardendrian, who is still stuck in the mandibles, but hits the ankheg critically. The monster seems to prepare to depart and tries to crunch the dragonborn paladin. The power of the ankheg’s jaws is to great and Daardendrian loses consciousness. Things turn dangerous when Tilliach and Blaze both miss with their spells. Archibald fears the beast will take Daardendrian with him and grabs his mace and charges again to prevent to creature from leaving. He hits and the ankheg drops Daardendrian in order to spray his assailant with acid. Luck changes when both Tilliach and Blaze now hit with their magical attacks before Archibald lands the killing blow. 
Quickly, Daardendrian and his equipment are dragged out of the burning barn. The fire rages on, uncontrollably, but the Chosen of Bahamut is saved…

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Alven, Natyssa and Grengel
11 & 12 Eleasis 1491 DR

Although the evening had already turned into night, Tilliach, Gloria and Blaze decide they will visit Alven, only to find out he's not at the Silver Flood Inn. Connar and Ganfar, the owners of the Silver Flood, confirm that Alven’s rent is paid up for a few tendays. 
While talking about Alven, Connar offhandedly says aloud, “Come to think of it, I didn’t see his girl, Natyssa, yesterday evening, either. Seems strange they’d leave with the roads so dangerous.” Connar and Ganfar identify Natyssa as a courtesan who has stayed at the Lizard’s Gizzard for a couple tendays now, although she occasionally stays with someone in the Silver Flood and is a recent regular in the tavern here. Connar says, “She’s a nice lady. Don’t blame her that she’s reluctant to leave, what with all that’s happening around here.” “And with the money to be had,” says Ganfar, elbowing Connar in the ribs. After their stop at the Silver Flood Inn the trio follows up and heads for the Lizards Gizzard, again without the result they had hoped for. Neither Alven, nor Natyssa are present.

In the meanwhile, Illiar hopes to find a suitable location for his ritual. With al the difficulties experienced at the gate, he’d like to stay inside of the city. He tries his luck at Chauntea’s temple, locally known as the Harvest House. A large building with an open courtyard in the middle, lush with plants. Illiar is greeted by the chief priest, Hadeshah. She allows the elven ranger to use the courtyard for his ritual and gives him a large wooden bowl in which he can prepare his offerings. He starts his meditations and enters a hallucinating ritual. The next hours are blurry, with visions as if he were all kind of animals, birds high in the skies, bears slowly walking through the forest and even dogs skulking the fields.
When Illiar wakes up, the sun is already rising. The new bond he felt with nature feels intensified. He notices a pen overcrowded with pigeons. As he steps towards the dovecote in order to investigate Hadeshah greets him again. She explains that within the last two days. almost all the homing pigeons from the temple in Julkoun arrived, with no messages attached, in Harvest House. Hadeshah sees the flock’s staggered arrival as an alarming omen. She used a speak with animals ritual yesterday, but the birds could tell her only that their keeper let them go and they didn’t see him again. Some pigeons were shot with arrows while flying away. Hadeshah is very worried of what could have happened in Julkoun and asks Illiar to share any information with her, should they find out.

The next day, Jekk leaves Daggerford for Firehammer Hold early in the morning. He and his small party of warriors depart after a hearty farewell breakfast at dawn in the River Shining Tavern. Tilliach heads for the Decorated Man, not only to ask about the rumours of Julkoun, but also to sell the silks they had found in the dragon’s lair. A rock gnome tailor named Ballick runs the Decorated Man, living in the tailor shop with a large extended family. Even though his own garments aren’t exactly fashionable, Tilliach manages to arrange a good deal on the bolts of silk and the gold threads. Ballick confirms that he hasn’t received goods from Julkoun. Most shipments he receives come early. A human customer mentions that, yesterday at evening prayer, she overheard Hadeshah, the priestess of Harvest House, sending one of her assistants to talk to Sherlen Miller about Julkoun.

After Tilliach’s visit to the tailor, the group comes together again. Morningglow Tower is their next stop in their search for Alven. At Morninglow Tower, Luc Sunbright is peeved because Alven didn’t show up for work this morning. While talking, the priest shows the characters incomplete work in the temple. Luc knows Alven isn’t at the Silver Flood Inn, either, because the priest sent an assistant to fetch the sculptor. Archibald tries to lighten the mood of the cleric by telling their adventurers at the lost temple. They donate the garments they found and the holy symbol. Luc says he will send a messenger back to Waterdeep so the clergy of Amaunator can reclaim the forgotten temple in the swamp. 
Tilliach tries to enter the duke’s palace, but is refused at the guard. They speak of their suspicions against Alven, but even that message can’t gain him entrance. Their message will be passed on to the duke, and an assurance is made that if they return the Bloke a reward will be ready.

After a short counsel, our adventurers decide they will head for Julkoun next. Before they will leave Daggerford, they still have to visit Sherlen. At the jail, Sherlen broods over Daggerford’s problems. She tells of tragical news and tells Grengel commited suicide that night. Sherlen questioned him last night and then left him locked in a cell until the duke decided his fate. But Grengel hanged himself, as Sherlen found when she checked on him this morning. 
Sherlen recalls Grengel as a quiet young man who seemed “kind of soft.” After the incident at the gate, he claimed he heard a female voice in his head that told him to shoot. He tried not to, but it was as if his body ignored him and instead heeded the voice. The voice seemed familiar to him, but malevolent. In all, Grengel was horrified at his actions and wanted to make amends. Sherlen is shocked he killed himself, since he seemed sincerely prepared to face the consequences when she left him last night. He had no visitors and has no relatives, although he has friends among the militia. Sherlen suggests the militia regulars might know more about Grengel than she does. The best place to talk to the regulars is the drill field.
Sherlen also speaks of the troubled contact with Julkoun. An evening visit from one of Hadeshah’s acolytes, combined with Sherlen’s knowledge of the rumors about Julkoun, has the militia captain concerned. She openly suggests the adventurers should go to Julkoun to investigate. She expressed her concerns to the duke yesterday evening, and Maldwyn is willing to pay mercenaries to look into the situation 25 gp per person.

When they leave the jail, they hear a racket and see a crowd down the Horse Way to the south. Under the gaze of Duke Maldwyn on horseback, ducal soldiers are searching the shanties for the Delimbiyr Bloke. The crowd is mostly tenants whom the duke has briefly forced out of their homes. Maldwyn can be heard shouting, “I don’t care if these people have to stand here all day, I want the Bloke back!”
Also present are Curran Corvalin and Lady Morwen, the duke’s sister, both of whom try to calm the duke. Darrondar Gweth, the priest of Tempus, watches with contempt from the door of his home. Maldwyn gives them only baleful glares until Lady Morwen says the Bloke is “just an old stone,” and some murmuring and soft laughter comes from the crowd.
Maldwyn becomes enraged, saying, “This theft is an affront, and none of you will make light of it! What has been stolen must be returned, and the thieves punished, or I’ll have all you vagabonds expelled from my domain by force! Perhaps you’ll learn some gratitude outside of my protection!”
When the search turns up nothing, the duke storms back to his castle with Morwen…

Filarion Filvenderson — found on the drill field training scouts — confirms he helped organize an expedition to Harpshield Castle more than a month ago. The treasure seekers hoped to find a hidden vault from the times of the Kingdom of Man. This hidden trove is thought to be in the castle cellars or dungeons. Filarion knows the explorers also prepared for fighting gricks, which are rumored to infest the underground areas of the ruins. Orcs had also been seen in the area. The retired thief assumes the treasure hunters met an unfortunate end, or he says with a shrug and a wry grin, they swindled him out of his cut.

The group asks around the drill field looking for friends of Grengel. Most regulars are tight lipped, given what happened to Grengel. Although Grengel was quiet, the others liked him. He spent a lot of his free time in the Lady Luck Tavern, and he was “a killer at lanceboard.” Ashli, a female militia member then says, sadly, “He became a lot less fun when he started spending time with that tavern girl, Natyssa.” It is obvious to tell by Ashli’s manner and body language that she was fond of Grengel and dislikes Natyssa. “Natyssa usually stays at the Lizard’s Gizzard, when she isn’t being paid to sleep somewhere else” says Ashli.

With this new information, the adventurers try to find Natyssa one more time. When they arrive at the Lizard’s Gizzard, the proprietor, Sasha, fetches Natyssa, who is an attractive, well-fed young human with dark hair and differently colored eyes (one brown and one blue). She has nice clothes and simple bronze jewelry. Tilliach and Daardendrian waste no time to start off an interrogation. Natyssa has no idea where Alven is. She was planning to go to the Silver Flood to see him this evening. When she hears Alven is missing, she says, shocked, “I don’t know why he would leave or where he would go. He’s from Waterdeep, but he still has a lot of work to do here. And the road is so dangerous these days.” The news of Grengel’s actions at the gate has her shocked, saying he was always “so gentle.” After Daardendrian shares the news of Grengel’s suicide she says he rarely talked about himself, so she didn’t know him well. Daardendrian is still very suspicious and tries to intimidate her, without much success. Fear of Sasha’s reputation to protect ‘her girls’ keeps them from trying more and Natyssa walks off. The group then concludes they might learn more later and set their priorities to Julkoun. They head back to Sherlen Miller in order to get some horses…

 

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The Theft of the Delimbiyr Bloke
11 Eleasis 1491 DR

That night at their table in the Lady Luck Tavern, Curran explains why the gates are all closed to new refugees. A few days ago, someone stole the Delimbiyr Bloke, an ancestral relic in the ducal collections. Duke Maldwyn believes someone in town, likely a refugee, is responsible. He has all but closed Daggerford until the Bloke is found. 
The object is a block of shining quartzite, the size of a brick, carved in the likeness of a bearded face. It has an inscription in Dwarvish where the mouth should be, reading, “Friendship is more than a word. Weigh it carefully.” The Bloke’s nickname comes from the belief that one of the duke’s ancestors found the brick in Delimbiyran ruins.
Curran mentions that Jekk, a dwarf adventurer and friend of Sir Isteval’s, was very interested in the Bloke. The halfling priest knows Jekk is organizing a venture and leaving the town soon, but he can arrange a meeting with him if the adventurers want to.

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As they order all kinds of drinks from Glenys, the tavern’s owner, a few rumors are overheard from nearby tables. A seasoned human fisher named Edic Tilveram talks about the lack of traffic on the Delimbiyr River from the east. His wife, Yalvi, says Ballick, the gnome tailor at the Decorated Man, has been looking for a shipment of cloth from Julkoun, a village on the eastern river, for a tenday or more. Archibald adds that Julkoun is a town noted for its cloth mill and underground inn, the Jester’s Pride. The Delimbiyr River passes through the Laughing Hollow between Daggerford and Julkoun. The hollow is a wild land with many fey inhabitants. That area might hold clues to why nothing has been heard from Julkoun.

Vossan Raker, a retired half-elf rancher, talks about gnoll attacks in the territory east of the Trade Way between Waterdeep and the Delimbiyr Route, where his ranch used to be. Kelson Darktreader, Vossan’s friend and the duke’s Master of the Hunt, has left town with Sir Isteval and Darfin Floshin, taking a couple scouts to investigate. To everyone’s surprise, Gloria shares some knowledge about that region. Having been interested in Waterdeep’s nobility she tells that the wilderness between the Waterdeep outpost of Zundbridge and the Floshin Estate, to the edge of the Ardeep Forest is usually safe. It’s popular hunting territory for Waterdhavian nobles. House Phylund of Waterdeep was famous for organizing exotic hunts in the Ardeep Forest and capturing creatures for the Field of Triumph, Waterdeep’s arena. The family had a keep they called a lodge in the western Ardeep, but they abandoned it when their fortunes waned. The lodge could be a shelter for malevolent beings.

A human militia scout named Ledoris mentions orcs are raiding outlying communities and encroaching on the Delimbiyr Route in the highlands east of the Floshin Estate. Ledoris knows his mentor, Filarion Filvendorson, helped some treasure hunters plan an expedition to that region a few tendays ago. Illiar knows that some of the region north of the Delimbiyr Route and east of the Floshin Estate comprises what is known locally as the “Harpshield Lands.” It is thought to be the domain of a seat once ruled from Harpshield Castle, which is a famous ruin in the southeastern arm of the Ardeep Forest. Harpshield Castle was the seat of power for a human kingdom that hoped to survive the fall of Delimbiyran, also called the Kingdom of Man. Delimbiyarn was itself a sad successor to Phalorm, which was an alliance that included elves, dwarves, and humans. The kingdom that built Harpshield Castle fell to the drow. Maybe Filarion knows more of the castle and its surroundings.

After a few rounds of spirits and ales, Curran calls a dwarf, who had just entered the tavern. “Jekk!” he shouts, while he stands and waves. “Come and meet my friends over here”. Jekk is a burly dwarf with bushy brown hair and a trimmed beard. His armor is elaborately crafted studded dragon leather with green and gold accents, and a few green gems set into it. He carries a dwarven greataxe that is similarly appointed. Jekk’s girdle has a buckle of gold and silver shaped like a dwarf face and set with green spinels for eyes. A simple gold loop hangs from one of his ears. He walks over to our heroes’ table and is introduced to the group. He’s especially happy when Gloria offers him a drink and he sits down to share his stories. The group then asks about the Delimbiyr Bloke and his interest in it.

Given his background, Jekk was fascinated with the Delimbyr Bloke when he first saw it during a visit to the ducal castle with Sir Isteval. He suspects the Bloke is a dwarven religious icon. Jekk tried to borrow Bloke from the duke, and even offered to buy it for a considerable sum. The duke refused, but he allowed Jekk to commission a copy. Alven Gissen, a sculptor working on Morninglow Tower for Luc Sunbright, made Jekk a plaster replica. Then, a few days later, the original went missing. 
Duke Maldwyn questioned Jekk and searched Sir Isteval’s house, where Jekk is staying. It’s clear to Jekk that the duke suspects him, but his and Isteval’s reputation prevents the duke from taking drastic action.
Nevertheless, Jekk plans to leave for Firehammer Hold, along with a few companions, the morning after the characters arrive. He hopes to show the Bloke copy to dwarf priests there to learn what the stone is and why someone might steal it. He hopes the trip will take no more than two tendays. Jekk mentions that Alven Gissen is well paid for his work on Morninglow Tower, Amaunator’s temple. The sculptor has a room at the Silver Flood Inn.

Archibald shows Jekk the mysterious coin they had found in the caverns beneath the old temple. Jekk recognizes it as a coin from ancient Illefarn. The cloven orc symbol belongs to the old Ironaxe clan, the last known dwarf clan to reside under Mount Illefarn, northeast of Daggerford. Apparently the dwarves abandoned their home under Mount Illefarn more than two centuries ago until years later, a dwarf king named Korin Ironaxe tried to reoccupy their dwarfhome and found it infested with orcs. The Ironaxe clan succeeded in driving out the orcs and reclaiming the dungeons under Illefarn, but the fate of Korin Ironaxe and his few remaining subjects is uncertain. Korin’s clan lived in seclusion, and most dwarves today assume the Ironaxes died out. The iron coin probably has no monetary value.

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Difficult Admittance
10 & 11 Eleasis 1491 DR

The adventurers rest for another day at Cromm's Hold, having frog legs for dinner after a suggestion by Gloria. The group offers a bottle of Rosznar’s Ruby wine to the baroness for her hospitality. She is surprised by the generous offer and promises to store the bottle in a favorable place. When the group will return to Cromm’s Hold someday they will drink it together.

At dawn, the group heads for Daggerford. The baroness had lend them a wagon so they would be able to bring their loot. Halfway, they pass the township of Union. The local peasants are frantically reinforcing their homes, focussing their efforts on the largest farmstead. In typical Skullport slang Gloria asks the farmers what they are doing. A little awkward they answer her question by telling how they had heard stories of widespread and unusual raiding by savage humanoids such as gnolls, orcs, and goblins. They feel the need for protection and speak of abandoned villages and people fleeing to Daggerford. With this troublesome news, the companions swiftly move on…

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As our heroes cross Tyndal’s Bridge in the late afternoon, the town’s situation becomes clear. Wagons and carts are parked among tents and other improvised shelters on the caravan grounds near Daggerford’s southern Caravan Gate. Draft animals and a few haggard folk are in the ramshackle camp. 
A larger group of people is gathered around the gateway. The people, likely refugees, are shouting at a semicircle of six leather-clad, crossbow-armed guards that has a sturdily built female human at its center. She wears studded leather and leans on a spear, holding her helmet under her left arm, to which a buckler is strapped.

A young human man near the front of the crowd yells, “My wife is with child! She needs real shelter and some help, for the love of the gods!” A wide-eyed pregnant woman wrings her hands at his side.
Over more shouts, the female soldier looks contrite and speaks. “The duke has decreed that no more refugees can enter the town. The militia enforces the duke’s will in this. No exceptions. I’m sorry.”
“Mustn’t you at least admit those in real need, Sherlen?” asks a well-dressed halfling standing just in front of the crowd. “They’ve come here for help. Someone could die.” He wears a fine azure cloak with a brooch that looks like a outsized coin with a female face on it—the symbol of the goddess Tymora, Lady Luck.
“No exceptions, Curran,” she replies.
A small crowd of locals has gathered inside the gate behind the guards.

 Archibald quickly explains towards his fellows the female soldier is called Sherlen Miller. She is the captain of the militia of Daggerford. The well-dressed halfling is known as Curran Corvalin, the local priest of Tymora. Archibald knows Sherlen vaguely of his time with the militia and moves forward to speak to her. The group conclude they don’t really care for the refugee’s as long as they can enter the city themselves. As Archibald elbows his way towards the front of the crowd his companions try to follow him. Having been in the service of the city, on the orders of sir Isteval, the group manages to gain entrance for themselves. Those who are not permanent residents of Daggerford can stay at the barracks.

The crowd becomes unruly as several refugees move toward the guard while shouting, a few pick up rocks. Curran calls, unheeded, for calm while Sherlen puts on her helmet and warns the refugees to back off. Illiar then notices one of the guardsmen is terrified, his hand twitching on his crossbow trigger. Before anyone can intervene, a bolt is fired striking a refugee in the throat. Gurgling in blood the stricken man slops to the ground. Escalation impends when Illiar is then attacked by the guard who screams and draws his spear. Fillion, standing on Daardendrien's shoulders, manages to stop the refugees from panicking by magically enthralling them, possibly preventing a stampede. Sherlen shouts not to kill the attacking guardsman and Illiar tries to strike a subduing blow. His hit snaps the man out of his frenzied state. He collapses on the road, sobbing before Sherlen clubs him unconscious with her spear haft, bringing an end to the chaos.

The other guards take the unconscious man away, after orders from Sherlen to lock him in prison. She then asks the adventurers to come see her sometime tomorrow. Curran arranges admittance for the pregnant woman and her husband. Once they have passed, the militia members close the Caravan Gate.

 

Curran speaks to the group: “I know you have joined sir Isteval in his campaign to Cromm’s Hold. You’re not from around here are you? I can show you the town if you’d like?”

Most of the group accepts Curran’s invitation for a tour. Archibald, Gloria and Fillion decline the offer and head towards Jerdan’s smithy to unload their treasures. They will meet later today at the Lady Luck Tavern. While smoking his pipe, Curran shows the adventurers the most important buildings in town. Starting and ending at the Lady Luck Tavern. In the meanwhile, Archibald and Fillion are set to work by Jerdan before they have a chance to concern themselves with their loot. Gloria quickly sneaks away to avoid hard labor.

As the day turns into night, Illiar manages to find some herbs he might need for his ritual at Hermick’s Herbs and Oddments. Blaze finds a small diamond in the same store, he could use for his spells. After some haggling he settles on a fair price. Gloria spends her time in the crowded town robbing some poor street folk of their coins and as the sun goes down, Tilliach performs a rain dance at the market square to drive away the heat. Strange looks and grumbles are returned. Most of the town folk seem to prefer sun over rain…

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Return to Cromm's Hold
7 - 9 Eleasis 1491 DR

In the morning, Archibald takes his time to repair Daardendrian's armor. When he is done the group shares their newly learned abilities. Archibald is proud to announce his long studies enable him to cast arcane spells, Illiar tells of a newfound bond with nature. It reminds him of how other rangers in his village used to make offerings to the woods and gained support of an animal companion. He is planning to do the same in the near future.

After a relaxing breakfast, the group plans to head back to [[Cromm’s Hold]] and Daggerford after that. Archibald designs a few simple stretchers to help carry all the chests they’ve dug up from the dragon’s beach. Before leaving their campsite a discussion is held about their mission’s purpose. Did they succeed? How is the altar related to all the things that have happened? Where is Maechen? Who is she really? A lot of questions remain unanswered. Archibald suggests Maechen might have been the Red Wizard Arvik Zaltos in a different shape, although they all had seen the Red Wizard hanging from the gallows.

The group decides to follow the tunnel heading east, since it is the only remaining undiscovered part of the underground caverns. Illiar scouts ahead and waits for the rest of the group every once in awhile. The tunnel leads several miles east and ends in a large sinkhole. Outside the storm still hasn't turned down and continues to pound the coastline with heavy rain and strong winds. A single rope leads upwards to the marshes and Illiar is first to climb up, followed by Blaze. The marshes look vast and empty, but they soon find out it is not. A group of frog like humanoids called Bullywugs jump out from the surrounding ponds and attack. Blaze is quickest to respond and sets their assailants on fire with an [[Aganazzer’s Scorcher]]. The creatures, who are badly burned and seriously injured, keep on fighting. Daardendrien wants to join and with incredible effort rushes up the rope. Blaze then kills three of the frogs with Burning Hands before being knocked out by a spear to the torso. The last of the bullywugs is grazed across the chest by Daardendrien’s glaive. Illiar tries to shoot him, but his arrow is deflected by the creature’s shield. Archibald, who finally joined his companions above the sinkhole, shoots his gun with more force than ever. An enormous boom sounds and the bullywug is thrown of his feet ending several feet away, dead. Daardendrien brings back Blaze with one of his healing touches.

While they head back north, towards [[Cromm’s Hold]], the group wonders why they were attacked by the bullywugs. Was it a trap or were the barbaric creatures just aggressively territorial? Illiar takes up point again and makes sure the group is able to move along the swamp quickly. After a few more hours the storm finally lets up. For several days afterward, the sun beats down on the Lizard Marsh, and the swamp becomes an unbearably hot and humid place alive with hungry insects. Blaze tries to reach a few brightflowers to repel the mosquitoes but doesn't spot a patch of quicksand. Daardendrien, ever ready and suspecting a new challenge, quickly responds and offers Blaze the haft of his glaive. After the fire genasi has been pulled out of the shifting sands he offers the flowers to his savior.

Along the route back to [[Cromm’s Hold]] the adventurers pass the hamlet of Vantage, in the distance towards the east. They wonder if they should visit the place but decide not to do so as they’re only half a day’s travel away from their destination. Daardendrien casually mentions he had seen a dragon flying during his previous night’s watch, flying somewhere in the far distance towards the southwest. He first thought of Bahamut, but then figured it might have been Sjachsmalsvir, looking for them as they had stolen his hoard. The others don’t give much attention to his story and swiftly move on.

Later that day Illiar spots a shimmering of metal in the distance. ArchibaldBlaze and Illiar immediately seek a place to hide, but Daardendrien is tired of slogging through the hot swamp all day and is slow to react. They are spotted by a group of humans who reveal themselves as soldiers from [[Cromm’s Hold]] under command of sergeant Durenn. He is surprised to meet the group and is happy to see everyone still alive and in one piece. Apparently the baroness was anxious to know of the fate of the adventurers and had sent a recon team. After a short break everyone is delighted to be able to leave the swamp.

Durenn asks what had occurred and if the companions were successful in their endeavor. Archibald explains he became some sort of dragon tamer after they found the wyrmling’s egg. He passionately speaks of how Itchie helped them and killed a lot of lizardfolk. He also speaks of the Clotskull orcs who had kept the egg hidden from the dragon and that they were from a place called Illefarn. Durenn explains Illefarn is a mountain somewhere northeast of Daggerford. A place of legend, where once a mighty Dwarven kingdom had its home.

Daardendrien then introduces himself as mighty paladin, Chosen of Bahamut and sent by his high priest to prevent great evil in this region. He also mentions the group had battled against the black dragon and an evil water elemental, awing the soldiers. Blaze adds that the dragon’s lair lies beneath an ancient temple to Amaunator and that the water elemental only appeared after Maechen had disappeared. Unfortunately Durenn and his soldiers haven’t seen Maechen. Before reaching [[Cromm’s Hold]], Archibald tells of their acquaintance with Redeye, the leader of the other lizardfolk tribe. He was stern <meta />and quite territorial but might be interested in forming an alliance.

At the end of a long and very tiring day, the adventurers arrive at [[Cromm's Hold]]. They are welcomed by sir Isteval and baroness Wynne, who are keen to learn of their expedition. Immediately they speak of Maechen, worrying Isteval. Maechen had not returned to the hold, but might have gone back to Daggerford instead. The baroness sends a page to Daggerford to report and learn more of Maechen’s disappearance. After a hot bath and a nice meal the group meet the baroness and sir Isteval once more to debrief their mission. An elaborate story unfolds as the group share their experiences. Baroness Wynne is interested to know if the group had found out where the mysterious disease the lizardmen carried came from, but unfortunately that question remained unanswered. She is very pleased with the possibilities for peace with the lizardfolk and will send a spokesman to Redeye’s tribe. The group is rewarded for their efforts.

Isteval promises to share the information about Thoss Fyurnen and his lair with Duke Maldwyn upon his return to Daggerford. He plans to recommend to the duke that the garrison at [[Cromm’s Hold]] be doubled until the dragon’s threat is no longer present. About the group’s discovery of the contents of the altar and the true nature of it, Isteval concludes there might be two more altars out there somewhere, waiting to be found. One linked to earth, the other to fire. He sets out immediately to find out if his hunch is correct and will contact the group when he learns more.

Mimi also says goodbye to her companions that evening. She is still very upset about the capturing of her foster parents and will travel along with sir Isteval back to Daggerford. Upon her return there she will seek others to help her find her lost family…

 

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Lair of the Sun Swallower
6 Eleasis 1491 DR

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Finally, the group heads through the secret door, only stopping to find an odd treasure in a pile of leaves and earth which had been Vethka’s bed. A brick passageway leads west towards some stairs downwards. At the end of the tunnel is a grand cavern, with a ceiling covered with dripping stalactites. The underground stream pours from a tunnel into a deep fog-shrouded pool. North of the pool is a beach, while to the southeast is a large alcove with a mound of treasure situated in the middle of it. From this alcove a narrow walkway hugs the edge of the pool and leads to a deep cavity in the south wall. As Maechen heads towards the southern cavity, Blaze sets foot towards the treasure mound. Suddenly a large lizardfolk leaps out of the lake and attacks. Obviously this must be Vethka, disease-ridden and with a fanatical bloodlust in her eyes. Daardendrian quickly steps in to help Blaze, calling upon Bahamut to smite the evil lizardqueen. Blaze uses the opportunity to disengage and casts spells from a distance. Heavy fighting continues with Maechen and Itchie the dragon wyrmling joining the melee. Vethka screams as she is wounded by Daardendrian wielding his greatsword. She invokes Talona to bring death to her enemies before striking her trident at the dragonborn. Her wish almost succeeds as the paladin is gravely wounded and falls dying to ground. A witch bolt follows, cast by Blaze, finally killing the lizardfolk queen. Once again one of Maechen's potions saves one of the companion’s lives as it is used to heal Daardendrian’s wounds.

Still suspicious and cautious as they haven’t spotted the dragon, the group starts to search the area. Suddenly the dragon emerges from the depths of the lake. “Intruders! What is your purpose in my domain?” he asks. The dragon’s head looks decidedly like a skull thanks to its deep-socketed eyes and wide, flat nasal opening. It has forward-curving horns and a spinal crest that peaks just behind the head and tapers off about three quarters of the way down the neck. An acidic smell surrounds the dragon, whose scales are mostly ebony and dark gray with a sort of dark green gloss. Terrified of this enormous beast’s appearance, Daardendrian, Tilliach and Archibald freeze in place. The wyrmling quickly leaves Archibald’s side and darts towards his father. Fillion tries to answer the dragon’s question although he confuses even himself with his answer. Sjachmalsvir, as the dragon is actually called thanks the adventurers for returning his kin and then orders them to leave the cave, after paying him tribute.

The companions try to think of a plan to prevent them surrendering their treasure when they notice Maechen has disappeared. Suddenly a loud crash of water is heard in the southern cavern and a big form of living water rises and moves towards the dragon and the adventurers. The dragon is surprised by the emergence of the water elemental and heads off to start a fight. An epic battle ensues. Daardendrian regains his composure and gives cheers towards the water elemental. Both he and Fillion close in on the battle. Archibald uses the confusion of battle and stuffs an armor he found in the treasure pile into his bag (somehow it fits), Fillion is the only one noticing this. Tilliach tries to get around the fighting in order to investigate the rest of the southern cavern. Fillion notices something is not quite right about the elemental. Its water isn't clear at all, but a sickly looking green. Even its facial expression, as far as a water elemental has one, looks sort of angry. Daardendrian rushes in on the dragon and once again calls upon Bahamut to smite his foes. His greatsword strikes true and dark red blood flows across the blade. Inspired by the dragonborn's courage, Fillion throws one of his darts with precision and penetrates the dragon's scales. The dragon roars with anger and strikes at both Daardendrian and the water elemental. More luckily than skillfully, Daardendrian manages to evade the sweep of the dragon's wings. Surely, he must have received Tymora's blessings this day.

Blaze, fearing the water elemental even more than the dragon decided he would stay behind and guard the rear. Suddenly he is thrown off his feet when an invisible creature pushes its way past him. He regains his footing as quickly as possible, but his assailant is already gone. The battle continues as the water elemental whelms over both dragon and dragonborn. Sjachmalsvir evades with ease as his size is even larger than the elementals, but Daardendrian gets sucked into the vortex and gets restrained by the thrashing mass of water. Eventually, even Archibald regains his courage and joins in the battle. He notices that his companion Itchie hasn't joined the fight and seems to be unable to choose a side. Both the elemental and the dragon hit each other with heavy blows, both are heavily injured. Once again Daardendrian, free again from the watery grasp of the elemental, tries his luck and strikes at the dragon. This time though his two hander glances of the tough scales. The dragon's retaliation almost proves fatal, it's jaws however snap close inches next to the dragonborn. Daardendrian reminds himself of his motto: “Attack is the best defense” he shouts as he strikes true once again. The Sun Swallower now mortally wounded retreats and dives into the pool, quickly swimming out of sight. With its biggest opponent gone, the elemental turns towards Daardendrian, whose luck had run out. A crushing blow landed atop of the dragonborn and he slumped to the ground. Fillion bravely jumps forward to cover his companion and dodges attacks by the elemental. Tilliach, finished with his investigations, kills the elemental with another Witch Bolt. Miraculously Daardendrian wakes up again, although he is still badly injured. The wyrmling then leaps into the water following his father. Archibald calls after him: “Goodbye Itchie, remember me!”

An epic battle had been fought and now our adventurers were alone in a dragon’s lair. In the southern cavity they found four small nests, one empty, the other three occupied with corrupted dragon eggs. An evil aura emanating from the altar had turned the shells soft and spongy. Moreover, the writhing forms of the monstrosities within looked more like a form of elemental horrors then a dragon hatchling. Without debate, the eggs are destroyed and inky black ooze pours out forming puddles on the floor. It stinks of rot and decay.

With eyes on the broken altar, Fillion now understands why he thought the elemental to be evil. He recognizes the symbol’s on the altar’s sides as those of an entity other than Umberlee. The crashing waves were an image of Olhydra, Princess of Evil Water, a powerful Archomental from the Elemental Plane of Water. Even though the altar is broken, an evil aura still lingers around it…

After a lot of treasure has been dug up and gathered, the adventurers retreat for a long rest. Fillion opens a bottle of a just found Rosznar Ruby Wine. A fine and well deserved rest awaits…

 

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The Caverns
6 Eleasis 1491 DR

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Following the room after the long corridor, Fillion discovers a wide tunnel with clay brick walls and a moldy stone-tiled floor descending towards a faint light. From down the tunnel the sound of rushing water and distant echoes of a beating drum can be heard.

With Gloria and Daardendrian at the front, the adventurers quickly descend the tunnel. While descending they notice the drumming sound has stopped. The long hall breaks into a natural cavern. An underground stream spills out of a wide cavity in the eastern wall and tumbles down into a fog-shrouded pool before continuing on through a naturally formed tunnel to the southwest. On the far side of the river, a side cavern opens up. An orange glow can be seen emanating from this cavern. To the west, the walls have been roughly hewn to form a temple, its ceiling supported by four thin, stone pillars adorned with serpentine carvings.

Standing in a niche at the back of the temple is a 10-foot tall statue of a crouching lizardfolk that has been modified to look like a black dragon, with wings made of lashed wood and gray canvas, great horns made of clay, and glittering eyes. Standing before the statue is a small drum.

When Gloria moves in to investigate the statue a command in Draconic is heard. Illiar’s keen hearing makes him sure the command was given from somewhere behind the wall next to the dragon statue. Following the command, several lizardmen jump out of the pool and attack the adventurers. Daardendrian is badly hurt again and a hefty battle ensues. Both Gloria and Archibald are hit by magic coming from the wall. Fillion identifies the spell als a Ray of Sickness. The fight is short and fierce, with the lizardfolk numbers quickly declining. Blaze casts his burning hands, now safe to use again, and sets fire to multiple enemies. Itchie, as the black dragon wyrmling is affectionately called by Archibald, finishes off the last creatures by spewing forth a line of acid.

Curious as to where the command and the spells came from, Archibald and Fillion start investigating the walls of the makeshift temple. They discover a peephole, usable from a room behind the brick wall. A continued search reveals a secret passage to the other side of the wall, but before opening the door, the group wants to search the orange glowing cavern across the stream. On the other side of the pool, a misty cave contains several fire beetles. Their luminous glands cast a warm orange glow over a veritable garden of mosses, molds, and mushrooms. The damp floor and walls are covered with them.

A naturally formed alcove in the east wall contains the calcified skeleton of a dwarf who died here ages ago. The skeleton is missing its left arm, and its bony right fist is clenched tight to its chest. Illiar breaks open the calcified fist causing an iron coin to tumble out. The coin has the symbol of an orc skull split in two molded on one side and a mountain stamped with the Dwarvish glyph for the letter “I” on the other. None of the adventurers have any idea what these symbols might mean, but Archibald suggest taking the coin to Derval, a dwarven smith of old age, back in Daggerford.

After the mushroom cave, the group quickly heads towards the secret door. The spellcaster, presumably queen Vethka, can’t be far away…

A shout from Tilliach, who was lacking a bit behind, stops them from going through. “Look over there! On top of the waterfalls. I saw something crawling away.” Tilliach says. Quickly the adventurers return to the waterfall. Daardendrian helps Blaze climb up. An underground stream flows from the east towards the cave, past a narrow tunnel. Just barely Blaze catches a glimpse of a creature’s tail disappearing in the tunnel. After helping the others up, he gives chase only to stumble on a filthy lair, small damp cave reeking of filth and dung. A pile of offal, lying on the floor, functions as nest for several sticky green eggs. He lets go a shout of surprise when he sees the monster which calls this cave home. A multilegged creature with a segmented body stinking of rotten meat. Eight writhing tentacles protrude from its head, growing directly from below its clacking mandibles and tooth filled maw. Quickly he fires a fire bolt before retreating. The monster pursuits Blaze only to be ambushed by Daardendrian, Maechen and Tilliach who had positioned themselves around the tunnel exit. Maechen identifies the beast as a Carrion Crawler and warns everyone not to get hit by the tentacles. Tilliach takes a heavy bite from the creature and gets knocked out. Blaze gives a devastating wound by aiming his Witch Bolt perfectly before Archibald confers the killing blow, or shot in his case… As Tilliach is brought back to consciousness by one of Maechen’s potions, Blaze and Daardendrian search the nest. They find a magical ring, which Archibald identifies as one which gives its wearer protection from acid. After some debate Maechen is given the ring to wear.

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Corrupted Figurines
6 Eleasis 1491 DR

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Earlier, Archibald detected a faint abjuration magic coming from the magical statuettes. “They are probably protected to only be handled by specific people”, he tells his friends.

Gloria puts on the blue robes they found upstairs and then tries to pick up the figurines. This time no screams are heard and the statuettes can be safely carried towards the altar. They first try the human, who animates into an particularly talkative and jovial man named Elvidion. He names the dwarf as Almarik and the elven priestess as Naureth. Elvidion turns out to be an interesting figure, urging the adventurers to stay and talk at length. He flatters, tells some little known ‘facts’ about the temple and what lies ahead and casts a ‘protective spell’ which does not seem to have any effect or be a spell at all. Not really sure if the effigy speaks the truth, Archibald and Gloria impolitic ask each other if he might be lying. The statuette must have heard as it starts screaming, “YOU THINK I’M MAD? I’LL SHOW YOU!” and casts a mock spell that creates a brilliant flash, leaving the group confused and shortly blinded. After casting the spell, the statuette makes an obscene gesture and falls silent with arms crossed.

Fillion decides it is time to try the elf statuette. The effigy of Sun Priest Naureth greets the characters with hostility, decrying the party as a gang of thieves and heathens in Elvish. Having heard enough, Illiar removes the figurine from the altar. Daardendrian, himself being a former temple acolyte, suggests there might be some form of corruption affecting the statuettes, although he has no idea of what sort. Gloria takes the idols downstairs and gives the tiny priests a bath, before putting the elf statuette back on the altar. The cleansing had no effect and the effigy unleashes a litany of invectives that grow increasingly disturbing and outrageous. Illiar asks his companions to hold on, as the dwarf also took some time before saying something useful. Blaze agrees and tells he is keen to know the purpose of the individual statuettes. After tolerating verbal abuse for a minute the effigy suddenly regains its composure. “My apologies for the outburst, i have no idea where that came from. I see you are wounded, let me help you.” She casts a healing spell, curing all remaining wounds from Daardendrian. After casting the spell, the effigy suddenly sheds crocodile tears and starts wailing endlessly. The wailing doesn't stop until Illiar removes the statuette from the altar. Willing to try one more thing, Gloria takes on the form of her alter ego Glorian and tries to converse with Elvidion once again. The disguise works, but unfortunately, the statuette hasn't changed and nothing new is learned.

 

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The Crypts
6 Eleasis 1491 DR

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Shortly after their rest, Daardendrian cures Gloria of her disease by laying his hands on her wounds. Now in full health and given courage by her new shield, Gloria leads our adventurers down the staircase towards the lower level of the temple. The unpleasant smell of rotten eggs, caused by the swamp gas, intensifies as the group descend. Everyone reminds each other not to use any kind of open flame. Blaze in particular is looked upon. Archibald and Daardendrian, being the only group members unable to see in the dark, prepare special torches made of fire beetle glands wrapped around sticks.

At the bottom of the staircase, a damp hallway with puddles of water on the floor stretches towards the west. Stone doors set in columned frames lead away from the damp corridor, which also contains three large alcoves along the south wall. Before investigating the hallway any further, Gloria heads through the nearest door. Behind the door is a sort of ritual bathroom, containing a wide, semicircular basin with a stone, dragon-shaped waterspout protruding from the wall above it. Water spills from the dragon’s mouth into the basin. Cautiously Gloria investigates the room and the water. The others join to look at it, but nothing uncommon can be seen. The water looks clear and has no particular smell, still Fillion, among others, is suspicious. Gloria takes a gamble and has a taste of the water. To everyone's surprise the water reveals to have magical properties, healing the last remaining wounds Gloria still bore from yesterday’s efforts. Exalted, the group joins in to fill their waterskins and Gloria even takes a bath, although that does not seem to have any additional effect.

After their bathroom intermezzo, the group cautiously continue their exploration. They discover ancient crypts full of sarcophagi, but decided to leave them untouched to not disturb the dead. At the second tomb, Gloria is unable to compose herself and wantonly opens one of the lids. A hidden glyph on the lid flashes bright, but doesn't seem to have any effect on Gloria. Inside of the coffin are the mummified remains of a human priest, wearing nothing of value. Disappointed, Gloria closes the lid again before being reprimanded by her companions.

They continue down the hallway and discover a small statue of a human priest in one of the alcoves, similar to the dwarven statue they found earlier. Daardendrian reminds his fellows that he is able to speak the Dwarven language, so they might want to try the dwarven statuette again. No sooner said than done, the figurine is placed on the altar again. After another minute of babbling, the statuette slaps its forehead again and shouts in Dwarvish, before returning to babbling once more. Daardendrian translates: “The key is hidden under the midday sun!”. Some laughs are shared as the key the dwarf referred to was already found earlier by Fillion.

Before taking the statuette of the human priest, Fillion urges the group to explore a bit more down the hallway. They spot another figurine, this time in the form of an elven priestess. At the long end of the corridor there is another crypt. At first glance it appears the same as the previous two had looked, but on closer inspection light seeping through the seems of one of the sarcophagi can be seen. Contrary to their principles not to be grave robbers, they open up the sarcophagus, revealing an obviously magical mace. Grasping the mace is the brittle, mummified corpse of a long-dead cleric of Amaunator. The mace sheds light as bright as a candle’s flame and it’s blunt head is adorned with stylized renderings of reptilian creatures. Archibald starts a ritual of identification, in order to determine the magical properties of the mace.

In the meanwhile, Illiar and Fillion investigate the statuettes, while Blaze, Daardendrian and Maechen take watch. Illiar picks up the elven figurine causing it to suddenly animate and scream. Startled and with ringing ears, Illiar quickly returns the statuette to its shelf. The group freezes in place and carefully they listen if any hostile creatures might have heard the screaming. Nothing appears to happen until Daardendrian is caught unaware by a living puddle. The puddle happens to be a creature called a Gray Ooze. The amorphous acidic being slams itself onto the surprised dragonborn, dissolving part of his armor and scales. Not sure how to attack this monster, without using fire, the adventurers shoot at it with arrows. Although their ammunition dissolves on impact, it does seem to be effective and the ooze is quickly defeated, leaving only Daardendrian slightly wounded and his armor damaged.

After a while Archibald finishes his ritual and tells his companions the mace is called “Dragonguide”. Apparently it starts to glow whenever dragons are near and it is meant to help its bearer find dragons in order to ask them for assistance. In reality, Archibald learned that the weapon is slightly more than that. It is actually called “Dragonthumper” and in addition to shedding light, it should be more effective in combat against dragons. Archibald takes the weapon, which is surprisingly light, weighing only half as much as a normal mace would, and then continues to advise his companions.

 

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The Queen's Advisor
5 Eleasis 1491 DR

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Not willing to rest before every room on this level of the temple is searched, the group continues. The next room is a dank, mold-encrusted room, illuminated by fire beetle glands stuffed in small niches along the walls. Situated in the middle of the room is a throne made of lizard skin stretched over wood and bone, all lashed together with vines. Bird and fish carcasses festoon the throne, creating something hideously morbid. A heap of treasure is piled around the throne’s base.

From the shadows behind the throne come two monstrous reptiles, rushing onto Tilliach. His Witch Bolt is a huge miss, but Gloria manages to damage his attacker with a chilling touch spell. She gets pinned down by the other giant lizard before being aided by Illiar, Blaze and Fillion. A Hellish Rebuke turns the lizard to ashes and the other reptile is quickly defeated.

Behind the throne, they find a venerable half-blind lizardman, who presents himself as Wreclan. He tells the group he was advisor to the lizardfolk’s leader, queen Vethka. In the past he negotiated treaties on behalf of his people, but now he is pressed into serving Vethka, on penalty of death. He speaks full of terror about the lizard queen, believing she has demonic blood in her veins. Collectively the adventurers interrogate the lizardman, who reveals Vethka spends most of her time in an underground temple dedicated to Thoss Fyurnen. She believes him to be the Chosen of Talona, and that he and his brood will lead the lizardfolk in a war against the humans and their allies. Wreclan has his doubts though as the dragon seems to know nothing about Talona, nor has he expressed any desire to wage war.

Besides that he speaks of the mate of Thoss Fyurnen, named Cheleen. She left a while ago, but is expected to return. After one of their eggs was stolen, the dragon devoured several lizardfolk, believing they were responsible for its theft. Vethka eventually managed to convince the dragon that neither she nor her subjects were behind the theft. Thoss Fyurnen is determined to get the egg back before his mate returns.

While gathering the treasure from around the throne, the group discusses what to do with Wreclan. He has helped them with a lot of information and shows no desire to betray them, he is not trusted however. Following the discussion Wreclan offers to guide them through the crypts towards Vethka, as long as the group promises to protect him. The group accepts his offer. The treasure consists of large amounts of coins and jewelry and a magic shield, which produces healing apples. Gloria is quick to claim the shield, at least for now, as she has been at the front line of most of the battles.

Only one unopened door remains on this level of the temple, its door has a hole in the middle of it, large enough to stick one’s head through. Gloria, even more confident with her new shield, steps through the doorway and shrieks in agony as a green slime drops on her body from above. The sticky thing quickly starts eating through her clothes and armor, but with the help of her friends, she survives the encounter.

Against the far wall of the room rests an old wooden chest, its lock shattered and lying in pieces around it. Something is off however and the chest turns out to be equipped with a false bottom. The secret compartment holds another treasure with several spell scrolls. Fillion uses one of these to cure Blaze of his disease. The other scroll is used by Tilliach to speak with the dead halfling. He learns his name was Owen Puddle, a farmhand who ventured into the Lizard Marsh to find an ox that had escaped from his pen. Owen was jumped and killed by lizardfolk before he could cry out for help.

As the group prepares for a long rest, Fillion mends Gloria’s sword and clothes, all damaged from the green slime. They order Wreclan to a corner where he cannot escape and can be watched all night. Passing one of the alcoves towards his place for the night, Wreclan is jumped by the dragon wyrmling, obviously sensing the lizardman to be weak. In a flash, the old man is ripped apart and devoured.

A little shocked from the gruesome sight they just witnessed the adventurers settle in for the night. Fillion lifts their spirits by magically cleaning everyone’s clothes and telling stories. After an uneventful rest everyone wakes up rested and stronger than before. Except for Gloria, she appears to be the newest victim of the rotting disease…

 

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