Ghost Wolves

Adventures in town

Back in Colm! For rest, relaxation, and research. I have found some very interesting information regarding the potential whereabouts of the next piece for the key to the Well of Stars. I found a record of the double sided hammer sigil in a list of Dwarven heraldry and linked its connection to the Broadhammer Clan, a family from the enclave of Dreskeden. Once a mighty family of adventurers and explorers but now the Broadhammers are nothing but an echo of their once proud past. Rivals and politics have brought this once mighty clan down to nothing. There are only a few left alive.

Though my research has kept me busy, there have been other events of note. There has been another Elf killed in town. We suspect it is the same uprising of Anti-Elf protest we dealt with before. We also hear talk of a row in Drake over rival family fortunes that is causing unrest in the city. Most disturbing of all, poor Crumple was attacked at the marketplace. He describes his attackers and we recognize the Half-Elf who ran off from Cragbreak Mine. I ask around and find that the Silver Horn headquarters are located just outside of town in a series of caves. This aggression against one of our own will not stand. We may have to visit those headquarters and see what this Half-elf has to say for himself…

Not much else to mention besides a particularly welcome visit from Miss Rosie Copperpot. She suggested some very helpful resources for research, and was very pleasant to talk to. I find I can be myself around her when we discuss books and things…but I still manage to embarrass myself in front of her quite often. She did thank me again for the scarf, I must remember to thank Zadok again for the idea.

—Bran Harvish

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Reunited with some old enemies

One quest down and another to begin! We headed back to Cragbreak Mine, very short on food. We were all looking forward to a hot meal and soft beds—but I sensed immediately that things weren’t going well as we walked into the mess hall. The Foreman was there, sitting with 6 people of the adventuring sort, and as soon as he saw us, we saw him grow uncomfortable and uneasy. One of the 6 was a Fomor in a black tunic with chain mail underneath, carrying a long spiked chain.

Zadok attempted to lighten the mood with some chatter, but the Fomor would not have it. He immediately accused us of stealing their work by clearing the evil out of the mine a few days ago. The others pushed me forward, and I talked to him. I explained that we were merely adventurers just like him, and were only hoping to go on our ways and let his friends do the same. I had won him over, but not his 5 companions. We discovered that they are companions of Belloc, the discourteous gnome we met at the Dryad’s Rest, and leader of the Silver Horn Company. A fight nearly broke out when Zadok got excited about hearing Belloc’s name, but we left the mess hall without eating. An empty belly is better than starting a fight in this small room. Who knows what could have happened?

Ben cautioned us against leaving, due to risk of an ambush. We spent the night camped near the barracks and saw one of their company, a Half-Elf, ride off towards the city, but nothing else. Sparrow and Ben insisted on confronting the party that morning to learn more, and they told us that their party would be going on into the mountains while the Half-Elf alerted Belloc that they were currently out of work.

I voted for moving on. The others still feared an ambush though and insisted on keeping watch throughout the night as we made our way back down to the mountain toward Greenbriar instead of relying on magical alarms. I admit, I didn’t like the suspicions towards the Fomor, as he had let us leave the mess hall and had been kind to me. Ben and Ambrose consider him not worthy of life, as he is a follower of the evil god Zon-Kuthon, and their suspicions turned out to be right. One night, as we camped in the forest, the 5 Silver Horns came out of the dark and attacked. The Fomor turned out to be a cleric and sent out ghastly rays that weakened us, but we outnumbered them by 1, and they fell to us, cursing our party as they died.

—Bran Harvish

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Excerpt from Ambrose's Journal
The Apprentice

We’ve made it out of the tunnel system and found our way back onto the path up the mountain. I can’t really shake this dream I had last night. Perhaps it was more than just that, a vision perhaps. I must meditate on this before we go too far; it may be of great importance.

Our path is blocked about by rocks and rubble. It is practically impassable. I think a goat would even have trouble passing. I think I know now what my vision meant! In my dream one of my ancestors told me that through practice and valor one can soar above all obstacles. I thought at first that this was a riddle, but I think I understand now. Quite literally I can fly. It’s not unknown for those blessed to be able to leave the ground, but never did I think it would be mine to possess… this power… I must use it wisely.

I no doubt confused my friends when I deftly took goat runner across the gap and tied off one end so that they may cross. Bran had particular trouble crossing, but Zadok helped him… Unfortunately Zadok refused to leave the donkeys be and we wouldn’t allow him to attempt to bring them over with us. Although I think Sparrow would have liked to see a few of them go over.

On the mountainside, almost as far off the path as we could see, there lay a cave. Inside was the place we sought. And guarding the place was the spirit of one of the guardians of the pieces of the trigons we seek. The years of undeath have been rather kind. He still seems mostly alive and very wise, but the millenium he spent waiting have done much to remove him from the man he once was.
We know now that there are other pieces to be found and all of them together can open the Well of Stars. We were deemed worthy of this task, so I feel honor bound to complete it at any cost. The fate of the Dale Lands may depend on it.

T’would seem we are not alone on this mountain. Apparently there is a Harpy roost here. She wasted no time in try to seduce us into the chasm below, but fortunate we mostly kept our wits about us. Sparrow was hard enough to contain, as was Bran, but at least he didn’t jump off of the cliff. Thank the Elders there was a ledge not too far down. A well place jolt of lightning took care of the Harpy and it looks as if we weren’t her first victims as she had finery on her.

For now we make our way back to Colm to unload and prepare to research. We no doubt have another trip back into the Bowels of the Earth, for it would seem that the next piece lay in a dwarven keep.

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Excerpt from Ambrose's Journal
The Aprentice

We’ve made it out of the tunnel system and found our way back onto the path up the mountain. I can’t really shake this dream I had last night. Perhaps it was more than just that, a vision perhaps. I must meditate on this before we go too far; it may be of great importance.

Our path is blocked about by rocks and rubble. It is practically impassable. I think a goat would even have trouble passing. I think I know now what my vision meant! In my dream one of my ancestors told me that through practice and valor one can soar above all obstacles. I thought at first that this was a riddle, but I think I understand now. Quite literally I can fly. It’s not unknown for those blessed to be able to leave the ground, but never did I think it would be mine to possess… this power… I must use it wisely.

I no doubt confused my friends wen I deftly took goat runner across the gap and tied off one end so that they may cross. Bran had particular trouble crossing, but Zadok helped him… Unfortunately Zadok refused to leave the donkeys be and we wouldn’t allow him to attempt to bring them over with us. Although I think Sparrow would have liked to see a few of them go over.

In a cave, almost as far off the path as we could see, there lay a cave. Inside was the place we sought. And guarding the place was the spirit of one of the guardians of the pieces of the trigons we seek. The years of undeath have been rather kind. He still seems mostly alive and very wise, but the millenium he spent waiting have done much to remove him from the man he once was.
We know now that there are other pieces to be found and all of them together can open the Star Well. We were deemed worthy of this task, so I feel honor bound to complete it at any cost. The fate of the Dale Lands may depend on it.

T’would seem we are not alone on this mountain. Apparently there is a Harpy roost here. She wasted no time in try to seduce us into the chasm below, but fortunate we mostly kept our wits about us. Sparrow was hard enough to contain, as was Bran, but at least he didn’t jump off of the cliff. Thank the Elders there was a ledge not too far down. A well place jolt of lightning took care of the Harpy and it looks as if we weren’t her first victims as she had finery on her.

For now we make our way back to Colm to unload and prepare to reseach. We no doubt have another trip back into the Bowels of the Earth, for it would seem that the next piece lay in a dwarven keep.

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The cave and the harpy

The swarms’ bites seem to have affected me more than my companions. I feel weak, and there’s an ache in my joints that I can’t shake, despite Sparrow’s ministrations of willow bark.

We followed the spiders’ cave and found a passage leading out to the side of the mountain. From there we found a thin path leading up and around the mountain’s side. The view is beyond beautiful, but the slope downwards was dizzying. We were hundreds of feet up. The path was narrow, but sturdy, except for one small patch that had been taken out in a rock slide. We crossed easily enough thanks to Zadok and his magic rope, Goat Runner. We traveled long into the night, unable even to rest for fear of tumbling over the edge, until Kilja spied a hole in the wall-a cave opening! Inside the cave I saw the vision I remembered from touching the magic triangle: a body laying on a slab of stone. We have reached our destination at last!

Ben walked up the body and suddenly a bright apparition appeared before us, nearly blinding us with its splendor. An old man in tattered robes floated above us and told us that we had found 1 piece from the key to the fabled Well of Stars. The old man had another and when we touched it we found ourselves once again transported, but this time I floated through darkness, through a Dwarven tunnel that led to a chest with a double-sided hammer on a crest. Our quest begins anew!

We left the cave, and I must say I was thinking about where in the world the next key might be hidden, when suddenly we spied flying down from a rock high above us, a hideous Harpy! Then I became confused, the Harpy began to sing and for awhile I remember nothing…until finding myself facing over the cliff’s edge, with one foot poised to step off. Kilja stood beside me doing the same, and my poor friend Sparrow actually took that step and were it not for a fortunate ledge below us, she may have gone on to join the ghosts that haunt her.

In a flash of lightning, Ambrose shot the Harpy out of the sky. Sparrow had knocked herself out in her tumble off the mountain, but she awoke with a snarl, so I know she was herself again, and that no real harm had come to her.

—Bran Harvish

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eight legged freaks

As we pursued the triangle into the mountains we came across an encampment of odious ogres and in dispatching them were nearly killed ourselves(this however is a minor footnote to what then followed.

SPIDERS, spiders the size of a dog all throughout the deserted mine at the ogre encampment their odd multifaceted eyes watching and waiting, and pouncing upon us. At each encounter with them my rage at their very presence grew until the breaking point, the eye of the storm of anger, where decisions became crystal clear and the thing that propelled me forward was the knowledge that this vermin must be cleansed in their totality.

When we came upon what we discovered to be an “ogre spider”(a spider at least the size of an ox) and it spit its villainous webs over myself and the broken sword it assured its own destruction at our hands, and when its blood poured over me as laurelyth split it from stem to stern the only thing that was stronger than my revulsion to its stench was the eerily giddy feeling I had as it breathed its last.

venom coursing through most of our company leaves me the thought that we should rest before we encounter more of these foul creatures.

-Beneki

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Excerpt from Abrose's Journal
O! What a tangled web...

Those Ogre’s really did a number on us. It took us a few days to recover… even with the aide of magical healing. Fortunately we came back with only our pride injured. Bran’s bones set perfectly. In my work I think that the breaking and subsequent healing might have actually fixed an improperly healed break from before. A silver lining I suppose.

Now we must simply decide where to explore next. We’re too close to where we believe the triangle to be to aim for a point in the distance. There are a few outlets from thsi valley, but one in particular caught our eyes. An old mine.

It wasn’t long after entering the mine that we had our fears about encountering the crawling ones. I myself have never encountered a living giant Spider, but I have seen parts from one. They seemed so much bigger in my imagination, that is not to say that these are not menacing. They are also much faster than I had imagined…

Fortunately we made short work of the first set we came across, but the real trouble came when we encountered what I hope was the brood mother. It was enormous, at least as big as a horse if not bigger. It spit webs all upon us, but fortunately most of us managed to not get entangled within.

We managed to overcome, but now I wonder what else is in store for us down here. What could these things have been eating to get this big?

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Spiders in the dark

After a day of rest and healing we are ready to explore! We found a door set into the stone of the mountain with a stiff lock that proved difficult to open—but my thieves tools have never let me down! After a few tries I was able to crack my way through. A brief thought occurred to me—maybe whoever put such a strong lock on here meant for it to stay locked…maybe we won’t like what we find beyond—but I kept that thought to myself. I wouldn’t want my friends thinking I’m a coward.

We opened the large stone doors and found a room, though maybe a cave would be a better description. It seemed to be forged by some natural carvings or digging. Another passageway led off from this room in the same fashion. I drew my sword and cast a spell that lit it up like a torch. Just as the light began to shine, I saw two horrible spiders crawl towards us out of the darkness. These were huge, nearly as tall as me! And by the light of my sword I saw that these were poisonous beasts. My friends ran in and killed them quickly. The next room was the same, three more beastly spiders crawled out of their holes in the walls to attack us. They were dealt with easily enough, though a few of my company sustained some nasty bites that drained their strength. In the middle of this room I found a large, blood-stained pillar. This seems to have been a sacrificial post. I would bet my rarest book that many a poor soul was tied up and left here at the spiders’ mercy.

Deeper into the cavern we find another room with a gaping chasm ahead of us. A narrow stone bridge stretched to the other side. Zadok bravely (or foolishly if you ask Sparrow) leapt across and held up his magic rope for us to hold onto as we crossed the chasm. I did not feel immediately afraid-the chasm, though deep, wasn’t that wide and I felt I could have jumped easily-but while I was about halfway across, Kilja hollered as a huge, oliphaunt-sized spider appeared at the other side of the cave. I suddenly didn’t feel as comfortable anymore.

The rest of us hurried across and began our attack. I sent several flaming arrows at his horrid body and the stronger members of our company were closing in, when I heard a skittering sound behind me. A swarm of red bandit spiders came pouring out of the chasm. I felt them surround me, biting me, and I tried to run. A large web covered the ground at our feet. By setting fire to the webbing we could kill off some of the swarm but it didn’t disperse until the huge spider had gone down at last. For now, I don’t hear anything else crawling out of the walls, but I swear I can still feel those small prickly bites up and down my arms and across my bare feet…

—Bran Harvish

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Excerpt from Ambrose's Journal
From Ochre to Ogre

Another day, another immortal threat to the safety and well being of all living creatures vanquished. It seems like we’re getting pretty good at this. Why I think we’d be hard pressed to find any threat we can’t handle! I can’t wait to report back and see the looks on everyone’s faces when we tell them how easily we dispatched that old necromancer.

We return and I cannot believe how much the group was bickering over how much (if any) of the gains to share with the foreman. We did make a deal with him, and I believe that it is our duty to uphold it. Fortunately the share of actual gold was small enough that the rest of the group finally acquiesced and shared what was due. Really it was about the honor gained and knowing that we set some bad spirits to finally rest. No matter how easy it was…

Apparently Desario has decided to leave us. This is sad news, but it is what he feels best. All I can say is Godsspeed to him and may the ancestors of his people be ever watchful. I guess we’ll be seeing Crumple and Desario next time we need to prepare. It never hurts having more friends to help us do what we do best. Kill monsters… with style!

It may be cold and slow going, but thankfully we had the foresight to prepare for the travel, making it much easier than I ever would have thought. I really think we’re getting the hang of this. Watch out evil-doers! Here come the Broken Knives!

Oh Hubris! The great undoing of many great men! We are perhaps in over our heads. Again, thankfully we had prepared for the worst because I think we came close to meeting it. I never thought I’d see the day when Kilja would die in combat, but that day came too close for comfort. That has nothing to say fro poor Bran. We must be caeful. This place must truly be perilous if it can sustain such a threat as an Ogre encampment. I lost count how many there were. And when it concerns ogres that is never a good thing.

We will rest tonight in the ogre’s keep. I’ll spend my time taking care of the wounds of my allies. I must make sure never to repeat this offense. What was I thinking?! I am apparently not as Wise as I had once thought. I must reflect on this. Ancestors know I have the time…

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Farewells and fighting

Before returning to the surface we did a quick conference on how to manage the loot we found below. Though we made off with several hundred gold and platinum, we also found some mighty fine pieces of weaponry and jewelry that we are not willing to split with the mine foreman. This was no ordinary evil-infested mine. Varsevis Arn showed us magic I had never dreamed of before. We agreed to give the foreman a full share of the money, but the treasures we will keep to ourselves.

The foreman accepted his (frankly large) share of the gold, and was gracious enough to offer us a night’s stay in the barracks in return for our deed. Weary and still scared from the fight underground I nearly accepted the offer—but a sharp glance from Ben reminded me that considering our hidden loot, it would be best to keep moving. After all, our work here is done, there was no need to linger. The magic triangle awaits!

Sad news to report. Sergeant Desario has decided to return to Colm. I fear his bout with the Slimy Doom has weakened him more than he is willing to admit. He took the wagon, along with our loot, back to Colm. We were sad to see him go, but I know he will be happier among the company of Crumple and surrounded by the comforts he is so accustomed to.

We are truly in the mountains now. The next day we found a light covering of snow all around us. It has grown bitterly cold. We came upon a ravine leading to a valley, and Ben spied large footprints in the snow. Ahead we saw a fortress or a keep—I saw one thick wall that seemed to connect to a higher level above it, and another beyond that. I snuck in for a closer look and to my dismay we found three ogres waiting for us. Ambrose’s bat, Kai, flew around the area and reported even more in the valley beyond.

The lack of Sarge and Subaka was sorely felt in this battle. Brave Kilja suffered what I thought was a killing blow. She lay on the ground stunned for far longer than I was comfortable. And for some reason—perhaps I was driven into a madness seeing Kilja down on the ground—I ran headlong into the battle myself, waving my sword clumsily, only to find myself crushed by an ogre’s huge club. I was too weak to move, and were it not for the healing powers of Ambrose, and the strength of Sparrow, Ben, and Zadok, I might have lain there much longer. But the ogres finally fell to The Broken Sword.

We will rest tonight in the ogre’s keep. I will need a day to heal from these wounds, and I will definitely think twice before I run into battle again.

—Bran Harvish

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