Nymph's Flow

Flow's Homecoming
The Everflame Retrieved

Flint descended the stairs and approached the large wooden construct. As she neared it, the golem stepped forward off a pressure plate causing the steps to individually rotate 45 degrees turning the stairs into two long slides. The golem managed to catch Flint in a critcal blow with it’s shield bash, crumpling the half-orc in a single attack. Patrick leaped from the platform above, tumbling to avoid damage and raced to help his fallen companion. Patrick and the golem exchanged several rounds of blows while Ivy fired arrows from the above platform. Patrick also went down, but the golem did not attack the felled victims nor could it reach Ivy on the platform above with the steps having been turned into a slide. It took a bit of time, but Ivy eventually felled the creature with her bow and arrows and then made her way down to her companions.

Pushing open a door, she found an empty chamber. The chamber had a table on the opposite side of the room. On top of this table, a number of item each with a small note attached, were addressed to the youngster of Flow. Not sensing any danger in the room, and having a door to close to help protect from whatever might be lurking outside, Ivy drug the fallen companions back into the room. Clearly labeled on the table were two potions of healing. Moving to Patrick first, she opened the dwarves’ mouth and cradling his head, helped him swallow the potion. She repeated the same procedure for Flint.

Patrick and Flint awoke in the supply room and helped take inventory and stock of things. Ivy sat in the corner with her bow, watching. Spying the items on the tables, Patrick and Flint began to divide up the treasures. Clearly labelled items for Patrick were a wand of cure light wounds and a scroll of lesser restoration. Flint had a potion of owl’s wisdom and a potion of cure light wounds. Both of them had a masterwork quality weapon. Moth had a wand of produce flame and a scroll of barkskin. Clod had a masterwork half-spear, a potion of bear’s endurance, and an oil of magic weapon. Ivy had a small bag of rocks.

Patrick paused in his looting to say “thank you” to Ivy and offered her a wand of produce flame. “She won’t know how to use it anyway…” muttered Flint, but with the simple note of thanks and inclusion, Ivy and Patrick bonded. Hearing Flint’s words, Ivy quietly refused the treasures and kept her small bag of rocks which the townsfolk thought suitable enough a gift for the “witchling”.

Having explored the entire upper level, the group ventured back to the stairs leading down. At the bottom of the stairs, a circular chamber with three passageways leading from it. In center of the circular chamber is a small stone pedestal. The sound of dripping water could be heard coming from the eastern passageway, while the stench of rot emanated from the west.

Flint pointed out an inscription spiraling out from the pillar and written in common. It reads: “To the south you might take your ease, to rest and reflect on Kassen’s deads. To the east lies the wheel, to open the gate. To the west is the resting place of Kassen, Hero of the Feywood.”

Following the inscription, the party decided to try it in order, “south, east and then west”. So heading south, they followed a short passageway that takes a bend before ending in a small chamber dominated on the far side by a silver fountain quietly bubbling perfectly clear water. An inscription above the fountain reads, “Kassen’s legacy lives on with his people. Drink and be refreshed.”

The party drank from the fountain and found their wounds healing, they also felt their spirits lighten as they no longer felt tired, or mentally fatigued. With a fresh outlook and in greater spirits, they made their way back to the eastern hallway.

The eastern passageway began to slope downward and water had been collecting in the corridor, growing deeper as the passage continued. Looking up, the ceiling was dripping with water in many places. The passage split heading north and south, and the party turned south once more. A strange blue fungus covered the walls, ceiling, and pillars of a waterlogged chamber. It’s wispy strands stretch out from the wall like roots danging in the air, twitching and swaying in an unseen breeze. Floating in the water are four decaying corpses—three large rats and one giant frog—with strange burn marks all over their bodies.

As Flint and Patrick move through the water, they disturb hundreds of little lizards on the walls, who begin scurrying along the walls, hoping in and out of the water. At the largest area of commotion, suddenly a huge lightning bolt spread out across the water…the party felt the electrical current pass through them, and realized that the water carried the current making this room a very deadly trap. Moving extremely slowly, so as not to make waves or splash or otherwise disturb the room, the party made their way through the room without any more lightning being released.

After an encounter with some giant frogs and a few more skeletons, Flint entered a large chamber that was partially flooded with the south end just barely rising out of the stagnant water. A large wheel was set into the floor, attached chains that rose up into the ceiling. A thick layer of slick, black mold covered the carvings on the walls of the chamber. Flint turned the wheel three times in a counter-clockwise movement and a small grinding could be heard echoing deeper in the tomb.

Making their way back to the staircase chamber, the group moved to the final hallway and entered a large catacomb. The smell of rot and decay was overwhelming. As Patrick moved deeper into the room, zombies came out of the shadows. A burst of holy, positive energy made a quick end to the zombies, that exploded in a burst of rotten flesh, disease and puss. Patrick was coated with the rotten debris.

Exploring the chamber they found a large bloodstained pack holding some rotten rations, a map (detailing the area and pointing out the entrance to the crypt), a potion of cure moderate wounds, a pouch with 13 gold pieces, and a small handbill clearly reading as a notice of employment, telling all those interested to meet at “The Ranger’s Lament.” The handbill did not mention a time, date or who the employer might be.

Ivy found a hidden corridor that lead to a shallow reflecting pool that divided a long chamber. The pool ran from one end to the other. The water looked cloudy and stagnant. What must once have been marvelous murals covering both walls are now scorched and ruined, the original subject lost in the destruction. Ivy is drawn to the murals and says, “The murals chronicled the battle between Asar and Kassen. They have been ruined with necromantic energy.”

As if summoning the energy itself, Flint and Patrick spy themselves in the water of the reflecting pool. Each of them sees themselves a horrid, rotting reflection that slowly turns to murder the others in the room. They energy washes over the group leaving them a bit unsettled but otherwise with no other effects. The disturbing sensation however does provide the group a reason to not linger and they enter a second catacomb.

The chamber had a number of recesses carved into the wall and a fissure in the ceiling. Bat swarms disturbed by the light descended on Flint, who was carrying the torch. Ivy without thinking raised her fingers and a cone of ice and snow coated the first swarm. Patrick threw an alchemist’s fire and Flint swung his torch at the creatures.

Ivy paused in battle having just confirmed to everyone present that she did have some “witches” powers and was sure that her party would now abandon her, but seeing the group still struggling with the swarms raised her hands and let forth another blast of searing cold and ice. The first swarm fell frozen by the cold. Patrick tossed his last alchemist fire and Flint hit with his torch sending the last swarm to its final rest.

Looking up, more bats could be seen on the ceiling and the group made sure not to disturb them. Ivy looked at Patrick to see if he was going to change his demeanor since she considered him a friend. Patrick smiled and said, “I don’t care…come on.” Relief flooded Ivy and behind her burlap sack mask, she grinned.

A vaulted ceiling of a vast chamber, showed significant signs of damage, with numerous cracks along its surface. In the center of a room, a 10-foot-wide bridge crossed a deep chasm. On the other side, a pair of stone statues watched over the end of the bridge in front of a set of grand brass double doors. The statues depicted villagers holding shields and spears. Flint examined the area and noticed parallel ruts in the bridge.

Upon closer examination, Flint determined that two of the statues would most likely travel along the ruts and attempt to knock people crossing off into two deep pits on either side. Flint asked for Ivy’s bag of rocks and carefully wedged several into the deep ruts at various locations then moved onto the bridge. About 10 feet over the bridge, Flint triggered a pressure plate and two of the statues moved forward, but the small hidden wheels lodged on the rocks and the party managed to pass over the bridge without incident.

Opening the wide brass double doors revealed a vast crypt. The only light emanating from a torch mounted above the crypt, flickering with a pale golden fire. “The Everflame!” Ivy hissed in excitement. Tall pillars marched across the room, ending at a dias on the far side upon which sat a stone sarcophagus. A single form rests besides the coffin, that of a comely woman in tattered clothing. She appears to be asleep or unconscious.

As the party moved forward, a dry mirthless laugh could be heard echoing from the dark recesses of the tomb.

“So Kassen’s heroes have come to fight me again. You will make fine minions in my army of the dead. Come and meet your fate.” With that, a wicked-looking skeleton strode into view wearing polished mail and brandishing a cruel sword in both hands. A cold blue flame burned in its empty eye sockets."

Flint and Patrick dropped in battle stances while Ivy lashed out with her cold magic once more. The ice magic washed over the skeleton who laughed and was completely unaffected by the snow and ice. Flint moved to the tanking position and drew the first attack from the skeletal champion which bit deep into Flint’s arm. Patrick channeled positive energy attempting to disrupt the creature. Flint countered with an attack of his own, but missed.

Ivy switched from her magic back to her bow. It would not do near the damage but at least it might do some. Her first arrow went into the mail, but the skeleton did not seem to notice. The skeletal champion landed a critical blow on Flint that dropped the monk. Patrick stepped forward swinging his morning star bludgeoning the skeletal creature.

Ivy shot another arrow and it entered the glowing blue eye and the skeleton crumpled to dust. Patrick made a heal check on Flint and help stabilize him by “_rebuking death”_ then gave Flint the potion of cure moderate wounds they had found. Searching the room, they found the remains of several other skeletons that Patrick had unknowingly caught in his blast of positive energy before they could attack of move.

Patrick then moved forward to check on the unconscious woman. She was also near death, but was easily revived. She tells the group about her Asar kidnapping her, questioning her about things that happened since his death and his rising, the torture to reveal what she knew about the coming “heroes” and Kassen. She also mentions that she overheard some of the other townsfolk mentioning that it appeared someone else had been here before them, but she didn’t see any living people, just skeletons and undead creatures. She was very relieved to know that her brother was still alive and left to go find him.

Flint had been carrying the lantern so moved to go light it from the Everflame and thus at least finish their original quest for the town. As the light catches, the spirit of Kassen himself stirs and begins to rise from the grave. He goes to speak, but it is Ivy’s voice that carries the message.

Ivy’s eyes have rolled into the back of her head and through her Kassen tells them thank you for putting an end to Asar. “Asar and I were adventurers together. We split ways after acquiring a great deal of treasure. Asar felt cheated after their last quest and that is why he came to attack the town. Asar and I both were interred here, each with a pair of amulets. The amulets were stolen by the bandits. These amulets are part of a key that opens up the great treasure vault we plundered so many years ago. The amulets point the way to the vault if reassembled from its three component parts. The last part was given to Iramine, an elven sorceress that was part of our group.”

The spirit then reaches into his sarcophagus and produces several items, giving them to the party along with his thanks once again then fades from view, returning to his eternal rest. The items when looked at were a bag of holding, a magical shield, and an elemental gem. Each of the party also received a scale from his armor which he explained would grant them his boon in their hour of need.

A smaller room to the west showed the sarcophagus of Asar. The lid was lying broken on the ground in front of it. A corpse of a masked man lying beside the tomb. Patrick investigated the corpse. The dead man wore gray robes and an iron mask that covered his face. The stench of rot hung heavy about him. Patrick noticed some discoloration about the neck that indicated strangulation. His garments and mask Patrick also identified as follower of Razmir, the living god whose cults have sprung up all around the Lake Encarthan region.

Flint was more interested in the material aspects of the corpse and being practical took anything of use. Flint found a map leading to the crypt along with a note that reads, “the amulets are entombed with Kassen and Asar.” Flint also found a wand of magic missiles, bracers of armor and a horn of fog. A pouch of newly minted coins and a spellbook.

The journey back to Flow is somber and uneventful. Roldare is thrilled to see Dimira again and seems to regain most (but not all) of his sanity. Upon entering Flow, they find the Greathall decorated and a celebration underway in their honor. Jonark Uptal, the mayor, is there to greet them at the gates, but his joy at their return quickly turns to horror when he finds out what has happened. The news spreads quickly throughout the town and the harvest celebration turns melancholy. The townsfolk do not blame Patrick and Flint for what has happened and the great feast is still held in their honor, but it not the same as it was in previous years. This year, many are drinking to help forget that they have lost friends and loved ones. Plans are made to return to the crypt and to bury the slain townsfolk and to repair the damage.

Ivy mysteriously disappears as they group approaches the gates and does not attend the celebration. The townsfolk do not seem to miss her.

During the celebration in the hall, Cygar Anravis stops to talk with Patrick and Flint. He formally introduces himself as a Pathfinder and mentions he might have some work for them if they are interested. He has taken an interest in the recent events and he is sure that his organization would like to see the tomb robbers that caused this mess called to account for their actions. He askes if they might be interested in getting to the bottom of the puzzle. As Flint and Patrick agree, Cygar is swept away into the crowd, saying only that he would be in touch when he has more information.

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The Blacksour Taint
Flow's Last Hope

Flint is considered an adult in the small town of Flow having completed his coming of age trial and is given a small plot of land near the outskirts of town. It is roughly about an acre, not too distant from Holgast’s Tower. It consists of a single room lodge with loft, a small shelter for a cow and a plot for a garden. It slopes gently down towards the river.

Patrick is also rewarded with lodgings of his own but they are buried deep in the rocks and caves descending towards the The Grotto. He has three rooms all to himself, a bedroom, front room, and a small kitchen with hearth that keeps the entire area comfortable.

Ugly Ivy had all but disappeared. Until one night, the sound of a rock on Flint’s door roused him. Another rock hit the door and Flint moved to check and see what was going on. Opening the door and peering out, Flint didn’t see anything…then dashing out from underneath the cow, a burlap wrapped figure flew at Flint and burst pass him, closing the door.

Ivy was breathing hard and had a wild, terrified look in her eye. “They will kill me for this for sure!” she managed to gasp. Not following her exclamation, Flint calmed Ivy down and slowly pulled more details from the terrified girl.

Walking through town, she noticed many of the villagers suffering from hacking affliction. She then “saw” that the affliction would spread like the plague and many of the villagers would die. As the superstitious townsfolk tended to blame her for being a witch and most of the ills that befell them, she was sure that she would end up being burned for the plague that was about to hit the town of Flow.

Flint encouraged Ivy to keep a low profile and hang out at his farm. He would venture into town and try to find Patrick and they would see what they could find out. Flint found Patrick working at the dwarven forges and persuaded him to follow him. Flint updated Patrick about what he had heard from Ivy.

At first, Patrick was not that concerned, Lucca Earthbow would cure it. As the priest for Erastil in the community, he had often come to the aid of the villagers when they needed it. They would start there first, but Patrick’s face grew more somber and serious when they heard that the old priest had also fallen ill and was not able to help. Father Rantal Prasst had taken over the duties of the cleric, but was tending to the older priest without much success.

Rumours about the town quickly confirmed that local remedies had proven as useless as the prayers of Lady Cirthana and the church of Iomedae, goddess of valor, justice and honor. Also confirmed was that wise town elder, Meridith Hollystave had been claimed by the wheezing death.

Having lived in the town their whole lives, Flint and Patrcik turned to Roots and Remedies. Roots and Remedies was a herbal shop ran by Lynx and Laurel Orivias. Since the towns leaders show little ambition to stop the wheezing death, and the clerics seem to be unable to cure the disease…the townsfolk lay their medical concerns at the feet of the local herbalists.

Creeping ivy and full window boxes cover the facade of the rugged-looking, two-story shop bearing the faded sign, “Roots and Remedies”. A line of twenty-some somber looking townsfolk—some with pale, wheezing children, others seeming to be precipitously near tears—stretch from the open doors.

Careful not to upset the feelings of their friends and neighbors, they indicate they are wanting to help and not cut line, Flint and Patrick make their way inside the small shop. The smell of burnt earth and spicy incense chokes the air of the cramped, mud-tracked shop. Bunches of dried herbs hang from the ceiling, along with dangling pots, presses and alchemical apparatuses, and glassware of more arcane purposes. Pouches of rare plants, jars of colored glass, and all manner of dried, preserved and jellied animal parts fill high shelves and tables doing double duty as displays and workspaces. In the shop’s rear, Lynx Orivias busies himself between an overpacked rack of herbs, a table covered in stray powders and measuring equipment, and a pot loudly bubbling over with thick gray froth. Over the din of his work and without looking up, he impatiently shouts, “And what’s your problem?”

Flint volunteers to help and moves to grind roots while pulling information from Lynx. Lynx says his wife is a smart woman. “She’s traced the source of the malady to Brookman’s well, a small spring on the edge of twon, and a rare fungus called blackscour. The town constable banned the use of the spring to prevent further infection, but such measures offer little respite to those already afflicted.”

Flint picks up on the name of the fungus, “Blackscour? What is Blackscour?”

“Just a fungus that’s not good for anything. Hard, bitter, and sharp, it likes the water and gets you sick if you drink it down. Never heard of it growing around these parts, though, until now.”

“And the taint?” Flint prods…

“It’s the sickness, almost like any other, but you get the mold growing in you. It starts eating away in your chest and belly and is damned determined to stay. Your body near turns itself inside out trying to hack the stuff up, but all that does is cuts your guts up…bad.”

“That’s horrible, and most of the town have it?”

“Well, more than thirty, honestly, though at least least three times that think they’ve got it.”

“What about a cure?”

“Cure! Not around here. I’ll get these folks what I can and we’ll see what good it does.”

The conversation is interrupted by the arrival of Laurel Orivias. She has overheard part of the conversation and interjects. “My grand mother’s book has a brew in it that says its good for this kind of thing. A wierd concoction that sounds more like hoojoo than real medicine.” She pulls her back tightly in a bun and adjusts her spectacles before moving to relieve Flint of his knife and continues to chop herbs.

Flint turns to the rail thin woman, “What’s in this medicine?”

“Some rare roots and concentrations, most of which I have here, but there’s three I do not. Elderwood moss, which I’ve never heard of, but granny says the stuff only grows on the oldest tree in a forest. A specially pickled root called a rat’s tail, again, sounds like hoojoo to me. And seven ironbloom mushrooms, stunty little things that only grow in dark places thick with metal, a favorite among dwarves…”and catching the sight of Patrick, quickly adds, “or so I hear.”

“How much time do I have to retrieve the ingredients?” Flint hopes for a day or two at least.

“None! Folks are dying every day! All we can hope to do now is treat who we can and hope to save the gravedigger some work.”

As Flint prepares to leave the shop, Lynx pulls him to the side and whispers to him warning him…“Laurel’s grandmother traded her sight to Ulizmila, the witch that lives deep in the woods. The old witch gave her only a few pages of what she knew, and that was years and years back, and I don’t know a soul who got any nicer as they got older. You can never trust a witch or anything a witch gives you. Be careful going for these ingredients.”

Flint left the shop with Patrick, at least they had an idea of what to get, but no idea where to look. Patrick thought maybe one of the hunters at the Hartsman’s Lodge might know about the woods and it’s environs…and if they were lucky, maybe Arnama Lastrid would be there. She knew a lot about the area.

Luck was not with the party, and Arnama hadn’t been in touch lately, and they were looking forward to a hunt. They had a new guest that had arrived about two ago. A gentleman named Thuldrin Kreed. Kreed appeared to be an eccentric aristocrat but had many odd behaviors which seemed to put off the serving girls. Still he had paid for his entire stay upfront in gold.

Flint and Patrick did some mental calculations and found that Kreed had shown up at the Hartsman’s Lodge about the same time as the sickness hit the town of Flow. Thinking it might be significant, Flint tracked Thuldrin Kreed down and took him to Seven Silvers tavern for a couple of drinks. Patrick meanwhile slipped away and returned to the lodge to look through Kreed’s room.

Patrick was surprised to see that most of the primitive belongings had not been used or even touched. The wardrobe was bare of belongings and the entire room had the scent of “wet dog”. What he did find though was a rude map with a large X near the forest. He pocketed the map and went to find his buddy Flint.

Flint and Kreed were exchanging small talk and pleasantries, being served by Asina Silvers. Her father, Trelvar Silvers seemed almost as interested in Kreed as Flint. As Kreed paid for his drinks and food in gold and didn’t care about his change, Trelvar kept sending his daughter back to the table repeatedly to keep their cups full. Kreed smiled as he eyed the young lass but watched his consumption carefully.

As Patrick entered the Seven Silver Tavern, Kreed sniffed the air and turned to look at the space where Patrick had tried to slip unseen. This struck Patrick as most unusual and he began to suspect maybe Kreed was a shapeshifter of some sort…After drinks with Kreed, Patrick showed Flint the map.

Thinking it was worth investigating, they decided to get horses and Ivy journey into the woods. Patrick noticed as they left town a set of deep, goat-like tracks. He determined that whatever made these depressions walks upright, and easily followed them. The tracks persisted for about 50 feet before mysteriously disappearing. Since the Feywood is full of Fey type creatures, a faun or satyr would not be too unusual, but having one this close to town was a bit odd. Not sure if it was a clue or not, they tucked it away in case it ever came up again.

It took the majority of the day to get the horses and to retrieve Ivy. Ivy whispered in her horses ear and it calmed immediately to let her ride bareback on it. It was about fifteen miles outside of town and moving on horseback, the three party members made good time. When they arrived at the “X” location on the map, they were surprised to find a small lumber camp.

Lumber Consortium Camp sat in the middle of a clearing of fallen Darkwood trees. It cut an ugly scare of stumps into a dense stand of proud darkwoods. Five sturdy-looking log buildings—seemingly a bunkhouse, meal hall, office, barn and smithy—stand with numerous wide carts and sleds amid the sawdust-covered clearing. Patrick immediately went to the camp clamoring to see whoever was in charge.

He was shown to the office of foreman Jarlbeen Trookshavits. The office was filthy and thickly decorated with taxidermies of fierce forest animals. While he didn’t find out all the information he wanted, Patrick did find out the folks were employees of the Lumber Consortium that had originated out of Cheliax. They were simple folk, paid to do a job of lumbering and focused on darkwood trees. They didn’t know any of the politics of the region or any pacts with the fey folk around here or the town of Flow.

Meanwhile, on the outskirts of camp, Flint and Ivy caught the eye of Milon Rhoddam one of the woodsmen from the town of Flow. Not wanting to blow his cover, Milon hit on Ivy stating even an ugly strumpet beats the knot hole of the tree out back and he’d be back in a bit. When alone, Milon was fairly angry to be singled out and hoped his cover hadn’t been blown.

Milon was normally a blunt, quiet man. Now his dander was up, as his nephew had taken ill with blackscour taint. He said this camp showed up about the time the taint showed up. He was here to find out if they knew anything about it, or even had a cure. Flint stated they were also looking for a cure and needed information about the forest. Since Milon was one of the most experienced wanderers and woodsmen in the region, he marked the map for possible locations for the missing ingredients.

Patrick returned to the group. Milon returned to the logging camp. On the way out of the camp, they happened to notice a dead tree streaked with multicolored fairy blood. Three sprite-like creatures, known as keld piskies, were pinned to the tree, their exsanguinated bodies turned to gnarled wood. The tree was marked to be cut down and placed in the lumber pile with the piskies still attached like limbs.

Ivy gasps in horror and says, “stories say that fairy blood can turn lead into gold.” Patrick’s eyes glisten as he remembers the servants of the Hartsman’s Hall saying, Kreed paid for his entire stay in gold…

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The Bleeding Skeletons
Death Takes Clod

The party entered a small chamber that was mostly empty, save for the body of a villager sprawled in the center. Perched atop the corpse was a man-sized brown and yellow beetle trying to push the corpse into a corner where a pile of trash and filth awaits. As Patrick and Flint, who lead the party entered the room, the beetle clicked its mandibles together and charged. The nimble monks easily dodged the charge and the beetle turned, moving with a speed that surprised the party. Patrick and Flint moved to flank the beetle, and the beetle breathed out a cone of acid that monks once again easily dodged taking minimal damage.

Patrick hit first and hit hard cracking the beetle’s carapace. Flint followed up and landed an equally sharp blow with his weapon severing one of the beetle’s legs. Clod entered the combat and lunged with his spear sliding along the back of the beetle without doing much to slow the creature. Ivy drew an arrow with her bow and fired missing completely. The beetle attempted to grab Flint with it’s mandibles but missed leaving Patrick an opportunity to once again hit the creature hard and finish it off.

Looking around the chamber, the party found nothing of interest and continued down the hallway, but Ivy began to hang back. “I don’t want to go down there. Bad things happened down there.” Flint and Patrick exchanged a look between them but nodded and turned in a different direction coming to a dead in wall.

Patrick looked at the wall. His keen dwarf mind taking in the details and finally after much deliberation declared, “It’s a one way door. It must open from the other side.” Flint heard only, “It’s a door” and began to bash the door in. After almost and hour, Flint had reduced the door to rubble and the way was open once more. Clod muttered, “Everything in the crypt knows we are here now after all the noise he made.”

Patrick peered into the new opening. A single pillar in the center of the room supports this wide domed chamber. The pillar is surrounded by a pit, but a stone bridge crosses the pit on the south side. Dozens of arrows jut from the pillar, facing every direction. The party moved into the room and the pillar began to rotate and began to fire blunt arrows at everything in the room. The Dwarf ran for a door on the south side safely as did Flint. Clod was hit with an arrow but made it to the other end. Ivy waited, and waited and waited and when the pillar was out of arrows …calmly walked to where the other members of the party stood. As the party grew impatient with Ivy, she said, “You rush to death. It would run out of arrows and it did.”

The southern hallway lead chamber containing a staircase leading down to a lower level. A continuous carving of mourners ran along the walls the lead to the staircase on the south side of the room. As they continued into the room farther, bloody human skeletons drug themselves out from behind the pillars. One directly behind Clod cutting him off from the group. Clod struck the creature with his spear, but as the blood flowed over the skeletal frame it healed and pushed up the spear until it’s claws were able to rend the throat of Clod ending his life as he struggled to breath and yell, the blood foaming about his throat. Clod stared at Ivy as the truth of her words hit home, “You rush to death.” His eyes glazed over and he moved no more.

Patrick played a game of cat and mouse with the skeletons luring them close together and then channeled his faith outward, hitting all of the skeletons with positive energy. The skeletons blew apart and were permanently destroyed by the cleric’s faith. Turning to Clod, the young adults knew that they were not going to be able to save him. His soul had departed to Pharasma’s Court for judgement.

Flint and Patrick examined the now destroyed skeletons. Flint found that one of the skeletons was wearing a tarnished silver necklace and appraised it as junk. Patrick asked to see it and realized that it was necklace of a style that was about 200 years old and was worth about 200 gold coins if cleaned up a bit. Patrick looked at Flint, “Yes, I agree…It’s junk, but I’d like to keep it anyway.” He placed it in his pouch as Flint continued searching.

Ivy remained half hidden in shadows as the monk-fighter and monk-cleric examined the room. Hopefully, they would not remember any of her predictions or anything that would cause them to turn on her. People had turned on her for less and she waited for the backlash. She wondered if the rest of the party could hear the dripping of water from down the stairs and an occasional low moan, but didn’t trust herself or them enough to draw their attention to it.

Flint and Patrick discussed going down the stairs but decided that they did not want to leave the tomb unexplored and danger behind them while they were below. So they back tracked to the area that Ivy did not want to go. Ivy followed them at a distance and kept quiet. She realized that it was her path that was uncertain, the party could easily kill her for a “witch” as the superstitious townsfolk have grown to believe or accept her. Her death here in the tomb would never be questioned….they have already lost townsfolk, Holly, and Clod. Who would mourn Ugly Ivy…she probably wouldn’t even be taken back to town, but just left here in the tomb.

Ivy was so caught up in her own thoughts, she didn’t hear herself begin to mumble, “The pain, the pain and fear. It’s afraid of the fire. It’s burning. The anger. The pain. It’s screaming, but it’s already dead.” Flint and Patrick up ahead heard the mumbling and made out most of the words, but didn’t know what they meant.

The room they had entered held the remains of a small fire that smoldered in the center of a broad chamber. The fire let off a plume of oily smoke. Fed by a heap of burning gear, debris, and more than a few bones, the fire casts a flickering lighting across the walls of this room, partially obscured by the veil of smoke.

Patrick closed his hand on his holy symbol and cast Create Water calling forth enough water to extinguish the flame. The resulting billowing of smoke and acrid air filled the room choking everyone and causing it to be very hard to breathe. In the obscuring smoke, Flint felt a brush of air against his face. “We aren’t alone in here.” Patrick and Flint backed into the hallway leading into the room, as a ghostlike shadow figure stalked them.

Ivy from behind the front line where she couldn’t see anything continued to mutter under her breath. “It’s one of the townsfolk. He died in this room and was terribly afraid of fire. His burning death caused him to rise as again as a shadow. The anger and hatred he feels is so intense.” Patrick cast Shield of Faith and then Magic Weapon on Flints sword. Flint became a terror striking at shadows, mists, and vapors in the hope of hitting the creature and perhaps guided by luck or faith, managed to accidently skewer the shadow. His weapon enhanced by the holy magic of Patrick laid the shadow to rest.

After the smoke cleared, which seemed a lot longer than it actually was, the party found a key and in the fire itself where it didn’t burn a glowing dagger. As it probably hot, they used some debris to fetch it from the fire remains and then Patrick doused it with his Create Water spell again until it was safe to touch. Patrick cast Detect Magic and confirmed that the dagger had a magical aura about it but nothing more.

Returning nearly to the entrance of the tomb and heading through the first door instead of following the moans from Roldare, the three remaining adventurers entered a large chamber. In the center of the room was a large pool of clear water, fed by a fountain on the wall above it. The fountain had as tone statue of a weeping nymph holding the slain body of Kassen, but the head of Kassen had been broken off and was nowhere to be seen. A voice booms out of the darkness, saying, “Magic is the key.” The voice slowly fades, leaving a dreadful silence.

Examining the room, all the doors out of the chamber were locked. Patrick cast Detect Magic once again. Patrick could see the faint outline of a key at the bottom of a pool. “I can swim down and get it.” The Dwarf sank quickly in the water his heavy bone structure pulling him like a rock to the bottom of the pool. Using his darkvision, he could easily see hundreds of keys at laying on the pool’s floor and knew how difficult this would be without his ability to cast spells. He swam over and picked up the glowing key, but the weight of the key suddenly revealed how truly dangerous a trap this was. The dwarf struggled to swim upwards with the weight of the key pulling him down.

Patrick struggled and was thankful of his inherent sturdiness and constitution as it helped him to eventually retrieve the key. A weakling mage or sorcerer could easily have been drowned since they tend to favor intellect over physical training in general. He spent a few moments catching his breath and then displayed the key for the rest of the party to see. Once out of the water, the key weighed nothing at all.

Patrick and Flint took the key and began to open the locked doors. When the door unlocked the key dissolved into water and disappeared. Ivy filled her waterskin and an extra one from the fresh water flowing from the nymph fountain before joining the two monks.

A small hallway lead to an open chamber that contained a small stone bench. The bench sat in the center of a dusty chamber. On the far wall was a faded mural depicting the hero Kassen defeating the mercenaries at the entrance to the crypt, with his blade piercing the chest of the mercenary leader. These figures stand alone in the center of a scene of carnage, with dead villagers and mercenaries all around them.

Ivy pointed out that both Kassen and the mercenary leader are wearing golden necklaces, each made up of a simple golden chain, from which hung an oddly shaped medallion. The two medallions while not identical were very similar. Nothing else of interest in the room, the party moved further along and found the entrance door that opened one way to the circular pillar that fired arrows.

Retracing their steps once more, they took a second hallway. The long corridor was flanked by a row of human statues, set into alcoves on each side. The statues looked like Kassen, and each one held a longsword out in front of it. The blades of roughly half the statues were wrapped in leather padding.

“It appears the villagers were trying to diminish the deadliness of this hallway but didn’t finish their work before the skeletons got them.” Ivy offered. Flint took the lead trusting his nimble agility to save him before the trap turned deadly. He jumped out of the way when he felt his foot trigger the pressure plate between the third pair of statues. All of the statues suddenly and swiftly swung their blades downward and would have easily hit anyone trapped between them.

The swords remained down once the trap was triggered disarming the trap but it created a barrier that was difficult to navigate as they had to climb over the angled swords. Being careful and using pillows they had found earlier to help pad the remaining blades, all of them made it safely through the hallway into yet another chamber.

One half of this lofty chamber had a lowered floor, with stairs on either side to reach the bottom. Standing opposite the door was a tall wooden statue of Kassen grasping a gigantic wooden shield in each hand. One of the shields was inscribed with the word “home” while the other read “family.”

Flint looked to Patrick and said, "I bet we found the “shields” Roldare babbled about. Patrick nodded and began to assess the situation to see how best to proceed

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The Wailing Survivor

Patrick was unaware of the exchange between Ivy and Clod. He moved forward into the room going carefully and spied a lever in alcove hidden from view originally by one of the pillars. He moved toward the lever and the floor beneath him gave way. Leaping backwards, he managed avoiding falling into the pit trap.

“The room is trapped.” Patrick called to the party to stay where they were. Examining the pit, he guessed the pit was about ten feet deep. At the bottom of the pit was a mound of pillows. “The pit has a mound of pillows in the bottom of it.”

“At least we know what the pillows, we found at the entrance were for then.” Flint hollered back. “The villagers must have prepped this room before the skeletons got them.”
Staying close to the wall, Flint began to make his way around the pillar towards the lever. He reached the lever and pulled the switch. “Nothing happened.” He pulled the switch again. “Do you see anything?”

Patrick and the rest of the group did not see any change with the pulling of the lever, so Patrick suggested Flint stay by the switch and began to explore the room again. He discovered two more pits and a second and third lever in different alcoves in different walls. Patrick turned to walk back to the party and lost his footing falling into a pit that opened up beneath him.

Patrick landed with a thud into the pillows. The pillows designed to catch the weight of human teenager burst with the sudden weight of the dwarf, sending pillows into the air. “I fell into a pit. Come toss me a rope.”

Flint moved to help Patrick out of the pit. Taking the rope and the light with him, Flint made his way carefully towards the fallen dwarf. As the light faded, obscured by the pillars, Clod leaned towards Ivy and whispered, “You’re a witch, Ivy!” And without warning grabbed her by the arm and whirled her into the middle the room and grinned to himself as a pit opened up beneath her dropping her into darkness.

Flint and Patrick made their way back where Ivy and Clod were supposed to be waiting. Patrick noted that Ivy was missing to which Clod replied, “She followed the light.” A quick search by Patrick and Flint found Ivy at the bottom of the pit. They lowered the rope and Ivy reached up and began to tie a small pouch to the rope. Then she grabbed onto the rope and was slowly pulled upwards.

Ivy gave the pouch to Patrick and looking inside, a small scrap of parchment read, “Three to open, but be quick, for the door wil only open for those who work together.” Along side the note were 5 platinum pieces, one for each of the chosen children.

“I didn’t realize how much of a help, Ivy was going to be.” Patrick tried to be kind but was getting frustrated by the amount of mishaps Ivy seemed to find. He led Ivy to a door in the south wall. “When we pull the levers, the door will open. Just hold the door open, until all of us manage to get past the door.” Ivy nodded, and pulled the sack firmly down over her head and tried to look small.

Flint, Patrick and Clod each made their way to a lever and counted down from three, pulled the lever. The door clicked open and Ivy opened it and held it open. With the door open, the mournful wailing grew louder. The four adventurers followed the sound down a musty hallway to a closed door. A host of bones were strewn on the floor, many of them cracked and broken.

Patrick stepped back from the door, “I heard the sound of a crossbow being loaded.” Patrick knocked on the door and hollered out, “Are you okay in there?”

The wailing suddenly stopped, and the room became very quiet. Patrick tried the door, but it was locked. Flint tried to push the door open, and it gave creating a very slim crack opening. “It’s barricaded” Flint started to say, but then instinctively ducked as a crossbow bolt fired through the small opening. Flint pushed the door open a bit more, allowing them to see a pale gaunt man.

“it’s Roldare!” Flint asked, “What happened?”

Roldare screams at the young fighter, “You are a trick of the dead one, the dead one who speaks. The angry bones sent you!”

“His sanity has left him,” Ivy said softly.

“Roldare, let us in! You know me. You know us! You know our families; we know you and your sister,” Flint says softly, trying to calm the villager.

“Dimira still lives,” Roldare says. “The voice took her. The skeletons drug her off. The one with the voice of death, who stalks these halls in ancient mail. He took her. He took her. He took her.”

Patrick closed the door. “I don’t know if we have time to deal with this. He won’t remove the barricade and if we try to enter, he shoots at us with his crossbow. He is obviously safe, and we can come back.”

“Maybe if we find his sister or something that would prove we are from Flow, he would open the door?” Ivy suggested.

“We could show him Ivy,” Clod suggested. Everyone in Flow knows Ivy. He snickered gently. “You could show him your face Ivy.”

Ivy looked at Clod, her eyes hurt by his hateful remarks. “It’s worth a shot,” said Flint. Ivy sighed and reopened the door. Making sure that her face could not be seen by anyone but Roldare, she slowly lifted up the burlap sack.

Roldare’s face went slack as he stared at Ivy’s face, then his eyes grew round and his brain began to piece together what he was seeing. Finally, he began to shriek and scream. Clawing at his eyes, “Why would you show me that? I can’t unsee that!” He cried and clawed at his eyes.

Ivy quickly dropped her burlap sack back into place, and moved away from the door. Flint gave the door a mighty push, bursting through the blockade. Roldare had moved away from the door into a corner and had managed to claw his eyes out of the socket. Blood was streaming down his face.

Patrick bandaged his eyes, and stopped the bleeding. Saving Roldare’s eyesight was beyond his skill, but he could keep the poor wretch from doing more harm to himself. Whimpering softly to himself, Roldare sat on the floor wrapping his arms about his knees and rocked himself gently.

“Damn Ivy! You must uglier than I thought!” Clod snickered.

Ivy moved to an opposite corner of the room at sat down, watching Roldare. Roldare turning his face toward her, aware of her staring even without his eyesight. “His mind is broken now. His emotions are a swirl of confusion, his thoughts random.” Ivy closed her eyes, "His friends are being butchered by skeletons. He’s safe in the locked room. The villagers arrive to the tomb, his sister is smiling. There are six of them. “The shields and keys” show the way. Someone will have to go for a swim. He is happy, he purchased the crossbow from a down-on-his-luck adventurer. " Ivy opened her eyes, “He will need a lot of help in having his mind restored. He should stay here and we can have ”/characters/lucca-earthbow" class=“wiki-content-link”>Lucca Earthbow see if he can help when we get back to town."

Clod watches Ivy closely, his eyes narrowing as he becomes more and more convinced the young lady is a witch. He moves away as far away from Ivy as he can get in the room. Patrick suggests the group barricade the door again, and stay the night here. Flint helps Patrick secure the door. Ivy leans back in her corner resting. Clod watches Ivy. Flint and Patrick go to sleep. Roldare continues to stare into the darkness and comforts himself.

When the party awakes, they break camp. The room has not changed much except that the corner in which Ivy was sleeping has grown moss and lichen in great abundance. Ivy rested gently on her mound of moss.

“That’s a neat trick,” Flint said looking at Ivy with more interest than he’s shown.

“It’s not a trick. I don’t do it. It just kind of happens. Plants grow around me. They grow fast. Well not like erupting from the ground, but faster than normal.”

“It’s still a neat trick,” Flint suggested.

“It leaves one damp in the morning. Lichen and moss hold a lot of water.”

“I hadn’t thought of that.” Flint says.

Flint and Patrick decided to search through the debris used to barricade the door to see if anything was useful or could be salvaged for use. The townsfolk had always used this room as a resting place during their exploits. There were a number of bedrolls here, a pair of bullseye lanterns with 4 flasks of oil, 5 days worth of rations, and two potions of cure light wounds clearly labeled as “healing.” Taking the two potions, the party secured the rest of the gear for later, making sure Rodare was safe…the young adults, went back into the darkened hallways of Kassen’s Tomb.

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Entering Kassen's Tomb

Ivy began to stir, sitting up suddenly her eyes rolled to the back of her head. “We are approaching a parting of the ways. Two will leave, Two will stay, One is yet undecided. There is so much anger and pain within; the path not guaranteed.”

“See! Creepy!” mumbled Clod.

Moth remained silent but gets up from the ground and helps Ivy stand as well. The tugging on Ivy’s arm to assist her up, brought her eyes back into focus. Ivy stood with Moth’s help and then checked to make sure her burlap mask and dress was in place. “Thank you.”

Flint moved to inspect the entry to the Kassen’s Tomb. An archway of stone was set into the side of a small hill at the bottom of the valley. Moss had overgrown many of the details, but one was still quite clear. The keystone of the arch was carved with a flame symbol with a stylized rune in the middle. Beyond the archway was a darkened tunnel that led to a pair of massive wooden doors, one of which was slightly ajar. A pair of horses and trio of ponies lay slaughtered next to the archway, each corpse still tied to a post set into the ground nearby. A swarm of flies hung lazily in the air above them.

“Holgast has really out done himself with these illusions,” Moth stated.

Patrick examined the bodies of the horses and ponies and pointed out deep lacerations in the bodies, “These were made by crude blades or claws.” He then pointed to some scattered bones underneath one of the horses. “These bones here are clearly very old, and should not be here.”

Flint’s eye went to the packs the horse and ponies had carried, “This one is still full.” He looked inside and listed the contents, “some rations, a pair of pillows, a quiver with 10 blunt arrows, and a pint of lamp oil. Why would someone bring pillows to a tomb?”

“Now that’s ’Creepy!”, said Ivy.

Patrick picked up one of the shoulder bones under the horses, said a small prayer and the bone began to glow with divine light. He led the party through the dimly lit area to the half open door. Tossing the bone inside, the light illuminated a vast room. The room was a long chamber with risen platforms on either side. A faded painting of the town of Nymph’s Flow was on the far wall. The room appeared to be the site of a gruesome battle, with two bodies piled in the center and a number of skeletons scattered around. An echoing wail could be heard somewhere in the distance, beyond the foul chamber.

Moth’s eyes lit up as she spotted one of the bodies in the room. “That’s my cousin.” Without waiting she rushed to the center of the room to her cousin’s side. The skeletons scattered about the room, began to stir and rise up around her cutting her off from the rest of the party. “These are not illusions!” she cried out as the skeletons began tearing at her flesh. With a strangled cry, her life cord was cut as one of the skeletal hands grabbed her throat and tore away her flesh. She stared at the party, blood streaming from her neck as her eyes glazed over.

The skeletons turned their faces and empty eye sockets towards the remaining party. Their skeletal grins unnerving in the dim light. Clod gripped his spear tightly, the knuckles on his hand turning white from the strength of his grip. Flint dropped into a low guarded stance and focused his keen battle mind preparing to meet them. Ivy moved to the back of the party out of harms way. Patrick moved forward, holding his holy symbol and chanting softly.

The holy symbol began to glow and a pulse of positive energy rushed from Patrick blazing into the room. The power of his faith smashed into the skeletal remains, blasting them apart. They landed in pieces about the room and stirred no more.

Clod his hand still clutched on the spear turned on Ivy, “You did this with your creepy witchcraft. Two shall part the way…well, you are going to the be the second that parts our way you crone.”

Ivy stared at him, “You are afraid. You have lost your friend and are angry. Fear and anger drive you right now, but you will not hurt me…at least not yet.” She turned her back to him and then says, “Moth’s spirit is not troubled but resting peacefully. She does wish to be buried at home in time.”

Flint reaches down and grabs Moth’s bow. “Here Ivy. Be useful. Use this.”

Ivy looked at the bow and took it. Patrick said, “You do know how to use that right? You point the sharp end of the arrow at your target, pull back and release. Try not to hit us or kill us.” Ivy nodded silently. She gathered Moth’s quiver with arrows and slung it over her shoulder. She looked at the bow a moment and smiled her eyes focusing on the wood. The wood began to increase in thickness and a vine of ivy looped over the ends reinforcing the strings.

Clod watched the bows transformation, sure that neither Flint or Patrick had noticed, but stated very clearly. “She goes in front of me from now on….I don’t want her at my back.”
Ivy nodded at his request, or rather demand.

The wailing heard at the entrance echoed through the still chamber once more. Patrick picked up the glowing bone and handed it to Clod. “Flint and I have darkvision, but Ivy and you might need the light. You carry it.” Clod nodded.

Examination of the room with the light revealed two doors in the chamber: one heading east and the other west. The wailing sound seemed to come from the eastern door, so Flint suggested they find the source of it. “In case we need to deal with it before we are tired and exhausted from any other bones that may rise up to grab us.”

Moth had been good at helping guide the group up to this point but was of no help in offering the next course of action. The next obvious choice was Patrick, since he also had helped leading the group, but Flint’s suggestion sounded as good as anything else at the moment. The group opened the eastern door and ventured into the next room.

A large chamber contained a maze of pillars that obscured the far side of the room. Next to the door was a pile of empty saddlebags and three brooms. “You touch any of those brooms and I’ll clobber you,” whispered Clod to Ivy.

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Not So Alone in the Dark
First Night Out--

After Greymantle left, the party decided it was in their best interest to set up a watch. Patrick took the first watch, and invoked blast runes about the perimeter of the camp. Patrick failed to see the wolves slinking in about the camp, but the first blast rune detonated in a powerful surge of electricity and the blast itself woke the rest of the party from their sleep.

Patrick and Flint moved to square off against the first pair of wolves, leaving the rest of the group to deal with the remaining one. Clod was fierce in his attack, having driven wolves away from the farm and trying to make up for his earlier orc blunder. Moth was a horrible aim with her bow in the dim light, missing every shot but at least she did not hit anyone in the party. Ugly Ivy remained prone on the ground and struggled to get up.

One of the wolves lunged suddenly, knocking Moth to the ground and attempted to savage her with its maw, but she held its teeth away. Patrick moved to assist Moth with her wolf, his attacks hitting with each swing of his weapon. Flint finished off his wolf and Clod managed to impale his wolf on the makeshift spear he had fashioned. Ivy struggled to get up off the ground, her eyes getting wider as she began to panic.

With Patrick, Clod and Flint moving to assist Moth, the last wolf went down fairly quickly. Patrick moved to check on Ivy who was still trying to get up off the ground. Some of the grass and vine had grown into the burlap sack and had pinned Ivy to the ground. Patrick helped her get free, but during the process managed to notice that Ivy had really nice looking legs.

The party was awake and couldn’t manage to get back to sleep so broke camp and started towards Kassen’s Tomb once more. Dawn approached and the day turned dusky, with the winds picking up and clouds beginning to gather overhead. The trees began to thin, revealing a field of short, green grass that led to the shores of a wide, calm lake reflecting the overcast skies above. A dense fog hung over the center of the lake, obscuring the far side. Near the shore of the lake, a dark form lay next to the water.

Patrick moved closer and noticed the dark form was a that of a decayed body. Assessing the body closer, the cleric-monk noticed huge bite marks all over the body’s upper torso, and the flesh blackened from poison. He announced based on decomposition, the body probably had been there for a few months, and the poison in the body has made it unfit for other scavengers to consume.

Flint moved forward and spotted some silver in the mud near the body. Reaching down, he
pulled a masterwork short sword from the muck. A small pouch of coins was also in the mud. A quick glance inside revealed it was filled with coins of various denominations. Flint pocketed the pouch without bringing it to the parties attention.

Moth looked closely at the body and determined that the man was not from the town of Nymph’s Flow. “I don’t recognize this man. His clothing is not from our town, it’s the type you’d buy in a larger city.”

Flint nodded but wasn’t really listening to Moth expound about the clothing, his attention had been drawn by an old trail. Following it back along the east side of the lake shore for about a half mile, Flint found an older campsite that had not been used in months. Flint searched the surrounding campsite. Finding nothing else of interest, he returned to the party.

Ivy stared at the body, “He was terrified when he died. He was thirsty. The water looked cool and inviting. He didn’t see the serpent before it attacked. The pain of the poison burned his veins.” She shrugged, and moved to fill her waterskin.

“You know, It’s creepy when you do that, Ivy.” Clod stared at Ivy filling her waterskin. “The townsfolk are beginning to speak about you being a witch. You don’t need another reason for them to …”

“Quiet!” Moth interrupted. “She’s socially awkward cause everyone ignores her already. You don’t have to talk about her like that or scare her. I don’t even think she’s aware of when she says creepy stuff like that.”

“I’m still here, you know.” Ivy said calmly filling her water bottle. Putting a stopper in her waterskin, she picked up her backpack and moved back towards the group. She prepared to continue her journey.

The group walked in silence from the lake. The silence grew more and more oppressive. The trees of the forest grew older and more gnarled. The weather began to pick up and everyone became more and more miserable.

The trail led ever deeper into the Feywood, through the twisting maze of trees and confusing ravines. As it topped a small rise, a broad valley spread out before it, the opposite side of which looked like a writhing serpent. Yet between the two lay a steep hill sloping down into the valley. A cold rain started to fall, making the ground slick and treacherous.

Flint, Patrick and Clod started making their way down the steep incline going slowly when suddenly with a yell, Moth lost her footing and slid all the way to the bottom of the ravine where she yelped as her foot twisted. Ivy also lost her balance, sliding down the hill slamming into a small tree. Stunned she stood up and fell backward sliding down the muddy hillside then falling down a 20-foot cliff to lay in a small heap below.

“That’s the unluckiest girl I know.” Patrick said. “On the bright side, as she went head over heels, you could see she had great form, and nice legs.”

Clod stared at Patrick not sure if he was serious or trying to break the tension with humor that was failing miserably. Either way, Clod, Patrick and Flint slowly completed their descent to the bottom of the ravine without any further incident.

Patrick performed a quick assessment of Moth. His healer’s eye noted a few superficial scrapes and abrasions. Bruising about the ankle indicated a sprain but he couldn’t feel any broken bones. Ivy though lay in a heap, a broken bone jutting from her leg. Patrick noted Ivy was breathing but unconscious. He used her being unconscious to his advantage and pulled the bone carefully back into place, ignoring her cry of pain as he reset the bone then bandaging it in place. Patrick got the potion of cure light wounds from the backpack and carefully poured it into Ivy’s mouth. Ivy coughed and her breathing relaxed, becoming deep and even.

Looking at everyone gathered and their spirits down, some with scrapes and bruises, sprained ankles, nearly dead, and all of them sore from a bad night’s sleep. Patrick closed his eyes and whispered a few prayers to Iomedae. A burst of positive energy erupted from Patrick as he channeled the power of his deity to help heal the group.

Moth sat up and looked up at the ravine, then the group. “That first step…” She shook her head. Then pointed to an archway of stone, “At least we found the crypt.”

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Into the Fey Wood
Journey to Kassen's Tomb--Day 1

The children left the town square and headed south as Lucca Earthbow had pointed. Just outside of the small town of Flow and before entering the Feywood, the group paused to go through their backpacks and see what gear the town had provided for their coming of age quest.

Each backpack contained five days rations, a small tent, a winter blanket, a full waterskin, and piece of the trail map to Kassen’s Tomb. In addition, distributed as evenly as possible among the backpacks are 50 feet of hemp rope, a box containing tinder and three tindertwigs, a labeled potion of cure light wounds, three torches, a grappling hook, and a small bottle of local brandy with a note from Mischief reading, “Sorry!”.

Flint commented that the town was forcing them to work together since each of them have a part of the map and “the grappling hook is worthless without a rope, and torches without tindertwigs are useless”. Moth was quick to agree and her clever mind began to piece together the map. When it’s finally assembled, Patrick nodded in agreement and the party set out into the woods.

The woods were cool and the sunlight filtered through the fall leaves giving everything a soft glow. The party was in good spirits as they made their way deeper into the woods. They travelled for about two hours following a narrow path. The path wandered through the raking claws of the trees, some of them now bereft of their leaves, which crunched loudly underfoot. Up ahead a fallen tree trunk blocked the path. Suddenly a trio of snarling humanoids leapt up from behind the log, all greenish skin and fearsome tusks, bellowing vulgar challenges to the party.

Ugly Ivy moved to a small rock away from the orcs and sat quietly, hoping the orcs, like the villagers, would look past her. Clod charged the orcs and missed with his home made spear. The orc quickly responded to Clod’s attack, and hit Clod with a great axe dropping him instantly to the ground. The second orc moved to confronts Patrick swinging his axe, hitting him squarely across the chest. Moth took aim with her bow when she suddenly started to laugh loudly. “They are illusions. They aren’t real.”

Clod cracked his eye, “I’m not dying then? I felt sure I was.”

Moth giggled merrily, “I thought they were real too until I smelled the pipe tobacco. It’s a signature scent of the tobacco smoked by” Holgast. He must be hiding somewhere in the bushes nearby."

Clod scrambled to his feet, a bit embarrassed for failing to know the orcs weren’t real. Brushing himself off, he gathered his spear from where it fell, shoulders his backpack and asked, “Are we ready to continue on?”

After dealing with the illusionary orcs, they continued through the woods in good spirits. The map was fairly easy to follow and as the sun began to fade, a cold wind began to rattle through the forest causing leaves to fall in abundance. Darkness was falling and there was no sign of civilization in sight.

Patrick suggested, “We need to find a camp site soon before we lose the remaining light.”

Searching around, the group found a suitable spot, surrounded on three sides by a thicket of bushes. The ground was level and firewood was plentiful. Flint made a fire and each of the members of the group offered up parts of their rations to make a nice stew for their meal. As they ate, wolves could be heard howling in the distance.

Moth shuddered. “They seem to be getting closer.”

Ivy nods, “Yes. They are hunting. They are hungry.”

A deep growl from the bushes caught the young children’s attention, “Indeed, they are hungry and on your trail, my little dumplings.” Red eyes gleamed from the bushes, and the firelight showed an unusually large wolf crouched as if to spring. The wolf had an evil, almost intelligent light shining in its deep red eyes. “I apologize I could not eat you myself, my dumplings. You look most delicious, tender and well-fed, but I have eaten my fill already this evening.”

Flint said, “I’m not delicious, the dwarf though might be.”

Patrick shot Flint a dirty look, but the large wolf commented before Patrick could retort. “Dwarves are stringy. But when one is hungry, one can overlook a bit of gristle. If you survive, I promise to come back and try to eat you later….but not tonight. Sleep lightly, dumplings. The wolves are coming.”

The beast turned as if to leave, when Moth asks, “Wait, aren’t you a wolf?”

A hearty chuckle could be heard in the bushes, “I’m a worg. My name is Greymantle so you know in whose belly you will digest.” With that Greymantle slinks away into the bushes.

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The Lottery
Choosing the party for Kassen's Tomb

The lottery had been held and the young children of the town of Nymph’s Flow were all excited about who had been chosen to retrieve the EverFlame from Kassen’s Tomb and take their place as adults in the small isolated town. Of course, the children couldn’t help but spread the wild rumors they told to each other to scare themselves about the many deaths and injuries, lost parties, fey stolen children and other wild tales but each secretly hoped they had been chosen.

So it was with baited breath, the children gathered in town square shortly before mid day. Other than the children, the town square remained silent and empty. The bells atop Archer’s Hall tolled the midday song, echoing through out the small town the locals affectionately called Flow. As the peals of the bells begin to fade, the first of the townsfolk made their way into the square, dressed in black, as if attending a funeral. They slowly filled the square, moving quietly across the cold, hard ground, their eyes downcast and mournful.

The children although familiar with the solemn ritual were still excited about the prospect of being chosen, but waited impatiently. Finally, a small murmur passed through the crowd as it slowly parted to let Lucca Earthbow through. He led the way with a tarnished silver lantern. Behind him, an old pony drug a cart laden with backpacks and supplies.

Once he reached the center of the crowd, the priest stopped and called out to the assembled townsfolk. “Once again the winter winds blow through the Feywood marking the end of another harvest. There are wolves in the woods, howling at our walls, and serpents in the shadows, waiting to strike. Just as it was one hundred and seventy-four years ago, when Kassen himself left these walls to protect us, so it is today. Where are the heroes? Where are the brave folk that will venture out to Kassen’s Tomb and retrieve the flame to keep this community safe for another winter?”

The priest moved slowly to the cart and picked up the first backpack. He took his time looking at the name, knowing the pause before calling the child’s name builds the children excitement and anticipation. “Moth has been chosen.” His rich baritone voice called across the crowd. A young girl of about sixteen with strawberry blonde hair and dimple, stepped forward and claimed the first backpack. The crowd in one voice replied, “Moth has been chosen.”

The priest reached for the second backpack and cleared his throat, “Clod has been chosen.” A young farm boy stepped forward. His face showed his first beard growing in patches. He reached for the second backpack as the crowd repeated the priests call, “Clod has been chosen.” This continued for Flint and Patrick known by their childhood names of Freckles and Slip.

Finally, the priest came to the very last backpack. He picked it up and without looking at the name, "This backpack was supposed to be for our resident mischief-maker, Mischief. But she broke her legs jumping off the steeple of Archer’s Hall testing a “sugar glider” outfit she purchased from a traveling gnome. As a result, she’s resting inside being treated by our healers. So this bag is for Ivy."

A girl dressed in a burlap sack dress with another sack over her head reached up out of the crowd to get the last backpack. “Ugly Ivy has been chosen,” the crowd responds. The girl with the burlap sack stared at the crowd with blue eyes, a golden ring about the pupil, and moved to hide behind the other children.

After the children had received their backpacks, the priest once again spoke to the townsfolk, “I present to you the brave heroes who will follow in Kassen’s footsteps to retrieve the Everflame! Some of them may not return, but I say to you that their sacrifice shall not be forgotten. Go, brave heroes, and do not return until you have the eternal fire.” With that, the priest pointed to the south, the direction of Kassen’s tomb. The townsfolk as one waved goodbye with cold, solemn looks on most of their faces. They then turned their backs to the chosen children and did not acknowledge them again. The priest handed Flint the old lantern, nodded encouragingly, turned away and left into Archer’s Hall.

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