Session 32: Return to Ravenholm
Cast- The King’s Recruits: Averlon Blackwood, Edran Laraneth, Fargrim Stoneborn, Horiam and Kriv
Rings of NPCness: Hemingway, Gareth 2.0 Mia and Nimaketh
Date: 27th – 29th Reapdon, 1028
With the last of the zombies dispatched, the Platinum Knights momentarily stop to take their breath and tend to their serious injuries. Their adventure continues deep within the Midnight Marshes in a race against time to return to Ravenholm with the food supplies that are vital to the survival of the 30 militia and engineers left at the outpost.
After catching their breath the party turn and regard the magical swirling eddy and arcane book that lie in the middle of the island.
It appears that the eddy is a planar tear—a fluctuating gateway to the Shadowfell— similar in nature to the portal that the party encountered in Terios’ lair a month ago.
Edran approaches the book and picks it up. He reads the spine discovers that it is an ancient elvish tome titled Volo’s Guide to Using Portals. The textbook is full of information regarding arcane portal theory, and has been filled with handwritten annotations from a previous user. Edran feels a strong arcane source within the pages and as he opens to the middle of the text he discovers an ornate silver-laced wand of wonder+2 of elvish design.
When the party discuss whether to try and shut the unstable portal, Horiam attempts to pray to the Raven Queen. Fargrim Stoneborn walks near the portals and claps his hands twice. In response the chaotic portal cracks with energy and fries the dwarf with lightning. While the party are picking up Fargrim Horiam’s prayers go unanswered, suggesting that the portal has not been created or divinely sanctioned by the Raven Queen. After agreeing, Edran tries to focus his powers on the swirling vortex, but is unable to conquer the chaotic and wild energies.
Edran stops and opts to continue studying the textbook and will return to seal the portal once he has learnt how to master the correct spells. The party agree that it is time to catch up to the others who rode ahead with the food supplies.
The Platinum Knights retrieve their mounts and ride on. After a few hours of riding they successfully return to Ravenholm. They find that the engineers and militia, while a little hungry due to the party’s delays, have not been idle in their absence. The initial settlement fortifications have been reinforced while the foundations of the barracks have begun to take shape. While riding through the gates the party meet one of the chief dwarven engineers, Quenentair. He updates the party on the progress of the settlement, reporting that the hunting party had run out of supplies and game yesterday. While Quenentair looks askance at Kriv, he says that he is glad that the party did not delay in their return.
Fargrim hands over the handy haversack filled with 2 months of food supplies with instructions to set them up in the Temple’s rectory.
Realising that tomorrow signifies the beginning of the week-long Readifest Winter festival, Horiam and Edran organise the payment of the workers and order that the settlers be given double rations for dinner as a fest celebrating the continued supply agreement with the dwarves of Tor’s Reach.
After the festivities, Averlon Blackwood reunites with the shadier elements of the settlement party and strikes up several high stakes gambling games, earning himself a tidy profit in the process.
The festivities continue into the night while the Platinum Knights man the night watches, and discuss Harbourd’s arrival tomorrow.
A single, wailing scream awakens the encampment.
The Platinum Knights are woken in the early hours by Jenkins, a member of the militia, screaming in terror. The human has curled himself into the foetal position and points at Averlon, screaming and crying the entire time.
While Horiam grabs Averlon and frog marches him into the rectory, Fargrim and Edran investigate the Temple for any physical or magical reasons for Jenkins to be acting in such a way. Kriv speaks to Jenkins, calming the young Wolf. Jenkins responds shakily that in his dream he saw Averlon, repeating in horror that ”There’s something inside of him.”
Fargrim joins Horiam in the rectory with Averlon, who is now sitting nonchalantly in a wooden chair. Horiam questions Averlon’s actions and relationship with Jenkins, a known member of his gambling circle. During the questioning Horiam points out that Averlon has some shady contacts in the settlement and his behaviour has been questionable at best. Averlon retorts that it is no crime for him to have been a figment of Jenkin’s nightmares.
When Fargrim asks why Jenkins would be suffering from nightmares, Averlon coolly responds that perhaps ”Jenkins is just a wuss.”
At this comment Fargrim steps forward and backhands the shade across the mouth, growling that Jenkins is a refugee from Thedanwald who has lost his family and home to the dogs of Meepo, who fled to Rovnol seeking sanctuary and had signed up for the dangerous mission to tame the Midnight Marshes on the frontier of the kingdom surrounded by the undead—therefore Averlon, a companion by circumstance, had no right to say that Jenkins was a “wuss”.
Horiam changes the line of questioning towards Jenkins’ comment, that Averlon had ”Something inside of him”.
A shade is normally created when a mortal of the Shadowfell sacrifices a part of their soul—essentially something is taken, not put “inside” of them.
Horiam says to Averlon, ”You’re not like all other shade, are you.” The shadar-kai avenger can sense the aura of the shadowfell within Averlon’s soul, but there is something else, something he can’t identify.
When pointedly asked if he is a threat to the war effort against Meepo, Averlon coolly responds ”Directly, no.” He also points of that Meepo wanted him dead as well, having sent tri-kreen after him when he fled the deserts of Zerenthas.
The party convene outside in the Temple to discuss what to do with Averlon. They agree that Averlon didn’t directly attack Jenkins, nor has he directly broken any laws while at the settlement. They agree that Averlon can stay, albeit with a closer monitoring of his activities.
When Fargrim and Horiam return, Fargrim pointedly asks if the shade had stolen any of the valuable supplies while they were gone.
”What? This…rockmeal? No.”
Averlon is cautioned and released. By this time Kriv has calmed Jenkins down by leading him through a series of chants and prayers.
The party return to their bedrolls and try to get some more sleep before the dawn.
The Envoy of the Hobgoblin Clans
Harbourd arrives at midday. Fargrim has arrayed the Wolves into a welcoming committee. Accompanying the dwarf from Sparrows Port is a hobgoblin cloaked in a thick black trench coat. Harboud greets the Platinum Knights warmly, even Kriv. After dismissing the troops, the party withdraw to the Temple break their fast over private discussions.
New intelligence, gleaned from scrying and interrogations has revealed that Meepo may well be preparing for a new offensive, one that would suggest that the war is truly about to break out. Harbourd was tasked to escort Forken and bring word that Ravenholm now stands as a barrier between the Marshes and the eastern frontier of Eralhor. More engineers and masons have been ordered to marshal at Ravenholm to complete and fortify the defences.
Harboud hands a silver-laced scroll case to Edran, which contains magical portal runes that would allow the settlement to magically evacuate to Rovnol only in the “worst-case scenario.” The runic address cannot fall into enemy hands.
Harboud introduces Forken, the envoy from the Red-Eye’s hobgoblin clans located in the Stalkwood Forest. As a gesture of friendship and solidarity during the ongoing alliance against Meepo, Forken has been sent to undertake a scouting mission into the Midnight Marshes.
Fargrim sizes the hobgoblin rogue up and asks, ”You think you can handle the undead, laddie?”
”I do not intend to be into combat with the undead, dwarf,” Forken responds.
”The point of combat is to always prepare for the worst,” Fargrim quips.
”And that is the point of you being with me,” the hobgoblin counters, both chiding and complimenting the skill of the Stoneborn clan, which earns him a begrudging respect from Fargrim.
As night falls, Horiam and Averlon try to accompany Forken on a reconnaissance into the swamps. Forken bluntly tells them that he ”works alone” and disappears into the fogs.
Patrolling the fogs
On the morning of the 29th of Reapdon (First day of Readifest Winter festival), Harbourd makes ready to return to Rovnol by himself. He quietly warns the party to keep an eye on Forken when he returns from his scouting mission, as he suspects that Forken has been sent by the hobgoblins clans for ulterior motives. He suggests that Forken may be trying to find the location of the Kree Kath, a magical tree deep within the marshes that held a position of religious significance for the lizardfolk tribes. It was a burial ground that radiated primal energies, but most significantly it may be that the hobgoblins are searching for another piece of a dwarven superweapon, which could mean long-term trouble for Erahlor after the war with Meepo.
Harbourd finally makes his farewells and gives the party a Scroll of Sending in case they need to urgently contact Rovnol. He quickly departs west.
Armed with the knowledge that the undead may be marshalling for war, the party agree to ride out half a day’s range from the outpost on patrol, to try and intercept any roving packs of undead.
They strike out east along the main tracks of the swamps with Horiam and Averlon scouting ahead.
Eventually they spot a small group of undead shambling near a marsh, visually spotting two chillborn zombies and two undead Accipitridae.
Averlon and Horiam agree to circle around and try to flank two of the undead, while the rest of the party directly charge the rest. Unfortunately Horiam’s boot squelches loudly in the mud, alerting the undead and ruining their chance of surprise.
When a gurgling groan, the undead turn to the party and the battle is joined…
Kriv begins the battle by charging the closest chillborn zombies and accipitridae. As he closes in to swing his greatsword the dragonborn feel an aura of cold sweep over him and chilling his bones. After swinging his sword Kriv unleashes a gout of flame at the zombies, hoping to dispatch the undead creatures soon before their cold aura deals any more damage.
Using his new wand of wonder, Edran launches a scorching burst at the zombies engaging Kriv, and manages to catch two of them in immolating flames.
As the party move in, two more zombies rise out of a nearby lake and draw rotted bowstrings, launching a volley of arrows at Kriv. Fargrim charges to engage two of the chillborn zombies, in doing so he exposes himself to both of their cold auras. He begins swinging his hammer in a rain of steel.
While Horiam abjures one undead accipitridae, the undead vulture shrieks at wave of sonic magic, blinding and dazing the avenger. The second vulture disengages from the rest of the party and swoops down on Horiam, flanking him and ravaging him. Horiam falls to his knees as his blood begins to flow, intermingling with the swamp water.
Averlon runs to nearby tree and begins to unleash a barrage of sly crossbow bolts, managing to kill one of the accipitridae.
As the party struggle to get across the battlefield to save Horiam, the chillborn zombies continue to ferociously attack with their cold magical aura, while the undead husks prepare to launch another volley of arrows. Meanwhile, the murky waters of the swamps begin to writhe and bubble, suggesting more undead forms are awakening from their slumber…
GAME NOTES THIS SESSION
-3 daily rations
- 750 gp from kitty for 2 weeks wages + Readifest bonus to Ravenholm settlers
+50gp (?) to Averlon for gambling winnings
+ Scroll of Sending
+ Ritual scroll of Portal Runes