I stay behind at the church to bond with Buttercup more. Cirthana asks me if I want her to look at her and I reluctantly give Buttercup over for inspection. The holy woman holds my precious for a moment then the mark on Buttercup’s leg disappears. Cirthana tells me that the hair will grow back soon enough. I thank her then return my attention to my little friend.
Ellen and the frog come back to the church and we move out to the local tavern, The Sitting Duck, where we go to observe the locals. Buttercup and I share a meal while Ellen butters people up with free drinks. I observe the locals as they play Knivesies and some kind of drinking-punching-in-the-face game. Humans are odd creatures. I do not like them or understand them. But when they hit each other I am amused.
The others imbibe alcohol and need to sleep it off a bit in the church. I see Cirthana leave the church with a bundle of money and come back with some less-than-perfect produce. Either she is taking money from the church for her own means, or she is being charged too much money for goods that are sub-par. She brings news to us that several children from the town have gone missing in the middle of the night:
Kimi Evewalker – daughter of a local seamstress, Kitani and the elvan adventurer, Evewalker
Hollan Hamberdan – him and sister (Ralla) are orphans, mother died when Hollan was born, father savaged by a bear at work
Mikra Jabs – the butcher’s son, the oldest of the children but the ‘youngest’
Jurin Creed – the mayor’s son
Savram Vade – a ‘character’, father (Sharvaros) is a wizard who lives in a tower in High Market
We went to the butcher’s first – he said that they were all together, but that they didn’t come home. We travel to the high market only to be turned away for not having a ticket to get through the gates. We march back to Laurel’s shop and Ellen talks to her about procuring a ticket, only to be told that the children missing would be more important than a ticket. We head back to the high market and Ellen talks to the guards again, and is immediately let in to find the parents of the missing children.
We meet with Kitani, the seamstress and mother of Kimi. We hear what she has to say about the orphanage outside of town and the rumors of the caretaker had started to torture the children before the building burned down in the middle of the night a few months back.
The wizard, Sharnaros, looks like we just woke him up from a drunken stupor, but it turns out that he just works at night. He had no idea that his son was missing. He sends us over to Creed’s where we find that the house is guarded and empty. The guards send us toward the lumber consortium. We are greeted by a mountain of a man who blocks the way to the boss. Ellen tells him that we need to speak with the boss about his missing son. Creed, Ellen, and I come to the conclusion that our expenses will be reimbursed by creed on the return of his son.
We leave to go find provisions and more information and find our way to Brickasnurd Hildrinsocks’ shop. The gnome is ready to sell us anything – for the right price. I trade him my scythe for gold and he throws in a collar for Buttercup, to do dyed purple by the time we return.
We travel to the burnt-out orphanage. It lays in ruin, with charring on most surfaces, the children’s camp having signs of ambush from kobolds.
Inside the burned orphanage, we find a hatch in the floor. The frog pokes at the corpse of the woman on the ground in the basement and a swarm of spiders erupts from her body. I help dispatch the mother of these creatures and then finish burning the swarm. Once we catch our breath, we look around and find:
Two masterwork silver daggers
The woman’s body shows signs of having been killed by something that tore out her throat with sharp teeth and having a ring removed from one of her fingers. We leave the basement and move outside again and into the woods. We hear a melodic voice in another direction from where the childrens’ footprints lead. We get to the edge of the river and begin to make a raft when the girl who had been flitting through the woods behind us. Jeva helps us find a raft further down the river behind some brambles. She trades us stories for her information about her time in the orphanage – how Elara ‘did what was best for them’ even with all the scars she carries. When she becomes too upset recalling her experiences, I let Buttercup out of my bag and put her in the lap of the girl who is comforted by the furry presence.
We make camp about an hour outside of the dwarven monastery and the night is uneventful.
The frog reports that there were three crows that each ‘cawed’ three times, then took flight.
We get to the monastery and Jeva takes her leave of us as she does not want to go into the building. Everything is as we left it, save for the staircase leading down to the cellar. We descend. The frog wants to rush ahead, but I remind him that I would be best suited up front to find any traps that could have been set up in our way. As we descend, noises change and become more close. Dwarven carvings and writing depicting the toilings that would happen in the mines. At the bottom of the stairs is a large piece of obsidian with two kobolds. Four others stand guard and spot us. When they see us, they shout something at us in their language. Ellen slays the majority of them then heals us. The reptilian creatures all had:
The other two escaped down the corridor to the right and we followed after moving the bodies of their comrades to the sides of the chamber.
When we caught up with them, they immediately cowered in surrender. We took them as prisoners then went off in search of the missing children. When we come around the corner where the ‘ghost’ resides, we find the remains of Glintaxe’s armor and weapon suspended inside a cube of…something disgusting, squishy, clear, and acidic. I kept my distance as much as I could while still doing my part in the battle. Glen delivered the final blow and Ellen cast water to clean the dwarve’s remains and armor. Ellen donned the armor and the axe glowed in her grip.
We stepped into the next room after a brief rest and step into a scene of kobolds, children, and a halfling (Edgrin Galesong) in a desperate fight. When our enemies were vanquished, the halfling helped to heal the frog and myself. We learn that the children got separated part way down the hall. The halfling is a bard whose remaining party is farther down the corridor. While rifling through the bodies, I find:
4 vials of centipede poison
Off to the side of the room there is a kitchen whereupon I explore and find 2 flasks filled with what we discover is: potion of owl’s wisdom (x2)
The room is lined with two rows of skeletons on walls. The rows touching the walls come to life as soon as we enter. Ellen prays to Iomedea and a dozen of the skeletons burst into dust. The other undead are quickly dispatched and the others go to calm the child hiding at the end of the room.
The idiotically impulsive frog told us that there were voices beyond the first door we were to look through for the two missing children, but heard no sound of the children’s voices. We burst through the doors and Glen rattled off something to them in their filthy language…the kobolds looked to be ready to fight before I elbowed Glen and he said something else. They relaxed their stance and had parlay. Apparently they all think that it was a poor choice that the ‘pink skins’ were kidnapped and that their current king was incapable to leading them well. They decided to let us pass and find the children. Ellen and I agreed that we should open up the doors to the room with the stirges and leave them to finish off the bothersome creatures.
2 more vials of centipede poison (1d2 Dex/Dex DC11)
We wind our way to another cavern and come upon more kobolds and find the entrance to the cavern where Durin is tied up to the forge in the room. Another undead creature, one that resembles a dwarf at work made of heavy steel lengths, hooks, and smoke with a large hammer comes to life and attacks us with foul air. We get our cloaks up just in time to keep from being blinded. I tumble past this abomination to free the child then turn to deal a vicious blow to the creature before us. Glen, Ellen, and I all slayed the beast. The hammer and spiked chain in flames fell from it when our enemy falls. The chain radiates evil magic and we decide to destroy it with the hammer from our fallen foe. While Glen works on the chain, we hear the cries of what we can only assume are souls escaping as the links are broken.
The ungrateful child had the audacity to start demanding answers of us while is last idiot friend was still out there to be found. I swear…the parents deserve the pain their children will bring them because they have raised them to be imbeciles. We notice a crevasse in the floor and descend once we give the rest of the bystanders back up to relative safety.
Once we touched down into the cave, a massive bat attacked us. We quickly rid ourselves of it, only to have Ellen ambushed by a gargoyle. Glen put his new Glintaxe to use and demolished the rocky creature. We make our way through rough tunnels to a cavern. A black scaled kobold that has a disturbingly close resemblance to Creed’s ‘Payday’ right-hand muscle man sees us and screams something in his filthy tongue and we are attacked by his followers.
We slay their leader (pathetic as he was) and Ellen ‘shoos’ two of them away. They flee into the tunnel to the left. We enter a cavern that has a ‘worked’ look to it with a shaft above – perhaps this is where the elevator that the human child mentioned lays.
Two Kobolds riding what I can only describe as sabre-tooth toads. I slay one of the kobolds riding his disgusting mount, Glen kills the other, one of the other creatures fled while we killed the second. We moved on into the next room with broken crates on the floor and rafters. A creature with long arms and a spear stuck in his back lays on the floor, unmoving but awake. I approach it and speak to it in its tongue – I ascertain that the kobolds have slain his family. I sense that he wants revenge for the death of his family and will be on our side, at least until his loved ones are avenged. Ellen carefully removes the spear and heals him. Once free of the paralytic, he ascends into the rafters to rest and we a more in depth conversation while we rest briefly. Skiiirrrssh the Choker is now our ally. About a week ago there was a fight where his family was killed by the kobolds – hopefully he will be true to his word and help us destroy the rest of these creatures so we can get the children back to safety. And, of course, so we can return to town and get paid upon their safe arrival back home.