Session 22 & 23
In Appleby, the heroes took some time to purchase goods, healing potions from a local herbalist, and some more history about the Raven King. They also learnt about an ancient ruined temple on the far side of the immense orchard that gave the large market town its name. That location corresponded to one of the marks on their map, showing where another of the raven statuettes could be found.
Before setting off, Magnus took the quartz key in its chest and buried it somewhere nearby, a location only he knew. He wizard locked the chest, just to be sure its secure. Then they headed off on a short journey through the woods, coming across the ruins of a tiered temple, a shrine at the top, a large arch leading inside at the ground. They climbed the worn steps leading to the top, and from that vantage point they saw signs of a camp nearby. Callum searched for tracks outside, and found an old blood trail leading inside the temple, but no recent prints.
Alf suggested that they scout out the camp, to see who was there. So everyone headed north, as quietly as they could, and while the rest hid in the trees, Magnus and Ratkin moved forward: they found a camp of fir darrig and a wolf-daoine, and they were breaking camp, talking about heading to the temple! The two heroes started to back off, to tell the others, when Ratkin stumbled and tripped, revealing himself to the entire camp!
The wolf-doaine howled, a magically-infused howl that had everyone but Callum trembling; and Ratkin was grabbed and hauled into the midst of the enemy! The heroes recovered quickly and with a cry they charged into the midst of the fir darrig, swords, spears and arrows cutting, stabbing and piercing the hides of the rat-goblins: the battle was brief, hastened by a timely sleep spell by Magnus that sent half of the goblins into slumber, and a burning hands that killed five more! A few exchanged blows, the wolf-elf fell to a magic missile from Magnus’ hands, and the last goblin surrendered and was sent packing.
The heroes camped, and the next morning they returned to the temple and passed through the archway. Inside was a large chamber, columns supporting the room, a worn statue looking over a deep pit, old blood stains leading to the edge. The pit opened into a cavern below. Aside from a hole in the corner, where the stone had crumbled away, the only way in was the archway. They tied a rope around the columns and Alf shimmied down the pit to have a look: a large cavern, two passages out, a pool of water, a large pool of blood congealing at the bottom. No signs of life. He left a lantern at the bottom and climbed back up. They checked the statue for levers and the like, but ended up being too vigorous and it crumbled into pieces.
With no other direction, they climbed down into the cavern, torches lit, and scouted about: the passages winded away, passed through a cavern, and joined up again. No signs of life. The pool beckoned and Magnus spotted a tunnel under the water. Bravely, he volunteered to swim under and investigate. He tied off a rope around his waist, stripped to the bare essentials, and swam underwater: the tunnel curved around and came out into a small cave. He conjured his mage light and saw a rock platform, where a pulsating mass of burning blood sat: it squirmed and started moving towards him. He quickly swam back, alerting the others as he scrambled out. Steam followed it and then the creature oozed out, and rolled straight into Jacob, burning him. The others attacked, but found that mundane weapons did no harm; in fact, Willow’s spear was set alight and he was forced to pull his sword instead.
The creature was pelted by magic missiles, stabbed with Alf’s magic spear, suffered actual damage from one of Ratkin’s fire-marbles, and managed to burn Alf too. But in the end, it was magic that defeated it: magic missiles pulverised the creature.
After a short rest, Magnus swam back and found a basalt raven statuette on the rock in the small cave. He carried it back. They climbed back out and settled down for the night, making camp inside the temple.
Night fell. Guards were set. Alf, on watch, with his night-vision helm, saw approaching worgs and managed to wake the others just before the wolves attacked, leaping through the archway and the gap in the corner. The sudden attack took the camp by surprise, and many had been asleep and without their armour, and although weapons were close to hand, it took precious seconds to grab them: the worgs bit and clawed, dealing terrible wounds, but they were no match for the heroes; spear and swords, bows and magic missiles sent the wolves to their deaths.
The rest of the night passed without incident and in the morning they headed off to Appleby, intending to talk to a blacksmith to see if they could melt or destroy the statuette.