Taihun

Citadel Delve pt. 9
The Room

Darrin, working his way over and around the debris in the room, sees that the broken glass is from an alembic, the former contents long since dried up, leaving a purple powdery residue on the inside of some shards. Aside from this, there appears to be the remains of three long desk tables, four stools and stacks of parchment that have long since succumbed to the ravages of time. Those that aren’t stuck fast to the floor with damp become incredibly brittle and fall apart. There is a slight breeze in the room, and the sting of something cold in the air. There’s the smell of cinnamon coming from the glass, and something stale coming from the tapestry.

Lorawyn blinks into the room, still unable to make out much more than the vague outline of the doorway. Inside it is pitch darkness. Simon and Bennet do the same, before Bennet reaches, without looking away from the doorway, into his pack and removes a torch and a small flask. Still not looking at what he is doing, demonstrating the practise he has had with such things, he drips the flask contents onto the torch, twirling it to get a good coverage, and then puts the flask away. He quickly rubs a small stick against the side of it until a small puff of smoke appears, and then he holds the end of the torch an inch or so from Lorawyn’s mouth. The torch quickly catches, and Bennet pulls it back to behind his head, giving him the light he needs without blinding himself. The dancing shadows make the room seem more untidy than it is, stretching the broken table pieces across the floor and walls.

What do you do?

In the room currently we have Darrin and Adrik. Everyone else is outside. You now have a lit torch, so Lorawyn can see now :)

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The Ride South
Double Dragon

The two dragons, upon seeing each other, take flight; Gemscale further within the tower, running to the top of the large wooden staircase at the back, Hexfang leaping into the air and spreading his wings, flying down to the base of the tower. The flight is gruelling, however. It feels like he’s flying straight up, fighting the pull of the ground to gain momentum. He manages to do so, easily even; he flies straight up with little effort often, but the sensation is so jarring, like he’s tumbling in the air, that it takes a moment to adjust.

Circling around the tower, Hexfang can see inside some of the windows. There’s black scorched stone inside, the odd burned bookshelf and a store room with intact crates and boxes. The bottom-most window is a large observation pane filled in with glass. Inside, the dragon Hexfang saw in the doorway stands firm, watching… waiting.

Gemscale, inside the building, sees stairs to either side leading further up, his current position being on an observation landing at the back of the tower. Above appears to be a series of small rooms, presumably offices for the monks who lived and worked here.

It appears the two dragons are at a standoff, neither in a vulnerable position. Tubanen, spotting the gold dragon, offers a hail in between clutching at scales for dear life.

What do you do?

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Citadel Delve pt. 8
Started at the middle

After the rest, the party packs up from their brief rest and begins looking for the best way to head up, following Nix and Simon’s directions to do so. Korik, attempting to hide his disdain for the lack of spelunking experience apparent in the group, ties one of of his rope around his waist, and drops the other end down for the others to use to climb up.

Bennet, before climbing, wanders over to the wall and makes a small scratch with his knife. Simon wanders over to look, and turns with his puzzled expression still hanging on his face. He struggles to climb the rope effectively, feet dangling and flailing about as he tries to haul his weight up using just his hands. As he slides down, Bennet leaps effortlessly from a standing position onto Simon’s hip, then kicks off onto his shoulder, then another kick and he’s on the rope, wrapping his legs and arms around it; he then blithely slithers up the rope and swings onto the balcony; he smiles and waves at Simon, enjoying himself a little.

Once everyone climbs up, Geran suggests examining the different rooms in two parties, since the rooms appear to only be around fifteen to twenty feet long, and perhaps two or three men wide. The Edhels offer to examine the far room, and without waiting move to walk around the mezzanine to it. Simon makes a sound that seems like it was meant to be “Bah!”, but he quickly coughs, complaining of a dry throat. Not a single one in your party miss the slight handwave that Geran quickly makes as he walks away…

As Simon’s throat clears, he blinks awkwardly in the darkness. Down below, the glow of the overcast day outside could at least highlight the contours of the room. Up here, there is total blackness. Those that can see in such conditions see a plainly patterned tapestry, fairly rough and worn, hung against the back wall of the room you’re standing in front of. The room appears to have been ravaged by time and the cold, several torn parchment fragments litter the floor, along with broken table and stool pieces, and some broken glass that seems to have come from some curved apparatus.

What do you do?

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Leaving Hyxhuathil
Heading South

Despite the mission passed on to him by Gorbane, and despite the help offered by Tuhril the Grim, Hexfang waits for a few days and nights with Tubanen and Iresha, travelling south with them for a while.

On the road they pass by a few small independent encampments, ‘lone wolves’ so to speak. A small enclave of Hill Giants presents the most active trade situation for the Gnomes after a few days. Tubanen talks for a few days about his love of Elven songs, to which Iresha concedes that she enjoys their poetry, but much prefers ‘more grounded’ music, as she puts it.

Upon the way, a day out of the largest city in the area, an Orc settlement, you happen upon a tower in the most peculiar of settings; a ravine as deep as the tower is tall, steeper than would be comfortable to attempt to climb, almost pulls at you. The cart stops, and Tubanen, tugging at the cuffs on his shirt, clears hius throat and jumps down from the wagon, Iresha tutting and rolling her eyes as he does. She leans back and pulls out a bundle of parchments from under her seat and begins reading.

At the base of the ravine, in the doorway, there can be seen a slight muddy track, difficult to clearly make out from this high up, leading into the building. It’s a wide tower, looking somewhat like a windmill with a wide base and a slightly narrower upper section.

Gemscale, having learned of a recent strike, granted some months back now, by Dargyntad on this tower, is now investigating the inside. However, the peculiar way the world bends here is noticable. On the way ‘down’, Gemscale had to crawl with difficulty to reach the bottom; upon resting or letting go, he would tumble to the top of the ravine again. Truly, the world bent most peculiarly here. But hark, a noise from the top of the ravine! Could Dargyntad have returned? Have others come to investigate too?

What do you do?

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Citadel Delve pt. 7
A short rest

As the group filters through to the next room, the myriad of choices in where to go next become more apparent. After talking with Geran, Nix guides the group into resting for a while, catching breath and tending to nerves. The last hour, especially the last few minutes, have been harrowing.

As Jila nurses his head, Simon wanders over and offers a small bundle of snuffing herbs. Medicinal, he assures. Jila grabs Talison’s wrist as he’s about to wander away, and without looking says his thanks.

During the rest, Geran appears impatient. You can tell by how much he almost shifts position while standing very still.

Throughout the hour, Lorawyn can feel her stomach churn as her dragonbreath recharges. Once he feels rested enough, Simon stands and wanders over next to Nix, asking what she sees down the stairs, and which way she thinks they should go next.

What do you do?

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Hyxhuathil Arrival pt. 3
A short info-gather

Tuhril, Iresha and the fey creatures speak to you easily, not batting an eye to your appearance of heritage. The day draws on and the starry sky from the north begins stretching down over the valley, bringing with it a cool wind and a fresh snow smell. The few small bushes, mostly stripped of their leaves, shiver in response.

The cover of darkness will be with you soon. Do you wait until morning, or head out in the night?

What do you do?

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Citadel Delve pt. 6
Agony of Choice

Lorawyn quickly shakes the fear from clouding her mind, feeling reassured by herself and her connection to the Feyweave. Calling deep once again, she feels the lightness of being that comes with her casting a spell. As she tosses forth the droplets of water from her waterskin, she holds out her hand again to will the ’Weave into freezing it. It flies towards Nix, who quickly jumps backwards and crosses her arms in front of her, the slightest of winds waving through her hair. She soars over the gathering grubs on the ground, a few of them raising up on their hind sections as though reaching for her, small mandibles snapping.

As the shard of ice crashes where Nix stood, it bounces and crushes a single grub, seeming almost like a dud, before breaking itself apart and shooting straight out, acting more like a deliberate fragmentation and impaling rather than a random shattering. Many of the grubs get impaled. Dozens more gather in large clumps.

Korik takes out his bow, quickly stringing it and pulling an arrow. As he hunkers low, he fires across the swarm, cutting several of the creatures, making best use of his chosen weapon as opposed to firing straight at a single grub. Jila looks up at him, nods, and turns to charge the swarm with the hilt of his sword, squashing several beneath it.

Talison and Adrik, Elf and Dwarf, take their weapons in hand and, side by side, begin smashing the swarm trying to reach Nix. Small parts of the grubs fly hither and tither, spreading a fine goop on the floor where they once were, their yellow blood smelling most pungent and cutting.

After a few seconds, what at once was a strange threat is almost liquidised by the combined efforts of the party. Only a few remain, chasing Jila and Darrin. Darrin’s fists fly open, a short burst of flailing hands throwing tiny jets of burning flame that seem to ctach him as much as they incinerate the encroaching carpet of wormy critters. Jila, however, finds himself unable to keep up. 5 finger-length grubs start crawling up his legs, finding a gap in his armour and burrow into him, his strangled cry betraying his pain. Before anyone can get to him, his eyes roll back into his head and he collapses dead. The five grubs then push their way out of his left eye socket, seeking new targets…

Bennet stands shocked for a moment, then snaps to as he sees Jila convulse with the last grub leaving him. Bennet screams at the top of his lungs, the sound echoing throughout the chamber and down the corridor, and charges forward, double-foot leaping into the air and landing, forcfully, onto the grubs. Squish!

The grubs are gone.

The corridor ahead, as Wudmirk reports, opens into the former entrancehall. There are five possible directions to go. There is a mezzanine level above with an exit to the left of the room and another exit to the right, with the rotting wood supports of the former stairs off to the side. Getting up there will be an effort. There is a stone stairway down, straight ahead about 80 feet from the door, and there are two more doorways, both with the rotting remains of wooden doors in them, to the left and right, mirroring the locations of the upper floor. Wudmirk suggests that the upper levels be searched, as the lower levels would surely have been flooded over the years and any valuables ruined. You can hear, down those steps, the dripping of water echoing from below. Darkness greets you down each exit, with only the stairs down giving the added bonus of a mouldy smell and a cold draught.

Simon suggests catching a breath after all the commotion, although Geran does not want to wait a whole hour before moving on.

What do you do?

Also, what would Talison like to do with Jila? You can put him with the others or leave him be.

Geran and the Edhel Elves, if you choose to stop and rest, will move on without you. Stopping for an hour as Simon suggests, however, will allow you to recover any lost hit points (Roll your Hit Dice and recover that many hit points), and also restore any abilities that need a short rest to recharge, such as Lorawyn’s breath weapon.

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Hyxhuathil Arrival pt. 2
The map room

The Gnome engages you in conversation, seeming not to care if you eat the bun she gives you or not. As she talks, you notice that her manner of speaking is captivating to these Satyr, too, and that from somewhere you can’t fully fathom, even smaller creatures have come to look at the wagon, its’ wares, and listen to the lady; Brownies, Nixies, and other minor Fey creatures all seem to appear from nowhere.

You gather that her name is Iresha, a gnome trader from the Limits, usually. She and her husband Tubanen have travelled north for some rare silks, and will be travelling south very soon. She also tells of her adventures so far, that the journey north was perilous, long and not something she wants to repeat a third time. She does, however, seem genuinely happy throughout and appears almost romanced by the thrill of it all. She maintains her airs and graces, though, and seems proud to be a proper lady. You manage to pick up on a few areas of interest if you were to journey towards the Limits, although the details of the Limits themselves you don’t manage to catch.

After what feels to be too short a time, you are interrupted by a shadow falling over you. A Stone Giant towers above, looking straight down at you. His voice feels rumbly in your limbs, but hits your ears like a smooth brush stroke, his pronunciation clipped and considered. “I have found you. You and I were to meet. We have met. We are talking. We will walk together.” He steps aside with a single huge step, leaning slightly into the space he once occupied and looking in the direction he wishes you to go, a polite upturning in the corners of his mouth seeming more practised than natural.

Once you enter the “small” room he walks you to, you see a tall table, shaped much like those stools outside, standing tall and chest-height to the giant. “Tuhril.” He says, pointing to himself. You see clearly there is a small spiral carved into the table designed as a small walkway to the tabletop, perhaps 3 feet wide.

Once there, Tuhril shows you that the tabletop is in fact a map, carved into the stone, that shows the local area. You see the crude diamond shape of the camp, you see a few crosses on the mountain showing dangerous encampments of various creatures, and a single larger cross that Tuhril is most bothered about.

You learn that your mission from Gorbane is to force the local enemy forces south. Not to eliminate them, but to encourage them to move. This can be by any means, although Tuhril, despite his constant politeness, pushes for a more exacerbative approach. He reveals that the large cross is a Beholder, and that they are only encouraged by promises of power and threats to that power; that perhaps a head-on attack on one of the smaller camps might encourage retaliation that leads to a march south. How Tuhril plans on this taking place, however, is unclear. He doesn’t give details of how such an assault would lead the Beholder south, rather than consolidating or simply avenging and then returning. His plan, put short, seems short-sighted.

He gets up and leaves you to the map, and encourages you to make use of the room to stay in while you’re working for rest and research. He will be outside tending to the mountainside. The nearest small cross is an hour’s walk further up the mountainside, if there’s a path. It seems a Stone Giant isn’t so concerned with marking infrastructure or natural landmarks beyond geological formations on a map. You do also seem a curious circle marked a mile or so from the large cross. The dots next to the crosses mark the depth into the ground of the encampments; the nearest is above ground, the large one is deep into the mountainside, a twoday travel.

The town is available for you to investigate. What do you do?

(I will have a visual for the map available in a week or so. For now, you have 6 small enemy camps nearby, between an hour and several days away; a large ominous circle that’s unexplained sits deeper underground near the large cross. There is a giant city under the mountain marked.)

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Hyxhuathil Arrival
Pastures new

As Hexfang leaps and soars over the head of the brown bear, drawing its’ attention, the wolves then leap into action and begin biting and clawing at it. The bear roars, raising its’ front claws and pulling its’ mouth back to reveal rows of bloody, sharp teeth. It dives forward onto the leader of the pack, sinking tooth into fur, the blood running smooth and richly red. The other wolves pounce onto the bear, digging claws in and pulling chunks of fur and flesh. The bear turns and bats a wolf away, the leader still struggling in its’ jaws. Spotting her child’s corpses once again, she rallies her remaining strength and leans towards the bear’s throat, tearing her own side in the process. She opens her jaw wide, and, clamping her eyes shut, she snaps her jaw closed, ripping through the bear and causing it to collapse.

The bear is dead. The wolf pack leader is dead. The wolves, some now limping and scratched, gather around their fallen, leader and cubs alike, and howl.

The rest of the journey to the town is uneventful. As you approach Hyxhuathil, the huge door slides open, pulled by a hill giant wearing torn hides knotted together, some of them not even cured or treated. The walls are wooden, shaved tree trunks treated with an unknown oil or cream; as strong as stone, and as tall as the hill giants themselves. The stone giants in this town, however, are considerably taller. They are all visible from outside the walls if they’re in the open. The structures are strangely built, certainly more vertical than horizontal. The buildings within are made from stone slabs cut and placed in tall arrangements, with rooms being roughly enough to fit two giants side by side. All the doors slide to the side, and are large sheets of wood or stone. Despite the crude architecture, the small community is bright and appears content. The stone reflects the light and appears a very pale shade, seeming almost white next to the cold, dark grey of the mountain beside it. Some giants sit outside on stone blocks, carved with simple patterns and set at odd angles, more trapezoidal frustum than cube.

The giants here are quiet, for the most part, seemingly content to just take in the outside world. Most stone giants live in complex cavern structures, rather than building freestanding buildings. This settlement was set up as a waystation, a meeting place for the giants to keep a handle on more worldy affairs without submitting their own homes to threats. There are only seven stone giants here, and four hill giants in their service, but even through the peace here you can sense that the giants do not enjoy being so close to each other.

In what could be considered a village common sits a gnome wagon, its’ side open and inside trinkets, dresses and jackets, jewels, scrolls and curiosities reside. A small pair, a man and a woman, are talking to a giant and a group of Satyr that are standing huddled around them. They appear to be doing well. The man then intrigues the giant, perhaps with a prospect of business, and wanders off with him into a building, the huge door sliding across making a satisfying scraping sound, smooth and demonstrative of worked stone that will take years to wear down.

The buildings have no clear markings, so way to tell them apart. You know you’re hear to meet a giant, but which one? As you look around, the gnome woman on the wagon waves you over with a smile, welcoming but not insistant.

What do you do?

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Citadel Delve pt. 5
A Small Problem

As the parties begin to mingle and discuss the next course of action, Nix begins to look at the corpses of the zombies, checking them over. As she does, she notices the chest of one of them begin to quiver… Most odd.

Jila and Talison, being the only two of the Magolglir contingent left, get to work gathering what usable supplies they can from their bretheren. To a Magolglir, the arms and armour of an Elf is as important as air to breathe. Personal artefacts were kept to a minimum, and in fact they had none to speak of save the occassional ink portrait or poem on a scrap of parchment, rolled up and stuffed into a pocket or belt loop. The hardened leather armour was custom fitted to each Elf, and each weapon smithed and balanced just for them. Indeed, all Magolglir full bloods are trained for years in the art of smithing their own tools and weapons in order to get the right feel. The rights of these Elves is to be brought back to an Elder, and Elven Cleric, and given a funery service still in their armour, weapon in hand. Ammunition, however, is not handled in the same way, although only Jila has any crossbow bolts. Jila begins gathering the corpses of his men against a wall while starting a sorrowful shanty.

Geran and Wudmirk close the eyes of their fallen friend, and sing a hushed song of mourning. Remarkably, the two songs don’t clash, and in fact weave together. The Elven language, so complex for some to even begin to comprehend, has such variety and strength in tonal inflection and subtle variances, that it lends itself heavily to the art of song and poetry.

Jila, after pulling the last Magolglir aside, ends his shanty and leans back on one foot. He sniffs, then turns his head to Korik. After eyeing him for a full minute, he wanders over harshly, stepping around Nix as she investigates the zombies. Geran stops singing while his company continues, Geran evidently quite intrigued by Jila’s approach to Korik. “Right.” The sour, gravelly voice of Jila rattles the stone of the room as it echoes into a cadence. He lowers his volume. “You do not touch these Elves. You do not touch that Elf.” He points to Galiuy, the fallen Edhel Elf. “You may have struck a deal with Nix, but that gnome only has authority until we get to the… treasure. Then we renegotiate. Understand?” He waits for a moment, then continues, his eyes faltering. “You can have anything we find along the way. There’s bound to be plenty here to make your journey worth while.”
“My lord…” Wudmirk stopped his singing a few moments ago, and now tries to get the attention of Jila from across the room. “M-My lord!”
“My lord.” Geran shouts, the first time he has shown any strong regard. Jila turns at this, shocked to hear a noble such as he so riled. As he does, he sees what the rest of the room see.

Moments earlier, Nix was looking more closely; all seven of the uncharred zombie corpses are moving. Not the bodies themselves, but something within. Eyelids, guts, chests, even feet all look as though there is something moving inside and beneath the skin. As she begins to back away, suddenly there’s a quiet rip behind her. Dozens of tiny, disgusting yellow grub-like beasts have spewn forth from the rotting leg of a fallen zombie. Another rip, and a chest caves in revealing dozens more. Body after body starts to burst open, and swarms of these beasts begin crawling towards everybody. Nix is surrounded.

Roll for initiative (1d20 + Dexterity bonus). What do you do?

Everybody needs to make a Wisdom saving throw, DC 8. Everybody except Talison and Korik has advantage on this due to Darrin’s song from the night before. Failure means you are slightly shocked for the first round, and will have disadvantage to melee attacks and any actions that involve getting close to them.

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