Taihun

Citadel Delve pt. 3
Zombie Collapse

Bennet moves back, knocking another arrow and landing it into the shoulder of another zombie, his expression becoming more grim. Lorawyn weaves her hands in smooth swirling motions and hacking her head back and forth, seemingly trying to spew forth more of her draconic flame, but to no avail. She’s all out. Looking around, panicked, she sees the torch and tries to spread its flames out to create a barrier against the undead… the Feyweave tries to accommodate, but fails to ignite the stone floor and wet scraps of wood. Instead, the torch simply grows slightly brighter, and spits the occasional lick of flame towards a zombie.

Talison calls out to the Edhels, adding to Nix’s command to help, and follows Bennet’s arrow up with another crossbow bolt, pinning the other shoulder of the same creature. It stumbles back onto its’ heels, almost collapsing.

The stench begins to fill nostrils, a putrid decay that nauseates and gags. One wouldn’t want to remain in the area for too much longer. Nix and Darrin, continuing their symmetrical dance, launch another pair of firebolts, their steps and hand movements entirely syncronised. For Nix, this is partly to avoid her being distracted by an out-of-order movement in her peripheral vision; for Darrin, it’s a small comfort that he barely acknowledges.

As Adrik smacks his quarterstaff against two more of the creatures, splitting another skull and cracking an arm limp, the front line finally caves as the shieldmen are consumed in bites and scratches. Stale blood begins to seep into Adrik’s shoes and beard.

Geran and his attendents walk quickly to a spread position behind the Magolglir spearmen, taking up a stance as though holding a javelin, and then throwing their hands forward in unison. The sound of a stick on a washboard accompanies the movement, followed by fully half of the remaining zombies falling to unseen blows. Wudmirk gives a quic glance to Nix, then looks away before she can look back. Simon peeks from behind the wall near the exit, obviously terrified by the whole affair, grasping at his belt for something.

One of the remaining few zombies throws one of his fallen bretheren from him and staggers to Adrik, and seemingly tries to bite him, but is quickly outmanouvered as Adrik’s senses are again overpowered by the sweet smell of honey.

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

There are now 4 zombies. Another fell to the combined firebolts, bolt and arrow, and the rest were killed by the Edhel Elves. There are only 3 Magolglir left, including Talison.

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Citadel Delve pt. 2
Zombie Breakthrough

Given the steady march forward, the torchlight gives the horde an easy motion to them, as though they were about to burst or break into a sprint.

As the party forms a loose third line, the spearmen and shieldmen brace against the small army getting closer inch by agonising inch. Talison and Bennet both redraw their bows, cross and short, and fire, this time both hitting their mark; the bolt and arrow both strike into the putrid flesh of an Elven warrior long since passed, piercing through and flying out the other end.

Lorawyn kept her mind talking to the Feyweave, never stopping the connection in her mind, maintaining the doorway so as to ask for its’ help once again. She had a plan, and was going to use it well. Taking some steps back, she strode forward some steps and leapt, her clawed hands straining forward as threw her head back. Breathing harshly, she felt the strain of the heat against her throat, flame emerging and licking the air as it seems to celebrate its’ escape. Her hands guiding the ’Weave, she can feel it lifting the fire and raising it above the shieldwall, sending it beyond and into the undead rabble, missing the living Elves entirely. Her ability so guided, she twisted her body in the air so that she flipped over and landed on her feet, striking a balancing pose on her descent. The fire spread out and struck almost half the encroaching enemy, but as the bolt of flame that preceeded it, appears to have no morale effect on an opponent so unrelenting.

Nix and Darrin, having found a way that works, find that despite the dozen feet separating them, they syncronise their movements. A swift inhalation, a dragging back of a foot, a palm forward in the air and out comes a bolt of pure fire, shooting forward at a rate of knots; Nix’s calm demeanour betraying her calculations and mental excercises to produce the effect as she wipes the dusty feeling from her hands, while Darrin’s face is a look of anger, and then relief once the strike hits, the tingling in his arms and hands causing him to smack them on his legs a few times. “Do you Edhels know any magic?” Nix calls out to her currently static allies. “What about you Geran?” Geran looks up, slightly bewildered at being spoken to during a fight. He nods slowly, then seems to parse what was said, following this spark with a steadier, equally slow nod.

The zombies grow ever closer, eventually reaching the front line of the shield bearers. Geran walks quickly and purposefully, his right hand held up as though he were holding a goblet of some fine wine, the smell of a sickly sweet honey emanating from his position and spreading quickly throughout the chamber. His hand clasps down on Adrik’s shoulder, and he whispers into his ear. For a few seconds, Adrik listens, and Geran then takes his hand away and walks back to his position, nodding at Nix, his expression one of concerned determination.

The creatures, having reached the line, face an immediate onslaught of spears and shield bashes, a few of them falling to this barrage. Some, however, manage to collapse on top of the Elves, starting to bite and scratch. Blood starts the spurt from some open wounds in the Magolglir, one of them falling dead in a matter of moments and leaving a gap in the shieldwall. Adrik rolls his shoulders and twists his hand, guiding with the other, to hit with full force against an offending fell creature, crushing its’ skull before his might. Another zombie, taking advantage of his blow, swipes at his other side. Feeling sure he felt a sharp scratch, Adrik turns quickly and butts the dead man away with the middle of his staff, quickly checking his side. As his nostrils fill with that sweet smell again, he thinks back and realises that the zombie wasn’t close enough to scratch him… a forewarning? What did the Elf do?

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

The party took out 3 zombies, 2 others were killed by Magolglir. That’s 6 dead(er) total, and so there are 9 left.

The shieldwall is compromised and the Zombies are going to be able to get at the spearmen next turn.

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Citadel Delve
Zombie Charge

As the Magolglir shifted his torch to reveal the second creature, Nix was already most of the way through her recitations of one of the earliest spells she learned. As her fingers gripped the air, she could feel the powdery grit that seems to always accompany this casting, despite her lack of material component needs. The odd residue glides from her scratch at the air into a coalescence in her palm that reacts to the pulse she sent down her arm; it ignites and launches forward in a straight line, taking barely a second to reach its target. The blast of fire spreads across its chest and fizzles out.

The creatures keep moving forward, moving far faster than corpses usually allow.

Nix calls out, summoning the warrior elves in the party to do their part. Talison echoes this, giving clear orders for a defensive line blocking the progress of this marching tide. More and more come into view. Three Magolglir warriors line the front of the doorway, blocking the path and placing their shields across. Three spearmen take up position behind them, their overarm piercing weapons able to overcome any difficulties found in swinging a sword or a mace when in such tight quarters.

As an almost simultaneous act, Bennet charges to behind one of the Spearmen, stringing his bow as he does, and launches an arrow at the nearest opponent that is now around 10 feet away. Talison raises his crossbow and launches the docked bolt with a grunt. Both missiles fly beyond the shieldwall, but only one strikes true. The speed of the attacks makes it difficult to establish which one, although Bennet spits and checks his string.

Lorawyn quickly surveys her surroundings, concluding that asking the Feyweave for another favour like that with the goblins is perhaps further than it might forgive given her abilities. If she overexerts, the Feyweave reacts. Everything with a price. Instead, she remains within her known power. She takes out her waterskin and splashes it forward, whispering in her mind into the water as she does so. She calls with her whispers to the Feyweave, calling upon where the ’Weave touches her mortal form. She controls a small part of it that works through her, and forces the magic into the water with her whispers. The ’Weave from within her reaches into the water and awakens it, forcing it to close in and form a lattice pattern. Turning to ice, it gathers momentum and flies forward as a dagger, flying by the shieldwall after the bolt and arrow and into one of the walking dead.

Ignoring the actions of his colleagues and lost in thought for a brief moment, Darrin breaks free from his mind’s hold on him and acts. Angrily. His hands form claws and rake at the air, and he swears he feels the very fabric of the world bunching and tearing in his hands. The familiar coils of barely-seen serpents fly from these rips, his arms feeling the rush of heat. The dragon-headed bolts fly forward, passing by the ice blade gliding in the air, and smashing into the target closest to the line. The creature falls to a knee, but then raises its head and Darrin could swear the pale, rotting eye sockets where looking directly at him.

As Darrin is about to reel back in abject horror, the icicle plants itself into the left socket and rests for a moment. The head falls forward and the body begins to follow just as the shard explodes, sending tiny ice fragments out into the crowd behind it, these shards sticking into what remains of the legs and torsos of the former elven company.

Adrik sniffs and shuffles his hands on his quarterstaff, having manouvered to stand directly behind a shieldman, his arms ready to twitch and bash anything that comes close. And something is coming close.

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

The zombies are now 5 feet from the shield wall, and so are just out of range of reach weapons. The corridor is filling with them, however. There are 14 left. They are all bunched together.

I also apologise for the lateness again. I rolled for Bennet and got a natural 1, so I’ve been thinking about how best to represent that since it wasn’t the player that rolled. I’ve opted for a simple miss.

The Edhel appear to not have any ranged weapons. The Magolglir are waiting for melee combat.

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Dead Centre
...

Adrik steps forward towards the door, all eyes silently staring as he begins to mutter. His confident steps seem strange in a room full of apprehension, as though this were his own home. Adrik could feel, as he intended to contact the Feyweave, the air begin to tingle in anticipation. He hadn’t even begun to cast, and yet the world seemed to hold its breath for him to do so. The Feyweave knows.

As he begins to get closer, his mutterings finding their rhythm, he begins to close his eyes while still striding forward, stopping just before he would hit the door. As his speaking becomes louder, it’s clear he’s not speaking in Common, or Dwarven, but perhaps the secret Druid language. His voice suddenly booms as a blast of air seems to come from the whole of the door, pressing everyone back a step; not a constant blowing, but like a flap of a great Eagle’s wing. The strange writing around the door begins to glow, starting at the left, and the light begins to spread through them, encircling the door. Adrik’s voice returned to a softer level, then suddenly another boom of both air and voice, his conversation with the Feyweave leaving the room a little shaken. At this second blast, the door shunts back a halffoot, and the stone, beginning at the centre, begins to peel back, like a flower in bloom.

Adrik, and the room, fall deathly silent. Before them, where once was a stone barrier the likes of which modern keeps would envy, is an opening as gentle and magnificent as it is hauntingly inviting. Beyond, human and halfling eyes fail to see. But within, a darkness hides the worked stone blocks of a corridor stretching off around a dozen or so feet, until it opens into what seems like it would have been an entrance hall once upon a time. Now, however, there are the remains of rotting wooden chariots, the ashen bones of long-dead people, and the decaying forms of nearly two dozen more recently-dead. These carry arms and armour reminiscent of older Pengthan Elves, perhaps a century or so ago.

The putrid smell slowly wafts into the chamber, as does an echoing clicking sound, and the shuffle of flesh on stone. As one of the Magolglir moves his torch into the doorway, the flicker of flame shines a light most foul upon the rotting face of an Elf warrior, long since deceased, shambling towards the group. Another shuffle noise, and the torch swings left, highlighting another body rising up and moving toward the party. The Elf with the torch, however, remains speechless, frightened to his core.

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

For clarity, those with Darkvision can see all the anonymous undead creatures which number 15 in all. Skeletons are staying on the ground, seemingly actually dead dead dead. Those without darkvision see two zombies at the end of the corridor and that’s it. The corridor can fit two fighters abreast easily, three can squeeze in and stop things getting past but this will impose disadvantage.

You all get Inspiration; you’ve all been ace, and I’ve been stingy so far. Inspiration means you can give yourself advantage (or cancel disadvantage) on one roll of your choice.

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Citadel Doorway
Searching for the way through

As Nix discusses details of the sharing of information with Geran and Jila, the party and the Elves explore the small cavern in which they find themselves. Adrik finds a small emerald shard, like that which Simon gave as payment. The holy man wasn’t lying, at least.

Darrin, Lorawyn and Adrik, watching the bustling activity around them in what was mere moments ago a room as still as a mortuary, make their way to the door. As Lorawyn and Adrik read the writing around the door, they realise that it’s not in a Celestial dialect, like Jila thought, or any common tongue, but Ogham, the secret language of the Druids.

“The craft of all reveals the way; the ’Weave will always protect until asked.”, it reads. Adrik remembers the Korathi entrance that leads him to the Sacred Grove of his training, sealed by a small stone door not too dissimilar to this one, although never one he’s opened himself. The writing would often betray the energy required to open the door, such as fire, or earth magic. What this means, however, is left a mystery.

Darrin thinks on this for a moment, ponders and wanders back a ways, and then without warning gives a small jogging run up and swings him arm around as though throwing an invisible ball; his arm pulls and twinges, the tingling sensation of a trapped arm shooting through it, as the air around his arm ignites into a bright flame, the glow eclipsing the one torch lit in the place. The flames follow the route the arm fails to travel, shooting forward and splashing like a torrent of embers against the door. Everyone scatters back, some charging away, the occasional shocked shout echoing in the chamber.

After a few seconds, the feeling that fueled Darrin fades as rapidly as he managed to bring it on, his arm still tingling but the air no longer aflame. The room stares at him as he looks around for some excuse for his action, beginning to point at the door, and then stopping, beginning to mouth and breath the explanation for the spell, and then thinking better of it. He goes back and forth for a few seconds like this, before eventually giving up and walking back to the door to see what else he can try.

Talison lays a hand upon the door, his eyes fluttering closed as he struggles to keep them open. A scream flashes through his mind, familiar and familial, as he often does when he calls on his strength. His mind drifts to his past… the his sister… to the evil shadow that fell on his family… The darkness envelopes him and a lump forms in his throat, making it hard to swallow. His breathing shallows, heart racing, as Talison focuses on the fleeting memory of that scream, of the flash of a smile that makes his skin crawl. He feels it getting close… but he must go deeper! He pulls on the strand of memory, letting it fall before him in a tangle of iron smells, bloody clothes and the cold grip of a steel blade. The scream clears, and it rings in his ears, making him flinch. He remembers his charge, his promise, his revenge. To all others in the room, a split second has gone by, and all they see is the briefest of light flashes beneath his palm aimed at the door.

Nix and Bennet also look over the door, checking grooves and bumps for anything out of the ordinary. Nix tries to recall anything in her studies about this, but it’s a type of magic with which she is only vaguely aware of. She does, however, know in her gut that there’s magic in the door, and she knows how to make magic talk to her. Placing her hand upon the entre of the door and blinking several times quickly, building up the fluid in her eyes, she prepares for the ritual she knows will get her the answer she seeks. She breathes deeply, slowly, and then forces her eyes open into a wide stare, straining only slightly. She knows she has to keep this up for 11 minutes. During her training, rituals were often the hardest of practises to master, given their often gruelling physical exertions; such is the tradeoff, as magic is all about balance.

She stares into the stone, her eyes drying, and it becomes ever more difficult to ignore the cold air swirling around her eyes. The urge not to blink is nearly unbearable. As she feels herself nearing the halfway point, the room falls under a hush as people begin to notice the ritual taking place. A low gutteral hum broadcasts from Nix’s throat, although her vocal chords lie still. Darrin slowly edges his face closer to Nix’s own, almost ressting it on the door. “So… Are you casting the spell, or what?”

As Adrik continues looking around, he happens upon a half-buried small wooden box. Mostly rotten away, it has a lock but no bottom, and so the lock serves purely a decorative purpose now. The insides appear to have been parchment, although only sodden tatters remain, all the ink long since run off. Along with the mess, inside there also appears to be a small rune stone made of clay, square in shape, and bearing a strange mark. It has an odd sheen as it catches the torchlight.

Nix’s eyes feel like they’re burning as the ritual nears its end, her breathing excercises helping, but not mitigating the toll it is taking. Suddenly the humming stops, and her eyes suddenly cloud over with a mist. All disappears from her vision save for the door. It glows white, with a green hue at the peripheries of her sight. She can see the movement, the steady beating of life within: The Feyweave. The door is filled with Druid magic. As she stares past the searing light, squinting as she needs, she sees a small scatter of leaves blowing in the wind, coalescing into a flower that then blooms, and spinning flat into a stone disc. That’s when she remembers her reading: Druidcraft. The simple orison that most Druids carry, it allows them the simplest of powers from the Feyweave by creating a conduit between the caster and the ’Weave itself, allowing the Druid to ask the Feyweave for any minor effect such as blossoming a flower. Or, so it seems, asking a door to open.

Nix’s eyes clear and her sight returns to normal. The room is hushed as Wudmirk hurries over to help her to her feet.

What do you do?

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A Manners Victory
The Nods of War

Jila’s warriors bristle as Nix suggests working together, betraying their pride. Wudmirk turns to face Talison as he speaks, assuming his remarks towards Nix to be insulting. “That is not a way to speak in the presence of guests. Then again, what can one expect of a mutt?” He spits the final word as though saying it was contaminating. As though remembering something, he turns quickly to Nix, nodding as he says “Your words are wise, as best describes you. However, we…” Wudmirk is interrupted with a hand gliding across his shoulder, riding on the end of an arm like a bird in the air. All eyes, for a moment, are stolen by the smooth movement as it moves to the centre of the room and hovers; there are suddenly two. They clap, loudly and solidly, awakening all from a momentary daze. Geran is standing in the middle of the room.

“It has taken one of stature greater than the giants can muster,” his voice is smooth, seductive, like warm milk, “to break us from folly. Indeed, others may come. We have danced as we often do, and as often happens, the Magolglir break no ground and prove nor worth.” He stares at Jila, a cocky smile escapes as he leans forward. Catching himself and turning the momentum of leaning into a turn, he spins and steadies himself standing solid as an oak, looking graciously at Nix and company, his smile softened to one of what seems to be genuine contentment. “Forgive my moment of frivolity; it shall not survive our endeavour. Lady Garric, companions… friends, I concur. Let us travel together beyond this threshold.” He turns again, motioning to Wudmirk to return with the rest of the Edhels, and he does so, but not without looking to Nix, waiting for her eyes to drift to eyes and notice him, and he curtsies, and turns to stand with his kinsmen.

“Perhaps,” Geran continues, clearly enjoying himself, “we can travel as one for a while until such time as we encounter the treasures we seek. At that point we can discuss the matter and resolve things amicably. If we happen to fail in our quest, we would surely despise ourselves for letting a petty entryway curfuffle interfere.”

Jila rolls his shoulders uncomfortably, glancing at Talison and then looking down quickly, almost ashamed. He growls as he wipes his brow with the back of his leather glove. He then stares at the ground for a while. “Alright.” The group steps back and sheathes their weapons, for the most part. Others still hold their weapons but are no longer threatening. Jila steps forward and meets Geran, both giving a brief head-bow so as to establish a polite acknowledgement but not enter into a social situation. They both turn to Nix, forming a triumvirate circle in the middle of the room.

The Edhel Elves begin to wander around the room, a couple of them excitedly taking out parchment and making scribbled notes, another drawing a map. The Magolglir return to facing the door, their hands pushing and pulling at the stone impotently. One of the Magolglir follows the lines on the ground, eventually coming upon Darrin’s drawing in the thin layer of mud atop the floor etchings. He laughs, and claps Darrin on the shoulder as he passes him by, still following the lines.

Jila provides a brief and grudging account of their arrival, their encampment overnight and the fact they’ve been unable to open the door or read the text around it.

What do you do?

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Elven Etiquette
Barbed Ire

The Elves maintain their stoic standoff for what seems an age to Simon and those that travel with him, and for what seems a blink of an eye to the Elves themselves. Trying to keep silent, Simon edges along the stone wall, fingers creeping and pulling him along, his clothes annoyingly scraping against the wall in such a way that Bennet cringes almost into a ball with how unstealthy Simon is.

Nix waited until Bennet worked his way to the front of the group, his watchful eye being the one most acquianted with maintaining observation during stressful situations.

Upon quickly looking over the chamber, the party exchange glances; their destination lies forward, and so forward they will go. Simon, joining in with the glances back and forth, simply shrugs his shoulders, although he looks more determined and ready for anything, rather than worried or overly cautious.

Darrin, having simply examined the groups and the door, having missed out on the party glance-a-thon, steps forward into the room, oblivious to the ambience and air heavy with readiness. "Oh, hello there. Are you guys all ok? Has someone lost their keys?" Darrin speaks loud and clear in his best Elven. Simon lowers his eyes and exhales deeply, his brow furrowing. Darrin begins looking on the ground as though looking for keys.

Nix straightens her dress, clears her throat and pats Simon on the shoulder as she strides forward with a confidence that pierces the tension and cleaves a path for the party into the room like a flooding delta. "I come in peace. I am Nix of House Garric, Order of the Monolith." The Elven parties ignore each other, instead analysing the newcomers, taking particular note of the Dragonborn that is in the company of this Gnome lady making the ruccous.

Talison, joining his present companions examining these newcomers, lets a grin adorn his face. "Ah, more guests, splendid. It wasn't crowded enough already."

"Are we here on similar business?" Nix continues, stopping and spinning on her heels on this line to face the evident leaders of each group, ignoring entirely the interrupting comment from Talison. A moment of silence opens like a gaping maw, which Nix uses to springboard to ease the tension once again, an expert trick in her repertoire when dealing with politics. "I and others have been sent to investigate." She doesn't pause, but quickly scans the room as she says this, confirming her suspicion that the Elves already know this. "May I be of assistance? I recognise that patient stance." She motions politely at the Edhel noble, who nods in acknowledgement slowly, his eyes never breaking with this interesting orator.

The Elves with the sword-like house crest, the ones nearest the door, speak first. "Lady Nix, this is indeed a pleasure," he speaks in a gruff, strained voice ill fitting of an elf, "And I am most grateful to have made your acquaintance. We are, however, quite busy at the moment. Perhaps another, more appropriate time would be better." He smiles an ill fitting smile. It seems obvious his forte is not public speaking.

"Trust a Magolglir to be so rude." One of the Edhel attendants steps forward, one hand behind his back and the other offered forward in a friendly gesture, in the way of a handshake; although, Elven etiquette suggests a curtsy in response as a way of showing deference, and a bow lower than that the Elf gives as a way of showing superiority through how humble you are, which is often the beginning of a social challenge. To bow not as low is seen as snobbery. Such is the cut-throat world of speaking with an Elf.

"I trust your travels have been adequate, my Lady of the House Garric. Your House is known, and we know your House." This last part is a usual Elven greeting that in passing is often an endearing term, suggesting that your reputation, or that of your family, precedes you, and that the deeds are taken as more than simply hearsay and have been listened to with attention. In higher circles, however, this is often a sarcastic barb that means your deeds are simply one of many that have been heard. It is difficult to tell the difference, since the higher noble houses of Elves do indeed learn of so many other nobles that it can be hard to keep track, but one must also be polite. The intent in this instance is not immediately obvious.

Jila, the Magolglir Elf that spoke, motions to the others in his party to continue with the door, perhaps hoping that this encounter between the Gnome and the Edhel attendant might take up both some time, and their attentions, enough to make some progress. Jila stays put, however, looking grumpy at the accusation lobbied by the attendant. Another contingent of the Magolglir take up a defensive posture closest to the Edhels, weapons drawn; Jila scowls at Talison and urges him towards the defensive line, an almost accusatory look in his eyes. The other Elves, including the noble, visibly shift and seem to get taller, their eyes locking straight ahead as though seeing an apparition but their actions timed in a way that it's obvious they are reacting to the aggressive stance of the Magolglir.

"My Lord Geran extends his sincerest greetings, and hopes to enjoy your delightful company in a more serene setting. We have a small encampment available a mere minute's walk from the cavemouth, with tea and warm scones for all your friends and travel companions. I can join and serve the tea myself. I am Wudmirk." At this, he bows low, knees bent slightly with legs together, arm still outstretched, what seems to be a genuine smile on his face as he focuses on Nix, oblivious to the events going on to his left. A brief silence holds the room as the wind howls long and low outside, the patter of rain serving to measure the quiet.

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

Any Insight checks must be directed at a precise person, and have advantage due to Darrin's uplifting song (except Talison).

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Into the Citadel
Standoff at the Okay Citadel

As the camp is deconstructed, the faint din of thunder can be heard far to the south, the gaps between the low booms suggesting that it will be some time before the storm reaches here, perhaps by midday. Simon quickly reappropriates his ramshackle gazebo structure into a tall covering for the newly made cart, and gives an approving smile and a brief curtsy to Nix as she settles in to her seat as he pulls the last knot tight.

On towards the Citadel you travel, the consensus having been made that getting there and getting a lay of the land was best. If possible, a parlay with the Elves and find out why they might be there.

The travel takes around 30 minutes at a paceful march to cover the last 2 miles. One you get there, you can barely make out that a camp was even here. You see the large, looming structure of the half-buried citadel, mostly covered in moss and resting at an angle into grass-covered mud embankments. The hill up to the entrance that you can see is very steep; too steep for the horse and donkeys, especially with the wagon and cart. Kaila agrees to wait outside and guard the wagons, weilding her glaive like a royal palace guard.

Simon pulls his hood up in a last defiance of the rain as he leads the party up the hill and towards the entrance to the ruins. As you near it, you can hear the splashing of rain falling into a pool inside, perhaps a hole in the roof has opened up into a chamber that drains poorly. It sound quite a ways down.

Approaching the opening, it appears to have been half caved-in, forming a cave mouth of sorts in what is quite evidently a formerly excquisite piece of architectural engineering. Entering in a manner most coy, Simon quickly pauses and slams himself up against the entranceway wall: "I can see someone. It's possibly those Elves Master Bennet saw." he whispers hoarsely, beard dripping and his face glistening with the last vestiges of rain.

Inside, Talison has been pondering the doorway that has barred his group's egress for the better part of a whole day. It can be sensed strongly that the group wants to camp elsewhere tonight. Pushing, pulling, reading the strange script around the edges all seem to be for naught. The odd warmth the door gives isn't enough to push back the chill coming in from the entrance.

The Edhel and Magolglir parties have been standing apart, neither giving an inch and neither saying a word. The smartly dressed noble in the Edhel party stands at the back, a finger gently resting upon his top lip as he stares at the Magolglir. The rest of the Edhels appear to be smartly dressed, but more flexible in their choice of attire. They also stand relatively stoic, waiting, it seems, for something new to present itself. The Magolglir party stands in an awkward state of being armed and readied,but are trying to give the impression they do not wish their state to be obviously tied to the Edhels, and as such they keep their gaze darting about, and occassionally move to an area in front of the giant door to look as though they're investigating it.

The silence drags on. Had a human been here for this long, you are sure, they would have torn out their hair in frustration, and yet the Elves stand there unphased.

What do you do?

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Cold Dawn
To the Citadel in a handmade Cart

Bennet returns to the party encampment in time for Simon's hearty broth, bread and cheese to be distributed. Everyone gets a bowl, and there's plenty left in the pot for seconds and thirds.

As the Gnomes continue working hard, aided by Kaila when tasks are clear and simple like 'lift this', 'hold this' and 'hit that… hard', the makeshift cart begins to take shape. The donkeys and horse, whose name is Boxer, after consuming potentially their body-weight in grass, grains and fruits, collapse fairly close to the campfire, welcoming the ruffles and strokes that are offered them as people wander to and fro.

As the darkness begins to hold thickly, and the air cools even more, the freezing rain sploshing in puddles around you, everyone starts to wind down their jobs and come to rest by the fire.

Simon had taken the tarp from the broken wagon, his own tent and some spare cloaks and, along with a needle and thread, made a makeshift gazebo around the campfire, providing covering while you all sit and eat. More stories are shared, and after one particularly sad story Simon had heard from a bard some years back, the mood drooped.

Darrin begins a few notes of a song, and perks a few heads up. The melody is somewhat unfamiliar, but feels comforting. Soon he gets into the swing and his confidence appears to rise with the first key change. It is a beautiful rendition of a song unheard by all bar Nix, although she has never heard it in this language before.

The mood is somewhat lifted after the song, and the party retire to their tents for the evening, the dying breeze and the heavy rain their bedtime aria.

The morning comes all too soon, the cold and the rain having kept your muscles from completely relaxing. You do not feel well rested at all. The morning comes replete with sopping raindrops, a biting wind and a chill that blankets everything. You can see your breath in the air, although it is just shy of being frosty. The din of the sunlight as it struggles through the thick clouds gives everything this pale yellow palour, and shadows are almost a foreign concept with the diffuse light.

Within an hour of waking, both breakfast and the makeshift cart are ready, both seemingly perfect despite their drawbacks of a lack of supplies. The campfire near the citadel is extinguished during breakfast, although at this distance you can note no movement.

Those goblins you encountered must have awoken before you even went to sleep, although you have not seen or heard anything of them. Perhaps they camped in the grass, since it was some miles away. Perhaps they have a settlement hidden nearby in another direction. Regardless, they have not reappeared.

There are many ways in which to proceed, and some are discussed during breakfast, including heading straight for the citadel, travelling around the citadel (an extra couple of hours) to scout the whole area in daylight, or travelling north to find the possible goblin settlement for revenge.

What do you do?

Feel free to offer alternative options.

I'd also like at least one story that your character has either heard or lived through. It can be a short description of a scenario, or something longer, but it will be something you have shared with the group through speaking, singing or interpretive dance (looking at Adrik). To maintain character, it doesn't have to be deeply personal, and doesn't have to be nice. As I said, the mood was low at some point in the evening. Feel free to contribute to that.

You all have Disadvantage on physical actions for the next hour due to the poor sleeping conditions and the damp. As the day wears on and breakfast has a chance to digest, this wears off, although too many days of this can start to wreak havoc on your muscles.

You all have double proficiency on creative and mental wellness excercises for the next 24 hours due to the particularly uplifting song of Darrin's the night before. This includes most Charisma and Wisdom checks, including saves, but only if you are already proficient in them.

Bennet, please share what exactly you tell the party about your scouting mission, so everyone knows what information they can act on in-character.

In the Citadel:

The dim flicker of torchlight bends slightly as the air is disturbed. The Magolglir expedition turns and braces, longspears, shields and swords quickly brought to bear. While still unable to open the door that bars their entry, they are ready and willing to defend it from others that may be after the same treasures.

From the cave-like entrance, dark shapes block the glow of sunlight, shambling and stumbling down the steep rocky decline into the echoey stone chamber. The pious banner comes into view, and reveals the sign of Edhel, another Elven noble house. Their provinces are much farther north; they must have known about this place for longer, or coerced the Druids into helping somewhow.

Talison stands with his adopted compatriots, the crest of Magolglir emblazoned on his tabard. Despite some overheard teasing, these men and women have proven their worth against the Dire Boars they faced leaving Siglegin, fighting admirably and fiercely as a team with him.

The noble houses of the elves seldom come to blows, but it has been impressed upon Talison that the treasures within are very important and worth killing for. The nature of this treasure, however, is known only to the full elves in your party.

The two houses, upon seeing each other, stand opposite and still, neither wanting to make the first move. The wind whistles as it breezes by the opening behind the Edhel party.

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Rain on the Citadel
A wet camp

As Lorawyn and Adrik, from their opposite vantages, look upon the hurt draught animals and Gnomes scattered hither and tither. They both go towards the overturned wagon to help in any way they can. Upon seeing wounds, Adrik's eyes flutter closed and he walks carefully towards his chosen charge, a donkey named Jones, and feels the strength and song of the Feyweave again. Jones has suffered more physical wounds than that he had healed before, the open wounds glistening as the raindrops seep into them, causing Jones to flinch. Adrik places his hand upon the graze and Jones immediately calms, his eyes closing and his head bowing. The wound is visibly unchanged on the surface as the song of the Feyweave leaves Adrik into the donkey, but he is obviously feeling much better as he tries to stand. The healing worked, it seems.

Lorawyn stands ready with a healing word, but the Gnomes and other donkey, Shannon, are merely shaken by their tumble and don't require magical healing, simply a hand up and some water.

Nix rallies her companions, and they begin, after lifting the fallen wagon with the help of Simon, Darrin and Kaila, the process of salvaging what they can and assessing the damage. Simon begins the process of setting up camp again, accepting Nix's assessment and guidance.

Bennet heeds Nix's suggestion of scouting the area, and goes ahead to explore the small campfire 2 miles down the road by the Citadel, hiding amongst the grass as he does so.

Kaila approaches Darrin, and despite what seems to be a minor protestation, Darrin agrees to help set up fortifications. Dilligently he helps collect refuse and sticks, arranging them as a makeshift low wall around the campsite, occasionally nursing his "encouragement mark" on his left shoulder that Kaila gave him.

The rain gets heavier as the day draws on, and it begins to get prematurely dark; the Druids unperturbed, the party generally accepts this darkness as a result of the heavy cloud cover and the rain. It's likely to keep up like this overnight. With the crash, the puddles and the dashing around, the smell of wet mud is hanging in the air. A firepit is dug, shelter erected and a small wall of planks and sticks and rope is hastily cobbled together for extra protection. Simon begins cooking some soup and serving bread with it.

Bennet gets closer to this other encampment, and can see that it is a company of Elves. Their banner is stuck into the ground, they have a scout sat high up on a partly-collapsed wall of the citadel, and he can also see a dressed-down contingent of Elves moving around the encampment calmly, speaking to eachother, laughing and sharing stories. One of them is obviously of a higher standing than the others, be it a military command position or nobility you are not sure. They don't appear to be threatening, although from their bearing they are obviously High Elves. As you observe, one of them then takes out a lute and begins playing softly, while another brings out a flute to accompany them. At this, the notable leader eases into a poetic melody. Knowing Elves, this could last for hours. The rain doesn't bother them, as they are sat under a large canvas sheet covering that is set up sort of like a 3-walled tent, with evident sleeping quarters off to the side in individual tents. They seem to have brought scant few supplies with them. Bennet makes out 6 Elves in all.

The wind begins to die down as the rainfall gets heavier, small rivers starting to trickle through the mud. Simon suggests hunkering down for the evening and heading out in the morning when it might be drier. He also solemnly thanks all of you for helping him get this far.

What do you do?

Nix, I'd like an Intelligence (Investigation) check. (1d20 + Int Bonus + Proficiency) This is to assess the state of the wagons.

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