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2006-12-02

Page history last edited by Azeari 11 years, 7 months ago

 

Muad'Dib

 

Once all of the bandits' treasure had been loaded into the wagon, there was a moment of confusion where the adventuring party decided to follow the highway north: searching for a settlement, or a road heading east. The highway climbed into the foothills of the Alps, heading towards the Moggach Pass and the Goblin Wastes beyond. However, as the terrain became increasingly barren and rocky, the adventurers decided to reconsider their course. After hours of travel, they hadn't spotted a single living soul. That didn't bode well for their plan of searching for rumours of the Maze of Screaming Silence. Instead, they decided to follow Old Ugly's advice and return to the plains, where villages and roadside inns were more numerous.

 

The following day, they arrived in the village of Farthingham. Parked in the middle of the square was a garishly-coloured wagon, in front of a red and yellow striped tent the size of a small house. After arranging their accomodation, the party members headed over to check it out. For the price of a silver coin, the Great Gadrian admitted them to his freak show: featuring a two-headed hippogriff; a mutated barghest; and an animated dragon skeleton. Suddenly, the barghest began biting itself. Gadrian cast a spell to make it stop, which Methris identified as Hold Person. This was curious, since that spell would normally only work on humanoids.

 

After the show they returned to their rooms at the inn, but were awakened in the middle of the night by the sound of shouting. When they investigated, they found the Great Gadrian standing over the dead body of a peasant. The bard claimed he had acted in self-defence, but before they were able to finish questioning him they heard another scream off in the distance. One of the villagers had found that her son was missing. However, this was not the same person whom Gadrian had killed. Garyn followed the tracks from the woman's home to Gadrian's tent. All of the monsters were still in their cages, although Methris detected an aura of transmutation magic which made him suspicious. Inspecting the peasant's corpse more closely, they found bite marks that seemed to resemble those that the barghest had inflicted on itself. Putting all of the clues together, they concluded that the dead villager must have been polymorphed into a barghest, and the creature in the barghest's cage now was actually the missing boy. Gadrian attempted to make his escape, but he was quickly subdued. Searching him, they found a wand which Emilth was able to use to transform the barghest back into a boy. Uttering a word of power, Martok sundered the doors of the cages using sonic energy. Emilth also restored the dragon and the hippogriff to their original forms. Leaving Gadrian in the custody of the local authorities, they headed back off to bed.

 

In the morning, Methris gave Gadrian's wagon a fresh coat of paint and they loaded all of their gear on board. After travelling the entire day, they were glad to spot a lantern shining above the door of a roadside inn. Inside, the innkeep Shanson and his son Zak welcomed them and served them drinks. The matriarch, Yanu, cooked them some stew. Since the inn was presently empty, Shanson offered them separate rooms upstairs for the price of three gold pieces.

 

During the night, the adventurers were ambushed individually by the inn's inhabitants. Although they put up a mighty struggle, they were eventually subdued. Hours later, they awoke to find themselves improsoned. The iron bars didn't hold them long, since Martok was able to use his baleful utterance to shatter the locks. However, the sound of running footsteps upstairs indicated that the enormous noise had alerted the innkeep.

 

They quickly prepared themselves for battle, although they were without their weapons or armour. Searching the other rooms, they found a tannery for human skin and a larder where the corpses of victims were kept, as well as a grisly trophy room. In a pit in the corner, a minotaur was improsoned, although it refused any offer of rescue. As Shanson and his family came down the stairs, Martok attacked them using his arcane bolt. Garyn grabbed a carving knife from the larder, but was knocked unconscious by a dagger thrown by Yanu. Martok and Elsa were both also disabled. Just as things seemed hopeless, Lukwind used his powers to disguise himself as the minotaur, and charged towards the enemy. Momentarily intimidated, they retreated back upstairs.

 

This gave the adventurers the temporary reprieve they needed, to locate their missing equipment and to cast healing spells on their fallen companions. Emilth used Gadrian's wand to polymorph Lukwind into an actual minotaur, so that his strength would match his fearsome appearance. Charging upstairs, they found themselves in the kitchen of the inn. Shanson and all of his family were there waiting for them, but after a pitched battle the adventurers emerged victorious.

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