Keepers of the Realm

Sessions 4 & 5: Lost in the Sighing Valley

After several days lost in a huge valley, we have finally arrived at the Feathergale Spire and are currently enjoying the hospitality of its Knights.  I’m not yet sure if we should even  be here for the inhabitants do not seem to have anything to do with the disappearance of the Mirabar delegation.  The leader of the Feathergale Knights, a stern man named Thurl Merosska, seems trustworthy enough and claims to know nothing of the disappearance beyond having seen the battle. Still,  something doesn’t quite feel right about the situation.  I can tell that my companions think the same. Hopefully we will have the chance to investigate more fully in the coming days.

 

Our journey here started in Red Larch the night the sinkhole opened in the town and we were tasked with investigating the missing Mirabar delegation by Kline. That evening, the five of us met in the inn to discuss the contents of our letters and the results of our initial investigation. Traelle learned little about the delegation in Red Larch but her letter from the Lords’ Alliance informed her of its members:  a moon elf of Kelvular, a shield dwarf from Mirabar and a human noble from Minnarhia.  Thorrun appeared with a broken wrist after she fought a half-orc at a bar who claimed to have scrapped with the delegation’s guards; she told us that the moon elf was carrying a pouch of magical seeds of abundance to an abbey in the drought-stricken Golden Fields.  Apparently, she thought the half-orc might have stolen them.  Drak’Thal informed us that the delegation was also carrying a body of a soldier to the Knights of Samular at Summit Hill in the southeastern Sumber Hills but he did not know anything more. Befitting her faction, Rinn remained suspiciously silent during the conversation and refused to share much information.

I provided the information that has led us to this spire. The Harpers informed me that the delegation’s shield dwarf was a historian named Bruldenthar. When I spoke with Vallivoe, she gave me a book, A Genealogical History of the Kings of Miribar, sold to her by a traveler but that likely originally came from this historian. When I spoke to the town’s remaining wagoner, I also learned about a missing trade caravan with a strange bowl symbol heading to a gathering of Druids at a “Scarlet Moon Hall” that we should likely investigate.  More pertinent to our current situation, however, I met a shepherd named Larman Greenboot at Gelkhur’s store who claimed to have found four freshly dug shallow graves in the Sumber Hills surrounding Red Larch.  Intrigued by the information, we decided to accept Larman’s offer to take us to the spot in the morning. 

After meeting at the inn in the morning and Drak’Thal’s attempt to heal Thorrun’s wrist, we set off for Gelkhur’s to meet Larman. For nearly half a day, Larman, his 75-80 sheep, and the five of us travelled through the Sumber Hills until we reached a barren hilltop.  Sure enough, we found 4 hastily dug graves encircled by vultures.  Traelle, Rinn, Thorrun and I dig them up with our hands or shield; Drak’Thal, apparently thinking such a task is disgusting, refuses to aid us.  For this he earns a sharp rebuke from Rinn.  Despite her faction and excessive secrecy, I’m starting to like the thief.

We found an intriguing collection of bodies: a female Knight of Mirabar (with the red axe insignia), a human wearing white robes with black feathers, a Dwarf in artesian robes (might be Bruldenthar but I suspect not), and a male human in a mysterious armor made of stone. All looked to have been killed by black arrows or bludgeoning blows. This combination of buried corpses is interesting.  Given what else we have learned, it seems likely that the buried corpses came from both sides of the battle.  I suspect that the cultists would leave at least the bodies of their enemies for the animals—graves are easier to find than scattered bones—so that means that likely at least one member of the delegation remains alive and free. Where could he or she have been taken?  Perhaps he is chained in one of the locked rooms in this tower.    

From the battlefield, I spotted a distant spire which Larman explained was home to the Feathergale Knights of Minnarhia.  Suspecting that its inhabitants might have seen what happened in the battle and, more importantly, what became of the survivors, we quickly decided to leave Larman and walk to the spire.  After burying the bodies—which again Drak’Thal refused to assist with—we began to march by promptly walking through poison ivy.  We should have known that that was a bam omen for the journey turned out to take much longer than anticipated.

 

Upon our approach to the Sighing Valley, we were attacked by Griffin Riders coming from the direction of the Spire. After some assistance from Rinn’s magic, I quickly knocked two of the blue armor wearing warriors off their griffins to their deaths but the third flew back in the direction of the Spire. While we are here, I should keep an eye out to see if I notice any similarities between the soldiers and the men we killed. On one of the bodies, I discovered a crude map with an X on it for the location of the graves and then a strange arrow symbol where the spire appears to be. Despite Merosska’s claims, there does seems to be some connection between the Spire, the Griffin riders, and the missing delegation.  In the morning, I should subtly ask one of the soldiers if he or she knows anything about the map.

A short while after the battle with the griffins, we entered a huge valley flanked by monstrously tall walls and with a swift-flowing river through its center.  A dense, perhaps unnatural, fog covers the valley but we are able to see two distant mesas to guide our progress and a small cave across the river to our right.  Before I can speak up, the Paladin takes the lead in navigating us towards the spire. We quickly got lost. After hours of walking, we made camp and quickly fell asleep.

 

We awoke to the sounds of large birds which we later learned were the Griffins that nest on the mesa.  Traelle continued in the lead until, mercifully, she lightly sprained her ankle and allowed me to fulfill my role as a ranger.  Of course, I also immediately got us lost.  Eventually, we made our way to the river which after I tested the water, we swim across.  It takes three hours but we finally reached the shore and, though mostly exhausted, agreed to investigate the cave. 

We entered cautiously and found it be warm from a natural spring with long stalagmites around a natural centeral.  We see the skeletons of orcs and other remnants of a previous camp as well as a collection of crates but no visible enemies.  Feeling relatively safe, Thorrun walked to investigate the crates. As she opened the first crate, however, we heard a monstrous growl and start to see the head of a lion and the wings of a bat: a manticore.  It immediately launched three spikes from its tail at Drak’Thal. The first dug deep into his shoulder but the other two flew over his head. The dwarf quickly retaliated with the spell he earlier hit Thorrun with. Apparently still hidden, Rinn tried to cast an unknown spell but it failed.  At this, the manticore turned and fired a bolt at the thief; the first dug deep into her stomach while the other stuck in her shoulder. I returned its volley by sending an arrow straight through the beast’s chest where it remained lodged.  With no apparent concern for her safety, Thoruun  sprinted to the creature and swung her shortsword. She missed but, instead of taking another swing, she pulled out a torch and lit it.  While the rest of us tried to fight the beast, Traelle sat in the corner nursing her ankle. 

 

Still hurting from the arrow embedded in its chest, the manticore turned and bit the monk, ripping off a small chunk of flesh.  After swiping at the monk with its claws, the creature launched another spike in her direction but Thorrun, displaying an impressive dexterity, caught the spike and threw it back against the creature, pushing my arrow out of the beast’s chest. After I fired a second arrow through the manticore’s cheek, Thorrun smashed her jug of grain alcohol on it head –prompting a scream from the dwarf as he ran forward to lick the alcohol off the ground—and threw her lit torch on it. The explosion knocked most everyone back 5 feet but the Manticore quickly blotted out the fire with its wings.  At this, Traelle finally stood and prepared to fight. After Drak’Thal smashed the beast on the nose and Rinn hit it with her crossbow, it begins to sway. Seeing that the beast is nearly dead and that the Paladin has finally found her courage, I stepped back to let Traelle have a swing.  Thorrun, however, had no such kindness. She punched the manticore to death. 

Exhausted after swimming the river and fighting the great beast, we made camp.  Seeing an abundance of goats and tired of rations, I briefly left the camp and shot a goat.  I skinned and cooked it. Everyone but Thorrun enjoyed the meat. 

 

In the morning, we returned to the river and traveled along it for several hours.  Eventually we reached a tall mesa.  Despite Thorrun’s eagerness to climb it, we decided that we should instead make our way to the smaller mesa so that we can perhaps find our way to the spire.  Again, we swim the river.  After I fall, Drak’Thal began to lead us.  He proved far better than both I and the Paladin.  We reached the second mesa far faster than I would have imagined possible.  Those of us with pitons pulled them from our packs and we began our ascent. After some time and a fall from our Paladin, our hands grasp the ledge at the top.  As we pulled ourselves up, we heard a loud screech.  Starring right at us were two nesting griffins.  In their nest lay two eggs.  They immediately attacked. 

The battle was quick.  Rinn and I attacked from a distance—she almost fell off the cliff—while Traelle and Thorrun rushed to face the creatures directly.  Displaying a continued insistence on unconventional tactics, Thorrun tried to mount one of the Griffins but failed and nearly found herself falling off the cliff.   

 

Other things that happened in Session 5 (To be written soon):

 

Climbing the other Mesa and  Traelle and Alatar Falling

Finding the Feathergale Spire and the Giant Door 

Entering the Spire through its main door and being led to the top to meet Merosska. 

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