It just looked like a book. Not a holy book, or a book from the local school teacher (not that I would know from personal experience); Father has me working the fields anytime the sun is out), but Shep the field help said he saw them in the last village he visited. The old farm hand has been teaching me how to read, while Father isn’t looking. Father thinks that reading and writing has no place on a farm. “Show me a book that feeds a family”, he says when mother questions him.
Shep has shown me the strange power of letters over these last two seasons. And then, while tilling, I found this old battered journal. Pages were burnt, and ripped out, but I managed to make out some of it. Someone either invested fantastic stories, or had gone through a true curse of a life.
The story appears to pick up after a battle in fog………
……….We were standing in the midst of a bubble, carved within the thick mist. Most unsettling, with sound dampened, and no way to look beyond our small space. We immediately start thinking what our next step is, having just ended two threats- creatures that we had never encountered before.
Its about 9 in the morning, and we quiet our labored breathing. Sure enough, we argue over what to do next. Somehow, we agree on the idea that I use my ability to melt into the shadows to do some scouting.
Gwynn says, “yup, just totally go in and out in the carpet”. Sounds good to me.
Serpenthelm offers her batcloak, and Janella ensures that I go through to the shadow realm for about 5 minutes. Eagerly, I enter the shadowrealm by carpet portal, as it has no detrimental effect on my being (I’m still weak from my earlier sojourn in that plane). Fortunately, I’m able to become a bat and fly towards the center of the mist. The proximal guard tower in front of the bridge appears in disarray, but the tower at the far side has been shoddily repaired. There is movement within.
Moving further to the center, I notice a fenced-off area with creatures (?pigs?). I note a large entrance, leading into a large building. In the middle is a tower. Instead of a roof, there is a cauldron that appears to be the source of the mist, with no apparent attendants. Large snake/cat like creatures are playing or fighting outside of the large entrance.
I fly back to the carpet, return to the normal realm, and return the bat cloak (It was fantastic to scout so quickly; should I keep it in the future? Something to discuss with Serpenthelm).
The party agrees to leave the mist, as likely the dispel magic will shortly dissipate. As we hide behind some nearby rocks, I draw out a rough layout for the others. The party begins to make plans how to deal with the cauldron. Any suggestion I make is met with the response – “Don’t destroy the tower!”. Gwynn and Janella seem particular passionate in their answers.
Serpenthelm and myself try to find other solutions, and yet, Ronn persists, `What did I say about wrecking the tower?".
Gwynn takes the initiative, and states he wants to do a ‘chili fisting(?)’ (again, it sounds good to me). He quaffs a seeing potion, and tells us that he can now see about 60 feet in the unnatural fog.(the effect appears to last for about 2.5 hours). We then decide to fly in over the wall; Ron will carry Gwynn via his magical shield; Janella and I will drink fly potions (5 MINUTES), and Janella with use her sorcery to take flight. The hope is that Janella can drop an explosive in the cauldron,
We come in over the wall, carefully, quietly….. except Ronn, who appears to be as good a fool as a bard. I have now idea how he managed to stay aloft. A horn sounds from the guard tower.
As we head to the tower, a dozen small creatures fly in from the west, appearing to head to our destination. Serpenthelm flies effortlessly, like her Hawk companion, and manages to kill one with her bow. Ronn manages to land on a nearby roof, without killing Gwynn. Janella uses her skills, and lights the creatures with an immense fireball, and lands next to the cauldron. The bard manages to identify the creatures. “Murder Sprites”, he exclaims gleefully. “Outstanding!!”.
Only 2 survive, but quickly flee, realizing only more of the same force would greet them.
Things then take a turn for the worse. Janella senses some kind of touching, but is able to brush the effect aside. Then, a tall hag-like creature appears, screeching “Get out of my home”. Now, the battle has truly begun!
Janella manages to drop the fuse bomb into the cauldron; Gwynn uses frigid touch on the hag, but she claws him with horrific effect. A deadly tradeoff, as his strike seems to stagger her. Ronn’s hammer strikes her, while the arrows fired by myself and Serpenthelm both miss. The Hag, although slightly injured, draws a pouch from her rags. Ronn tries to move to another position, avoiding a strike from the horrific creature. Serpenthelm, floating in the air, looses 2 more arrows but fails to strike. The hag then throws her bag into the cauldron, and we see a blue energy glow from the cauldron, which also covers her body. I throw a poison dagger at her, but she seems unnaturally resistant to damage.
The cauldron is rocked with an explosion. All but Serpenthelm are hit with fire, and water that seems to shock rather than burn. However, the fog rising from the blackened pot seems to be at half strength. Gwynn’s next attack misses, but Vipette appears to strike the creature.
I draw some inner strength, and steel myself to directly strike the creature; I land on the platform, drop my bow (PICK UP THE BOW), and strike with my shocking morning star. A truly epic moment….. if it actually connected. Instead, the creature strikes me a serious blow. Serpenthelm, struggling in the air, misses her two shots. The great Ronn Tellius then acts in an epic fashion – landing on his face (again showing his impressive ability to assist from lying on the ground). The sorceress casts fire breath, striking the hag, as well as the prone Ronn, Vipette and myself. The hag retaliates, and calls lightening from the heavens to strike Janella. Vipette and Gwynn both fail in their attacks. At this time, 6 more murder sprites appear. Ronn isn’t as excited this time by their presence.
With new resolve, the team continues to press their attacks. Gwynn applies poison and throws a dagger, which strikes. I continue to fail to damage the hideous creature. Same hears Serpenthelm’s whistle, and able to see in the thinning fog. Sam attacks the sprite, injuring one. Vipette does something, but I cannot make out what. The ‘Great Ronn’ stands, but she strikes him a terrible wound. The bard fails to strike. The gaunt creature then casts heat metal – although the party has a chance to strike her during her casting, but those flanking her fail in their attempt. The spell affects Gwynn and Serpenthelm. Jan attempts to use a touch spell but it fails. Serpenthelm then strikes with her axe. Three murder sprites surround the hawk, but fortunately miss. The remaining three sprites attack Janella, Ronn and myself, but miss.
We catch our breath, and steel our nerve…….
The next few pages are burnt…….