The Shattering of Darkmoon Vale

Adventure Log 8: Wolves, Bears, Souls, and Demon Butter

I’m tired and sick…I’ll clean up the prose tomorrow…

Adventure Log: Desnus 16, Year 4712 AR, Sunday

Party entered a room filled with a giant wall-sized forge. The choking odor of smelted steel tinged with burnt hair and flesh wafting on a foul wind. The jangling of heavy chains echoing ominously. A hulking dwarf wrapped in heavy steel links stood at the forge, pounding out a new link to the heavy chains that bind it. Black smoke rising from its smoldering beard, framing its freakishly contorted face in ashy darkness. At the foot of the anvil, whimpering and bound in chains is the last of the children.

Guy, Maurit, and Bernal Diaz strike up a conversation with the forge-spurned, learning that the links of its chains each contain an imprisoned soul, a concept that Bernal seemed to find quite pleasing. Bernal introduced himself to the undead menace as a member of the Brotherhood of Hypocrites and handed over the vrock-gizzard he was carrying, asking the forge-spurned if it would be kind enough to bind the souls that he had captured in the gizzard. The thing seemed pleased by the four souls offered him and by the party’s shared interests and offered to free the child if they would capture the soul of the dwarven abbot, Gristogar Ashbreath, who had somehow “bound his soul to flesh” and escaped the grasp of the forge-spurned’s god.

The party agreed and taking the forge-spurned’s directions to “head out and keep left”, they found the abbot’s quarters, along with the abbot’s body from where the abbot had apparently committed suicide using a mechanical hammer and anvil contraption to crush his own skull. Sulking in a corner of the room, they found a small misshapen homunculus. As Maurit set about looking the abbot’s corpse, Bernal leaped on the homunculus, catching it in his cloak. They hauled the thing captive back to the forge-spurned, and true to their bargain, the creature released the boy into their keeping and vanished, leaving its soul-forging hammer as a gift for Bernal.

They return to the corridor by the abbot’s quarters, but, seeing a cunning death trap involving a magnetized obelisk and a lot of headless corpses behind the next door, they decide that they should beat-feet out of there and get the kids and the cure back to Falcon’s Hollow before indulging their curiosity further.

They book it back to the entrance and up the ropes to where Graypelt and his pack were waiting. Maurit tossed the wolf the heads of the kobold king and shaman as proof of their success, as Guy interrogated the cagey animals to make sure that his bear-cubs were well. Graypelt showed them that the cubs were sleeping, kept in the care of a nursing she-wolf, and offered Maurit and Bernal their pick from the pile of loot he had piled around the mushrooms they needed, insisting that the wealth taken from the dwarves and kobolds was of no use to his pack.

As they talked, Graypelt showed a rather excessive level of interest in the “red pointy thing” that Maurit had taken from the kobold king, informing the party that it was clearly a remnant of ancient Thassilon and that he had great interest in such antiquities. When Maurit refused to let him examine the thing closer, he did not press the issue and offered to have his pack watch over them as they rested.

[[EdEd the goblin took his leave of the party to go give his tribe the good news of the kobolds’ defeat and subjugation. The party decided that they should get to Falcon’s Hollow ASAP, but did accept Graypelt’s offer to have his pack accompany them down the mountain. The party booked it down the mountain as fast as they could, with the wolves guarding their flanks and Guy, Maurit, and Hugh taking turns giving the kids piggy-back rides so that they could force-march for longer.

They stopped to rest for the night, broke their fast on the last of the bear meat (cooked in clarified butter that Bernal insisted was made from hezrou-demon fat), and bade farewell to the wolves before pushing on to the town.

Adventure Log: Desnus 17, Year 4712 AR, Moonday

The party made it to Falcon’s Hollow without incident. Seeing the signs of the substantial lumber industry in the town, Bernal covered the forge-spurned’s hammer and hid it in his bag so that so that it “could not see” the toil of the loggers.

Once they reached the town, Bernal rushed about, asking prying questions of every sick person he saw and trying to feed them the, clearly unpalatable, ironbloom mushrooms. When rebuffed by people in the streets he asked Hugh about the best inns or whorehouses and rushed off to the Rouged Lady. At the Rouged Lady, he pestered the, clearly ill, barmaid until he was allowed in to see the dame, who he found in even worse shape, lying unresponsive and barely breathing in her bed. He shoved the ironblooms down her throat, nearly choking her to death, and necessitating intubation. Guy finally caught up and complained to Bernal about him wasting their mushrooms, informing him that the shrooms were just one of several ingredients to make the cure, and lead the way to Elarius’s shop.

They reached Elarius’s shop and saw the long line of infected individuals blocking his front door. They made their way in the back again where they found ‘Lary, wearing a plague-doctor’s mask, mixing drugs at his bench, and looking likely to collapse from fatigue. Guy mixed up a caffeinated panacea for Elarius and the two of them got to work making cures. Bernal did the best he could to assist, then finally was kicked out of the way to go disperse the crowd. After a couple of hours the cure, in the form of a white powder compressed into capsules, was completed and they sent the kids out to deliver pills all over the town.

Guy mixed up some placebo pills and distributed them to the non-infected members of the town, particularly the wealthier citizens living up on the perch. The frightened lumber barons and shop-owners were quick to part with their money and Guy walked away with a tidy profit. By morning everyone in the town had been administered one or the other of the pills.

Meanwhile, Bernal headed down to the blacksmith’s shop, pulled out the forge-spurned’s hammer, and began making nails as practice. Falling into the rhythm of the hammering he soon found that he was unable to stop, driven on in his toil by the spirit of the hammer. Finally, near dawn, he collapsed in exhaustion, the hammer slipping from his grasp, and slinked back to the Rouged Lady to rest.

The party regrouped for breakfast and decided to stay in town to soak up the accolades for a while.

Final death toll from the blackscour plague, 31 villagers.


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