Adventures in Theia

The pocked ginger git
Judoc's rescue

Bros, Cadmus, and Maslorias cautiously explored the barrow. A passage to the west was blocked with a large shone plug. Several alcoves revealed bodies buried upright. They found seven headless bodies scattered amongst them. Disturbingly, they were not buried and seemed to match the heads on the pikes outside the barrow. Exercising an abundance of caution, Maslorias conjured earth to bury the headless bodies. The passage north terminated in carved stone door, beyond which voices could be heard.

The trio burst through the door revealing a pocked ginger git talking to a strange figure in a mirror with a stone golem standing nearby. The figure in the mirror promptly disappeared, the mirror resuming normal behavior. Bros lay into the git with his shield knocking him from his feet. Maslorias put is staff to the man’s throat. Not understanding the gravity of his situation, the git called on the golem to defend him. Cadmus’ saber proved ineffective on the beast, but Bros’ ancient sword quickly severed one of it’s arms. Maslorias pressed his staff into the git’s neck until he realized his position and called off the golem. The pocked ginger, who turned out to be Derwin, son of the Kaer’s high druid, git was reticent about confessing his sins, but his tongue loosed when they made it clear they had no problem adding him to the barrow permanently given Alexios and Liannen’s fate.

He confessed to [GM assistance please] but pinned Liannen murder on Niamv, Kaer Kilmaren’s king’s elder sister. His story told, he led the trio to a secret chamber where Judoc was unconscious under a silver net. The freed the boy who did not stir. Hearing some scrambling in the earth filled passages, they through the net over Derwin who promptly passed out. Gathering their horses, Judoc and their new prisoner, they returned to the their farm to plan their next move.

Discussing Derwin’s revelations with Ygr, he added [GM assistance please]

Alexios, We hardly knew ye
Looking for Judoc and Liannen

The day following the battle with the horned being and white hounds, the group returned to Kaer Kilmaren rather uneventfully. Maslorias and Bros stayed at their farm while Cadmus returned to the Kaer with the other Mitraics. In the morning, Cadmus awoke to find he had been abandoned by his comrades. Alexios and his men had ridden out early in the morning. He returned to the farm to discuss this turn of events with the other outsiders. While the three of them talked, Ygr the Dvergar from the Maghswold appeared and was quite distraught to find Judoc missing.

Ygr mentioned that two other sets of stones like the Pelloryns had been similarly attacked. This was seriously weakening the Ring of Khell, a mystical barrier keeping the Fomhoire from the world. Their return could start a new ice age. He stated that the caves they had been traipsing about in was an ancient city called Barakus. It had been home to the Keltic gods and precursors to today’s Dvergar. His people had been slaves there, even if well treated. He claimed to be the smith who forged the orichalchum sword Bros now carries, and that he had filled it with all of his hate. That it was cursed and should be cast aside. Bros scoffed at the idea. He identified the ancient short sword and stated the ivory rod held some compulsion over the Dvergar, but had no idea about the ebony heart. He confessed to betraying the gods on the eve of battle with the Fomhoire, stealing and hiding away Briannac spear of the gods. All this talk put Ygr into a deep funk.

Cadmus returned to town to speak with Ultan the high druid. Ultan seemed to know nothing of recent happening but was surprised Cadmus knew names from ancient lore. He agreed to speak with Maslorias and Bros, but only after the Samhain festival. While he was gone, Maslorias tried turn the Dvergar’s depression into determination with limited success. He agreed to stay at the farm and meet Ultan when the time came.

With six days ahead of their meeting with Ultan, Maslorias, Bros, and Cadmus decided to follow the cold trail of Judoc and Liannan. Following the now familiar trail towards the caves, the encountered a tangle of vines across the path that wasn’t there the night before. When Maslorias used witch sight, it was clearly unnatural growth coming from the south. Dispelling the growth revealed a figure sprawled off the path. This was the Mitraic crusader, Alexios, strangled by the vines. While a disgusted Cadmus looked on, Bros looted the body and Maslorios recovered some items from the crusader’s dead horse. Among Alexios’ belongings was a feminine ring on a bronze chain glowing with enchantment to Maslorias witch sight. In the Pict’s hands, the ring seemed to pull toward the south. Rather than following the ring’s pull through the wilderness, they decided to proceed to the game trail they identified earlier. The trail and the ring eventually led to Liannan’s corpse, a few days dead. Her throat had been cut and the ring Maslorias returned to her stolen. Towards the river to the south lay an odd hill. To their sarcastic delight, the circular hill held another cave…

The wild hunt?
These caves are nothing but trouble

Bros and Maslorias led Cadmus, Alexios, and his crusaders back to the caves as requested. The now familiar journey was uneventful. While the Mitraic faithful, were taking in the Chaos beast corpse outside, Bros and Maslorias investigated the strange lockbox on the island in the cave lake. Using deep magic, Maslorias was able to determin that here was as shaft underneath, but picking the lock proved impossible. Bashing it with the large Woodwose’s hammer also proved ineffective. Checking the other two islands revealed two similar boxes, each with a slightly different stamp. Bros and Cadmus each were lucky enough to open one of these latter two revealing a small cavity and a lever. Maslorias was able to locate three objects made of metal similar to that of the boxes with Deep magic. They may be keys but they were all well below ground and unreachable. Unable to open the first box, they decide to move on.

Next they led Alexios to the demonic statue. Alexios did some Mitraic magic hoodoo and declared it to be the demon god Tsathoggua. He stated Tsathogua was unlikely to be involved with the chaos beasts encountered and that the statue had been recently moved to its current location. This was disturbing and added to the mystery of the caverns, but didn’t interest Alexios too much. They then proceeded to the creeper’s lair. Alexios found a small fissure leading down, but again Alexious remained focused on finding Liannen. As night was falling, exited the caves and set up camp: the Mitraics outside with the horses, Bros and Maslorias in the bandit’s cave.

In the night, everyone is wakened by an eerie howl. Exiting the bandit cave, Bros remains just outside while Maslorias went to converse with the Mitraics. The howling seemed to come from the north, but Maslorias’ owl couldn’t pinpoint anything. Maslorias stated he was expecting a pack of cadaverous black wolves. He was wrong. A few minutes later, another blood curdling howl was heard and four huge white hounds with red ears appeared and charged a hastily formed Mitraic line. The shaken humans tried setting up a defensive line, but the huge hounds bowled men over. While the crusaders battled the beasts, Maslorias tried calming the spooked horses to no effect. Bros attempted to flank the hounds by skirting around a rock formation. This proved to be a mistake as a large horned man and even more hounds joined the fray. In his isolated position, Bros was dog-piled by three of the large hounds. To the south, Alexios, Cadmus, and a number of crusaders engaged the original hounds and a few reinforcements. The horned man and three of his hounds approached Maslorios, the horses, and the remaining crusaders, but only one hound attacked while the horned man hurled his spear which magically returned to is hand. Shaken, the men missed more blows than they land, but the Crusader’s armor protected them from the worst. Bros was not so lucky. Overwhelmed, he was brought to death’s door. Only heroics from Alexios and Cadmus saved him, but this put the lightly armored Cadmus in harm’s way. A few hounds had been put down by now. The horned one approached Maslorias’ line and the horses bolted. Cadmus was mauled, but Alexios again called upon Mitra’s aid and saved him. Struck a bleeding wound by the horned man’s spear, Maslorias pulled off the line to attempt to staunch the wound. Bros’ warhorse charged into the fray and began turning the tide on that side of the battle. Seven crusaders faced off against the horned man and one hound on one side of a rock formation, while Alexios, Cadmus, Bros, his horse and the last crusader faced several hounds on the other. His would finally bound, and seeing the horned man contained, Maslorias moved to aid the others. With his arrival and the effects of the howl wearing off, the last hounds on that side were put down. But before they could move to aid the crusaders with the horned man, three deafening horn blasts rang out. Blocked by the massif, they were unable to see the horned man, but a few of the crusaders could be seen sprawling. Moving around, they found the horned man and his mist gone. Two crusader were dead and the survivors on that side were in bad shape. Unable to hear, they patched wounds, applying magic where needed, in silence. Eventually their hearing returned, but conversation shed little light on what just happened. Could they really have been the target of Cernunnos and his wild hunt?

Retrieving the horses was a simple matter, but little sleep came to them the rest of the night. Come morning they made haste back towards Kaer Kilmaren. Truly these caves are ill omened.

Hello Cadmus
Downtime in the Kaer? Not so much.

Having returned to Kaer Kilmaren, Bros and Maslorias went on a spending spree acquiring mounts and re-equipping. Blocked from buying a place to stay in the Kaer, they visited family of the boy who survived the chaos beast attack. They bought the boy’s farm for a sizable sum, giving the boy’s family a good opportunity to support him. Living large, Bros made friends losing money gambling and buying drinks. In short order, he was approached with the deal of a lifetime. Not one to pass up such a chance, Bros invested in a mysterious Orichalcum mining venture. No doubt he will be able to retire to a life of drinking and whoring in short order. While Bros was having fun, Masorlias fashioned a new quarterstaff, made plans with the tanner for Linnorm skin armor, researching the odd things they had acquired, and otherwise being lame.

One night early into the their stay, they met an Illyrian follower of Mitra. The city dweller, Cadmus, seemed none to pleased to be out in the wilds of Getae. Commiserating with Bros over drink and dice, talk turned to recent events. He provided news of events in Garstag. Pwll and several other members the fianna had been arrested by the Mitraic authorities. This didn’t sit well with Maslorias, who brought up the threat to all involved: chaos beasts and the people creating them. Cadmus was skeptical to say the least, but agreed to let Maslorias try to prove it. Maslorias, unaware or not caring how the locals would react, glowing with Deep Magic mage light shared his memories of the latest battle with the choas beast. As the inn’s common room went silent and a couple men slipped out, Cadmus agreed to travel to the caves to see the evidence in person. Leaving the common room to retire for the night, Bros and Maslorias were ambushed by thugs. Aided by Cadmus, the thugs were all quickly incapacitated. They claimed to have been told the two foreigners were easy targets by a pock marked redhead who was likely to be a the Grand Druid’s son.

After an uneventful trip to the caves, the rotting chaos beast corpse and the ancient chaos symbol on its chest turned Cadmus into a believer. After skinning the Linnorm and honoring Domhnall with a bottle of fine whisky, the set off towards the Kaer, severed heads in tow. Returning late at night, Cadmus spent the night at the farm since the gates were likely to be shut. In the morning, he returned to Kaer and met Alexios, leader of the Mitraic paladins. From Alexios, he learned the thugs who assaulted Malsorias and Bros several nights earlier had all been murdered in their jail cells. Alexios agreed to meet the strange foreigners and hear their story about ancient chaos being abroad in the world. The paladin seemed to accept their story, perhaps aided by the rotting wolf head staked outside the farm, but seemed more interested in tracking down his wife: Liannan, the Keltic woman now missing with Judoc.

Farewell Domhnall
Poison, landworm, and Dvergar

Determined to recover their gear, the three adventurers thought about how to overcome the Creepers. Lacking resources, they decide to turn an obstacle into an asset. They planned to capture some of the poison covering the Hyperborean-like man in the crypt and unleash it on the creepers. Bros was able to fashion some torches and pitch plugs for the containers they found in alchemy area. Descending into the crypt, Maslorias and Domhnall entered the chamber with the poison under glass, while Bros stood guard at the end of the hall. Maslorias laid down a layer of magically controlled air while Domhnall broke the glass with a rock. Guiding the poison into the containers proved too difficult so they moved to plan B: gas the bugs behind the mirror. Containing the poison in a vortex of air and maneuvering it into out of the chamber and into the passage with the bugs was difficult but ultimately successful. The bugs died in the vortex of poison and air. The passage behind the mirror was clear of bugs, but also empty of anything useful. Maslorias forced the vortex of poison up the holes in the ceiling and more bugs could be heard dying above. Maslorias then retreated out of the tunnel and closed the mirror, letting the now uncontrolled poison do its work. While waiting for the poison to settle, they searched the newly uncovered body. The sword turned out to be an Orichalcum masterpiece. They also discovered 99 gold pieces sewn into the bodies chest. Checking the other body, another 99 gold pieces was turned up. That done, they decided to probe the holes in the ceiling of the bug hall. But they didn’t wait long enough. When Domhnall opened the mirror door, a few whisps of poison escaped. Gasping, Domhnall fell to the floor. Bros tried to help, while Maslorias looked on in horror. Bros was able to expel some of the poison from the stricken man’s lungs, but the damage was done: Domnal died screaming.

Bros and Maslorias decided to cut their losses and abandoned the poisoned tunnel. Gathering the Domhnall’s body, they returned to the cave above and sealed the crypt. At this point, Maslorias noticed how quiet the cave had become. Exploring the cave system again, they discovered that the Creepers had fled. Bros and Maslorias then fashioned a bridge out of barricade wood to explore beyond the river. Immediately after crossing their makeshift bridge, a massive snakelike beast erupted out of the river and attacked. Enter the Linnorm! Maslorios’ staff seemed to bounce off the beast’s hide, but Bros’ fancy crypt sword had no such problem. After trading a few blows, Maslorias scored a lucky blow to the beast’s neck, felling it. To the southeast the beast’s nest was found. A couple of large eggs and a horde of old coins was the prize. Using the makeshift bridge to finish exploring, they approach the odd door they saw earlier. While trying to open the door, they were confronted by a Dvergar named Grimba. Scrambling the eggs, the three of them discussed the matters at hand. Grimba had been trapped the Linnorm while searching the cavern for some sort of Dvergar artifact he was unwilling to elaborate upon. He thanked Bros and Maslorias and invited them to seek him out if they ever find themselves in his city of Gnoc Crua. After their hearty breakfast, Grimba headed home, Bros and Maslorias burried Domhnall, and torched the alchemy lab and its wicked fluid.

Heading back toward Kaer Kilmaren, Maslorias noted where Judoc and Liannan’s tracks left the path. In town, they planned to recuperate and re-equip for the trials ahead. Unfortunately, two outsiders spending loads of money, some of it of odd mint, made the local’s tongues wag. Bros bragging about this fancy crypt sword didn’t help either…

Spelunking continued
Part 2: Naked this time

The larger enemy cast the area into magical darkness and the small men got there act together. Under cover of darkness they swarmed both Bros and Domhnall. Overpowered by weight of numbers, they were rendered unconscious. Some time later, the trio awoke to darkness, naked and bound. Freeing themselves didn’t prove difficult, but greater travails lay ahead. They felt around in the darkness and discovered a number of stone sarcophagi. One was sealed and the rest long since plundered, yielding nothing of use but a femur. A wall sconce provided a torch, but no means to light it, save magic. They decided against that as Maslorias’ reserves were still depleted.

Unsure of how to proceed, they let curiosity get the better of them. Working together they managed to unseal the remaining sarcophagus. Inside, to their surprise, they found stairs rather than a body. Bros took the femur as a club, and descended the mystery stairs. Reaching the bottom, Bros was greeted by horrific sounds and footsteps from the gloom. Bros raced up the stairs and called for help. Calling on the sphere of fire and glyph of creation, Maslorias lit the torch. Finally able to see again, he and Domhnall watch as Bros tumbles out of the sarcophagus followed by two ghouls. With bone club, fist, and conjured flame, the three naked adventurers put down the ghouls for the price of a few scratches and a now useless finger. Domhnall had thrown an errant punch and hit the sarcophagus.

Now possessing a source of light, the three naked adventurers descend the hidden stairs. Below they found a strange pillared crypt. Doors appeared to be etched into the pillars with unreadable flowing script above them. The ghouls had cached the bones and belongings of long dead grave robbers in corners. A hard leather armor fit Maslorias who also took up a serviceable pack, there was a short sword for Bros, while Domhnall received the trusty femur. In the northwest corner, they found two large double doors tied shut with gold cord. Beyond them lay a long, mirror lined corridor. A similar set of doors at the far end wouldn’t budge. Checking the mirrors, they found three that swung out. The east-side mirror closest to the entrance, led to a funeral chamber. Set into the floor was a pane of green glass, covering a richly dressed, sword holding man that resembled a Hyperborean, but with some differences. Domhnall noticed a slight movement below the glass, leading them to believe there was a green gas below the glass. Leaving the body and it’s presumably poison gas, they checked the east-side mirror closer to the sealed door that proved to be beetle infested. The west-side mirror led to a chamber similar to the first. This one, however, had been looted. The glass in the floor was broken, two withered corpses, faces twisted in pain, lay on the floor, and a not quite Hyperborean woman’s body lay in the floor with an ornate scepter. Checking the body and beneath it, Bros and Maslorias opened a cavity below the body releasing a white gas that blinded them. Again unable to see, they fumbled around for the scepter and a ebony heart from the cavity while retreating to the hallway.

Domnhall led the two blind men back up the stairs and started looking for a way out. They came upon a pool of clean water, but washing out their eyes didn’t restore their sight. Shortly thereafter, Domhnall led them to the site of their earlier battle with the Woodwoes. Strangely, their foes bodies had been stripped of all cloth and furs. Exiting the cave they looked for, but were unable to find Judoc, Liannan, or the horses. Defeated for the time being, the group retreated to the bandit’s cave to lick their wounds. After resting, Maslorias was able to neutralize the poison blinding himself and Bros with Deep Magic. Sight restored, wounds treated, and wearing dead men’s gear, they pondered what to do next. Judoc and Liannon had not returned, and they had no food, so they decided to brave the cave once more in search of their missing gear. A more thorough search revealed an alchemy area and some notes which shed some light on the recent goings on. Further delving revealed a carved stalagmite and magical formation of stones. Other things of note were a suit of bronze scale mail that fit Maslorias well in a mound of rubbish and a keyhole on an island in the underground pool, and a fast flowing river. The latter, Bros slipped and fell into. Domhnall, overestimated his athletic prowess, jumped into the river trying to leap to the other side. Luckily Maslorias was able to throw them a line. Wet, they retreated to the alchemy lab to consider their next move.

A Strange Littany
A Keltic prayer inscribed on a stalagmite in the caves north of Kaer Kilmaren

Reciting the following prayer seemed to be the key to activating a circle deeper in the caves. A circle that granted a minor boon of healing. After its recitation, three flanking stellae that yielded warmth and ruddy hue went dim and lost their heat.

“Give me the strength to stand when weak
Give me the strength run when tired
Give me the strength to laugh when sad
Give me the strength stay when frightened
Give me the strength to lay down my sword when the fghting
is done.”

Alchemical apparatus and other found objects in Manuun's study
An inventory of items possessed by the late Drune, Manuun of the woodwose

Curious, Maslorios picks over the various instruments, flasks, containers, urns and other various oddiments scattered around Manuun’s workbench:

  • A glass alembic on a bronze stand perched over a clay pot full of coal-ash
  • 3 glass flasks wrapped in a copper wire mesh
  • 1 pair of iron tongs
  • 1 mortar and pestle
  • 8 empty glass tubes held in a wooden rack
  • 4 smoked glass phials. Empty, but sealed with glass stoppers
  • 2 rods about one and a half feet long and 2 inches in diameter. One looks like it’s made of solid copper, while the other is a highly polished silver, but feels lighter than it should and its luster is greater than silver. Attached to each end of these rods is a strand of copper cable about 1/4" thick
  • 1 crate full of greenish, lumps of rock. They have a strong acrid smell and irritate your nose when you smell them for too long.
  • 1 crate full of lumps of black, sooty “rocks”
  • 1 very heavy, pint-sized iron flask. You unscrew the stopper and pour out a small volume on the ground, a thin rivulet of quicksilver splashes against the earthen floor and congeals into tiny blobs.

Additionally, a wooden chest at the foot of a crude wooden-framed bed revealed a large heavy sack. Inside of it were a hoard of coins: 50 gold drakes, 94 silver owls, and 960 bronze. Also in the bottom of the chest was a well-made bronze torc, with stylized wolves-heads on the end and a pair of bronze bracers. These last items were immediately familiar to Maslorios, as belonging to a bear of a man named Gorbal; a Kelt who rode in Pwyll’s Fianna. However, there was no sign of the belongings of the other missing man, Ruarc.

Correspondence of Arkanth and Manuun
A collection of misives and directives liberated from the woodwose cavern complex in the crags north of Kaer Kilmaren

While searching the living area of the primitive woodwose, Domnhail, Bros and Maslorios stumbled upon some kind of laboratory bench littered with flasks, alembics, copper tubes, and strands of copper wire. On one corner of the desk, a stack of loose parchment was tucked under a couple of brass weights. Five of the parchments contained short messages addressed to a person named Manuun, undated and unsorted, penned by someone calling themselves “Arkanth.”

The script is highly irregular — Ogham characters written a flowing script with many ligatures and connecting marks unlike anything you have ever seen

First letter:
“Manuun, take one of the beasts you created and retrieve the urchin. He should be near ripe for my purposes. Beyond the boy, I’m anxious to hear how they perform for you and if you have mastered the warp and matrix I granted you.”

Second letter:
“The loss of the urchin is unacceptable. It took no small effort on my part to manifest him. Find him quickly, he is the key.”

Third letter:
“Things proceed apace. Quite serendipitous that the Illyrians and Kelts have fallen into petty fights over a broken city. Use whatever tribesmen and other men you have recruited to sow more chaos and discord amongst the tribes in the western valleys. Continue to spy on the dreams of promising candidates with the oculus to find those who might be useful or sympathetic and discover what inducements will be most effective; the gold and silver should prove more than sufficient for the greedy, but all the better if you can promise revenge or satisfy other desires. Ultimately, the more distractions the better — those sensitive to the alterations of the ley lines need to have their attention elsewhere.”

Fourth letter:
“A pity the wolves lost the boy. It feels like something or somebody must be interfering. Be ware.”

Fifth letter:
“Interesting. If the girl’s bloodline indeed runs that deep then she might make for a suitable host. contact your people in Kilmaren and see what it would take to acquire her. To think I must start anew vexes me no end, but it can’t be helped. Do not fail me again. I will be there in a month to retrieve her myself and ensure there are no more surprises.

Regards, Arkanth"

A final letter lie under an inkwell, with a quill casually atop it on another part of the desk. The hand of this letter was also in Ogham, but in the traditional blocky runes of the Picts

Its contents:
“Arkanth in a fortnight I’ll go to the appointed place, meet with my servant Gede and take possession of the captives. Our friends in the Kaer have promised me this highborn virgin you requested. The Druid insists she is pure and that her ancestors trace their lineage back to Lugh Lamfahda himself.”

Part 1

After defeating the Woodwoe giant, the trio of adventurers took stock of the area. Maslorias found a couple doses of mindsease on the shaman, but little else of value was to be found. They decided to to explore to the west, but neglected to repair Domhnal’s broken cestus (an oversight that may haunt them). Not far to the west, they entered the area Domhnal explored earlier. Coming upon a strange sand pile, the group cautiously investigated. Throwing a Woodwoe spear into the pile disturbed a group of giant spiders. The vermin were easily dealt with and Bros found three perfectly cut amber octohedrons in the sand. Maslorias was able to extract some poison from the spiders, but didn’t have containers for storing it. He was unable to apply any to Domhnal’s dagger and poisoned himself in the attempt, but was able to shrug off any ill effects.

Proceeding onward, the group pressed on into a small tunnel terminating in wall. Maslorias knew there was a chamber beyond thanks to his previous magical exploration. Armed with that knowledge, he found the secret trigger to open the hidden door. Beyond is a charnel chamber below a basalt ledge. Nothing of worth was found amongst the rotting carcasses and bones, so Maslorias carved hand and footholds in the wall with deep magic. Bros was able to climb up and assist the others with rope. Proceeding to the south, they soon discovered a masterwork statue of Tsathoggua and a cobbled path rather than unworked stone. A Pictish hunter and two dogs lay dead at the statue’s feet. The Pict’s back had massive claw marks across the back, while the large dog’s necks had been snapped. They briefly considered toppling the abhorrent statue, but thought better of it. Following the cobbles to the south, they came upon another chamber with stairs leading up to the south, a cobbled path to the east, and a iron banded wooden chest. Rats seethed outside their torchlight up the stairs. Domhnal hauled the chest out into the center of the room, but found it locked. The group decided to open the chest with deep magic. After retreating to what they thought was a safe distance, Maslorias used Deep Magic again to warp the wood of the chest. Eventually the chest’s wood buckled, but its iron bands held. Though it failed to spill its contents, the chest was now damaged enough for Maslorias to lift the lid from afar with his spell, which proved to be a mistake. Flame exploded from the chest filling the room and sending burning rats fleeing. Domhmal was quick enough to dive flat and avoid the inferno, but Maslorias and Bros were not so lucky. Adding insult to injury, something bellowed from the east. Domhnal and Bros tried to hide, while Maslorias opted to remain in the open but keep the high ground of a small ledge. Shortly thereafter, a giant troll leading a cave lion by a leash lumbered into view. Questioning his choice to remain in the open, Maslorias hurled a sling stone at the foes and readied his staff. The troll set his cave lion on Maslorias, who with managed to keep it at bay briefly with his long reach. With the troll’s attention focused on the Pictish warlock, Bros was able to attack it unawares and deal a massive blow with his axe while Domhnal loaded his crossbow from the safety of a crevice. Foiled in it’s first attack, the cave lion made a leaping attack at Maslorias. Deftly batting the beast’s claw aside, the Pict delivered a devastating riposte, crushing the cave lion’s skull. The big Kimmerian and the troll traded blows, but the mercenary came out ahead. His axe took huge bites our the troll’s massive tree trunk club while the troll was unable to land a blow. Domhnal’s first shot ricocheted off the wall at Maslorias who was lucky enough to bat it aside with his staff. Maslorias joined the fight with the troll, and with it’s attention divided, Bros was soon able to take its head. When silence fell over the cavern, the group tended their burns and were glad to have escaped that battle alive. Amazingly, perhaps, a large number of odd, triangular silver coins survived the chest’s explosion. Believing them cursed, Domhnal refused to take any, so they were split between the other two adventurers.

The group followed the path east into the troll’s chamber and found a giant thrown and a few gems. Two possible paths south were blocked with wooden barricades, while an ancient wooden bridge, water reflecting torchlight below, crossed a chasm to the north. The slightly built Domhnal crossed the bridge and strung a fresh rope across the chasm. Another barricade, this one made of finished wood blocked another path. While Domhnal and Maslorias were examining the chamber beyond the bridge, Bros broke through a barrier to the south. That done a loud whistle rang out echoed from beyond the barrier in front of the Pict. Bros crossed the bridge, breaking it in the process, to join the others. They proceeded to dig through the barricade and explored the tunnels beyond. The halls were seemingly empty. Domhnal proceeded one way through a partially flooded hall while the others investigated a strangely still, curtain lined chamber full of household detritus. As Bros exited the chamber to the south Maslorias checked behind a curtain. Suddenly, a man sized creature and numerous smaller being appeared out of nowhere. The large one, demanded Maslorias drop his staff and surrender. Being surrounded, he refused, but took up a non-threatening posture and offered to leave the area. Bros likewise, refused to disarm himself and diplomacy soon failed. In the other hallway, Domhnal spotted one of the smaller creatures and retreated the way he came. In the chamber, Maslorias was swamped and barely able to defend himself, while Bros had more success with wrestling the tiny beasties to the south. The larger enemy then cast a spell putting the Pict into captive slumber as Domhnal entered the fray. The battle continued with Domhnal making some progress in dropping the lesser minions and shrugging off another of spell from the larger foe, but his second cestus broke. Bros continued to grapple in the south while Maslorias standing insensate.

To be continued…


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