The Devourer Awakens

A Close-up of a Time Knot

The group discusses their options before leaving the safety of the shrine. Zeekali opts to go scouting for the children, since the group needs to find out who those kids are and what bearing they have on the mystery. The others decide to go into town to learn what they can and maybe try to find a way to save the town.

Zeekali heads off in the direction of the town. The group had discovered there seems to be a bubble that covers the town and it protects anyone inside it from the predatory animals and the spiders and the undead. Zeek gets inside the bubble and beginning on the eastern side of town, heads south to circle around the town looking for any farms or buildings nearby that might have children. It is a rather dull trip, but finally when Zeek reaches the northern end of town (it takes him a bit to get up there), Zeek notices a distinctively used-looking wide trail heading into the woods. He hesitates a moment, eyeballing the bubble’s edge and trying to decide if it is a smart move. Finally with a shrug, Zeek sets off along the path figuring he would rather report back that he found children than report back that he found a path that MIGHT lead to somewhere. He travels along the road for sometime before realizing he might have wanted to let someone know where he was going…

Meanwhile…

The others go into town. Tahir and Kaeth go again to the town square and approach th elders. Saori and Saul head off to speak with a few people about who might have carved those beautiful figures. After speaking with several people, they learn that a man named Lerrik has a son who is the one who does the best carving in town. They are told Lerrik is in the main hall helping with the set up. They go in and speak with Lerrik only to learn that Lerrik’s son and his daughter both carve, but his daughter is very young still. Saul quietly eyes the bag containing the figures hoping for a glimpse of magic. He does not see any.

The town quickly finishes setting up the final touches of the festival and as things just start to get underway, a group of 6 adventurers comes into town. All human and obviously well traveled, they are greeted by the same elder in the same spot as the main group had been the night before. The other group is made up of 5 men and a woman. One of the men is stunningly beautiful. His facial features are delicately formed and his hair is a long black silk curtain that is held back with silver clips. His warm brown eyes seem to always have a smile in them. His mannerisms are graceful, his hands slender and delicate. His clothing, a white loose shirt and tight black leather pants, is designed to set up his perfect physique, wide shoulders with a narrow waist and hips. His name is Mikhael, the group soon discovers. Dantal: a large burly man in heavy armor with short blunt-cut graying brown hair who is quiet with cautious grey eyes that survey everything closely; Silas: a tall rangy fellow with overgrown brown hair wearing very worn leather armor and a brown and green patterned cloak and carrying a bow; Victoria: the lone female of the group who is short with honey blonde hair and ice-cold hazel eyes. She is voluptuously formed and wears a light travel skirt and a very light weight cotton blouse. Lawrence: a medium sized man with a shaggy brown hair and startlingly silver eyes. He wears a robe over chainmail armor with a brilliantly gleaming holy symbol of Sehanine prominently displayed at the collar. Rico: a short thin fidgety man with spiked black hair and brown eyes. He wears light leather armor and a dark mottled green cloak. He carries a variety of bags and pouches on his belt as well and a multitude of daggers. Our group soon learns that this other group is from about 150 years in the past… which would be 50 years after the fall of this town.

The groups decide to work together and they soon learn thru various means several things:

1. The children do not come to the final night of the festival because there was a prophecy about something bad happening during the last night of the festival. So it has become tradition to leave the children at home.

2. If something bad were to happen, everyone in the village, even the children, knows to go to the dwarven town in the mountains to the east. While it is a bit of a journey, it would be safer than staying.

3. Silas knows of a place that used to be a site of evil worship to the southeast. It is a bit out of the way if you are heading to the dwarven town, but he thinks it might be the best place to investigate as a source of the evil cloud.

Meanwhile….

Zeekali, after some time of walking, comes upon an old farmstead. The barn is in noticeable disrepair, but the thing that stands out about the farmstead is that it is in excellent condition especially since it supposedly hasn’t been used in 200 years. The fields have very few weeds growing in them and the fenced in yard in front of the house is in order. The house itself is made of wood. The roof is still in excellent condition and the windows to the house have not been broken. Zeekali fails to notice a minor trap set, but does manage to evade the small arrow that shot out at him. Once he gets inside, he sees that the furniture, though dusty is is excellent condition as well… none of the fabric is disturbed by time. Zeek spends a good deal of time exploring the house. Zeek takes notice of several interesting facts about the house other than its obvious lack of decay.

1. The dining room table has a heavy wooden table and 6 chairs, each of which has a bird prominently displayed on the back.

2. Each of the bedrooms has carvings of various nature items vine work, ivy, grapes, trees, streams and such around the outside of the door jamb.

After much searching, prodding and pushing, Zeek finally discovers a secret tunnel that opens if you tip the very heavy wooden dining room table along the southern edge. Zeeks goes down there and slowly becomes aware that time has passed and he begins to feel a sense of urgency. He finds a secret room with 2 backpacks in it. He takes some of the more useful items from the backpacks.

He heads down a tunnel that is in the eastern wall. He begins to run hoping to make it back before the green cloud descends…

Meanwhile…

The others have joined forces with the new group; they have decided to try saving at least one person. The green cloud is getting closer now and so they have one shot at it. They decide to save the tavernkeeper, the one who is holding the story telling contest. They concoct a story about a tree that looked like it was going to fall on her roof and lured her out with stories of an impending storm. The tavernkeeper steps outside to keep people inside from panicking. As soon as she gets outside alongside the building, Kaeth and Tahir throw a bag over her head and and Kaeth picks her up and they all start running for the path. The cloud is almost upon them.

They get outside of the bubble and the tavernkeeper vanishes. So does the other group. Kaeth acts like he is gently setting the tavernkeeper on the ground (since he is unsure if she is still on his shoulder or if she somehow was never there to begin with?) then they all take off running to the shrine. Zeekali pops out from a tree along the path to the shrine just as everyone runs by. One of the people tries to grab him, but he ducks back into his hole before realizing it is his friends. Zeek follows everyone to the shrine.

At the shrine once again, the noise is not heard from the village this night. In the morning, after the ghostly children visit the shrine and leave, the characters search the pool area for anything that might have been left behind by the other group. They find a note signed by Rico.

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Of Festivals and Horrors

Zeekali picks up Olga’s Holy Symbol and one of Garret’s socks. Night falls and the party spends time resting and relaxing. Supplied and rested, the party heads down the mountain for Port Liston. After nine days of uneventful travel down a winding path, the party runs into a forest. After some discussion they decide to go through the dense forest, also to avoid the Ruins where the ghosts of the people who once lived there seem to come alive at night.

Cutting through the forest however became more of a challenge then anyone knew. The party first was forced to circumvent a large apparent nest of spiders. They didn’t see any spiders but between the draped spiderwebs that covered the tree tops, and the halfling that was nearly caught in one, everyone got the idea to avoid that area.

Later that day, as the party started to make their trek eastward again, they were attacked by squirrels, porcupines and deer. The animals had blackened and bloody eyes, with a taint that couldn’t be explained. As the adventurers fend off the local wild life, the dead began to rise out of the ground. As Tahir rushes ahead to turn them, Saori and Zeekali clamors up a tree only to discover that they were being surrounded by the spiders that the others had hoped to avoid. Saori sends out an eldritch blast in panic as everyone retreats.

Running blindly, the party enters a clearing that leads to a town. They are immediately greeted by Elias and he explains that there is a festive event in the town of Arbolville. Realizing that this was the place that was described as the ‘Ghost Town’, they discover through various means that this was 203 years in the past. The party splits up to investigate:

Zeekali goes to the bar where he joins in a Bardic Competition.

Tahir and Kaeth talks Elias and investigates a path heading out of the town to a shrine.

Saori and Saul goes to the Main Hall to mingle with dancers.

In various ways Everyone hears about the origin of the festival. During the festival a sickly cloud appears with shadowy properties. Choosing to head out of town by the pathway that was discovered by Kaeth and Tahir they make their way to a shrine. The shrine is a pool of water in perpetual autumn, and is the sacred ground of Sehanine. The halfling scrambles up a tree to watch while the others just listen to the destruction of Arbolville. The cloud envelops the town as the sickly shadows droop down, raining destruction upon the inhabitants. Shorlty afterward three children appear in the shrine, with a fourth flickering in and out of existence. After walking up to the lake the four disappear. One of them, who was carrying a doll, left it a moonrock, and the doll remained after the children disappeared. With nothing more to do, the party rests in peace.

In the light of day, the party walks back to the town. It is in ruins and the forest had long since reclaimed it. Searching through, the party finds a string of wooden birds that represented the gypsy magics, except for one. Closer examination showed that the rope was purposefully cut, and if the Falcon piece was on there, then it would create a circle. After searching through the ruins they could not find the missing piece.

Going back to the shrine, Kaeth figures that this was going to be the last night of the new moon, which is when the ceremony was for the festival, which was used to protect the townsfolk from the shadows. The plan for the next night was as follows:

Find the Children, because there were none in the town when the group first came. Find either the complete group of figurines or the missing piece if the circle was already broken. Find out about the shrine’s origin and find out if the gypsy order still exists.

Standing upon the tree, where he rested the night before, Zeekali helps to discover that the 16 moonrocks that bordered the lake actually are in the pattern of the cardinal directions (N,S,E,W and the variations). The doll that is on the rock is facing east away from the city.

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Into the well

The journey into the well and down the tunnel is slow due to the low ceiling height. After a time, the hallway gets higher so the group can actually stand upright. About this time, they come across a trap and some goblin archers. They deal with the trap and fight off the goblins.

The group follows the winding passages to an extremely large cavern. The floor evened out and is now dirt covered stones. Crumbled pillars lay in a row leads to a raised dais with an archway to nowhere that stands 40 feet high and is 20 feet wide. Garret along with a male Eladrin, a female tiefling, a male human, a female dark elf and a male elf. The male elf both Saori and Keath recognize as their father, Gilthanis Neltanas. Garret has opened some kind of portal and the group sees them carry Olga through the portal. Watching carefully, a couple of the group notices a sign barely visible through the portal: Welcome to Port Liston!

The group starts forward to try to stop the others but Garret shouts a word that seems to activate some kind of defense. Ice covers the floor and 6 skeletons rise up and confront the group. While the group deals the with skeletons and tries to cross the ice covered floor, the other group escapes through and closes the portal.

Once they have dealt with the ice skeletons, the group goes to investigate the portal. Saori and Saul get into a deep discussion about how to work the portal. They conclude there is some kind of key necessary to get through it, but they cannot say what it is.

The group now has the sad task of returning to tell Duroth that Olga has been taken. Once they have done so, they decide that Grol will stay at the Inn with Duroth, Opal and Narin, and Saul will go with them down the mountain to Port Liston to look for Olga.

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Arrival at Inn at the Top of the Mountain
The Characters find a common goal. Where will it lead them?

Rinai wakes early and sets out before any of them. As the group packs up, they all realize they are heading in the same direction. They start the long walk up the mountain pass following Rinai’s visible footsteps. About an hour into the journey, her footsteps simply vanish. There are no other tracks, no signs of a struggle. Baffled, the group spends a bit of time hunting around trying to find out what happened to Rinai. Finding no additional tracks anywhere along the path or further out, the group finally has to continue on and allow the mystery of Rinai to remain unsolved.

The group continues up the mountain for 6 days. The slope is steep and the air gets thinner as they travel up. On the 6th day about mid-afternoon, the group crests the mountain and follows a winding trail for about a mile. This part of the road is flat and surrounded by large boulders. Around a sharp bend in the road, the area opens into a courtyard surrounded by a couple of massive buildings. Overhead is a stone shelf that acts as an overhang for the buildings. Built of heavy stone, the entire courtyard is big enough to fit 2-3 caravans of animals and wagons. Outside of the building along the eastern side under the shelf are a series of heavy stone troughs. Also along the southern wall under the overhang is another series of troughs. In the center are 4 wells which all have stone covers on them. The building along the northern wall is a two story sturdy stone structure. It has a single person sized door. The eastern building is a single story and has a set of double doors that go almost to the roof. On the southern wall is a small single story building about 15’X25’.

The weary group heads towards the large two story building along the northern wall. As they enter, two massive fireplaces that are large enough to cook oxen in have roaring fires going. One of them has a large stew cauldron hanging over it. A large table is sitting in front of it with 10 chairs. The other fireplace has a seating arrangement situated in front of it with two large loungers and multiple upholstered chairs covered in a dark burgundy cloth. There are four huge massive bear-skin rugs laid out in front the fireplace itself. There are other tables and seating scattered around the room. Along the southeastern area of the room is a gleaming wooden bar. A dwarf with a big bushy brown beard and deep inset eyes peers at them from behind the bar.

Introductions are made. The innkeeper, Duroth, welcomes the group and gets them set up with rooms. The rooms have a magical security system involving large coin like objects that they insert into a circular indention in the door to open it. Duroth calls out for Grol to get the bathtubs for the guests and to get bath water. Grol is an half-orge with an almost childlike mentality.

Before settling into his room for a bath, Kaeth heads into the barn to ask the stablehands if they remember anything about a traveler that might have passed through here recently. In the stable he finds a young dwarf and a teenage human. Narin and Saul are playing a game of dice. They scramble up as Kaeth enters and answer his questions about a elf that might have passed by this way. Saul remembers him well. He left his horse here because it was lame. He indicates the horse then watches as Kaeth check it out. Satisfied that there are not any clues to be found on the horse, Kaeth heads back into the inn and gets a bath.

Everyone eventually makes their way downstairs for the evening meal. There is a table sitting near the cauldron with bread and cheese. The dwarves are sitting around their table. Saul and Grol are sitting a small table not far from the dwarves eating in a companionable silence. The group gets food and gathers around another table to enjoy a simple but filling meal of meat stew with crusty bread and cheese.

The dwarves chatter amongst themselves. Sitting at the table are Duroth, Olga Duroth’s wife, Narin the youngest son, Garret the oldest son, and Opal Duroth’s only daughter. About twenty minutes into the meal a heated argument begins between Garret and Duroth. It escalates into a yelling fight between the two men before Olga steps in and cuts them off. She angrily sends Garret to his room and once he is gone, she berates Duroth for getting into the argument. They both end up stalking away, Olga to the kitchen and Duroth to the other end of the room. Narin and Opal engage the group in conversation, explaining that it was an ongoing argument between their father their oldest brother. As everyone is finishing their food, there is a scream from the kitchen.

Everyone gets up to rush towards the kitchen. Kaeth grabs a barstool as he rushes in first. He sees three goblins standing in front of a door with a fourth one closing it. The goblin in front spots Kaeth and brandishes his small shield and waves his sword menacingly. Behind Kaeth from across the dining room he can hear the anguished yell from Duroth. “Olga!!! I am coming.” Duroth is rushing towards the kitchen brandishing a sword like someone who has never held one. Tahir is right behind Kaeth as is Saul, Grol and Saori. Zeekalir heads towards the front door of the inn, easing it open to check outside.

The goblin closing the door turns and sees Kaeth standing there and panics. He squeals in terror. Saul got a sleep spell off, affecting the two goblins in the back. Saori blasts one with a bolt of eldritch energy. Kaeth closes with the final one and smacks it with the chair. The battle is over quickly. Duroth rushes into room and panics since he cannot find Olga. As the group stands around talking about the next course of action, Opal shouts from the dining room. “I got some of your stuff…” Meanwhile, Zeekali has seen that the courtyard is swarming with goblins and he closes the door and brings the heavy metal bar down.

Opal brings in Kaeth’s armor and spear. Zeekali decides to go scout a bit and Narin offers to lead him through the secret tunnels underneath to the various areas. Zeekali first checks the stables and finds there are goblins moving down the aisle towards the blacksmith area furthest away from the inn. He goes back down into the tunnels and Narin takes him to the blacksmith secret door. There Zeekali and Narin hear Garret’s voice communicating to the goblins.

Meanwhile, the others step outside the door and engage the goblins there. Several goblins are in process of trying to set fire to the woodpiles outside. Others are watching the door. Grol knocks a goblin into the well. Saori deals with the fire wielding goblins. Saul works on the archers while Kaeth closes with a couple of goblins and Tahir follows him and uses some of his divine magic to devastating effect. Kaeth gets minorly injured during the fight causing Tahir to call upon his deity for healing. After the fight ends and everyone regroups, Zeekali returns and gives everyone the grim news.

The group attempts to go through the stables, but they find the way blocked by fire. They release the horses, then step out into the courtyard. They approach the smithy from the front and when they go in, no one is there. The goblins have vanished and so has Garret. The group finally notices that the well on this side is open and it is dry. There is a tunnel at the bottom of the well, leading south.

They decide to check the small store next to the smithy to make sure there are not any more goblins lurking around. They do not find any more goblins but the store has been ransacked, so while the group searches for useful items there, Saori goes and gathers their items from their rooms. Saul opens a secret room and they find various minor magicked items in there.

They decide Grol will stay and guard Duroth, Narin and Opal. Saul decides to go with the group and help out. Saul goes and collects his items.

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At a campsite
The Characters are meeting for the first time: what will become of them?

The halfling reaches the campsite at the base of the mountain pass leading over the GEM mountains. He starts to hunt around the campsite for twigs and sticks to build a fire. While he is tired from the long journey that has gotten him this far, he is still cheerful and happy-go-lucky.

Meanwhile, two more weary travelers reach the site. They choose a more secluded camp spot and begin to set up. The young half-elven female begins unpacking, while the youthful elven male begins setting up snares further out from the camp to catch a rabbit. It is the start of spring, so game is scarce but available if you know what to look for. The rabbit is caught and prepped in a short time then as the young woman begins to prepare dinner, the male begins to set up the tents.

A teenage human male comes along the path. Seeing the elven male struggling alone with the tents, he offers to help. The elf is initially going to refuse, but his traveling companion overrides him. Proclaiming that she has food to offer in exchange for his help, the half elven female begins to organize the camp.

Hearing the ruckus over at the other camp and overhearing mention of the food, the halfling gives up his struggles with his own camp and bounds over to the other. Proclaiming he has ale to go with meal, he joins the other travelers for a simple meal.

Introductions are made all around. Kaeth Neltanas is the youthful male elf. He has a somewhat serious personality and glowers balefully at the human male. Saori is the young female half-elf. She is pragmatic and quite a beauty. Zeekali Coinspinner is the halfling male. With an ever cheerful, not to mention, mildly annoying personality, he is constantly enjoying the fun and games of travel. Tahir Dawnbringer is the human teenager. He is extremely tall and lanky.

As they sit an eat, another traveler appears down the road. She is a tall human female of about 35 years with a thick scar that cuts from the inside of her right brow down to her jawline. The group invites her to share their meal with them. She gratefully accepts and sits and listens to Zeekali tell stories. She introduces herself as Rinai. She has one visibly magical item: her cloak which she laid on the ground as a blanket, melts the nearby snow and dries the ground under and around it, so it is more comfortable for her to sleep. The group finally sleeps, getting a good rest for the journey the next day.

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