26th of Kythorn of the year 1492

With the disdainful toss of Vladimir across the lake, the giant skeleton stood up and approached the rest of the characters.  The 25-foot-tall giant already seemed a bit worse for wear and did not seem to be up to its full power which allowed the party to slowly grind it down and kill it.  Every hit from it was heavy and rarely missed.  It was one of the toughest individual opponents they have had yet.

Bone Giant Skeleton

Searching the rest of the cave proved to be very fruitful for collecting coin and several letters that provided some surprising information.  ISAC walked into the lake to see if he could find anything buried and found that the entire lake bottom was covered in bones, orc, goblin, ogre, and other types that he could not identify.

First Letter from Albaeri

Second Letter from Albaeri

Letter from Ilmeth

Coded Letter Front Page

Coded Letter Back Page

The letters from Albaeri and Ilmeth provided a little more information, and the coded letters were just stashed away to be dealt with later which both ISAC and Yllanys was able to identify as a simple substitution cypher. Yllanys took his time and identified the axe to see what it is was capable of. Vladimir was happy to have another two-handed weapon.  The Dwarven great axe proved to be magical and improved his bearing in some way, with his voice deepened, and more confident. The length of their stay was long enough for everyone to take additional necrotic damage from some unknown source.

Dwarven Axe Sanngriðr

While chatting with each other, Vladimir realized that they had not seen that many bandits in one location, and usually the only bleeding eye bandit had been one or two, and usually the leaders.  This was nearly 30 bleeding eye bandit all in one place that was only a couple of hours away from Red Larch. Not wanting to stay in a cave that continued to cause damage they camped outside and out of range of whatever was the cause and took a short rest.  Since they were close to where they thought a bandit hideout existed, they started the trek to the next location.

The travel was uneventful although dark clouds above them started giving them warnings that rain might be immanent.  Arriving a little distance away, they had Fwoosh and Dancer start investigating neat the cave entrance.  Starting at about 50 feet away, they found large splashes of blood all over the ground and on the trees around them.  They could see some remnants of clothing, broken pickaxes, and shredded coin purses with the coin scatter on the ground.  There were several drag marks from the blood pools to the cave. Going back to party and explained what they found, Angelica was horrified as her worries about those Dwarf miners had probably proved to be true.  They had told them about the ambush, and the Dwarves had followed that trail and met something that was hostile here.

Fwoosh using his magical dagger Reszur to turn invisible, he snuck back to the cave attempting to avoid the blood as much as possible.  Getting to the entrance, he was almost overwhelmed with the musty smell coming from the cave. It was something funky and nasty at the same time. The bloody trail of what he assumed to be dragged bodies further into the cave. Just passed the entrance to the left was an old circus wagon with what appeared to be piles of stinky fur with arrows sticking out of it. Sneaking further into the cave while moving more slowly to try and not alert anything that might be inside.

As he approached a curve in the cave corridor the blood and drag marks continued further in.  As he moved in further, a kicked a small rock that cracked against the wall.  As he stopped and listened, he could hear some humphing noise that was moving quickly toward him. He moved to the side of the wall while two large owlbears came running down the corridor sniffing and looking for intruders.  One ran past him, but the second one stopped and started swiping near Fwoosh.  It seems that he had been found through the superior senses of the owlbear.

Taking damage and running outside, Fwoosh fled while the owlbear screeched quite loudly alert the rest of the party to maybe save Fwoosh.  Through the confusion of battle between the owlbears, their children that ran out of the cave shortly afterwards, and the party, Fwoosh was knocked unconscious while still invisible.  The party managed to kill the two large owlbears and all the children with some difficulty, most of the party was knocked unconscious as well, but were easily seen since they were still visible. The party split, with some going into the cave to find Fwoosh while others tended to the wounded and Yllanys started practicing his skinning techniques on all the owlbears.

Great Horned Owlbear

Young Owlbear

Owlbear Cub

Inside the cave, they found all the miner Dwarves.  They had been killed, mangled, and most of the piled up in one of the cave rooms appearing to be the one where all the younger owlbears resided. They also found three dead merchants.  Angelica was able to determine that they had died of dehydration almost two weeks ago.  Just a few days after they had been ambushed by the bandits that had presumably come from there.  Meaning that if they had come to the hideout right away, they could have saved them.  Dancer was excited about the heavy chest that was there as well.  It contained coin, some potions, and a collar, which proved to be magical.  He was quick to put it on and start attuning to gain the benefits from it as soon as possible.

Collar of Swiftness

Since it was late enough in the day, they decided to camp near by the cave assuming that the owlbears would have chased any predators away.  While sitting around the camp the group brought out the coded message and began working on trying to solve it.  It was just a simple substitution cypher, and it did not take too long to complete.

Solved Coded Letter Front Page

Solved Coded Letter Back Page

With the letter decoded, many more things seem clear to the group.  Vladimir did not look embarrassed at all about touching the hand in the last cave either. Yllanys cooked a wonderful meal with the owlbear meat, and the party was correct, in that nothing bothered them during any of the watches.

27th of Kythorn of the year 1492

With the morning started and a somewhat fresh meal using more owlbear meat, the party decided to continue south to visit the last location on their map for possible bandit locations. Their fear about the weather proved to be true and they were pounded by rain the entire day until they decided to stop for the night.

And this is where the session ended.