11th of Mirtul of the year 1492
Everything started where it ended, in a dark, dank tunnel that led to who knows where with the some of the dead remains of the Ankheg inside while most of the party was covered in the grisly acidic remains of it after it self-exploded.
Hurt, lacking sleep, and after the slight excitement of the second watch, the party worked out the remainder of the watch schedules and attempted to complete their nightly watch. Avery being severely wounded, decided to skip the fourth watch leaving the party all sleeping and resting without worrying about any possible danger that might approach. Sleeping the sleep of the uncaring, the completed their rest not knowing if they were spied upon or not.
12th of Mirtul of the year 1492
In the morning, it was evident that Avery had a difficult time sleeping and had dream that disturbed him. Perhaps almost becoming a snack after dinner last night fueled his dreams. It seemed that he dreamed of the element of water, He seemed very disgruntled and unwilling to talk about what was in his dream. Fogo eventually convinced him to at least talk about if anything was said in the dream.
“I have always been, I will always be. I will erode and cover all. There shall not be any breath but my watery death”.
They discussed where the source of these dreams might be and Avery was quick to blame the gold statue, while Fogo suggested finding additional information, perhaps from some Drow. Avery was quick to argue against it due to his guessing that they are probably evil given their reputation, but he could not confirm anything since he has not experienced any interactions with the Drow as of this time.
The discussion then was around the exit of the ankheg hole. Not knowing where it might go, or even how far, they agreed to not delve into the hole due to not wanting running into more of the ankhegs, especially if they were anywhere near the main nest. It was decided that running away from the unknown hole was better than diving into the darkness. Packing up the camp they headed south searching for indications of bandit.
After a few hours of walking south, they eventually were able to find some wagon tracks that went to the west to the Long Road, and to the south. It was noticeable that some of the wagon tracks were visibly deeper than the others. Sniffing down some horse dung, ISAC was able to determine that some horses had passed here over a week ago. They did remember that there were some Ammakyl wagons missing, and perhaps these might be related to those.
As they continued south, they could start to see some dark green vegetation that began to fill the landscape ahead of them. As they approached the foliage, they could smell the fetid rotting smell that reminded them of the Stump Bog in Rassalantar. The trail from the wagon wheels led directly into the swamp. The area head of them was dark and did not look very welcoming. While not dark enough to require them to light up the torches, it was dark enough to limit visibility and add to the spookiness of the trail ahead.
The weather has remained hot and still, but as they approached it was much more humid and stickier in the swamp area. The sounds of insects and other small creatures’ noises could be heard, none of which anyone was able to identify.
Remarkably, Sky was able to find the tracks. All of them were in pools of algae covered disgusting water. The tracks did not lead in a straight line but meandered around in seemingly random directions. Checking some of the turns, the found that the path not travelled was treacherous and had much deeper than pools of water and mud. The path the wagon followed was avoiding these hazards.
They used some rope to connect all themselves together to attempt to provide some additional safety while traveling the questionable path. With a lot of luck, Sky was able to continue to be able to follow the tracks. Several hours into the foray, Angelica slipped and fell into a sinkhole. She was able to keep a hold of the rope, and with some effort and assistance from the rest of the party they were able to get her out of the mud that was pulling her down. Covered in disguising stinking mud, Angelica was free but had difficulty moving forward and found that moving was more difficult than previously.
A heavy mist dropped on them and slowed down their ability to travel even more than previously. It took about an hour for it to fade enough for them to get back to their more normal slow rate of travel. After a couple of more hours of traveling they were now surprised by a Vine Blight that sprung up its vines and trapped half the party. By summing his wildfire, Fogo was able to teleport a few of his team members to safety out from the vines. It did not take long for them to kill it and move on to their destination.
While it seemed to take days, it was only about a six-hour trip for them to finally reach an opening in the swamp. Ahead of them was a small, ruined fortification. This was not the end of the swamp, but just a wide clearing where the Ruined Moathouse sat.
Sending Fwoosh forward sneaking forward, he approached the Moathouse. As he came closer passing several pools of water and find one ahead that had a pair of giant frogs within. They had not seen him, and he was able to creep past them without being detected. This allowed him to sneak all the way over the broken drawbridge and to the gate. Looking into the courtyard, it seemed abandoned except for the flickering of shadows at the far doors on the other side of the courtyard, but nothing specific was able to be discerned.
Due to evening having arrived, the group decided to sleep for the evening and attempt their entrance the next day into the Moathouse. Using their standard watches, the night proved to be uneventful and nothing besides a multitude of mosquitos bothered them. As the night dragged on, the heat seemed to have fled. A coolness, even coldness started filling the air. The weather had once again changed, this time for an opposite extreme.
13th of Mirtul of the year 1492
With everyone getting up and rested they could see all their breaths in the air, except ISAC. He seemed to the the only one without a breath plume. The party was surprised, and all looked for an answer, but he left them guessing and refused to elaborate.
Skirting the edge of the trail approaching the moathouse they avoided the slumbering frogs and started crossing the shattered drawbridge. All except Avery, ISAC, and Fogo were able to make it across without mishap, but those three stuck their legs through and suffered minor injuries.
Once across they started setting themselves up on the other side. Vladimir was able to determine that the fortifications were Dwarven from over 400 years ago. While examining the courtyard, Sky noticed that there were many peepholes in the walls from the rooms behind the walls. The peepholes were hidden in different decorations and motifs on the walls.
Knowing that any surprise they might have had was gone. Approaching the doors, they went through excepting some sort of ambush, but there was nothing but the decrepit hall behind the doors. They went down one of the hallways checking the doors one by one finally getting to the end of the hall and a pair of double doors. Vladimir opened them to see an old destroyed barracks with a large lizard inside. The lizard who had been sleeping had been awakened by all the banging and bashing of doors. With a roar it charged Vladimir and smashed the double doors.
Reacting the new combat, the party moved into place to support Vladimir. While everyone was focused forward and engaging the giant lizard, a door at the other end of the great hall opened, and a large group of bandits came out shooting their crossbows as they ran toward the party.
It did not take long to finish off the lizard and the bandits did not prove to be too much of an issue. But the bandit captain was a different story. He was able to hold off the entire party and even knock several members unconscious. The only unusual event was that when Sky fell after being beaten severely disappeared in a puff of smoke leaving all his clothes and weapons behind and reappeared 15 feet away stark naked and feeling a bit surprised but alive.
With a lot of effort, the party was able to finally take down the captain. Checking all the bodies and treasure, ISAC found an interesting tattoo on the chest of the captain. A tattoo scribed right over his heart.
When this was revealed to Avery, it upset Avery more than anyone else had seen previously. Taking a blade, he started chopping the dead body until there was nothing, but a heavily mutilated body left.
He was also carrying a red coin with the Drow symbol of water.
Everyone moved into the abandoned bandit room finding a secret door with a ladder leading down as well as a chest full of minor treasure that they collected. Deciding that it was a good opportunity to rest in the mostly secured room.
The ankheg left a lasting impression, and they finally got to the Ruined Moathouse. Avery found something from his past, the group found another elemental symbol. They have the rest of the ground floor to explore, and whatever is waiting for them below ground.