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15th of Kythorn of the year 1492
After getting the messenger birds sent out the group packed up their camp and began the trip to where they had seen the shallow graves. Exiting the Sighing Valley, they slowly made their way around the foothills of the Sumber Hills. It was near dark when they finally got to their destination for this day. Deciding to set up camp near the graves, their travels for the day were over.
As they arrived, Vladimir received a message from Banmin Glehuruhr via magic in his head.
“Received message – already requested troops to ruined Moathouse – no more can be sent – Koganusân is too far away to help – you are on your own.”
Relaying the information to the party, Angelica was able to identify the word as Dwarvish which contained the word fort in it. Understanding he could reply, Vladimir said out loud to reply.
“Thank you. We may have survivors and even a wagon that could meet us may help if possible. Also, what is Koganooson?”
Fogo continued his excellent cooking for the party while everyone huddled around the fire until it was time to go to sleep and start the watches. Before heading to bed, they discussed what they had learned or figured out about the Feathergale Knights. While strange, they seemed to be nice except for a priest that as there. The interesting point was that all of them seemed to have some sort of connection to the concept of air. It was not clear if they were part of the air cult, but minimally they might be influenced by the air cult. Vladimir also noted that they had not seen the air symbol anywhere in the Spire either.
Fogo made it clear that by not warning them before jumping off the Spire had frightened all the party that had not gone in with the rest. Fwoosh excitedly talked about how the knights also seemed to have Kenkus in their ranks. He had not seen any is almost ten years when he was kidnapped. They started strategizing on how they should handle the upcoming earth monastery encounter, but they were all concerned with it.
The watches passed uneventfully, until Fwoosh was on watch. While looking up at the sky, he saw the silhouette of a large bird fly by. Judging by how the stars were blocked by the size of the bird, Fwoosh estimated that it had a wingspan of at least 50 feet.
16th of Kythorn of the year 1492
First thing in the morning, Vladimir received another message from Banmin.
“Koganusân is our city in Dessarin Hills – about a ten-day from Red Larch – it would be at least 20 days before they could there”
“Okay sounds good thank you for the information. We’ll be headed in shortly to the earth temple. Please let us know if there is anything”
It seems that both were not able to properly count to 25, the maximum size of the message. While Vladimir was communicating with the Dwarven priest, Fwoosh was telling his story about the large bird. Both Avery and Fogo were able to possibly identify the large bird as a Roc, and that it was most likely a young one. Since they can fly over 100 miles in a day, it could have come from any of the hills or mountains nearby, and that its favorite meal consists of young dragons.
Getting the camp packed up again, they headed to the north in search of the earth monastery. Their path continued north. Fog left a huge “x” on the ground in the hopes that if the Dwarves sent someone, they would be able to find them. Their path continued and after passing a couple of box canyons. The trail narrowed preventing them from bringing the wagon with them. After find the best sheltered space they could, they continued. Eventually the trail narrowed to only about five feet, had a sharp turn which led to another large box canyon where they could see a large stone building in the middle of the canyon.
Keeping back to not be seen, the party hunkered down and started trying to plan on how to best do some reconnaissance. They agreed with the plan that Fwoosh would go up invisible, sneak around, and try to figure out what they were facing. Going around clockwise looking into all the windows and trying all the doors he was able to get a fairly good idea of what the monastery was like and what might be in it. From the number of beds and monks he could see, he estimated there might be as many as 50 earth cultists in the building. The only interesting area was a tall stone wall that was different than the rest, and whatever was there, also did not have a roof. There was also an entire side of the monastery that did not have any windows preventing him from seeing what might be there.
Heading back and updating the group, they had concerns about the entire endeavor. He explained that the people in the monastery were organized and fully equipped. This was nothing like the Moathouse. This was a fully functional facility. This all led to a lot more discussions around how to best approach in which they finally decided to have Dancer and Fwoosh go back at night to see if they can find an entrance they could sneak in and get more information. They settled down until dark before he headed out.
Slowly moving around stealthily and hiding every 50 feet or so, they saw something moving near the monastery walls. Looking closely, they could see six figures moving around. These people were not stumbling in the dark and were looking around very carefully as if looking for intruders. They were short, had beards, and were heavily armed. One odd behavior was that they seemed to avoid the light from the windows and made sure they did not look into the lights at any time. The two made them around until they were near the stone wall, and then waited in hiding. It only took about ten minutes before the six guards came around. They could be seen checking the doors and then moved on.
Moving quickly to the wall, Dancer easily climb the wall and revealed that on the other side was some sort of garden. There were several statues and a fair amount of greenery including several trees. He was able to see several doors leading into the monastery from the wall’s edge. Deciding that coming back to let the party know what they found, they headed back and updated them all. Many plans were created and thrown away. Because of Angelica still slightly exhaustion and wanting to get a better idea of the guard situation, the group backed up to where their cart was and set up camp.
While the rest were putting the camp up, Dancer got a little closer to watch the monastery. He was not able to determine if the six guards were ever replaced, but they continued their rounds taking 15 to 20 minutes per lap which continued until it was about an hour before the start of sunrise. They were no longer seen as soon as the glow of the sun could be seen at the edge of the horizon.
17th of Kythorn of the year 1492
With morning came another Fogo cooked breakfast and the rest were a slow-moving group. Dancer was looking forward to getting a good sleep and only managed a cat nap when some visitors came by. Coming from the monastery, a group of seven arrived at their camp. The party moved forward to meet them.
“Who is there?”
“Umm, we are here, hi.”
“Hi there travelers, we did not expect to see anyone out here.”
“Neither were we, because it is a one-way canyon.”
“So, there is no way out?”
“Maybe you guys can help us then. We are trying to get to Belard… Beliard?”
“You are not going to get there from anywhere here unless you catch a boat. You will have all the way around to the Long Road and back.”
“Can someone pull out the map? Can you come here and help us look at the map? I just fear that we took a wrong turn.”
“We also had to find a place to camp for the night.”
“Show me the map.”
The two groups closed in on each other. Fwoosh handed off the crude map found on the leader of the bandit ambush from a few days ago. The Earth Priest gave it a close look at had a confused, then concerned look on his face.
“So, what we did is, we made it to Red Larch, but then we heard that Beliard is around here, and we thought we were coming down this road. We tried to cut through some of the hills to save some time. So, we rested here, we got in late last night.”
“You did not pay for this map, did you?”
“We just asked some people at Red Larch.”
“At the bar in Red Larch.”
“So, you drew this? Because you do not have Beliard on here.”
“We did not draw it, one of the town’s people did.”
“But if you are heading to Beliard, why is it not on the map?”
“They just told us the general area; they did not know for sure. The person napping on top of the rock over there is our navigator.”
With that the priest looked in the direction that Fwoosh pointed to but did not see a single hair Dancer hiding there.
“If you follow the map and since it is on the north side of the hills, you should have gone north out of Red Larch, not south.”
“You had the map upside down.”
“That probably would have made more sense.”
“What are you guys doing out here?”
“If there is only one way in what is behind you.”
“Yeah, that is a good question.”
“An interesting ‘X’ you have here that says ‘base’.”
“The base of what?”
“The ace of base?”
“I have no idea. Like I said, out navigator must have been holding the map upside down.”
“Fwoosh, maybe it was on the other map.”
With that, the priest unleashed a Shatter upon the party and got the combat started. It was one of the more difficult fights that the party had with several of them being knocked unconscious. They had not faced smart enemies much previously and ones that knew how to maneuver and find the best positions made it harder than they expected.
With the combat over and the bodies checked, they did find Drowish Earth symbol on all the people, some on armor, some sewn into clothing, many had it on their weapons. These were earth cultists. Stashing all the bodies in the wagon to keep them hidden, they had Avery Prestidigitation to clean up any blood spots that might be on the ground with Fogo and Dancer helping spot them. With everyone taking a short rest, Fogo cooked up a wonderfully supportive meal that seemed to allow everyone to heal a little better than they would have alone. It was fortifying and tasty.
Understanding that staying here was probably not the best idea, they headed out of the hills and parked behind a large rock about an hour away. Once they found a spot in the grasslands, they buried the bodies and set up camp. They then waited for the next day to roll around again.
18th of Kythorn of the year 1492
It was quiet besides the soft insect noises, but during Fog’s watch something interesting happened. While he was keeping watch and looking to the south a voice came from behind him.
“You seemed to have lost something.”
Looking around he saw a shadowy figure disappear but leaving behind an armored person wearing nothing but a small tattered green cloak. Fogo saw a somewhat familiar figure.
And that is where the session ended.
The found the earth cultist base. They expected it to be something closer to the Ruined Moathouse, but this was a full base with many people, and they were on guard for intruders. The group managed some sneaky time, but never made it inside. Their final face off with a patrol almost went badly for them, but they survived. Who is that figure that appeared at the end?