Cast: Astrid, Friedrich, Griffund, Grugor, Len, Wulfgang.
Late in the evening, the party answers a knock on the door and they are introduced to a man who identifies himself as Aldaris Thrane.
He says that he his patron has need of a capable mercenary group and has a very well paying job proposition for them if they can leave immediately. He arranges a meeting at dawn and leads the party out of town and to a secluded forest glade, which lies just outside the outskirts of town.
They pass into a shimmering, transparent wall and into a private area which seems more inviting than the surrounding forest. At the far side stands a striking woman in her late forties. She has a natural presence, a lithe figure and raven black hair which is tied down to her waist. She is draped in the finery of her house, which is a stunning silver dress, and is immediately recognisable as the Countess Elyssa T’al Vere – ruler of the surrounding area and their local regent.
She has an urgency to her voice and quickly dismisses the pleasantries, explaining the following to the party:
- King Magnus IV, her cousin, has died without a rightful heir and that the Council of Mages has hidden away the crown until a ruler emerges.
- Members of the extended royal family and other powerful leaders of the various factions throughout the realm gather their forces and attempt to eliminate one another.
- Elyssa has concluded that in order to survive, she must make an attempt to seize control of the throne to preserve her interests and knows that her best chance is to find and assemble an ancient artifact known as ‘The Armour of the Gods’, which was dismantled and scattered throughout the land many centuries ago.
- She requires the party to seek out the relic on her behalf and offers riches, estates, titles and all the support she can provide.
- She offers the party a shard of crystal which glows lightly and will guide them to the nearest part of the relic.
- She gives them each a potion of Cure Serious Wounds.
- She gives them a sack containing 100pp to recover the first item.
- She gives them a small box (containing a magic insect) and tells them to open the box when they have found the first part of the relic, and not before.
Before the meeting can be concluded, there is the presence of a dark shadow overhead. The countess immediately recognises the imminent danger – she summons a wall of force to to protect the area and initiates a teleportation circle, which she ushers the party through, urging them to find the relic. It is the only hope.
The party emerge in an ancient forest with massive trees, in an overgrown clearing containing crumbling masonry. It is cool, quiet, dark and damp. A pervasive, heavy mist blankets the area 30’ vision.
Over the course of the next few days, the party travels West, following the glow of the crystal shard they were given. They are trailed by a tribe of feral monkey goblin creatures, who grow in numbers and harass the group until an attack becomes imminent. The creatures eventually swarm and the party is forced to fight them off on multiple occasions as they hurry along the game trails towards the glow of the crystal.
Even when the party rests, they are unsettled and, in one instance, they are startled by a fawn which has come to take a drink at the waterhole where they are camped. This does not end well for the deer.
The session concludes as the party follows the sound of running water and merging of waterways as the land suddenly falls away to reveal a waterfall at the edge of a cliff and a large drop concealed by mist and water vapour. Peering over the edge, the length of the drop and terrain below is unclear due to the thundering sound of the water crashing and the heavy fog and mist vapour which has accumulated in the area. The water vapour and the sound of water falling below conceals any attempt they have to discern the height of the cliff.
A consultation with the crystal shard reveals that the party must scale the cliff to continue their journey West or spend potentially days trying to circumvent the steep drop. After some discussion, the party decides to attach a rope to the top of the cliff and descend, though they soon encounter a large, very dark opening near the top of the cliff.
Using a hammer and pitons, Friedrich descends along the rope to investigate the opening and peers inside the cave to reveal a massive writhing pile of what is later found to be feces covered in hundreds of insects inside of the cave. In doing so, he stirs the small colony of dire bats who reside there. One of them immediately attacks and leaves Friedrich severely injured and alone on the ledge as Wulfgang hustles to descend the rope and comes to Friedrich’s aid.
During this time, Astrid holds the rope while Grugor watches over her. Len climbs to approach the cave from above and Griffund tries to find a way to assist.
Soon after, two more bats emerge from the cave and quickly move to attack the cleric who is holding the rope.
In a moment of madness, both Len and Griffund each make an impressive leap onto the back of the bats in an attempt to ride them and bring each of them down. However, neither of them is successful and they fall through the mist to the ground below. Fortunately for them, the pool of water below breaks their fall, though they are left stranded and unable to contact the rest of the party through the sound of crashing water. Meanwhile, Astrid manages to fight of two of the bats and prevent them pulling her from the cliff with Grugor’s aid.