February 6, 2011

Session 3: Dreams

Cormick (Summoner 3): Menoan transplant, scribe, and shopkeeper.
Erasmus Ghent (Abjurer 3): An apothecary from Rustidge.
Kheshef (Barbarian 3): An escaped slave turned mason.
Luka (Rogue 3): Vagrant follower of Kheshef.
Nicholai (Archer 3): A mercenary from Edelford.
Norben Fletcher (Cleric 3): Itinerant preacher.

The group lies in wait for the Menoans. The second scouting party enters Edelford and is ambushed, quickly succumbing to the group’s carefully laid trap. One of the scouts is captured alive and interrogated by Norben, who skillfully goads the arrogant captive into revealing Menoa’s motive for invading Syre; King Meno’s apprentice, Maldus, seeks an artifact hidden in the Cursed Forest. The Menoan fanatic is brutally slain by Kheshef once it is determined he is of no more use.

After some deliberation, the group decides to head north to Albrecht’s Vale in an attempt to capture the artifact before Maldus and his men. Pushing the horses they arrive in less than two days. While Nicholai warns an outlying farm of the Menoan force’s approach and the others search the abandoned town, Erasmus and Cormick use previously gathered materials to conjure a demon into a protective circle. The lust demon appears as a naked woman with snakes in lieu of hair and flirts with the pair until a deal is struck: information in exchange for a promise from Cormick.

Cormick and Erasmus learn that the wizard Temeris lived in Albrecht’s Vale roughly four hundred years prior and that the town’s barracks are built over the ruin of his home. Also, that Maldus seeks a relic reputed to empower enchantments involving sleep, but does not know precisely where in the Cursed Forest it is hidden. Hoping for a clue to its resting place, the group investigates the barracks. Luka finds a trapdoor during a thorough search of the ground floor and reveals an earthen passage beyond.

Temeris’s home is a warren of stone passageways and secret doors. Piles of moldering debris line the walls and rotting furniture fills otherwise empty rooms. The only room safe from the creeping mold is the library, which is trapped with a circle that magically animates objects that pass through it. The animated objects attack the group, but are put down quickly and with minimal injury. In fact, the weapons affected by the trap appear to have a lingering magical aura; a minor and unexpected boon.

In continued exploration of the ruins, the group finds an oubliette from which a strong breeze emanates, a rushing underground stream, a large mess hall, and a stunted tree. When Kheshef touches the tree he is knocked unconscious, and, when shaken awake, claims to have had a strange dream featuring an old man. He remembers only the words, “Nightmare Diamond”. Luka touches the tree next and claims a similar experience. All save Erasmus appear to be affected by the tree’s magic, and each visits a strange dream to return with vague memories. The group decides to have Erasmus watch over them as they touch the tree in tandem.

Launched into a dream world, the group finds themselves in the bodies of Temeris’s apprentices as they sit down to dinner with the aged wizard. The ruined mess hall found upstairs is the scene, now returned to habitable condition. The group grills Temeris about the Nightmare Diamond and its source, the Howling Mine; names remembered from previous interactions with the tree. The master denies his students any information about the Nightmare Diamond or the Howling Mine, assuring them that the mine is sealed forever and the Nightmare Diamond safely hidden.

Throughout the dreams, Temeris insists that he has been questioned time and time again about both objects, but remains adamant in his denials. No further information is gleaned on the whereabouts of the Nightmare Diamond or the contents of the chest in Temeris’s room.

Puzzled, but now more certain of the Nightmare Diamond’s resting place in the heart of the Cursed Forest, the group heads west. They tether their beleaguered horses in a meadow near the edge of the forest and continue following the river on foot. After a few hours of rough woodland terrain, including an avoided encounter with dire wolves sunning themselves on some large rocks, the group reaches a foot path running perpendicular to their own course. Intrigued, they follow the path to a stone bridge that crosses the river.

The smell of rotting meat is strong as they approach the bridge. Kheshef moves to investigate beneath while, in jest, wishing aloud that he hopes no troll is present. Unfortunately, one is, and a bloody combat ensues. Kheshef is brutally attacked and tossed aside, but Norben rescues Kheshef and the group subdues the troll as it attempts to climb up the bank. It wakes as it floats downstream but is quickly put down again and finally killed with a heroic, leaping attack by Luka. Its bag of rotting meat and treasure is pulled from beneath the bridge as the group recovers its strength.

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