Won’t someone think of the children! the cry of the day that rang out amongst the city’s crowd as we wandered the city looking for something to be doing when suddenly amongst the crowd we saw Ariel Halfwind crying and babbling about children being taken from the orphanage in Crow’s End. We calmed her down at least enough to get some account of what happened and look over a ransom note given to her by the captors. Agreeing to help we followed her back to the orphanage where she went to collect the gem stones for the ransom. We spoke with Desiree one of the helpers at the orphanage regarding any potential suspects but came up empty.
Once Ariel came down with everything packed we followed along with Timmy’s little dog whom we thought might be able to help us track down his owner or at least help us locate the children if he could catch a scent of Timmy along the way. We had to travel immediately to Burrowhome to make sure the ransom drop went as planned but about half way to Burrowhome Timmy’s dog did indeed pick up a scent and headed off the roadway down a small side trail. We followed in hopes he would lead us to the missing children.
We were wrong or I should say Timmy’s dog was wrong and a while later we found ourselves surrounded by Undead hill giants. They jumped out of the trees and bushes slamming their clubs down on top of us. Clearice managed to call upon her holy powers and sent them running while Mok fired off a blast in their wake and quickly put the fire out before the forest could catch fire and burn down around us.
Realizing he must have just smelt the rotting corpses and with darkness, descending and time running out we headed back to the main road to camp out and continue in the morning. Maybe it was the dark trees and our encounter with the Undead but I remember having terrible dreams that night and felt tired despite having a full night sleep and it seemed so did everyone else. We pushed on toward Burrowhome only as we left the forest and the road continued into a clearing we could see a large tree with several cages and what appeared to be 4 different people hanging in them. Rushing to see if they were children both Mok and Timmy’s dog charged into the meadow and tripping a wire we watched in horror as the cages swung down from the tree into a wall made of Flesh, Blood and Bones! Which sprung up behind and in the path of the cages.
As Mok and Morrin charged, the wall to try to help the people 3 of the 4 pulled into it while Morrin greased up one as Mok grabbed and pulled him away from wall. Many arms came out wielding swords from the wall swinging at all who tried to get close to rescue the others sucked in while different faces and mouths appeared uttering arcane words and spitting rocks all over the place. Tired of the game of trying to get through and realizing nothing could survive inside something so monstrous Clearice unleashed a blade barrier along the top section of the wall shredding it in moments to reveal nothing but gore all over the place.
Grateful for the rescue Sargent Kenton told us his tale of how he was taken capture but revealed that Ariel herself was among those he was taken captive with or at least he remembers seeing her amongst the rest of the prisoners. Ariel denied being captured and had no memory of what Kenton spoke. A quick examination showed the necklace she wore to be magical and not being able to remember ever owning it we convinced her to remove it. As she did it crumbled to dust and her memory of being kidnapped, the children being taken, asking us for help and the voyage here seemed to disappear completely. Confused as to everything going on we tried to calm her as screams rung out from a cave on the far side of the clearing we stood. Remembering seeing a woman standing their just as Mok charged into the field Omega took of running fearing the children to be in danger.
The rest of us rushed to keep up as we entered the cave we were confronted by the woman who told us she was tired of our meddling and accused us of killing her once years ago (something none of us remember ever being involved in) she told us there were a series of traps and riddles we had to pass to save the children, fail and they would die then she fled. Realizing the magical symbols on the ground to be some mystical trap Mok carefully read an inscription revealing a riddle to which I realized the answer was Amaunter, we spoke the name as we crossed the line safely. The second riddle had a serpent waiting for us which Omega sliced the moment it appeared as Mok revealed the answer to be Ibrandul followed by the third riddle answer to be Shar.
Thinking ourselves near the end, we were dismayed to find a room with 4 boxes on a table. The woman’s voice rang out that inside one of the boxes we’d find something to help with our next obstacles but the other 3 were trapped. We used an unseen servant to examine each finding the same set of vials in all boxes with no traps. Strange but we heard a child scream out again and quickly drank a vial and rushed forward as ran down the hallway nothing happened so we though ourselves lucky in choice only to find later that all the boxes contained poison.
Inside a room at the end of the hall we found the mysterious woman and a bunch of undead. Some Hill Giants like the woods along with some bandaged monsters and weird Smokey shadow creatures. The woman opens a box to dispel out various preparation magic’s and Mok unleashed a fireball in the room trying to avoid the children around the edges of the room but became both horrified and angry to realize yet again he’s been duped as his blast caused several undead to crumble so too did it reveal the children to be held between us and the woman under invisibility. Outlined now by the licking flames several of the kids collapsed to the ground. Laughing over our foolishness both in drinking poison and falling for her illusion of the children she unleashed some magic’s of her own but was quickly defeated along with the undead. Those shadow creatures disappeared during the fight and Mok has mentioned something about being thrown from his body into the Astral but managing to summon the will to pull himself back into his body and regain control. We suspect those shadow creatures of being the cause but we will have to do some research on the subject to be sure.
During the fighting Clearice managed to stabilize the wounded children but as we defeated her they disappeared supposedly returned to the orphanage either that or yet again another illusion. The voice of the woman rang out saying something like “some of you survived and I will no longer tolerate interference from Raven’s Bluff and she can control anyone with some power she has. Everyone was an illusion set up, as it is a shame to waste such good tools. She threatens to make anyone suffer if they interfere in the future.” Realizing she was able to control people using those necklaces I think it’s a good idea we spread their likeness around the city with warning to all if they see one on someone. That being said she was kind enough to leave us a few with their powers of control drained both Mok and Clearice have one now worn around their necks for me to sketch copies of and spread amongst the powerful and city leaders.
Grateful for the return of the children Ariel offered us a reward but we could never take from an orphanage and instead refused and I even gave her some of my own money to help run things, as did some of the others of our group. I have even spent the past few days down there entertaining the children and helping with chores around the place. I even introduced my daughter Amuka to the other children in hopes she will make some friends. It feels good to spend time once again here in Crow’s End.
Bracers +3 (Omega)
8 green garnets that have magic missiles (9) in them (5 each) – Smash (standard), Place in eye (free action) – Everyone but Mok took 2 I believe
A vacuous grimoire (probably just outright destroy as most likely evil)
We did not take the money from Ariel and I gave her 500 gold.
5 Necklaces (bonus to save against undead abilities 3 times a week) – Mok and Clearice only one who took the other 3 turned to dust when we thought about selling
4700 XP each