Storm Riders

Day Four

Six goblins were killed, two were fed to the Wechuge.

Atropos tried to cast a healing spell on Mugley. Brutilda give him a water skein. There are two cords of stacked pine, some infested pelts, stacked spears, 3 20-30 lb. sacks of infested corn, bread loaves and pinon nut flour, a cast iron cooking pot and wooden bowls.

Mugley says he has lived here hundreds of years. Before he is able to warn anyone, Atropos and Perkins touch the loose chains that emerge mysteriously from the wall, chains like Mugley’s. The chains snap up an arm and a leg each of Atropos and Perkins. There are ten other chains in
the wall. Mugley tells them all they need the keymaster and the gatemaster. Brutilda finds the key ring on a dead goblin and gives it to Durga who finds a hole in the wall that is the same depth as the key ring(about an inch thick).

Mugley says a squad of goblins took prisoners out. The prisoners were brought by the Skylords—the missing human, Van, is a Skylord. He came and took the stormriders with the goblins. There was an old one among them; there are only twelve stormriders. (No one can find the gatemaster among the goblins). The Skylords came long ago and built a keep on top of the mountain. They use Mugley as a guide to find what’s in the ruins that are here in this cave system. The ruins, he says, have been here as long as the Bollywogs have been.

Durga puts pelts over Perkins and Atropos to hide them in case the goblins return, as Mugley indicates they are expected to do. Atropos finds metal on the floor beneath the pelts and throws a dead goblin on top—it triggers the metal to open and the goblin falls into a pit.

The goblins have been searched and minimal articles acquired.

Mugley shares that the cave beavers are animals called Wechuge. They live in the cavern behind the waterfall and elsewhere in the cave’s waterways. Mugley hides eggs with Wechuge—he is friendly with them. The eggs are Bollywog eggs, which can lie dormant for centuries. Mugley indicates that what he needs to heal is an eight-legged; there are spiders that are poisonous to others, but for him he just eats them and they nourish him. To catch them, he flicks his tongue. They are not so big.

Durga throws dead bodies into pit. Numa goes to look for a spider (Durga, Brutilda hide, staggered back; Norea is under the bridge near the captives able to see Brutilda). Numa continues around wall as the tunnel curves—there is a wood-splintering sound behind some rubble as he passes. When the tunnel straightens he can see that it branches in three directions. There are spider webs at the end of the passage.

Numa encounters a swarm of spiders, leaps and crawls to escape them and makes it back. We regroup at the bridge. Durga suggests Norea sticks her head in the hole exposed where the rubble and splintering sound had been, which Durga has cleared. Norea casts light onto a stick and pulls a piece of mirror out for Durga. Durga can see a cave wall with space above and below it, an abyss with a slim path on each side—up at the end there are goblins hiding behind a broken bridge. The remainder of the bridge is dangling from the other side, the end that was one of the three branches of tunnel and which Numa slipped past in the dark to find the spider webs.

The party continues to that spot and searches the other division of the tunnel and find four Bollywog eggs. They pack them for Mugley. Durga, Norea, Numa and Brutilda run past the opening that leads to the broken bridge. (They have learned from Mugley that the passage beyond the bridge leads to a well at the base of the Skylords keep—it is a thirty minute swim for Bollywogs, who can use the waterway that feeds the well. It is also a thirty minute walk through the tunnel. Brutilda and Durga torch the spider swarm with ale and a torch. Norea is holding the only light, a chunk of wood from the fire at the goblin camp. It provides twenty feet of illumination. Just beyond the spider swarm, which has dispersed, there is a cave nook.

Brutilda leads and suddenly two spiders appear in front of her. Durga attacks and misses, Norea nails one of the spiders against the back wall with a crossbow. Numa pins the back spider to the wall and a new spider shoots a web from behind the party. It misses Brutilda and she misses with her attack on it. One spider hits Durga with a web and Durga begins cutting herself free; Norea daggers a spider and inflicts damage but Numa’s blow is deflected—the spider fires a web that misses, the other spider covers Norea with the mucousy web but the torch remains lit, sticking out above the web. Brutilda attacks it but inflicts no damage.

Durga cuts herself free, Norea cuts herself free and Numa hits a spider but the spider spits web around Numa, a critical hit. The other covers Norea, but again the light remains above the web. Brutilda hits the other spider hard—it’s dead. Durga kills the last spider and Norea is cut free.

Other web cocoons are found. Three old goblins and one fresh one are unbound and more key pieces are discovered. Numa picks up the two spiders that are not too crushed to bring to Mugley.

Running back past the opening of the tunnel that hides the goblins, Durga makes it as arrows hit the back wall. Norea follows and is badly wounded but still up. Brutilda is hit by arrow but passes. Arrows sink into something as Numa passes but it is one of the spiders he is carrying.

As soon as everyone is back in the cave a portcullis drops. The chains in the walls, the chains around the prisoners begin retracting. Durga and Numa must fit the key puzzle found on the goblin together. They work at it and soon figure it out—they place it into the recess where the key ring fit. Everything matches and the chains drop, freeing the prisoners.

Mugley is so happy for the four eggs and so grateful for the two spiders; Norea needs healing.

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Day Three
free the frog

Instead of a clearing, the weather worsened. The heavy dripping at the cave’s entrance turned into a steady pouring, until the group heard, then felt, a rumbling and the cave entrance was covered by a mudslide. Just before the mud filled the opening, Numa thought he saw several humanoid, probably goblin, creatures running toward the cave.

Possibly, the goblins were caught in the mudslide. Everyone was awake except the woman and Van. Brutilda kicks Van to wake him but wrapped in his cape are pelts and furs—Van is gone. He has taken a broadsword and probably some crossbows.

There is a squirming at the entrance in the mud and a dwarf farmer (monk named Perkins) squeezes out, digging with his hoe. He quickly mentions the goblins that he thinks might be coming through behind him.

The Halfling woman wakes up with a little nudge from Norea. She announces herself as Atropos the Measurer.

At the entrance, three blood scarabs emerge but are killed effortlessly by Brutilda, Perkins and Brutilda, and Numa and Perkins, respectively. Perkins finishes one via bare hand combat, which everyone marks as impressive, curious even.

Perkins thinks the symbol on the cave wall is religious, perhaps. Atropos casts magic to see if it reveals the symbol’s magic. The energy that returns signifies that the symbol is old and powerful; it has a chaotic aura.

The party moves beyond the trap that Numa had set deeper in the cavern and he switches it to guard their flank.

Thirty feet on there is a waterfall and the remains of a creature. Brutilda throws a stone and finds there is space behind the waterfall. Perkins begins to scramble up alongside but falls.

There is a footbridge above the waterfall and a goblin on it hears Perkins fall. Norea notices the goblin and quickly raises her crossbow, firing an arrow into the goblin’s throat before the goblin can make a sound. The goblin is eaten by a water creature and Perkins puts his sling away.

Perkins see four sleeping goblins once he makes it up the rock scramble. Numa sees motion in the water off to the side.

Everyone but Brutilda and Numa climb up with the help of a rope behind Perkins. A goblin calls for others in another nook with a fire—the goblins rise from their sleep, alarmed.

Brutilda climbs up. Atropos shoots a dart at one of the goblins but misses. Brutilda rages and misses—she sees a giant toad in a corner of the nook. Perkins misses with his sling and Norea begins a daze spell. Numa whispers the cave-beaver, the creature he had seen in the water off to the side, and the cave-beaver keeps its place.

Atropos runs in as the goblins surround Brutilda. One means to stab her but stabs another goblin in the back accidentally. Perkins kills the goblin Norea intends to daze and Norea aborts her spell, damaging one goblin instead with an arrow. Numa tries to scramble up, but slides down again. He can’t even make it up with the help of the rope.

Atropos and Brutilda see that the giant toad is chained to the wall. Brutilda knocks another goblin down and Durga knicks the same with a dagger. The goblins inflict minimal damage on Brutilda. The remaining goblin is strangling the giant toad but runs past everyone, trying to
escape. Durga quickly releases the garrit from around the toad’s neck—the goblin successfully flees past everyone onto the footbridge but Norea sights him with her crossbow and drops him, dead on the footbridge.

Numa finds the cavern behind the waterfall but scrambles helplessly on the slippery rock, becoming very wet.

The giant toad speaks, “Mugley hurt. I am last of my tribe.” He says his people were killed years ago. “Give me a weapon so I can die fighting.” This was his home…

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Day Two
those who dwell in the storm

Numa Mordo searches the cave behind the fire-nook where we are all taking cover from the storm. Numa uses a lantern and notices small humanoid footprints that disappear around the corner of the fire-nook, further into the cave. Numa follows the footprints, indicating he will be gone about 15 minutes.

Around the corner, Numa encounters a pond or little lake and further on, sort of behind the fire-nook, behind the wall, into the dark he finds a big mound of rocks. Water trickles down to the lake. Numa continues up the hill to 150 feet.

The others stay in the nook, exhausted, curious about that space, which is a living quarters for someone. Van and Norea are hungry, Bruntilda eats and passes out, Durga searches the wall for a secret door. She finds a crack within the dark wall which serves as a chimney.

A humanoid with pelts walks into the cave lugging a treasure chest. Durga tries to be friendly. It is a goblin and instantly responds to the intruders by dropping the chest and letting out a war cry. Durga manacles and gags it, but it still manages to continue screaming. Two other small goblins and one large goblin appear at the cave entrance. The largest is carrying a human woman hostage and drops her as Norea shoots an ineffective arrow then uses the woman as cover.

Bruntilda gets hammered several times before scoring some dramatic blows to the large goblin in direct combat. Norea daggers the original screaming goblin—which has gotten to its feet though it is gushing blood mortally (one would assume)—as Norea secretly moves closer to the big goblin. Van grabs a piece of burning wood and torches the goblin that is screaming and mortally bleeding on the ground. Norea has missed the big goblin with a daze spell.

Durga sneaks behind the little goblin at the opening of the cave and, fighting two-handed, kills it. Norea finished the big goblin with a solid knife shot to the goblin’s leg.

All characters wander around the cave looking through the goblin’s stashes for extra supplies. Durga does full body cavity search and finds a key to the treasure chest which has already been opened.

Norea uses a healing paste on the woman hostage to help her wake healed in the morning. Norea uses a strong healing paste on Bruntilda to help her recover from her battle wounds and Bruntilda sleeps. Norea uses the mushrooms to make several pastes, giving one to Numa and one to Durga.

On the wall in the cave a symbol is found—it is inscribed, an image of a single-footed figure, sort of in the position of preparing to pirouette, perhaps.

Everyone plans their sleep. Van, the woman and Brutilda sleep whil Durga, Norea and Numa rotate to maximize sleep while guarding the entrance to the cave and fire-nook.

The group plans to wake at noon, fully recovered and hoping for a clearing in the weather.

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Day One
where nobody could see

The last thing Norea remembered was watching the ground recede below her hairy Halfling feet as she was pulled skyward during a freak outbreak of a thunderstorm on the plains. The sheep she was tending were also lifted off the ground, though she could clearly see that the suns rays were still shinning on her distant village – the storm seemed to be centered on her.

Norea had blacked out and when she came to she was ankle deep in mud, the storm still raging around here. It was night now and the only light was the occasional flicker of lightning. There were others around her, slight movement indicating they were not dead. One other was up; a half-elf dressed in military style hunter gear with pack and bow. She ran to hide behind a nearby boulder.

“Hey there, are you alright?” asked the half-elf. “Do you know these people?” His accent had a lyrical quality, a dialect of elf and some ancient common hybrid.

“No. Who are you?” asked Norea.

“Numa Mordo”

The lightning continued to flash around them, and the rain came down in torrential sheets.

“I’m going to check and see who they are then…” said Norea as she scampered from each prone body. There was a large female human outlander that stank like the floor of a bar after closing time. Nearby was another human, a middle-aged male, dressed in fine outdoor clothing the likes of which she had never seen. Further away was an elf, dressed in dark loose clothing. If the elf wouldn’t have stirred just then Norea could have easily mistaken her for part of the ground.

“Who are you and why have you brought me here calol?” said the elf. She spoke common, infusing it with Elven slang for a Halfling.

Norea backed off. Numa Mordo explained what they’ve been able to deduce thus far, though it wasn’t much. After a quick look around the three could not wake the other two and decided to drag them up land in a search of better shelter from the storm. In one direction appeared to be a marsh and in the opposite granite like boulders that receded up a slight hill. Numa Mordo, a tracker, shared with the group that they were on an animal trail made by some type of large hoofed creatures. They decided to follow the trail towards higher ground.

In the blackness of the night compounded by the storm it was hard to see, though the animal trail was obvious enough as it seemed to follow along a ravine. The lightning occasionally illuminated the muddy and overgrown sides of their path. The constant darkness presented an opportunity for Durga, the elf, to search the outlander and the other human. She quickly stashed a coin purse and another weighted leather wrapped bundle without others seeing.

After a long thirty minutes of slogging through the mud it appeared they were traveling up a ravine with earthen walls 10-20 feet in height on either side. The ravine entered a sheer wall of granite up ahead. It was here that the outlander woman stirred while Numa Mordo was carrying here.

“Where’s my stuff? Who are you? Were you at the bar too?” and then to herself out loud, “oh not again.” She spoke common but with an unknown accent.

Norea and Durga had taken her one weapon, a two-handed sword, and her pack. After some tense explaining amidst drawn weapons, the storm and strange circumstances seemed to cool her head.

“What’s your name” asked Numa Mordo.

“I don’t remember, it’s written on the hilt of my sword.”

“Brutilda?” said Durga.

“Yeah that’s it.”

The party moved towards a large cave opening in the rock wall that formed where the ravine met up with it. Numa Mordo scouted on higher ground and spotted in the darkness a large dual horned hoofed animal that was completely unfamiliar to him, though it could easily be one of about a few dozen or more creatures that had made the track in the ravine.

Brutilda wasted no time and made a beeline for the shelter of the cave, as did the others, dragging the other human along. Numa Mordo stayed as lookout, climbing up atop a cliff above the cave.

The cave entrance was out of the rain, but pitch black. Norea picked up a stone and it illuminated in his hand after he whispered a few words. The light reveled a natural passageway, smooth walls and a damp floor, about 10-20 feet wide with 20-30’ ceilings.

Brutilda began slapping the human hard. It worked and as he woke the expression on his face at seeing Brutilda was shock and horror.

“Who are you women? Where am I? Exactly what’s going on here?” He spoke the common tongue but it was guttural sounding and every few words were unrecognizable, still it made sense. Norea hid behind a boulder.

“I’m Durga, that’s Norea and you already met Brutilda.”

The stranger took in the situation before he spoke, appraising each of the women, his eyes seeking out their weapons and their disheveled muddied state.

“Caleva Vanamonen. Special Envoy of the Storm Traveler’s Guild.”

Outside Numa Mordo took a rough slide down the rock wall to the cave opening landing with a thud into the mud, which absorbed much of the damage from the fall.

“Storm Traveler’s Guild? Did you cause the storm?” asked Norea.

“Cause it? No… How did you all get here?”

“We don’t know,” said Brutilda. “Were you traveling here? Where are we?”

“Uhh… I don’t know where I am, something must have gone wrong. I was returning from delivering a message for the Harakan Empire.”

Numa Mordo lit his lantern just as Norea’s light spell faded. He drew his bow, “You work for the Harakan Empire?”

“I’m a Special Envoy of the Storm Traveler’s Guild. We work for many cities and merchants, not just the Harakans.”

Caleva had been checking over his person and noticed that his belongings were gone. “My things! I need them. You must help me look for them now!”

Durga brought out a small wooden box, “This was all that we found near you.” Everyone looked at what she was holding. “What is this?” she asked.

“That’s… That’s my archeometre. How exactly again did you say you all got here?”

Numa Mordo and the others were suspicious. Caleva wasn’t telling all that was obvious. “We also came here by storm,” offered Numa Mordo.

“Storm Riders? Traveling without an archeometre, that’s impossible. There haven’t been any true natural born Storm Riders in ages. The Guild would be very interested in this, if it’s true.”

“I’m not interested in meeting your Guild or your Empire…,” said Numa Mordo. “Where exactly were you traveling when you ended up here?”

“Look give me back my things and we can talk, and hopefully get out of here.”

Durga handed over the archeometre, though it appeared to those near here she was holding a few other things back. Caleva grabbed for it, but Numa Mordo snatched it from the both of them.

“Give it back,” said the Halfling who had been watching the whole scuffle from a hiding spot.

“Now,” added Brutilda. She stood to her full length dwarfing the half-elf, but he was not intimidated.

“Yeah listen to the little woman, give it back,” said Caleva.

“I asked where were you headed Caleva?” He shoved the wooden box into his pack, noticing the interlaced snakes on the lid. Caleva stood up and those behind him could see an image like a coat of arms on his cloak’s back, covered in mud, but a one-legged figure was obvious.

“I was returning to the capitol of the Harakan Empire after having delivered a message.” Caleva was angry.

“Where is this capitol?” asked Brutilda.

“Lendris has always been the capitol over the lands of Lowen. Even before the Harakans.” None of the others registered recognition, the names were foreign.

“How does this archeometre work? Do you call storms with it? Can you use it to see where we are? Can you travel in this storm? How many can travel with this box?” asked Numa Mordo. Caleva cut his string of questions short.

“No… I need to have a clear view of the night sky to tell our location. An archeometre can transport more than one person. I’ll need to find the rest of my things, will you all help me? I can take you out of here, and once were safe I’d be happy to answer any and all of your questions.”

“Maybe we can help you. We will have to wait till it’s light and the storm has passed Caleva,” said Durga.

“Thanks. You can call me Van, that’s what my friends call me anyway.”

There was a loud popping noise and a flash of light from far down the cave corridor. Those closest caught a waft of burning flesh of some sort.

Brutilda ran down the 50-60’ corridor towards the new light source. The cavern’s passage ended at a fork in the tunnel. To the left was a small cave chamber about 30 feet by 40 feet that was set slightly higher than the damp corridor floor. The rest of the corridor bent to the right and after about 20 feet began rising upward, large natural stone blocked parts of the corridor and obscured the view. Water trickled down forming a shallow pull on the corridor floor amidst the stone boulders.

In the small chamber there was a fire that had burned to embers. Smoke vented through some large deep cracks in the ceiling. A piece of meat over the fire had fallen into the coals and ignited briefly illuminating the chamber. Brutilda dug out her touch and lit it off the coals.

In the small chamber she could see four small grass and pine sleeping mats and one larger one. Filth and bones were scattered everywhere, making Brutilda thankful for the smoke masking some of the retched smell.

She reached for the large smoldering chunk of meat, smelled it once, and began eating it.

“Tastes like chicken,” she said with a mouthful.

The others moved down the corridor into the side small chamber. Norea found a ring of mushrooms near the entrance to the chamber off the main passage, which upon further study appeared to be of a healing variety. She proceeded to make a healing salve from it. Brutilda walked right into the ring without a second thought about it, nothing apparent happened.

Numa Mordo studied the tracks that crisscrossed all over throughout the small chamber and determined that some time ago, possibly as much as over a week or more, four humanoids left the cavern. However one set of small tracks was very fresh, having been made only recently, possibly when they first entered the cavern. This set of tracks went off into the pool of water on the corridor that continued deeper up into the mountainside.

“I’m going to try and track this creature down. If I’m not back in 15 minutes something happened,” said Numa Mordo.

“Let the little guy go for all we care,” said Van. “He can’t hurt anyone, if he’s here all alone, as you say.”

Van was removing his wet outer clothing and other gear and drying himself by the fire. He was feeding it some of the dry wood that was stacked at the far end of the chamber. The fire was much brighter now and illuminated the entire small chamber and far out into the corridor, about 30-40’ down the corridor, almost to the cavern entrance.

Norea, Durga, and Brutilda – the three women – all joined Van at the fire and began to warm up for the first time that evening. They were all exhausted and in need of rest. So was Numa Mordo, but he was determined to find the creature that must be somewhere close by and so set off down the corridor. The others all made themselves as comfortable as possible on the cavern floor and began drying their belongings.

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