Fresh from the underground hideout, our group had found evidence of an upcoming meeting with the unknown thieves’ sponsor. The sponsor was going to be at the Giant’s Table crossroads at midnight, awaiting the thieves’ activity report. Charged by Telnik of the town council, the group was charged with uncovering this mysterious sponsor.
Rested up and having less than a day to prepare, each member of the party managed to go about his or her business before the nighttime meeting. Poly, Raven Mourner, and Thorial began the day in the Silver Table, where they picked up the latest news: this year’s rains were causing unprecedented sinkholes in the Northeast area of the city, which also seemed to be causing the livestock to act strange. Furthermore, Telnik the dwarf had fallen ill overnight. The unease in the town was almost palpable.
With Zephyr nowhere to be found, Poly decided to bring food to the mimic they encountered the prior day. She salvaged some rancid meat from the innkeeper and headed to the false entrance of the hideout. Wanting to keep tabs on the sometimes-reckless gnome, Thorial chose to accompany her. As they moved through the rainy streets, a large half-orc, wearing only an unflattering loincloth, stopped the pair. He was Fat Tiger, trained at the Monastery of the Pearl Wind, and he was interested in partaking of some of the rancid meat. So, with little fanfare, the large half-orc accompanied the pair to the mimic.
After walking through the morose city streets, the unlikely trio reached the false hideout entrance, and the mimic within. As the creature (and Fat Tiger) greedily devoured the spoiled meat, the mimic relayed that a man with horns stopped by the room since the previous evening. So with this tidbit of information, Fat Tiger, Poly and Thorial returned to the Silver Table.
Meanwhile, Raven was sharing a drink with a shiny-armored paladin of Heironeous, when he was given a written note from Olffrick. Their errand boy and part-time traveling companion had written a short goodbye: he had left to find Zephyr, and it was probable that neither would be returning. Now short-handed, Raven explained to the paladin that they did need an adventurer, for they were going to meet up with some thieves at midnight. Misunderstanding the request, the paladin hurriedly left the shady company.
Once reunited, Fat Tiger, Poly, Raven Mourner and Thorial made their preparations for their midnight meeting. As midnight approached, the quartet left the town gate, but were warned by the guard about “evil spirits” that prowl at night. Then as if on cue, the group was ambushed on the main road by three redcaps wielding large scythes.
Immediately after the start of the battle, Raven quickly sundered one of the redcap’s scythes and followed with a powerful hit. Thorial and his dog took on another one, but seemed to do little damage to it. Poly hurled spells while Raven destroyed the weapons of the second redcap. Fat Tiger wasted no time demonstrating his monastery-trained abilities: with his martial-arts training he killed the third redcap, which promptly disintegrated into a puff of smoke. The two weaponless redcaps escaped into the night, leaving the group alone on the road again.
After regrouping, the four continued on to the main crossroads. When they arrived, a cloaked figure was patiently waiting. Upon seeing the ragtag group, he sniffed the air and spoke simply:
“You are not who I expected. What do you want? …You have something that does not belong to you. Zeriel will take it from you.”
And with that introduction, Raven Mourner was struck from behind with sharp, invisible claws. Luckily, Poly fired off a glitterdust spell, and the shimmering form of a lion-like creature appeared in their midst them. Raven moved to attack the cloaked man, but couldn’t bring himself to strike the figure. The cloaked figure waved a magic rod in front of him, and the group’s wounds from the previous battle opened up again. Thorial pounded the invisible feline with repeated attacks from his dual weapons, as Poly shot the creature with her crossbow. Eventually, Fat Tiger managed to grab hold of the cloaked man, but could bring himself to inflict any damage. After Raven, Poly and Thorial finished off the invisible assailant, Fat Tiger wrestled off the man’s hood: the figure was that of Heremon the herbalist.
With his identity revealed, Poly succeeded in dispelling the unusual barrier preventing him from being attacked. The unmasked foe responded by reopening the group’s wounds yet again. To keep him alive for questioning, Fat Tiger and Thorial changed their attacks to knock the herbalist unconscious. However, with a blow not intended to kill, Raven Mourner succeeded in ending the man’s life. As the group watched in disbelief (and amidst apologies from Raven), the dead herbalist’s appearance changed into that of a devilish man with horns and cloven feet.
Bringing back a dead body, no answers and possibly more questions, the group returned to town. Further complicating matters, the body of the devil-in-disguise melted into a mass of greenish goo before they got to the town gates. Bruised and disheartened by the evening’s events, the group turned in for the night.
In the middle of the night, Poly and Thorial awoke to the sounds of screams from outside in the hall. When the gnome and the elf looked outside their respective rooms at The Silver Table, they both saw a horrible tentacled creature attacking the paladin that was staying at the inn. Witnessing the ghastly event, the pair retrieved their weapons and engaged the creature. Unfortunately, the creature’s next attack killed off the paladin, and the terror of the event sent Thorial running. Luckily, the sounds of battle managed to awaken Fat Tiger from his sleep, and he joined the fray just in time for three more vile creatures to burst in through the windows.
Recovering from the unearthly fear, Thorial rejoined the battle and began slashing at the horrible creatures. Fat Tiger alternated between banging on pounding the creatures with his fists and banging on the door to Raven Mourner’s room. By the time Raven woke up, Fat Tiger and Thorial had managed to defeat three of the four creatures. Though groggy, Raven landed a few good strikes against the final creature, and Poly finished it off with a well placed crossbow bolt.
After helping the innkeeper clean up the mess from the strange nighttime creatures, the quartet examined the dead paladin. Raven claimed the newly polished plate mail and Fat Tiger found a pair of shiny silk braies. But the group was much more interested in the silver box they found, which was engraved with Heironeous’s symbol and surrounded by embossed writing. Eventually, the group realized that the words were a riddle of some sort, and the box itself was a puzzle. The letters written on the box could each be depressed, but Poly realized that the letter-buttons were trapped. After much deliberation and problem solving, the group opened the box by pushing the buttons: I, N, D, N; effectively turning “BLINDNESS” into “BLESS.” Inside the box were vials of Oil of Bless Weapon and a Fiendslayer Crystal. Both physically and mentally exhausted, the group went back to sleep.
The next morning, grim news reached the inn: great sinkholes had formed in the Northeast of town, causing some of the town wall to collapse. Donning their gear, the quartet moved went to help out. When the arrived, the scene outside the collapsed wall was much worse: large sinkholes belched foul gases; dead farmers lay around the fields, mauled by sharp teeth; and, worst of all, countless sheep prowled, eyes gleaming malevolently and coats stained with blood.
The evil-possessed herd of sheep moved advanced on the group, but the four waded into the wooly mass, weapons and fists flying. Thorial and his dog tore into the flock just before it surged forward, damaging Raven and Thorial with hooves and teeth. Fat Tiger joined the fray, and Poly knocked a few sheep unconscious with a whelm spell. The sheep surged again, giving Fat Tiger and Thorial the opportunity to retaliate, but damaging them in the process. As Thorial backed off to heal, Raven cut through some of the sheep, and Poly incapacitated more of them with a hypnotic pattern spell. As the sheep surged forward again, Raven and Fat Tiger broke up the herd before they were overwhelmed.
As the group left the ovine carnage, they moved upon the largest sinkhole. At the bottom of the 15’ deep hole, an opening to an underground chamber had been exposed. Climbing down the walls of the depression, the group cautiously moved into the underground grotto. In the center of the circular grotto stood an all-too-familiar freestanding stone column. But as the group approached, the reddish/brown cylindrical stone split in half, and two gangly, gaunt, stony creatures crawled out of the broken remains.
As Fat Tiger, Poly, Raven and Thorial approached to combat the malevolent creatures, a group of grotesque, fleshy abominations appeared in the room, summoned by the stony devils. Raven dispatched one of the fleshy creatures in a single hit, while Thorial struck one of the tall devils. The minor wound healed instantly, as the tall devil grabbed and devoured one of the fleshy creatures, appearing to gain strength. Raven engaged the other stony devil and Poly threw her most effective spells at it, while Fat Tiger doused his hands in the blessed oil from the prior night. Thorial likewise doused his weapon with the enchanted oil, and succeeded in wounding the tall, stony devil. Despite their thick hides and instant healing, the evil creatures finally succumbed to the combined effort of the four heroes.
Examining the remains, the group noticed that the top surfaces of the broken stone column bore an inscription (albeit a damaged one). Even with the incomplete inscription, the four still managed to decipher one of the characters. They also concluded that the prior ‘standing stones’ would probably have inscriptions on them as well.
With much to report, the group tried to see Telnik, but were turned away by his healer, Juliot. Convincing the healer to drink an elixir of love, Poly won his affections and was allowed to see the ailing city leader. She reported all of the prior events to the dwarf, who grew morose at the news. He asked Poly to wait for another mission, and gave her the party’s payment. After returning to the group (and getting a fond farewell from Juliot), Poly and the four retired for the day, to recuperate for the next adventure.