Watcher Hugo selected four Vigils, Priestess Anna of Ehlonna, the turtleship “Brigantia”, three shifts of crew and the heroes who “saved” him for his quest of redemption to save the world. All he told us was that he wanted some information so he would not be surprised on his mission. “Brigantia” set sail from Arborlon. Hugo was somber and sedate and down to earth. He wore plain and practical clothing of russet brown woolens, leather gauntlets (or work gloves) and sturdy boots. The only things that marked him as a knight were his shield, sword, signet ring and Gyric longbow. He even helped with tasks aboard ship. A few elves shot at us as we passed the Oytwood, but the ship’s captain had ordered the arrow slits stoppered to prevent arrows from entering the ship and doing damage.
Mazer asked to stop in Aberglain as we passed. Hugo granted him a stop of 2 hours. While Hugo visited the mission of St Cuthbert, we went with Mazer to visit Arglwyth Emyr and Lady Nichelle. They were not at home, but Lady Margaret, Emyr’s mother, made us welcome. Mazer asked to see Father Lind. After a long wait, Father Lind returned from the Temple of Norebo. Father Lind informed Mazer that Tallia had not been seen for several days. Mazer had asked Father Lind to bring Tallia to Aberglain to stay with Emyr and Nichelle when he became left the Knights to fight for Gyruff. Since a visit to Babba Yaga, Tallia has believed herself to be a servant girl and does not remember who she is. Tallia has been gone about the same length of time Emyr and Nichelle had been missing. I suggested to Mazer that they might all be in the domain of Countess Eredom. Mazer verified that Tallia was not on the Prime Material Plane.
We needed to continue our journey, so we reboarded the Brigantia. We sailed to Godakin Keep, Keoland, where we visited the Tower of the Heavens. The Tower of the Heavens is a place where rich people go for divinations and prophecies. The butler, Auberge, met us on the visitor’s island. He informed us that Elder Sage Shalfey had passed away, but the chief apprentice Piyarz was now in charge. Hugo requested an audience and Auberge sent a servant to make the request. She returned with an assent, so we followed her across the sky bridge to the Tower. She led us to a room with six Gnomish mercenaries who were acting as guards. They let us into the next room. It was dimly lit and the walls were covered with curtains. Soon the curtains on the far side of the room parted and a man entered. He announced that he was Lurg, the sage and diviner for our session. Lurg asked what our manner of payment would be for the 3000-gp price per divination. Hugo was outraged at the price, but agreed to give a potion of invulnerability for the answer to his question. Mazer persuaded Lurg that for our important quest that Piyraz should do the divination himself. When Lurg left to get Piyraz, Raylinn looked behind the curtain. He found 2 guards who were dressed in blue clothes like monks garb. The guards did not let him pass.
Piyraz soon entered with two additional guards. Mazer asked some questions about Elder Sage Shelfey and said we wanted to pay our respects. Shelfey had died only a few weeks ago, but the body had been committed to the deep per Shelfey’s wishes. Mazer was not satisfied with the answers and fears Shelfey met foul play. Hugo asked us to leave that he might have privacy for the divination. Mazer persuaded Hugo to allow him to stay. When they returned to the outer chamber, Hugo was outraged by the prophecy he received. His question was something about how to defeat the foe he and not defeated last time. The answer was “Follow the light to redemption”. We all thought anyone could have given a better answer.
While most people stayed on the ship, Raylinn, Ralendar, Astra and I went into the town of Godakin Keep. Astra noticed a purple streak of light going southwest into the mountains. We discussed it, but decided to continue to town. Since it was after dark, the guard on the gate directed us around the wall to the tavern. We inquired at the tavern, but they had not heard that Elder Sage Shalfey had died. Most people in town could not afford the Tower of the Heavens. The Baron in town might know more, but we could not see him until morning.
We returned to the ship to sleep. In the morning we mention the purple falling star. Hugo was greatly interested. “Brigantia” navigated up river in the direction Astra saw the falling star hit. We arrived shortly before noon. When we got close, Astra took to her broom to scout. Peepers and Aegis also scouted. Astra found a road to an unnamed fortress built in the mountains. She noticed a recent hole in the side of the fortress. On the way to the fortress, she had flown over four humanoid figures that appeared to be bound in web. She had also seen some giant spiders.
Aurora, Aoth, Sneaky Pete, Evendur, Cedric, Zilziver and Bothan remained with the ship. Mazer, Kars’ten, Raylinn, Rayendar, Astra, her apprentice Avalanche, Xilvyre, Watcher Hugo, the four Vigils and Priestess Anna of Ehlonna used magic to fly up from the river to the mountain fortress hit by the falling star. We landed on a ledge below the hole. Raylinn sent an invisible Aegis to scout. He found a dining hall filled with bugbears and gnolls eating their meal. Aegis also noted a hole in the floor where the shooting star had fallen. Kars’ten sneaked by the windows on the floor below. He saw a barracks with bugbears and gnolls sleeping in bunk beds. He also noted a hole in the floor from the shooting star.
We flew down to a ledge below. We found an unlocked door and entered. We were assailed by the odor of the tomb and found ourselves in an ossuary. Many of the niches in the walls held bones, but some were empty. Mazer detected magic behind one wall. Kars’ten reached for a bone and that bone began to magically assemble with its fellows into a four-armed skeleton. Two other such skeletons also appeared. We destroyed those skeletons. Kars’ten scouted ahead and soon screamed that he found a skeleton with three skulls. I firebolted the skull lord and he gestured forming more skeletons. As Hugo rounded the corner, the skull lord spoke, “Hugo, you’re early”. The skull lord cast finger of death at Hugo. He also cast a cloud kill that Astra dispelled. More surprisingly, the skull lord cast firebolts at whoever was available (Hugo seemed the preferred target) when we attacked his skeletons or him. He kept summoning more skeletons, and also seemed to be able to heal them. We lost two of the vigils and got wounded in the fighting. Hugo caused great damage to the skull lord, causing him to run rapidly away. After clearing the skeletons, we followed down a staircase.
We came to a room with several scorched or bloody bodies. Mazer discerned that the room was a musical trap and the spaces had to be crossed in a particular order. He successfully crossed the room. When I followed, I made a misstep and triggered an arrow trap, losing most of my meager remaining health. I had to stop to drink my last potion. I was glad that Hugo had offered us the KoW discount on healing potions, as we used a large number. I had gotten use to having Morrick along with his vast store of healing. Priestess Anna had some healing ability, but she was not of Morrick’s ability.
The rest of our group was making their way through the room when Mazer let out a shout. He was being attacked by a large maimed three-headed, six-armed creature from a summoning circle, missing 2 left claws, 1 right claw and a milky-white left eye. With the help of Hugo, we managed to defeat that creature. There may have been another three-headed creature as well, I cannot be sure. The skull lord came from Mazer’s other side as a huge three-headed troll appeared. I finished that off with a fireball. Once Hugo finished off the skull lord, Ralendar investigated the room past the summoning circle. He saw a treasure room, but soon retreated from a large three-headed gorilla. After dispatching that, we went down another set of stairs.
We found a ship “Death’s Kiss” with a pirate flag and a skeleton crew of 20 to 30 in a bay. The cave had collapsed, cutting off passage to the river. Raylinn spotted the hole from the shooting star under the water. He leapt into the water and returned with a non-magical irregularly shaped and heat-smoothed purplish-metallic fallen star (meteorite) about the size of his palm and weighing about 5 lbs. Watcher Hugo felt that the fallen star was important to the quest, so he held onto it.
Mazer detected magic from various points on the derelict pirate vessel. He decided to fly over the ship and use telekinesis to lift one of the chests visible on deck. As he cast his spell, the skeletons stood up. One of the skeletons appeared to be holding a baby and one appeared to be the captain. Ralendar led the way with a well-placed fireball. The rest of us followed suit. That cleared out the skeleton crew, but left the witch and the captain. The zombie witch cast a spell which damaged us all and knocked Raylinn down for the second or third time. Priestess Anna used first aid (medicine check) on Raylinn and patched him up enough to get him on his feet. Hugo fought took the wounded skeleton captain out with one blow and turned to fight the witch. She tried to cast Finger of Death on him, but he was too healthy. Hugo then finished her.
Hugo remembered hearing of the Death’s Kiss. It was a Hold of the Sea Princes slave ship. It had been raiding up at least this far north about 100 years ago. One day the ship was just never heard from again.
Priestess Anna examined the summoning circle on the floor above. She identified the symbols as belonging to the Oeirdian god Erthynol, the god of hate, the many and slaughter. This god is also worshipped by bugbears and gnolls.
There was a hoist or dumb waiter from the room beyond the symbols down to the ship below. Between the treasure on the derelict pirate vessel and that in the pirate’s treasure room, there was much more than we could carry in a single trip. Using detect magic, Mazer found some magic items. We got what we could carry, some magic items and two chests of coins and valuables. There were more than 50 chests and thousands of pounds of valuables remaining in the fortress, but we are too badly wounded and depleted to return.
Hugo found “The” Mace of St. Cuthbert!!! Watcher Hugo regaled us of a legend: “Yes, St. Cuthbert was once a mortal shepherd who lives a simple, blameless, charitable life long ago, who was rewarded by the gods by being brought to Oerth where he walked the world as a holy man teaching evil the error of its ways. Eventually he became a god; the tale attempts to guide others by example.” As proof, Watcher Hugo produced a book with an illustration of St. Cuthbert and his mace. This mace has a bronzewood shaft and flared metal head. Of course Watcher Hugo claimed this ancient and most holy weapon of his deity, though he humbly prayed that he is unworthy. The prophesy has come true that the light was the path to redemption and thus, he forbids any of us from harming the sages.
Watcher Hugo also took a journal, written in a secret language, containing hand-drawn maps of the Sheldomar Valley and apparent notes showing the Knights’ occupation of Gyruff/Geoff. – he can’t read it, but he’s taking it for the Order. Someone should be able to decipher it. Although the knights don’t care about money, they felt most of the monetary loot should go to the order. Thus we each only got a minor magic item and some coin each.
No one claimed a +2 cutlass from the undead ship’s captain, a Potion of Heroism, a Quaal’s Feather Token: Swan Boat, a Potion of Gaseous Form or a necklace with a pendant of three nested black triangles of polished obsidian worth about 100 gp from the maimed creature from the summoning circle.
We left a Journal of Mama Segolene, written in an arcane language that you probably don’t know, a suit of Adamantine Plate [Watcher Hugo refuses it], unholy symbols of Erythnul [stylized masks symbolizing his many aspects] and scraps of unholy scripture written in Abyssal(?). There were also several reed instruments, bronze gongs and brass braziers, a bejeweled set of rusty and blunt torturing knives and implements and more than 58 chests, 100,000 lbs. of coins, many lesser gems and whatever is at the bottom of that pile!