Midkemia

Bandits!
The trip to Caldara gets side-tracked.

The morning after the fight at the Inn of Double Daggers, we get set to leave Carse and begin the trip to Caldara. As everyone is packing up their horses for the trip, I try to convince them they won’t need their horses, but being the newcomer in the party no one listens to me. I seek out the paladin to enlist her help. I explain to her that I can perform a ritual that would provide a faster mode of transporation for all of us. Karlithen believes me and she convinces the others to trust what I say and get rid of their horses.

Hordo, always looking for a way to make money, speaks to the innkeeper. The dwarf entrusts the innkeeper to board our horses and watch over them. In return, the inn can rent out the horses to travelers needing a way around town. The money made from this rental business will help cover any costs for the horses upkeep and any profits will be shared between us and the inn.

Having settled that matter, the others turn to me for their transport. I advise them that performing the ritual in the center of town would scare many people, therefore I suggest we wait until we are well away from the town where we cannot be seen. Once we are away from the city, I perform the ritual and six shadowy horses rise up from the ground. I explain that while these phantom steeds will only last a few hours, they will be able to travel much faster. Satisfied with their new mounts, we turn toward Caldara, folowing the river away from Carse.

Along the way, our ranger finds pieces torn from a page of what appears to be someone’s journal. What we gather from what little we can read is there is a logging town nearby that has been terrorized by bandits. We decide to investigate and end up in the town, which appears to be deserted. We separate and are wandering the town trying to find some clue as to the whereabouts of its inhabitants when suddenly we are surrounded by a number of ghostly apparitions. A short battle ensues and we defeat the ghosts, but not before the leader curses us, thinking we were aligned with the bandits.

We find ourselves at a crossroads, trying to decide if we should continue to travel through the forest or take a path through the mountains. I perform a Hand of Fate ritual to find out which way would be the best path to follow. The hand points into the forest, so everyone decides to go that way. With the help of Elric and Streeaka, I perform the Phantom Steed again and each person is rewarded, this time with winged steeds.

Our journey continues just above the treetops, until a clearing in the forest is spotted. We stop at the edge of the clearing and see an encampment. Suspecting it is the bandit camp, Karlithen and Streeaka swoop in and land in the middle of it. Just as they touch ground, a couple of barking wild dogs attack them. The noise alerts others in the camp and six bandits appear from their tents. Hordo alertly flies overhead, pouring some of his ale over the men. Then I swoop down while casting a fireball spell and set half the camp on fire, the flame intensified by the dwarven brew.

We make quick work of four of the bandits while the paladin, using her beauty, makes the two wounded beastmasters submit to her. A quick interrogation of the remaining two takes place. We are told that the leader of the Green Heart bandits is named One-Eyed Bart and his camp is just up the road. Elrick and Streeaka put the two bandits out of their misery. We douse the remaining fire and decide that, as night falls, this would be a good place to rest.

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The Inn of Double Daggers
The story so far...

I stroll into the Inn of Double Daggers with Pug and a dark elf named Arkas. The stench of spilled mead and fresh sweat, along with the bodies strewn about the floor indicate to me that a battle just occurred. Standing in the middle of the room I see another eledhel elf, a dwarf, a human male and human female. The appearance of three strangers in the doorway draws the attention of the others. Quickly, Pug introduces himself. The group explains to him what has taken place and hands him a letter, which he sits down at the bar to read.

A man named Albert, who has barely survived the battle, is discovered hiding under a table. We question this man and find out that he belongs to a cult devoted to bringing back the dead goddess, Lornu-Ava. Pug explains that Lornu-Ava was a very powerful god who was destroyed by three other gods because they feared she was too powerful. He tells us that due to her nature, she couldn’t be killed, so the three gods devised a plan to separate her essence into six pieces and spread them across Midkemia. The location of those pieces are not known for sure, but he recites a prophecy he knows:

Beneath the caverns of the Grey, Near the thieving stone, In the forest of the Mad, And a forest of blood and bone; Blowing in the heat of sand, At the top of the peaks near the sky, Combine the six and get nothing, And she will return and watch the traitors die.

I find out from Albert that the only remaining temple to Lornu-Ava is located somewhere under the Grey Towers. If my memory about ancient history is correct, Albert is telling us the truth. I suspect that the first line, “Beneath the caverns of the Grey,” hints at the temple location under the mountains known as the Grey Towers. I tell everyone that I believe the prophecy names the six locations on Midkemia where the pieces of Lornu-Ava can be found. If we are going to stop this cult from bring Lornu-Ava back from the dead, we must find these pieces before the cult does.

(Later that evening while playing cards, Arkas learns that “the thieving stone” might be Prank’s Stone, a large stone located far to the east that mysteriously steals items from passerby.)

Since The Grey Towers lie just a couple days ride to the north and east of Carse, I tell the others that we should head there first. Pug hands over a stone and advises us to visit the dwarven city of Caldara. We are to seek out King Dolgan and show him the stone. Dolgan would then provide what information the dwarves know about the temple of Lornu-Ava, which is thought to reside in the caverns beneath the Grey Towers.

We decide to stay the night in Carse to rest and head for Caldara first thing in the morning.

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