- (Heylyn) via Skype
- (Jorak) via Skype
Planting 7th (continued) & 8th.
Our heroes have vanquished the leader of the Brotherhood, and looted the temple. This took all night, after a long day spent in the sun, so they are noticeably weary. They spend most of the next 2 days resting and recovering. During this time, they pay a visit to Lucius, who is recovering nicely, but still seems troubled about his ordeal and the strange events leading up to it. They also return to the Temple of Aarth, and receive their reward from Brother Egil. He also tells Ishta that he was able to find some information about Kenzil. The wizard was known to have inhabited a tower in the south-west side of the Grandwood Forest, on the Mikar River. The local peasants did not like the way that Kenzil treated them, so they were forced to re-locate their village some miles away. The party also sells some books that they found in the Temple of the Unspeakable One to Thuron in exchange for some research from the library. They ask for more information on The Unspeakable One and on the The Cult of the Yellow Sign, and they reserve one question for a future need. They are told that the research will take several weeks, at a minimum, so they have to decide what they want to do in the interim.
Most of the party does not want to travel for several weeks on what could be a wild goose chase (looking for Kenzil’s tower), so they decide to investigate Milton’s Folly, the lighthouse that is under construction on T’wik the small island across the harbour from Freeport. Braast and Nathen feel that this would also be a waste of time, and decide to stay at the inn for the day. The rest of the group heads down to the harbour to hire a boat to take them across the bay. The first boatman that they approach is reluctant to take them, saying that the Captain’s Council has forbidden travel to the work site by anyone not on official business. After some discussion, he agrees to take the group and wait for them until dark – all for the bargain price of 5 gold per person! They are dropped off on the south side of the island and make their way through the forest to the top of the hill. There are many workmen, several foremen and a couple of guards on this side of the building. As it is nearing the end of the day, the workers seem to be packing up their tools for the day, and several members of the group decide to investigate individually. Ishta begins a circuit of the work site, which looks to take a while, as she wants to remain under cover, and the forest has been cleared quite a way from the tower. Heylyn boldly walks up to the construction area and attempts to bluff some information out of the workmen. He isn’t able to discover much, but he does learn that the council member in charge of the construction is Verlaine, the head of the Captain’s Council. Darius also decides to make himself known, but the foreman in this area is suspicious. He calls the guards over to straighten out his story, and when the guard grabs Darius’ arm to lead him away from the worksite, Darius draws his sword and attacks! The other guard blows a whistle and comes running to assist his companion, and the workmen start gathering around and placing bets. Darius is lucky in that his companions are able to assist him from their cover in the nearby forest. Jorak and Kindric summon animals to help (a wolf and badger, respectively), and Talis helps with some archery. Heylyn tries to trip the second foreman as he approaches the fight, but fails.
By this time, the guards from the other sides of the lighthouse are arriving on the scene, and Darius decides to flee, especially since he has already received several wounds. He is assisted by Jorak casting entangle after he passes, causing most of his pursuers to get stuck, or at least pause as they determine where they can safely walk. The guards from the eastern side of the tower manage to bypass the area of the spell and pursue the group down the mountain, but they are slain once they catch up to the party. In the course of the skirmish, two guards are killed, and both foremen are neutralized.
Ishta was on the southwest side of the tower when the guards were called away. She didn’t know why they left, but she decides to take advantage of their absence to investigate the tower more closely. She approaches the now undefended door on the west side of the tower and takes a peek inside. She doesn’t see anything of interest, even when using detect magic. It looks like a large, empty room the full size of the tower, with a staircase in the centre, and many pillars to support the upper stories. She decides not to press her luck any further, and slips back into the forest and around to the southern side of the construction site to meet up with her companions. They have already fled, so she meets up with them at the boat.
After the fight is over, Heylyn talks to the foreman, who questions why Heylyn is there. Heylyn says that he is working on Verlaine’s security force, and has been trying to foil the plans of the attacker (Darius). The foreman seems suspicious of this, since Heylyn can’t produce any evidence to prove his story. Heylyn is allowed to leave, though.
The group meet up at the boat, and return to Freeport. They decide that it might be wise to lay low for a while, so they head out of the city to Gendrew and Andolyn’s house for the night. They are treated to a wonderful meal, prepared by Gendrew, and spend a quiet evening making plans. They decide that the tower in the Grandwood Forest belonging to Kenzil might be worth checking out, now that some members of the party are likely wanted by the authorities for their participation in the battle at the lighthouse.
With the heat on, the group slips back into Freeport (with Darius in disguise) and they book passage to Rel Astra. They depart around noon that day and begin a relaxing voyage to the mainland.
Later that afternoon, Heylyn decides to investigate the Book of the Unspeakable One. This turns out to be a very bad idea, as he takes both physical damage and damage to his psyche. He thinks this might be a one-time effect, and makes another attempt. This also causes damage, and he figures that more research into the mysteries of The Unspeakable One might be better left to someone with more stamina (or less wisdom) than himself.
The journey to Rel Astra continues. There is some rain on the 10th, but the rest of the passage occurs under clear skies.
The party arrives in Rel Astra in the afternoon. They prepare for their overland journey by buying horses (and ponies) and a cart. They stay at an inn for the night and set out early the next morning.
The first day of the overland portion of the quest passes quietly as the group travels through peaceful farmland and open plains. The party sets up a guard schedule for the night, but all is quiet.
The journey continues through the next day. Again, the day is peaceful, although the land is less settled. At nightfall, they have just reached the edge of the Grandwood Forest. Jorak is on guard around midnight, when he spots some dark shapes flitting through the trees. They appear to be fuzzy, bat-winged shapes with long, thin beaks. As he rouses his friends, the creatures attack. They latch on to their victims and start drinking blood. The fight is very draining (pun intended), but the stirges are fought off after most of the party and their mounts have been wounded.