Week 18 - Heads and Tails

Werewolf problems solved the party set out to track down the worg who was preying on travellers through the Kamelands – and in search of a reward offered by their own government :} Word was that the worg claimed an area along the Gurdin River as ‘his’ territory, so they started searching - first to the north of the river, then after a brief stop at Gurdinford, to the south. They were surprised to find that Tanners (Tig's parents) had converted to be followers of Gozreh after a passing Gozren cleric claimed the voice on the wind (which told where Tig was held captive) was sent by Gozreh.

However, soon they were back in the hills and exploring again, and it wasn't long before they managed to spot a wolf trailing them. It kept back, but was clearly following them along. So they set a trap - built a camp, picketed their horse, put our a couple of big traps they carry and set up a number of small trip wires. Then the off-duty members of the party slept in their armour as they waited for the attack. It happened while Herbrin the Halfling was on guard, he was suddenly charged by a small pack of wolves, defending himself with his dagger he raised the alarm - but he had to fight then alone for a moment or so.

However, the worg was living up to it’s reputation of being smart, once the rest of the party were out in combat, the second wave of two dire wolves and the worg himself came into the attack, trying to gain flanking positions. The creatures were fairly easy to hit but there were enough of them that party members were taking injuries when Cassandra came to the rescue with a flaming sphere. By this time Rudy tries to escape into the tent, but one of the dire wolves pounced on top, pinning him down and attacking through the canvas. The other dire wolf ran straight across the flattened tent to attack Cassandra, who suddenly found she was flanked by the worg as well! However they creatures were soon driven off, and Cassandra managed to take out the worg, with magic missiles, as it fled. The worg was dead, they had his head to take back, and that would probably be the end of planned wolf attacks in this area. However the tents were ripped and blood stained and not fit for use - well not until Cassandra and Rudy turned their magical mending and cleaning spells on them.

They moved on, went back the mud bowl and tried to explore it with invisible servants, so they didn’t have to go into the stink area but, before long, they realised that invisible servants were not able to report back in a meaningful way. So they decided to go back to town and use their new boat to explore the lake and the mysterious island in the middle of Candlemere, with its ruined tower. So they advertised for rowers to accompany them on the boat, with promise of a good daily rate for the time they were out. While a gold a day isn’t a lot of money to adventurers it certainly make risks seem worthwhile to the everyday casual labourer who trying to make their way in the world. They chose a crew of four rowers, all large capable of pulling and oar and all with some experience in boats. It came about that a large female half-orc called Helga (who is built like a soviet era Ukrainian shot putter) became the leader of their impromptu little crew - keeping the others in order and becoming their spokesman.

They spent a night camping on the shores of the lake and to see the weird lights for themselves and confirmed (in their minds) that it was a will-o-wisp infestation. Then next morning they set off for the island, only to discover that it was completely overgrown with brambles and nettles. Still they hatched a plan, Cassandra used Ray of Frost to ice up the plants, while the others cut and smashed them aside, clearing a narrow path up towards the tower. Their actions attracted a couple of will-o-wisps and Cassandra fired a Ray of frost at one, which appeared to pass straight trough it. At which point Rudy declared they were illusions and they kept push on, however the illusory balls of light sat watching, waiting almost ….. As they finally got close to the tower, they became aware of a strange feeling, something was watching them, it didn’t want them here, it <i>was</i> going to get them … but they pushed on still. But they never noticed that the illusory glow balls had started pulsing slightly.

At the tower they noted it was about 25’ in diameter, stone walls about 5’ thick and piles of rubble inside and out. The walls rose to about 40’ so it must have been higher. And there was writing on the stones – in a language that none of them spoke - and the writing and stones seemed to be very faintly magical. And the realised that was where those strange feelings were coming from, it was the tower itself that was watching them. Cassandra took down a rough sketch of the writing, and Rudy used his special slippers to walk up the wall to stand on the top, looking out over the lake. However, one of the balls of light followed him up and then fired lightning at him. He came down quickly inside the tower, then suddenly the place became too much for them. There was a sudden realisation that something <i>was</i> going to get them and they turned tail and fled back along the path they had made, back to the boat that was waiting just off shore.

Back home they researched and investigated, and decided that the language was Aklo, although some of the letters were formed in an archaic style. And the writing they had was a part of a prayer to an ancient deity called Yog-Sothoth, which seemed to send chills down the spines of anyone who had heard of him at all.

So they finally went back to the Old Beldame, the ‘witch’ in the marshes to ask her advice. Only to be told not to say ‘THAT’ name in her house. While she thinks on the matter, she told them that she would pay handsomely for Black Rattlecap Mushrooms. And they, of course, might be found in that stink old mud pool they have been avoiding.

That took them up to the end of the month and to the completion of their latest building projects.

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