We’re in the end of the school year rush at my job right now. I promise I’ll get back on track this summer! Here is the D&D campaign update from last Thursday (4/27). Two members were unable to make it, so it was a bit of a side quest.
Previous update: Day 85/86
When Elzeni and Aymer wake in the morning, they find a note from Alyn on the table in their room. He encountered some trouble and will return this evening. Going across the hall, they knock on the door for Storm and Gantar. No one answers. Peeking inside, both beds are disturbed as they were last night, no one having returned to them.
In the tavern downstairs, a female dwarf is wiping down the bar and stacking tankards. A couple parties of travelers sit talking quietly, munching on cold ham, hard-boiled eggs, cheese, and bread. Aymer and Elzeni steer clear of the other inn patrons, heading instead out to the town.
The town is busy with traffic, guards keeping an eye out in small groups stationed the sides of the road every hundred feet. The duo heads to the blacksmith’s shop. Outside, a dwarf is working the forge, hammering out what looks to be a sword on an old anvil. He pauses as they approach, regarding them carefully with one eye.
“Can I help ye?” he asks, resuming his hammering.
Aymer inquires about purchasing a rapier. The smith nods, setting the hammer aside and cooling the sword. He wipes his hands on his soot-stained apron before marching through the shop door. Inside, the walls are covered with smithed weapons, swords, axes, even a few shields. The smith, John, shows Aymer two rapiers.
“This here is your base rapier. If you’re willing to part with some extra coin, I have a fine rapier here. Mixed a touch of adamantine into the blade.”
After some debate, Aymer purchases the fine rapier, hanging it at his waist and relocating his long sword to his back. They depart, following John’s directions toward the fletcher.
Inside the fletcher’s shop, they see a young wood elf hunched over the beginnings of a crossbow bolt. He looks up as they enter, face breaking into a wide smile.
“Welcome! I’m Aaron, the town’s fletcher. What can I get for you, travelers?”
Elzeni and Aymer peruse the selection of crossbow bolts and longbow arrows. As they look, they chat with Aaron, asking about any specialty items he might have.
“None right now, I’m afraid. If you’re interested in silvered arrows, I can get those for you in a few days.”
They nod, each selecting 20 new pieces of ammunition for their adventures.
“If you’re looking for magical items, I’d talk with Lyra. She’s the shopkeeper around here. Sees all manner of stuff coming through.”
They thank him for his time before heading towards Lyra’s shop. Her shop is an odd collection of strange jewelry, mirrors, and a few shining daggers. The duo stands in the shop, looking for Lyra, when a flash of light comes from the back room.
From around the corner comes a half-elven woman, her red hair frizzed out. Her arms are streaked with potion remnants, which she wipes off as she smiles.
“Hello, friends! What can I help you with?”
Elzeni inquires about magical weapons while Aymer eyes the shopkeeper.
“I have a few daggers, but most of my wares are decorative at best. Magical weapons are best found in the merchant’s quarter of the lower city.”
Elzeni buys a small silver mirror, thanking Lyra for the information. She nods, disappearing back into her workshop. Outside, our duo sees a small cluster of guards at the entrance to a nearby alley. Peeking into the alley, they see two humans cleaning blood from the ground. Elzeni asks the guards what happened.
“You must be new to town. We’ve been having attacks at night, even lost a couple guards.”
“Do you know who is killing them?” she asks.
“It’s more of a what. The bodies, when we find them, are mangled with… pieces missing. There have been a few reports of maybe seeing wild dogs, but no one knows what’s doing this.”
The two nod and head to the guardhouse to learn more. Inside, they find a guard captain writing a report at a simple wooden desk.
“Can I help yous?” he asks.
They ask about the night attacks.
“Nasty business. We took up a collection. Bounty’s at 200gp to find and eliminate the source if you’re looking for work.”
The two agree to investigate as long as two guards will come with them.
“I’ll ask for volunteers, but most are spooked. Come back at shift change in an hour.”
Our duo heads back to The Rusty Bucket to wait for shift change. Inside, the dwarven woman is still working at the bar. They approach, taking a seat.
“Welcome back, friends. You must be part of the group staying in 3 and 5. Name’s Beraelyn, Braedyn’s wife.”
She fixes her eye on Aymer. “I don’t mind telling you, start any more fights and you’ll need a new place to lodge.”
Aymer nods sheepishly before ordering a cider. Elzeni orders an ale, promising to keep an eye on Aymer.
She plunks their drinks on the counter, nodding at them. “Call if you need a refill.”
The two pass the time amicably, having another round before heading back to the guardhouse. Outside, they see the guard captain from earlier standing with a young guard.
“Only found one guard willing to go with you. Ian, don’t get killed ye hear? I’ll tell the desk here what mission you’re on.”
Ian nods. He’s short for a human, about 5’5″ with messy brown hair. At his waist hangs a mace. He turns to Elzeni and Aymer.
“Ian Walker, reporting for duty!”
Our duo exchanges a look, eyes widening at the youthful exuberance before them. Elzeni introduces herself and Aymer before turning and leading the group back to the crime scene. The blood is gone, but the rest of the scene is largely undisturbed. Looking around, Elzeni manages to spot some light tracks leading further into the alley. They look like wolf tracks, but narrower than a grown wolf should be.
The trio follows the trail, Ian chatting away as they wind through the alleys of the outer town. At the edge of town, the trail leads off into the woods. They follow it down a hunting trail, losing it a few times before they manage to find a second set of prints leading off into the woods. The prints wind around, eventually ending near the entrance to a small cave.
“Ian, why don’t you go first?” Elzeni says, nodding towards the entrance.
“Right away! This is so exciting.”
Ian takes off sprinting, running into the dark cavern without a care. Our duo rolls their eyes before following. Inside the cave, piles of bones lay scattered along the walls, what looks to be a few animal skulls as well as humanoid bones. Looking more carefully, they see that the humanoid bones don’t form full skeletons, like only parts of the creatures were brought here.
They notice a symbol carved into the rock:
Elzeni looks closely, unsure what it stands for, but recognizing its magical nature. As they pass the symbol, torch sconces on the wall flare to life, lighting one by one until at last two braziers at the far end of the cave burst into flame. The braziers frame what looks to be a large altar made of a black material neither recognize from this distance. In the center of the cave, Ian turns to face them.
As the duo rolls their eyes, they hear the slight shift of bone, turning just in time to see three wolf skeletons with red flame for eyes. The wolves set upon them, slashing out with their claws, raking across Elzeni’s chainmail and cutting through the leather jerkin guarding Ian.
The trio springs into action, momentarily taken aback by the moving skeletons. Ian cracks the ribs of one with his mace before it slices across his stomach, leaving him to sink to the floor clutching at the wound. Elzeni curses, rushing to his side. She grabs her token of Bahamut, letting the healing energy of her god move through her and into Ian. Capitalizing on her distraction, two of the wolves close in, slicing her side.
Aymer pulls his rapier, its weight unfamiliar as he pulls too hard, sending the delicate weapon flying through the air. Embarassment will have to wait as a wolf closes in on him. He catches a skeletal paw in the side as he darts toward his fallen rapier. Grasping it, he adjusts to the light weight, sinking the blade’s tip into the flaming eye socket of the skeletal wolf. With an ethereal shriek, the bones fall into a heap.
Ian stands, wacking the wolf once more with his mace as it sinks its teeth into him, sending him back to the ground. Elzeni fends off the other wolf as she leans down once again, pulling Ian back from the brink of death. Ian, though confused, manages to score another hit on the wolf attacking him, sending its bones clattering to the stone floor. As Elzeni turns to face the last wolf, an arrow from Aymer severs the wolf’s spine.
Aymer comes over, nudging the bone piles with his foot before tucking one of the skulls into his bag. They give Ian a pat on the back before investigating the altar at the end of the cave. The altar isn’t made of stone, but some sort of black crystal. It’s surface is dull and clean, a familiar symbol carved into the top: two crossed greatswords with a skull above. The cave itself is devoid of anything other than bones and blood splatters.
An eerie worry in the back of their minds, the trio head back toward the outer town. As they travel on the hunting trail, they see an elven woman ahead. She is very tall, about 6’6″, with intricately braided black hair that cascades down her back behind a longbow engraved with strange runes. Donned in beautifully embroidered studded leather armor covered by a fine silk robe bearing the colors of red and white, she looks out of place in the forest. In her left hand is a string of rabbits.
As the trio approaches, they can hear her softly humming. She turns to face them, revealing a fine circlet resting on her forehead above violet eyes. Neither of our adventurers have seen an elf of this race before as her face breaks into a wide smile. When she speaks, it is with an accent they do not recognize.
“You don’t see many people on this little road to Tereod. Well met!”
Elzeni and Aymer greet her in turn, not sure what to make of this strange meeting.
“Might you be adventurers?” the elf asks.
“Yes, we’ve just killed the skeletal wolves that have been attacking citizens in the outer town,” Aymer tells her.
“How wonderful! Kind adventurers are rare these days. Seems more often they’re interested in coin instead of helping the community. I used to be an adventurer, you know.”
“Are you interested in being an adventurer again?” Elzeni asks, eyeing the large bow.
“Oh, goodness no. I haven’t been adventuring in at least a few hundred years. I’m afraid my life is full of dull responsibility these days. But those days on the road shaped my life. You never know yourself until you’ve slept under the stars with those you’d give your life for.”
She’s quiet for a moment, a soft smile on her face. Ian, usually a font of talkative drivel, is oddly quiet with her here.
“I met Immanuel on the road,” the elf says. “Oh! How rude! I forgot to introduce myself. I am Veltis.”
She holds out her hand, shaking as Elzeni and Aymer introduce themselves. Ian stays quiet.
“It’s lovely to meet you. Are you in Tereod on business?”
“We’re staying in the outer town right now, but we are seeking entrance to Tereod.”
“Oh you’ll need paperwork for that. The guard here is awfully strict.”
“Do you live in Tereod?” Aymer asks.
“Sometimes,” Veltis replies. “Immanuel and I own the best tavern in all the lower city. If you ever come into the city, please do stop by at The Bonded Bow.”
“Are you a princess?” Elzeni asks, looking once again at the delicate circlet adorning Veltis’ brow.
“Not on this world,” Veltis replies cheerfully. “I’m not from around here. I will say that the nobles in Tereod are frightfully boring.”
The party moves through the outer town. Elzeni and Aymer, eyes on Veltis, don’t notice how the mood changes as they pass. The townsfolk duck their heads, averting their gaze and stepping backward. As they come to the main road, Veltis sighs.
“It has been wonderful chatting with you, Elzeni and Aymer. I wish you the best with your adventures.”
With that, she sets off toward the main gate. As she approaches, the guards straighten up, averting their eyes. The gate captain greets her.
“Welcome back, Lady Veltis.”
“It’s good to be back, Gerald. How are you today?”
Our duo turns to Ian, curiosity.
“Ian, who is Veltis?”
“The Lady Veltis? She’s a noble. It’s not proper for me to talk to her with all the politics and whatnot. I could lose my guard job!”
The duo ponders Veltis, wondering if she might be able to help them gain entry to the city. When they reach the guardhouse, a different captain is on duty.
“You must be the adventurers investigating those killings. Find anything?”
The two tell the officer of the animated skeletons they fought, Ian nodding enthusiastically behind them.
“It was incredible, sir!” Ian exclaims.
“We need papers to get into the city,” Elzeni tells the guard as she tucks away her half of the bounty.
“Those come from inside the city, lass. I don’t have that authority.”
“We know Lady Veltis,” she tells him.
“Saw the Lady Veltis did you? She’s a soft spot for adventurers. Strange, for a noble. Owns a tavern in the lower city where she listens to adventurer’s tales. Lives with her… companion Immanuel. I’d give him a wide berth what with the-”
The captain gestures to his arms, eyes a bit wide. The duo nod, saying their goodbyes to Ian before heading back to The Rusty Bucket for dinner and a drink. Perhaps Alyn will bring good news tonight…
Wish our adventurers luck tomorrow!