Concordia · Featured · Story Book

Concordia Adventure Episode 4: “Cragsmar Manor”

The crowd of villagers starts to whisper about whether the mayor is going to be upset once he hears the news of this encounter. When the group of them in the blacksmith returns to their friends in the town square, Neela hears this and asks the halfling mother, whose name is Adalie, of the mayor’s character – is he another threat that needs to be addressed? Adalie snorts and tells us the mayor, Harvin Webster is yellow-bellied and rolled over for them when the Red Brand first arrived and killed the sheriff.

The only threat he is to them is revealing to the Red Brand who they are and where they’re staying. Adalie informs them they need to get off the streets and offers room and board at her house. Especially now everyone knows they have rooms at the inn.

An elven woman, tall with wild blonde tresses and thick dark-rimmed glasses approaches the square. She is intent on the gathered bodies of the Red Brand and asks Cloud and Zinadeera if they are taking care of them. She is a priest of Yondalla and wants to send their souls off with their last rites. Mystan knows Cloud has plans for the remains and attempts to dismiss the elven priestess. The priestess unexpectedly rounds on Mystan and with a stern voice insists these bodies need their proper burial rites.

The ruckus draws Neela over and she greets the priestess. They size each other up; the elven woman sees Neela’s Pelor medallion and the half-orc refrains from rolling her eyes at the Yondalla symbol on the priestess’s robes. Neela persuades her blood thirsty companions to refrain from further insults to the dead and let the priestess perform their last rites as is their due. To deny this would be a direct offense to the gods and there is only trouble down that path should they continue it.

They decide to take Adalie’s offer to stay at her farm and determine there is no better time to go to the manor than now; in theory, those within wouldn’t hear of the fates of their brethren and therefore wouldn’t be expecting the group of them. At Adalie’s farm they talk with her son who recounts his adventure into the manor. With a stick, he draws a primitive map of where he found a cave entrance below the manor and points us to where he heard the “get out” voice inside his head.

Cloud excuses herself, finds a well outside, and begins to wash off the blood and gore from earlier. She returns in time to enjoy a well-prepared meal of stew. Being a hobbit, Adalie compliments the stew with a generous heaping of spices. Every one but Neela gulps down their portions; Ahvin returns for seconds before anyone else is finished with their first. Neela’s senses are overwhelmed and she does her best to keep from offending her host and gulps as much she can before her sense of taste catches up with the assault.

After their meal, Mystan plays war games with the boy who is quite adept at such an early age. He asks Mystan if she can play chess and she promises to do so when we return. Adalie give Mystan a look,rife with tribulation and asks the dragonborn to not make promises to her son she cannot keep. Mystan assures the halfling matron there are not many certainties in the world, but of this, she knows she will return.

As the group sets off to leave, Naghan hangs back and offers to stay watch over the mother and son in case their luck runs out and the Red Bands learn of their involvement. Cloud asks Adalie if there’s anything she needs them to do and the halfling requests to be ‘thorough’. Mystan asks the boy if she can take his favorite soldier with her to make him battle-hardened. He is more than happy to comply; this only makes his mother worry at her apron more. Taking advantage of this distraction, Ahvin sneaks a gold out into Adaline’s belt pouch.

On their way to the manor, Zinadeera spies footprints. She is able to identify them by the shuffling way about them that shackled feet made these prints. This implies the trafficking of slaves. As they approach the cave entrance the voice alarm, “get out, get out, get out, get out!” goes off and every one steps back in reaction – because the screeching alarm was in their heads.

Ahvin sneaks forward against the side of the cliff, doing his best to avoid the trigger. Cloud tries to climb up a tree to see if she can spot anything, but fails. By this time, now that she is clean and rested from the earlier events, emotions flood her and she must process the knowledge she killed someone so viciously. Ahvin crosses the threshold and climbs up the entrance where he finds the alarm trigger and destroys it.

Ahvin returns to the group and they approach the entrance to the cave.

“So I have visitorsssss.” A slimy voice whispers in their heads. Everyone reacts in alarm except for Ahvin who looks offended.

Zinadeera finds a boulder and runs up to it while Ahvin pulls out a lantern and offends Mystan with a request to breathe fire unto it. Cloud produces a flame instead and lights it for him with it. Meanwhile, every one responds to the disembodied voice with unkind remarks and insults.

The creature in our heads is done with our argumentative natures and rises from the crevice. It is slimy with webbed feet and has only one eye. Zinadeera rushes to it with her staff, spins, thwacks it in its thigh and it cries out in pain which echoes in our heads. She gives a quick little cheer for finally hitting something with her quarter staff.

The creature moves to the other side of the gnome and slashes her with each both clawed limbs. A spray of blood erupts from behind the boulder. Mystan throws an ax but the creature side steps it with incredible speed.  The fighter moves up and to the gnome says, “You may be small but you are mighty! Kill this creature!”

Bottle-necked from the creature, Cloud readies to pounce at the next opportunity to present itself. Neela moves up to the boulder, also unable to engage in battle. She utters a prayer to Pelor, while at the same time her stomach rumbles. In effect a shimmering giant turkey leg, shining with Pelor’s light appears just above the creature’s head.  Rolling with this strange new apparition to a familiar spell of hers, Neela orders the glistening turkey leg and it smacks hard against the creature’s skull.

Zinadeera shakes her head, moves her focus from the holy turkey leg and a jabs the creature once again with her staff. She follows this up by planting her quarterstaff down and uses it to brace herself as she hauls up and round-house kicks it. The creature barks in pain, settles his single eye onto the monk and shouts her head with a single word: “DIE!” The gnome turns ashen, and as she retreats back, it claw swipes her again. She nearly collapses.

Mystan steps up and breathes fire at him. He reals back, blackened and burnt and she follows up with a strike of her sword. By this time it is clearly in a lot of pain.

Cloud cracks a whip at the creature, it pops just above its head but nothing happens. Seeing Mystan’s earlier success with fire, she throws a flame at it but it is ineffectual.

Ahvin moves under the holy turkey leg. He kicks off the wall, jumps in and jabs his rapier into the creature’s single eye and rides it down, filleting it fully in half.

With the threat gone Neela catches a whiff of Zinadeera’s demise.  She mutters a prayer at her palm until it glows with Pelor’s healing light.  Neela moves to her gnome friend who is barely able to stand at this point, and smacks Zinadeera’s bum with her blessed hand.  Neela was expecting the monk to run off to the next threat, so when she she stands there to look up at the half-orc, they exchange a look and shrug before moving on.

Cloud surveys around them in the cavern and finds something shiny in the crevasse below. She climbs down and finds it to be cold and filled with several bodies of degreeing states of decomposition. She yells up at Ahvin as soon as she sees a chest and he scampers down to her with haste. Could is absolutely excited about her finding and becomes more a hindrance than help for Ahvin as he inspects the chest for traps. Not finding any, he tosses it back of which Cloud pounces and opens it. Among the wondrous items of potions, coin and scrolls, there is a sword. It is Black Hawk’s Sword, the Talon.

Ahvin’s foot kicks a skull in the shape of a humanoid he’s only seen once before and she is standing in front of him. The voice in his head tells Ahvin he can’t tell her. Ahvin ignores the voice and points it out to Cloud. She’s unsure whom this skull belongs to but she takes it and stores it in her bag for a later burial.

They climb back up and we wander down a left-corridor. Mystan gets to the first door and overhears some drunken loud singing off-key. Zinadeera thinks this should be amazing music for the dragonborn.

Mystan moves and listens at the other closed door and hears more drunken voices.

Ahvin lays down his caltrops while Mysstan yells in the hallway, “Holy shit there’s a huge pile of gold over here!” In response, three bugbears and four humans rush out, spy the gold and a brawl breaks out among them. We sit back, pace bets as they fight and they eventually kill each other.

Ahvin moves forward and dusts the caltrops aside. The rest of the group follow the halfling down the hallway where in the next room they encounter a giant bugbear with little armor and a rusty battle ax, a blonde human female in robes, an elven woman in robes from the same order as Zinadeera, and a bald human man with a big bushy beard and a glass staff.

…To be continued.