The Varnhold Woes

A Shadow in the East

In the early winter of 4713, it was reported my multiple sources that all contact with the town of Varnhold had been lost. Unable to interfere directly, Restov requested that the Greenbelt strive to investigate the matter. Suspicion was immediately aimed at the Nomen centaurs, who have long been in conflict with the forces of humanity. Restov also requested that this matter be settled – the means were unimportant.
The king and his entourage felt a cleric’s assistance was needed, but faithful Bintak had been unnerved by the death of the group chronicler to the point where he had to be sequestered in his chambers. An Osirian half-orc, new to the kingdom, stepped up and offered his abilities as a healer and caster to the impending mission. Looking at the tusked, dark-clad figure and his skull-patterned scythe, the king wisely decided that Reoc would surely be a good man to have behind him on such dark paths as the coming journey might lead to.
The keelboat “Royal Magnanimity” sailed them to Lake Silverstep, where the group dismounted and ventured to circle North along the Tors, towards a pass they had heard of that should cut short their journey through the mountains by several days. They briefly encountered some spriggans, but these retreated into a burrow and would not be persuaded to exit and prostrate themselves before the king in undying service.
Journeying towards Varnhold Pass, the group spotted a black roc, and recalled the request for a roc egg that had been put forth by the half-mad cook of the city inn. They noticed that the creature appeared to nest around Talon Peak, a mountain top holding an old Elven ruin. Approaching, they found the approach too steep for an easy climb, but between an airwalking half-orc and a spider climbing elf, the group quickly made the top. Here, however, they discovered that the vast mass of the eggs made it impossible to steal one right away, so they chose to retreat before the roc returned.
In Varnhold pass, the cleric helped the group to walk across the river to the path leading to Varnhold. Arriving at the top of the pass, they found the guard tower empty, and chose to camp in it for the night. Riding for Varnhold proper, they arrived North of the city, seeing no sign of current habitation. Spotting the hill-top fort in the Southern part of the city, they decided to make it their first priority. Leaving Reoc’s presumably-man-servant Igor with the mounts, they headed into town, weapons drawn. At the river ford connecting the two sides of the city, they spotted a figure in the water, and faced it weapons drawn as they crossed, provoking no reaction. Intensely focused on the mysterious shape, several of their number walked into a pit trap, suffering grievous injuries in the process. Extracting the cleric from the spikes, the group healed up, and carefully tracked their route as they proceeded south on the town road. Coming across a well, they spotted a humanoid creature drowned upon the bottom, and decided they would look for drink elsewhere.
Arriving at the town stockade, the group found the door barred, and rocks were thrown at them. The doors were undone, and the group engaged the fortified spriggans in an extended battle, dodging anvils, barrels, another pit trap, and the wolves kept as pets by the creatures. The spriggans were woefully outmatched by the well-equipped royal escort, and even their chief Agai was quickly dispatched. Two captured spriggans escaped their bonds and escaped through the well on the ground floor of the blockhouse, pursuit was dismissed as a bad idea. The adventurer’s rummaged through the holdings of the keep, and Agai’s pockets, and proceeded into the town. Fending off angry crows, they recovered odds and ends from the houses, before finding the Inn. They found the word “Nomen” scrawled in the door-frame. In the common hall stood a dead spriggan, held upright by a strange, glowing spell, connected to an open book upon a table. Leaving it alone, they ascended. Within the Waterhorse, they uncovered the property of Maestro Pendrod. Amongst the scholar’s notes, they also found a copied passage from a textbook, naming a “Vordakai’s Island”, and a “dread guardian”. They moved from the Inn to the house of the Ranger Willas Gundarson, who had been listed by Pendrod as the one to recover an odd jade bracelet, apparently the cause of Pendrod’s visit to the area. His house had been sacked, but using Detect Magic, they located a wooden box holding what appeared to be a folded handkerchief. An astute scholar of the arcane, Iathiel could inform the group that they held a folding boat.
Approaching the river, they decided that the creature in the water could not be left to prey on those who might come by later, so they starter shooting into the water to provoke a reaction. The odd crustacean-looking creature turned and fled for the upstream lake, but quaffing some potions of waterbreathing quickly enabled Korhak to descend and block the creature’s way. Not satisfied with this, Iathiel decided to aim for the sky, and so she dove beneath the creature with a feather token in hand. As the tree grew rapidly beneath it, the creature struggled to get out of the way, but was carried far aloft instead. Reoc walked the air up to it, and was knocked out by a powerful claw, then paralyzed by the tentacles ringing the mouth of the aberration. The rest of the group cooked the crustacean where it was, and recovered the cleric.



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