Session 4 – Shallow Graves and a Manticore Hunt!

After uncovering the Believers, defeating the earth cultists and letting Larrakh escape, the party returns to the inn for some well-deserved rest and recuperation.  There, they meet Brother Eardon, an itinerant priest of Lathander staying in town, who says the missing Mirabarans passed through Beliard on their way to Summit Hall a couple of ten-days ago.

***

The party also remembered that the shopkeeper, Endrith Vallivoe, a Harper contact, recently came by a beautiful book in Dwarvish and has been showing it off. It looks old and important.  It was one of a dozen beautiful old books written in Dwarvish that showed up in the cargo of a shady keelboat skipper in Womford.  Vallivoe bought one of the books from a merchant recently arrived from Womford.  The Mirabaran delegation included a renowned shield dwarf historian named Bruldenthar, who was transporting his collection of manuscripts to Waterdeep. The Harpers don’t want the sage or his books to fall into the wrong hands.  Upon reviewing the book, the party told Vallivoe that it was likely the book belonged to Bruldenthar.  Vallivoe was happy to sell them the book at a discount so they could return it.

***

At the temple, one of the priests of Tempus, an Order of the Gauntlet contact, laments that the missing Mirabarans were escorting the body of Sir Rodimus who was killed fighting orcs in the Spine of the World. The knight was to be interred with honor at Summit Hall, the chapter house of an order called the Knights of Samular. It lies in the southeast Sumber Hills.

***

At Gaelkur’s store/barbershop/drinking hole, the party is approached by Larmon Greenboot, a shepherd, who says he found strange new graves out in the Sumber Hills and offers to show the adventurers the way so he can stop worrying about what is going on.

***

map

Deciding to help out the shepherd and solve the most pressing mystery, the party accompanies Greenboot to the check out the graves.  After some investigation, they determine that there was a scuffle nearby and that the graves are little more than rock cairns.  Needing to solve the mystery of who lies here, and wanting to consecrate the bodies so they cannot rise again, Telfid leads the exhumation.  The graves contain a male dwarf dressed in artisan robes, a female human warrior dressed in a black surcoat with a red axe (the symbol of Mirabar’s army), a male human warrior dressed in a black cloak with strange stony armor, and a male human in a white robe with black feathers at the shoulders with this symbol airstitched into it.  All died from arrow wounds or crushing blows.

From the hilltop, the party could see Red Larch to the west and a tall spire to the northwest.  Greenboot identified the latter as Feathergale Spire. All he knows about the place is that “knights out of Waterdeep come up here sometimes, riding on flying monsters.” Adding, “They usually keep to themselves.”

***

Mistakenly identifying the symbol as that of the Water Cult, Sytarii suggests they check out the tower.  Rayroris, excited at the prospect of gaining a hippogriff mount, and Taban, who correctly names the Air Cult, agree that the tower should be their goal.

After traveling a mile or two, the party is attacked from the air by a knight and two initiates on giant vultures.  The ensuing battle is brutal, with one of the giant vultures shredding poor Sytarii.  But in short order, the adventurers have slain their attackers.  After enjoying Giant Turkey Vulture Bacon for dinner, the party has an uneventful sleep and finishes the journey to the tower.

***

At the Feathergale Spire, the party slogs up a steep trail to gain access to the portcullis bridge into the tower.   Taban dons the uniform of the slain knight and approaches the gate.204feather

Not impressed at all by the stolen vestments, the guard at the gate denies him entry and calls out the rest of the party.  Sytarii explains that they were accosted by the wearer of the uniform and that they, unfortunately, killed him.  The guard seems somewhat mollified by this, lowers the drawbridge and invites the party into the tower with a fairly warm welcome.

After disarming them, she escorts the party all the way up 3 tall flights of circular stairs to the pinnacle of the tower where there are two knights with giant vultures. As the party emerges from the stairs, one of the guards flies out to patrol the area and a well-built male human in his early fifties with embossed feather patterns ornamenting the plates of his armor, and his kingly cloak boasting a feathered mantle smooths his white-blond hair into place, then bows low before them.  “Well met, travelers, I am Thurl Merosska, Lord Commander of the Knights of Feathergale.”  Savra, the guard from the front gate, explains the situation.  After a moment, Merosska smiles endearingly and apologizes for any misunderstanding, “There is much evil in these hills and it seems you were mistaken as such.”  At one point in the ensuing conversation, Taban says, “We’re also looking for the Air Cultists.”  At this point Merosska’s face darkens for a moment, then he smiles and says, “As I said, there is much evil in these hills.  Now, let us not talk of cultists until after the feast tonight celebrating the Knights of Feathergale’s tenth anniversary.”

The feast is a fancy occasion, and the food is top notch.  However, during the meal, one of the guards from the Pinnacle bursts in shouting, “Manticore, on the move!”  Pushing back chairs, several knights, and Rayroris, turn to head downstairs to the stable.  Before they leave, Merosska holds up a ruby ring and says, “A prize to the one who brings me its head.  Please, my guests, won’t you join in the hunt?”

Needing no prodding, the party heads to the stables as well.  There, they are mounted on hippogriffs who launch into the sky, following four knights on giant vultures.  The hunt is on!

***

The hunting party splits into two groups, the knights in one, the adventurers in another, searching the sky over the valley for the manticore.  It is the knights who catch up to the beast first!  The adventurers are close though and come quickly when the knights sound their hunting horns, arriving to find that one knight is already winging back to the tower after being skewered by the manticore’s tail spike.manticore

An aerial battle ensues.  As the manticore hurls volley after volley of tail spikes, the hunters pepper it full of arrows and bolts.  Rayroris swoops low, coming right up beside the creature and swings his mighty sword sending the once powerful manticore spiraling to the rocky earth below.  Returning the manticore’s head to the spire, Rayroris receives both the accolades and the prize!  “This will look good on the wall, next to this bigger head that I slew last year,” says Merosska.

Merosska also gives the party a tip, “I can tell you the location of the Sacred Stone Monastery.   I suspect the reclusive monks could be harboring evil and want them investigated.”

Savra, impressed by, and attracted to, Taban, whispers to him that the Feathergale Knights have a secret mission to master elemental air to annihilate Waterdeep’s enemies and offers to meet with Merosska to request he recruit Taban into the Feathergale Knights.  Taban quickly agrees.  The next morning, before they leave for the monastery, Merosska invites him to pledge to the Feathergale Knights and prove his valor.  Taban so pledges and promises to prove himself forthwith.

***

After walking a few miles up and down through the Sumber Hills, the ground starts to rumble and two hungry Ankhegs emerge to eat the party.ankheg

A battle ensues.  Telfid and Rayraris take one Ankheg, Sytarii and Taban the other.  Telfid is nearly eaten.  After finishing off the Ankheg, Telfid heals Sytarii who immediately cuts the pincers off the remaining Ankheg, setting it up for Rayraris’ final blow to smite the creature.

Alas, our tale pauses here, to be continued next week.

Character XP / XP So Far Level / To Advance Treasure
Ildon Ganus 0 / 652 2 (900) Wand of Magic Missiles
Fenvalur Reyraris 612 / 1101 3 (2700) 250 gp gold ruby ring
Telfid 612 / 1076 3 (2700) N/A
Olive 0 / 75 1 (300) N/A
Sytarii 612 / 1264 3 (2700) +1 Dagger, “Reszur”
Taban 612 / 1038 3 (2700) N/A
Keeley 0 / 464 2 (900) N/A
Defortune 0 / 163 1 (300) N/A
Rainar 0 / 226 1 (300) N/A
Noctavia 0 / 548 2 (900) N/A
Nastane 0 / 3160 4 (6500) N/A

 

 

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