The two days of arduous travel over the road-less miles from Cunvden toward Itven had been rough on the Group and their mounts, and had doubtless caused many minor damages to their wagon, but at last after twenty days since their initial departure from Cosolen the Investigative Unit had arrived to Itven – source of the call for aid that had spawned the chain of events leading up the present. Were answers finally within their grasp?
Diaday, Twenty-second of Declarations, 1044 Y.K.
Waking to find a small audience of locals awaiting any news from them, the Party was quickly met by Constable Grond Plonnor who informed them he would be escorting them to the Lord-Mayor’s office as soon as they had made fully ready. Malmir the Cook teamed up with one of the two Inn’s owners Strodilma Pandenma to make breakfast and provide drinks.
Once completed, the Group joined the Constable and moved out of the inn and into the main street toward the Town Hall. They were quickly joined by an armored female warrior who introduced herself as Sendrita Fordril. The Constable attempted to send her away, but Brendolm insisted on hearing her out. As the discussion was underway, Maldus looked to the woman and discovered that he was seemingly blacking out at the sight of her.
Leaving his physical body behind, Maldus’ mind’s eye departed and the Cleric found “himself” in a darkened corridor before a blackened steel door. The door was rimmed in crimson light and radiated intense evil like the heat of a nearby flame. Maldus shoke uncontrollably and realized a large shadow had overtaken his own. Heavy bestial breathing came from behind him. As he turned to see what was there, a horrified and agonized woman’s scream jarred him from the vision and brought him back to Itven.
Fully back in his body, Maldus interrupted the discussion in progress and informed the Group of his vision – they were surprised, having noticed nothing unusual. Brendolm offered that perhaps the Lord of Silver Linings was trying to tell him something through the vision. The idea was certainly possible, but Maldus believed a message from Selandi would be more hope-filled.
With no answer immediately available, the Group pressed onward to the Lord-Mayor’s office. The woman Sendrita accompanied, acknowledging to the Constable that she had indeed previously agreed to allow the Party to speak to the Lord-Mayor before she would ‘get her chance’.
Passing the militiaman Celdren on watch outside the Lord-Mayor’s door, the Party was seen into the office, where they were officially introduced to Landren Thalrel, Lord-Mayor of Itven. Zeph, unsure of the specifics of various titles and niceties, did his best not to flounder during the meeting – eventually standing back and allowing others to conduct the discussion.
In addition to the typical welcome and assurance of support from the town’s members, the Lord-Mayor had another topic he wished to discuss. He informed the Group that Sendrita would be requesting to join them in their investigation, a request he wished them to allow. He explained that Sendrita proclaimed herself a Paladin of The Eternal Lantern, but displayed no abilities or talent for the role. The Lord-Mayor believed her a helpful, but misguided woman and sought to keep her from harm in the protective company of the Party.
Agreeing to allow her to join, the Party departed the Lord-Mayor’s office and met with Constable Plonnor and Sendrita. They accepted her offer and listened as she told them of how she had been forsaken by Bleslelna and denied her abilities, though she knew not what she did to be punished in this fashion. Constable Plonnor broke the conversation off and the Group learned of the “homestead incident” at the residence of the Galborn family.
Dolran Galborn was a graduate of the Cosolen Military Academy who had settled in Itven years ago and raised a family with his wife Olelta. The family had a farmstead at the far edges of Itven and lived mostly in solitude. This solitude was broken recently when a strange woman emerged near the home wounded and telling of being followed. Dolran sent his son Hurthral to fetch the Constable while his wife and daughters took the young woman inside the house.
When Hurthral returned with the Constable and a squad of four soldiers, the young woman had fled and Dolran was missing. The soldiers fanned out to search for him while the Constable spoke to the Galborn women. Moments later, he realized that his soldiers had stopped calling and were now missing as well. The Constable retreated with the family back to Itven. Since that time, a number of strange disappearances had occurred.
Speaking to the Galborn family gave the Party additional details of what events that transpired before the Constable had arrived. Dolran had taken his woodsman’s axe into the trees in search of whoever was chasing the young woman and had apparently been injured. His cry of pain could be heard, which petrified the new arrival and sent her fleeing the farmstead. The women tried to stop her but could not. They feared what may have happened to Dolran and hid.
The Party saw inspecting the Galborn Homestead as the next logical step in their investigation and moved with Sendrita, the Constable, and a squad of militia conscripts. Dolran’s son Hurthral also requested to join the group, and was permitted to accompany them as well. They reached the homestead and Gram took to tracking the missing soldier’s footsteps. Hilg and Stoat took up a watch at the farmhouse, searching for any signs that the young woman had returned.
The trail took the Group deeper into the woods where evidence of the soldiers being carried away was found. The process was interrupted when the entire group was entangled by the woodlands themselves! Two large plant lifeforms had been lying in wait and had wrapped the investigators up with their power. Brendolm was unable to escape, the limited strength of his new Halfling body working against him. A long vicious vine-arm lashed out and struck Cosdrelita mightily.
Relmir was the first to break free, his arm protected from being fully entangled by his massive tower shield. Zeph also fought his way free and the two Fighters engaged the nearest creature. The riding dog Kir was also able to slip loose and warned the Party of another threat in the area. A vicious Dire Boar that lumbered near the Group, slowly approaching. Kir’s barking drew the Boar’s attention and Gram was only barely able to share a magical gift of speed with his companion before it was forced to flee from the larger animal.
Maldus found himself busy indeed, as the plant creatures inflicted brutal blows to several Party members and militia men. He struggled for every step through the squirming, gripping plant-life around his legs but managed to fight his way to those in need of his healing touch. Gram managed to free himself just as the Relmir and Zeph had slain the first creature.
Battling back choking vines and flailing tendril-like vegetation Zeph, Relmir and Gram surrounded the second plant creature and soon put it down as well. The remainder of the company worked their way out of the quagmire of shrubbery and plant-life as Gram located the trail of Kir and the Dire Boar. Once all were free, the group took to following the trail.
Making a wider path than the riding dog and Boar, the Group stumbled upon a horror that the animals had narrowly bypassed. Inadvertently snagging a tripwire, one militia man froze while the remainder of the company dove to the ground. A huge scythe-like arm swung from the height of a nearby tree and impaled him, sweeping him up into the canopy. The massive trap struck fear and surprise onto the faces of all but one…Constable Plonnor.
After prodding from the Party, the Constable admitted he had seen a similar device before. On a much smaller scale of course, but he knew the creator. A wanted criminal that he had once captured and then let go, his brother through marriage – Ervaln Norforn “The Architect”. The Party pressed on cautiously, fearing they were drawing near Norforn’s lair.
Discovering from the tracks that the Boar had given up the chase on Kir a short time later, the Party was elated and soon found Gram’s beloved companion. The animal was heavily winded, and lay on the ground. The Group produced water and feed and decided it best to make camp. Darkness would soon be upon them and they could certainly use the rest. Watches were set and the Group bedded down.
On watch in the blackness of the night, Brendolm and Sendrita roused the company after hearing strange noises. A search of the surrounding area revealed that the Boar was still nearby. The company surrounded the area and an ambush was set. They charged the creature and decisively laid it down. Gram suffered a massive wound when the creature had gored him, but survived with Maldus’ aid.
Pelsday, Twenty-third of Declarations, 1044 Y.K.
The company woke somewhat groggily following the lack of sleep brought about by the return of the Dire Boar. There was one pleasant enough side effect however. With the large amounts of meat harvested from the Boar, the company’s breakfast was a veritable feast of bacon, pork and eggs foraged by Gram in the earliest hours of the morning. The day ahead would potentially hold more battle and death, but for now, they were happy.