22nd day of 1st Nimos Second Epoch 2150
The heroes find themselves at the top of a set of stairs heading down to the lower level of Hob Tower. At the bottom can be seen clearly two bugbears that guard the way. It is certain that the two bugbears know that the intruders are there, but they seem to be so well disciplined that they make no move to attack them.
The heroes confer for a moment then agree to just attack. Reollo and Sirath charge down the stairs to engage the guards. In the flurry of attack and defend the bugbears yell out “Intruders, help, intruders.” In the next few moments Reollo and Sirath can see from the corners of their eyes movement coming from both north and south. Reollo is able to lash out with his sword wounding the bugbear he faces, however missing with his ax. The bugbear in return savagely slashes Reollo down his arm and into his hip. Reollo staggers a bit under the hit. Sirath engaged in a deadly duel of his own struggles to land a blow, although bugbear he faces also fares the same.
Meanwhile Lucky, Tiberius and Norhtal find themselves blocked off from the action due to the narrowness of the stairs and that Reollo and Sirath stand in the way at the bottom. Tiberius throws caution to the wind completely and decides to shoot one of the bugbears with his crossbow. The shot goes awry slamming into the ceiling and shattering the bolt.
By now the movement on the edge of Reollo and Sirath’s vision has solidified. Coming down the corridor from the north closest to Sirath are two wolves and a goblin, approaching from the south a large hobgoblin, which moves into position to join the attack on Reollo.
Lucky and Tiberius work together to arm themselves with torches that they can use as an offensive weapon as fire has worked well against the wolves they faced before.
Reollo lashes out with Bloodletter taking down the bugbear he was facing. The hobgoblin taking the opportunity to thrust, deeply wounding Reollo, send him reeling. A wolf then moves into position to attack Reollo as well. Sirath realising that Reollo has been badly wounded loses control of his inner rage and promptly carves his foe in two with Earthcleaver.
Norhtal frustrated with his inability to join the fray moves around Lucky and Tiberius, runs down the stairs and attempts to dive between the figures of Sirath and Reollo to attack the wolf facing up to Reollo. Despite his bravery Norhtal clips the low ceiling and flies head first into wall adjacent wall and finds himself crumpled in a heap, dazed on the floor before the said wolf with blood trickling from his scalp. Norhtal attempts to scramble to his hands and knees. The wolf snaps at Norhtal connecting, but his armour and Norhtal moving slightly away from it dulls its attack.
Sirath steps out into the corridor a little and blocks the attack of the other wolf. Counter attacking he beheads the beast.
Lucky now with a lit torch jumps into the already crowded space and attempts to set wolf on fire, with partial success singing the animal. The goblin ducking around Sirath lunges at Lucky, stabbing out with its cruel long knife. Lucky counter attacks ramming Zephyr up through its jaw into its skull.
Meanwhile Reollo is in a desperate state, he miss judges a strike at the hobgoblin and over balances. The hobgoblin in a follow up attack already committed to the strike to Reollo and finds that he is not where it thought he was, missing him completely.
Not liking the reeking breath of the wolf trying to gnaw his face off Norhtal takes a swipe at the beast with his hatchet, connecting with a grazing shot. It being enough put it off balance and Lucky stabs it through the back of the neck ending its life.
Reollo recovers and brings to bear both his sword and ax, laying waste to the hobgoblin then sagging against the wall for a moment to catch his breath.
In the diminishing clatter of battle echoing down the corridor from the south can be heard sound of children crying and talking.
The party moves off down the corridor south and comes to a corridor heading west. The noises appear to be coming from that direction. Following the sound they first come to a corridor heading north again. Whilst not the way the children sounds are coming from they decide to check it out. After a short passage way they find three people. One man and two women, naked, behind an unlocked metal lattice door. Reollo and Tiberius attempt to engage them in conversation, telling them that they are free, that they can clothe themselves and they can leave. The trio just blankly stare, seemingly not comprehending. They try again in the Ilth/Hob pidgeon language they used upstairs. Still no reaction. Confused by this the heroes decide to seek out where the children noises are coming from.
Coming to where the sounds are coming from the heroes enter a large room that has hay scattered around on the floor. Throughout the room there are about a 12 children of varying ages, ranging from about 6 months to 12 years old. All noise stops as they enter and tiny eyes focus on them. Then from a side room enters a young girl with flaming red hair. She has a baby on her hip. She walks up to Reollo takes him by the hand and says in a curiously accented voice “You are here, we need to leave now.” Reollo assures the girl that their captors are all dead there are none left, all the children and the other surviving slaves are free. She visibly relaxes at this assurance.
It is then that it slowly dawns on the heroes that the young girl is in fact not a girl and likely not so young as they thought; as they can see her pointed ears showing through her hair.
What takes place next is a flurry of questions by the party of the elf. She introduces herself as Andriel. She explains that she has been on the island as an exile for some 25 years. For some of that time she lived in the settlement on the south of the island where others like her lived in a huddled community. This community referred to as the settlement she last knew had two remaining members Robeor and Denneth. Andriel was asked how she came to be in the tower. She told them that she was captured by the Hobs during a raid on the settlement, she has stayed voluntarily to help the children as much as she could. Reollo asked her if she knew Allandra? Andriel said she did and Allandra had spoken about them coming, she had forseen it. Andriel explained that after the Hob king blinded Allandra to stop her from leaving she started having visions. Her inner sight was awakened. Andriel said that she suspected that when Allandra left she would have made her way to the settlement and Robeor. Robeor would still be there at least.
This lead to the obvious question of who is Robeor? Andriel smiled and said that she would allow Robeor answer that for himself.
Tiberius asked Andriel how she came to the island? Andriel said that she was exiled by the Magi for being a user of illegal magics. Andriel also said that she had been set up by the leader of the Black Circle in Fallsea. Tiberius asked who that was? Andriel said that at the time is was Andelin. The heroes were not now overly surprised at this after what they had discovered upstairs.
Reollo wanted to know why the Hobs kept slaves and bred them. Andriel said that not everywhere in V’harn was slavery frown upon and outlawed. These Hobs bred slaves to be sold into the markets of Tranth. Reollo asked why the Hobs wanted money? Andriel laughed and said it was plain greed, nothing more nothing less a valuable income for the Black Circle.
Tiberius asked Andriel if she knew much about magical items? She said that was not her area of expertise, but Robeor would know such things.
The heoroes then discussed with Andriel how to leave the tower and indeed the island itself. Andriel said that there were only two ways off the island. Over the sea or under the ground. Andriel explained that within this lower level of the tower there was a deep road entrance.
After their discussion with Andriel she showed them the entrance to the tunnel that she spoke about. At the end of the long main corridor that the heroes first entered this level on, all the way north. The hole is some five feet in diameter. Sirath is not impressed with the quality of work. The stone is gouged and battered into a rough open, staring down into the blackest of black. Andriel tells them that this is the entrance to the deep roads, the underworld. A place where things best left unnamed wander. Of course many of the elemental beings of earth and fire travel these by ways as well, there are many secret and unknown war with the Darkness down that way.
There was some discussion about what needs to be done in regards to the opening into the underworld. It is suggested that as they have no way off the island then maybe they could use it to get back to New Ilthium. Andriel cautioned against this. The alternative was to seal it up, but they are uncertain as to how to do this. Sirath suggests that if he has a decent supply of stone he could do so, but it would likely not slow anything down for long and would take some time to do. Deciding to rest on it they turn to go when Norhtal after staring at the wall facing east next to them for sometime realizes that cunningly worked into it is a near perfectly concealed door. Everyone else had missed it entirely it seems, even the residents of the tower.
It takes both Sirath and Tiberius sometime to discover the mechanism and then a few moments to sort out how it works. The door slides in wards without a sound drawing in after it a in rush of fresher air.
Entering the next room they give it a quick scan and see there is nothing of interest or value. A narrow passage way heads south, heading down it they realize that they can see light coming from the next room. Cautiously entering they find what was certain to be the treasury room of the original inhabitants before the Hobs came to stay. In the diagonal south east corner on a pedestal appears to be a bottle with a flame in it. From the light and shadows that it casts off the party can see a number of pieces of furniture finely wrought. The most notable amongst them are an enameled dresser, a chest and a number of smaller boxes. By the chest however is the thing that draws the most attention is a figure slumped on the floor against the wall. In life the figure would have been a large man, in death it is a shrunken parody of its former self. Wearing scale mail and shining helm, it is pin-cushioned with numerous arrows. Still clasped in its right hand is a spear of un-dulled quality, by the left hand a well honed short sword.
They cautiously look around the room after inspecting the corpse on the floor. Wizened but not rotted it is relatively well preserved. Lucky decided that if the man is dead he no longer has use for his spear and picks it up. Lucky is seized by a near uncontrollable rage as he touches it. Barely able to control an insatiable to plunge the spear into anyone close to him, he tosses it aside and warns the others to not touch it. Norhtal claims the short sword after some apprehension without any negative effects. Sirath debates on taking the helm with himself, somewhat sickened by the thought it is coming off a dead man. Overcoming this thought he takes it cleans it up and puts it on. All of a sudden Sirath is aware of a new world of possibility and is thinking things that have been previously beyond his reach. Reollo searches through one of the smaller boxes and finds a bowl and with it a white stone. Tiberius offers to look it over. He senses that it is magically and engraved around the outside rim in Brae is the phrase “Where the stone goes, the bowl can see.”
Lucky then looks through the dresser. He finds a black surcoat. Thinking that it is a great addition to he previously received clothes from G’zakthanx. Lucky dons it without further thought.
Tiberius finds for himself in the chest some impractical amounts of coins. He however also finds small number of cut gems. Some blue topazs and yellow quartz. Semi precious for certain but more light weight than their equal worth in coin.
The back track their way out of the treasure rooms and in form Andriel who had been wait what they had found. They offer to get some of the coins for her and the slaves to take with them. Andriel refuses and says that she has no need for such things and the slaves have no concept of it. Sirath then strikes on the idea that by using Earth Cleaver he can close off the hole into the underworld by creating earth then turning it to stone. Over the course of an hour he is able to seal the opening with enough certainty that it would take some time for anything to get through.
The party then discuss what to do with the rest of the day. They come to an agreement that to leave the tower it would be difficult to find shelter for all the people that they have now accrued and feel responsible for. So for the rest of the day they decide to rest in the children’s room and to hole up for the night having retrieved the slaves from upstairs and made another attempt to communicate with the three naked slaves in the lowest level again without success.
Reollo decides that he needs to tend his wounds with the half a flask of healing draught that Lucky was carrying. It serves his needs, but not completely and his wounds still trouble him to a degree, still weak from the previous battle.
On dusk as everyone was settling in a scream more felt than heard struck through everyone present. At best guess the sound came from the direction of the hole into the underworld and the secret treasure room. Reollo taking the lead stepped out into the corridor to check if there was any concern or movement. In blur of movement at the end of the corridor some 25’ away appeared the figure that was previous thought dead and was left slumped against the wall in the treasury. In its hand the spear that had been tossed aside. A wave of terror hits Reollo and he struggles to subdue the overwhelming, body shaking feeling of dread. The withered figure in another blur of movement throws the spear at Reollo who parries it out of the way. The spear re-appearing in the creature’s hand.