That morning, the party awakens to the intriguing smell of Gan’s Bat Jambalaya.
He had already skinned and made preparations to the bats that the party had killed before reaching their caravans. Surprising himself with exceptional skill cooking this delicacy, it is soon discovered that upon feasting of this seemingly delicious meal grants the eater a special circumstance bonus that makes them feel lightheaded and amazing!
(Eating Bat Jambalaya grants +4 to all stats for 24 hours)
Moving on north into the mountains of Battikh,
Gan and Merida decide to investigate some ruins at the base of the mountain range.
With keen and experienced eye, they noticed that one of the vine-covered pillars was rather bulbous, and wiggling in a way that looked strange. Upon closer inspection, Gan realizes that it is a person inside, in serious trouble and fighting hard for their life. His enthusiasm to help the person may be a bit misplaced, however, as his hacking away at the plant to release the person inside also harmed them as well!
Avoiding attack from the vines on the opposite pillar, Gan frees a woman named Alestra that was trapped inside, looking very worse-for-the-wear.
Using his alchemy skill and herbal stock on hand, Gan makes a healing salve and offers it free to Alestra. He uses the first application of the jar and rubs in on her wounds to show how amazing its healing properties are. Merida suggests that she also fill her belly with some of the Bat Jambalaya while she rests, to fully recuperate and feel better. After talking a bit to see what she was doing out here alone and where she is headed, it is decided best that she join the group in the caravan, resting until they reach the mountain destination.
That night, as the group makes camp, building a fire, Gan and Merida talk more with their new friend; trying to discover her motivations and what abilities she possesses. Alestra demonstrates her mind powers a little, targeting a very large rock and making it explode into tiny pieces, merely by looking at it and using her force of will. This could be very useful, indeed, they decide!
Gan takes first watch as the ladies rest. He hears a fierce growling in the distance, from somewhat of a large wildcat. He decided to investigate alone, feeling confidant that some kitty cats would never get the best of him! He can see in the dark, after all!
About 100 yards from camp, Gan almost gets lost, his sense of direction failing him. Thank goodness the group made a campfire! He could see and smell it in the distance, reasserting his senses. Here he finds two Krenshar cats, growling, hissing, and fighting each other, baring their skeletal faces as he approaches.
Defeating them easily single-handed, he slays them in a barbaric manner, seemingly unaware of his advantage of strength over the natural critters.
Knowing that all meat is lost, he skins them, salvaging what is left of the belts and sewing them together to make two hide blankets. He decides to gift them later to Merida and Alestra upon reaching camp again, in the morning when all rest has been attained.
1 action point awarded to Gan Stormblade
During last watch, Merida spots a strange … tree? I know it sounds contrite, but yes, a tree. For some reason she noticed that it was in fact, moving! In danger of sounding insane or paranoid, she decides to confirm her suspicions that it is really in fact, moving around the campsites outer limits. She gets out her spyglass, wanting to get a closer look at it without actually getting close, because it freaks her out a bit. As she peers at it through the looking glass, she sees two eyes appear on it and blink! What is this crazy magic?! She wakes up the party just to be sure that any harm may not go unnoticed. Gan believes that it is merely a tree spirit, and goes right up to it, greeting it. With one of its upper willowy branches, it offers Gan a leaf. He receives this gift and as he turns to tell the ladies that its alright, just as mysteriously as it appeared, the tree vanishes from sight.
Already awake and with an odd start to the morning, they decide to make the last bit of the trip to their final destination, the mountain stronghold. Onward and upward! They soon reach the cave entrance and find that the opening is doorless, with only 2 guards outside on post. Alestra demonstrates more of her mind powers, making one pass out cold, and thralling the other, bending his will to her wishes. They have him open the inner door to the stronghold, allowing them easy access. Realizing he would not be her thrall for very long, Alestra alleviates his service by sending him back out on post by the other guard and knocking him out, too.
Venturing inside, they come upon a room that opens to a great hall, with tables abounding all around the room, encircling a metal throne. The tables have half-eaten plates and various supplies on and around them, as if some event happened that made the people leave what they were doing with haste. As the group starts taking things from the tables for their own purposes, they hear a dwarf laughing in the corner, sitting at one of the tables. He is pale and transparent, wavering in and out of existence as if … he were a ghost!
They sit at the table with the ghost, Keigann, aiming to talk with him as he urges them to drink with him. While talking, Alestra discovers the nature of Keiganns death, more information on Boulden (the leader the group is after), and clan Thunderbeard, which is the clan responsible for this very stronghold they have entered, it turns out. Boulden is said to be fearsome, murderous, and tempermental, while wielding the power of thunder magic, along with a legendary greataxe weapon. He demands unquestioned following of his minions, for them to carry out tasks without error, who are threatened with punishment of death if these demands are not met. While further prying on the subject of Boulden, their leader, Keigann seems to grow fearsome, talking to midair, at someone the group cannot see or hear. He mutters something about not telling any of the clan secrets before disappearing from sight. Abandoned at the table, the group decides to loot the supplies in the room, carrying it back out to the caravan. Expecting the guards to be out there on the way back out, they are surprised to see that the guards are now gone.
at this point the current players decide to go to bed, and at the same time player Archer joins in the game and only he and Gan remain
to be continued…