Chapter 04: Fade To Black

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Session Number: 4
Date: Sunday 14 November 2008
Venue: Densial's
PCs & Players:

Drake Blackspear Ftr1 (Craig) (kills: none)
Enok Rgr1 (Fergus) (kills: 1 crocodile)
Krag Clr1 (Fergus) (kills: none)
Rowaine Pal1 (Craig) (kills: none)
Silque Rog1 (Densial) (kills: none)
Vor-wrek Mnk1 (Densial) (kills: none)

XP Awarded: 220

The party try to convince Sarthen to take them to the farmhouse. Sarthen tries to convince the party to return to the monastery. He delivers the ultimatum that he will go alone if he has to. "The monastery's only an hour that way," he says, getting both the distance and the direction wildly wrong. The party don't allow Sarthen out of their sight.

Sarthen is forced to tell the party where the farmhouse is. The party wait for first light, lending a couple of blankets to the wretched Sarthen to keep warm. He promptly buries himself in the blankets and falls asleep.

At daybreak Enok and Vor-wrek excuse themselves from the rest of the group to go "hunting". They hunt alright… for Sarthen's original tracks. Enok quickly reacquires them and the two adventurers head off to investigate this so-called farmhouse.

After almost an hour the forest gives way to a broad wetland area dotted with mangrove clumps. Neither Vor-wrek nor Enok believe that the terrain looks anything like arable farmland. The tracks become easier to follow in the wet muddy ground, leading shortly to a slow-moving river about 15 feet wide. The tracks lead straight into the river and disappear.

Vor-wrek wades across the river with a length of rope that Enok holds. About halfway across, Enok spots a large shape upstream, heading straight for Vor-wrek and leaving a substantial wake. He shouts a warning and Vor-wrek speeds to the far shore, untying the rope once back on land. The form veers towards Vor-wrek - a 5 foot long crocodile! Enok looses two arrows at the creature, the first of which pierces its side. The crocodile barely seems to notice, so intent on its first prey. It beaches itself, its toothy maw snapping viciously.

Vor-wrek attempts to stun the reptile but misses, as does Enok's third arrow. Not so the crocodile who slashes at the elf's legs and topples him, leaving him bleeding.

Enok's arrows distract the crocodile from its fallen prey and it turns to face the remaining threat, launching into the river. Enok backpedals, loosing yet more arrows, all of which miss the mark.

Fergus has what could be the worst spate of bad attack rolls in gaming history, including two natural 1s in the same round. Craigo knows what he is buying Ferg for Christmas :-)

Finally, two arrows hit solidly (one coming just short of a critical hit) and the crocodile slumps into the boggy ground.

Enok returns to the river bank and crosses to where his friend lies. He ties a tourniquet above Vor-wrek's gashed thigh and cleans and bandages the wound as best he can. He then lifts Vor-wrek onto his shoulder and heads back to camp.

Shortly before he returns to the campsite Enok runs into Rowaine, looking distraught.

"Something terrible has happened. Drake is dead!" she exclaims. She then looks at the body over Enok's shoulder. "What happened to Vor-wrek?"

"Crocodile… No time to explain. What happened to Drake?"

"Likewise - except for the crocodile part. Let's get back!"

Rowaine helps carry Vor-wrek back to camp where Drake lies motionless. About half an hour previous Sarthen somehow vanished from underneath his blanket just before Drake cried out from some form of injury. He soon collapsed, holding his forearm, and the rest of the group were helpless to prevent his life from slipping away. Was it poison? Twin pinpricks dot Drake's forearm…

Krag requests Moradin's favour and heals Vor-wrek.

This was an exceptionally gracious act for Moradin. A half-orc asking a dwarven god to aid an elf?

Together the remaining party members head back to the monastery, carrying Drake's body. Perhaps someone there can help? Vor-wrek and Enok take point, taking great care. No-one feels like underestimating Sarthen again.

The group approach the monastery from the south, spotting Hep tending the goat herd. Vor-wrek quickly explains what has happened to the gardener and then splits off to search for any evidence of Sarthen's return. Hep leads Krag to the Manse where Sir Veketh is likely to be, while Rowaine and Enok take Drake to the classroom where Khazul the high priest is teaching.

Khazul has no spells prepared that can directly help Drake, but mouths the words of a Gentle Repose blessing over the fallen student. Sir Veketh learns of the night's events and immediately summons the party to his quarters. Vor-wrek cannot find any sign that Sarthen has returned. No-one has seen him this morning and his belongings seem undisturbed from the night before.

Sir Veketh questions the party while Khazul and Berathoin transfer Drake to the spare room in the manse. The headmaster is Not Happy. Too much has happened in too short a space of time to ignore… He sends Dirrin to Minehome, the dwarven stronghold in the mountains to the northwest, to ask for assistance. Dirrin seeks out Enok and asks him to go with him. The ranger accepts.

Extra watches are organised for the coming night. The remaining party members volunteer for the role. Sir Veketh agrees with one condition - that any incidents are reported to him, in person, immediately, and that they do not even consider any more independent action. "Our community possibly depends upon our ability to work together, do you understand?" The party agree.

Later, a thought comes to Vor-wrek who seeks out the headmaster after the evening meal. He raises the monastery's accepted emergency strategy - students are trained to gather in the underground level of their respective dormitories. He suggests to the headmaster that an alternative strategy might be prudent, particularly given that Sarthen appears to be involved and that he too knows this strategy. The headmaster hears the wisdom behind the words.

Dusk approaches and the evensong bells are tolling.

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