Chapter 06: Thumpers / Posers

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Session Number: 29
Date: Sunday 22 November 2009
Venue: Alain's
PCs & Players:

Emily Ftr3/Rog2 (Craig) (kills: none)
Enok Rgr5 (Alain) (kills: none)
Rowaine Pal5 (Craig) (kills: none)
Troll Wiz5 (Densial) (kills: none)

XP Awarded: TBC

Around half a dozen spiders appear from the wooded perimeter in response to the alarm. Enok runs towards the ruin, wanting if possible to draw them away from the others. Rowaine beckons Enok to return but he does not notice. Troll casts Fiery Burst ahead and upwards to attract the spiders' attention. He gets it. More metallic shrieks accompany the spiders as they close in.

The ground violently heaves upwards. Rowaine and Troll lose their footing and fall but Enok keeps his feet beneath him and continues to run. His footfalls are accentuated by little puffs of dust disturbed by his passage. Rowaine drags herself upright and quickly looks around. The spiders are gone.

Rowaine, Troll and Emily break cover and run after Enok. More spiders emerge into the clearing, spot the trio and charge. Rowaine's heavy armour slows her down. Troll casts Tenser's Floating Disc and Rowaine jumps on.

Ten to twenty seconds later another jolt ripples the ground. Troll stumbles but carries on. Rowaine has been keeping an eye on the pursuing spiders; she watches them disintegrate into dust plumes as the ground quakes. She looks down at the dust beneath the disc and scoops up a handful. It is metallic.

Dozens of spiders charge into the clearing. A third quake destroys them, a minute after the previous, yet more spiders march into the oval depression. Rowaine notes that the amount of dust appears to be reducing the closer they get to the ruins - she can now spot patches of grass breaking through the metallic powder. Enok stops and waits for the others to catch him up. The next tremor catches and destroys the spiders two minutes after the last. No more follow.

The dust gives way to grass as the group walk towards the ruin, keeping a wary eye in all directions. The grass gives surprisingly little underfoot. It lives in a layer of soil no deeper than a dagger blade, lying atop a smooth stone substrate. Ten minutes later the group enter the ruin. Rowaine senses no evil about this place. Enok decides to hunt for game while the others investigate.

The structure is a henge. Twelve stone lintels are each supported by pairs of upright square-cut supports, the construction reaching 20 feet high. Far from being a ruin, the structures are in pristine condition, as if they were erected yesterday. They are assembled with uncanny precision and symmetry.

Troll unsheathes his knife and digs at a stone upright. The blade tip scratches the stone surface. Emily climbs on top of a lintel and looks around, seeing nothing further of note. The top surface of the lintels are unremarkable. Rowaine digs at the base of an upright, again finding shallow soil with smooth stone underneath. The upright sits in a beautifully cut rectangular hole in the stone base.

Troll removes grass and soil towards the centre of the area marked out by the stone edifices. He uncovers a similar layer of stone of a different colour. He then digs a trough northward, soon discovering a narrow strip of stone of a third colour. He digs laterally and finds that the stone is laid out in a ring that contains 12 symbols that align with the 12 stone openings. Further digging beneath the lintels reveals smaller rings of the same coloured stone, each with 12 symbols that resemble but do not exactly match those in the centre ring. Neither Troll nor the others can make sense of the symbols, yet they bear a sense of the familiar for Troll… He believes that they are magical in origin, and have a hint of elven about them. He then leaves the stone circle, periodically stabbing at the ground until some 500 yards distant his blade no longer meets a stone surface. The substrate ends abruptly in a very gentle arc both left and right. Troll's best guess is that the stone circle sits at the centre of a disc some 1000 yards in diameter.

stone_circle_disc.jpg

Enok returns carrying a couple of rabbits. He points out that the stone openings line up with compass directions. Troll studies the symbols, committing them both to paper and memory. As dusk approaches Enok cooks the rabbits and the others set up camp within the stone circle. A watch is set and the group retire, wary of a nocturnal ambush.

watch.jpg

During the night Troll dreams of big people that looked after him. He is left with feelings of warmth, comfort and safety, images of building with sunlight streaming through windows, the aromas of good food, the sense of frolicking with joy - and that it all occurred here. The next morning he describes some of these experiences to the others.

"Troll," Rowaine asks. "What does 'Elondel' mean?"

"It means 'home'."

"Is it the name of a specific place?"

"Not like 'Minehome' or 'Trennim', no… It simply means 'home'."

Troll prepares and casts Comprehend Languages and Detect Magic, returning to the ring of symbols. The spells do not reveal anything about the symbols. Troll again feels that they are strangely familiar, however. At Rowaine's suggestion he casts Fiery Burst skyward in case his magic is somehow stifled. The Burst launches normally. Several shrieks are immediately heard in the distance. Rowaine and Emily patrol the stone circle but no spiders emerge.

Troll views the party's divine scroll with his Read Magic-enhanced eyes. His spell works - he can understand the intent of the penned incantations, despite not being a divine spellcaster.

Rowaine clears an area of grass and earth right at the centre of the circle. The stone surface beneath has a hole cut into it, around three inches wide.

Is it a circular hole, or otherwise? How deep?

Rowaine knows a little about sundials, and she is pretty sure this isn't one.

What is this place?

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